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Prospect Info: 2018 NHL Draft - Shall We Begin?

Discussion in 'Philadelphia Flyers' started by Magua, Aug 14, 2017.

  1. Magua

    Magua 5 For Tomahawking

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    Been watching a handful of Hlinka games on tape this weekend -- mainly paying attention to Canada and Sweden, along with some Finland and Russia and Czech Republic, where I tried to keep an eye out for a main guy or two, when they played them -- and thought I'd start a thread for the 2018 draft. Never too early, right?

    Two impressions right off the bat, even if I've seen a good number of these guys before, and nothing that hasn't been said elsewhere.......it's hilarious that no one could skate in the last draft. But this draft? Almost everyone is a plus skater -- it's absurd. That and the 1st round (maybe beyond) looks jam packed with talent, especially for Canada, who could take over the 1st round. It'd be nice to have 2 1st rounders in this draft, eh? Maybe I'll post briefly about some others at another time, but I'll just talk about Canada for now:
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2017
  2. BrindamoursNose

    BrindamoursNose Registered User

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    Is this a Game of Thrones reference?
     
  3. Magua

    Magua 5 For Tomahawking

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    Forwards


    Ok. I will start with Jack McBain, who basically was Canada's 1C. Considering he plays in the OJHL and is going the NCAA route, I'm glad I got a strong impression of him.....and it was a good impression too. He basically looks like this year's version of your Jordan Staal adjacent top 10 pick. He's 6'3, uses every bit of it to battle along the boards and bull his way through while puck protecting (he wins almost every battle), very smart 2-way player, good hands, though he's more workman like offensively than dynamic. But he is a strong skater, who can create separation even off the rush and shows good footwork in tight too. Lot of cliches in there, but he's just that kinda guy. He looks like a super high floor, solid ceiling 50-60 point potential 1B/2A.

    Joe Veleno is pretty obviously the most dynamic Canadian forward in the draft, with his elite skating and hands, and he certainly helped his stock entering the season. He was playing LW, not his usual center spot besides some draws, and I honestly thought he looked like a good match for the wing long-term. Every once in a while he would make a weird play with the puck or had a habit of skating himself into corners and losing it. Thought maybe they were hockey sense issues, but the more I watched the more that seemed to mostly fade. Still not sure I'd call his hockey sense better than above average, but maybe that's why I could picture him at wing and maybe why he's not quite as good as he could be. But he took over so many shifts offensively and there's something to be said about a player who the puck always seems to follow. And his compete and physical game were top notch. Threw a bunch of Forsberg reverse hits. Hockey Prospect has him at #17, but we'll see. I know the hype is not what it was a couple years ago and maybe his name has gotten a bit stale, but he looks to me like he could still be a top 5-7 pick.

    Akil Thomas and Barrett Hayton mostly played RW and C on the same line (Thomas is a natural center though, and he took some shifts there....but I did like him at wing. Could see Hayton having winger versatility too). They kind of look like similar tier prospects to me. Even back to last year's u18s, I thought Thomas looked good as a 17 year old. I really liked what I saw. Here he kept standing out to me on/off the puck. He does remind me a lot of Kyrou in his size, his ability to play down low with guys on his hip, soft hands, and strong, deep knee bend skating with deceptive gear changing. Definitely a shooter too. My question on him entering the season is if he can take over games offensively and be a little more dynamic. He played good, structured, cycle hockey, but I do want to see if he has another level creating. Like him a lot tough. Hayton too, who isn't ranked by anyone yet as a 1st rounder, but that's probably going to change. He scored a lot of points, yeah, but he was used in every situation for Canada, all strengths, and he looked awesome besides the scoring. Competed like a bas***d in the dirty areas, super smart, excellent skill as a passer/shooter, quick feet. First reaction was him being a better Anderson-Dolan. It's going to be fun seeing him and Frost center the top two lines for SSM. Sure I'll be watching a lot of him to get a better gauge. They both seemed like "Flyers type" picks fwiw. Maybe they'll be in the vicinity of their pick.

    Benoit-Olivier Groulx -- son of coach Benoit Groulx don't cha know! He wasn't used as much as McBain and Hayton, but he was getting good top 9 center minutes. He hasn't been entirely what people thought (HP has him as their #28 prospect) as a former #1 Q pick, but I think it is maybe because he looks like to me like more of a project than that junior draft status says. A lot of what I saw I really liked; he gave me good vibes. Maybe he's a project, but all the pieces could be there to be a potential beast 2-way PWF one day. I could definitely see flashes of it at the Hlinka. He's big, his top gear in skating can devour ice, he is very smart, he plays a really structured game, there's little he is not above average in skills-wise. But I think his first few strides are a bit mushy, his footwork can at times be clumsy in tight, and his core strength has some work to do. Battles hard, but combine those things and he would fall down a lot and get knocked off a few too many pucks or lose his balance. Only a Tkachuk has the ability to be a Master Whirling Dervish. Depending on where he goes and what he does this year, he struck me as another Flyers type player.

    Gabriel Forter and Ty Dellandrea were very good and feisty too, albeit in 4th line/PK roles. Did their jobs well, even if the scoresheet will not show it. Seeing them in bigger minutes will be nice. Only forwards I can say I flat-out did not like were Anderson MacDonald and Serron Noel, more so MacDonald, who seemed like an outright negative at times. He might have some character issues too going by rumors. They are both big, super toolsy, fast.......and I got shoddy IQ vibes from both. Decision making bordered on terrible, especially for "AMac" *mischievous face*. They were given a ton of prime usage and did little with it. Nolan Foote was good too, and moves a lot better than his bro, but he's a 2019.



    Defensemen


    I thought Jared McIsaac was meh at the u18s, and that was my lingering thought of him entering this tournament -- that maybe he was overrated. But he could not have done a single thing more to knock my socks off. Right now I would probably rank him as my #2 d-man in the draft. He didn't see any PP usage (neither did Jett Woo, who was mainly his partner on the top pair and PK, but they had so many PP specialists on Canada). But he was pretty much Canada's #1 in every other way and played like it. I saw his hockey sense dinged a bit elsewhere, but I did not remotely see it. He controlled play so well. And God knows I complain about the hockey sense of like every other prospect. He was aggressive with his pinches, his gaps (first game I saw, against Finland, he actually pulled a classic Gostisbehere route interception and skated it the other way for an amazing assist -- but it was consistently impossible to gain entry on him), transitioning play with his own strong skating or with intelligent passes, short or long. His coverage defense was strong; so were his o zone chops, despite no PP time. He was a complete rock in all 3 zones and looked the part of a future top pair 2-way d-man.

    So did Jett Woo. I love Jett Woo, and he had 0 points in 5 games. Huh, you say? He was amazing and another rock who did a lot of the dirty work and improved each game. He could have and should have gotten a few points because the chances were there; he did not, but it was fluky to me. Still not entirely sure he's not more of a 5v5/PK heavy minutes eater than a future PP d-man. I think his offensive zone work can be a little simplistic/stationary (McIsaac is better here), and his strengths are more defensively and puck moving. Such a good compliment to any style d-man, played with most of them in the tournament. I will say it right now, because he makes me think it every time -- he looks and plays like a lesser version of Provorov. Same build, very physical and will use his leverage, very good skater (he skated better than I remembered last season), and almost eerily calm and poised with or without the puck. Another guy whose NZ defense and OZ pinching is exemplary. His defense 1-on-1 or in coverage is great, and he has such feel for the play. When he gets the puck, you better believe he is getting it out with possession, either by calmly eluding a couple forecheckers himself, or making a hard pass on the tape. Picture of efficiency. He was essential to that team, points in small sample be damned.

    I know Calen Addison (who was very good as an undersized offensive d) and Ryan Merkley (driving me nuts as usual) and Ty Smith (still unsure what my read is on him other than he is an excellent skater and pretty good overall......but how good, especially offensively?) will get more attention with the points and whatnot, but Kevin Bahl and Noah Dobson were excellent as more of a shutdown/PK duo. Played a big role as the Hlinka rolled on. Bahl is a giant at like 6'6 and 220lbs, but HP has him just in their pre-season top 31, and I saw why. Won't blow you away, but for all the crappy skating, iffy puck skilled big defensemen that come around, here is one who can actually move pretty well and can move the puck fairly well too. Showed some good aggressive reads too in all zones. Nothing fancy, but he did the trick. Dobson is interesting too. He has got pretty good size, a strong skater, good puck moving instincts, good defensively in DZ and NZ. Another not flashy type, but efficient and and calm does a lot of subtle things right. Or perhaps that was merely his role he played at the Hinka. Does seem higher ceiling than Bahl, with more 2-way potential. Had a very strong rookie year in the Q for the Titans last season. He is not there yet, but he gave me vibes like he could be a late 1st round type.....he's a RHD too. Someone I wonder about relating to one of our late 1sts perhaps, depending on how he develops.

    RUSSIA


    Dmitri Zavgorodny made some noise having led the tournament with 10 points in 5 games. One of the youngest players in the class too. He's a skilled winger, though I'm not sure he is quite as high-end skilled as that stat line indicates. Don't get me wrong: he's very skilled and very quick, though they are both maybe not what I'd label "dynamic." But he catches your eye because, while 5'9, he's not an undersized perimeter type, and he plays above size. He's a buzz saw: forechecking, hitting, strong boards/cycle work, fully engaged all over the ice driving his team's play forward. You knew when he hit the ice because he was all over the place virtually every shift. Spent a good amount of time PKing as well. Smart and detailed in his decision making on and off the puck, so none of his buzz saw play felt like wasted energy. He has great feel and got stuff done -- beyond the points. Want to emphasize that because his shifts were consistently solid, whether he scored or not, and my praise is not a case of stat watching. He could've scored 4-5 points, and I'd sing the same tune, though finishing plays never hurts. But he reminded me more of, say, Dillon Dube than someone truly dynamic like Konecny. It is a compliment though......I really like Dube and think he is underrated as prospects go.

    It's possible I am underselling his puck skills somewhat because he didn't force them, often choosing to make the smart play instead (the all-around skating I'd stick to saying is "good," not "great," and he's more quick than speedy). Now, for example, I don't think Kirill Kaprizov is someone with truly standout tools as an undersized player, not to downplay his talent. To me he's more a whole is greater than the sum of his parts type -- with his compete and instincts being his linchpin. I think a lot of what I wrote about Zavgorodny would fit into Kaprizov's profile, not that I'm saying he'll be Kaprizov. But his compete and instincts, on top of the skill bedrock, feel like what make him go. Now, being Russian + undersized + QMJHL (he will play for Rimouski) will probably drop him more than he should because that's the trifecta of scouts looking at you funny. But he looks like a real player and potential steal candidate when you know he goes later than he should. The Q will provide ample viewings.



    SWEDEN


    In the same mold as Zavgorodny, I must mention the Swedish winger, Jonatan Berggren. He doesn't have much buzz and is under the radar compared to Zavgorodny, but this kid looks like a big potential sleeper. Another undersized (5'10) player, with a summer birthday, who doesn't play small. He was a lot more than the flash he'd showcase, and he'd show a little more of it than Zavgorodny. I think he's slightly more dynamic, or at least faster than him. But also intelligent and a worker. Berggren is quite stocky, so he was a handful along the wall too.

    Berggren played in the bottom 6 with grinders, saw no PP time (he was THE most skilled/dynamic forward on the team, so it was baffling), and had weird usage in general but kept on scoring and generating at ES. I only noticed him -- and had to look him up -- because he blew me away, even though I was paying more attention to others at first. Wherever the play was, there he was, making stuff happen, even on the forecheck or off puck. He just knew how to read the play. Drew a lot of penalties too. He oddly got benched for a period+ in the bronze medal game for (as was told to me) trying to skate into the middle of the ice with the puck too much instead of playing it safer. He wasn't turning it over more than anyone else, and it wasn't remotely effort related. He was just making skilled plays and using space to my eye. Mixed messages considering the coach let Boqvist go on adventures, and others were making more egregious mistakes, and Berggren was very much having consistent tangible results. Bottom 6 must play like bottom 6, I guess? The coach stopped being a moron, put him out again in the 3rd, and he sparked the team to victory with their first goal and was used in the top 6, for the first time in the tournament to my knowledge, the rest of the game. Even started OT. Truly, it was all ripped right out of the Hakstok playbook. Regardless, Berggren impressed me a heckuva lot. Could have fooled me that he wasn't on the radar as a 1st-2nd round talent.

    Filip Hallander, on the wing, and Jacob Olofsson, at center, were used as the top two forwards for Sweden, though on different lines (mostly). Given they are both in Hockey Prospect's Top 31, I paid close attention to them. Thought they were intelligent players, with honest and mature 2-way games, good size. Hallander especially could separate off the rush skating down the wing in stride. They looked relatively high floor and played pro games......offensive ceiling was my concern. Nothing deficient but also nothing stand-out in the skills/creativity. They played meat and potatoes hockey, but I think Olofsson had better awareness in the o-zone and was more patient with the puck -- likely why he's a center. Hallander was more of a handful along the wall/forecheck, but I got some 3rd line checker vibes from him, though he had decent enough hands and could make plays from the boards too. Wondered if Olofsson was more a 3C type as well. My gut feeling was they both seemed more like safe-ish 2nd rounders. I expected a bit more to be honest, though they both appear to be solid, useful players for what they bring.

    Adam Boqvist was as advertised. He does play a Karlsson-lite game, as many of his fans like to point out. The style/mannerisms are pretty eery. No one is perfect though, and I thought his game, at times, could stray into structureless. Talent like his always will walk the line in terms of playing with risk -- and I love that -- but there still is a middle ground, even for someone like Karlsson. Boqvist did things consistently like playing too deep for too long, racing with or even ahead of his forwards as soon as his partner touched the puck, not using his partner enough in transition, and making too many unnecessary home run pass attempts (though he made some beauties). And in the o-zone, sometimes he would get impatient and shoot muffin wristers from the blue line instead of letting a play develop (his shot might be something he could improve on). But his talent and offensive IQ is immense, and he wasn't making any egregious mistakes out there hurting his team while doing these things *cough* Merkeley *cough*. Boqvist had good feel for when to ramp it up; just trying a little too hard to be dynamic at times. Defensively he held his own, though his gaps were too loose through the NZ. I simply would like to see him play a bit more mature/structured, specifically in transition. Still amazingly one of the youngest players in the class.

    Tangentially, making a case for Hughes v. Boqvist will be interesting, each having some things he does better than the other, but also similarly needing to inject more maturity into their games, most notably in transition (Hughes's problem more dangerously skating -- "hogging," if I'm looking for a harsher word -- too many pucks). But Boqvist is 11 months younger. Could write more about comparing them some other time because they are two very interesting players.

    I'll mention that Filip Johansson and Adam Ginning, who were used as the 2nd pair/PP2 defensemen for Sweden left a pretty poor impression, despite having great box score numbers, each with 4 points in 5 games. Ginning has very good size and is an above average skater, and Johansson is an excellent skater. But I thought both had really poor hockey IQs, and Johansson was downright sloppy in his own end in coverage. But also as puck movers, they left a lot to be desired. Ginning would wilt under pressure when he had to move the puck and couldn't simply skate around a forechecker, and Johansson could be forced into plenty of mistakes under pressure too. Again, really iffy hockey senses that showed as indecisiveness as puck movers. Also of note, Rasmus Sandin, captain of the Swedish team, had to fight for attention partnered with Boqvist. But when I did watch him, I thought he played a respectable game and showed good poise with the puck in his zone exits. At the very least his game didn't call any bad attention to it while I was focused on Boqvist.



    FINLAND


    Thought some of the same things about Hallander/Olofsson as I did about Jesperi Kotkaniemi (ranked 24 for HP) of Finland. Same kind of smart, high floor, 2-way kid with good physical tools. Looks like he could be even bigger than his 6'2 listing. But I liked him more than the two Swedes; thought he did what they did well, while bringing more to the table and having a higher ceiling. He looked like a certain 1st round talent to me, maybe even a sizable riser if he flashes more offensively. He played mostly center, and I could definitely see him playing center long-term, with wing versatility. He didn't play on a line with Rasmus Kupari, so he was driving his own line. Read the play well, more a give-and-go guy or space creator, but he has good hands and can make skill plays too. Played right half-wall on the PP, where he at times showed indecisiveness but still was fine. At ES, he's a strong cycle player, and he always seemed to make the right decision with the puck. Safe and calm with it but not too safe; efficient and effective are better descriptors. Pretty quality shot, knew how to use his body and go to scoring areas. Excellent off puck player too. I think he is one of the most cerebral players I've seen in this class, in all 3 zones. He's a very mature, pro-style player, yet also a summer birthday. Maybe similar to Groulx in his physical package and game, but I think he has more polish. We'll see if one has more potential over the other. I enjoyed Kotkaniemi's all-around detailed game, and with each viewing, he's the kind of player who grows on you with his consistency and subtleties. Struck me as a quintessential Hextall-type pick......that is if they ever draft a Finn.

    Rasmus Kupari has been a name discussed here and very well could be a top half 1st rounder. Might add that he reminds me of a bigger Joni Ikonen, with less bite to his game off-puck and without the all-around shooting tool (though I liked his quick wrist shot). He would certainly work off-puck, but I'm not sure I'd call him a high energy player either. Pretty smart, but I'm not sure I'd rave about it like I did for Kotkaniemi. You can find a highlight video of him pulling off slick moves against Slovakia (where he scored 5/7 points, which bears mentioning). But I watched him against better teams like Russia and Canada, and for a player with excellent puck skills and quick feet and burst, Kupari didn't force the fancy stuff too much and played mostly sound hockey. Could create a lot off the rush. I actually thought that in the half of the Slovakia game I saw, where he scored in bushels, he was playing too loose/selfish with the puck and his overall game wasn't as strong. But he seemed to fix that in the later, more difficult games, which I actually saw first. I do expect him to be a future winger, though he's a natural center. The slick and creative puck handling is plain as day, and so is his hidden gear skating that can surprise d-men off the rush. But there were a few inconsistencies I'd like hammered out to get a better read on him. I'd really like to see more of him. I'll get that and then some if he joins the Soo -- which is still up in the air -- and if not, I'll have to wait a while.



    CZECHIA


    Then there's the two main Czechs, Jakub Lauko (ranked 14 by HP) and Jan Jenik (#2 among forwards in scoring at the Hlinka). Jenik, interestingly, was born on September 15, 2000. That's the very last day of draft eligibility for 2018. Lauko, who I think is a lot smaller than his 6'1 listing, was feisty (at times stupidly so), relatively speedy, and had solid skill, but he didn't impress me as much as I'd like shift-to-shift. A lot of the time, while he was giving max effort, he struggled to make a consistent offensive impact. Knocked off too many pucks, playing off it too much, chasing a lot. His play was frenetic in a bad way. Jenik was playing on the puck a lot more, especially off the rush. Bit skinny, but he does have good physical tools and pretty decent hands. Thought he was better than Lauko, and the plays came easier, but he also left me a bit unsure how to read him overall. Usually when I'm vaguely uncertain that tends to be a hockey sense thing, not that Jenik's was bad.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2017
    amj h and JPS like this.
  4. BackWithaVengeance

    BackWithaVengeance Registered User

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    Awesome summary and great input. As always, your insight towards prospects is a joy to read.

    Really appreciated Magua.
     
  5. Tripod

    Tripod Registered User

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    I am really going to enjoy this thread as the year goes on....I trust your eye for talent and opinion. Looking forward to Appleyard adding info on oversees guys too!

    Having 2 picks likely already makes the anticipation for draft much higher.
     
  6. Chinatown88

    Chinatown88 Groulx Woo 2018

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    Dream scenario Veleno/Woo

    Hoping for it to happen Woo/Groulx

    Hexy probably takes BPA with both picks. Seems like a nice year to have two 1st round picks.
     
  7. DrinkFightFlyers

    DrinkFightFlyers Provolone & The Neck Sponsor

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    Flyers win the lottery twice next season by dealing someone for a lottery pick and get pick 31 when they win the Cup. Dahlin 1, Svechnikov 2, then they go a little off the board because they can and take 6'6" center Jáchym Kondelik from the USHL at 31.
     
  8. Alex91

    Alex91 Registered User

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    So who's available at 31 with our pick and 11 with STL pick?
     
  9. Flyerfan13

    Flyerfan13 Registered User Sponsor

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    Thanks for the write up magua ur hobby is definately our gain.
     
  10. LegionOfDoom91

    LegionOfDoom91 Registered User

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    Anderson MacDonald requested a trade to a maritime team (likely one of the big clubs like Halifax or Moncton).
     
  11. FLYguy3911

    FLYguy3911 Registered User

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    At best he'd only be the 2nd best AMac to play for Moncton.
     
  12. GoneFullHextall

    GoneFullHextall Cautiously pessimistic pretty much all the time

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    I am going to be disappointed if Calgary or Chicago doesnt draft Woo.
    A imagine having Woo and Foo on the ice together?
     
  13. BackWithaVengeance

    BackWithaVengeance Registered User

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    If we could get one of

    Forwards

    C McBain
    C/RW Oliver Wahlstrom
    C Allan McShane
    C Benoit Olivier-Groulx

    and

    Defensemen

    RHD Boqvist
    RHD Wilde
    RHD Bouchard

    each in the first round I'd be more than happy. McBain might b a pipe dream and Wahlstrom should be gone too.

    So McShane/Olivier-Groulx and Bouchard is actually what I can see and wish assuming the Blues and the Flyers make the play-offs.
     
  14. Curufinwe

    Curufinwe Registered User

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    I want McBain just for the name.
     
  15. Chinatown88

    Chinatown88 Groulx Woo 2018

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    That would be legit. Also if the Jets take Jett. I want the Flyers to take Woo but I could imagine people at WFC doing that annyoing Woo everytime he touches the puck.
     
  16. Psuhockey

    Psuhockey Registered User

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  17. Chinatown88

    Chinatown88 Groulx Woo 2018

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  18. Psuhockey

    Psuhockey Registered User

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    Hextall said the Flyers scouts really like this draft. It will be interesting if Hextall makes it a point to add more picks over the course of the season.
     
  19. TheKingPin

    TheKingPin Registered User

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    I'm sure he will. With all the extra forward. Then the D gets pretty crowded if Myers makes it interesting. Maybe trade our second and a roster player with a prospect for a first? Three firsts at this stage in a rebuild is awesome. Two firsts even!
     
  20. SolidSnakeUS

    SolidSnakeUS Registered User Sponsor

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    Considering what we have at C, D and G, I think W is something we should definitely go for if possible. A legit scoring winger would be pretty damn nice.
     
  21. Hockeypete49

    Hockeypete49 How you like me now!

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    Thank you Magua.

    It is a good year for two number ones. Trying to be somewhat realistic I would like to land two of Veleno,Wilde and Tkachuk.:sarcasm: We still need to load up on forwards {the more the merry}. But to land a horse on defense is not a bad thing to have.
     
  22. SolidSnakeUS

    SolidSnakeUS Registered User Sponsor

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    I honestly hope that the Blues land on 11th overall so they can't defer it. Would be great to have a first that high in a strong draft.
     
  23. DrinkFightFlyers

    DrinkFightFlyers Provolone & The Neck Sponsor

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    That would be nice but I think they are going to be a playoff team again, barring any crazy injuries.
     
  24. Curufinwe

    Curufinwe Registered User

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    I think the Blues have too much talent to miss the playoffs unless Allen is bad.
     
  25. BackWithaVengeance

    BackWithaVengeance Registered User

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    Can't see the Blues missing the play-offs either. They are a pretty strong bunch with depths on O and D.
     

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