After weeks of suspense, a fan base exhales in abject relief. Central Scouting: "He is probably better than any other player in the draft from the top of the circle down at being a threat to score. He's an offensive player who is reliable in his defensive zone and getting better at that, but yet not asked to do that very frequently. He is pure offense and for his first years in the NHL will probably be asked to do just that."
Central Scouting: "Matt Duchene is a pure offensive player who also is a great penalty killer. He helps the Brampton Battalion in all facets of the game. A pure sniper, he plays the point on the power-play and is a threat to score on the penalty kill as well. He reminds me, probably most of the new breed of snipers, Patrick Kane, Sam Gagner and Steven Stamkos as he grows into his offensive position in the NHL."
Central Scouting: "He has power forward qualities from the blue line in. He's the type of player who doesn't like being denied access to the net. You can almost see when he's got the puck he's going to the net and defying people to stop him. He'll be a 200-pound forward in the National Hockey League. He plays like he's 6-2, 6-3, bigger than his size. He's surprised a lot of people with his strength going to the net."
Central Scouting: "Brayden is of the power-forward ilk. He has learned a little about the NHL from his older brother Luke Schenn and he knows how to go to the net. He is a threat to score at all times on the ice and dishes the puck very effectively to his linemates in getting the amount of assists that he does. He takes the puck to the net with the kind of authority that a Jonathan Cheechoo does, yet has puck dishing capacities that maybe a Joe Thornton does. Both are tough players, both are tough to move out in front of the net and Brayden fits that ilk perfectly."
Oliver Ekman Larsson
NHL European Scouting: "Oliver likes to play offensively, often carrying the puck into the neutral zone. He has the frame, speed and skill to dominate. He is a smooth skater and can handle the puck at top speed, but needs to use his size to his advantage more. He often quarterbacks the power-play and has a hard shot from the blue line."
Central Scouting: "He's big, lanky and skilled. He uses his size to accentuate his puck skills. Size, reach, stick handling ability, those long kinds of stick movements that Mario (Lemieux) used to make, like (Vincent) Lecavalier makes."
Central Scouting: "Scott Glennie was mislabeled earlier in the year as perhaps being only a finisher for often linemate Brayden Schenn. Yet Scott took matters into his own hands with an equal number of goals and assists and contributed greatly this season with a power forward type attitude. Glennie might remind the fan of NHL players with power forward abilities coming off the wall like Jonathan Cheechoo and Jonathan Toews -- that kind of offensive ability."
Central Scouting: "Jared Cowen made his name last year as a Memorial Cup winning member of the Spokane Chiefs and the comparisons that were thrown around at that time were that of Zdeno Chara. Physically he looks big, strong and rangy. Offensively he has that kind of contribution and if he, despite the pressure that we are putting on him, blossoms into half the player that Chara he is going to be a solid NHL player for years to come."
Central Scouting: "Magnus perhaps is the stereotype of the skilled Swede coming over here in recent years -- outside speed extraordinaire, ability to freeze defenders and make all his good moves work even more effectively. He was a good contributor to his team at the World Junior tournament and I think will be an essential member of any NHL team in years to come. He showed, at the World Junior championships, why the 1980 comparisons to Mats Naslund, Kent Nilsson and more recently a Peter Forsberg will follow him over to his NHL team. I'm sure he's going to be a combination of the kind of offensive flare and skills that have made those other three predecessors great NHL players."
Central Scouting: "He's a really smart, heady defenseman. His puck movement is excellent and the way he moves the puck around the zone is excellent. He's a real high-end offensive guy. He's got a great shot and he gets it through to the net. A lot of guys have their shots blocked, but he's got a real knack for getting it through, and that leads to a lot of tip-in and rebound goals. He's a smaller guy, but he's not afraid of taking the body. He shows no fear of getting involved in scrums, he's not intimidated."
Calvin De Haan
Garth Snow continues to deal, landing this pick from Minnesota for #16, 77, 182. Central Scouting: "Calvin shows a lot of patience and poise for a young defenseman. He has high-end puck skill and passing ability. He has a very good shot, hard and accurate, and a very good ability to get the puck through traffic to the net. He sees the ice very well and moves the puck through traffic. His skating is excellent, mobility, agility and speed. His biggest asset is his hockey sense. He makes very few mistakes."
Central Scouting: "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."
Central Scouting: "In his first year (in the QMJHL) he's been an all-around good player. He's a great skater; he can carry the puck and shoot the puck well. He's strong too, he can take big hits and they don't seem to bother him. What we saw this year is likely what we are going to see from Kulikov in the future; he's going to play the same way in the NHL. He knows when to join the rush, he plays defense first, but recognizes the holes. He can shoot the puck well on the powerplay and I wouldn?t be surprised if he played in the NHL next year."
Central Scouting: "When he is competing, he is very noticeable and effective. He is used both on the power-play and penalty-kill units, and at times he has been used at the point on the power-play. He skates very well, smooth, and he generates good speed. He has a very good shot."
Isles swapped their 26th pick with Columbus, then dealt this one to Minnesota for #12. Central Scouting: "He's such an explosive skater. It's pretty obvious he's a target of every opposing team because he's the engine that drives the train. Really, though, he's a world-class skater. I'd say he's in the same class as John Moore (Central Scouting's No. 8 ranked skater) and Josh Birkholz (No. 33) of this year's class."
European Scouting: "He has a very good shot. He is a right-handed shot and he is used on the power play, even in the (Elite) League despite being a young player. He is a very smart player. He could be a little more physical in his game, but that is something that he is learning."
Central Scouting: "The most impressive things about Louis Leblanc are his hands and his evasiveness with the puck; that separates him from other players on the ice right away. He needs to fill out a little bit yet, but he has the frame to be a big center. The other part of LeBlanc's game that I noticed was his vision; his ability to see and dissect a play and to make the right play. He's also very competitive and he gets involved in the play."
Central Scouting: "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."
Devils landed this pick from the Flames in exchange for No. 20 and No. 84. European Scouting: "He is a very good two-way player. He has a very good responsibility for his defensive duties. He's more a playmaker, a guy who sees the ice really well, creates a lot of scoring chances with his passing skills. He's very good with the stick and very good in traffic because he is an excellent stickhandler. He's a smooth passer with very soft hands."
The Ducks grabbed this additional first-rounder from Philadelphia with their trade for Chris Pronger, then sent it to Columbus for No. 26 and 37. Central Scouting: "His first two strides are like Paul Coffey and he has been labeled as a world-class skater. He is poised with the puck, he gets his shots through to the net and he has gotten a lot stronger this season. He resembles (Calgary Flames) defenseman Jordan Leopold and similar to Leopold at the same age he needs to get a little bit better at playing more aggressive and more physical, but John is going to be a one-two defenseman in the NHL."
Central Scouting: "He's a dynamic player, a leader and a type of player that has developed into a complete offensive and defensive threat every time he is on the ice. He has a rocket of a wrist shot and he can beat you by putting the puck in the net, going around a defender, or freezing the goaltender and passing it off to one of his wingers. The concern is going to be his overall size, like there was with Scott Gomez, with Brian Gionta and with Patrick Kane, but at the same age he is probably a little thicker and a little bit more compact than they were. Hes a great hockey player."
Flames got this pick from the Devils, for No. 20. Central Scouting: "Tim Erixon brings to his Swedish Elite League club team, the same kind of elite hockey skills that perhaps his dad, Jan Erixon, did for over 500 games in the NHL. A smart defenseman who can either lead a rush or support the rush from behind, he was on display at the World Junior Championship in helping bring his team to the final game."
European Scouting: "Johansson has a good selection of shots with a quick precise wrist shot. His overall skill level and stickhandling give him room to move the puck and shoot. He is a player with good offensive instincts and fine understanding of his defensive duties. He can play both center and wing with a consistent hard working presence."
Originally belonging to the Sharks, the Blue Jackets got this pick from the Islanders, plus slots at 37, 62 and 92, then sent it to the Ducks for No. 21. Central Scouting: "I think Kyle's got a little bit of Chris Drury in him. I look at his passion, his natural skills and his tenaciousness, and that's what I saw in Chris. He's a lot of fun to watch because he has that vision along with a wicked shot. He very seldom passes up the opportunity to make the right play -- he's in position to shoot the puck and has that insight into whether to freeze and dish or just let it go."
Central Scouting: "I think Philippe has more skills than his offensive record shows and a good upside. He?s a good skater, with good size at 6'2" and he can shoot the puck. He goes to the net well and has good ability to score."
Central Scouting: In his second full season in the Alberta Junior Hockey League, Olsen led Camrose defensemen in scoring with 10 goals (10-19-29) in 53 games and was selected to the CJHL Prospects game. He has committed to the University of Minnesota-Duluth for 2009.
The Lightning ended up with this pick when the Red Wings bailed out of the first round, taking Tampa's slot at 32. Central Scouting: "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." .
Central Scouting: "I think for a potential pro player, he's got the size and mobility. I've seen him many games, and he never seems to make a bad play. He's never going to get 100 points, but definitely, when you want a guy to play defense, he's your guy. He does it all, he'll block shots and he moves the puck at the right time."
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