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 – Cam Fowler
4. Columbus – Erik Gudbranson
5. New York Islanders – On the Clock
6. Tampa Bay
10. New York Rangers
Well, Gudbranson really ran away with the vote for the 4h pick. I guess the belief is the Blue Jackets need a big, physical defenseman to help clear the crease in front of Steve Mason. Next up are the New York Islanders! The Isles could be a real wild card in this whole thing. They have a very young team and could use a player at just about any position. Will they select for a particular need or will they just take who they feel is the best player available? They could use an offensive defenseman like Gormley to help out Streit. They could use an offensive forward like Connolly to take some of the pressure off Tavares. They could use a great passing forward like Granlund to get the puck to Tavares. And they could possibly use a more physical forward like Niederreiter to work the dirty areas. Again, the Isle could go in almost any direction. It will be very interesting to see how these next two votes unfold; to see what players will be left for the Canes to choose from at #7.
Brandon Gormley – Gormley is currently the highest rated player coming from the QMJHL. He has been compared to Mike Green, but I’m not sure if that’s completely accurate. The kid has a very strong all-around game. He’s a little undersized, but plays in every situation and really “thinks” the game well. He probably projects to a more offensive defenseman in the NHL, but he can hold his own in the defensive zone. The Isles are pretty inexperienced on the blueline; the only known name is Mark Streit. Gormley would be able to come in, play right away, and should be able to help take some of the offensive load off of Streit. Having Streit and Gormley quarterback the PP with Tavares up front; now that could be a lethal combination. And who knows, maybe a more effective PP and one more year of experience will finally let this young group get a taste of playoff hockey.
Brett Connolly – I know I continue to list Connolly on just about every pick. I just really think this kid is talented and could be a star in the NHL. He has the skills, the wheels, and doesn’t mind crashing the crease. He could help take some of the scoring pressure off of Tavares and Moulson and could be grouped with either one. I think Connolly could really benefit being put on a line with Tavares. Tavares is great at getting into the perfect position around the net and his passing is really good. Connolly could be the beneficiary of some of those passes, as well as Tavares being the beneficiary of some Connolly rebounds. And this could be one team that might let Connolly stay up rather than return to juniors.
Mikael Granlund – While thinking who would be a good fit in New York, I kept thinking of a Granlund/Tavares line. While I don’t believe that Tavares is a great skater, he is really good at playing positional hockey. He always seems to be in the right area to collect an easy goal (at least some of them look easy). With Granlund’s puck control, vision, and passing abilities; I think he would be a great compliment to Tavares’s positional hockey. If I had to make a comparison, I would say Granlund is a smaller version of Nicklas Backstrom. I don’t think Granlund would come to the NHL next season, but the young Isle’s could make due until 2011/2012. I’m also not sure if Tavares would stay at center or move to LW and have Granlund play the center position. Either way, I think they could become the “Dynamic Duo” of Gotham – Long Island style.
Nino Niederreiter – This would be sort of an “out of left field” pick for the Isles, but it could work out in the long run. Nino is one of the more physical forwards at the top of the draft and the Islanders could always add a little toughness to go against the Flyers and Devils of the division. He plays a well-rounded game and might be just the right combination of size and skill needed to compete in the Atlantic Division. He would also have fellow countryman Mark Streit to help transition him to the NHL game. And we all have seen with the Finnish connection how that type of thing can help players. Again, this is sort of an outside chance pick, but Nino could be a good fit on the island.
Other – If you think they should do something else, please elaborate.