Let’s take a look at picks 11-20.
We find ourselves at the Dallas Stars, an organization that is in transition from the old guard to the new “stars.” The Stars only have one blue chip prospect in Scott Glennie. This team despertaly needs a puck moving defenseman to take some pressure off Robidas. I think the Stars will fill their need and draft a defenseman in the draft. I could see the stars moving up and nabbing one of the big three defenseman if they are really high on one of them. Dallas might even trade down and try to get Mark Pysyk, but for now, we will go with…
With the 11th pick of the draft, the Stars select…
Derek Forbort, D, U-18 NT (USHL)
Here’s why: Forbort was originially supposed to be a top 20 pick, but his stock has really shot up in the past four months. He would be a solid addition to the Stars’ prospect pool. He is a good two-way defenseman. He needs to fill into his big 6’5 frame, but if he reaches full potential, he will easily be a top two defenseman in this league. Forbort’s stop just keeps rising. Some even consider him as good as the big three defenseman this year.
The Ducks are on the clock.
(3 seconds pass)
With the 12th pick, the Ducks select…
Emerson Etem, C, Medicine Hat (WHL)
Here’s why: Is there a better story in this years draft than the California native going back to his home state? While most have the speedster going no higher than 15, I truly believe that Etem is a SPECIAL player. I can’t stress just how high I am on this kid. He has excellent puck control, espcially at high speeds. While there are a few concerns about his hockey IQ from some scouts (wish I think is a bit exagerated) Etem scored 37 goals as a rookie in the WHL. If the Ducks think they can get him later in the draft, they might move down. I truly believe Etem will be a Duck by the end of the draft.
The dessert dogs of Arizona are up next. They have good organizational depth at pretty much every position, so I think they will select the best player available.
The Coyotes select…
Austin Watson, RW, Peterborough (OHL)
Here’s why: Watson brings size. Like many prospects in this draft, he needs to fill into his frame. He is a complete player in the sense he plays great defense, good PKer, has good skating ability, and does all the little things. The Yotes are very happy with their selection.
The Blues are up next. Overall, the Blues are deep at almost every position but left wing. I think what the Blues will field a lot of calls for this pick but they will end up taking a forward prospect due to their depth at the blue line.
The St. Louis Blues select…
Alexander Burmistrov, C, Barrie (OHL)
Here’s why: Easily the best forward prospect left. This is a classic example of taking the best player available. While Burmistrov has the “Russian factor,” his skill set could be enough to break the top ten.
The Boston Bruins are up next.
The Bruins have the 15th pick of the draft and select…
Jonathan Merrill, D, U-18 NT (USHL) – USA
Here’s why. This is a good fit for the B’s after drafting Seguin earlier in the first. The B’s could use a solid defenseman in their prospect pool. Merrill is the perfect fit for the B’s. He is another one of the American prospects whose stock shot up midway through the season. I can see good things coming Merrill’s way if he joins the Bruins.
We are now at the midway point of the draft with plenty of exciting prospects left. The next in line is the Ottawa Senators. The Sens need a winger or a center. They are stacked on defensive prospects and certainly don’t need another one. With that in mind, I think the Sens will be the biggest players in this years draft. They need to make a spalsh, either in the draft or by trading for a player. This team is lacking a few parts, but I think they can put it all together.
The Senators select…
Jeff Skinner, C, Kitchener (OHL)
Here’s why: He might now be a winger, but Skinner possesses a strung, accurate shot as well as very good vision. I doubt he will drop this far in the real thing because I think a team will trade up for him, but either way he will certainly will be a welcome addition for the Senators. Some scouts have this kid as high as 9th after his tremendous performance in the playoffs. I am not so sure I would go that far, but Skinner would be an excellent pick up somewhere in the top 15.
The Avalanche are up next and I think it is a very easy choice for an organization that needs to fill a few holes. I think you have to start with Colorado’s need for a goaltender. Yes, they have Anderson, but who will they have for their future? Yeah, no one. I think the Avs will try to secure their goaltending future. If they don’t, they will most likely go with a big winger like Howden if he still on the board.
With the 17th overall pick, the Avs select…
Jack Campbell, G, U-18 NT (USHL)
Here’s why: They need to fill that goaltender position for the future. Campbell is their man.
The Nashville Predators are on the clock. Luckily for Nashville fans, it is an even year which means David Poile will select a forward prospect. Poile has a lot of options with the 18th pick at the forward position. Nashville needs to get bigger at the forward position. I suspect, it will come down to Howden, Bjugstad, or Sheahan. Of the three, I think Howden and Bjugstad are the best options. Although I would love to have Bjugstad, I don’t feel like he pushed himself to grow as a player. He had the option to play in the USHL and turned it down in favor of finishing his junior and senior seasons with his high school team in Minnesota. While that may speak volumes of his character, it will almost certainly hurt his stock. Howden had a very good season this year, tallying 57 points in 57 games in the WHL. It is no secret Poile loves the WHL so this pick seems pretty straight forward.
The Predators select…
Quinton Howden, LW, Moose Jaw (WHL)
Here’s why: Howden is a big LW, something Nashville hasn’t had since Scott Hartnell. While Howden needs to be more physical in his gameplay, he possesses good speed on his skates as well as a smart two way player. There is a lot of room for Howden to grow (maybe not as much as Bjugstad) but he has all the tools be to an NHL player. At full potential, I think he could be a 2nd line forward.
The Kings are on the clock.
This is a tough one. The Kings have a lot of depth at every position. I think they will either trade down or choose the best player available. That to me is…
With the 19th pick of the draft, the Kings select…
Nick Bjugstad, C, Blaine (MN USHS)
Here’s why: IF he reaches full potential, I think Bjugstad could be a 1st or 2nd line center. My one concern is his lack of competition. I am sure he will turn out to be a great college player at the University of Minnesota, but I have to question the quality of opponents he has faced. The Kings will have to be patient with this 6’3 forward if they truly want to mold into the excellent player he could become.
Penguins are on the clock and this pick couldn’t be easier.
With the 20th pick of the draft, the Penguins select…
Mark Pysyk, D, Edmonton (WHL)
Here’s why: Pysyk has good offensive smarts and knows how to run a power play. Should be a good fit in the Burg.
That’s it for today! Check back next week for the last part to the three part coverage of the NHL Entry Draft.
About the Author
Written by Chris Rydburg
Chris currently attends my Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He hopes to one day be a high school teacher.