(Andover's Chris Kreider, a darkhorse top ten pick)
The 2009 NHL Entry Draft lottery took place on Tuesday night. While every team in the top five had a chance to win the rights to the first pick, the New York Islanders retained the right to draft John Tavares. However, the results are still causing a shake-up in the draft board as the season comes to a close.
14. Florida Panthers- Scott Glennie, C (Brandon Wheat Kings)
Like the Buffalo Sabres, while the Panthers are really, really good at finding goalies, defensemen and wingers that fit their system, centers rarely flourish in Sunshine. To add injury to insult, Stephen Weiss was forced into wrist surgery immediately at the conclusion of the season. A #2 C on any other team to start with, future issues in this area would further rob Weiss of offensive ability. Enter Glennie. A terrific skater and thinker like Weiss, Glennie adds dimensions that many other centers only wish they had. Perhaps a little over-rated as a goal scorer, Glennie would nevertheless help the Panthers turn things around down the middle.
Upside: #1 center, 25-50-75+
13. Buffalo Sabres- Ryan Ellis, D (Windsor Spitfires)
In 1983, the Buffalo Sabres used the sixth pick on a player no one ever thought would be an NHL forward, never mind a defenseman. Considered too devoid of defensive acumen, too soft, and most certainly too small, Phil Housley was written off before his career even began. Sound familiar? While the Sabres could stand to use a game-breaking forward or two to compliment Thomas Vanek, elite puck-rushers (or PMDs, as Murray has coined them) are a rare commodity. And hey, if Ellis does turn out to be too small, a conversion to forward would a snap… after all, he had more points than any OHL first-time eligible forward, and is currently second in that league's playoff scoring race with 22 points in just 12 games.
Upside: Elite PMD, 15-45-60
12. Minnesota Wild- Zack Kassian, RW (Peterborough Petes)
With the wholesale clearing out of the Minnesota Wild braintrust, the team enters the NHL Draft with both many options and many questions. While Assistant GM and now interim head chief Tom Lynn was responsible for the scouting department, it remains to be seen if he too will lose his job. Kassian is the type of player Doug Risebrough would have coveted; free to pick as they please, Lynn and his staff may have other ideas- or they may stick to the team's status quo of adding big, physical forwards.
Upside: Top-nine power forward, 20-35-55+, 120 PIM
11. Nashville Predators- Nazem Kadri, C (London Knights)
Can the real Nazem Kadri please stand up? 2009's most maligned first round forward talent, the highly skilled center entered the 2009 OHL playoffs with considerable questions about his drive and attitude. However, despite posting big numbers early on, an early 6-7-13 line was due mostly to two big games in blowouts. However, as the games have become closer ,Kadri has suddenly begun to steal the spotlight from John Tavares. Arguably the best forward in the opening two games of the highly-touted Windsor/London Conference Finals series, Kadri's four points are double Tavares's output through the first two games of the series. The Preds would be happy with Kadri outside of the top ten, issues or no; an above-average skater with excellent hands, Kadri has the vision and talent to make things happen,