Al Muir's Blog

The second round saw teams select four netminders, a couple of familiar names (including a Staal) and a bit of wheeling and dealing, just to keep things interesting.

(31) Florida takes Jacob Markstrom, a big (6-3, 180) Swedish goalie who was ranked as a first-round talent by at least three teams, and was the highest rated European. He led Tre Kroner to gold at the Ivan Hlinka Under-18 tournament and is a good bet to be the No. 1 for the Swedes at the World Juniors in 2009. With no real high-end prospects behind Biron and Niittymaki, the Flyers needed to grab a premium stopper here.

(32) Los Angeles takes Vjateslav Voinov. He made his name as a fiesty competitor in international play over the past 12 months. He’s a nasty defender, always looking for a chance to make your life miserable. A little cheap sometimes, but that’s when he’s most effective. Another great building block for the Kings blueline.

(33) St. Louis takes Phil McRae, a St. Louis native and the son of former Blues agitator Basil McRae. His hands are more adept at scoring than splitting open faces like his old man, and he’s got the potential to be a reliable  20-25-goal man in the NHL. He’s a decent skater, but scouts have pointed out his need to improve that area if he wants to advance.

(34) St. Louis takes Jake Allen, the goaltender whose stock rose dramatically after leading Canada to gold at the IIHF Under-18 World Championships. He’s an excellent puckhandler, and makes a big impact on the transition game a la Marty Turco. The Blues are loaded with young goalies with both Ben Bishop and Marek Schwarz inthe system, but Allen's developmental curve gives them a few years to fish or cut bait.

(35) Anaheim takes Nicolas Deschamps. Using the compensatory pick Phoenix received when they were unable to sign 2004 first rounder Blake Wheeler, the Ducks grab the mid-size center who was the top prospect in the QMJHL. Great offensive instincts and a real battler. He projects as a second line center who can be a standout in all three zones.

(36) Islanders take Corey Trivino, a Tier 2 forward who averaged a point and a half per game. Think the creativity and finish of Sam Gagner, without the same physical edge.  He’ll play at Boston Univerity next year. Hopefully he’ll discover pasta there—the kid weighs about a buck fifty.

(37) Columbus takes Codey Goloubef, an offensive defenseman who already has a year of college (Wisconsin) to his credit. Tells you all you need to know about his hockey sense and poise that he earned a regular role under coach Mike Eaves as a 17-year-old. Projects as a second-pairing, second PP stalwart.

(38) Nashville takes Roman Josi, a Swiss defenseman who’s every bit as good as first rounder Luca Sbisa…but maybe not fully committed to the idea of playing in North America. The knock on drafting Swiss players is that their national league is a compelling alternative for many players, but the thought of adding his skating and passing ability makes Josi a reasonable risk at this point in the draft. There are some scouts who think he could develop into a top pairing guy.

(39) Anaheim takes Eric O’Dell, a center who earned a lot of praise for his play with Team Canada at the U-18. Great playmaker, solid hockey sense, surprisingly quick on his feet. Curious pick coming right after Deschamps, but Anaheim obviously was going with the BPA philosophy.

(40) Islanders take Aaron Ness, the speedy but small defenseman who was named Minnesota’s Mr. Hockey. I heard from a number of scouts who thought he could slip into the first round. He completely dominated his league last year. Brian Rafalski is brought up as a comparable because of his ability to play such a calm, smart game. That’s the second really small guy selected by New York in this round, but both he and Trivino could become leaders for the Isles.

(41) Vancouver takes Yann Sauve, a massive (6-2, 210) defenseman. His size makes him appealing, but one scout told me Sauve is a “turnover factory.” May just be a matter of developing more confidence in his surroundings…or it may be that he just doesn’t make good decisions. We’ll see.

(42) Ottawa takes Patrick Wiercioch, a defenseman heading to Wisconsin next season. He was used extensively on the power play with Omaha of the USHL, taking advantage of his great reads, but skating is an issue

(43) Anaheim takes Justin Schultz, another Wisconsin pledge (says a lot about the quality of that program, eh?) He’s an offensive-minded blueliner who’s expected to play one more season in the Tier 2 BCHL. Interesting to see how Anaheim handles him—this is the same loophole situation that led to Blake Wheeler becoming a free agent.

(44)  Buffalo takes Luke Adam, a big (6-2, 205) center who’s shown some nice touch around the net, but also comes with the standard knock against Newfoundland prospects: skating. One scout compared him to former Sabre Adam Creighton. Buffalo needed to add size up front, so Adam is a smart choice here.

(45) Carolina takes Zac Dalpe, a rangy center who projects as a winger in the pros. He slid a bit past expectations—some scouts mentioned him as a potential low first rounder after an impressive season in Tier 2. Dalpe’s got some nice touch and great vision, but questions about his speed and strength likely dropped him to this point.

(46) Florida takes Colby Robak. The Panthers swap picks with the Predators so they can move up to snatch another slider who some had ranked in the first. Robak’s fans point out his size and mobility. His detractors question his intensity and decision making. Think Joni Pitkanen, a similarly frustrating player.

(47) Boston takes Maxime Sauve, son of former Sabre J-F Sauve. Like dad, he’s small and speedy with decent hands. Gets criticized for a sometimes lackadaisical approach to defense, but he’s regarded as a coachable kid.

(48) Calgary takes Mitch Wahl, who earned a spot on the Memorial Cup All-Star team. From the hockey hotbed of Seal Beach, California, he’s a playmaking center with a bit of grit and elite hockey sense.

(49) Phoenix takes Jared Staal who is not, contrary to the well-distributed rumor, the best of the Staal brothers. No one argues his potential, but there are plenty of whispers about his commitment after the scouting combine revealed his lousy conditioning. One scout told me “I think he thinks his last name is his ticket.” Still, you have to love the bloodlines, and if the Coyotes can get his head right, he could be a steal.

(50) Colorado takes Cameron Gaunce, a defenseman who looks like a great value at this spot. Gaunce has size and mobility and displayed some real offensive smarts with Mississauga of the OHL, scoring 44 points in 63 games. He came from the same Markham Waxers program as first rounders Stamkos and Pietrangelo and 2009 prospect John Tavares. 

(51) Rangers take Derek Stepan, another future Wisconsin Badger. He’s an offensive-minded center, but he’s paper thin and there were real questions about his ability to add strength to a less-than-ideal frame.

(52) New Jersey takes Brandon Burlon. No matter who New Jersey takes, you wonder what they know that everyone else is missing. Burlon is a mid-sized defender whose fiery temperament and desire to compete suggest he’ll be an ideal top-four type for the Devils. He dominated the strength testing categories at the scouting combine.

(53) Islanders take Travis Hamonic, another speedy defender, but with better size than Ness. He’s extremely aggressive, always looking to force a play at the offensive blueline or to make a hit. Has the tools to be a decent defender, but his judgment is suspect.

(54) New Jersey takes Patrice Cormier. I apologize if I’m coming off like a Devils fanboy, but this is another brilliant pick by Conte and crew. Cormier was looked on as a first-round talent earlier in the season, but missed considerable time due to a string of injuries that include appendicitis, shoulder surgery and a concussion. His skating needs to improve, but everything else, including size, is there for him to develop into a solid NHLer.

(55) Minnesota takes Marco Scandella, a defensive-minded blueliner who keeps his game simple, not unlike the Wild’s first pick, Tyler Cuma. He looks a lot bigger than the 6-2, 190 at which he’s listed.

(56) Montreal takes Danny Kristo, the second-leading scorer for the US National Team Development Program. He’s going to North Dakota in 2009.

(57) Washington takes Eric Mestery, a huge (6-5, 200) stay-at-home blueliner. Think Hal Gill, with a bit more physical bite to his game.

(58) Washington takes Dmitri Kugryshev, a smallish winger with dynamite hands but a tendency to be bullied out of the play.

(59) Dallas takes Tyler Beskorowany with an eye towards an eventual replacement for Marty Turco. The 6-5 stopper had a goals-against above four, but he was playing behind a porous Owen Sound defense. One scout said he reminded him of Andrew Raycroft, another kid who gained considerable poise while facing a ton of rubber in juniors. He was the 16th-ranked NA goaltender, but impressed with his play at the recent Hockey Canada goaltender's camp.

(60) Toronto takes Jimmy Hayes, a massive (6-5, 210) winger with a willingness to battle for position in front of the net and a nice touch with the puck. So why’s he still available at this point of the draft? Heavy, heavy feet.

(61) Colorado takes Peter Delmas. The Avs traded Brad Richardson to the Kings for this pick and tabbed their goaltender of the future in Delmas. He didn’t see a lot of ice this year, slotted behind Kings prospect Jonathan Bernier in Lewiston, but he was impressive with Team Canada at the Ivan Hlinka tournament. He’s big, and his economical style leaves little room for shooters.


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