Sports Blog Nation's mock NHL Entry Draft continues today, with the Edmonton Oilers, Nashville Predators and Minnesota Wild sites announcing their selections 10 through 12. This is where it begins to get interesting and the draft order starts moving away from consensus lists.
The Oilers site Copper And Blue has chosen in synch with the TSN mock draft and gotten their mits on offensive rearguard Ryan Ellis of the Windsor Spitfires. Ellis was a standout with both the Canadian Junior squad and the Memorial Cup champions, but where talent and skill are unquestionable, size at the NHL level is a concern. Copper and Blue's Jonathan Willis quote's TSN's Shane Malloy on Ellis.
"He's arguably the most talented offensive player in the entire draft and if he was 6 foot 1, Ellis could have been the first overall pick. His hockey sense is elite by NHL standards and he processes information like a chess player - thinking three moves ahead. When it comes to having poise with the puck, very few - if any - are Ellis' equal. His puck skills rival any forward on this list and he can make pinpoint passes. Ellis makes smart, quick decisions with the puck and uses all his choices. His stickhandling skills can create time and space for himself and his teammates. He shoots the puck very well and has a talent and timing for getting the puck on net by finding seams in the defence. The kid has the two-step quickness and agility needed to keep larger opponents at bay and the footspeed to lead the rush. Unfortunately, Ellis is only around 5 foot 10 and 180 pounds so he will be susceptible to being overpowered and forced out of the play physically. To his credit, he is not afraid of rough play and takes his lumps, but Ellis will need to add some strength and weight before he turns pro. His experience winning the WJC U18s, WJC U20s and Memorial Cup will allow him make the jump to the NHL quicker. Ellis has the potential to be a number one defenceman in the NHL in his prime."
Ellis, despite size concerns, should fit snuggly into the Oilers style of play. When he matures, I believe he will actually accentuate their offense to a degree Edmonton fans haven't witnessed since the days of Paul Coffey - just don't expect the Coffey - like numbers of the Wayne Gretzky. Ellis will one day aim for 70 point seasons, tops.
With the 11th pick in the SBN mock draft, On The Forecheck, representing the Nashville Predators have selected Jordan Schroeder of the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers. Forecheck's Dirk Hoag notes that Schroeder played alongside Nashville's 1st round pick from last year, Colin Wilson at the World Juniors, where he stood out as a team leader. Despite being only 5' 9", the picks was a popular fan choice at the site. Central Scouting's Jack Barzee weighs in on Schroeder, listing the atributes that should see him through.
"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. He’s a great hockey player."
Hockey's Future describes Schroeder as a swift skater who should defy all odds.
"While some may feel that Schroeder’s lack of size could hinder his chances of being a top ten selection at the upcoming NHL Entry Draft, he has proven time and again that he is more than capable of competing against bigger and stronger players. Schroeder is remarkably strong on his skates and while he is still growing into his body, the strength that he now has he uses to great advantage. This can be seen in areas such as protecting the puck and his play along the boards. Schroeder has also demonstrated that he can handle the physically punishing aspects of the game as well."
Picking in the 12th spot, Hockey Minnesota Wild, have taken a risk and selected Edina High School's Zach Budish. The 6' 3", 229 lbs forward is well known to the Wild, from having played in their back yard. The risk involved in selecting Budish has to do with him missing his entire senior season, after tearing his ACL in a football injury. Budish had been on target to earn the state's Mr. Hockey award until then, and is committed to playing hockey at the University of Minnesota in the fall.derness, representing the
The Western College Hockey Blog has the goods on Budish, as describes him as follows:
"He has incredible size and strength that very few high schoolers could match up against. Budish's strength makes him a threat to score from nearly anywhere in the offensive zone thanks to a very heavy snap shot. What seperates Budish from other power forwards is his great passing ability and unselfishness with the puck.
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