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NHL Draft Wrap-Up (06/29)
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June 29, 2011
NHL Draft Wrap-Up
Pacific Division

by Corey Pronman


Anaheim Ducks

Player 			Position	Selection #	HP Rank 1-100 
Rickard Rakell		Right Wing	30		66
John Gibson		Goaltender	39		95
William Karlsson	Center		53		46
Joseph Cramarossa	Center		65		N/A
Andrew Welinski		Defense		83		N/A 
Max Friberg		Left Wing	143		77
John Manson		Defense		160		N/A

Day 1: Wasn't a huge fan of picking Rickard Rakell at #30. I was under the impression from the Ducks before the day started that they thought they could trade down and still get a good player. However, I didn't know they would go for a low-upside/maybe can be a decent bottom-six guy as the player they would be aiming for when there was still scoring talent available.

The Rest: I think John Gibson is the top goaltending prospect in the class and there wasn't much in terms of goaltending depth in Anaheim's system beyond Igor Bobkov. However, I think that was much too high to take him based on his talent level in today's goaltender market. I was really impressed by William Karlsson at the Under-18's by his above-average hockey-sense and deceptively slick puck skills. Joseph Cramarossa isn't a prospect I love, but he was one of those names I threw around into the tail-end of my top 100 as he has a fine work ethic and a good enough defensive projection to get onto a fourth line. I never saw Andrew Welinski, but from what I heard from scouts he never really stood out in any regard and looks like an org guy more than anything. Max Friberg went around where I thought he'd go, although I did think he had the skill set and hockey IQ to go somewhat higher, but the skating and size scared off some teams.

Summary: I wasn't a huge promoter of what Anaheim did at the draft, as this seemed to be a draft where they took shots at depth and low-tier players, although in a system with quite a few high-upside prospects it makes sense to a degree.

Dallas Stars

Player 			Position	Selection #	HP Rank 1-100 
Jamieson Oleksiak	Defense		14		27
Brett Ritchie		Right Wing	44		48
Emil Molin		Center		105		N/A
Troy Vance		Defense		135		N/A
Matej Stransky		Right Wing	165		N/A
Jyrki Jokipakka		Defense		195		N/A

Day 1: I thought this Jamieson Oleksiak was a bit of a reach but Dallas obviously wanted to gamble on the elite-level physical tools. Oleksiak isn't a Hal Gill type player in my opinion, but he doesn't have the skills to get to a first pairing either so I'd place his projection in a happy median between that range. This was a somewhat risky pick, and while I can see why some scouts see the top-end upside to this pick, I don't.

The Rest: Brett Ritchie plays a good power forward type game and he's a prospect who I've heard several times being touted as a significant sleeper in this draft due to the fact he has some fine offensive skills. Troy Vance is a shot in the dark type of pick as a huge defenseman who didn't play much this year, but showed okay mobility and basic puck-moving abilities but he's extremely raw and has several areas that need significant attention. Jyrki Jokipakka is an average defensive defender who one scout told me could be a nice sleeper pick in the seventh round.

Summary: The Stars took several shots at physical upside and while I'm not an advocate of what they did, I see the potential, but this class has a major possibility of falling flat in a system that really can't afford it.

Los Angeles Kings

Player 			Position	Selection #	HP Rank 1-100 
Christopher Gibson	Goaltender	49		N/A
Andy Andreoff		Center		80		N/A
Nick Shore		Center		82		71
Michael Mersch		Left Wing	110		98
Joel Lowry		Left Wing	140		N/A
Michael Schumaker	Left Wing	200		N/A

Day 1: No pick.

The Rest: Christopher Gibson is one of the top goalie prospects in the class with decent athletic tools but I thought this was a reach going for him in the mid-second even not considering my usual hate on goalie prospects. I was kind of surprised to see Andy Andreoff go that early in the draft, but when I saw him in Oshawa this year he stood out, but It's hard to see him being anything more than a depth guy. I like Nick Shore's passing game and hockey sense, but the skating is just so bad that it really hurts his pro prospects. Michael Mersch is a nice safe pick as a big forward without a true standout offensive tool but he can do the little things well.

Summary: Having only one pick until #80 and using it on a goalie prospect was a key part of the Kings leaving me underwhelmed by their haul. They may turn one of their picks into a low-tier pro regular, but that's as far as they can likely hope from this class.

Phoenix Coyotes

Player 			Position	Selection #	HP Rank 1-100 
Connor Murphy		Defense		20		38
Alexander Ruuttu	Center		51		N/A
Lucas Lessio		Left Wing	56		55
Harrison Ruopp		Defense		84		N/A
Kale Kessy		Left Wing	111		N/A
Darian Dziurzynski 	Left Wing	141		N/A
Andrew Fritsch		Right Wing	155		85
Zac Larraza		Left Wing	196		N/A

Day 1: Phoenix took a bit of a risk here on a player in Connor Murphy who didn't play much this year, but with his play at the Under-18's and the hockey sense he showed on top of the physical tools does make him a desirable prospect. Thought this was a bit of a reach, but it wasn't that bad.

The Rest: Alexander Ruuttu was a player I heard some good things about and I knew he was going in the top 100, but never saw him play and have no notes on him. Lucas Lessio bleeds plus physical tools in his size and skating and while he has some major holes in his game, there's nice potential to hope on. Some like Kale Kessy for his big frame and power game, but it's hard to ever see him playing more than a handful of minutes per night at his absolute peak. Andrew Fritsch doesn't have an exciting game, but he's a smart player who just finds ways to score goals. I'm not a Zac Larraza fan, but I was surprised that he got to the seventh round as he absolutely has the tools to project onto a pro fourth line if his development goes right.

Summary: I thought Phoenix did okay at the draft. They took some gambles on physical tools and while I don't see huge upside here, there's some if any of Murphy, Ruuto or Lessio really hit on top of decent projection.

San Jose Sharks

Player 			Position	Selection #	HP Rank 1-100 
Matthew Nieto		Left Wing	47		44
Justin Sefton		Defense		89		N/A 
Sean Kuraly		Center		133		N/A
Daniil Sobchenko	Center		166		N/A
Dylan DeMelo		Defense		179		N/A
Colin Blackwell		Center		194		N/A

Day 1: No pick.

The Rest: Matthew Nieto is a quick forward with a decent possession skill set and despite his frame, he goes to the physical areas well. Justin Sefton is a big, tough defenseman, but I don't see many other tools there. Sean Kuraly has nice size, but he's a fringe skater and I don't think he has an average skill set. I was pleasantly surprised to see Daniil Sobchenko go off the board in the sixth round. He's the first Russian the Sharks have taken out of Russia since they selected Andrei Zyuzin second overall in 1996. He looked great at the Under-20's and has fine skills with the ability to be an above-average goal-scorer.

Summary: I thought the Sharks did all right considering the picks they had, but this isn't a significant haul. Nieto has a chance to score at an average level in the league if his development goes right and Sobchenko is a nice sleeper pick, but other than them I don't see much to dream on here.

Corey Pronman is an author of Hockey Prospectus. You can contact Corey by clicking here or click here to see Corey's other articles.

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