Thursday, June 19, 2008


The NHL Draft - Tomorrow; Jordan Eberle

The 2008 NHL Entry Draft will take place tomorrow in Ottawa. With Steve Stamkos going to some team in Florida that has won a Stanley Cup, the big story isn't who will be #1 overall. No, the angle for this year's draft, according to the league website, is defensemen. The league's site has feature stories about Zach Bogosian, Drew Doughty, Alex Pietrangelo, and Michael Del Zotto. They have some other interesting stories about the top Danish prospect Mikkel Boedker and potential top Russian Nikita Filatov. Plenty to read up on. I know this sounds like a shill, but the NHL website consistently has tons of features and articles to read up on all season long. It always impresses me.

Anyway. The draft. All those guys I just mentioned? The Devils will probably draft none of them. If the TSN mock draft is anything to go by, all those guys are top 10 picks except for Del Zotto. Even then, I doubt that Del Zotto will slip unless he suddenly gained a bunch of weight in a Makarovian fashion since the combine. So who will be around? Hopefully Devils fan and big defenseman John Carlson will slip to #21. Maybe Colby Robak has enticed the Devils scouts? Most likely someone else that I didn't cover in my admittedly poor anticipation of people who could be available when the Devils have their first round pick.

Hockey's Future, a site that focuses on prospects and a site that is currently enjoying this time of year, has all kinds of team previews. Most relevantly, Jared Ramsden has an extensive and proper article about the Devils' prospect system. I don't think the team desperately needs an elite prospect. There are only so many of those every year and the cost to get them is large. As good as Bogosian or Doughty are, would a big trade to move current regular players to pick up a 18 year old kid be worth it? Maybe if they are a sure-thing, but are they? I don't know - it seems to me that Stamkos may be the only one who fits that bill and he's already taken. And even if the Devils don't get an elite prospect in this draft, I don't think it makes the Devils weaker next season. If it's a continuing trend for the next few years, then maybe. But not now.

Anyway, Ramsden thinks Jordan Eberle could be the selection. It would be a good pick. The Devils have never used size as a reason to not select someone - just ask Brian Gionta and Zach Parise. Plus, Eberle's offensive upside and goal scoring skills will become very useful if they continue to develop to be useful to the NHL level. However, some reports available via a quick Google search are a bit troubling. Dallas Hicks at My NHL Draft says he could project to Peter Schafer. Not exactly an enticing comparison. It could be worse, it could have been Pierre Dagenais. NHL Draft Notes likes his scoring ability, but reading that the work ethic isn't there could be a red flag - especially for an organization that frowns on lazy play. This article from the Ledger Post states that Eberle is prepared to be selected wherever and it gives a good overview of how he got to be in this current position for Regina and his burgoning hockey career. Lastly, and going full circle here, NHL Video has a scouting profile of Eberle on YouTube - where he states that his full speed and strength are not his strengths. Though using his snubbing in the bantam draft for motivation, could quell any questions about work ethic.

Who will the Devils draft? Neither you or I know. See you at the draft party at The Rock tomorrow!

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