Back from Ottawa’s Scotiabank Place and the NHL draft (to a place where the Internet actually works), it’s time for a post-mortem on what, technical difficulties aside, was a fantastic event.
This year’s crop of draftees was a group of legitimately great kids and some of them will be playing for NHL teams much sooner than later. With that in mind, let’s look at some of the more intriguing picks of the weekend.1. Mattias Tedenby, LW – HV71 (Swe.): When you think of flash and offensive dazzle, New Jersey isn’t the first team that leaps to mind, but maybe the door is opening a bit with the selection of Tedenby. The slick Swede has feasted on North American competition in the past, so the transition to the NHL is a welcome one for him. “I really like to play the North American guys,” Tedenby said. “The play is fast and I can use my speed and technique.” Along with burgeoning youngsters such as Zach Parise and Travis Zajac, Tedenby could help manufacture a lot of offense for the Devils in the future, though it’s likely the youngster will play in Sweden next year for a little more experience. Still, if Tedenby or Parise shift to the right wing, the Devils would have a potent and speedy first line in their near future. Despite the lack of a transfer agreement between Europe and the NHL, Tedenby wasn’t worried about making it over to New Jersey and was quite proud of the fact fellow Swedes Erik Karlsson (Ottawa) and Anton Gustafsson (Washington) joined him as first round selections. “It’s a good year for Sweden,” he said right after his selection at No. 24. “Now we just need Jacob Markstrom to go in the first round.” Ultimately, Tedenby was one pick off; Markstrom was the first pick of the second round.Drafted 24th overall by New Jersey in 2008.2. Patrick Wiercioch, D – Omaha Lancers (USHL): After an injury-shortened season, Wiercioch lit up the USHL playoffs, leading all defensemen in scoring with 11 points in 14 games as the Lancers won the league title. Drafted 42nd overall by Ottawa in 2008.
3. Thomas McCollum, G – Guelph Storm (OHL): A big goaltender (6-foot-2, 205 pounds) who is always square to the puck, McCollum makes most saves look easy. Man, the Red Wings sure know how to pick ’em. Drafted 30th overall by Detroit in 2008.
4. Colten Teubert, D – Regina Pats (WHL): If the Kings are going to become Pittsburgh West in a couple years, they’re going to do it by scaring opponents away from their own net. Teubert and Jack Johnson will make anything near their goalie’s blue ice a war zone and the Regina product is excited about his future on the West Coast. Drafted 13th overall by Los Angeles in 2008.
5. Evgeny Grachev, C – Yaroslavl Lokomotiv (Rus.): Whether the Rangers can entice this 6-foot-3, 200-pound battleship over to Broadway is the big concern, but as a third-rounder, Grachev is certainly worth the risk. Drafted 75th overall by the New York Rangers.
6. Eric O’Dell, C – Sudbury Wolves (OHL): After starting off the season in Junior-A with the Ottawa-area Cumberland Grads, O’Dell saw his stock soar in Sudbury, where he posted 32 points in 26 games. Drafted 39th overall by Anaheim in 2008.
7. Philip McRae, C – London Knights (OHL): McRae gets a nice homecoming in being selected by the St. Louis Blues, the team his father, Basil, is best known for policing. Philip prefers to punch pucks into the net, so look for him to do more of that for the high-powered Knights next year. Drafted 33rd overall by St. Louis in 2008.
8. Jimmy Hayes, RW – Lincoln Stars (USHL): Ah, you know Hayes has a fan in The Hot List, so the next couple years at Boston College will be key to his development. He certainly has the frame and athleticism to be a potent power forward, it’s just a matter of growing into the role. Drafted 60th overall by Toronto in 2008.
9. Dmitri Kugryshev, RW – CSKA 2 (Rus.): As Nikita Filatov’s linemate, Kugryshev made the most of his opportunity with 58 points in 35 games. Will we see him over here soon? Speaking for his buddy at the draft, Filatov said yes. Drafted 58th overall by Washington in 2008.
10. Steve Quailer, RW – Sioux City Musketeers (USHL): Montreal didn’t do a lot of damage on the draft board, saving its splash for the trade front with the Alex Tanguay deal. But Quailer is an interesting pickup. The 6-foot-3 winger had a solid campaign in Sioux City and is committed to Northeastern University. Drafted 86th overall by Montreal in 2008.11. Matt Donovan, D – Cedar Rapids RoughRiders (USHL): Call Donovan the ‘Soundgarden’ pick of the draft; he was Superunknown. The Oklahoma native led his team with a plus-19 rating and scored 15 of his 31 points on the power play, but wasn’t even ranked by Central Scouting. He’s committed to Denver. Drafted 96th overall by the New York Islanders in 2008.12. Justin Azevedo, C – Kitchener Rangers (OHL): In more than doubling his point total from one year to the next, Azevedo became a great debate point before the draft; Are 124 points in the OHL impressive when you only do it as a 20-year-old? The Kings believe it is and Azevedo now has a pro home. Drafted 153rd overall by Los Angeles in 2008.13. Andre Petersson, RW – HV71 (Swe.): Touted in some circles as a real sleeper pick, Petersson comes from the same junior squad as Tedenby and put up an impressive 38 points in 36 games this year. Drafted 109th overall by Ottawa in 2008.14. Jesper Samuelsson, C – Timra (Swe.): This year’s ‘Mr. Irrelevant’ automatically gets credit because the Wings never take a draft pick for granted, even the last selection overall. Another Hakan Andersson find, Samuelsson is expected to spread his wings in Timra after being buried in a bad situation in the lower division. Drafted 211th overall by Detroit in 2008.
15. David Carle, D – Shattuck-St. Mary’s (prep): It’s unlikely Matt’s younger brother will ever get a chance to play hockey again due to a heart condition announced on the weekend, but new Bolts owner Oren Koules showed some real class in making sure Carle’s hard work on the ice paid off with a draft announcement nonetheless. Drafted 203rd overall by Tampa Bay in 2008.
The Hot List, a weekly roundup of minor league, junior, college and high school players we’re excited to one day see in the NHL, appears every Tuesday, only on thehockeynews.com. For more great prospect profiles and news and views from the world of hockey, Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.