After the Bruins stepped up and took Zach Trotman with the 210th pick, the 2010 NHL Entry Draft came to an end. There were many storylines to this draft, such as players who went higher or lower than the consensus dictated, as was the case with Kirill Kabanov. I had the pleasure of being in attendance for picks 1 through 210. Here are my general thoughts on the 2010 NHL Entry Draft:
Winners and Losers
Iím going to be as blunt as I can here- there is no such thing as a draft winner or loser fifteen minutes after the Draft is over. There is no such thing as a great pick or a bad pick. One would think this would be logical, yet the internet is swarmed by these very labels and Iíve seen pieces on the winners and losers of this Draft go up an hour after the first round concluded. Its human nature in a sense plus it boosts page clicks to make such claims, but the reality is thatís not how it works. You have to wait years and years before you can conclude anything and even then you donít know how much player development and other external factors may have influenced the playerís performance.
One of the most talked about drops was Windsor Spitfires defenseman Cam Fowler going to Anaheim at 12. This was because most people had him as a 3rd to 5th ranked prospect and I myself had him at 3. Therefore getting him at 12 is a steal right? People are failing to understand that 11 NHL teams, all of whom have an array of full time and part time professional scouts who have followed Cam Fowler dating back to his time in Ann Arbor decided they didnít want him in their organization. Itís very easy at times for the mainstream to read scouting reports online, watch the World Juniors and the Memorial Cup and conclude they know the player when the truth is that the NHL scouts know more about Cam Fowler than the overwhelming majority of people will ever know. I disagreed with the fall, because I liked Cam, but I understand why he fell. He isnít that big, he coughs the puck up when physically pressured, doesnít hit, and has no shot. He has his obvious strengths but those flaws obviously hurt his draft stock.
Also the Ducks and Panthers have been widely recognized as the ďwinnersĒ of the Draft, which largely is because of the volume of picks both teams had. I can give valid reasons why Erik Gudbranson, Nick Bjugstad, John McFarland, Connor Brickley, and Joe Basaraba wonít pan out for Florida. This doesnít mean that the Panthers had a bad draft. They took some upside picks coupled with a few safe guys like Howden, however, these players have a long way to go before we declare anyone a winner.
Also there are some perceived ďbadĒ picks in this yearís Draft. Ryan Johansen at 4 definitely raised some eyebrows. However there are good reasons for the Jackets taking him. Johansen has some great tools- his size, skating and projectability make him a very desirable player. Do I think he was a 4th overall pick? No I had him ranked 15th, however I can see the high-end upside that could make a team select him that high. I also know that Columbus was trying to trade down a few spots.
Jaden Schwartz at 14 also was a talked about pick in the mainstream; I had him ranked 10th in the mid year rankings and 17th at the end of year. Pro scouts Iíve talked to have said Schwartz was a top 10-15 talent, but they think because of his size he would drop to the late first, early second round. The Blues obviously bought in on the talent and have their own philosophies on size.
Joey Hishon at 17 was probably the most talked about surprise pick in this yearís draft; I had him at 15 mid season and 34 at the end of year. Coming into the year he was a top 10-20 prospect, however a year where he got hurt raised concerns about his durability as a small player. Also his hockey sense made me personally lower him a few clicks, however nobody doubts Hishonís talent. His high-end pucks skills, coupled with good skating and drive is why the Avalanche took him.
Iím sure Puck Prospectus writer Iain Fyffe is smiling about some teamsí philosophies on taking small players. Christian Thomas, Devante Smith-Pelly and Ryan Spooner are all small players who went in the top 60 never mind Jeff Skinner and Mikael Granlund both going top 10.
For nearly every pick in the NHL draft, I can give you a reason as to why it happened. I may not agree with the reasoning, but I can assure you that NHL teams and scouts whose jobs are on the line think long and hard before making these decisions.
On that note, while I understand the teamsí logic when it came to Kirill Kabanov, I 100% disagreed with how far he fell to the point where it sickened me. Weíve all heard the story on Kirill- heís a top 5 talent with a 10th round head. Hereís where I change that motto. Heís a top 5 talent, who produces like a top 5 talent. I can understand if a player has intangible issues and it holds him back from being an effective player, be it from lazy play on the ice, undisciplined play, or lack of fitness off the ice. While Kabanov has displayed some of these characteristics at times, he still is able to play hockey at a high level. People may look at his stats in the Q and not be impressed; however he was on the 2nd line and at times was cut ice time due to various reasons. His on-ice game isnít perfect; his even-strength two way-game has to improve as well as his penchant for taking bad penalties. However, he has high-end skills and produces at a high-end level.
There were legitimate reasons for Kabanov to be a top 5 pick this year. The Islanders hope those reasons come to fruition.
At the end of the Draft, I received a rush of e-mails and twitter messages asking about certain players who were selected over the weekend, so Iíve decided to open the phone lines to a Q&A column. Send any questions or comments about the Draft to my e-mail which is displayed on the bottom of all of my columns. Put at least a first name, and the city where you reside.
Coming up next is team by team analysis of each club in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
Follow Corey on Twitter at @coreypronman.
Corey Pronman is an author of Puck Prospectus, runs the statistical hockey site The Hock Project and is the President of Premium Scouting. You can contact him at CPronman@fau.edu.
Corey Pronman is an author of Hockey Prospectus.
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