By now, you all know what you are getting with top picks John Tavares (Islanders), Victor Hedman (Lightning) and Matt Duchene (Avalanche).
All three of them will make their respective squads this season. Tavares should kick things off with 65 points en route to a career that should see highs of anywhere from 90 to 110 points, with more goals than assists. Hedman will top out at 55 or 60 points, but you won’t see that kind of production until his late 20s. For this season, don’t expect more than 35 points and he should hover around 40 after that for a few years. Duchene’s production will depend on whether or not Joe Sakic returns. Expect 30 points if he does and 50 if he doesn’t. His upside is similar to Steven Stamkos, which is somewhere around 90 points.
Now, the best of the rest:
Evander Kane, Atlanta – It’s the right team for him. A line of Ilya Kovalchuk, Bryan Little and Kane makes poolies drool. He could probably use a year of seasoning, but don’t be shocked if the Thrashers – in desperate need of offensive depth – give him a long look in September.
Brayden Schenn, Los Angeles – The Kings have one of the best farm systems in the league and many prospects are poised to make the jump. Schenn’s selection made center Brian Boyle (traded to the Rangers) expendable. Luke’s brother is a year away and brings decent offense and all the intangibles.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Phoenix – He is an offensive rearguard, but with Ed Jovanovski and Keith Yandle in the lineup - and Maxim Goncharov and newly acquired Sami Lepisto in the fold - we’ll be waiting at least two or three years for him.
Nazem Kadri, Toronto – He’ll join the team in a year or two and work his way up to the second line over the course of three years. His point production upside is in the 70s.
Scott Glennie, Dallas – See Neal, James or Benn, Jamie for what you can expect here. Coincidentally, they are also Dallas draft picks.
Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson, Edmonton – His offensive upside is probably third behind Tavares and Duchene in this draft – yes, even above Kane’s. Two to three years away.
Ryan Ellis, Nashville – He is the most offensively creative defenseman in the draft, but the wait on him will be a while. The Preds already have a young defense corps and Cody Franson and Jonathan Blum are on the way. Something has to give before Ellis gets in.
Dmitri Kulikov, Florida – Another offensively gifted rearguard who could make an impact sooner, rather than later. If he wasn’t Russian, he may have gone in the top five.
Chris Kreider, N.Y. Rangers – Dominating against inferior high school competition, Kreider’s upside is unknown. He has good size (6-foot-2, 201 pounds), but needs to face better competition before his potential can really be judged.
Jordan Schroeder, Vancouver – Some opinions: He should not have dropped to 22nd overall; his upside is on the first line; and the Canucks do not have a lot of offensive forwards in their system, so we could see him as early as next year.
Mikko Koskinen, N.Y. Islanders – The big goaltender will actually be 21 years old in July, thereby reducing the wait time on him. The Islanders’ goaltending situation over the next couple of years is wide open right now.
Landon Ferraro, Detroit – The Wings’ system is so deep we won’t see him in the NHL for several years, but he has upside similar to his father, Ray.
Tomas Tatar, Detroit – High risk and high reward for this guy, but if there is a team that could best get the “reward” out of him, it’s Detroit. He has been compared to Ziggy Palffy. We’ll see in a few years.
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