NHL draft: Pick-by-pick analysis

Yahoo! Sports Staff
Yahoo! Sports

Round one

1. Edmonton Oilers

The Pick: Taylor Hall, LW
The Buzz: A dazzling talent, a superb skater, a goal-scorer. Plus, he’s not afraid to do the dirty work. More than any player in the draft, Hall has an upside as breakout star in the NHL. With two Memorial Cups to his credit (and the MVP both times), he’s got nothing left to prove in junior and will bring his offensive game to Edmonton next season.

2. Boston Bruins (from Toronto)

The Pick: Tyler Seguin, C
The Buzz: The OHL’s most outstanding player in 2009-10 brings leadership and character as well as an elite skill level. He’s great with the puck and is a playmaker who makes his linemates better. Listed at 6-foot-1, he needs to pack some weight on his 172-pound frame, but his elusiveness and determination should help him in the meantime.

3. Florida Panthers

The Pick: Eric Gudbranson, D
The Buzz: Big, tough and physical, he’s been compared to Chris Pronger. Gudbranson will fight, too, and he leads by example. The Kingston (OHL) blue liner says he patterns his game after Shea Weber and he believes he’s a puck-mover who can bring some offense as well.

4. Columbus Blue Jackets

The Pick: Ryan Johansen, C
The Buzz: A WHL rookie with Portland this season, Johansen displayed excellent on-ice vision and good skating skills. He can handle power-play and penalty-kill duty, he’s a solid forechecker, a first-rate passer and he’s shifty with the puck. A surprise to go No. 4 overall, but perhaps the Blue Jackets see him setting up Rick Nash sometime soon.

5. New York Islanders

The Pick: Nino Niederreiter, RW
The Buzz: The Swiss-born winger also played for Portland (WHL) this season, and really impressed with his physical play and work in the corners. He’s a two-way player who’s good with the puck and has a nice scoring touch. His coming-out party was at the 2010 World Junior Championship, where he starred for Switzerland, and then kept right on rolling the rest of the season. Like Johansen, it’s a little surprising to see him go so high, but the Isles obviously like his rambunctious style.

6. Tampa Bay Lightning

The Pick: Brett Connolly, RW
The Buzz: Steve Yzerman’s first pick as an NHL GM is a calculated risk. Some Western scouts felt Connolly, who played for Prince George (WHL), would’ve been in the No. 1 debate had he played more than 16 games this season. His hip woes are a concern, but he’s an all-around player who can score and he has great hockey sense.

7. Carolina Hurricanes

The Pick: Jeff Skinner, RW
The Buzz: Great hands, great puckhandler, great shot. Not real big, the Kitchener (OHL) winger is listed at 5-foot-10, but his offensive upside is huge. He’s a scorer, pure and simple. It’s not a shock to see him picked in the first round, but it is very surprising to see him go in the No. 7 slot. He was listed as a mid-second-rounder by NHL Central Scouting.

8. Atlanta Thrashers

The Pick: Alex Burmistrov, C
The Buzz: The Thrashers take the first Russian player of the 2010 draft, and they get a speedy, shifty, offensive threat. He’s fun to watch. Listed at just 157 pounds, Burmistrov, who played for Barrie (OHL) this season, isn’t considered a risk to flee to the KHL. He says he wants to play in the NHL. And given Atlanta’s desire to get more talented, he might be a Thrasher sooner rather than later.

9. Minnesota Wild

The Pick: Mikael Granlund, C
The Buzz: The Wild take the first non-CHL player in Granlund, who averaged nearly a point per game in Finland's top league. He's been compared to Saku Koivu, which means he's tough for his size (5-foot-10) and talented. He's a hard worker, a good faceoff man and is smart on the ice.

10. New York Rangers

The Pick: Dylan Mcilrath, D
The Buzz: As tough as they come. The big defender (6-foot-4, 212 pounds) has been called an old-school type, a stay-at-home defenseman who doesn’t mind dropping the gloves one bit. He has good north-south speed and some offensive acumen as well. But his best trait is toughness; he scares people and opponents are wise to stay out of his way. Along with Marc Staal, the Rangers have an intimidating defense corps for the foreseeable future.

11. Dallas Stars

The Pick: Jack Campbell, G
The Buzz: Engaging and mature, not to mention a top-ranked puckstopper. A star for the U.S. under-18 team, he stepped into the gold medal-game at the world junior in the third period, and led the U.S. to an overtime win. Scouts say he hasn’t lost a big game, although Campbell says losing in the 2009 world under-17 semifinals was a tough one. He’s big and fast with good positioning.

12. Anaheim Ducks

The Pick: Cam Fowler, D
The Buzz: The Ducks get an offensive defenseman who can lug the puck and pass with precision. Ranked No. 3 on many draft lists heading into the L.A. weekend, it’s shocking that Fowler, who was a teammate of Hall’s in Windsor (OHL), dropped to No. 12. The Ducks get a good one, and hope he can help replace the loss of retired Scott Niedermayer.

13. Phoenix Coyotes (from Calgary)

The Pick: Brandon Gormley, D
The Buzz: The whole package, Gormley can handle the puck, he's smart and he's got an excellent point shot. He's a two-way defender who aspires to be a No. 1 D-man in the NHL. The Moncton Wildcat was the first player taken from the QMJHL, and he can play PP, PK and even strength. The more ice time, the better. He'll be in Phoenix soon.

14. St. Louis Blues

The Pick: Jaden Schwartz, C
The Buzz: Skating for Tri-City in the USHL, Schwartz was the league’s youngest scoring leader since 1983. He’s headed to Colorado College (NCAA) next season. Not big, but hard on the puck and willing to sacrifice his body to get into a good scoring position. A tough competitor, he was considered a tweener, either a late first-rounder or early second-rounder.

15. Los Angeles Kings (from Florida via Boston)

The Pick: Derek Forbort, U.S. under-18
The Buzz: The big defender (6-foot-5) is a fine skater and has tantalizing upside at both ends of the ice. After playing for the U.S. under-18 team this season, he's committed to the University of North Dakota (NCAA) next year. He has to work on his all-around skill level, but there's no reason he can't be a first-pairing defenseman in the NHL in four or five years.

16. St. Louis Blues (from Ottawa)

The Pick: Vladimir Tarasenko, RW
The Buzz: Ranked No. 2 among international skaters by NHL Central Scouting, Tarasenko has already played two full seasons in the KHL (for Novosibirsk). His production jumped from 10 points in 38 games in 2008-09 to 24 points, including 13 goals, in 42 games this season. He's mobile, great around the net, and has a laser shot. Plus he's a fine playmaker, too. A top-five talent who dropped to No. 16 due to the uncertainty of when/whether he'll stay and play in the NHL.

17. Colorado Avalanche

The Pick: Joey Hishon, C
The Buzz: At 5-foot-9 and 170 pounds, the Owen Sound (OHL) pivot was ranked as a mid-second-rounder. He missed half the season after breaking his foot blocking a shot…but still managed to score the game-winner in that contest. An energetic, hustling player, his skill level doesn't blow you away, but his work ethic does.

18. Nashville Predators

The Pick: Austin Watson, LW
The Buzz: Lanky left winger (6-foot-3, 185 pounds) was traded from Windsor to Peterborough (OHL) at mid-season and then broke his ankle, but not before piling up 20 points in 10 games with the Petes. He plays a high-energy, two-way game and can kill penalties and add a physical element.

19. Florida Panthers (from Los Angeles)

The Pick: Nick Bjugstad, C
The Buzz: The Blaine, Minn., native is the state's reigning Mr. Hockey and the first high-schooler to be selected. He's a hard worker, hungry for the puck and a solid skater. A good shot, too, and has food on-ice vision. The 6-foot-4, 190-pounder is set to attend the University of Minnesota in the fall.

20. Pittsburgh Penguins

The Pick: Beau Bennett, RW
The Buzz: The first California native to be picked, Bennett scored 120 points in just 56 games for Penticton in the B.C. Jr. League and is headed to Denver University (NCAA) next season. His offensive instincts are the foundation of his game. He needs to bulk up (6-foot-1, 173 pounds), but time is on his side.

21. Detroit Red Wings

The Pick: Riley Sheahan, C
The Buzz: Sheahan is responsible defensively and can make things happen around the net, too. He was a rookie with Notre Dame (NCAA) this season and is a smart, mature player on the ice with good size. He was ranked the No. 5 North American prospect at mid-season, but his stock fell. Still, his all-around ability bodes well for the future Red Wing. He's switching to the OHL next season and will suit up for Mississauga.

22. Montreal Canadiens (from Phoenix)

The Pick: Jarred Tinordi, D
The Buzz: The son of former NHL defenseman Mark Tinordi is big (6-foot-6, 205 pounds) but mobile, and boasts impressive all-around skills. He’s smart and can skate and handle the puck. Big, big kid with a big, big shot.

23. Buffalo Sabres

The Pick: Mark Pysyk, D
The Buzz: The Sabres might have stolen one, getting Pysyk at No. 23. The defensive game is his strength and he played a lot of minutes for a young Edmonton (WHL) club, going up against opponents' top lines night after night. He's a very good skater and might even develop some offense if he's put in a situation where he's not forced to foucs on his own end.

24. Chicago Blackhawks (from New Jersey via Atlanta)

The Pick: Kevin Hayes, RW
The Buzz: Another high-schooler, the Boston native is a power forward with hands. A good playmaker and excellent skater, he uses his size (6-foot-2) to fend off opponents and he protects the puck well. He has a quick shot and isn't afraid to use it, and he's not afraid of high-traffic areas.

25. Florida Panthers (from Vancouver)

The Pick: Quinton Howden, C
The Buzz: Speedy goal-scorer for Moose Jaw (WHL), the 6-foot-2 Howden chases down the puck and is dangerous even on the penalty kill. If he gets a step on an opposing defenseman, there's no catching up.

26. Washington Capitals

The Pick: Evgeny Kuznetsov, C
The Buzz: The Capitals get a skilled forward (hmm, just what they need) and the presence of Alex Ovechkin should help convince Kuznetsov to stick around the NHL. Fast and talented, he has leadership qualities as well.

27. Phoenix Coyotes (from Montreal)

The Pick: Mark Visentin, G
The Buzz: A surprise, given that Calvin Pickard, the top-ranked goalie heading into the draft, wasn't selected in the first round at all. Visentin played for Niagara (OHL) and his draft stock rose as the season progressed. Big, agile and quick, he covers the net well and has a good glove and positioning. His lateral movement post-to-post is fast and he's plenty confident as well.

28. San Jose Sharks

The Pick: Charlie Coyle, RW
The Buzz: Not many players from the U.S.'s Eastern Junior Hockey League get picked in Round 1, but Coyle's size and skill, as well as his ability to play it tough, convinced San Jose to nab him. An adept playmaker with nice hands, Coyle is a very good passer and has a dangerous shot which he should utilize more.

29. Anaheim Ducks (from Philadelphia)

The Pick: Emerson Etem, RW
The Buzz: Just when it looked like Etem might fall to the second round, Anaheim picked the California native - to the delight of Ducks fans and chagrin of Kings fans in the Staples Center crowd - with the second-last selection of Round 1. A big, rangy winger with speed and scoring ability, he can fly with the puck and he knows what to do once he gets into the offensive zone. Etem scored 37 goals for Medicine Hat as a rookie in the WHL this season; that's a very impressive feat, especially for a player who has jumped a developmental level in each of the past three seasons.

30. New York Islanders (from Chicago)

The Pick: Brock Nelson, C
The Buzz: The Isles traded up to garb Nelson, a Minnesota high-schooler who recored points in all 25 games he played this season - and scored in 23 of 25 contests. At 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds, he skates well and plays a power game. Heading to the University of North Dakota (NCAA) in the fall.

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