Sports Blog Nation's mock NHL Entry Draft is now into its sixth day, and the last few picks have deviated from the consensus order, as is to be expected. With certain players jumping up in rank, it is inevitable that others drop a few slots.
I get to announce my Canadiens pick later today, and I am quite pleased with. Before revealing who I settled on, here are the 16th and 17th overall selection by the Blue Jackets and Blues, respectively.
Representing Columbus, The Cannon have gone with Swedish Elite League defenseman David Rundblad. Dressing with Skellefteå in 2008-09, he held his own on the blue line as a 17 year old rookie recording 10 assists in 45 games, Rundblad also spent 10 games with the junior club, showing his offensive side with 8 goals and 7 assists.Shawn P. Roarke at NHL.com believes Rundblad has Mike Green numbers in him:
"Rundblad is 6-foot-2, the same as Green. Rundblad currently weighs 190 pounds, but there is room for the extra 10 to 15 pounds that Green currently carries. Like Green, Rundblad is a good skater who thinks offense first and always is trying to key the rush, be it with a laser-like outlet pass or, just as often, a hell-bent-for-leather rush up ice with the puck glued to his blade."
St. Louis Game Time were up next, and grabbed Phillips Andover's Chris Kreider, a player I was definitely holding my breath on. Kreider is a dynamic player gifted with lightning speed and a great set of tools. Scouts have tempered their drooling over this kid with consideration that he just might be playing at a level that he is too strong for. Bill Placzek of my NHL Draft.com states:
"His downside is being from a New England Prep school, Phillips Andover, the competition is far less a measuring stick than players in Junior A. He is so strong on the puck that if the opposition doesn't stop him in that neutral zone, they are gonna have bigger problems when Chris gets the the pistons at top churn. One stride to top speed."
Central Scouting's Jack Barzee compares Kreider favorably to Carolina's Eric Stall, adding:
"There's a flair about him and he definitely has a second gear. He has a little bit of Staal in him. He's not as thick as Staal, but is really upright and has a little niftiness with the puck. He's got all the tools, the size and the skating."