2010 NHL Draft: Winners and Losers

With the 2010 NHL Entry Draft in the books, it’s time to do what every journalist and blogger look forward to from the minute the draft floor is opened by Commissioner Gary Bettman on Friday night: writing about which teams won and which teams lost during the great event that is the annual entry draft.

Skipping the obvious winners such as Edmonton, for picking Taylor Hall, or Boston, for picking Tyler Seguin, I will go through the teams that made great picks throughout the entirety of the draft, not just with one selection. After all, one man doesn’t make a team, and it surely doesn’t win a Stanley Cup, isn’t that right Mr. Ovechkin?


Florida Panthers

GM Dale Tallon made numerous trades, including a major trade in which Keith Ballard went to Vancouver with Victor Oreskovich for Steve Bernier, Michael Grabner and Vancouver’s first round pick Friday night. Not only did the trade give Florida two great depth players, but it also gave them the rights to Quinton Howden, who may someday by a top-2 center.

In addition, Erik Gudbranson, their first choice, will eventually by a star, shutdown defenseman in this league. Even Nick Bjugstad, who is still a bit raw, will eventually be a top forward in the NHL. In round two, Tallon was able to put claim to John McFarland and Alexander Petrovic, both of whom may be future impact players.

Altogether, the Panthers may get five future NHL regulars from their top five picks. As far as their later picks, anything goes, as we know from the Red Wings.

1(3) Erik Gudbranson, D, Kingston (OHL)

1(19) Nick Bjugstad, C, Blaine (USHS)

1(25) Quinton Howden, C, Moose Jaw (WHL)

2(33) John McFarland, LW, Sudbury (OHL)

2(36) Alexander Petrovic, D, Red Deer (WHL)

2(50) Connor Brickley, C, Des Moines (USHL)

3(69) Joe Basaraba, RW, Shattuck St. Mary’s (USHS)

4(92) Sam Brittain, G, Canmore (AJHL)

4(93) Benjamin Gallacher, D, Camrose (AJHL)

4(99) Joonas Donskoi, RW, Karpat Jr. (FIN-Jr.)

5(123) Zach Hyman, C, Hamilton (CCHL)

6(153) Corey Durocher, LW, Kingston (OHL)

7(183) Ronald Boyd, D, Cushing Academy (USHS)


Anaheim was much luckier than good in this year’s draft. But as Bob Murray said, “I’d rather be lucky than good.”

Both Cam Fowler and Emerson Etem slipped to the Ducks in the draft – two players who may be top-line skaters in the next five years. Etem is a skilled, but strong skater who may be able to score 40 goals one day, while Fowler could be the next Mike Green.

Although the Ducks did not have many more picks until round five, they managed to draft some guys that could turn out to be depth players in the NHL or AHL. Diamond in the rough alert: look out for their six-rounders, Andreas Dahlstrom and Kevin Lind, who may both be solid NHLers one day.

1(12) Cam Fowler, D, Windsor (OHL)

1(29) Emerson Etem, RW, Medicine Hat (WHL)

2(42) Devante Smith-Pelly, RW, Mississauga (OHL)

5(122) Christopher Wagner, RW, South Shore (EJHL)

5(132) Tim Heed, D, Sodertalje (SWE)

6(161) Andreas Dahlstrom, C/W, AIK (SWE-2)

6(177) Kevin Lind, D, Chicago (USHL)

7(192) Brett Perlini, RW, Michigan State (CCHA)


Although I didn’t think they would actually do it, the Islanders pleasantly surprised me when they took Nino Niederreiter with the fifth pick. Niederreiter is arguably the best player not named Taylor or Tyler in this year’s draft and could very well be a superstar within five years.

The Islanders also hit home runs with their second and third picks, taking Brock Nelson from Minnesota High School and Kirill Kabanov, the mysterious Russian. Nelson, many scouts said, is just as good as Nick Bjugstad, but is more developed. Bjugstad seemed to slow down at the end of the year, while Nelson was as consistent as ever. Look for him to be in the pros in three years.

As for Kabanov, although he has that mysterious side to him that no one quite knows, I would have taken him in the late first round if I were a GM (which is probably why I’m not one). Kabanov is as skilled as Brett Connolly, Ryan Johansen, and – dare I say it – Taylor and Tyler. The biggest problem with him has been his commitment, but from speaking with him and my peers at The Hockey News, it sounds more like a big misunderstanding than a lack of effort and desire. If the Islanders (and I) are right, Kabanov could be playing next to John Tavares in a couple years.

1(5) Nino Niederreiter, RW, Portland (WHL)

1(30) Brock Nelson, C, Warroad (USHS)

3(65) Kirill Kabanov, LW, Moncton (QMJHL)

3(82) Jason Clark, C/LW, Shattuck St. Mary’s (USHS)

5(125) Tony Dehart, D, Oshawa (OHL)

7(185) Cody Rosen, G, Clarkson (ECAC)



The Stars drafted Jack Campbell, which automatically makes me think they are a 2010 draft loser. From the few games I watched Campbell play, I was not convinced he is an NHL-caliber goalie. Granted, he won the World Junior Championship, which is extremely impressive. However he looked awful shaky in net, and he looked even worse on the USNDTP with a worse team in front of him.

To explain, TSN stated that Campbell was a goalie who may give up five goals, but he won’t let you get that sixth goal. Honestly, that is not something I would be proud of if I were a goaltender. How about not even giving up the fifth goal? Or the first, for that matter?

After Campbell, the Stars did nothing to write home about. With only five draft picks, they failed to snag a quality player at number 41, instead drafting a guy who plays in Sweden’s junior league.

1(11) Jack Campbell, G, USA (USHL)

2(41) Patrik Nemeth, D, AIK Jr. (SWE-Jr.)

3(77) Alexander Guptill, LW, Orangeville (CCHL)

4(109) Alex Theriau, D, Everett (WHL)

7(131) John Klingberg, D, Frolunda Jr. (SWE-Jr.)


The Flyers had arguably the worst draft of any team. Regardless of draft picks, they traded AHL star Jonathan Matsumoto to the Carolina Hurricanes for a seventh rounder, which they used to draft Ricard Blidstrand, a left wing from Sweden’s junior league. In addition, they traded the rights to Dan Hamhuis for a 2011 third rounder. So in essence, they traded Ryan Parent, a former first round pick, for a third round pick in what many scouts are calling the worst draft in NHL history.

But the icing on the cake was when they drafted Nicholas Luukko, who is – hold on to your hats – the son of Peter Luukko, who is the COO of Comcast-Spectacor, the company that owns the Flyers. And if you think for a minute that young Nicholas could possibly be an NHLer one day, check HockeyDB.com. He doesn’t even have a page. Still not convinced? Frank Xavier, a college hockey player who was never even drafted into the NHL has a HockeyDB page.

Sure makes you wonder what it takes to have your fans turn on you…

3(89) Michael Chaput, C, Lewiston (QMJHL)

4(119) Tye McGinn, LW, Gatineau (QMJHL)

5(149) Michael Parks, RW, Cedar Rapids (USHL)

6(179) Nicholas Luukko, D, The Gunnery (USHS)

7(206) Ricard Blidstrand, D, AIK Jr. (SWE-Jr.)

7(209) Brendan Ranford, LW, Kamloops (WHL)


To determine what kind of draft the Rangers had, just ask the man I was talking to when they made their pick, Greg Caggiano. Not only did he go beserk and almost break everything in the room, but he let out so many expletives that I thought Brian Burke was in the room.

When Cam Fowler and Brandon Gormley are still on the board, and you take Dylan McIlrath, it makes you wonder even more what it would take to get Glen Sather fired.

In the later rounds, the Rangers drafted a few guys that could possibly contribute in a depth role in the NHL, guys like Andrew Yogan and Jason Wilson. But don’t expect many from this draft to don a Rangers uniform anytime soon.

1(10) Dylan McIlrath, D, Moose Jaw (WHL)

2(40) Christian Thomas, RW, Oshawa (OHL)

4(100) Andrew Yogan, C/LW, Erie (OHL)

5(130 Jason Wilson, LW, Owen Sound (OHL)

6(157) Jesper Fasth, RW, HV 71 Jr. (SWE-Jr.)

7(190) Randy McNaught, RW, Saskatoon (WHL)

Alan Bass is a writer for The Hockey News and THN.com. In addition to writing for Inside Hockey and Pro Hockey News, he has also worked for the Philadelphia Flyers. He is the General Manager of the Muhlenberg College hockey team as well. You can contact him at BergHockey24@gmail.com.

One Response to 2010 NHL Draft: Winners and Losers

  1. Bill says:

    Generally agree with all of your comments with the following exceptions:

    As an Islander fan, I like Nelson as a prospect, but would have preferred Jon Merrill as the Isles need one more big talented defenseman to compliment Hamonic and Kessel. Agree that Kabanov, like Petrov in 2008, was worth gambling a third rounder on. In a year or two, they could both be stars. Would have preferred they had drafted Nino’s teammate Troy Rutkowski. Will simply have to trust that DeHart, who I do not know, will work out better. Don’t really know why they spent a pick on a goalie with three studs in the system, but it is only a seventh rounder.

    As to Dallas, I think Campbell will be fine, but I also think that Dallas would have been better served by using that pick on Fowler or Gormley as they need a star puck mover. From what I hear, Nemeth is a real stud snarly defensive defenseman and will be fine.

    For the Rangers, I have to take off my Islander hat for a moment and try to be objective and avoid gloating (that is REALLY hard). Although Fowler and Gormley would both have been much better choices than McIlrath, the best choice for them would have been Tarasenko. He is really comparable to Nino, but his KHL contract scared a lot of teams. That has never bothered the Rangers and they desperately need a legit RW top six and secondary scoring. Given that their current shutdown pairing is, along with Lundqvist and Gaborik, one of the main strengths of their team and both players are young, it is hard to see why they needed McIlrath at all. If, however, Sather and his guys were convinced they needed him, they should have at least traded down for 1-2 second rounders. VERY BAD move (and I couldn’t be happier)!!!

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