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Penguins vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

NHL Draft: 10 Players to Watch

Friday, 06.12.2009 / 9:47 AM / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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NHL Draft: 10 Players to Watch
Paul Branecky
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The NHL Entry Draft is now just two weeks away. Here are 10 players that I think may be a good fit based on what the team is looking for now, expected needs down the line and other intangibles from recent trends.

For the purpose of having a list that includes both North Americans and Europeans, we’ll list them here in order of the International Scouting Services ranking, with rankings from NHL Central Scotuing and the Hockey News also provided. In addition, testimonials from NHL.com’s Entry Draft section are included when available.

Again, these are just players that stood out to me when taking a closer look at the prospect pool, nothing more. Feel free to add your own or weigh in.


Landon Ferraro

ISS: #18  NHL CS: #18 North American Skater THN: #28
Position: RW Height: 6-0 Weight: 170

Another player with an NHL pedigree, Landon is the son of Ray Ferraro, who played 442 games for the Hartford Whalers between 1984 and 1990. Although that didn’t happen on Jim Rutherford’s watch, Ray Ferraro was teammates with Ron Francis during that entire span. In a more modern-day connection, Landon Ferraro played with Carolina center Brandon Sutter in Red Deer (WHL).

While size isn’t his strongest suit, he’s got the qualities you would expect from the son of an NHL player – smarts, work ethic and consistency. He’s also a very fast skater.

2008/09 Stats (Red Deer, WHL)
GP
G
A
PTS
PIM
68
37
18
55
99

NHL Central Scouting’s Blair MacDonald: He's very good defensively. He has very good defensive positioning; he's always on the right side of the puck. If there's a turnover he's in good position right away. And he comes back deep in his own zone to help. He's very strong defensively, as well as being an offensive threat."

Red Deer Rebels head coach Jesse Wallin: Ferraro is the most highly-touted of the (Rebel’s prospects). He's got great natural ability, he's got tremendous speed and he's got that knack to score goals that you can't teach. He's got that innate ability to find the net that makes him a special player."


Zack Kassian

ISS: #19  NHL CS: #10 North American Skater THN: #16
Position: RW Height: 6-3 Weight: 210

Most comparisons are to Boston Bruins winger Milan Lucic for his blend of rough play and scoring prowess, with 63 points and 136 penalty minutes in 61 games last season.

The rankings have him higher than 27, and the only reason I have him listed here is because his stock may have been hurt a bit by a disappointing playoff performance (just two assists in a four-game sweep). Fair or not, that can hurt a player (Tyler Myers fell victim to that last season), but how much? It’s a long shot that he’d still be around for the Canes, but he seems to be just what they’re looking for.

2008/09 Stats (Peterborough, OHL)
GP
G
A
PTS
PIM
61
24
39
63
136

NHL Central Scouting’s Chris Edwards: Kassian is one of the toughest guys in the OHL and probably the entire draft. Last season as an under-ager there were overage guys in the league who would not take him on. He has not fought much this season (because) he has not had to. He is at his best when he is playing physical and tough along the boards. He protects the puck very well and fights through checks. He has very good play-making and puck-handling abilities.

Peterborough head coach Ken McRae: Zack Kassian is a great kid that loves the game and approaches practices the same way he approaches games with hard work and intensity. (He’s a) big, tough right shot power forward with a mean streak. Very heavy shot to go along with a high skill level as well as a physical, intimidating style of play. Zack takes pride in his off-ice workouts and is a very well conditioned athlete.


Carter Ashton

ISS: #22  NHL CS: #12 North American Skater THN: #20
Position: LW Height: 6-3 Weight: 205

He’s got the size, but isn’t known to throw it around as much as you might think. That may or may not work against him. He’s been a teammate of Hurricanes prospect Zach Boychuk’s with Lethbridge for the past two seasons, so the scouting staff is obviously quite familiar with him already.

He’s also got the hockey bloodlines that the Canes seem to covet, as his father Brent was taken 26th overall in 1979 and played almost 1,000 NHL games for nine different teams. Like Kassian, the rankings put him a bit out of reach, but scouts were also a bit disappointed by his playoffs, where he scored just three points in 11 games.

2008/09 Stats (Lethbridge, WHL)
GP
G
A
PTS
PIM
70
30
20
50
93

NHL Director of Central Scouting E.J. McGuire: Carter is a solid prototypical power forward; he knows the game and really is astute at the power-play and penalty kill, offensive and defensive parts of his game. He has been complimented for being hockey smart, perhaps the savvy coming from his dad who played 998 games in the NHL.

Lethbridge Hurricanes head coach Michael Dyck: He is a power forward, for a big guy he skates well, he’s strong, he’s got a pretty good skill set, he shoots the puck pretty well and he goes to the net hard. I think that is essentially why he’s had success this year.


Jordan Caron

ISS: #24  NHL CS: #21 North American Skater THN: #33
Position: C Height: 6-2 Weight: 202

Another player with a good blend of size and scoring touch, Caron has power forward potential at the next level. That, along with his consistency, physical play and a complicated injury history reminds me a little bit of a young Tuomo Ruutu, although Ruutu was much more highly-touted at that age.

His numbers have improved each year, but there is a feeling they may be skewed by the fact that he plays on a good team.

2008/09 Stats (Rimouski, QMWHL)
GP
G
A
PTS
PIM
56
36
31
67
66

NHL Central Scouting's Chris Bordeleau: Jordan is a very steady, dependable player. He works hard. He's not a flashy player, but he plays his position well and also gets his fair share of points.


Chris Kreider

ISS: #29  NHL CS: #14 North American Skater THN: #24
Position: LW Height: 6-2 Weight: 201

Even as a bigger player, Kreider is one of the fastest skaters in the draft. That sounds great, but what makes him a little risky is that he hasn’t yet advanced past the high school level, so his numbers, although great with 55 points in just 26 games, are hard to gauge with a questionable amount of competition.

For the psychologists out there, he had a few really interesting out-of-the-box answers to some standard bio questions about his dream car and goal celebration. That’s not a whole lot to go on, but character is always a big plus as far as the Canes are concerned.

2008/09 Stats (Andover, US High)
GP
G
A
PTS
PIM
26
33
23
55
N/A

NHL Central Scouting’s Gary Eggleston: Chris is an excellent skater with explosive speed and acceleration. His short-distance speed is exceptional. He sees the play ahead of time and knows what he's going to do with the puck as soon as he gets it. He is an excellent passer and playmaker. His foot speed, combined with his anticipation and quick stick, gives him the ability to create turnovers and gain puck possession. He is a constant threat to develop breakaways on the penalty-killing unit. He has both an excellent wrist and slap shot, which he disguises well and releases quickly. He can score goals in a number of ways."

Andover head coach Dean Boylan: The scouts who see him know what type of tremendous skills he has and he obviously has great physical strength, but he's an absolutely great character kid. He's a great kid off the ice, a presence in the locker room and a young man who is forever looking to get better. Character is important to me and Chris is at the top."


Carl Klingberg

ISS: #33  NHL CS: #7 European Skater THN: #37
Position: LW Height: 6-3 Weight: 205

Has the size and isn’t afraid to use it. He plays a very physical brand of hockey, which he did not shy away from in brief stints in the Swedish senior circuit last season despite playing against much older competition. Is very competitive and scores a lot of points in front of the net while also playing responsible defensively.

2008/09 Stats (Frolunda Jr., Swe.)
GP
G
A
PTS
PIM
35
13
13
26
34

The Hurricanes typically don’t draft European-based players this high, but there doesn’t seem to be much risk here when it comes to adapting to the North American game.


Dylan Olsen

ISS: #34  NHL CS: #27 North American Skater THN: #41
Position: D Height: 6-2 Weight: 195

A poised, well-rounded defenseman who does a little bit of everything. Reminds me of Dennis Seidenberg with more of a mean streak, as he racked up 123 penalty minutes last season. 

The only knock here is that his academics weren’t strong enough for him to play at his first-choice college, which may say something about his work ethic and commitment.  There is still some uncertainty as to whether he will go the US college or Canadian major junior route next season.

2008/09 Stats (Camrose, AJHL)
GP
G
A
PTS
PIM
53
10
19
29
123

A few mock drafts floating around have him going to Carolina at 27.

 

Zach Budish

ISS: #55  NHL CS: #22 North American Skater THN: #44
Position: C Height: 6-3 Weight: 225

A risky player because of a knee injury that caused him to miss the 2008-09 season. He put up big numbers at the high school level prior to that, and he would likely be ranked much higher if not for the injury, which he suffered while playing football. Although he’s got great size and scoring touch, he’s not known to be a good skater. 

The team that’s brave enough to draft him could have quite a sleeper on their hands. If the Canes don’t get size with their first choice, he could be a good pick at 51 if available.

2007/08 Stats (Edina, US High)
GP
G
A
PTS
PIM
37
26
37
63
N/A

NHL Central Scouting’s Jack Barzee: Zach is physically mature in stature, has a good shot in traffic and has a strong ability to dissect the game around him. He’s a force, he’s hard to move off the puck and he can snap a wrist shot from the blue line. With Zach playing football and the two seasons overlapping, his criticism has been that he hasn’t had his skating legs under him, but I’ve seen Zach since he was 15 years old. I’ve seen how he has carried the team and made people around him better. He reminds me of Keith Tkachuk or David Backes at the same age.


Seth Helgeson

ISS: #48  NHL CS: #41 North American Skater THN: #58
Position: D Height: 6-5 Weight: 220

There really doesn’t seem to be a knock on Helgeson’s game, other than that he’s a one-dimensional stay-at-home defenseman, but every team needs a shutdown guy or two, right?

Another player with the mean streak to match his size, Helgeson is known to make life very difficult for the opposition’s forwards. 

2009 Stats (Sioux City, USHL)
GP
G
A
PTS
PIM
68
37
18
55
99

Due to an early October birthday, he’s also one of the oldest players in the draft, so he may be a little further along the developmental curve than most defensemen in his class.


Eric Gelinas

ISS: #72  NHL CS: #38 North American Skater THN: #46
Position: D Height: 6-4 Weight: 185

Another player with good size, he’s already 6’4” and may still be growing amid reports that his father stands at 6’9”. Despite his stature, he skates very well and also put up a respectable 39 points in 67 games with a Lewiston team that struggled last season.

2009 Stats (Lewiston, QMJHL)
GP
G
A
PTS
PIM
67
10
29
39
80
However, he may be a bit of a project as he’s prone to mistakes in the defensive end. There’s a lot of development to be done here, but it could pay off for a team that’s willing to be patient.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 23 16 6 1 61 57 33
2 TBL 22 14 6 2 77 60 30
3 PIT 19 13 4 2 69 44 28
4 NYI 20 14 6 0 68 57 28
5 BOS 22 13 9 0 57 54 26
6 DET 20 10 5 5 55 49 25
7 TOR 21 11 8 2 67 63 24
8 OTT 19 9 6 4 52 50 22
9 NYR 20 9 7 4 57 58 22
10 WSH 20 9 8 3 56 54 21
11 NJD 21 9 9 3 53 61 21
12 FLA 18 7 5 6 40 47 20
13 PHI 19 8 9 2 57 60 18
14 CAR 20 6 11 3 48 62 15
15 CBJ 20 6 12 2 49 72 14
16 BUF 21 6 13 2 36 70 14

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Nash 20 4 11 1 15
E. Staal 15 6 7 -6 13
J. Faulk 20 2 10 -8 12
J. Skinner 16 5 6 -4 11
J. Tlusty 20 8 2 -11 10
E. Lindholm 20 6 4 -3 10
N. Gerbe 16 2 6 3 8
A. Sekera 19 0 8 -3 8
C. Terry 17 4 3 1 7
V. Rask 20 3 2 -7 5
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 6 7 1 .903 2.71
A. Khudobin 0 4 2 .898 2.97