Tuesday, May 08, 2007

2007 Wrap, Part 2 - WHL Central

Calgary Hitmen

Karl Alzner - The top defenceman in the entire draft. Top five pick. Yes, he's Wade Redden. Plug him into your top pairing for the next 15 years.

Alex Plante - If he skated better, he could be top 15-20. And he still might anyway, just because there's not much left in this draft after about 17 overall. Underrated puck skills. My gut says he'll go somewhere around 30 or so.

Brett Sonne - Everyone asks me, what happened to this guy? Looked like a much better prospect at this time a year ago than he does now. Still a mid- to late-round draft, however.

Others: Keegan Dansereau could go as a 2nd year eligible. And a very slight chance the same could go for Ian Duval. And Eric Frere might have an outside shot at going in the late rounds.

Kootenay Ice

John Negrin - Huge upside, but big injury risk. I think he goes in the last few picks of the first round or in the 2nd. Good pick for a gambling scouting director.

Kris Lazaruk - Had this guy high on my list last year, and I do again this year. I've heard there's off ice questions. But he's too good not to at least spend a middle round pick on, I think.

Dustin Sylvester - He's going to be fun to watch for the next few years. Sometimes it's nice for a junior team to have a very good junior player that NHL teams won't be interested in - because you know you can keep him all the way through the end of his overage season. This is one of those guys.

Lethbridge Hurricanes

Justin Leclerc - Something about him bothers me, and it's hard to put my finger on it. Just technique, I think. Doesn't seem to square well and every save looks like a struggle. Over-commits a lot. But he's got good natural quickness. Every scout has a different "prototype" for goaltenders, so I'm sure some team will like him more than I do. He's no better than a 4th/5th rounder to me.

Dwight King - I expected more. Played a rough style last season. This season he seemed determined to prove he's a finesse skill guy. That's okay, but you better keep up the gritty play. He didn't. I don't like his slow release and his passes seem to come a second too late. Maybe 2nd or 3rd round? I don't know if I'd take him there, though.

Ryan Kerr - Well, he should be a pretty good junior defenceman. That's about it. I still have to remind myself this guy was the #1 overall Bantam pick in 2004. I don't see him going.

Carter Bancks - Fun to watch him on the forecheck and penalty kill. You'd like energy guys to be a bit bigger, though. Could be a late pick.

Mitch Fadden - He's gotta go this year, doesn't he? He was awful in his first draft year, but still worth a pick. At least he started trying again this season. Too many off-ice distractions in Seattle. The move the Lethbridge seems to have been good for him.

Medicine Hat Tigers

Ryan Holfield - Hmm, he's just okay. Quick, challenges well, but his feet move too much. But I think some team will like him enough to make a late round pick out of him. I could see him going middle rounds, too.

David Schlemko - He should have been a late round pick last year. Could be a middle round one this year. Or could slide out altogether again. To me, you have to grab this guy instead of trading off your 7th round pick so you can get back to the hotel early.

Shayne Brown - I think he fought in every game I saw him in this year. But then I see he only had 69 PIM. Unless some team only saw exactly the same games I did, he won't go.

Red Deer Rebels

Brandon Sutter - Played very poorly for me every time I saw him. But a couple of very good NHL scouts who I know well love him. Should be a first rounder, and could go anywhere between 10th to 30th overall. But beware that very poor second half of the season (2 goals after January 1).

Patrick Kozyra - Should have been more. Have a very slight feeling he may be a late bloomer and show a lot more next season. But you can't draft a guy only on that.

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