Tuesday, June 17, 2008

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.

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