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2010 NHL Entry Draft: Atlanta Thrashers draft preview

Jun 24, 2010, 4:00 PM EDT

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It didn’t take long for Atlanta to make a splash at the draft as
they shipped their later first round pick to Chicago as part of the
blockbuster trade for Dustin Byfuglien. New general manager Rick
Dudley has made a big opening statement for how he will mold the future
of the Thrashers in shipping out two picks to get guys he wanted to
play in the NHL now. While there may be some criticism to be had in
doing that, preparing for the draft and talking to former GM turned
Thrashers executive Don Waddell might not be a bad idea. Seriously. His
last two first round picks? Zach Bogosian and Evander Kane. Look for
the Thrashers to go for a scoring forward with their top pick.

2010 Draft picks:

Round 1 – 8th
Round 2 – 87th
Round 4 – 101st
Round 5 – 128th
Round
5 – 150th
Round 6 – 158th

Top prospects (per Hockey’s Future):

1. Patrice Cormier, C
2. Carl Klingberg, LW
3. Ivan
Vishnevskiy, D
4. Jeremy Morin, RW
5. Arturs Kulda, C
6.
Spencer Machacek, RW
7. Eric O’Dell, C
8. Paul Postma D
9.
Angelo Esposito, C
10. Daultan Leveille, C

PHT’s Mock
Draft results:

8 – Ryan
Johansen – C – Portland (WHL)

Johansen will need more
time in the WHL to mature, both physically and as a player, but he would
instantly become the most exciting prospect for the Thrashers. He is
praised for his hockey sense and ability to avoid defenders while with
the puck, but is much to lanky to take the step to the next level at
this point – he’d be killed, no matter how “shifty” he is. Still, he’s a
pure scorer and playmaker who is drawing comparisons to Eric Staal.

What
are the blogs saying:

Thrashers
will take at #8, I think the odds are very high that they will take one
of three forwards from the WHL (Western Hockey League). I think they
prefer Nino Niederreiter, but in our mock he was off the board by the
time Atlanta picked–I wouldn’t be surprised if the that happened in the
actual draft as well.

That leaves a choice between RW Bret Connolly and C Ryan Johansen
and I went with Connolly (but Johansen would be a fine choice too). The
reason I went with Connolly is that there is widespread agreement that
were it not for a hip injury that wiped out most of his season, Brett
would certainly be picked in the top 5 of the NHL Draft. He has a good
sized frame at 6’2″ and terrific hands. He scored at an impressive rate
as a 16 year old playing in the WHL. When I spoke to Thrashers Director
of Scouting Dan Marr he made the comment that their area scout had
“never seen him have a bad game” which is a pretty strong statement
about the teenagers consistency.

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