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2010 NHL Entry Draft: Gudbranson poised for #3 pick, Isles trading down?

Jun 25, 2010, 1:48 PM EDT

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I’m getting ready to head over to the Staples Center for tonight’s
draft, but wanted to pass along a few more notes.

First, it’s
almost an absolute certainly that I’m confident in the order of the
first three picks tonight. Taylor Hall will go 1st overall to Edmonton
and then Tyler Seguin to Boston with the 2nd pick. But what about 3rd?

Leading
up to the draft Cam Fowler seemed to be the consistent #3 pick, but
lately that opinion has been changing. I’ve maintained that Fowler was
the best defenseman in the draft (and have him going third to Florida)
but it seems that Florida is getting ready to draft Eric Gudbranson in
that spot.

Gudbranson is a physical specimen, and is primed to
step into the NHL immediately. Generally, these young prospects who are
this tall need time to fill out and build muscle, but Gudbranson is
already a very stocky and well-built player. He’s also extremely
charismatic, well-spoken and (I can admit this) a good looking guy. He
would be the perfect player for Florida to build around and market in
the area.

Now after the third pick, that is likely to be
Gudbranson, you’d think that Fowler would be very next pick. That’s
likely, although with Columbus shopping their 4th overall pick anything
can happen. I highly doubt, however, that a team would trade up to #4
and not take the next best player on the board, which would be Fowler in
that position.

What follows could get interesting. The Islanders
aren’t looking to take any risks and despite the amount of talent at #5,
the Isles could trade down if they feel they would get better value in
the 10-15 range (hypothetically). That could certainly see some waves
sent across draft boards, as the player the Isles would nab at #5 is
likely a bit different than a team trading up.

Tonight could be
interesting, considering the amount of picks up for sale. Every team’s
draft board is completely different and tonight is shaping up for us to
see some teams grab players a bit higher than we might have expected.

Visit NBC’s Draft
Headquarters
for our complete coverage of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

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