Jackets make splash as draft hosts

Discussion in 'HFNHL Talk' started by Ohio Jones, Jun 17, 2007.

  1. Ohio Jones

    Ohio Jones Game on...

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    The first three rounds of the 2007 HFNHL Entry Draft were held live today in Columbus, and while the home side didn't execute a blockbuster, they came into the draft holding three first round picks, and made some moves to secure what they feel is a strong and well-balanced group of prospects from a draft class some thought wasn't particularly strong. The only trend Columbus demonstrated was a willingness to draft from anywhere: high school hockey, the Q, Russia (with all its politics) and provincial and state Junior A were all tapped in order to get the players they wanted.

    Columbus GM Doug Emerson got things started with the team's first pick, 13th overall, selecting D Ryan McDonagh from Cretin-Durham (USHS). Plays in all situation, and competes every shift. Scouts are divided on McDonagh's offensive ceiling, and he'll need the full four years in college to refine his game, but there's no disagreement that he projects to be a solid two-way defender who will put up points in the pros as a realiable #2/3 blueliner for a competitive team.

    Just a few minutes later, the Jackets were on the board again, this time with Philadelphia's pick at #20, received in the Martin Brodeur trade. Emerson did not hesitate to call on C/LW Logan MacMillan from Halifax in the QMJHL. MacMillan, son of NHL Alum Bob MacMillan, is a well-rounded character player who oozes leadership and dedication, playing a hard-working, banging style that keeps opponents on their heels. His play with the puck is improving, but it's his play on the defensive side that really makes him stand out: he can be a big shut-down pivot against the opponent's top line. His hands and vision improved over the course of the season, and he was sensational in the playoffs for the Moosehead, so his upside may come in time. Mike Fisher comparisons are not out of place.

    Again, it seemed jsut a few minutes passed before the Jackets were at it again with their third pick of the first round, the 28th overall received from Detroit in the Brendan Shanahan trade. Again, there was no hesitation from the Jackets, picking power winger Max Pacioretty of Sioux City of the USHL. Very strong skater with package of skills is still a bit raw, but his performance in all areas improved "by leaps and bounds" according to one scouting service. He's just starting to realize how good he can be. Big, strong, great wheels, great skills and great attitude in the Ryan Smyth mold.

    The Jackets were supposed to only have one pick remaining for the first day of the draft - their third - but they moved two players to bring in more picks. First came Mike York, moved prior to the trade freeze to the Isles for a third-round pick they'd previously received from Vancouver. Then, during today's draft, they traded veteran winger Mark Parrish to Washington for a pair of third rounders in 2003, and Washington's 5th rounder next year, giving the team four 3rd-roudn picks to go with a single day-2 pick in the sevnth round received from New Jersey during the season.

    As the draft progressed however, the Jackets' draft table was positively abuzz with the players they saw falling into the second round. The Jackets' chief scout, Kanwe Pickem, could be seen imploring Emerson to get them into the round, and after several attempts the Jackets finally consumamted a trade with Tampa Bay, moving two of the third-round picks they'd acquired for the 51st overall pick.

    So Emerson came to the podium in the second round after all, naming W Sergey Korostin of the Moscow Dynamo system. Korostin showed well in international tournaments, displaying great acceleration and the ability to control the puck at top speed, showing off great agility and good decision-making. Korostin has more in common with felow Jackets prospect Nikolai Kulemin than with most Russian players in that there's no questioning his drive and competitiveness: he routinely plays through contact and is very aggressive on the puck and on the forecheck, which combined with his speed makes him dangerous on both the PP and PK. Plays well away from the puck, and, as one scouting service says, makes his linemates better.

    Folllowing their draft philosophy of taking the best player available, the Jackets used the first of their two remaining third-rounders, 73rd overall, to take a very similar player to Korostin in Rimouski Oceanic's LW Max Gratchev. Pickem was surprised to see the player still on the board: "We had Max at the tail end of the first round, and were astonished that he didn't get picked up in the second. We could get up there fast enough to make the selection!". Gratchev shows tremendous hockey sense and vision to go with good wheels and soft hands. Combine that with soft hands and a quick release, and he can burn you on his own or by making use of his linemates. He's not quite as strong on the puck as Korostin, so Gratchev will have to work in his strength, and extending his awareness to his defensive responsibilities, but he shows every willingness to learn, and his ability to generate offence at the drop of a hat means the Jackets will be patient with the rest of his game.

    With their final pick of day one, the Jackets again demonstrated that they were willing to draft from anywhere, reaching into the Ontario Provincial Junior A ranks to select D Brendan Smith from the St. Mike's Buzzards. Smith's development was slowed by his decision to go the junior A route, and suffered further from a borken hand that heavily impacted his style of play. Recovered well enough to show slick puckhandling to go with extremely fluid skating and very poised with the puck showing creativity and sound decision-making, along with a quick step and a flawless breakout pass. He needs to show that he can step up his defensive discipline at a higher level of competition, as he has developed some sloppy habits. He is considered coachable, however, and four years of college play will force him to apply his above-average awareness to making the right call in the defensive zone.

    With six picks in the first 90, the Jackets are hopeful that they've managed to turn a "weak" draft into a strong injection of talent into their system. They'll be hard-pressed to do as well a they did in 2003, which was the last time they had multiple early picks, but 2003 was an exceptional draft class. This year will be considered a success if 3 of the players selected go on to a significant NHL career, but of course hopes are high for all of them.

    Columbus Blue Jackets 2007 Entry Draft Selections:
    1/13: LD Ryan McDonagh
    1/20: C/LW Logan MacMillan
    1/28: LW Max Pacioretty
    2/51: W Sergey Korostin
    3/73: LW Max Gratchev
    3/86: LD Brendan Smith

    The draft concludes at the end of the week with rounds 4-7 being remotely administered.

    Milo Minderbinder
    Columbus Discoverer
     
  2. Ohio Jones

    Ohio Jones Game on...

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    Just noticed this thing has had 175 views... I take it our posts are showing up in the overall HF Boards listing! :D (Either that, or the fans of my past draft successes like Brett Lysak, Lars Jonsson, Brad Ralph, Brett Nowak and Tuukka Makela wanted to see which way the master was going this time out (if only to know what players they'd want their teams to avoid!).

    Wonder if we should put HFNHL at the beginning of every thread? Nah, let 'em figure it out.... ;)
     
  3. Titan124

    Titan124 Registered User

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    Yes, we can all see it, and for some strange reason it really bugs me.
     
  4. Ohio Jones

    Ohio Jones Game on...

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    Sorry, brother - can't really help you there. If it's any consolation, Sean Hill doesn't do performance-enhancing drugs in our league. :)
     
  5. SPG

    SPG Registered User

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    That is strange. If you don't like it, don't visit.
     
  6. SPG

    SPG Registered User

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    And Garth Snow isn't the Islanders GM of the in our league :sarcasm:
     
  7. Wildman

    Wildman Registered User

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    He would have been hired as a GM of Islanders if we allowed 15 year deals.:sarcasm:
     

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