The Flyers and Broad Street Hockey are almost on the clock in the 2009 SBN Mock Draft, so it's time for us to start mulling around the war room and decide on a player who will patrol our blueline for years to come. In all honesty, I was a little surprised that the vote came out in such favor for selecting a defenseman, but that's the decision that was made.
Let's take a look at an updated list of the players taken in the first four days of the draft. Remember, for in depth analysis on every pick that's been made, visit the individual SBN sites linked below.
1. (Lighthouse Hockey) - John Tavares, London (OHL)
2. (Raw Charge) - Victor Hedman, Modo (Sweden)
3. (Mile High Hockey) - Matt Duchene, Brampton (OHL)
4. (Bird Watchers Anonymous) - Evander Kane, Vancouver (WHL)
5. (Battle of California) - Brayden Schenn, Brandon (WHL)
6. (Five For Howling) - Jared Cowen, Spokane (WHL)
7. (Pension Plan Puppets) - Magnus Svensson-Paajarvi Timrå IK (Swedish Elitserien)
8. (Defending Big D) - Oliver Ekman-Larssen, Leksand IF (Sweden)
9. (Silver Seven) - Nazem Kadri, London (OHL)
10. (The Copper & Blue) - Ryan Ellis, Windsor (OHL)
11. (On The Forecheck) - Jordan Schroeder, U of Minnesota (NCAA)
12. (Hockey Wilderness) - Zach Budish, Edina, MN (HS)
13. Buffalo Sabres (Die By The Blade) - Zack Kassian, Peterborough (OHL)
14. Florida Panthers (The Litter Box) - Louis Leblanc, Omaha (USHL)
15. (Battle Of California) - Dmitri Kulikov, Drummondville (QMJHL)
16. The Cannon
17. St. Louis Game Time
18. Habs Eyes On The Prize
19. New York Rangers (Blueshirt Banter) - pick announced Monday
20. Calgary Flames (Matchsticks & Gasoline) - pick announced Monday
21. Broad Street Hockey
Without further adieu, let's take a look at the defensive prospects remaining that are worthy of a first round selection. They are broken down after the jump.
David Rundblad, 6'2", 190 pounds, Skelleftea (Swedish Elite League)
Rundblad is really all across the board when it comes to projections. European Central Scouting has him ranked highest at number 6, The Hockey News has him at 10, and CSS has him at number 22. Here's what people are saying about the offensive defenseman...
The 18 year has already played 51 games in the Swedish Elite League, which is a big indication that he's ahead of the developmental curve. The SEL is one of the toughest hockey leagues in the world - any kid that can hold his own and play a regular shift against mature, professional players at that level is probably a few steps up on most of his cohort.
He has a very good shot. He is a right-handed shot and he is used on the power play, even in the (Elite) League despite being a young player. He is a very smart player. He could be a little more physical in his game, but that is something that he is learning.
He's not NHL ready just yet, but the Flyers don't need a player to step in and make an impact immediately. Reports say he's just a step behind Hedman and could be overlooked because of Hedman's presence. He's more offensive than his countryman, and will likely put up more points in his NHL career.
Simon Despres, 6'4" 214 pounds, Saint John (QMJHL)
Ranked 8th by North American Central Scouting, 12th by THN, and 30th by ISS.
Despres is a two-way defenseman, a strong skater for being such a big guy. One scout called him "a disappointment" this past season, but that could be an effect of playing for a poor Saint John team. Here's what others are saying about the soon-to-be-18-year-old defenseman.
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.
Big mobile defender who took the lion’s share of the ice time for Canada [at the WJC]. Uses his reach effectively and is tough to get around. Would have liked to see him get some PP time, as I think he passes well.
I think for a potential pro player, he's got the size and mobility. I've seen him many games, and he never seems to make a bad play. He's never going to get 100 points, but definitely, when you want a guy to play defense, he's your guy. He does it all, he'll block shots and he moves the puck at the right time.
John Moore, 6-2, 180 pounds, Chicago (USHL)
Ranked 6th by North American Central Scouting, 18th by THN, 16th by ISS. Moore will be playing at Colorado College next season after two years in the USHL junior ranks with the Chicago Steel. A native of Illinois, Moore has been called "one of the best skaters in a deep draft." A scout quoted in THN said "it's exciting just to watch him skate." Here's what others are saying...
I watched John Moore as an underage player and I knew he was a must see player for this year; he hasn’t disappointed me one bit. His first two strides are like Paul Coffey and he has been labeled as a world-class skater. He is poised with the puck, he gets his shots through to the net and he has gotten a lot stronger this season. He resembles (Calgary Flames) defenseman Jordan Leopold and similar to Leopold at the same age he needs to get a little bit better at playing more aggressive and more physical, but John is going to be a one-two defenseman in the NHL.
John is a true leader that approaches the game as a player that needs to get better everyday. His skills combined with his skating ability are what set him apart from the rest. He continues to grow and mature as a player and leader and continues to improve his overall game each day he comes to the rink.
Calvin de Haan, 6-0, 173 pounds, Oshawa (OHL)
De Haan is a small guy and his size is a concern in translating his game to the NHL. Perhaps that is why he is ranked considerably low on most polls (ISS 36th, THN 22nd, CSS 25th) despite how much his skill is being raved about.
Truly, the most underrated player from the OHL this year. Calvin de Haan is just one solid defenseman. His transition from Tier 2 this season was effortless, jumping right into the top pairing for the Generals. He moves the puck incredibly well and makes the intelligent player every time. He picks his spots in pinching, and he carries the puck up the ice with ease. ... Defensively, he makes the smart plays, he gets positioning on opposing forwards, and he's great with coverage. He's just an overall, very intelligent defender. Heck, how the guy finished a +3 on that Oshawa team this year, considering the minutes he played, is beyond me. He's also playing pretty undersized right now at 173 lbs. With added strength, his game could be taken to another level. I also think he was Canada's best defenseman at the Under 18's. Calvin de Haan is only hitting the tip of the iceberg here and I expect him to continue to surprise a lot of me and show them how good he truly is.
Calvin shows a lot of patience and poise for a young defenseman. He has high-end puck skill and passing ability. He has a very good shot, hard and accurate, and a very good ability to get the puck through traffic to the net. He sees the ice very well and moves the puck through traffic. His skating is excellent, mobility, agility and speed. His biggest asset is his hockey sense. He makes very few mistakes.
Many thought he was propped up by playing with John Tavares and Michael Del Zotto. When both players were traded to London, de Haan was left alone to lead the defense on a weak team in the OHL. He excelled in that role and had an excellent offensive season, notching 8 goals and 55 assists.
Stefan Elliott, 6-1, 184 pounds, Saskatoon (WHL)
Stefan Elliott has been described by some scouts as "a poor man's". He has shown tremendous offensive skill. Although far from a liability in his own end of the rink, some scouts think that he could use some improvement with the defensive aspects of his game. By most accounts, Elliott is a great teammate and a character kid that most teams would want in their room.
Other scouts who have watched Elliott say his defensive game is not nearly as weak as some have made it out to be. And rather than seeing him as an offensive player, some believe he will play a straightforward game as an NHLer. "I think he's going to be more of a first-pass, move-the-puck, hard-to-play-against-guy," said a scout. Scouts are unanimous, though, in their opinion Elliott has to get stronger, particularly in his upper body.
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