Sports Blog Nation's mock NHL Entry Draft enters day 7 with solid first round talent still available. So far, the QMJHL has not been tapped, no goaltenders have been selected, and only a few Euros and Russians have been taken. The Rangers, Flames and Flyers choices are up next.
For the New York Rangers at 19th, Jim at Blueshirt Banter selects 6' 2", 200 lb, Carter Ashton of the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Carter is the son of former NHL'er Brent Ashton. NHL Draft Notes describes Ashton like this:
"Carter Ashton competes hard every shift, every game. He has really found the net this season, scoring 30 goals.Good sized winger doesn't shy away from net or corners. Versatile, able to play all the forward positions. Will defend himself or teammates. Skating has improved tremendously from last season, making it a strength. A definite top 6 forward with great character."
My NHL Draft has a very optimistic assessment of Ashton's skillset as well:
"Near impossible to knock off the puck. Wins battles for the puck. Very good hands near the net. Underrated overall athleticism. Handles the physical game well. At his best down low and near the crease - has a knack for the garbage goals. Great ability to protect the puck. Boxes out like a basketball player when battling along the boards. Some question his skating, but I think it's a plus. Stride looks a bit odd, but has good speed, balance, and not bad quickness. Somewhat limited passing ability. Needs help from linemates to produce."
The Calgary Flames are up at the 20th spot, and Kent W of Matchsticks and Gasoline has selected Landon Ferraro, son of former NHL player Ray Ferraro, who plays for the Red Deer Rebels of the WHL. NHL Central Scouting's Blair McDonald sizes Ferraro up as follows:
"He's very good defensively. He has very good defensive positioning; he's always on the right side of the puck. If there's a turnover he's in good position right away. And he comes back deep in his own zone to help. He's very strong defensively, as well as being an offensive threat."
Hockey's Future has an excellent interview with Landon, in which he discusses growing up the various backyards of the New York, Islanders, Los Angeles Kings and Atlanta Thrashers on his path to becoming a first round pick.
The Philadelphia Flyers are picking in the 21st position, and Travis Hughes at Broadsteet Hockey selects Simon Despres from the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL. Travis sees Despres' skillset this way:
"He's big guy and has a physical game. Let's not shy away from it -- that's important in this town. But in addition to his size and physicality, he is a very fluid skater and as McKeen's draft guide puts it, he's a "natural puck carrier." He's also a very smart hockey player and reports from scouts say that it's rare for him to make a stupid play with the puck. He's also always in position and while he might not score many goals, he will not disappoint on a defensive assignment."
The rundown on Despres at Hockey's Future makes a similar assessment.
"At 6'4 and 215 pounds, Despres has the physical tools to make the lives of attacking players difficult as they enter the zone. Meanwhile, at just 17 years of age, he already has the poise and intelligence to make the safe and, more importantly, correct play in his own zone. His vision and ability to anticipate the play also benefit him in offensive situations, where he saw his point totals more than double over the previous year."
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