Tuesday, June 17, 2008

2008 Wrap - Tier II

Junior A / Tier II

Zac Dalpe/Penticton:
I think he goes in the last half of the first round, although I know I'm higher on him than the consensus of NHL scouts. Could slide out of the 1st, but I think he'd get snapped up in the first few picks of the 2nd if he does.

Justin Schultz/Westside: There are some NHL teams that are seriously overrating this guy. I have this nagging thought in the back of my mind that some team could shock everyone and grab this guy in the late 1st round. Otherwise, my bet is he's sure to go in the 2nd.

Derek Grant/Langley: A bit of a wildcard. Some NHL team might overlook the somewhat soft play and really like his hands and skating stride. I think 2nd round is unlikely but not totally out of the question. Otherwise I think 3rd or 4th round is most likely.

Rich Manley/Burnaby: Wildcard for me, especially since I only got to see him once. Big bodies that move this well can tend to sneak up on draft day, but my guess at best case for him is no higher than the 3rd.

Taylor Stefishen/Langley: Came into the season as the top BCHL pro prospect, but got passed up by a bunch of guys. Still has a ton of creative skill, so he'll go somewhere. I think he slides a little bit and could be a middle or late rounder.

Eric Filiou/Nanaimo: Might be a player than only I like, but if some NHL team sees him as I do, he'll be a pick anywhere after the 5th round.

Brodie Reid/Burnaby: Big breakout season for the '89 winger, so he could go with a late pick.

Others: Salmon Arm C Derek Lee probably has a decent chance of getting his name called. He'd be higher if he handled the physical game a bit better at his size. Salmon Arm D Damon Kipp is a personal favourite of mine, but he may not be on any team's list. Same goes for Penticton C Denver Manderson, so he's unlikely to go. Smallish Vernon F Kellen Jones had an outstanding season and might have an outside chance at going. Nanaimo's undrafted '89 LW Russell Goodman showed up on Central's list again, but I doubt he showed enough improvement in his skating or overall game to end up being picked.

Looking Ahead to 2009: There are no real standouts for next year yet, but there are always several surprises emerging from the BCHL. Westside G Nathan Leiuwen will probably be headed to the WHL with Kootenay, but if he spends another year in Westbank, he'll be the clear cut top NHL prospect in the BCHL next year. Another player to watch is Victoria F Cam Reid. Prince George G Damien Ketlo will try to earn a spot in the WHL with the Regina Pats and will be on the radar for NHL scouts wherever he plays.


Joe Colborne/Camrose:
Certain first rounder, and probably right in the middle near the 15th pick. I'm hearing there may be a team or two drafting near the end of the first that are trying to move up to pick him. In any case, it seems unlikely he slide lower than the 16th-18th overall range.

Tyler Gron/Fort McMurray: Passed on in last year's draft, but was one of the youngest players eligible last year. Not on my list, but Central probably isn't alone in having him on their list. Could be a late rounder.

Mike Connolly/Camrose: A favourite of the Red Line staff, and I don't think we're alone. Guys with a lot of heart are just the kind of player NHL scouts like to reward with a late round pick, even if they don't think he's much of a pro prospect. I think he might go in the last couple rounds, but it won't shock me if he does go at all.

Andrew Macwilliam/Camrose: I think NHL scouts are manufacturing a player if they think he's worth a pick, but I know there are teams with him on their list. Could go in the last few rounds.

Others: Spruce Grove D Kevin Connauton has decent size and brings some offense and from the blueline, so he could go in the last half of the draft. F Shawn Ostrow is another Camrose player who got lots of exposure, and his production this year may be enough for him to be a late pick. St. Albert RW Bryce Williamson, Calgary Canucks D Kodie Curran, Drayton Valley F Andrew Cherniwchan, and Bonnyville D Steven Seigo could get a look from some team.

Looking Ahead to 2009: Camrose D Dylan Olsen is already in my 2nd round, and he has a ton of upside. He might be the best Jr. A prospect in western Canada heading into next season. Sherwood Park D Rory Connop will be on the radar, if only because of his massive size.


The SJHL may have produced the Junior A champion, but as usual, they'll be lucky to produce many NHL picks. Notre Dame C Rylan Schwartz is the league's best shot at a pick. He's headed for Colorado College and has a fair amount of skill despite his smallish size.

Besides Schwartz, there isn't much to get exicted about. Weyburn D Stephen Simms, Melfort D Tommy Brown, and Notre Dame F Travis Janke were the only other players that even looked somewhat interesting in my book.


Another bleak year in the often-bleak Manitoba league. There's no real likely picks. Winnipeg South Blues D Andrew Hewett and Selkirk D Darren Bestland both offer quite a bit of toughness, and might be the MJHL's best chance at having a player or two drafted. Swan Valley F Stephan Vigier can put up the points, but is very smallish. Winkler D Caleb Suderman is an '89 that could also draw some interest. And Beausejour D Derek Robinson might have impressed somebody at the Jr. A Challenge enough to be a on a list, but I doubt it.

2008 Wrap - Everett

Everett Silvertips

Kyle Beach: Is the only certain draft pick on the 'Tips roster. I'm hearing a lot of buzz that there are quite a few teams looking to move up to grab Beach. Look for him to go between 5-10 overall, and probably to a team that trades up for a pick. I don't see any way he can go higher than 5, and it will be a real surprise if he slides lower than about 15 overall.

Jordan Mistelbacher: Intriguing combination of hands and competitiveness, but he never played real well for me. I think there's a good chance he'll go in the second half of the draft.

Zack Dailey: I absolutely love the way he thinks and plays the game - the kind of player coaches love to have. Problem is, he just doesn't have the size or skill level to be much of a pro prospect. Could get a late round call if some team sees him as a potential AHL captain.

Others: Lots of first year eligible players on this team, but not many beyond Beach and Mistelbacher are drawing much interest from NHL scouts. Shane Barrie played pretty well for me at times, but probably didn't get enough exposure to show up on any NHL lists. Matt Ius has some size and toughness, but might not offer enough in other areas to be worth a pick. Chris de la Lande, Tyler Eskesen and Tyler Skauge look like they could be solid junior players, but aren't probable drafts. Massive Brenden Stephen got a cup of coffee late in the season, but he'd have to wait until next year at best. And undrafted '89 Shane Harper has turned himself into a very good junior player, but I'm not sure he's quite enough to be a pick.

Looking Ahead to 2009: Jeff Regier has a good stride and some puck carrying ability, but I'm already wondering about the lack of production. Can also throw 'em pretty well in a fight, so I'd like to see him drop the gloves some more next season.

2008 Wrap - Portland

Portland Winter Hawks

Kurtis Mucha:
The Hawks' best chance at having a player picked is actually their already once-undrafted goaltender. I know he was on some teams lists last year, so he barely missed out on being drafted. Same is true again this year, so he could get called with a late pick, or get passed on again. If he doesn't go, he's got a chance at getting a camp invite.

Colin Reddin: On the Red Line Report list more for what he did as a 16-year old last season with the US U-17 Team than anything he did this year. Has a some untapped offensive ability but he struggled to adjust to the WHL. Could be a late pick if there's an NHL guy who remembered what he looked like two years ago, but there's a good chance he'll go undrafted.

Others: Best chance for any other player to go besides Mucha and Reddin might be puck moving '89 blueliner Travis Ehrhardt, but he wasn't that much better this year than last and went undrafted in '07. Bo Montgomery was watched closely by scouts this season, but he just hasn't developed much. Luke Walker has a decent touch around the net, but is a long ways from being a pro prospect. Travis Bobbee has some natural talent, but he's never been able to put it together in the WHL. Jason Grecica and Philip Gervais work hard, but aren't likely to go. And no one got to see Brock Cornish is his draft year, so he'll have to wait until next year.

Looking Ahead to 2009: Brett Ponich has the body and raw ability to draw a lot of interest. He might be somewhere around the 3rd round right now, but he showed enough improvement last season that he could be a riser. Riley Boychuk missed a critical year of development, but has the size and hands that scouts will watch closely.

2008 Wrap - Seattle

Seattle Thunderbirds

Jacob DeSerres: Should be the second or third WHL goaltender to go. Have heard late rumblings that he could go surprisingly high, which would mean early 2nd round to me. Otherwise, I'd guess he'll probably go in the 3rd, maybe 4th round at latest.

Prab Rai: Probably the only other Seattle player with much of a chance to go. Two-way ability plus his good speed might make him worth a pick in the last few rounds.

Others: Isak Quakenbush probably would have needed to drop the gloves a lot more to draw any interest. Brad Haber was probably hard to see for most scouts and isn't likely to go.

Looking Ahead to 2009: The 'Birds have lots of first year eligibles next year and will be a big draw for scouts next season. Sena Acolatse gets the most attention for now, since he's already played two full seasons and has terrific strength. Has already shown enough puck skill to be a 2nd rounder at this point and he could be a riser next year. Jeremy Boyer has an excellent shooting touch and could be an early round candidate if his skating improves a bit. Brenden Dillon and Steve Chaffin are a pair of bookend d-men have just enough raw ability and size to be interesting. They would be middle rounders at best right now, but will be watched closely. Brenden Silvester is speedy and competes, he's at least on the radar. And Charles Wells has a fair bit of skill and looks like he could turn into a good junior player.

2008 Wrap - Spokane

Spokane Chiefs

Absolutely frightening for the rest of the league how young this Memorial Cup championship team is. They're certain to have at least two players go in Ottawa, and there's an outside chance they could have as many as six picks.

Mitch Wahl: NHL clubs have concerns about his willingness to take a hit, but this kind of high end playmaking and creativity won't slide far. Some chance he goes in the last few picks of the 1st round, but somewhere in the middle of the 2nd is more likely.

Trevor Glass: Had the well-rounded '88 blueliner on my list two years ago and still think he'd be worth a pick somewhere. Has underrated hockey sense and enough skill to chip in offensively. My gut says there's got to be at least one NHL team that agrees and will finally spend a pick on him.

Dustin Tokarski: Could sneak into the middle or back end of the 2nd round, but I think he's a good bet for the 3rd or 4th round.

Mike Reddington: NHL scouts tend not to like six-foot stay at home defencemen, but he's so solid in his own zone that I think he'll go somewhere. Probably in the last few rounds.

Jared Spurgeon: Classic example of just how much the draft has changed in the last ten years. A decade ago he would not have even be considered. Now, NHL teams are looking for puck moving ability from the blueline, no matter what the player's size. I don't think he'd go before about the 5th round, but I think he's got a good chance of getting picked somewhere.

Tyler Johnson: Same story about how the draft has changed applies here as well. Has a decent chance of being a late pick.

Others: Brett Bartman showed somebody at Central enough to be a list in their mid-season rankings, but I'm not sure he would have made any NHL team's list. Jace Coyle is the other first year eligible, but isn't a likely draft.

Looking Ahead to 2009: How much do the NHL guys love Jared Cowen already? Well, he'd almost certainly be the first WHL player picked if he were available for this year's draft. He'd probably be included in the "big three" (I guess that would make it the "big four") Ontario d-men eligible this year. Levko Koper always drew interest because of his shooting touch, but his outstanding two-way play in the playoffs vaulted him into the 2nd round on my list. Lots of upside for him. Stefan Ulmer also looks solid, but will have to do a bit more on the offensive end to overcome concerns about his size.

2008 Wrap - Tri-City

Tri-City Americans

Rare to see a team with only one NHL drafted player (T.J. Fast) be such a strong team as they were this season. They'll list a few more NHL picks on the roster next year, as the Ams should see three or four players called in Ottawa.

Chet Pickard: Bob Tory told me way back in September that he thought Pickard would be the top draft eligible goaltender in the WHL this year. (I had Holtby and DeSerres ahead of Pickard at that point). Bob was right. Pickard kept rising on my list all the way through the end. Since goaltender is the only position that NHL teams will draft for organizational need, it makes him a first round wildcard. Don't be shocked if he cracks the top ten. Scouts really think he's not that far behind where Carey Price was in his draft year. I think in the 10-20 overall range is most likely, and I'll be very surprised if he goes lower than 20. It's essentially impossible that he slides out of the first round completely.

Kruise Reddick: Many NHL teams like him much more than I do. So a 2nd or 3rd round selection isn't impossible. Worst case is probably the 4th or 5th round. He's a lock to go somewhere.

Tyler Schmidt: Not a guarantee to go, but might be a target for some teams beginning about the 4th round.

Eric Mestery: Is worth a middle or late gamble pick, but teams may wonder if there's any chance he develops in the next two years, when a team will have to decide whether to sign him or not. Has enough raw ability that I think he won't get completely passed over, but it's hard to guess where he could go. Last few rounds seems most likely to.

Others: Kyle Birch interested me a little bit in the couple times I saw him, but I doubt many NHL guys saw enough of him to show up on any lists. Joel Ridgeway is the Ams other first year eligible. He could end up being a decent junior player, but he's not a draft at this point. I toyed with putting pocket rocket Johnny Lazo on the end of my list at one point, but he just doesn't quite do enough to make up for the size problem. And an unwhelming playoff performance didn't help. Radek Meidl still has one of the most intriguing raw packages of size and skill in the league, but I think he'll get passed over again.

Looking Ahead to 2009: Adam Hughesman has quite a bit of skill and hockey sense, but he might have to improve his skating a bit to be a 1st or 2nd round candidate. Lane Werbowski looked very impressive the first time I saw him, but he's still a bit raw at this point. He will be worth seeing a lot of next season. And Mason Wilgosh plays with a lot of energy, but he might have to produce some points to get consideration from NHL scouts.

2008 Wrap - Red Deer

Red Deer Rebels

Morgan Clark:
The Rebels best chance at a draft. Has quick legs and plays a confident style. Could go anywhere in the second half of the draft. There's so many other worthwhile goaltenders in this draft, that he may not go, but I think he's one of the better ones - worth grabbing late.

Juraj Valach: Is on the Red Line Report list again this year, but not mine (sometimes you get overruled by the boss). Can't stomach the way he left Kennewick. He'll find out this year that it wasn't Nachbaur's fault he didn't get drafted - it's his soft style of play. Instead of whining and demanding a trade he should have worked his ass off all summer to prove the NHL scouts wrong. I don't think he'll go this year.

Others: None of the remaining group of first year eligibles seem to be likely picks to me. Mike Scarborough might have the best chance, he had a late growth spurt and could be a wild projection pick. Mike Krgovich offers a lot of energy and some good skating. Joel Kot, Colin Archer, and Tomas Polak are also first year eligible, but didn't do enough to get much notice.

Looking Ahead to 2009: Landon Ferraro has all the raw ingredients scouts look for to be high pick, but he's a ways from putting it all together. Looked like he finally figured it out early in the season, but tailed off in the second half. He'd be 2nd or 3rd rounder right now, just on raw ability. Cass Mappin has a bit of skill and a physical style, and he'll start out as a possible middle rounder. Brett Miller has an interesting package of size and potential, and scouts will be watching to see if he can put it together next year. Justin Weller is also on the watch list.

Monday, June 16, 2008

2008 Wrap - Kamloops

Kamloops Blazers

From NHL scouts' point of view, the rebuilding Blazers still have a ways to go, as there aren't any sure draft picks this year.

Tyler Shattock: Most likely Blazer to be picked, but isn't a sure thing to go at all. But the size and raw ability might be enough for him to go in the last few rounds.

Matt Wray: Might go if only because there's so few fighters available in this draft. Loves to drop the gloves and has size, but doesn't offer much else. These tough guys with little skill always go surprisingly high, so it's not crazy to think he could end up being a 3rd or 4th rounder.

Others: Jordan Rowley has good mobility and some puck skill, so he's got a chance of going late. Shayne Wiebe competes, but just doesn't have quite the skill or skating to be a likely pick. Mark Hall is very competitive and fearless for his size, but is probably only a good junior player. Devon Kalinski and Kurt Torbohm are also first year eligibles.

Looking Ahead to 2009: Big Jimmy Bubnick has good hands, but will have to improve his quickness to get first round consideration. But he's a solid 2nd rounder for me at this point anyway. James Priestner showed some quickness and a knack for tough saves. He could be a riser next year and is about a 3rd round guy for me now. Mark Schneider is also on the radar.

2008 Wrap - Kelowna

Kelowna Rockets

It will be a banner year at the draft for the Rockets, with two potentially very high first round picks getting called in Ottawa and possibly two other early round picks.

Luke Schenn: Am hearing he's likely to go between 4th and 7th overall. May be St. Louis' pick at #4 if they keep their pick. It's almost impossible for him to last beyond the 6th or 7th overall pick.

Tyler Myers: He's your first round wild card. Could be a top five. Don't be shocked if he goes before Schenn, I'm sure Central Scouting isn't the only group of scouts who like him more. If he isn't picked by about the 7th or 8th pick, phones will start ringing at tables as teams think about trying to move up to get him. Absolute worst case I can conceive for him would be to slide to about 12th overall or so.

Colin Long: Not sure where he'll go. Seems like 2nd or 3rd round is most likely. If teams are discounting his size and '89 birthdate more than I do, I suppose he could slide to the 4th or beyond.

Brandon McMillan: He's not high on my list, but I think there's some teams that see him as a 2nd rounder. So he could go there. I think the 3rd round is more likely, but I don't think he would slide much beyond the 75th pick.

Kyle St. Denis: Could be a late pick, maybe not at all. Not sure his first step quickness is quite what you would want it to be from such a small player.

Others: Riley McIntosh is not on my list, but he's got impressive size and showed a few flashes of ability. Possibly a late rounder. Tysen Dowzak was on my list two years ago just on pure projection. But he's now turned himself into a solid stay-at-home guy and could get a middle or late round call. Dylan Hood is also first year eligible and looks like a solid junior player, but I don't think he'll be picked.

Looking Ahead to 2009: Already arguing with my boss and colleagues over offensive blueline whiz Tyson Barrie. To me, he's not far behind where Thomas Hickey was at the same age, but his poor performance at the U-17 tournament has kept him lower on the '09 Red Line Report list than I want. Collin Bowman improved quite a bit between September and March and is knocking on the door of the 2nd round on my list. Evan Bloodoff works hard, has some speed, some hands, and will be worth keeping an eye on. Jesse Paradis is also on the radar.

2008 Wrap - Chilliwack

Chilliwack Bruins

Despite having quite a few '90s on the roster, most NHL scouts perceived the Bruins draft crop to be a generally uninteresting lot. I think it's likely they won't have a single name called in Ottawa.

Their best shot at a draft is probably '88 centre Evan Pighin, but even he's a long shot. Goaltender Mark Friesen was easier to see than many other eligible netminders, but I'm not sure he'll be on many lists, if at all. David Robinson looks like he'll be the best junior player out of the lot of first year eligibles, but he would be marginal as a last round pick. Scouts took a close look at the aptly-named Matt Strong and the big-framed Liam Darragh just because of their size, but there probably isn't enough there to warrant even late picks. Other first year eligibles are Randy McNaught, Brayden Metz and Jeff Einhorn.

Looking Ahead to 2009: Ryan Howse and Scott Ramsay will make the Bruins worth seeing next year for scouts, but only Howse has shown much production so far. Ramsay is very raw but has some good ingredients to his game.

2008 Wrap - Prince George

Prince George Cougars

Dale Hunt: His skating has hurt his ability to be productive in the WHL, but his hands are good enough for a middle round pick on their own. Could go anywhere in the second half of the draft.

Alex Poulter: Was on fire early and had NHL guys making extra trips to see him, but there's enough trouble with his skating and effort level that might cause him to get passed over completely. But he could be a late pick.

Ian Curtis: High expectations on him coming into the season in Swift Current, but the trade to the Cougars and the spotty playing time hurt his development and made him hard to see. It's possible someone will take a late flier on him just on his size and natural ability, but I'm doubtful that will happen.

Parker Stanfield: Hard working guy has some hands and could be a last round pick.

Others: Patrik Magnusson was passed over the last two drafts, but the mere fact that NHL guys got to see a lot more of the mammoth blueliner this year might be enough to get some team to finally grab him. Jan Kupec and Trevor Bauer weren't very noticeable and aren't likely to be on any lists. And Joel Danyluk probably didn't have more than a handful of scouts who even saw him once this season.

Looking Ahead to 2009: Justin Maylan looked very slick and skilled after coming over from the Warriors in a trade, but he'll have to bulk up a bit to move into the early rounds. Art Bidlevski has some toughness and enough puck skill that he'll be a guy who would move up next year. His mediocre skating makes him a middle rounder at best, as of now. Corey Tyrell has his brother's good skating stride, but not quite his hands. But he'll still be on the radar. And hard working Ryan Kowalski will be worth watching, but he'll have to improve his skating a bit and find a way to chip in offensively next year.

2008 Wrap - Vancouver

Vancouver Giants

James Wright: Is a projection pick, so that makes him a slight wild card. In my mind, he's out of the question for the first round, but anywhere after the 35th pick, he could be called. I don't think he'd last much past the middle or end of the 3rd round.

Lance Bouma: May be a late riser on some teams lists, as many like his work ethic and character. I would think the middle rounds (4th or so) are best case for him. I will be very surprised if he doesn't go at all, and if that's the case he's probably looking a several camp invites.

Brent Regner: Very surprised he didn't go last year, as I had many NHL guys tell me they wanted to get him in the middle or late rounds. Still hearing the same thing again this year, so he's got a decent shot at going.

Garry Nunn: Made an impact right away after coming over from the BCHL. Has speed and likes to play physical, despite the small size. I think he's most likely to go in the last few rounds.

Mike Berube: Another undrafted '89 who I think has a good shot at going. Huge improvement defensively this season and he plays a rugged style. I probably should have had him on my list this year.

Craig Cunningham: Not on my list, but I think his name might be on a few NHL lists. Probably a late pick, if at all.

Stefan Schneider: Is on my list (late), but he's a wild stab, projection type pick. I may be the only one with him an a list, so he might not go at all. If he does, it would be in the last couple of rounds.

Kraymer Barnstable: Yep, another hidden backup goaltender. Despite seeing the Giants about a dozen times, I never saw him. If they still had the opt in rule, his agent would probably told him to wait until next year. Like all those other hard to see goaltenders, though, all it takes is one team who had scouts who saw enough of him and like what they see. So he's a possible late round pick, or he might have to wait a year.

Others: Mitchell Czibere is another '89 I thought might go last year. Probably didn't improve enough to draw any renewed interest this year, however.

Looking Ahead to 2009: Evander Kane has the kind of scoring touch that makes him look like a lock for the first round as of now. His skating is the only thing that bothers me about his game, but it's not a huge negative. James Henry is fun to watch and plays with a lot of heart, so he's at least on the radar. Neil Manning looks to have a lot of raw puck skill that I like, but he was wildly inconsistent for me. He'll be on the list at some point next year unless he shows absolutely no progress.

2008 Wrap - Calgary

Calgary Hitmen

Michael Stone: Regarded as a 2nd or 3rd rounder coming into the season, but questions lingered over his skating and hockey sense. Those two negatives can sometimes lead to surprising slides on draft day, but I don't think that will be the case here. I think he's most likely to still go in the 3rd.

Ian Schultz: Toughest player from the toughest league in a draft that is very short on players who like to drop the gloves. That could translate into him going as high as the 2nd round, despite his poor skating.

Martin Jones: Economical, has a good glove and good size. Didn't finish the season or playoffs well, but he might have showed enough to scouts to still be a middle round pick. I'll be surprised if he doesn't go at all, but it's not out of the question. If he does, I think he'll have a few camp invites to choose from.

Kyle Bortis: On my list for the third straight year. You've got to give a guy with this much raw talent a shot anywhere after the end of the 4th round. And now we've finally seen what he can do when he's healthy. Every NHL guy just shrugs his shoulders when I bring up his name, so my guess is he'll get passed over again.

Brandon Kozun: Fun to watch and will be a great junior player, but he's so tiny. I could see someone grabbing him with a late pick anyway.

Others: Brendon Rowinski will be a pretty good junior, but I'm not sure there was enough there this year to be a pick. Ryan Fox is the remaining first year eligible, but didn't do enough to get on any lists.

Looking Ahead to 2009: Chase Schaber was the only '09 guy on the roster full-time. Very surprised he didn't produce more - he looks like he's got a lot of raw ability to go with all that speed and energy. Will be watched closely next year, but has to produce to move up lists.

2008 Wrap - Edmonton

Edmonton Oil Kings

Despite having a bunch of '90s on the roster, the Oil Kings will be lucky if they have more than one player go in the draft.

Brent Raedeke: Smart and skilled centre seems a safe bet to go in the second half of the draft. Won't be shocked if he doesn't go, but he'll surely get a camp invite if that's the case.

Clayton Cumiskey: Puck moving d-man is the Oil Kings best shot at having two players go, but I think he's a bit of a long shot to go. Otherwise, he could be a camp invite.

Others: Dalyn Flette looked like a pretty good prospect to me two years ago, but he hasn't developed much yet. He's in that big cloud of eligible goaltenders from the Dub, so I doubt he'll go. Tyler Hlookoff, Shayne Neigum, Braeden Adamyk, Brent Henke, and Adrian Van de Mosselaer round out the big group of first year eligibles, but I don't see any of them going. Brenden Dowd is the only non-first year that would have much chance of getting a look.

Looking Ahead to 2009: Tomas Vincour will be a big draw for scouts next season. He's solidly in the middle of my first round right now. Logan Proulx is the only other '09 eligible who was on the roster for any more than a cup of coffee, but he'll have to show a lot more next year to overcome his smallish size.

2008 Wrap - Medicine Hat

Medicine Hat Tigers

My guess is the Tigers will have two players go, no more, no less.

Tyler Ennis: The more I try to figure out where he goes, the more I realize he's a real wildcard. Many NHL scouts dropped him a bit after the Top Prospects Game - but I'm sure others didn't. It's honestly not out of the question that Ennis could go as high as 20 overall - he's got that kind of skill. But the size is obviously the big X-factor. Second round seems more likely, but even a big slide isn't impossible either. Absolute worst case would be him going in the middle of the 3rd - at that point some team would wake up and players with that talent level have no business being available past about the 80th pick.

Wacey Hamilton: Another player NHL scouts were quiet about, which probably means he's a well-liked commodity. Nice combination of skill and grit, even though you wished he were bigger. I'd think he'll be considered somewhere around the 4th round or later. Seems to me certain to go somewhere.

Others: Jordan Hickmott, Thomas Frazee, and John Stampohar are the other first year eligibles. Hickmott has the best shot at going, although even that's slim. The rough skating Frazee has been a huge disappointment and Stampohar doesn't do enough despite his huge size. Tomas Vosvrda was one of the youngest players in last year's draft and could get a look from any team inclined to take two goaltenders in the draft. And '89 d-man Mark Isherwood might go very late or get a camp invite.

Looking Ahead to 2009: Tristan King brings some goal scoring ability over from Portland next year and is a middle round candidate as of now. Smallish blueliner Cody Carlson has quite a bit of puck ability and is probably a middle rounder at this point. Linden Vey could end up being the Tigers best '09 prospect, but he's barely an early rounder at this point.

2008 Wrap - Kootenay

Kootenay Ice

It won't be a banner year for Kootenay names at the draft. They may have no players selected, or they could have a name or two sneak in there.

Kevin King: At one point early this season, he was getting early round consideration. But in general, he had a disappointing season in the eyes of NHL scouts. Could still get picked late on potential.

Thomas Heemskerk: It's the year of the hard-to-see but still intriguing backup goaltender in the WHL this draft year, and this is another one of them. Only got to see him once and liked what I saw. He could go late.

Steele Boomer: Has an interesting story: big Bantam scorer had a big late growth spurt and is just now getting that hand-eye coordination back. Has a fair bit of offensive ability. Now that I think him through, I kind of wish I had added him to end of my list. You just gotta love that name, too. Won't be surprised if he gets taken somewhere, but odds are he won't go.

Jiri Ryzuk: Baseball scouts would call a guy like this 'toolsy'. Looks like he should be a player, but he sure didn't do much all season. Doubt he will be on any team's list.

Others: Matt Fraser is the other first year eligible, but I don't think he did enough to get on any lists. It's not impossible that that one of the '88 or '89s goes late: Andrew Bailey and Michael Stickland are good junior players with some skill.

Looking Ahead to 2009: Nathan Lieuwen is very talented, has a huge frame, and may force the Ice's hand to move Lazaruk or Heemskerk in a trade. Lieuwen is in my 2nd round as of now. Brayden McNabb was early favorite of mine, but I didn't see as much improvement from September to March as I would have liked to see. Nevertheless, he's still a 3rd rounder on my list and has the size and mobility to be a riser. Joe Antilla has a decent frame and competes, but we'll have to see if the Ice bring him back after sending him home in March for disciplinary reasons.

2008 Wrap - Lethbridge

Lethbridge Hurricanes

The Hurricanes will probably have two names go in the first round, but that may be all.

Zach Boychuk: My best guess is he'll go in the 8-15 overall range. Don't think there's too much concern over his size, so I don't see him dropping too far beyond the middle of the first round.

Luca Sbisa: Consensus among NHL guys I talk to is that he's a lock first rounder. Could even sneak into the top half of the first round. My gut says there's a chance he could do a small surprise slide on draft day, but even if that happens, I'd expect him to at worst go in the early picks of the 2nd round. And even though my gut doesn't say it, there's might just as good a chance he could be this year's Thomas Hickey and end up going shockingly early - not 4th overall, but maybe in the 7-12 range.

Ben Wright: If there's going to be a third Hurricane taken this weekend, it's probably going to be the re-entry '88 d-man who went unsigned by Columbus after spending a 2006 4th rounder on him.

Others: Craig Orfino and Dan Iwanski are the only other first year eligibles. I'd say there's a slim chance of either going. And '89 Finn goaltender Juha Metsola could be on some team's list, but I think there's only an outside chance of that.

Looking Ahead to 2009: Carter Ashton has underachieved so far, but has a lot of projectables. He will emerge as an early round candidate if he shows any production. Cam Braes and Brennan Yadlowski are also eligible next year, but probably aren't potential early round picks at this point.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

2008 Wrap - Swift Current

Swift Current Broncos

Should be a good draft for the Broncos, as they have several interesting non-first year eligibles to go along with a certain top 100 player in Geordie Wudrick.

Geordie Wudrick: Widely varying opinion on him among NHL scouts. I think there's enough teams with a high interest in him that he will go in the 2nd round. I don't see him sneaking into the first, but you never know. I'll be surprised if he's still on the board when the 3rd round begins, but it's certainly possible.

Matt Tassone: Might be a bit underrated and scouts love his toughness. Hard to guess where he'll go - few scouts discussed him much, which often indicates they hope to steal the player. That could mean he goes surprisingly high. I'd guess he could go anywhere after the late 3rd round.

Zack Smith: What a breakout year for the big '88 centre. If he skated better, he could have gotten top 100 consideration. A wild card, but I think he'll go somewhere between the 4th to 6th rounds. Went to the Canucks camp last fall, but I don't think he'll need to wait for an invite this year - he should get picked.

Dale Weise: Another '88 with a breakthrough season. Scouts like to see players pick up their game in the playoffs, and Weise definitely did that. Good combination of size, ruggedness, and goal scoring. Another wild card that was little talked about. Could go anywhere after the 3rd round.

Eric Doyle: Still don't understand how he went completely through last year's draft. Enough improvement to be on my list again, but he's still a project. Probably wouldn't get picked before the last couple of rounds, and could be passed over again. Dallas brought him to their camp last year, and he could get another invite if not drafted.

Jan Dalecky: Has a couple of intriguing ingredients - good speed and some offensive instincts. But somewhat soft play would make him a late round pick at best.

Others: Czech '88 centre David Stieler might have the kind of hands get him picked towards the end of the draft. Lack of production and a lumbering stride probably means Mike Brown won't go. Mildly surprised Derek Claffey didn't go last year, but there's always a chance he could finally get his name called. Keegan Dansereau went to the Bruins fall camp last year, and I think he might get another invite - I don't see him being picked. And Jan Dalecky has good speed, but somewhat soft play might keep him out of the draft completely.

Looking Ahead to 2009: There are no obvious first rounders here yet, but there are several guys that have some upside. Cody Eakin started to put it together in the second half and has the kind of raw talent that will be watched closely. He also could be a riser next season. Justin Dowling has the kind of quick hands and smarts with the puck that make him an early favorite of mine. He's only about a 3rd or 4th round guy right now but could move up if he shows a little more grit and produces the way I think he can next season. Brad Hoban might have to improve his skating, but is still worth watching. And Joel Rogers has a bit of untapped ability with the puck that suggest he could be of interest.

2008 Wrap - Saskatoon

Saskatoon Blades

This team is loaded with young talent and should have at least three drafts, and there's an outside chance they could even have as many as six names called in Ottawa.

Jyri Niemi: I doubt the big Finn has a chance at the 1st round, but he seems like a solid bet for the 2nd. Outside chance he slides to the 3rd, but I can't see him sliding much further than that.

Braden Holtby: A bit of a wildcard, as the second tier goaltenders often are. If there's a surprise run on goaltenders in the late 1st through early 2nd rounds, it's not inconceivable that Holtby goes somewhere towards the end of that run. Otherwise I think he's likely a 3rd rounder.

Teigan Zahn: Not high on my list, but I know there are plenty of NHL teams who like him as a middle rounder. Could go anywhere in the middle rounds.

Travis Toomey: Big scoring outburst late had scouts scrambling to see the big Blades centre before his season was over. Serious wildcard - he could go anywhere after the 3rd round. But I also wouldn't be stunned if he lasted until the 7th round - his skating is that big of a flaw.

Kevin Philp: Scouts love massive players like this, but he's no Garrett Klotz - just does not offer the toughness. But he could still go in the last couple of rounds, drafted solely on his size.

Derek Hulak: Passed over last year, but a late growth spurt and a nice jump in production this year could put him on the end of some teams' lists.

Sam Klassen: Another second year eligible, and he showed terrific improvement this season. Competes and has some size. Could go in the last few rounds.

Others: Gaelan Patterson might turn into a good junior player, but I don't think he's a draft this year. Ryan Funk is still walking that line between good junior d-man and almost being a prospect, but he probably gets passed on again. And scouts probably didn't get to see enough of Brendon Wall for him to get on any lists.

Looking Ahead to 2009: The Blades have an interesting group for next year, headlined by Stefan Elliott. Elliott is a late first rounder on my list right now. He may need to develop a physical game to stay there or move up next season. Mitch Berg has not yet lived up to the high expectations, and he may need a breakout season to get much interest.

2008 Wrap - Regina

Regina Pats

Almost certain first rounders Colten Teubert and Jordan Eberle make for a pretty good pair of cornerstones for the Pats to make a run in the next couple of years. Matt Delahey is the only other probable draft this year.

Colten Teubert: Personally, I think Teubert should be knocking on the door of top ten overall, but I think he's more likely to go in the teens. I'll be stunned if he slides past 20 overall.

Jordan Eberle: Seems like he's pretty solidly slotted in the last third of the first round, but I won't be shocked if he jumps or slides a bit either way. Could sneak into the teens or could slide into the early 2nd round. I can't imagine him sliding much further down than about 35 overall, however.

Matt Delahey: A lot on interest among some teams for him, other teams probably don't have him on their list. Grew on me the more I saw him. Could go anywhere from the 4th round to the end of the draft.

Jeff Bosch: Yet another hard to see goaltender. Good glove and okay size suggest he's got at least a decent shot at being a late pick, or at least a camp invite.

Others: Matt Strueby does a lot of little things to help win games, but doesn't have enough skill to draw much interest at this point. Curtis Kulchar didn't have much impact and probably doesn't skate well enough for a 5-11 d-man to be a draft. Cody Hanson has some speed but that's about it. Mid-season pick up Todd Kennedy intrigued me with his size but didn't show any progress.

Looking Ahead to 2009: Love the way Garrett Mitchell plays the game and is already in the 2nd round on my list. He gets the most out of the talent he's got. Alex Pym is interesting, but is going to have to show something next season to get on anyone's list.

2008 Wrap - Prince Albert

Prince Albert Raiders

The Raiders have a boatload of first year eligibles, but I don't see any of them going in the early rounds.

Tomas Voracek: The Raiders best draft prospect in my book, but still only a middle rounder. I'd be surprised if he cracks the top 100, but he could go as early as the 4th.

Steven Stanford: A little bit of buzz surrounding this guy in the middle of the season, so there could be a team (or few) considering him with a middle or late rounder. Then again, there's so many decent eligible goaltenders in the WHL this year, he could get lost in the shuffle and not go at all. Mildly underwhelming performance this season, but since he's one of the youngest players available in the draft, scouts will give him some extra credit.

Blaine Tendler: Had some high expectations on him and was a disappointment for scouts this season. Still might go with a late pick, however.

Nathan Deck: Small blueliner has plenty of skill and will be a very good junior player. Skating is a bit troublesome to me, however. Someone could grab him with a late pick.

Others: James Dobrowski is the best of the rest of the lot first year eligibles, but I still don't see him going. Zak Stebner has some tools but needs to work on his skating and d-zone play to become a prospect. Jordan Trach, Bryce Lamb, and Michael Small are the other first year eligibles but aren't likely to be on any teams' lists. German Max Brandl was on the end of my list two years ago, but probably hasn't done quite enough in the Dub to draw much interest.

Looking Ahead to 2009: The Raiders should again draw a some interest from scouts next year, as they have some young talent with some upside. Ryan Button is one my early sleepers for next year. I like his smarts and confidence with the puck, but scouts will want to see some more scoresheet production next year. At this point he would only be a middle rounder. Cole Penner and his physical style has received a little bit of buzz and he will be closely watched. With some production, he could emerge as an early round candidate. Brandon Herrod and Kyle Aschim look like they are going to be pretty decent junior players and are certainly on the radar.

2008 Wrap - Moose Jaw

Moose Jaw Warriors

There should be at least two Warriors in going in the draft (Hamonic and Broda) and they could have another two or three more go late.

Travis Hamonic: Could go surprisingly early. Teams like his well rounded game and physical style. Late 2nd round isn't out of the question, but 3rd or 4th seems more likely.

Joel Broda: A slight wild card because he's widely liked but under-discussed. Somewhere in the 3rd or 4th round is my guess.

Neal Prokop: The combination of size and raw ability is intriguing to NHL scouts. Would get earlier consideration if he skated better. I don't think he'd go before the 4th or 5th round, but I think he'll get grabbed before it's over.

Chad Suer: Looked good late in the season and in the playoffs. Scouts like his strength, but his size and skating keeps him to the later rounds if he's going to go.

Jason Bast: Smallish second year '89 is one of the most underrated players in the WHL. Wouldn't be surprised if some team uses a late round pick on him.

Todd Mathews: One of the many first year eligible backup goaltenders that were difficult for NHL scouts to see much of. Don't think he's likely to go.

Others: Brian Sommers is a decent skater and plays with a lot of energy, but probably doesn't warrant a pick. Ty Ariss didn't have enough impact to draw much interest.

Looking Ahead to 2009: Kevin Smith was the only 2009 eligible to be on the Warriors roster for a significant part of the season and will be worth keeping an eye on.

2008 Wrap - Brandon

Time for a team-by-team review of draft eligible prospects in the WHL and some ideas as to what fans might expect come draft time.

Brandon Wheat Kings

Brandon has two certain drafts in Calvert and Robak.

Matt Calvert: Several NHL scouts I respect are quite high on him. Second round is not out of the question. I'll be surprised if he goes later than the 3rd.

Colby Robak: After a great Top Prospects Game performance, he slipped a little bit in the last couple months, as teams began to question his toughness. My guess is he'll go in the first half of the 2nd round.

Matt Lowry: Third year '88 had a breakout season. Good production plus the okay size means he's probably the Wheaties best shot at having a third player taken in this draft. Good bet for at least a camp invite.

Andrew Clark: Was on my list last year, and sort of surprised he was a no draft. If he didn't go last year, I don't see how he does this year. Went to St. Louis' camp last fall. Could get another invite.

Andrew Hayes: A bit hard to see for NHL scouts, so he'll probably have to wait until next year. Slight possibility for a camp invite.

Sanfred King: Has good speed for his size, so it's not out of the question that he could get grabbed late.

Others: Jordan Hale and Alex Grill-Donovan are the only other first year eligibles and aren't likely to drafted.

Looking Ahead to 2009: Brandon will be a hot team to see next year, with likely top five talent Brayden Schenn. It's a close call, but Schenn barely edges out Spokane's Jared Cowen for best WHL prospect for '09 on my list at this point. Scott Glennie is knocking on the door of the '09 first round on my list already. And big blueliner Brodie Melynchuck is definitely on the watch list and looks like a middle rounder as of today.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Index of Scouting Reports

Here's a table with links to the reports on players in my area. The reports aren't as detailed a what's in the Red Line Report Draft Guide, but they give you a good feel for what an NHL scouting report looks like. The grades are on the 20-to-80 scale.

My Rank Player


Birthdate Ht/Wt Team Skating Puck Skill Hky Sense Compete Toughness


Quickness Glove Reading Techique Poise


Luke Schenn
D/R 02-Nov-1989 6-2.25/216 Kelowna WHL 60 65 70 70 65  

Tyler Myers
D/R 01-Feb-1990 6-7.25/204 Kelowna WHL 70 60 55 50 55  
Colten Teubert
D/R 08-Mar-1990 6-3.5/185 Regina WHL 75 50 55 65 70  
Zach Boychuk
C/L 04-Oct-1989 5-9.5/175 Lethbridge WHL 75 65 65 60 60  
Zac Dalpe
C/R 01-Nov-1989 6-0.5/170 Penticton BCHL 60 65 70 70 40  
Chet Pickard
G/L 29-Nov-1989 6-2/210 Tri-City WHL 55 60 65 70 70  
Kyle Beach
RW/R 13-Jan-1990 6-3/203 Everett WHL 35 65 65 80 65  
Jordan Eberle
C/R 15-May-1990 5-10/174 Regina WHL 60 70 60 35 45  
Colby Robak
D/L 24-Apr-1990 6-3/194 Brandon WHL 70 60 55 45 30  
Tyler Ennis
C/L 06-Oct-1989 5-8.75/146 Medicine Hat WHL 70 65 65 60 35  
Luca Sbisa
D/L 30-Jan-1990 6-1.75/190 Lethbridge WHL 60 55 55 60 60  
Jyri Niemi
D/L 15-Jun-1990 6-2/190 Saskatoon WHL 40 65 60 60 50  
Geordie Wudrick
LW/L 09-Apr-1990 6-2.75/204 Swift Current WHL 60 40 50 55 60  
Joe Colborne
C/L 30-Jan-1990 6-5/190 Camrose AJHL 55 60 55 25 20  
Braden Holtby
G/L 16-Sep-1989 6-1/205 Saskatoon WHL 70 70 45 35 30  
James Wright
C/L 24-Mar-1990 6-3.25/175 Vancouver WHL 60 50 45 40 35  
Mitch Wahl
C/R 22-Jan-1990 5-11.5/175 Spokane WHL 55 70 70 25 25  
Joel Broda
C/L 24-Nov-1989 6-0/196 Moose Jaw WHL 40 65 60 45 60  
Justin Schultz
D/R 07-Jun-1990 6-0.75/163 Westside BCHL 75 60 55 45 25  

Jacob DeSerres
G/L 18-Mar-1990 6-1.5/195 Seattle WHL 50 55 55 60 60  

Michael Stone
D/R 07-Jun-1990 6-2.5/200 Calgary WHL 35 60 45 50 35  
Colin Long
C/R 19-Jun-1989 5-10.75/186 Kelowna WHL 65 60 60 55 35  
Matt Calvert
LW/L 24-Dec-1989 5-9/164 Brandon WHL 60 55 60 55 45  
Eric Mestery
D/L 28-May-1990 6-4.75/195 Tri-City WHL 70 50 20 55 40  
Tomas Voracek
D/L 27-Feb-1990 6-2.25/198 Prince Albert WHL 45 50 55 50 55  
Derek Grant
LW/L 20-Apr-1990 6-3/190 Langley BCHL 55 60 50 55 30  

Ian Schultz
RW/R 04-Feb-1990 6-1.25/179 Calgary WHL 30 30 50 70 70  
Tyler Schmidt
D/L 13-Apr-1990 6-0/198 Tri-City WHL 45 40 55 60 70  
Rich Manley
LW/L 22-Dec-1989 6-4.75/225 Burnaby WHL 55 55 40 50 55  
Travis Hamonic
D/R 16-Aug-1990 6-0/192 Moose Jaw WHL 55 40 50 55 50  

Mike Connolly
LW/L 03-Jul-1989 5-7.75/174 Camrose AJHL 60 55 60 70 55  
Dale Hunt
RW/R 04-Jan-1990 6-0/197 Prince George WHL 35 55 55 40 40  
Eric Filiou
C/R 05-Oct-1989 5-11/175 Nanaimo BCHL 50 55 60 50 30  
Taylor Stefishen
LW/R 15-Aug-1990 5-10.75/170 Langley BCHL 50 55 60 40 35  
Kruise Reddick
C/L 06-Jul-1990 5-8.25/165 Tri-City WHL 50 40 55 60 50  

Dustin Tokarski
G/L 16-Sep-1989 5-11/185 Spokane WHL 30 45 60 40 60  
Brandon McMillan
C/L 22-Mar-1990 5-10.5/188 Kelowna WHL 60 40 50 55 40  
Eric Doyle
D/R 05-Apr-1990 6-2.5/180 Swift Current WHL 65 60 35 40 25  
Lance Bouma
C/L 25-Mar-1990 6-0.5/210 Vancouver WHL 40 35 55 65 45  
Travis Toomey
C/R 18-Mar-1990 6-4.25/189 Saskatoon WHL 25 35 40 60 55  
41 Kurtis Mucha G/L 03-Jun-1989 6-0.75/174 Portland WHL            
42 Zack Smith C/L 05-Apr-1988 6-1.75/202 Swift Current WHL            
43 Prab Rai C/L 22-Nov-1989 5-11.25/191 Seattle WHL            
44 Matt Delahey D/L 25-Sep-1989 6-1.25/215 Regina WHL            
45 Brent Raedeke C/L 29-May-1990 5-11.25/186 Edmonton WHL            
46 Matt Tassone C/L 28-Sep-1989 6-0/200 Swift Current WHL            
47 Wacey Hamilton C/L 10-Sep-1990 5-10.25/165 Medicine Hat WHL            
48 Rylan Schwartz C/L 08-Jan-1990 5-9.25/187 Notre Dame SJHL            
49 Morgan Clark G/L 17-Feb-1990 5-11/160 Red Deer WHL            
50 Martin Jones G/L 10-Jan-1990 6-2.75/174 Calgary WHL            
51 Kyle Bortis LW/L 28-Aug-1988 5-10.5/179 Calgary WHL            
52 Jordan Mistelbacher Lw/L 11-Jan-1990 6-1.5/197 Everett WHL            
53 Teigan Zahn D/L 04-Jan-1990 6-1/217 Saskatoon WHL            
54 Kevin King LW/L 14-Jan-1990 6-0/198 Kootenay WHL            
55 Stefan Schneider D/R 13-Dec-1989 6-4/195 Vancouver WHL            
56 Mike Reddington D/R 18-Aug-1990 5-11.75/203 Spokane WHL            
57 Zack Dailey C/R 16-Dec-1989 5-6/156 Everett WHL            
58 Jared Spurgeon D/R 29-Nov-1989 5-7.75/175 Spokane WHL            
59 Matt Wray RW/L 22-Nov-1989 6-2.25/225 Kamloops WHL            
60 Thomas Heemskerk G/R 11-Apr-1990 5-11.5/168 Kootenay WHL            
61 Andrew Clark C/L 08-Apr-1988 5-11/170 Brandon WHL            
62 Brodie Reid RW/R 25-Aug-1989 6-0/185 Burnaby BCHL            
63 Devin Krogh D/R 15-Nov-1989 6-0/180 Penticton BCHL            
64 Derek Lee C/R 23-Mar-1990 5-9.25/154 Salmon Arm BCHL            
65 Tyler Shattock RW/R 10-Feb-1990 6-2.5/190 Kamloops WHL            
66 Gary Nunn RW/R 10-Nov-1989 5-9/175 Vancouver WHL            
67 Kyle St. Denis RW/R 06-Mar-1990 5-6/167 Kelowna WHL