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2009 NHL Entry Draft: Initial Impressions

This is a hodge-podge of my initial thoughts on the entry draft; I've been out of town so these really aren't based on a ton of post-draft research, but mostly on stuff done going in.

  • Obviously the most important part of any draft is the first pick made, and Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson is pretty much as good as it gets in the #10 slot.  Steve Tambellini was so excited that it seemed like he could barely contain himself ("the Oilers are very proud to select").  Scott Glennie went high, Nazem Kadri went high, and MPS fell to the Oilers.  It's luck as much as anything else, but it's very hard not to be optimistic about this selection.
  • Not crazy about the Brodziak trade, mostly because it happened in-division and it would have been nice to see more than a move from the 6th to 5th round and one low draft pick in exchange, but it does help clear some of the log jam and the Oilers got a guy who probably slid a little farther than he should have anyway.  I'd like to know why Brodziak was on the outs; he was in MacTavish's doghouse all year and it would be nice to get some details as to why.  Both Richards and Fletcher would be familiar with Brodziak from his time in Wilkes-Barre.
  • I like the Lander pick as well; everyone raves about his character and he's been playing in the SEL for two seasons now.  Like MPS, he's towards the youngish side of this draft class (April 1991) and I tend to count that as a plus as well. 
  • Troy Hesketh is a long-term project (he isn't egoing to be college-ready for three years) and a bit of a mystery.  I see that Lowetide has grabbed most of the good quotes on the kid, but he's not even going to go to the USHL until 2010-11, and following that he's going to Wisconsin.  This scouting team seems to know defensemen, but this is a curious pick.
  • Not a fan of the Cameron Abney pick at all.  The guy had four points this season (just for contrast, in his draft year Zack Stortini had 29) and while scouting reports say he's a decent skater I can't imagine his career upside being much more than Steve MacIntyre - who, as we all know, was waiver-wire fodder this season, along with a half-dozen other bruisers.  Guys like Cody Eakin, Linden Vey, Casey Cizikas. J-F Berube and of course Alex Hutchings were still available at this slot and I don't see how it makes sense to grab a guy with such a low ceiling in terms of NHL potential. 
  • Kyle Bigos is a big, overage defenseman still stuck in the BCHL.  Again, this is a funny pick.  I'm the first guy to acknowledge that defensemen are hard to project, but 20 years old and playing in the BCHL does not sound good to me.
  • Toni Rajala's been a fine junior player in Finland, and is a pick reminiscient of the Linus Omark selection a few years back - tiny and skilled.  This pick is a fairly good balance of risk and reward; he's probably not likely to be an NHL'er but this late in the draft he's a nice bet and he could be a top-six player at some point.
  • Olivier Roy gets picked in the same slot as Bryan Pitton a few years back, but the scouting reports are both more plentiful and more favourable.  He dropped a lot; most places had him ranked inside the top-100 and as much as I frown on drafting goalies this is probably an exception.

My Draft List

I am, as always, not a fully equipped NHL scouting staff and it would undoubtedly be foolish to make a list of selections that I would have made.  Now that we've established this as a foolish exercise, here's how I would have picked:

  • 10th Overall - Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson
  • 40th Overall - Ethan Werek
  • 71st Overall - Alex Hutchings
  • 82nd overall - Toni Rajala
  • 99th overall - Benjamin Casavant
  • 102nd overall - Edward Pasquale
  • 133rd overall - Kellen Tochkin