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Future Watch 2010

Future Watch 2010

The Hockey News has been providing the most comprehensive coverage of the world of hockey since 1947. In each issue, you'll find news, features and opinions about the NHL and leagues across North America and the world.



A few years ago, the Wild had holes everywhere. That’s what a few blown first-round selections and trading away a number of draft picks will do to an organization. But over the past couple of drafts, the Wild have done a quality job infusing defensemen (Marco Scandella, Tyler Cuma and Nick Leddy) and goalies (Matt Hackett and Anton Khudobin) into the prospect depth chart. Offense is the next weakness to tackle. Other than Cody Almond, there’s not much. “We need skilled forwards, it’s a priority,” said assistant GM Tommy Thompson. “We’re missing the quantity.” 1 MARCO SCANDELLA, D, 19, Val d’Or (QMJHL) OVERALL 54 6-3, 200, 30-9-20-29-41 Selected 32 spots after Tyler Cuma in 2008, Scandella has skyrocketed to what Thompson calls “one of the best defensemen in junior hockey right now.” A year ago, Scandella was…



THERE CAN ONLY be one No. 1 draft pick. But that doesn’t mean the player who goes second is a slouch. Look at the 2008 draft: No way was Tampa Bay going to pass on center Steven Stamkos, but the L.A. Kings are sure happy they got the ‘consolation prize’ in defenseman Drew Doughty – you know, Canadian Olympian Drew Doughty. So while there is already talk in Edmonton about the “fall for (Taylor) Hall” movement, don’t sleep on Plymouth’s Tyler Seguin. The second-year center for the Ontario League’s Whalers has matched Hall point-for-point throughout the season, deviating only when Seguin missed a couple games due to injury early in the campaign, but making up ground when Hall was away at the world juniors. In fact, Seguin even wrested the No. 1 crown away…



TEENAGE ANGST has long been at the root of screeching songs and scattered scribblings, but the scope of insecurity can certainly cross over from arts to sports. It’s easy to assume every 18-year-old who’s drafted by an NHL team breezes through life with a cocksure attitude stemming from a combination of youthful optimism and the fact they’ve already obtained rarefied status simply by having their name called out by a squad from the world’s best hockey league. But don’t, for one second, think there isn’t some emotional turmoil and serious self-doubt associated with being a kid trying to crack a stacked NHL roster. Tim Burke is the San Jose Sharks’ director of scouting and just as anyone who’s married can tell you the wedding is simply the start of an incredibly involved process,…



Despite their low draft position year in and year out, the Red Wings have assembled a collection of skilled players who project to be a natural fit for the team’s high-tempo, puck-possession style. Detroit’s top five prospects include two offense-minded defensemen and small, but quick offensive forwards. “We feel we have good depth at all positions, good variation,” said Wings assistant GM Jim Nill. What remains to be seen is whether any of these players can become a top-line forward or first-pair defenseman. “Who’s going to take it to another level?’’ Nill said. 1 BRENDAN SMITH, D, 20, Wisconsin (WCHA) OVERALL 39 6-2, 190, 25-10-21-31-36 An outstanding skater who loves to rush the puck, Smith is as gifted offensively as any player in college hockey right now, the Wings believe. “He’s got all the offensive skills,” Nill said. “He’s…