This is the third in a series of Canes Country votes of how the first 10 picks of the 2010 NHL Draft will unfold. We all have our own ideas of how things will play out and who will be available when the Canes select #7. I thought a fun way to decide things would be to take a consensus of the people here at Canes Country. What I will do is offer a few reasonable draft choices for each team. After a day or so, I will award who the “people” have selected and go down the list from #1 to #10.
2010 Canes Country NHL Draft
1. Edmonton – Taylor Hall
2. Boston – Tyler Seguin
3. Florida – On the Clock
5. New York Islanders
6. Tampa Bay
10. New York Rangers
We started with Edmonton and Taylor Hall edged out Tyler Seguin for the 1st overall pick. Boston was next and Seguin ran away with that vote. Now that the top two players are off the board, it may become a little more interesting. Florida is up next and their organization is always a mystery. The Panthers could be starting another re-build, they have many holes to fill (and depending how the re-build occurs, they could have more), and they have been known for trading picks. They have always been a defensive minded team and they have focused their last two 1st round picks on defense. They also might have a situation with their top left wingers. Their franchise player (David Booth) missed a lot of games this season with a serious concussion and his future might never be the same. Their best remaining LW (Cory Stillman) is not exactly a “spring chicken” and after next season, he will be a UFA. So, does Florida take the highest rated player in Fowler or Gudbranson, select Connolly to take over for Booth or Stillman, or perform one of Florida’s patent draft trades?
Cam Fowler – This would seem to be the most obvious choice. Florida is good defensively, but could use Fowler’s playmaking abilities from the blueline. He’s a solid two-way defenseman, but his best attribute is his passing abilities. He skates well, has pretty good size, and would be able to learn the NHL game from a guy like McCabe. He also has a decent shot, but I’ve read that some scouts believe he’ll have problems getting that shot to the net in the NHL. Florida seems to believe that you develop your team from the backend (how’s that been working out?), so a defenseman would seem like the logical choice.
Erik Gudbranson – So, the question becomes; who is the top defenseman? Gudbranson is more of the beast and has really worked on improving his offensive game. He has better size than Fowler and last year’s draft pick (Kulikov) is supposed to be a very good offensive defenseman. Selecting Gudbranson and pairing him with Kulikov could be Florida’s top pair of the future. Gudbranson has grit, maturity, and a big shot; but he’s not going to be scoring tons of points. If Florida is looking for more flash, they will probably select Fowler. If they are looking for a true defenseman, someone not afraid to do the dirty work, someone that would probably be in the NHL for the next 20 years, then the choice is Gudbranson.
Brett Connolly – Before you say this is too high for Connolly, give me a chance. If not for injuries this season, Connolly would likely be battling Hall & Seguin for the 1st slot. He has the skill, skating, and game to be an elite NHL player. He is physical, plays both ends of the ice, and most importantly; he knows how to score goals. Florida is a pretty good defensive team, what they could really use is more goal scoring. With Booth a small question mark and Stillman approaching the end of his career, they need another top-end LW. Frolik and Horton are good players, but they can be moved around to different positions and they could always be traded during the latest “re-build.” Connolly has the ability to be a top 6, possibly a top line winger that Florida could build around. I don’t think this option is likely, but it wouldn’t be completely stupid.
Trade the #3 Pick to Atlanta – Like I said earlier, Florida is a mystery and them trading down with Atlanta for their two 1st round picks wouldn’t surprise me. I think Atlanta realizes it may be on the outside looking in at the more elite talent in this year’s draft. Atlanta has a lot of good young players, but may be looking to find a top-level kid to help fill the hole left by Kovalchuk. I think Atlanta could be targeting Connolly, maybe Tarasenko. If Florida is going through another re-build, wouldn’t an additional 1st round pick be helpful? They could still pick up a quality player in the 8th slot and get a good player around the 20th slot also. Will this happen; probably not! Could Florida surprise their fans again; yes! If you choose this option, please write in who you think Atlanta would select.
Other – If you think they should do something else, please elaborate.