It’s all well and good to speculate on where the top picks are going to land in the draft, but what about the teams with elite GMs? Banished to a pathetic existence of late-round picks and Stanley Cup rings, who’s looking out for these wet sacks of humanity? Well I’m hardly Mother Theresa, but if you’re asking for my help, here are some players with big payoff potential, should a team not need them immediately.
Detroit Red Wings – Joe Colborne, C, Camrose Kodiaks – Colborne is a favorite at The Hot List, because he grew about seven inches in a year and a half and is now an imposing 6-foot-5 and nearly 200 pounds. Scouts have soured on him a little, meaning the Wings could nab him right at the end of the first round. Thanks to the growth spurt, Colborne is still getting used to his new frame, but considering the numbers he put up this year, it’s not taking too long. By the time he puts in a couple years at Denver U., the Wings could have a scary power forward.
Anaheim Ducks – Tyler Myers, D, Kelowna Rockets – This is actually Edmonton’s pick, now property of Anaheim, courtesy Dustin Penner. Since the Ducks are playing with house money, why not take a chance on the 6-foot-7, behemoth blueliner? Scouts are saying he skates better than Zdeno Chara at the same age and with some seasoning he can be a regular on that vaunted Anaheim D-line as the old guard starts to move out. If the Ducks want to go the safe route, Kelowna teammate and fellow blueliner Luke Schenn could be available. GM Brian Burke will like his Robyn Regehr-esque game.
New Jersey Devils – Peter Delmas, G, Lewiston MAINEiacs – Eventually – several years down the road of course – New Jersey will need a new goalie. I know, I know, sacrilege. But why not invest in a young man who has already played behind a vaunted goalie (teammate and Kings pick Jonathan Bernier) and used the time to learn? No one can replace Martin Brodeur, but Delmas will at least be a quick study.
New York Rangers – Aaron Ness, D, Roseau High Rams – Minnesota’s reigning Mr. Hockey is a wizard moving the puck and in case you haven’t noticed, the Blueshirts’ D isn’t the most mobile in the world. With Bobby Sanguinetti already in the fold, Broadway could have one heckuva transition game with Ness on board as well.
Philadelphia Flyers – Colten Teubert, D, Regina Pats – Teubert has size (nearly 6-foot-3, 190 pounds) and snarl, which Philly obviously loves in its players. Think a couple years down the road: Derian Hatcher, Jason Smith, Kimmo Timonen and Jaroslav Modry are all likely gone, but a frontline defense of Teubert and Braydon Coburn would be downright nasty to play against.
Vancouver Canucks – Mattias Tendenby, LW, HV71 (Swe) – The ‘Nucks may have to trade down if they want to be sure to land this 5-foot-8 offensive terror. Of course, the lack of a transfer agreement with Sweden may also scare off suitors (think Alexei Cherepanov last year). Either way, Vancouver definitely needs scoring punch and Tedenby is a lightning bug who leaves defenders in his wake. Plus, Swedish is a pretty common language in the Canucks dressing room, which would help in development.
Ryan Kennedy is a writer and copy editor for The Hockey News magazine, the co-author of the book Hockey's Young Guns and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Wednesdays and his features, The Hot List and Year of the Ram, appears Tuesday and Thursday, respectively.
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