Apr 292013
 

The most exciting part of the year is here. The season was abridged, but the playoffs won’t be. Two full months of playoff hockey. Glorious.

So many story lines, so many things to go over. Can the Isles make the Pens sweat a little? How healthy will the Blues or Kings be after their series? Can the Red Wings pull off an upset over the second-ranked Ducks? Is this the Canucks’ last chance? Can a re-vitalized Ovechkin get the Caps over the hump?

Without further ado, here’s the quick and dirty for all eight playoff match-ups in the the 2013 NHL Playoffs.

1 Chicago Blackhawks vs. 8 Minnesota Wild

The Blackhawks were probably hoping for Columbus because no team wants to deal with Zach Parise in the playoffs. Parise had eight goals to lead the Devils last year and it was pretty clear Parise was the Devils’ MVP.

Despite the addition of Parise, who scored 18 goals this year, Minnesota has been starving on offense all season. Dany Heatley’s out for the season after getting shoulder surgery, Jason Pominville is questionable for game one, meaning their best goal scorer right now is Devin Setoguchi. Ohhh, scary.

Continue reading »

Feb 172013
 

1) The Ducks kept rolling this week thanks in large part entirely because of 30 year old “rookie” Viktor Fasth. Fasth has won his first 8 NHL starts and has all but stolen Jonas Hiller’s job. It isn’t exactly fair to say the Ducks resurgence this year is all due to Fasth, but his .933 SV% and 1.78 GAA sure doesn’t hurt. Keep an eye on this guy. In a shortened season a goaltender this hot will make a significant difference in playoff seeding.  Continue reading »

Sep 032012
 

1.) Vancouver Canucks: The biggest problem the Canucks have heading into the 2012-13 season is that they have two of the top goalies in the world under contract. The back-to-back defending President Trophy winners shored up their d-core with the addition of Jason Garrison and should see youngster Chris Tanev patrolling the back end on a nightly basis. Ryan Kesler’s injury is worrisome, but his early season absence is mitigated by the overall weakness of the Northwest division.

2.) Los Angeles Kings: The Kings emerged as a powerhouse team during the 2011-12 post season. And with almost the entire Stanley Cup winning roster returning for the 2012-13 season, there is every reason to believe the Kings will finish atop their division. It will be interesting to see whether the Kings can maintain the torrid offensive output which saw them cruise to the cup last spring, but with Jonathan Quick between the pipes the Kings will have an opportunity to win each and every game. Continue reading »

Jun 202012
 

TSN’s reporting that Bobby Ryan is on the trade block again. Ryan became available after Randy Carlyle was fired and it’s believed the Ducks are looking for building blocks and not win-now players.

I’m kind of baffled by this.

Continue reading »

Nov 292011
 

According to Daren Millard and Nick Kypreos, the Ducks are shopping Bobby Ryan. Shocked? So am I. The Ducks’ trio of Ryan, Getzlaf, and Perry is the team’s offensive core, but the team’s cap structure may be too top heavy.

The Ducks are faltering this year with just one win in their last ten and currently sit second-last in the West, just ahead of Columbus. Part of the reason is Jonas Hiller, who is really struggling with a 3.22 GAA and sub-.900 SV%. Poor goaltending cost Bruce Boudreau and Paul Maurice their jobs (among other things, of course), but Randy Carlyle is signed through 2014, and the cash-strapped Ducks would rather get rid of Ryan’s $5.1M cap hit.

Continue reading »

Nov 262011
 

What a crazy week for the NHL. Despite the headlines being dominated by the return of the NHL’s premiere player, there was certainly no shortage of interesting stories to discuss. The Buffalo Sabres managed to screw up their grudge match with the Boston Bruins and the Anaheim Ducks continued their quest to be the perfect underachievers. Meanwhile, an unlikely player took over the scoring lead for the high flying Washington Capitals. Here are some points to consider from the NHL’s seventh week. Continue reading »

Nov 052011
 

With all of the “good” points from last week out of the way, it is time to go over some of the “bad” things that happened during the 2011/2012 season’s fourth week. We had a hefty suspension handed out to a known rat while another escaped punishment for a questionable elbow. Also, some preseason contenders are continuing to struggle. Here is the “bad” from the past week. Continue reading »

Shot quality matters

 Posted by at 1:03 PM  1 Response »
Oct 192011
 

I know intrinsically that the quality of a shot matters. I am more terrified of a clean wrister from the slot than a 50 ft. slap shot (unless you’re Dan Cloutier). I do believe that tipped shots do make the goalie’s job a lot harder. I also do believe that a shot from Zdeno Chara is of much better quality, on average, than Boris Valabik’s. So it perplexes me a little when Jonathan Willis at the Cult of Hockey says shot quality studies are a waste of time.

Continue reading »

Aug 232011
 

Will the Finnish Flash return for one more kick at the can?

In 2007 the Anaheim Ducks hoisted hockey’s Holy Grail, capturing the Stanley Cup in 5 games over the Ottawa Senators. This was a team brimming with Brian Burke inspired truculence and guided by a room full of seasoned veterans. However the 2011/2012 edition of the Ducks is going to look quite different. Gone are defensive stalwarts Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer. Then top-line players Chris Kunitz and Andy McDonald have also departed, as well as the vaunted shut-down line of Rob Niedermayer, Sammy Pahlsson, and Travis Moen. The reigns have been in the hands of the younger studs for several years now and it is their time to guide the franchise. But the most important questions remains, will Teemu Selanne return and can the Ducks contend without him?

Coaching

Randy Carlyle is firmly entrenched as the man behind the Ducks bench. Named head coach of a newly rebuilt Ducks squad in August 2005, he managed one Western Conference Finals appearance and one Stanley Cup in his first two seasons. An exodus of players hamstrung his team for several seasons after, but in 2010/2011 the Ducks re-emerged as a threat in the Western Conference. With a newly minted 3-year deal Carlyle will be the Ducks man this season and moving forward. He should have familiarity with everyone on his roster and will ensure the Ducks continue playing their hard checking, bruising style. He likes to ride his stars, which is good considering the drop off in talent after his big three forwards.

Centers

Ryan Getzlaf is the undisputed #1 center on this team. He is one of the more physically imposing players in the league as well as a top 5 pivot when healthy. Barring injury, he will wrack up the points both at even strength and on the power play. Unfortunately the picture becomes extremely bleak up the middle after Getzlaf. Saku Koivu will center the 2nd line, but lets not kid ourselves on his worth. He is far past his prime and other than an above 50% win rate in the dot, brings little offense to the table. Richmond native Brandon McMillan should see increased responsibilities as the team’s 3rd line center. He is a young and developing NHL’er who will work hard night in and night out. I doubt whether he can fulfill the checking role of a typical 3rd liner pivot, but frankly there is no one else to take this spot. The 4th line will be anchored by Kyle Chipchura. Chipchura works hard and can grind with the best of them, but does not bring anything else to the table. He will not see many minutes or offensive opportunities. OHL alum Peter Holland is next in line should one of the top 4 go down with injury.

*In my original analysis I accidentally overlooked Andrew Cogliano. Given his cap hit (a monstrous 2.39/yr for at best a 3rd liner) Cogliano will undoubtedly be on the Ducks game one lineup. However since his rookie season, Cogliano has shown no improvement, and actually regressed in several areas. He remains one of the quickest players in the league, but lacks the hands and hockey IQ to ever be an impact player at the NHL level. He will most likely take the 3rd line spot over McMillan, but shouldn’t do anything to improve the Ducks overall chances at winning the Stanley Cup.

Wingers

Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan are the top two wingers currently signed with the Ducks, and frankly they are two of the better wingers in the league. While it may be ambitious to expect Perry to repeat last years’ performance, 90 points is not out of the question. Meanwhile I expect Ryan to take yet another step in his development (power forwards always take longer) as one of these seasons he will emerge as a player on par with Getzlaf and Perry. Rounding out the top 6 should be Jason Blake and one of Matt Beleskey or Dan Sexton. Either way, the Ducks currently have one of, if not the weakest 2nd line in the NHL. Jason Blake was a legitimate scoring threat for exactly 1 season. His days of 50 points a season are over. Expecting 40 this year may even be a stretch. But for all of the deficiencies of this winger group, at least the Ducks can boast one of the top mustaches in sports. George Parros can fight and then impersonate a 70′s porn star at a post-game costume party. That is about it. However the fan favourite is an absolute lock for an opening day roster spot. Moreover with the atrocious depth at forward he may even see 3rd line minutes… we can only hope. The final two spots will be contested by AHL’ers Andrew Gordon and J-F Jacques and youngsters Emerson Etem and Kyle Palmieri. None of these bottom 6 wingers will see the ice-time to make a large impact, but Etem does have the highest upside of the bunch. It is unlikely he will crack the roster this year, but he definitely possesses all of the tools to do so.

But what about Selanne? Currently mulling over retirement, Teemu Selanne, should he choose to return, would bring instant credibility to the Ducks 2nd line. Last season he sported the 8th best points per game average in the league, posting an incredible 80 points in only 73 games last year. His return would not only allow the Ducks to ice two scoring lines, but would also provide a major boost to the 1st unit power play. Simply put, the Ducks are a far superior team when Selanne is in the lineup. He changes the dynamic of the power play and also takes pressure off of the “Big 3″ at even strength.

Defense

The Ducks D-core will once again be lead by the diminutive Lubomir Visnovsky. While  his 68 point campaign from a year ago will likely remain a career high, Visnovsky is still one of the premiere puck movers and power play quarterbacks in the entire NHL. With or without Selanne in the lineup Visnovsky will run arguably the most talent heavy 1st unit power play in the game and should provide a steady presence on the back end. Toni Lydman, the metal loving Finn, will complete the top d-pairing. He was vastly under appreciated while on the Sabres, and continues to be in Anaheim. He balances out Visnovsky’s run-and-gun style with rock steady defense and an enormous amount of blocked shots. Behind them Francois Beauchemin will slot in on the 2nd pairing with youngster Luca Sbisa. Ideally the more experienced Kurtis Foster would skate on the right side of the 2nd pairing, but that would leave Sbisa with sophomore rearguard Cam Fowler, who despite his good rookie numbers still needs to learn a thing or two about playing defense in the big leagues. Overall this just an average d-core. When compared to the defense typically needed to contend for the Cup, this group falls far short.

Goaltending

Now free from the concussion vertigo symptoms that began after taking a clapper to the head at the all-star game, Jonas Hiller is claiming to be ready to once again assume the mantle of the Ducks’ #1 goalie. Prior to his injury Hiller was having a Vezina worthy season. However I am wary to lump him in with some of the other elite goaltenders heading into the 2011/2012 season. A common trait among the elite is durability. Until Hiller proves that he can play a full season and not suffer fatigue in the playoffs (eg. 2009/2010 playoffs) I cannot classify him as a truly elite tender, despite his numbers. Without Hiller the Ducks have only Dan Ellis to turn to, which is similar to putting an upturned milk crate in net and hoping to contend for a cup. But hey, at least he feels his role is important to society.

Roster

Ryan/Getzlaf/Perry
Blake/Koivu/Beleskey
Sexton/McMillan/Palmeri
Gordon/Chipchura/Parros
*J-F Jacques *Teemu Selanne
*Emerson Etem *Peter Holland
*Andrew Cogliano

Lydman/Visnovsky
Beauchemin/Sbisa
Fowler/Foster

Hiller
Ellis

Summary

After analyzing the likely starting day roster of the Anaheim Ducks, are they Contenders or Pretenders? For the 2011/2012 season the Ducks are a Pretender. Despite an experienced coach and very top end talent, the Ducks simply do not have the depth required to legitimately contend for a Stanley Cup. They should be able to squeeze into the playoffs as one of the lower seeds (7/8), but will be in tough against the Kings and Sharks within their Division. Ryan, Getzlaf, Perry, Visnovsky, and Hiller (and Selanne if he returns) are all very high quality players. This is a core that rivals any other team’s. However the remainder of the roster is largely spare parts or raw youngsters. The Ducks are several key depth acquisitions away from jumping up to Contender status, even with Selanne in the lineup.

2011/2012 PRETENDER!

2011 Draft Grades

 Posted by at 3:02 PM  2 Responses »
Jun 282011
 

The first day of the draft featured no real surprises. Some teams made some great moves, others not so much. Some chose to focus on the draft while others continued the wheeling and dealing that has become so commonplace this summer. Here’s the original mock draft. (Rounds 1-2 and only noteworthy prospects taken in round 3 or later were considered.)

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (1), Oscar Klefbom (19), David Musil (31), Dillon Simpson (92)

The Oilers made no surprises by taking RNH first overall, then proceeded to round out their depleted defensive corps by getting Klefbom, a highly-regarded Swedish defender who has Erik Karlsson-like offensive upside, a shut-down type in Musil, and dipping into history a little by taking Dillon Simpson, the son of former Oiler Craig Simpson. A great haul by Steve Tambellini and I think adding Ryan Smyth is going to be a popular move. I don’t think I can fault any of those moves. Grade: A+

Matt Nieto (47)

The big move on draft day wasn’t the picks, it was getting Brent Burns for cheap. Now with the back end further solidified (much needed), the Sharks are much better and deeper team. Their powerplay is dangerous now with Burns and Dan Boyle, even though both are right-handed (Boyle is obviously the triggerman, Burns more the rover) and Nieto, a goalscorer, certainly is able to replace Devin Setoguchi, who must’ve been choked after signing a three-year extension to stay in the Bay Area. Grade: B for Nieto (aka Setoguchi clone), an A+ for the day.

Mika Zibanejad (6), Stefan Noesen (21), Matt Puempel (24), Shane Prince (61)

I don’t think much of Puempel (can’t play defense) and I’m not too familiar with Noesen (grinder at NHL level), but I Zibanejad was a great pick (made much more sense than Couturier, who I had them picking) and Prince is a splendid speedster with some great hands. With 63 assists for the 67′s, Prince was a major reason why Tyler Toffoli (Kings, 47th overall in ’10) had such a great year (57 goals). Bryan Murray‘s serious about this re-build and the draft was a great start. Grade: A

Mark McNeill (18), Phillip Danault (26), Adam Clendening (36), Brandon Saad (43), Maxim Shalunov (109)

The Blackhawks know how to pick players and I like all five picks. After losing so much depth due to Brian Campbell‘s contract, Stan Bowman completely re-stocked, taking a big centre, a skilled playmaker, a puck-moving defenseman, a power forward, and a mystery Russian that no doubt has some sick hands. Bowman covered all the bases so what’s not to like? Grade: A

Chris Gibson (49), Nick Shore (82)

Like the Sharks, the Kings big moves weren’t made with the draft, but rather acquiring a potential power-altering player in Mike Richards. It’s a foregone conclusion that Jonathan Bernier is leaving some time down the road, which makes picking Gibson a smart move. Nick’s older brother, Drew, is a prospect for Florida and both play for the Denver Pioneers. Grade: B+ for draft, A for the summer (would be an A++ if they managed to keep Brayden Schenn, but that deal wouldn’t have happened then).

Gabriel Landeskog (2), Duncan Siemens (11), Joachim Nermark (93)

The Avs were rumoured to like Huberdeau better, but I guess a Peter Forsberg parallel is hard to pass up and Landeskog was my second-ranked skater anyway. Siemens is a good pick although I think he went a little high because I see him more as a Bryan Allen stay-at-home type (Klefbom was available). Nermark plays for Linkoping in the Elitserien and was the top scorer at the Ivan Hlinka Tournament with 11 points in 5 games. It’s a great value pick in round 3. Grade: B+

Dougie Hamilton (9), Alexander Khokhlachev (40)

With such a young corps of forwards (Patrice Bergeron and Nathan Horton lead the way at age 25,Tyler Seguin is the youngest at 18), the emphasis is on replacing Zdeno Chara on the blueline sometime down the road. Thanks to the Phil Kessel trade and the Leafs’ (somewhat) unpredicted woes, the Bruins entered the top 10 and took the second-best defenseman in the draft. Khokhlachev is a great pick at 40, a high-end scorer that the Bruins can take a chance on. Grade: B+

Ryan Murphy (12), Victor Rask (42)

Murphy’s a GREAT pick but Jim Rutherford HAS to be patient – there’s no use selecting such a high-end defenseman and then end up trading him away for multiple inferior pieces (cough, Jack Johnson, cough). Murphy will follow top prospects Justin FaulkJamie McBain, and Brian Dumoulin as Rutherford revamps his blueline (which may still feature Joni Pitkanen, despite previous rumours suggesting otherwise). I thought a team might’ve taken a stab at the Swedish Rask in the late first (Detroit or Vancouver) but he slipped as the year went on and still a valuable prospect. Grade: B+

Rickard Rakell (30), John Gibson (39), William Karlsson (53), Joseph Cramarossa (65), Max Friberg (143)

Interesting that the Ducks went with a Swede in the first round, since the last Euro they took in the first round ended up not playing a single game for them (Ladislav Smid, 2004). Taking Gibson was great though, with Jonas Hiller battling some head problems. Friberg was a name that really popped out for some reason, and it was only through a little digging that I remembered watching the kid at the WJC for Sweden (he’s not on hockeyDB, so check out EliteProspects.com). He’s a speedy little guy, but like other late Euro picks you have to wonder if he has the skill, size, and drive to compete in the NHL. Intriguing indeed. Grade: B+

Ty Rattie (32), Dmitrij Jaskin (41), Joel Edmundson (46), Jordan Binnington (88), Ryan Tesink (162)

I really like the Rattie and Jaskin picks, as the Blues stay true to their draft trends by taking skilled wingers. Binnington’s the top ranked OHL goalie and might take awhile to develop, but that’s fine because the Blues are trying to get Jake Allen and Ben Bishop over that developmental hump. Tesink is yet another Sea Dog that will benefit greatly from playing with some high quality players. Grade: B+

Tyler Biggs (22), Stuart Percy (25)

Brian Burke loves his forwards big and bad, which means he wasn’t going to walk out of Minnesota without one of Biggs or Saad and Percy, his personal favourite. Biggs is your prototypical power forward – a bruising 6’2″, 200 lbs. winger with decent hands. However, you can’t help but think that Burke’s a little more than irked that he lost out on Mike Richards (offered a Nazem Kadri/Nikolai Kulemin package). Grade: B+, for getting the guys he wanted

Jonathan Huberdeau (3), Rocco Grimaldi (33), Rasmus Bengtsson (59), Vincent Trocheck (64)

Quite an eclectic group by Dale Tallon. Huberdeau’s a high-end scorer and he’ll be the future centre of the franchise (move aside, Stephen Weiss). Huberdeau’s not a Jonathan Toews-type player, far from it, but Tallon envisions this guy playing a similar role for a floundering franchise (I actually see Huberdeau as more Patrick Kane). Grimaldi’s a Martin St. Louis type, standing only 5’6″ but speaks like a champion. Here’s what he said prior to the draft about his stature and career:

“It’s impossible,” said pride. “Risky,” said experience. “It’s pointless,” said reason. “Give it a try,” whispered heart.

Hard to pass up on a guy like that although Hart Trophy material he is not. Bengtsson should not be confused for the footballer of the same name who plays for FC Twente in the Eredivisie (the Netherlands’ pro soccer league) but apparently wowed everyone at the combine with 3.6% body fat. Trocheck averaged about a point per game for Saginaw. Grade: B

Sean Couturier (8)

The Flyers envision Brayden Schenn and Danny Briere as their top two centres (I think Claude Girouxstays on the wing) and Couturier is a great number three. Word is that the Flyers would’ve picked Siemens (a definite reach, but they also need defensemen) if Couturier had already been taken, but his stock kept falling little by little since the WJC. Paul Holmgren sounded ecstatic that Couturier fell to him and there was no way he’d pass this up. Grade: B

Ryan Strome (5), Scott Mayfield (34), Johan Sundstrom (50), Robbie Russo (95)

There was no way the Islanders weren’t going to pick Strome to compliment John Tavares. Mayfield’s committed to Denver next year and he projects to be a number three or four dependable defenseman while Russo is definitely the more offensively gifted prospect (wore Mike Green‘s 52 for the US Development Team and committed to Notre Dame next year). Grade: B

Jamie Oleksiak (14), Brett Ritchie (44), Matej Stransky (165)

I honestly thought the Stars were going to take Armia, with their solid history of developing Finns (Jere Lehtinen, etc.) and they needed a centre with Brad Richards leaving. Oleksiak’s size is a HUGE draw but plays on an average team (Northeastern won just 14 games last year) in a really tough conference (Hockey East) which may or may not be a positive. Stransky, on the other hand, could be an absolute STEAL. A Czech native, Stransky just completed his first season with Saskatoon and any European who is willing to play junior hockey earns bonus points with me. Grade: B

Joel Armia (16), Dan Catennaci (77)

As TSN showed, this is the first European taken by Darcy Regier since… well, Dennis Persson in 2006 (0 NHL games). You can’t fault his logic – those North American kids have really served Buffalo well and if I ever became a GM (drool) I’d have a similar draft strategy. Most Finns play a rough and tumble game though, so Armia isn’t a reach. Catenacci follows the long line of undersized skill forwards (5’10″, 71 pts in 67 GP) in Buffalo’s system. Grade: B

Vladislav Namestnikov (27), Nikita Kucherov (58)

Steve Yzerman surprised me by taking a Russian, although given his stature in the game it’s hard to say no to him and the fine Florida weather. Namestnikov also plays for London in the OHL under Dale Hunter, which really almost doubles his value. Kucherov is an 18-year old who suited up for CSKA for 9 games and while I know close to nothing about him, it’s hard to imagine him NOT being your typical skill-oriented, speedy Russian. If Yzerman ever has trouble convincing these Russian kids to stay, I’m sure Igor Larionov and Sergei Fedorov are just a phone call away. Grade: B

Nicklas Jensen (29)

Was I surprised about this pick? Absolutely not, especially with how fellow Dane Jannik Hansen has performed. Jensen’s a player very much in the same mold, a hard-working, two-way forward who can play all three positions and has some scoring ability (thinking back now, the Johan Franzen comparison might be a bit of a reach). Sound familiar? It should, because this has been the Canucks’ MO for drafting since the Burke regime. Jensen will make the NHL but what sort of impact will he make? Grade: B

Tomas Jurco (35), Xavier Ouellet (48), Ryan Sproul (55)

It doesn’t shock me at all that the Wings took Jurco, who slipped out of the first round. They’ll take their time with him, of course, but I keep wondering when Ken Holland will make that big move and take a marquee forward to replace Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg in the future (probably never). Grade: B, because we know their scouting department is great.

Magnus Hellberg (38), Miika Salomaki (52)

With Shea Weber getting at least $6 million, the normally cost-conscious Preds may have a problem on their hands if ownership can’t approve another $6 million deal for Pekka Rinne. Hellberg was the first goalie to be taken, even though both Chris and John Gibson were ranked higher. Salomaki is a Finn, the Preds have been pretty good with those (Kimmo Timonen) and was among the top 10 European skaters. Did I mention these two players have some pretty badass names? Draft: B

Mark Scheifele (7), Austen Brassard (149)

I thought the Jets would make much more noise at the draft considering the strong contingent of fans they have, but the only ripples they caused was going off the board a little and taking Scheifele (not really sold on him yet either). With Dustin ByfuglienTobias Enstrom, and Zach Bogosian it made sense to pass on Dougie Hamilton, but I wonder if Kevin Cheveldayoff couldn’t have traded down… Grade: B-

Sven Bartschi (13), Markus Granlund (45), Tyler Wotherspoon (57)

Jay Feaster‘s first draft since his Tampa days went pretty well, although I was very surprised he didn’t go after a centre (Armia or McNeill, who I thought they would take) until pick 45. Markus, the younger brother of Mikael, is one of Minnesota’s top prospects. Wotherspoon’s a stay-at-home type defenseman with a bit of a mean streak playing on a stacked Portland Winterhawks squad. Not a bad haul but the Flames still don’t have a C. Grade: B-

JT Miller (15), Shane McColgan (134)

I’m not too familiar with Miller, but knew he was a kid whose stock rose considerably as the year went on. The Rangers aren’t averse to taking risks at the draft and Miller was ranked 23rd among NA skaters by Central Scouting. McColgan, on the other hand, was projected to be a first rounder but faded quickly early in the season, much like Ambroz, though he did recoup some lost value with 19 points in 10 playoff games with Kelowna. Grade: B-, but also a high potential for a C-

Connor Murphy (20), Alexander Ruutu (51), Lucas Lessio (56)

I know better than to question most of Don Maloney’s moves, but most Coyotes draft picks don’t blow anyone away. Even Kyle Turris, praised by Wayne Gretzky himself, took awhile to assert himself in the lineup. The sample size for evaluating Murphy is small (just 9 games for the USNTDP) and I didn’t even have him in my first round mock draft but the Coyotes obviously saw enough to make a bit of a gamble. Ruutu, no relation to Jarkko and Tuomo, is the son of the Coyotes’ scout, Christian Ruutu and plays in the SM-liiga despite having been born in Chicago. Grade: B-

Jonas Brodin (10), Zack Phillips (28), Mario Lucia (60)

If I remember correctly, Brent Burns was traded after they took Brodin, although I’m sure taking Brodin had NOTHING to do with that trade. I’m not sold on Brodin – at 10 I think it’s a bit of a reach, especially with Klefbom (19th, Oilers), Siemens (11th, Avs), Murphy (12th, ‘Canes), and Beaulieu (17th, Habs) still available. Phillips brings some much needed size to the Minnesota lineup and in a bit of a shocker they plucked Lucia from their own backyard, drawing cheers from Xcel. Lucia’s father, Don, is the head coach at the University of Minnesota. Grade: B for picks, C+ for the day (we’ll see how Charlie Coyle turns out)

Adam Larsson (4), forfeited pick (69)

The Devils got really lucky and they know it. Larsson’s just what the doctor ordered for the Devils’ cement-footed defense. The Devils usually aren’t big players on draft day although I would’ve liked to see a move to replace the forfeited pick (thanks to Ilya Kovalchuk and his first cap-circumventing contract). Grade: A+ for Larsson, C for the rest.

Joe Morrow (23), Scott Harrington (54)

Morrow must’ve been too good to pass up at 23 because I would’ve taken a scoring winger, like Jurco, Nieto, or Rattie. Long-term, I’m not sure where Morrow fits, assuming that Ray Shero‘s happy with his defensive corps right now (I would). Either way, that’s a decision for later, but what confuses me even more is taking another defenseman in round 2. Are the Pens going after a winger on July 1 that we don’t know about? Grade: C

Patrick Koudys (147)

Koudys wasn’t the only Caps pick but certainly a player I felt could make the biggest impact down the road. Entering his sophomore year at RPI, Koudys is a stay-at-home that may stabilize the Caps’ back end. For the most part, the Caps have been good at drafting but given George McPhee‘s aggressive ways (dealing away picks) it might be quite some time before we see an early round impact prospect from Washington. Draft: C, for nothing spectacular

Nathan Beaulieu (17)

Interesting the Habs went with a CHL prospect, considering that from ’06-’09 they took a string of NCAA players (Louis Leblanc played one year at Harvard before joining the Q), but at 17 Beaulieu was too hard to pass up. Of the four Sea Dogs players (Huberdeau, Phillips, Jurco), only Beaulieu is a defenseman. He may be tall, but it’s hard to see any Q defenseman play a dominant physical game. He projects more to be a puck-mover, and maybe a second unit PP QB. Grade: B+ for Beaulieu, a C for nothing else of note.

Boone Jenner (37), Seth Ambroz (128)

With that Jeff Carter trade (the Jackets haven’t heard from him and he’s yet to make a public statement) and these so-so picks (two players whose stock fell considerably, now the Jackets are just crossing their fingers), the question isn’t whether or not they’ll make the playoffs (they won’t) but how long Scott Howson will be able to keep his job. Anytime you can acquire a player of Carter’s calibre is a bonus, but he’s not the type of player the Jackets need, not to mention he’s got that hideous contract. Draft: B-, and a C- for all the moves so far.

Wow. That was long. Thanks for reading!