Discussion in 'NHL Draft - Prospects' started by GSK*, Sep 10, 2006.
What is capable of doing this year ?
NHL er ?
I think he has great potential and he has good size for his age. He seemed to have alot of chances last year but didnt finish as much as he would have liked to. This year he will get 1st unit power play time and could double his point total.
Blake Wheeler has a lot of upside, which is why he was drafted so high. Since being drafted, he's put on close to 60 lbs. (from 185 to 245 or so) and has also gained an inch or two (up to around 6'5"). He is still getting used to his body. He showed a lot of potential at the high school level, then had to adjust to the USHL, and then again to the NCAA in a matter of 2 years, all while dealing with what I'd call a different body.
That being said, Wheeler skates well, has a very good shot, and knows where to go. He could stand to be much more physical, but he's shown flashes. While I expect him to play all 4 years at Minnesota before going pro, his upcoming sophomore campaign will be very important in gauging his development as he will be one of the go-to players on the Gophers' roster. Based on what he has shown so far, I expect him to be an Eric Daze type player, good for 30-40 goals on first line duty.
What are "skillz"?
I think this is a good comparison for his upside. Great size, good skating ability, but not much of a physical side at all. Hopefully he can remain healthier than Daze.
I fully expect him to be one of the better big men in the game IF and ONLY if this coming Sophmore campaign he steps it up. He needs to double his production and be THE guy on the Gophers like PhoPhan pointed out. I thought he was just a big bodied athletic kid with little to no talent when he got drafted. Boy was I wrong! He has a great shot, especially from around the circles. Definately needs to be more physical for a guy his size.
Bottom Line: The Yotes seem wiser than they did draft day. A lot of people said Gretzky was a joke for picking this kid. But he IS shaping up. Time will tell, as with all prospects.
The Yotes would bring him along slowly, I would think. Raw, very raw, but has some nice "skillz" for sure. More of a gentle giant than a second coming of a Bertuzzi.
I really like the Daze comparision. Bang on.
Wheeler is really talented though, talented enough to score near the 40 goal range.
Yup,, He is staying in School for now.. What I think will be interesting is when he finally moves up to the Yotes. He and Muller will be on the same team again. They played at Breck togethe rin High School..
they should have picked olesz, the best availiable player at their draft position, the
best availiable player today. I think they would be lucky if he makes it to the NHL,
let alone score 40...
Which is why you're some internet schmuck and not a NHL GM or scout......
I'm a Phoenix fan, and I was screaming Olesz at the TV screen seconds before they selected Wheeler. I had never seen either play, though. Based on second hand information, Olesz was the guy I was hoping for, though.
Blake finished 3rd among freshman scoring a ways behind Kessel, a bit behind Stoa and a ways ahead of Bostrom. He had 23 points which is pretty good...but he had some decent opportunities also as he played much of the time with Kessel and Gordon. Stoa had better opportunities as he was with Potulny and Irmen.
Frankly Blake is the type of players who could either put up just a hair of an improvement over this year...or could move up to be in the top pack of scoring on the team. At times he disappeared...and at times his moves were brilliant. If I was a betting man...I'd say Wheeler comes in right smack in the middle of these possibilities. He seems to be a steady improver with a high top end. IMO pairing with Hirsch (assuming he's back from two years ago where he was the team's top scorer) will make a difference in any linemates stats.
I'm not saying Olesz would have been a bad pick, just that to say Wheeler won't make the NHL is a bit shortsighted.
Olesz had significant concussion issues in his draft year.
Considering at draft time, two stud Coyote prospects (Kolanos and Podlesak) pretty much had their careers ended or stunted because of severe concussions... Olesz was not attractive.
Wheeler still could turn out great. Olesz right now is just looking a better pick, his upsides are similar and his bust rate is alot lower. This may change however, and Wheeler may end being better.
No one knows what Wheeler's "bust rate" is, especially those who rarely if ever get to see him play. All I know is he's getting better and better every year since he was drafted and stands to have a great season this year with the Gophers. After that, we'll see if he sticks around or decides to turn pro.
Just out of interest, where was he ranked when he was drafted? top 20?
Well, no, but it is fair to say that Olesz and other prospects from the 04 draft have a lower bust rate because they have proved they can play in the NHL. I think it is fairly obvious that Olesz is much less likely to bust at this current time. It will be interesting to see how Wheeler does this year. The pick right now is kinda hard to weigh up, because we still don't know how good Wheeler is gonna be.
Depends whose rankings you look at. TSN and the like had him as a late first rounder, but the Coyotes obviously had him in their top 5. It's been reported that a few other teams may have had him that high as well.
The New York Islanders were reportedly planning on selecting him 16th overall. I'm not sure if this was ever confirmed, but it was alluded to by many in the media. I believe there was also talk of him going 6th to the Rangers. Anyway, he wouldn't have fallen past 16th, so it doesn't really matter where independant scouting services had him ranked.
That was pure speculation, based on Milbury's claim that he and his scouts were eyeing a player who would be an "off the board" selection, and he was hoping he'd get him but you never knew who else might be eyeing him. Seeing that Nokelainen wasn't all that off the board, and Milbury never made any comment saying he got the guy he was eyeing, many assumed the guy MM wanted was taken before 16 and looking at the top 15 picks, Wheeler stands out the most as an off the board pick.
However, Milbury also said it was a guy that could help out sooner than later. And that is clearly not Wheeler who is more or less the textbook definition of project. Which personally leads me to believe that it was either Smid or Stafford. Both of whom were taken a bit earlier than predicted, and both of whom were already pretty mature and had games that seemed to fit with the Islanders' drafting habits around the time. Smid: slick skating D-man with good poise (see: Campoli, Kohn, Gervais, Sims). Stafford: forward with good size, skating and all around game (see: O'Marra, Nokey, Colliton, Comeau, Bergenehim, etc).
And of course, it is possible that Nokey was the guy he wanted all along. And personally, I doubt that the Rangers would've taken Wheeler, while already dealing with their another project not developing as hoped (Jessiman). However, even assuming it wasn't Wheeler that Milbury or Sather wanted, it remains possible that his pre-draft comments, and speculation about the Rangers, scared Phoenix into not wanting to trade down in fear that it was.
Can we have a discussion about what Wheeler can and can't do and how he may progress this year without rehashing the draft position crap yet again?
No, he isn't who I wanted them to pick and to this day still would have preferred another player. But what is done is done and Wheeler is in the Yotes organization.
i am really looking forward to tracking his progress with the Gophers this year as it will definitely give everyone a better idea of what he may be capable of over the next several season.
My recollection of this scenario was Pho drafted 5th, NYR 6th. Gretz was hinting that he was going to draft Montoya because he knew Slats was high on the kid, and was trying to pick up extra pick by swaping spots w/NYR. Fortunately Slats called Gretzs' bluff and Wheeler became a Yote and Montoya a NYR.
Well one thing is for sure...Wheeler has been/will be developing with alot of talent. Last year, he played with Kessel as a linemate and a handful of highly drafted Dmen. This year we'll see...he could be lined up with a top 10 WCHA scorer from a couple years back, a current top 10 draft pick in Okposo or a potential future one in J OBrien. Either way he'll be backed up by Erik Johnson and David Fischer on many occasions.