Saturday, June 20, 2009

The 2009 NHL Draft: Why You Should Care...

The 2008 NHL Draft produced 10 kids that played in the NHL last season. With the salary cap expected to shrink one year from now, and bigger, long-term contracts becoming an albatross, more and more NHL teams are forced to rush their draftees to the Big Show.

Below is the JFH 2009 Mock Entry Draft. But it wouldn't be JFH without outlining both the immediate and 3 year fantasy impact each player is projected to make.

1. New York Islanders are proud to select...Victor Hedman

Reason: Garth Snow and the Islanders are desperate to re-inject some credibility to this once dynasty of a franchise. While Tavares would be the Marketing department's pick, Hedman provides a once-in-a-generation combination of size, skill and smarts. Projected to be a future Norris trophy winner and huge minute-muncher, Hedman is the kind of player you build a franchise around. Look for Snow to explore trading down to #2 if the Lightning (or trade partner) want to take Tavares at #1.

Immediate Impact: Hedman will walk on to the Islanders weak D and should be playing large PP minutes with playmaker Mark Streit by mid-season.

Fearless Forecast 2009-2010: 80GP, 7 G, 21A = 28 Points

Fearless Forecast 2011-2012: 82 GP, 15G, 34A = 49 Points

2. The Tampa Bay Lightning are proud to select...John Tavares

Let's face it, Tampa will not select Tavares - unless they manage to move Lecavalier beforehand. If he drops down here, they will move the pick to address other needs and drop down. Some team will be getting a great player from the blue-line in. Tavares possesses superstar potential but all of the extra attention has exposed some weaknesses in his game. That said, after switching Agents last summer, Tavares has re-dedicated himself to the game and I believe he will be able to overcome the knocks on his skating and 2-way play. Whoever trades for this kid will be adding a perennial Richard trophy threat.

Immediate Impact: Tavares will play in the NHL next season, regardless of where he ends up. The question will be how deep is that team and how many key minutes (PP) can they afford to give the 18 year-old?

Fearless Forecast 2009-2010: 76GP, 33G, 28A = 61 Points

Fearless Forecast 2011-2012: 82 GP, 46G, 42A = 88 Points

3. The Colorado Avalanche are proud to select...Matt Duchene

Colorado fans have been spoiled with Joe Sakic ever since the team moved to the rockies from Quebec. As Sakic nears the end of his career, the team is positioned to get a player who is billed as a future Joe Sakic. Duchene is the most complete high-end talent in the draft, which has some scouts thinking he will go even higher then 3. He has top-end speed, great skill and a strong hockey IQ. Duchene will become a great two-way player and a reliable #1 Centre for years to come.

Immediate Impact: Duchene will be given every chance to make the team out of training camp. If Sakic comes back for the "Olympic year," the Avalanche would love to have him mentor their future star. Look for Sakic to shift to wing and play with Duchene all season.

Fearless Forecast 2009-2010: 75GP, 18G, 25A = 43 Points

Fearless Forecast 2011-2012: 82 GP, 34G, 43A = 77 Points

4. The Atlanta Thrashers are proud to select...Evander Kane

Atlanta fans have long-needed a tough, physical scoring forward with Captain material. They thought they were getting that with Dany Heatley but one bad decision later and he's out of town. The good news is, Evander Kane is all of that...and more. With great speed, good hands and a mean-streak, Kane will be the type of player that will bring crowds back to HOTlanta. Expect the team to move Kovalchuk within the next year as they use Kane as the new franchise building-block.

Immediate Impact: As shown in the WJHC, Kane can adapt and play any role asked of him. This will serve him well as he will immediately step into the NHL and on to the Thrashers' 3rd line. Look for him to progress to the 2nd line throughout the season.

Fearless Forecast 2009-2010: 82GP, 16, 22A = 38 Points

Fearless Forecast 2011-2012: 82 GP, 35G, 32A = 67 Points

5. The Los Angeles Kings are proud to select...Brayden Schenn

The Kings have one of the best young nucleuses in the game. Already loaded on great young Dman (see Doughty, see also Hickey, see also Jack Johnson, see also Teubert) the Kings acquire some much-needed toughness to compliment their skilled forwards in Kopitar, Frolov, Brown and Justin Williams. Schenn is the complete package (often compared to Mike Richards) - a guy who will play on your top line, top PP unit, top PK unit and frequently lay out opponents with his shoulders or his fists. The Kings are very happy to land such a high-end complete player here.

Immediate Impact: I would say Schenn is 50/50 to make the Kings next season. A great camp could get him the longer 9-game look which the Leafs gave his brother last season before he earned the permanent address. Schenn will have to take advantage of the opportunity though as the Kings have a lot of good young players in their top 6.

Fearless Forecast 2009-2010: 72GP, 12, 19A = 31 Points

Fearless Forecast 2011-2012: 82 GP, 28G, 43A = 71 Points

6. The Phoenix Coyotes are proud to select...Jared Cowan

The Hamilton Coyotes (sorry for the typo) are a team that has raked in high draft picks over the years. Now busting out with young offensive talent (see Mueller, see also Turris, see also Boedker, see also Tikhonov, see also Lisin) the Coyotes go after the other "big kid on D." Cowan already has an NHL body at 6'5, 220 and showed everyone what he was capable of as a 17 yo in the 2008 Memorial Cup Championship run with Spokane. A knee injury hurt his draft status this year but all reports from the combine show he is fully recovered. The 'Yotes get a big, mean shut-down Dman to compliment their skilled forwards for years to come.

Immediate Impact: Cowan should make the Coyotes top 6 D next season. Look for his progress to mirror that of Luke Schenn's (last season) as he steadily earns more ice-time throughout the year. The Yotes would love to re-sign Jovanovksi to help mentor Jared.

Fearless Forecast 2009-2010: 78GP, 4G, 13A = 17 Points

Fearless Forecast 2011-2012: 82 GP, 8G, 21A = 29 Points

7. The Toronto Maple Leafs are proud to select...
Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson

The Leafs take MPS by default, only if Burke fails to trade up and grab a Tavares, Duchene, Kane or Schenn. MPS provides the Leafs with great size and speed from the wing and should fit well into Burke's top 6. While some question his finishing ability, MSP should become a great playmaking winger for years to come. He has as much offensive upside as Schenn and Kane but is much more of a risk as he has to adapt to the North American style of game.
Immediate Impact: The Leafs try hard to get MSP to come over and play in the CHL but he stays in Sweden for another year. Expect him to follow the trail of Mikael Backlund who came over to the CHL as a 20 yo.

Fearless Forecast 2009-2010: Playing in Sweden

Fearless Forecast 2011-2012: 82 GP, 17G, 31A = 48 Points (Rookie Season)

8. The Dallas Stars are proud to select...Oliver Ekman-Larsson

The Stars have some good young talent up front in Eriksson, Brunnstrom and Neal and look to find a successor to Sergei Zubov on the back end. OEL is the fastest riser in this year's draft and has many scouts drooling at his potential. Possessing the classic Swedish set of skills, he is smooth-skating, quick to move the puck and smart in his defensive coverage. He should provide the Stars with a future PP QB that can play big minutes. With Brunnstrom, Eriksson and OEL running the PP, the Stars will look a lot like the current Red Wings in a few years.

Immediate Impact: OEL will spend at least another year in Sweden and look to be a big part of a very-skilled World Junior team. Look for him to come over in a couple of years.

Fearless Forecast 2009-2010: Playing in Sweden

Fearless Forecast 2011-2012: 78 GP, 7G, 22A = 29 Points (Rookie Season)

9. The Ottawa Senators are proud to select...Zack Kassian

The Sens look hard at Dmitri Kulikov here but can't pass up the size and toughness of Kassian. Considered this year's Milan Lucic, Kassian is as tough as they come and has shown some skill in Junior. At 6'3, 215, Kassian can already step into the Senator's line-up and provide some much-needed toughness (especially with Neil on his way out via FA). The Sens will try to get some high-end skill back in the Heatley trade and use this pick to address a long-standing toughness issue with this club.

Immediate Impact: Kassian is already a man playing with boys in Peterborough. He will have a great camp and step right into the Sens 3rd or 4th lines. Look for the Sens to sell a lot of Kassian jerseys by the end of the season.

Fearless Forecast 2009-2010: 82GP, 8G, 17A = 25 Points & 175 PIMs

Fearless Forecast 2011-2012: 82 GP, 17G, 19A = 36 Points & 235 PIMS

10. The Edmonton Oilers are proud to select...Ryan Ellis

Reason: The Oilers also look hard at Kulikov (who seems to be dropping to a lucky team) but have had issues with European rearguards in the past (see Pitkanen, see Smid. see Grebeshkov - although he finally had a promising season after being a much-hyped prospect). The Oilers love Ellis' compete level. He is perhaps the smartest player in the draft and can run a PP like like nobody else. He'll have to get over his size issues but this kid is too good to let that hold him back. At the very least he becomes a top PP QB, but his ceiling is a top 3 Dman who can play in all situations.
Immediate Impact: Though he could run their PP out of training camp, the Oilers give him the 9-game look before sending him off to Windsor to help a very good team defend their Memorial Cup Championship.

Fearless Forecast 2009-2010: Playing in CHL

Fearless Forecast 2011-2012: 75 GP, 11G, 23A = 34 Points

No comments:

Post a Comment