directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Keep eyes on

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Monday, May 18, 2009

Keep eyes on

Just got my Hockey News "Draft Preview" in the mail so which always means it's time to blog about the draft (especially if your team is already elminated - damn you Detroit!).

This will be the Jackets 10th draft (there's a good excuse to celebrate in there somewhere). My how time flies.

From all accounts this is a pretty deep draft. I've heard that players in the second half of the first round could go top 10 a lot of years - which is good news for us considering our draft position.

The CBJ will be picking 16th this season. In their previous 9 drafts they have drafted no worse than 8th. Here a quick recap of the Jackets first round history:

2000 - 4th, Rusty Klesla, D
2001 - 8th, Pascal Leclaire, G
2002 - 1st, Rick Nash, W (traded up)
2003 - 4th, Nik Zherdev, W
2004 - 8th, Alexandre Picard, W (traded down)
2005 - 6th, Gilbert Brule, C
2006 - 6th, Derek Brassard, C
2007 - 7th, Jakub Voracek, W
2008 - 6th, Nkita Filatov, C/W

0 Americans drafted in the first round
1 goalie, 1 d-man and 7 forwards.
2 first round trades
3 former first round picks have been traded
4 former first rounders saw significant time with the big squad last season
5 Canadians drafted in the first round

Here are the 16th overall picks from the past 15 seasons:

1994 - Eric Fichaud, G
1995 - Martin Biron, G
1996 - Mario Larocque, D
1997 - Ty Jones, W
1998 - Eric Chouinard, C
1999 - Dave Tanabe, D
2000 - Marcel Hossa, L
2001 - RJ Umberger, C
2002 - Jakub Klepis, C
2003 - Steve Bernier, R
2004 - Petteri Nokelainen, R
2005 - Alex Bourret, R
2006 - Ty Wishart, D
2007 - Colton Gillies, C
2008 - Joe Colborne, C

Right now I'd say Umberger, Biron, Tanabe and Bernier are the only legit NHLers out of that group. I'd say the verdict is still out from 2005 on although Gillies did play 45 games with the Wild last season.

Those certainly aren't the best odds.

Okay.. so enough about the past.. the question now is who to keep eyes on for this year's crop? Well here are THN's list of prospects from 10 through 18:

10 - David Runblad (CAN), C
"He sees the ice well both offensively and defensively and he moves the puck well"

11 - Dmitri Kukikov (RUS), D
"Kukilov has proved to be a dynamic offensive defensemen. He scored more than a point per game during the season and was averaging two per game early on in the playoffs". Also there is no worry about him wanting to return to Russia.

12 - Simon Despres (CAN), D
"On the positive side of the ledger, Despres is a good skater for a big man and plays a steady game. And while he leaves scouts wanting more, he may deliver on his promise."

13 - O. Ekman-Larsson (SWE), D
"His skating and his offensive instincts are just out of this world."

14 - Scott Glennie (CAN), C
"He has great hockey sense. He competes hard and has good offensive instincts."

15 - Jacob Josefson (SWE), C
"He didn't get a chance to show too much at the WJC, but he has made strides. He's a smart offensive Swedish player and pretty good at both ends of the ice."

16 - Zack Kassian (CAN), RW
"A lot of observers are throwing Milan Lucic's name around when they speak of Zach Kassian, right down to the fact Kassian's point and penalty minute totals this season are almost identical to Lucic's in his draft year."

17 - Ryan Ellis (CAN), D
"He looks like he'd be able to play the game sitting in a rocking chair. He's so calm that he almost looks bored out there. He always has the puck and nobody is able to get it away from him."

18 - John Moore (USA), D
"His skill level is off the charts in the USHL, but it's his skating ability that will give him the best chance to play in the NHL."

As you can see there are lots of d-men and lots of centers that should be available come the 16th selection. Of course you always want to take BPA (best player available) but if it just so happens to be a position of need in your system then even better.

After the first found the Jackets won't have a pick until the 3rd. With that in mind I wouldn't completely rule out a trade, especially down, to acquire a 2nd round pick.

I read a good trade idea that I read over on HF (thanks 'X'!) that suggested this scenario:

Jackets send the 16th overall pick to the New York Islanders for the 26th and 31st picks.

The Islanders also own the 37th pick which could also be considered.

I would think that trade scenario is one Howson would heavily consider. Of course it will all depend on whose available in that 16th slot and what the gap is between those players and the ones that may be available at 26. Remember quantity does not always equal quality.

You can view all of the Jackets draft picks here. You can also view past drafts here.

You can also check out draft coverage from the NHL here and TSN here.

Finally there are some new mock drafts up at that you can read here.

The NHL combine kicks off next week from May 25th through the 30th in Toronto. The 1st round of the NHL draft is just 39 short days away.



Chris said...

If Ryan Ellis is there and Howson does not draft him I will very very disappointed.

Bruce said...

The list of available kids looks good, but they do every year. When you look at that list of 16th picks, its obvious that the talent level drops off quickly after the top 5-10 kids. This is why scouts cant sleep at night.