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.