Tuesday, May 08, 2007

2007 Wrap, Part 3 - WHL BC

Chilliwack Bruins

Oscar Moller - Probably got more ice time than any other draft eligible forward. And he made the best of it. Should be a middle of the first round pick. If he slides out of the first round, some team is getting a steal.

Mark Santorelli - Can't skate. His older brother actually had more skill. But he couldn't skate either. I don't see him getting selected, but he'll get a number of camp invites.

Others: Not much else to get excited about here. Closest to drafts would be Colby Kulhanek or the agitating Cody Smuk. But it's not an 11 round draft anymore.

Kamloops Blazers

Keaton Ellerby - When your own coach is talking you down to NHL scouts, that's a bad sign. NHL teams have grown very wary. I have no idea where he goes. Could be around 15th overall...or could be absolute poison and slide all the way out of the top 50. If he drops as far as I think he could, it will be the shock of the draft to the message board crowd and those "scouting services" who don't actually go to games. Then again, all it takes is one team drafting in the first round who likes him enough, and all the dark clouds will be forgotten.

Brock Nixon - You gotta grab late bloomers like this. Sometimes they just keep getting better. Hard to peg - could be a middle round pick. Not impossible that he goes as early as the 3rd round. Also not impossible that every team looks at this '87 and says, "no thanks" again this season. You just never know.

Victor Bartley - Early last season I liked Bartley. Then later didn't like him. Then liked him again. Then I finally settled on "didn't like him" before the draft. So did the rest of the NHL. Some team may come back around to "like him" for this draft.

C.J. Stretch - Late rounds is not a...wait for it...stretch.

Travis Dunstall - Another projection, but with some Bantam credentials. If he finished stronger this season, he'd be likely to get a look. But I think he'll get passed over.

Dustin Butler - Honestly, before the playoffs, you Kamloops people have no idea just how astoundingly bad he was in Portland. And likewise, the Portland people have no idea how good he was this regular season. But then a funny thing happened on the way (back) to NHL prospect status - a hideous 2007 playoff season. Now you Kamloops people know what he looked like in Portland. Still could go in this year's draft, but probably only to a team that a staff with zero playoff viewings of him.

Others: Alex Rodgers looks like a pretty good junior defenceman, and he could get a look. Kevin Kraus looked good at times, and I could see a team liking him enough to take a later flyer.

Kelowna Rockets

Cody Almond - Big time late riser. Was a big beneficiary (in terms of ice time) of Ofukany, Saulietis, and Hill being traded. Size, a bit of skill, not a bad skater. Big wild card. Feels like a 4th/5th round guy to me, but could go way higher than I think.

Torrie Jung - Another wild card. Did not play well for me in the two games I saw him, but I know some NHL guys who like. I don't believe he's a top 3 round guy, but otherwise I have no idea where he could go.

Colin Long - I like his speed and elusiveness, but beyond that I don't think much of him. Could be a late pick, just on his speed.

Lucas Bloodoff - Did not get a real good read on him, but I thought there was some skill there. This Kelowna roster is full of some late round wild cards, and he's another one.

Brett Breitkreuz - He can skate and he works hard. I don't think he goes, however.

Prince George Cougars

Dana Tyrell - It took me a while to see it, but I love this player. And I think there's a number of NHL scouts that do too, but aren't telling anyone. I honestly think he could go as high as 15th overall. I'll be shocked if he doesn't go in the first round.

Chris VanDuynhoven - Isn't awful enough to overlook. Freakishly big, but I never once saw him throw a hit this season. Size still matters enough that he'll go in the middle or late rounds.

Others: Jordie Deagle works his butt off enough most games to possibly draw some late round interest. Lance Redden should be a much better player than he was this season and isn't a draft.

Vancouver Giants

Jonathan Blum - Has been mostly horrible for me this season. But still quite a bit of upside. Has one of the best hipchecks for a six-foot defenceman I've ever seen. I can't imagine spending a first round pick on him, but I think somebody might do it.

Spencer Machacek - Hard-hat and lunch pail kind of player. If he skated better, he'd go very high. Raised his stock with his playoff performance, but still only looks like a 3rd or 4th rounder to me.

Michal Repik - One of those guys you want somebody else to draft before you get to your 2nd round pick. Ultra streaky. Top ten skill, but lack of desire probably drops him to 2nd round, maybe even 3rd.

Brent Regner - Looked merely okay for the regular season, but has grown on me during the playoffs. Plays well rounded game. But I'm still not sure it translates to the next level. Middle rounder in my book, but could surprise and go as early as the 3rd.

Tyson Sexsmith - Has been very good every time I've seen him. Had him very high on list (knocking on the door of the first round) about mid-season, but everyone else I talked to about him thought I was smoking something. Like all goaltenders, has the occasional bad game - but unfortunately, when he has a bad one, it's usually a doozy. He's in the 2nd round on my list, but I have no idea if there's a single NHL scout that agrees with that.

Mitch Czibere - Some speed, decent hands, and I like the way he works along the boards. But probably not enough here to spend more than a late pick on.

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