George McPhee is excited to draft or something. (Photo credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
On Sunday, the NHL Draft will be held in Newark, New Jersey. Yesterday, I looked at the trade value of the Caps first-round pick (23rd overall) and why it could be smart to trade down from their current position. Today, I present the players the Caps could select if they decide to use the first-round pick in this extremely deep draft.
Эту статью также можно прочитать на русском в блоге “Грустная Игуана” на Sports.ru.
Programming note: This post is also available in Russian on the “Sad Iguana” blog over at Sports.ru.
Rankings: Bob McKenzie: 26, Craig Button: 26, The Hockey News: 28, Future Considerations: 22
Pros: The Illinois native is a perfect example of a player who plays much bigger than he is. Hartman is a great hitter and he works hard every night and every shift. He’s an exciting player, energizing his teammates and crowd not only with the post-whistle shenanigans and hitting, but with the great ability to create rushes. Hartman’s combo of speed and hockey IQ is extremely rare for the guy who plays in the pest role. Not many guys can make a beatiful cross-ice pass and five seconds later talk trash to the defenseman — Hartman does it on a nightly basis. Some scouts also note Hartman’s ability to shut down opposition’s top line. His chemistry with Tom Wilson could really help the Caps sooner rather than later.
Cons: His size is far from perfect for an agitator and it remains to be seen whether he’ll be able to take his fearless, agressive play to the next level. However, even if his offense doesn’t translate to the NHL level, Hartman will most likely be a very good bottom-six player. He’s not likely to be a primary offensive weapon on a playoff team, but with the right group of top forwards, he could fill a secondary scoring role. He does have a habit of taking bad penalties too often.
NHL comparable: Ryan Callahan/Brad Marchand mix
Potential: Very good complementary top-six player
Rankings: McKenzie: 21, Button: 27, THN: 21, FC: 26
Pros: Another power forward who works hard. Unlike Hartman, Rychel is more of a shooter than passer. And you can’t blame him for that — his wrister and slapper are great for 18-year-old who prides himself primarily for playing a two-way game. He’s not afraid of hitting, but his penalty totals show that most of the time he doesn’t cross the line between “tough” and “dirty.” He has good straight line speed and scores goals due to his ability to grind the ice every shift. He’s the son of former NHL player and current Spitfires GM Warren Rychel, though Kerby is projected to be more of an offensive force than his father.
Cons: Other than his shot, Rychel’s offensive tools receive mixed reviews. Some question if he has the creativity and hockey IQ to become an all-around offensive force in the NHL; he’s not a fancy player by any means. He also needs to work on his skating and agility. Like Hartman, he may end up being very good bottom-six player instead of the second-line forward he’s projected to be.
NHL comparable: Andrew Ladd
Potential: Scoring power forward
Rankings: McKenzie: 17, Button: 13, THN: 20, FC: Not in top-30
Pros: Size — Morin is the tallest of the potential top-60 picks and he is the player who uses size to his advantage by hitting or using his reach to strip the puck away. He’s not afraid of rough stuff, being a regular in the post-whistle scrums. He improved significantly throughout the year, which led to his stock rising dramatically. On the offensive side, Morin made a huge step forward, showing vision and hands unusual for a 6’7″ d-man. Scouts also like that Morin plays simple and safe hockey defensively.
Cons: Discipline is a concern with Morin. He also needs to improve his agility to be able to contain shiftier forwards. To become effective in the NHL, Morin will also have to add more than a few pounds — his weight around 200 lbs is minuscule for a big guy. His injury problems this year are concerning as well.
Zdeno Chara Jeff Schultz Luke Schenn
Potential: Solid second-pairing defenseman
Rankings: McKenzie: 22, Button: 21, THN: 30, FC: 16
Pros: Another behemoth from Rimouski, Gauthier is a strong forward who can skate, win faceoffs and play on both sides of the puck. He’s got a good shot and can handle the puck pretty well. Gauthier is also effective when going to the dirty areas — in front of the net or along the boards — and he’s willing to do that. A good defender, Gauthier knows how to win the battles and steal the puck. He’s also a versatile player who can play all three forward positions.
Cons: Opinion on Gauthier’s true offensive potential differs widely. Some scouts think that he’s able to be an offensive force merely because of his physical advantage over peers — that would largely be negated as a pro. Some also question his competitiveness. His physicality, too, is suspect. Unlike teammate Morin, Gauthier doesn’t have the mean streak to go along with the size.
NHL comparable: Brandon Sutter
Potential: Second-line center
Rankings: McKenzie: 27, Button: Outside of top-30, THN: 12, FC: 24
Pros: Hagg is one of the mystery men of 2013 Draft. He possesses an outstanding shot, is solid skater, and has good size. He also knows how to play defense and start the attack. This year, Hagg played for Sweden at WJC after injuries sidelined many of the Swedish top defensemen and he didn’t disappoint at the big stage. He’s also a pretty smart player.
Cons: Work ethic and consistency are big question marks in determining Hagg’s potential. Playing simple and minimalistic defensive hockey, he sometimes lacks the passion that can help at crucial moments. He also needs to be smarter using his body — at times he’s unnecessarily aggressive while in other situations he passes up the opportunity to show his physicality altogether.
NHL comparable: Fedor Tyutin
Potential: Two-way second-pairing D-man
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