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Prospects Reports

MrKnownothing's Potential Picks for Rounds 2-7 - 28-Jul-05
Written by: MrKnownothing

This isn’t going to be as detailed as what I did last year, partly because I’m rushing this and partly (probably mostly) because my draft research is limited to what I am about to do as soon as I finish this pre-list spiel. Thank me if you want, but all I’m really going to be doing is compiling other sources (really 1 this year, hockeysfuture) information into one place. These are not my opinions about players, because I have seen none of them play… I guess these are my opinions about players we should look into picking, though.

Last year, I did this sort of round by round, but from my early browsing and due to my lack of general knowledge, I think that will be hard to do. Rather, what I’m going to do is just list the players with any information I can find on them, and if I see a round projection I will mention it.

Jason Ahrens, Eric Vegoe, DJ Powers, Jeff Dahlia, Eugene Belashchenko, Johan Nilsson, and Pekka Lampinen seem to be the guys who have done the profiles that I am pretty much taking the info and putting it here. I am trying not to just steal their stuff, though it may look like it. The following information is all taken solely from their profiles on hockeysfuture and without their hard work I couldn’t do any of this. I hope they don’t take offense to me listing out their info – all I am trying to do is give Pens fans a list of guys who might make for interesting picks and some info about them. As fans, we really owe a lot of thanks to all the guys I mentioned and to the rest of the dedicated hockeysfuture staff for working hard to bring us information.

With that said, let’s get down to it.

C – Kyle Kucharski – 6’3 195 lbs – Shoots Left
I chose to list this guy first because I randomly clicked on his name the other day while I was previewing the site to see if this was possible this year, and I really liked everything I read. He has a big frame that is already nearly filled out. The reports on him say that he has good skills and plays a physical game. He has great character and is hard to move off of the puck. Says he knows how to play defense but needs to improve on that. Heading to Boston College in the fall. I have no idea where he is likely to go, but from everything I’ve read, I wouldn’t mind at all if we took him at #60, even if it’s a Goligoski situation. Kucharski is a US Junior player who played at Phillips-Academy Andover, and typically US high school and Junior players don’t seem to receive a lot of hype. The Penguins went that way heavily with a picks last year, and they seem to scout these types of a players a lot. It wouldn’t surprise me if we end up drafting Kucharski… I’m crossing my fingers.

(sidenote – I’m now going to pretty much group these guys as they are on HF, by where they played)

LW – Radek Smolenak – 6-2 180 lbs – Shoots Left
Smolenak is a Czech player who came to play in the OHL for Kingston this year. He scored consistently throughout the year, and did well in a prospect game where he replaced an injured player. Scored 31 goals to lead OHL rookies. The opinions seem to be varied about him, one scout says he could go anywhere from late first to the third round. One of the scouts they quoted says he is really good some nights and invisible on others. Seems like the typical question marks for a European talented prospect who is not rated very highly. IE maybe a puckhog etc. By the numbers, it looks like he has a natural scoring touch, and it’s a bonus that he has already began a transition to the North American game. I get the feeling that he could be one of those guys who slides down a little bit, but is grabbed by a team with multiple picks in the second and third round other than their own.

D – Jakub Kindl – 6-3 183 lbs – Shoots Left
I know of this guy because he was mentioned a year ago as a high first round pick. It looks like he sucked all over the place and disappointed a lot of people, so this might be a guy who slides. He still has a lot of potential, and like Smolenak someone with multiple picks might take a flyer on him, or even a team in the first round who likes him more than other teams. I wouldn’t mind seeing him be picked by the Penguins just on his potential.

D – Adam McQuaid – 6-3 197 lbs – Shoots Right
Seems like a guy who will be gone by the time the Pens pick. Not much flash here, just a pretty solid defensemen who the scouts think will be an NHL player. We have a lot of depth at the defense position, but you can never have too much. This guy looks like he doesn’t have any real weaknesses, and it’s always good to have that combined with size. The right shot is icing on the cake.

RW – Mike Blunden – 6-4 210 lbs – Shoots Right
The first thing that jumps out at you is his size. The good news that follows is that he can skate well too, and that’s usually something that is a question mark about potential power forwards. The downside here is that he might not have that good of a scoring touch, but with his size, skating and psychical willingness he’s a pretty good bet to be a good checker anyways. Might be worth taking a calculated risk on. Projected as a possible late first round pick, but likely second or third round.

C – Steve Downie – 5-10 192 lbs – Shoots Right
His description almost reminds me of Tie Domi. Maybe that’s because Domi is on my mind because of the rumors he will come to Pittsburgh, but I like what I’m reading. Heart and soul player with some skill to boot. I don’t know if he will make it to #60 because he sounds like a safer pick who will be taken by a team like Calgary or someone, but if he was there when we were picking, I wouldn’t mind the pick at all.

C – Chris Lawrence – 6-4 205 lbs – Shoots Right
Looks like a project. Good size, good skills, but hasn’t put everything together yet. May take a good while to develop, but for the Penguins that might not be a problem. It says he has first round talent, but obviously hasn’t shown it that much yet or he’d be projected higher. Someone will take a gamble on him in the second or third round, and I wouldn’t mind if that someone was the Pens.

C – Cody Bass – 6-0 191 lbs – Shoots Right
Someone needs to throw some water on my face and tell me I’m not Don Cherry, because I’m pretty much going right down the OHL list and liking every guy. Bass is more of a checking player who can contribute a little bit on offense, but I like the rest of the package enough to warrant a second or third round pick – good skating, good character, good penalty killer, good on faceoffs. We may have several players who project as third line guys at the NHL level, but I like Bass’ overall skillset a lot.

RW – Dan Collins – 6-1 185 lbs – Shoots Right
Ok, maybe I am Don Cherry… This guy is kind of like Lawrence to a lesser extent. He has shown a lot of skill, but not consistently. One part of his report says he does everything pretty good, but nothing great. Sounds almost like Matt Murley to me.

D – Jeff May – 6-1 183 lbs – Shoots Left
No flash here, just a solid defensemen who plays a simple game. Could be a nice safe pick to further our defensive depth in the system.

D – Dave Schlemko – 6-1 171 lbs – Shoots Left
Again, another solid defensemen who doesn’t have huge upside but looks like a solid pick. He looks to have a little bit of untapped potential, and can make good passes which is a nice quality to have in a defenseman who can play solidly defensively.

D – Dalyn Flatt – Ok, I don’t like what I read on this guy, but if he isn’t Jan Hrdina’s clone, I don’t know who is. Look at the picture in his profile on HF. The resemblance is uncanny.

LW – Mathieu Roy – 5-11 190 lbs – Shoots Left
I like this guy’s skillset a lot. His only question is defense. Speedy player who plays gritty. Projected to go in the third or fourth round. If he’s still there for our fourth round pick, I’d like the pick a lot. #61 might be a little too high, but I think I could live with it.

(sidenote – It’s even harder to say what rounds I’d like these guys to be looked at in, because we essentially have Crosby and then back-to-back picks in practically the same round)

C – Paul Stastny – 6-0 200 lbs – Shoots Left
I have to list him because I’m really hoping we can nab him. I am almost sure he will be gone by the time we pick, but if he isn’t we should jump all over him. Everything looks great – size, skills, work ethic, hockey sense, instincts, strength, and skating. Compared to his father, Peter Stastny, who most of us are too young to appreciate (including myself). I’m sure with his overall package and the fact that he plays in a US college (somewhere our scouts love to target), I’m sure Malone and co. really want him. In fact, if I were the Penguins, I’d consider trying to move up to get him, even if we gave up our #60 and #61 picks to do so. Maybe there will be a team out there with a pick in the 31-40 range who has another pick later in the second round and would jump at a chance to get more picks. In this draft, though, it wouldn’t surprise me if Stastny went in the first round.

It’s hard to ask for anything after winning Crosby, but if I could have one more wish for this draft it would be that we get Paul Stastny.

G – Joseph Fallon – 6-3 195 lbs – Catches Left
Fallon is the first goalie I really looked at, because most of the others I glanced at I would guess would already be gone. Fallon has great size and seems to be fundamentally sound. Posted great stats at Vermont with a 1.96 GAA and a .921 save %. We have some talent in the system at goalie, but as with defense, you can never have enough.

D – Kris Russell – 5-9 160 lbs – Shoots Left
Ok, I am going out of order here because Russel is not an NCAA player. I accidentally skipped over him after seeing his stats on hockeydb, and now went back to check his profile. His size is a big negative, but he has a whole lot of tools and a whole lot of heart too. He plays bigger than he is and will willingly block shots all day. Might be worth a gamble.

D – Andrew Thomas – 6-2 210 lbs – Shoots Right
Last year I listed off a lot of high risk high reward offensive players. I guess this year I am a little more content with “safe” picks because we have Crosby and Malkin. Thomas is again a nice solid defenseman with good size. Doesn’t seem to be too offensive, but has a hard and heavy shot. Good worker too, with good strength and skating.

C – Evan Rankin – 6-1 186 lbs – Shoots Right (I think from the picture)
I like what I see here. The only downside seems to be that he isn’t good defensively, but that can be worked on somewhat. He has good skills, vision, instinct and has a good work ethic and is willing to play physical and take hits to make plays and score goals. He did not really put up that good of numbers at Notre Dame, but had decent stats in the USHL the year before. He could be worth taking a flyer on in the fourth or fifth round.

RW – Ryan Maki – 6-3 212 lbs – Shoots Right
Posted ok stats for a pretty bad Harvard team this past year. Has power forward size and a good two way game. He’s a good skater and is willing to play physical and take hits. They say he needs to improve his decision making and ability to read the play, but I like everything else about him. Would be a good gamble in a later round.

LW – Ray Kaunisto – 6-4 185 lbs – Shoots Left
There isn’t a lot of information on him, but what is there looks good. “Kaunisto's main attributes are his fluid skating style, his rugged style of play and his large frame.” He is a USHL player, so he’s a good 4 years away at least, but could be a good pick and also a target for the Pens if they draft like they did last year.

G – Ben Bishop – 6-5 205 lbs – Catches Left
Well, he’s got huge size for a goalie. He will be going to Maine in the fall, a great hockey school. He posted good numbers and is said to be agile and also is consistent.

D – Patrick Cullity – 6-1 190 lbs – Shoots Left
Again not a lot of info, but there isn’t anything not to like about what is said. Smooth skater with great offensive abilities and a very physical style of play. He’s going to Boston College in 2006, so like all USHL players, he’s 4-5 years away at least. Looks like a very sound pick, though. There isn’t a good read on US Junior players, but say we took Kocharski and Cullity at #60 and #61 – based on what I’ve read, I’d have no problems with that at all.

C – Shea Guthry – 6-0 187 lbs – Shoots Right
I really like the sound of this guy too – I’m pretty high on a lot of these US Junior players profiles. DJ Powers seems to be the man responsible and he did a great job. Anyways, the book on Guthry is that he has exceptional speed, great hands, a “nose for the net”, and great passing ability. He has great character too and is known for being a competitor and leader on the team. His coach speaks incredibly highly of him. It’s redundant for me to keep saying these guys are quite a ways away from the NHL or even AHL, but from the looks of it Guthry would be an excellent pick.

G – Jonathan Quick – 6-1 190 lbs – Catches Left
25-2-0 this year, with a 1.19 GAA. 9 shutouts in 27 games and he allowed 1 goal or less in 19 of those games. The numbers pretty much speak for themselves.

D – Keith Yandle – 6-2 203 lbs – Shoots Left
Yandle looks like a really good pick. His coach pretty much sums it all up with these glowing few sentences, and I’ll let them speak for themselves. “Keith is the total package of skating, size, skill, hockey sense, vision and leadership ability. He is a clutch performer who is at his best in highly competitive situations. He is especially strong quarterbacking the power play. He is very strong passing the puck with hard accurate passes. He is also very strong in his own end.”

LW – Jerry Pollastrone – 5-10 190 lbs – Shoots ?
Looks to have really great speed and good offensive skills along with a solid two way game. Despite lacking a little in size, it says he doesn’t shy away from physical play. He will be going to a great hockey school at New Hampshire, and is not on the CSB Mid-Term rankings… He looks like he could be worth a mid to late round pick.

RW – Patrick Brosnihan – 6-4 210 lbs – Shoots Right
20 goals, 44 assists in 27 games this past year, and will be going to Yale in the fall. Obviously has the big frame (and already has filled out), and his profile says he is a good skater with soft hands, and also has a good work ethic. Another college or college bound player I wouldn’t mind us picking at all.

C – Chris VandeVelde – 6-1 190 lbs – Shoots Left
Minnesota high school player here, just like Wheeler almost. He will be going to North Dakota in the 2006 after a year in Lincoln with the USHL. Looks like he has good offensive skills and plays a power forward game.

LW – Robbie Dee – 6-1 185 lbs – Shoots Left
Dee looks like a very good offensive player who has a common question mark in that sometimes he can disappear. His numbers look great though, and has good speed and can protect the puck. He will get good development and teaching at Maine.

G – Alec Richards – 6-4 188 lbs – Catches Left
It looks like he has a great package of skills as a goalie, except that he doesn’t handle the puck well or move outside the crease. Plays a butterfly style with “quick feet, a good glove, and sound positioning skills.” He has good size and is heading to Yale in the fall.

D – Brandon Gentile – 6-0 200 lbs – Shoots Left
Another good solid defensive defenseman. He plays a pretty simple game and could make a good addition to our deep pool of defensive prospects.

C – Jason Lawrence – 5-10 183 lbs – Shoots Right
He is a little on the small side, but the one major thing I look for in players who aren’t as big is their willingness to play physical. In my opinion, if they develop a solid strength for their frame and can play physical and be durable, then size isn’t a big concern. Lawrence has good skill and good skating ability, and “plays with some bite” I like that his profile mentions he is creative with the puck, and again like the fact that he is headed to a good hockey school – Boston University.

C – Ilya Zubov – 6-0 176 lbs – Shoots Left
If you know me well enough, you know I favor the stereotypical skilled European or Russian players a whole lot, and included a lot of them in my preview for last year. This year might be no different, but there are only prospects listed for Russian, Sweden, and Finland, and not too many of them. I’ll pause for a second and say that so far I really love the crop of US Junior and college players, and also the OHL players. Getting back to Zubov, he is projected as a possible late first rounder, but you never know what could happen. He’s got very good skills and good speed. He’s not very strong from the looks of it, but has the good shot and vision and speed. If he were there at #60 which seems very unlikely, I would nab him.

D – Anton Belov – 6-3 186 lbs – Shoots Left
He opted out of last years draft, and I recognize the name, but that’s all. Projects as a pretty physical and sound defenseman, but has some offensive skill with skating and good slap shot. Good frame too. Projected to go mid second round, but if he slides a little bit, I’d be quick to take him at #60.

LW – Sergei Shirokov – 5-10 175 lbs – Shoots Left
Opted out of last year’s draft, and was one of the guys I really wanted to get last year in the middle rounds, along with Paul Stastny who also opted out. Shirokov proved me right, having an exceptional WJC this year. Like some of his Russian teammates, he was very brass and cocky at times when they beat Canada. I loved what he showed offensively in the tournament, and despite his small frame, would love to see the Penguins take a chance on him. Hopefully he will be around in the fourth round, but probably not. I won’t complain if they take him with their second or third round pick.

LW – Fredrik Petterson – 5-10 173 lbs – Shoots Right
Petterson brings the one thing I really look for in all of my picks, and that is speed (he isn’t the best in the draft or anything, I’m just stating that fact in general about myself). He has good offensive skill and despite his size is strong on the puck. He is a good leader and will play a physical game. People were a little disappointed in his WJC, but I would take a chance on him in the fourth or fifth round easily.

D – Risto Korhonen – 6-3 203 lbs – Shoots Left
Korhonen was mentioned last year among draftniks, and the buzz was that he, Laasko, and Rask would be a good top three Finnish players in this year’s draft. The buzz on them has worn down somewhat, but Korhonen would be a great pick. Originally I had assumed that the Penguins would have a high draft pick and a high second round pick, but given what has happened, he may not be available at #60. If he is, I would run to the podium to pick him though. Great size, real physical presense, no skating problems, good work ethic, plays good defense and can contribute offensively as he is a smart player. One of my favorite players in the draft, along with Stastny, Shirokov, Kucharski, and Guthry.

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