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From a keeper league standpoint, here are some quick notes from the weekend’s Entry Draft:
Anaheim – Jake Gardiner is about four years away. He’s a bit of a project, but with Pronger getting older the timing is about right here. Nicolas Deschamps has consistency issues, and his upside at this point is no higher than 70 points at the NHL level, if he gets there.
Atlanta – Zach Bogosian was a no-brainer pick. He could make the team in two years and be a fantasy asset in three or four.
Boston – Joe Colborne has a ton of talent – more than fellow Boston prospect Zach Hamill. He comes from a rich family, so contract years won’t drive him like most players. Max Sauve offers high-octane offense, and could be a second liner in about four years. Michael Hutchinson was ranked the fifth best goalie in the draft class in Dobber’s Prospects Report.
Buffalo – Hailed as a possible Zdeno Chara, Tyler Myers was a good score. A 5-9, 150-pound Tyler Ennis was a questionable pickup for a team like Buffalo, who already have a pile of talented prospects under 5-10 waiting in the wings. He has huge upside – perhaps 90 points – but same story for the likes of Nathan Gerber, Tim Kennedy, etc, etc. Who makes it big? Is there room for all of them, plus Derek Roy? The Sabres made up for it by grabbing Justin Jokinen, a big winger with 60-point upside. He was a steal at 101.
Calgary – The Flames need pure offensive forwards in their system. But they continue to grab character guys who can score. Greg Nemisz is a future power forward who could get 65 points at the NHL level. Mitch Wahl has two-way checker written all over him. He may peak at 60.
Carolina – In Zach and Zac the Hurricanes have a couple of potential 75-point players. Boychuk is more likely to get there in five years or so, while Dalpe has high risk/reward potential. He may be a 50-point player, or perhaps 80. You’ll get a good handle on it by next year.
Chicago – Attitude and concussion problems dog the power forward with the most upside in the draft – Kyle Beach. Mark Bell all over again? The Hawks have an embarrassment of offensive riches in their system…so they can roll the dice here.
Colorado – Cameron Gaunce? The team needs rearguards in their system and they went a little off the board here. Peter Delmas is the eighth ranked goalie in Dobber’s Prospect Report. The Avs make up for it with a steal at 110 in pivot Kelsey Tessier. He’s small, but has high upside and was rated much higher. Upside is 85 points and in two years you will know if he is boom or bust.
Columbus – They got a steal in Nikita Filatov. It is too bad that he joins a defensive system. However, coaches rarely last five years and by Ken Hitchcock’s fifth year Filatov will be 21 or 22. I don’t think he will make the team this year…but wouldn’t bet against it. He’s a year away at the latest and will have a rookie year similar to what Jaromir Jagr had. Offensively, his potential is as high or higher than Steven Stamkos and Patrick Kane. Getting Matt Calvert at 127 could also be a steal, but the smallish forward could be five or six years before getting on your radar.
Dallas – The Stars had a rather weak and uneventful draft, taking a goalie, Tyler Beskorowany, at 59 when they probably could have grabbed him in the fourth round. Beyond him, it was all projects.
Detroit – I immediately paid attention to their pick in the seventh round, figuring that if it’s a Swede I should just blindly stick him high on my list. Well, Jesper Samuelsson is now on my radar. The 20-year-old lit up the Swedish second division, leading his team in points and penalty minutes. Now we just have to see if he turns into a Johan Franzen or a Henrik Zetterberg! I’m sure in two years we will be hearing more about him, but if your league is deep enough (rosters of 30 or more) – grab him and sit on him. See what happens. With their 30th pick, they grabbed Thomas McCollum, who is ranked fourth in the Prospects Report and should appear on your radar in four years.
Edmonton – Lots of potential here, not the least of which is Jordan Eberle. A potential point-per-game pivot, Eberle will need at least two years to get stronger. Defenseman Johan Motin is probably a long shot, but winger Philippe Cornet and center Teemu Hartikainen have the potential to be of fantasy interest in a couple of years. Lots of risk/reward there.
Florida – The good news is, with Olli Jokinen gone, the value of Nathan Horton, Rostislav Olesz and Stephen Weiss goes up. As well, the odds of Michal Frolik making the team increase. However, the promise of Brett MacLean disappears, as he was nearly a point per game at the end of the season playing with Olli. In Jacob Markstrom, we figure the Panthers grabbed the seventh best goaltender. They also grabbed the swift-skating rearguard Colby Robak and a steal in power forward A.J. Jenks. Both players are five years away, but both have decent upside for their position.
Los Angeles – With Teddy Purcell, Lauri Tukonen and Brian Boyle ready to make the jump and Patrick O’Sullivan eating lots of minutes, Mike Cammalleri was very expendable. The Kings did well with that trade. Now picture their awesome forward corps working with the likes of Jack Johnson, Peter Harrold, Thomas Hickey, Drew Doughty and Colten Teubert. Doughty is a year away and Teubert is two. The Hockey News ranked GM Dean Lombardi something like 28th on their Top GM’s list and I almost cancelled my subscription…except I work for them, so that wouldn’t be bright. No foresight at all in that list – but to me Lombardi has been nothing short of brilliant, stockpiling young superstars are every position. Playoffs by 2009-10 season and Cup contender by 2010-11. Don’t laugh. With the salary cap, teams are moving up and down more rapidly. Remember how fast the Flyers and Penguins competed when they weren’t expected to. Need more? The Kings further stacked their defense with Vyachaslav Voinov and they also added 5-7 pivot Justin Azevedo. The latter player was the OHL MVP and shame on the NHL general managers for passing over him for two years because of his size and lack of speed.
Minnesota – The offense-starved Wild grabbed three defensemen out of their four picks (their 145 pick was an off-the-board winger). Tyler Cuma is a solid rearguard, but he was chosen a little high.
If you haven’t already, you can read more on the great prospects in your fantasy league in Dobber’s Fantasy Prospect Report – just $12.95 at DobberHockey.com.