Thursday, June 21, 2007

With The 25th Overall Pick...

Because I don't watch a lot of junior hockey save for the occassional Giants game and the odd international tournament on TV, I only know little bits and pieces about the prospects who will get selected at the NHL Draft tomorrow. I do have a soft spot for guys like Kyle Turris (New Westminster), Karl Alzner (Burnaby), Zach Hamill (Port Coquitlam), Michael Repik (Vancouver Giant) and Oscar Moller (Chilliwack Bruin) but that's really just based on the fact that they've got ties to the local community and that the blogs, message boards and media pieces have generally been positive about them.

Now, barring a major draft day trade to move up a few spots, Turris, Alzner and Hamill will be gone by the Canucks' first round pick. I wouldn't be surprised if Repik and Moller are gone by then as well. So at 25th overall, who do they choose? Here are what all the various mock drafters are saying:

TSN: Maxim Mayorovm, LW, Leninogorsk (Russia)

Cuthbert Says:The Canucks expected to go after grit, a third or fourth liner to match up against the Ducks. Instead, I will be the first one to say, ?I can't believe this guy is still available!? Mayorov is the choice, though I was also looking at Joakim Andersson of Sweden.
Sportnet.ca: Jonathan Blum, D, Vancouver (WHL)

Calgary Herald (Scott Cruickshank): Brett McLean, LW, Oshawa Generals (OHL)

Brett MacLean got to play with John Tavares and the OHL's Oshawa Generals. But he proved that he has touch (47 goals) in addition to size (6-foot-1, 200 pounds).
ESPN: James O'Brien, C, University of Minnesota (US - WCHA)
One of the lacking areas in the Canucks' prospects pool is a skilled center. O'Brien can certainly shore up that deficiency. As an underage playing in the U.S. development program in 2004, there was talk of him becoming the No. 1 overall pick in 2007. While those forecasts won't be correct, he will most certainly become a first-round choice for Vancouver. Having always played up against older competition, O'Brien yearned for the opportunity to go to Minnesota early. His numbers might not reflect it, but he had a pretty solid freshman season. He was sometimes frustrated by his lack of productivity this past season, but his overall game improved.

Sports Illustrated: Brett McLean, LW, Oshawa Generals (OHL)

The Canucks come into the draft looking for offense, and McLean is the best bet at this point. He racked up 47 goals and 100 points playing alongside center John Tavares, so he knows how to finish his opportunities. But everyone you talk to worries about his skating. It's something he can work on, but maybe not to the point that he earns first line/first PP unit opportunities ... and that means he won't be a big scorer in the NHL.
Fox Sports: James O'Brien, C, University of Minnesota (US - WCHA)
Although his point production does not show it, O'Brien has greater offensive potential and he had to earn his ice time as freshman on a deep Minnesota team. His puck skills are good but not elite and he has enough to stickhandling and passing abilities to play at a high level. He has an accurate wrist shot in close and a slap shot with power and has soft hands to bury chances in close under duress not is not considered a goal scorer. He has excellent speed especially for a big player and has shown to be effective on the forecheck with his quickness to be disruptive. His good hockey sense makes him responsible in all areas of the ice and he is developing into a solid defensive player that logs penalty killing time. He does a good job blocking shots and clogging up passing lanes with his wing span and his stick and he can shadow opponents. Needs to fill out his frame and play with a more consistent edge every game but he could develop into a second line two-way power center.
Red Line Report (via USA Today): Maxim Mayorov, LW, Leninogorsk (Russia)
The Canucks look to swing for the fences with a home run pick who could freshen up a collection of forwards that's starting to get stale.
Hockey's Future: David Perron, RW, Lewiston (QMJHL)
The Canucks have showed a willingness last year to take players who may be a bit older and they're willing to be risky in order to try to get a big payoff with a good offensive talent.
HF Radio: Joakim Andersson, C, Frolunda (Sweden)

The Canucks are looking to add some prospect help down the middle and they've had success in Sweden before. Andersson is a big guy who plays well in all three zones.
The Fourth Period: David Perron, RW, Lewiston (QMJHL)

If he's still available, picking Perron is a no-brainer for the Canucks. He has the potential of being a first-line winger. He's quick and has a great shot.
Comments/Questions: Feel free to post in the comments section or email me at gocanucksgo10 (at) hotmail (dot) com.

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posted by J.J. Guerrero, 6:17 AM