This is it for the first round folks. It's Day 10, and more than a few SBN participants were willing to go seven rounds with this, but I gather that 24 hours from now we will all be looking back at this mock draft and wondering why the respective teams we cover didn't take our advice!
Joonas Nattinen, a center with Finland's Espoo Blues. Matthew made his choice based on how well Nattinen would fit into the Hawks youth plan.
"With Versteeg, Sharp, Burish and Kane having all played out of their normal positions last season, it's obvious the Hawks need some help at the pivot. Hopefully, Nattinen can provide some depth down the road in possibily the Hawks weakest position. The scouting report on Nattinen (or as Mjthor has already dubbed him - Natti Ice) also shows he's a skater that isn't afraid to drive to the net, plant himself there and isn't afraid to go behind the net and win some battles. In the WJC, Natti Ice also was a force on the draw, winning 63% of the time."
With the second to last pick, Christy Hammond at Winging It In Motown jumped on Nick Leddy. Going over the pros and cons in regards to Leddy, she lists the positives as follows:
The Red Wings organization is all about strong skaters who can play at both ends of the ice. GM Ken Holland has stated before that he will take a smaller player who can skate over a big, physical body who can't. TSN spoke with NHL Central Scouting's Jack Barzee who said this about Leddy, "He's such an explosive skater. It's pretty obvious he's a target of every opposing team because he's the engine that drives the train. Really, though, he's a world-class skater."
For the final first round selection of the SBN mock draft, Hooks Orpik at Pensburgh has chosen Stefan Elliott of the Saskatoon Blades.
Saskatoon head coach and GM Lorne Molleken states that " strengths include his skating ability, his snap shot and wrist shot, and his one-on-one defensive play. Stefan is a very intelligent player who uses his stick and body positioning to his advantage while in the defensive zone. He is not a physical player but his stick and body positioning make up for his lack in physical play. He possesses above average puck handling skills and can make a good first pass. Stefan is very good at quarterbacking a power play and his ability to read the play makes him an offensive threat."
Some think he’s going to be a steal coming out of the Saskatoon Blades a la Mike Green. I wonder though. I’ve heard some rumbling of skating issues, which are concerning, although more report this is a strength. He is described as a good two-way d-man and plays in all situations for the Blades. Elliot registered 55 points in 71 games for the Blades. He did become the first ever Saskatoon Blade to be named the WHL Scholastic Player of the Year, after maintaining a 93.3% school average in 2008-09.
Hockey's Future has the goods on Leddy, and speaks of him in glowing terms:
"While the added size and strength have taken Leddy’s game to a new level, it hasn’t taken anything away from his skating. The increased power has simply added to his speed and agility. Another area that his added strength has also benefited is his shot. Leddy possesses a tremendously powerful shot. He can get shots to the net, but could stand to shoot the puck a bit more. Leddy’s passing skills are also quite good. He can make nice tape-to-tape and outlet passes. He is very poised and patient with the puck and has no problem moving with it."
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