Others To Consider:
Since its become apparent that pretty much anything can (and probably will happen) after, say, the 3rd overall pick or so, I felt it was somewhat necessary to quickly profile a few more players who could be considered with the 10th pick.
From Left to Right:
Jonathan (J.T.) Miller, Center, U.S. National Team Development Program (USHL)
Was a monster for the USA in the Gold Medal run at the U-18 Championships...plays an honest game...strong skater...can beat defenders by way of stickhandling or just run through them...North Dakota-bound in the Fall...His upside is questionable- some felt he should have had better production during the course of the year.
(Ed. Note- I saw Miller play the U of MN this winter and he was impressive. Really stood out in the sense that he played bigger than his size and was effective against older competition.)
Brandon Saad, Left Wing, Saginaw Spirit (OHL)
Has all of the things scouts want in a player- the size, the skating, the shot...started off his rookie OHL season on a tear, but was lackluster and inconsistent the final half before a strong playoff showing...doesn't use his size effectively on some occasions...can score and make plays...not enough jam to be an effective bottom-6 guy in the NHL.
Nicklas Jensen, Right Wing, Oshawa Generals (OHL)
Can be a world-beater one night, then invisible the next- maddeningly inconsistent...can snipe the puck or set up plays...when engaged shows a promising power game...accelerates well after a slow first few steps...can shy away from physical contact...doesn't show requisite intensity night in and night out.
Ryan Strome, Center, Niagara Ice Dogs (OHL)
possesses high end offensive talent...elite hockey sense...fantastic puck skills...skates well...lanky frame will require more strength...some of the best hands in the Draft...is capable defensively...projects as a scorer at the next level.
Jamieson Oleksiak, Defense, Northeastern (NCAA)
Has grown 7 inches and gained 40 pounds since he was 16...is a good skater considering the growth spurt...nearly impossible to get around...shows some nastiness...has some skill with the puck...decision-making keeps improving...his development curve has skyrocketed upward...whether he is a Tyler Myers type or a Hall Gill type is largely dependent upon his continued improvement in all areas.
Thoughts on the Draft Class:
Dan: It gives you an idea of seemingly how wide open this year's Draft is looking, when initially we intended to do 10 profiles, and added 5 more just because there isn't a clear cut pecking order. It should also be noted that while nearly all of the guys we researched and talked about have the capabilities of being big time players at the NHL level, they also all have warts to their game- Inconsistency by and large being the big one. Now, they are just 18 (which is somewhat of a forgotten element, since we, as fans, tend to look at them as commodities or assets) so there isn't any reason to believe that all of the sudden things will "click" for them.
Its funny, since for the most part, the playing is over- the talk of rising and falling stocks is more apparent now, in the days and weeks leading up to June 24-25. A guy like Oscar Klefblom is getting a big push now, even though the NHL Combine, which was a week ago, basically consists of interviews and testing. Hell, kids, he could be our selection at #10, and I didn't even know he was on the radar til about 2 weeks ago.
Who knows what is gonna happen.
Buckle your seat belts. It's gonna be a wild ride.
This is how I ranked the 10 players we profiled in terms of who I want for the 10th pick. I say want, and not in terms of talent evaluation, because let's face it, I'm not qualified to do so.
1. Mika Zibanejad
2. Ryan Murphy
3. Matt Puempel
4. Mark McNeill (as a wing)
5. Mark Scheifele
6. Zach Phillips
7. Nathan Beaulieu
8. Sven Bartschi
9. Joel Armia
10. Duncan Siemens
Like Dan said, this is a wide open draft between 7 and 25. There is an upper tier of players who should be around ten compared to twenty, but it's not as big a drop-off as in years past No one should be shocked to see a player like Jamie Oleksiak or Matt Puempel be drafted above their slot or someone like Ryan Strome or Dougie Hamilton dropping below their top-eight slots. Minnesota is in a good position to further stock their prospect cupboard and the tenth overall pick will play a big role. While there is no guarantee for a great NHL career out of any player profiled, the Wild are looking for the best player available and most skilled player to add to their arsenal. For a team which is lacking young high-end talent, the tenth pick has its share of success stories like Teemu Selanne and Bobby Holik. Then again, it also has bred Erik Nystrom so the key for Minnesota is to find the player which they believe has the most talent and develop him.
My rankings of the ten players profiled:
1. Ryan Murphy
2. Mika Zibanejad
3. Sven Bartschi
4. Nathan Beaulieu
5. Zack Phillips
6. Mark McNeil
7. Matt Puempel
8. Joel Armia
9. Mark Scheifele
10. Duncan Siemens
Previous 10 For 10 Profiles: