Thursday, June 24, 2010

NHL Draft Linkorama

The NHL Draft starts tomorrow night from L.A. The first round will be shown on Versus, and I believe it starts at 6 PM CDT. A few Badgers could hear their names called this weekend, but it would be shocking to hear any of their names tomorrow night.

Baggot has a post about the Badgers w/ a good chance to be picked:

Winger Jason Clark, an incoming freshman, is projected as high as the third round. Defenseman John Ramage, a sophomore-to-be at UW, is projected between the third and fifth rounds. Winger Brendan Woods, a committed recruit for 2011-12, is projected between the third and fifth rounds as well. Center Mark Zengerle, an incoming freshman, is projected to be a late-round pick.

I didn’t know that Zengerle was eligible; I thought he was too old, since he turned 21 last month already. Anyway, Saturday should be fun to see where the Badgers fall and to whom (if they get picked by the Rangers…). Baggot also comments on the WCHA’s chances in the first round and gives a good summary of the potential players who could hear their name called tomorrow night:

North Dakota (defenseman Derek Forbort and center Brock Nelson) and Denver (wingers Beau Bennett and Jason Zucker) have two, while Coloardo College (center Jaden Schwartz), Minnesota (center Nick Bjugstad) and Minnesota-Duluth (defenseman Justin Faulk) have one each in the first-round discussion.

Forbort and Bjugstad are locks, while Nelson and Bennett have seen their value rise as the draft approaches. If you want to check out more on these future WCHA opponents or a host of other kids who will be picked this weekend, Western College Hockey has a great post of links on the draft.

I haven’t really seen anything on Woods or Clark, but there are quite a few links out there to information on John Ramage. Hockey’s Future lists Ramage as their #4 NCAA prospect (incoming freshman are not included). Inside College Hockey also has him on their list. From HF:

Ramage is a defensive defenseman who plays with an edge. He thrives on the physical side of the game, and with some added size and strength, could become a more dominating player for opponents to contend with. Like the rest of Wisconsin’s defensive unit, Ramage possesses great puck-moving ability. He displays good poise, patience and makes very good outlet passes. Although he may never post many points, Ramage does have some offensive upside to his game. He has an excellent shot and can get pucks to the net. Ramage is a powerful skater with nice strides but will need to improve moving his feet more consistently, particularly in one-on-one situations. He was a key cog on the Badgers penalty-killing unit this season, displaying some terrific shot-blocking and smart defensive zone play.

From INCH:

Scout's Take: "You know what you're gonna get with John—a defensive defenseman in every sense of the word. The first time I saw him, I couldn't believe how physical he was, and he always plays hard. He was good [with the U.S. team] at the World Junior Championship. He might not make the long-bomb pass to a forward, but he'll make a good first pass out of the zone.

"The thing I worry about with John is his skating. If he can lengthen out his stride, he's got a chance to go places. I see him getting taken somewhere between the late third round and the end of the fifth round."


I also found, through WCH, a great link from an Anaheim Ducks blog about Ramage. In case you forget, two summers ago, the Ducks picked Jake Gardiner and Justin Schultz in the 1st and 2nd round of the 2008 draft. The Ducks and their fans have to be happy w/ the way their prospects are developing, and this blogger thinks the Ducks should look to grab Ramage in the 3rd round to add to the collection. It sounds like they’ve watched a few Badger games and had this to say:

Upside?

Perfect Attendance - Ramage is incredibly consistent with a high compete level. His basement value above the shoulders is very high

Movable Part - Despite being the team's rookie stay-at-home defenseman, Ramage did play in multiple situations for the Badgers, showing off an impressive shot and some puck confidence in addition to his defensive skills.

Downside?


Sizable Disadvantage - While not small, Ramage is not the prototypical big stay-at-home defenseman. Martin Madden and Bob Murray were comfortable taking a chance on a diminutive offensive defenseman (Sami Vatanen) in the 4th Round last year, and there may be defensemen with more upside, even in the 4th Round, drawing attention away from Ramage.

A Different Tune - He was still fine tuning his one-on-one skills, and he will have to finish his career at Wisconsin without Osiecki. It's hard to project how his amateur development will proceed.

Lastly, INCH actually has a cool article about the NHL's best and worst NCAA picks since 2003. No surprise, several Badgers net honors as the best for their respective teams:

Carolina: Jamie McBain, D, Wisconsin (2/63, 2006)
Based on a terrific AHL rookie year and a fantastic 14-game stint in the NHL, it looks like the 'Canes got a steal late in Round 2.

Nashville: Ryan Suter, D, Wisconsin (1/7, 2003)
The Preds guaranteed themselves a dozen years of steady play on the blue line by taking Suter and Shea Weber in '03.

Ottawa: Brian Elliott, G, Wisconsin (9/291, 2003)
The second-to-last pick in the 2003 draft has a 46-26-7 record for the Sens, including a 29-18-4 mark this past season.

San Jose: Joe Pavelski, F, Wisconsin (7/205, 2003)
The Polish Prince could never score another NHL goal and still rank as one of the biggest draft steals over the past seven seasons.


One player is listed as worst:

Chicago: Jack Skille, F, Wisconsin (1/7, 2005)
Solid AHL performer can't crack the big club. He went one pick before Devin Setoguchi, who has 51 goals in his last two seasons in San Jose.

To be fair to Jack, the salary cap has been what has been holding him back from cracking the ‘Hawks roster, which INCH obviously doesn’t point out. W/ Buff and others getting traded to Atlanta the other day, I think Skille’s time will start in Chicago next season, he better be ready!

INCH also lists a few other Badgers who recently signed including Brendan Smith and Blake Geoffrion. I think both will acquit themselves well at the next level. INCH must not have gotten the news last summer, since they still list Ryan McDonagh as a Montreal prospect. Newsflash INCH, he was traded to the Rangers a year ago and there has been hoopla about him signing for the past month!