Friday, February 12, 2010

NHL Draft - triple header today

Later this afternoon -when the euphoria of the pseudo trade deadline has passed - you can catch up on your 2010 NHL Draft prep with three match-ups to chose from. Tonight's televised games feature some WHL action and three of the top teams in college hockey. You'll have a chance to see over a dozen players that will likely hear their names called come draft time.

Spokane Chiefs at Everett Silvertips (WHL)

In 2007, 2008 and 2009 the Kings took players from the WHL in the first round. In fact, the WHL has had more players drafted than any any other league worldwide in recent years - so, there's plenty of talent being showcased in the Western junior league.

Tonight's game features three players ranked by the NHL's Central Scouting Service. For those unfamiliar, their midterm rankings categorize all top draft-eligible prospects by area (North America-Europe) and position (skater-goaltender) in advance of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft being held in Los Angeles this June.

NHL Central Scouting ranked players in this game:
Everett Silvertips
Goaltender Kent Simpson (#7 N. American goalie)
Skaters - Alex Theriau (#74) and Radko Gudas (#131)

Simpson is a 17 year old goaltender from Edmonton, Alberta who is among the top three WHL netminders in save percentage. Theriau is a 6'2" defenseman from Duncan, British Columbia, also 17 years old.

Gudas, a 5'11" 19-year old from Prague, Czech Republic, represented his country at the 2008 and 2009 World Junior Championships. He also participated in the Kings rookie training camp back in September...and in an interview here, he had this to say about the experience:

"It was a pretty good experience. I was there in the summer in (Kings) development camp and they invited me to the rookie camp so I really enjoyed it. LA’s a great city and the training camp and rookie camp were pretty good...there were many things I learned. The hockey is different from Europe so I had to change my style for playing to another system and smaller ice."

Being a year older than most draft eligible players has led some scouts to say he could be NHL ready next year.

Everett forward Tyler Maxwell (jersey #9) was also invited to that camp after not being selected in the '09 draft. He currently sits second on the Silvertips in goals (27) and points (55). However, at 5'9" he's a long shot for the NHL. Maybe Manchester someday?

The game can be seen on FoxSports Northwest (channel 687 on DirecTV) at 7pm PST.

Minnesota State Mavericks at Wisconsin Badgers (NCAA)

Wisconsin, the highest scoring team in the nation, is currently ranked #1 in the country. Meanwhile, Minnesota State is ranked #22.

Tyler Pitlick, a 6'2" center for Minn-State, is ranked #21 by NHL scouting - so he has an outside shot at going in the first round of the upcoming NHL draft (you have to factor in the European players, plus the goalies).

John Ramage, a 6'1" defenseman for Wisconsin, is ranked #187 - so he's projected as a mid to late round draft pick up.

Other players to watch:
UW Junior defenseman Brendan Smith has been mentioned among the leading candidates for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award.

Jordy Murray, former Kings coach Andy Murray's 'other' son, also plays for UW. As most of you know, Jordy's brother Brady was drafted by the Kings and is still team property. Jordy injured his shoulder in December, however he's been playing much better in 2010. (Read the MayorsManor interview with Andy Murray, where he talks about his sons, by clicking here).

Current Kings defenseman Davis Drewiske played four years for the Badgers, winning an NCAA Championship in 2006 (beating Peter Harold and his Boston College teammates).

David Backes of the St. Louis Blues (their 2nd round pick back at the '03 draft) is a former Maverick. He's also getting ready to play for Team USA in the Olympics.

This game can be seen on the NHL Network starting at 6pm PST (channel 215 on DirecTV)

Alaska-Fairbanks Nanooks at Ohio State Buckeyes (NCAA)

Although this game does not feature any players from the NHL's mid-term draft rankings, the Buckeyes are ranked #25 in the country entering action tonight.

Ohio State alum Ryan Kesler, a former first-round draft pick of the Vancouver Canucks, will play a big role for Team USA at the Olympics starting next week.

David Steckel - the Kings first round pick in the 2001 draft (and now with the Capitals) - also went to Ohio State.

The Big Ten Channel (DirecTV channel 610) will broadcast this game beginning at 4pm PST.

For the full list of draft-eligible skaters and goaltenders ranked by the NHL's Central Scouting division click here.

Read. Watch. Enjoy.

The Mayor

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