Tuesday, May 08, 2007

2007 Wrap, Part 4 - WHL US

Everett Silvertips

Zach Hamill - I think he goes somewhere between 8-15. Has the raw talent to be top five, but concussion history is enough of a risk to drop him slightly. Head scouts have to account for the injury history - if he gets 1 or 2 more serious concussions, that could be a career killer.

Taylor Ellington - Pure projection. Has a lot of untapped upside. Scouts who have seen him a lot like him. I think several teams think they are the only ones who like his game and are going to steal in the 3rd round. Could go in the second. A wild card.

David Reekie - Okay, yes, he's an '87 goaltender playing behind a good team. But this is not Kelly Guard. He played so good at times this season, he's worth a late pick.

Lukas Vartovnik - High effort, all heart, no fear. Not sure that means you even go in the late rounds, however. Some teams like to take flyers on guys like this, though.

Others: Shane Harper will be a good junior player, but not a draft. Same probably goes Jesse Burt and Mike Alexander.

Portland Winter Hawks

Kurtis Mucha - Got about as close as you can get these days to a Steve Passmore kind of season. And scouts usually like to see goaltenders play a ton. I have a feeling there are a bunch of NHL guys who like him more than they will admit to me. I saw too much of him, so I only see the flaws - somewhat slow glove, so-so footwork. But he should go near the middle of the draft or higher. Outside shot at going as early as the 2nd.

Colton Sceviour - Was terrific the last few weeks of the season, after he returned from the broken foot. Before that, eh, not so much. Played with lots more grit at the end. Skating is still only so-so. Is late riser, but I still think 3rd round is best case for him.

Others: Matt Betker is going to be a good defensive forward in this league, but he's not a draft. Some team may like Lucas Alexiux enough to spend a late pick on him, but I don't see much of a pro prospect.

Seattle Thunderbirds

Thomas Hickey - I hoped for more from Hickey this season. Looked awful in the first half, recovered a bit after Christmas. Outstanding hockey sense, but he didn't rush the puck as much this year. To me, he's not as good as Kris Russell in his draft year, but he has all the same size questions. But Hickey is going to go in the first round, while Russell was a third rounder.

Radek Meidl - Two thoughts come into my head whenever I saw Meidl this season: 1) he looks an awful lot like Marian Hossa or Pavel Brendl, and 2) he sure doesn't play anything like Hossa or Brendl. Looks like one of those enigmatic and intrguiging perennial underachievers to me. He's got some upside, so he's not a bad 3rd or 4th round gamble.

Jan Eberle - Good skater and he competes, but I have hard time getting excited about this one. Plays a no-nonsense style, just goes to the net when he doesn't have the puck and just gets it on net when he does. I think he'll go in the draft somewhere.

Greg Scott - Is one of those gut-feel players to me that I would have spent a 7th round pick on last year. And I would do it again this year. Reminds me a lot of Greg Black. And like Black, he's got late bloomer written all over him. I think he'll take until his overage season to bust out, and then someone will sign him as a free agent.

David Richard - Really looked like he was going to be something special a year ago. But he struggled to contribute at all. Has a lot of talent, but didn't get much out of it this season.

Brad Bakken - Good junior defenceman. Moves the puck okay for guy with decent size. Somebody might take a 7th round flyer on him.

Jeremy Schappert - Competes and has some puck skill. Not enough there to be an NHL prospect at this point, however.

Joshua Schappert - Good energy guy for a junior team. Not much beyond that.

Spokane Chiefs

Drayson Bowman - Never really stood out for me, but watched him enough to know there's a lot there under the surface. Would like to have seen him use his speed more. Cerebral player. Fair amount of upside. I think he's a solid pick somewhere around the late 2nd to 3rd round.

Ondrej Roman - Lazy and was scared of his own shadow for most of the first half. Still doesn't like traffic, but at least started to give more effort in the second half. Has a good shot, but won't score because he refuses to get himself into scoring position. I think he'll slide on draft day a bit, and won't go until the 3rd or 4th.

Justin Falk - Don't ask me why Central had him so high. I have no idea. He's got two things: six-five height, and an okay first pass. But if the pass isn't there, he can't carry it out. Not bad in the d-zone, but cannot skate. Not on my list, but I suppose he'll go late just on size.

Cody Esposito - Wouldn't be surprised if someone grabs this guy late. Pretty good skater for his size.

Chris Langkow - I really don't see too much to get excited about. Decent junior player.

Tri-City Americans

Juraj Valach - Lots to like here. Size, excellent hockey sense, and decent with the puck. Despite being very heavy footed, he's got a long, balanced stride. I like Valach a lot more than some of the other huge Slovak blueliners who have gone high in recent drafts. I think he's a good 2nd round pick, and could sneak into the first.

Jarrett Toll - I don't see anything more than a decent junior defenceman, but apparently someone on Central's staff sees something I don't. I'd bet a toonie with that scout that Toll doesn't get drafted at all.

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