NHL Draft Preview
by Tim Rosenthal/Staff Writer
With hockey season officially over, attention turns to the 2008 NHL Entry Draft this weekend at the Scotiabank Palace in Ottawa, Ontario.
Because of television, the NHL has moved its first round — only — to Friday evening. The remainder of the draft, rounds two through seven, will take place Saturday.
Our attention turns to the draft, of course, because of the bevy of current and incoming college hockey players that will be involved. And over the last 10 years, that number has soared, particularly in the first round. Last year, for example, the top three selections were either Americans, college players, or both — with Patrick Kane (U.S.) going first, followed by James Van Riemsdyk (New Hampshire) and Kyle Turris (Wisconsin).
The honor is unlikely to be bestowed upon an American/college player this year. The overwhelming consensus is that Steven Stamkos will be the No. 1 pick. But after that, it's anybody's guess on who will be taken in the next few picks.
While the Junior Hockey Leagues across Canada are getting most of the talk, the college players are also getting some recognition. One player in particular is the top college hockey prospect, Boston University forward Colin Wilson.
In the top 30 prospects, as judged by the NHL's Central Scouting Service, five college (or future college players) are in that field. There are other players as well, such as defenseman Cody Goloubef of Wisconsin, who could sneak into the first round.
Here is a look at some college players to watch in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft:
Colin Wilson F, Boston University
Coming from a hockey background, Wilson has some good skills that will get a few teams attention. His father, Carey Wilson also started out in college, playing for Dartmouth.
This 2007-08 season, Colin Wilson only had 12 goals, but added 23 assists and totaled 35 points in 37 games. However, Wilson tore it up in The World Junior Championships scoring six times and gathering seven points in six games.
While some scouts say skating could be an issue, his hockey I.Q. might be one of the best out there. Wilson should be in the top 10.
ISS Ranking: No. 10
Prediction: Pick No. 8 (Phoenix Coyotes)
Zac Dalpe F, Ohio State (incoming freshman)
After two seasons of playing in the Junior B League in Ontario, Dalpe moved to the Junior A League this past year in the BCHL playing for Penticton.
Although he is committed to Ohio State, there is a possibility of junior hockey for Dalpe as he could move back to his home province of Ontario, according to The Hockey News.
Nevertheless, Dalpe had a strong season in the BCHL tallying 63 points (27 G, 36 A) en route to a Fred Page Cup championship (given to the league's top team).
If Dalpe comes to Ohio State, he could help the Buckeyes in the scoring department. Whatever his decision is, Dalpe will be a solid forward in the NHL.
ISS Ranking: No. 16
Prediction: Pick No. 17 (Calgary Flames)
Aaron Ness D, Minnesota recruit
The top-rated (upcoming) college defenseman in the draft is Aaron Ness.
In three seasons of high school hockey in Minnesota (Roseau), Ness was a solid offensive-defenseman. Though he is not the biggest defenseman on the ice at 5-foot-10, Ness makes up for that with his skating ability and his talent to provide offense.
Some scouts believe he needs to bulk up (Ness only weighs 162 lbs.) and if he does, he can be a great force. Expect Ness to be a first round pick and contribute nicely at Minnesota.
ISS Ranking: No. 27
Prediction: Pick No. 23 (Washington Capitals)
Other possible first round talent
Jake Gardiner, D, Wisconsin recruit (CSS Ranking: No. 23)
Cody Goloubef, D, Wisconsin (No. 28)
Joe Colborne, F, Denver recruit (No. 34)
Corey Trivino F, Boston University recruit (CSS Ranking: No. 49)
Jimmy Hayes F, Boston College recruit (No. 63)
Joe Cannata G, Merrimack recruit (No. 13, among goaltenders)
David Toews F, North Dakota recruit (No. 79)