Monday, January 21, 2013

NHL Draft Picks Needing to Be Signed

The deadline for signing 2011 NHL Draft selections is still far away (June 1), but with the NHL back up and running, it shouldn't take long before teams start to try and negotiate contracts with the players they intend to keep in their system.

Let's take a look at the OHL players selected in 2011, who have yet to sign NHL deals.

Andrey Pedan - Guelph Storm (New York Islanders)
Pedan's offensive game has come a long way since being drafted. His size, aggressiveness, skating ability, and offensive potential make him an easy sign for the Islanders IMO.

Joseph Cramarossa - Belleville Bulls (Anaheim Ducks)
Sent back to the OHL for his overage season, Cramarossa's offensive game has not really developed to the point may expected it would (myself included). He has a lot of value for other reasons, but I think he'll need to finish the season very strong (including a solid playoff run) to impress the Ducks enough to sign him.

Anthony Camara - Barrie Colts (Boston Bruins)
With the offensive breakthrough he's having this season, Camara has to be an easy sign for the Bruins. Showing a scoring touch to go with his impressive and devastating physical elements.

Alan Quine - Belleville Bulls (Detroit Red Wings)
Has gotten off to a great start in Belleville. He's a very skilled offensive player, but the rest of his game still needs work. I do expect the Wings to sign him though. 

Josh Leivo - Kitchener Rangers (Toronto Maple Leafs)
Another very easy sign. Leivo has developed into one of the OHL's top two-way forwards. He's got a lot of things going for him that would suggest he could carve out a long career in the NHL.

Justin Sefton - London Knights (San Jose Sharks)
Sure, he's never developed into the type of defender you want running your powerplay or handling the puck for prolonged periods of time, but I don't think that's why San Jose drafted him. Sefton is what he is. A big, physical guy who can drop the mitts. I'm sure he is who they thought they were getting at this point. Can't see the Sharks not signing him, given that. 

*Reid Boucher - Sarnia Sting (New Jersey Devils)
Boucher was not drafted out of the OHL, so I don't believe he falls under the same category (U.S. HS or college players have a different window). That being said, Boucher is absolutely tearing up the OHL lately. He'll probably hit the 50 goal plateau. He's ready for the AHL next year and should be a lock to be signed.

Tobias Rieder - Kitchener Rangers (Edmonton Oilers)
While his offensive production has dropped slightly this year, I can't see the Oilers passing up the opportunity to sign Rieder. Too much offensive ability to let go.
SIGNED (by Phoenix after his rights were traded)

Colin Suellentrop - Oshawa Generals (Philadelphia Flyers)
I like Suellentrop. I think he's developed into a very solid stay at home defenseman. I see a lot of progression in his decision making and overall defensive ability since he was drafted. That said, would I be surprised if the Flyers chose not to sign him? Probably not. But I know I'd sign him.

Garrett Meurs - Plymouth Whalers (Colorado Avalanche)
I think he's developed well since the Avs drafted him. He's on pace for his best year yet statistically, and has really rounded out his game to become more of a complete player. I'm not really sure where he fits in at the next level, but I've certainly seen worse players get contracts.

Alex Lepkowski - Barrie Colts (Buffalo Sabres)
He's finally been able to have a fairly healthy season and is playing a pretty crucial top 4 role for the Colts. Like Sefton, Lepkowski is what he is. A bruising crease clearer. When the Sabres drafted him, I'd be surprised if they envisioned him becoming anything else. Probably a 50/50 guy.

*Simon Karlsson - Oshawa Generals (Nashville Predators) 
Never really fit in or excelled in Plymouth, and is now in Oshawa. Nothing really screams NHL prospect to me, if I'm being honest. Karlsson was drafted out of Europe, but those players have the same parameters around them now. Can't see him being signed.

Austen Brassard - Belleville Bulls (Winnipeg Jets)
He's having a massive down year offensively. After last year's big step forward, he's gone backward now. Since the arrival of Tyler Graovac on the top line (with Gaunce), he's looked much better. It'll probably depend on how he finishes out the season. He's definitely a big body with offensive potential at the next level.

Andrew Fritsch - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (Phoenix Coyotes)
I liked Fritsch a lot in his draft year. Great speed and goal scoring ability. But he's had a tough time with injuries in his OHL career. It's kind of stunted his development. I'd be surprised if the Coyotes sign him. That being said, I think he's a candidate to break out massively if he returns for an overage year. That could be his meal ticket.

Matt Mahalak - Plymouth Whalers (Carolina Hurricanes)
One of the reasons Plymouth hasn't quite been as good as everyone had anticipated they'd be this year, is Mahalak's erratic play. As the true number one this year, he's struggled (to some degree). Plymouth is going to need him to be at his best in the playoffs, and I think that's where he's going to determine whether Carolina offers him a contract. The one thing working in his favor is the fact that Carolina isn't exactly brimming with goaltending prospects.

*Peter Ceresnak - Peterborough Petes (New York Rangers)
While he's proven to be a fairly capable OHL defenseman, I don't think he has any particular stand-out abilities that cause him to be projectable as a future NHL player.  At this point, he seems like a long shot to earn a contract.

Mitchell Theoret - Barrie Colts (New York Islanders)
Always been a big fan of Theoret. He's had an absolutely fantastic season. I think he brings enough to the table in other areas to suggest he could be a decent role player at the next level. I'd be surprised if the Isles didn't reward his breakthrough with a contract. Helps that he had such great chemistry with Ryan Strome too (prior to his trade to Barrie)

Garret Sparks - Guelph Storm (Toronto Maple Leafs)
I think the Leafs sign him. He's had a solid season, even earning the role as 3rd stringer on Team USA's gold medal winning WJC team. Scrivens is up with the big club now, and Owuya and Rynnas are free agents after this year. Looks like there's definitely an opening for him to slide into an AHL role next year (or at the very least, an ECHL starter's job).

Tyler Graovac - Belleville Bulls (Minnesota Wild)
Breakthrough year. Already set career highs in goals and points. Size and tangibles. Easy sign, 'nuff said. No brainer.

*Alex Broadhurst - London Knights (Chicago Blackhawks)
I've liked what I've seen from Broadhurst this year. A lot of offensive talent, but he's also quite the sparkplug, and an excellent penalty killer. Reminds me a lot of Alex Friesen of the IceDogs. Similar to Reid Boucher, he wasn't drafted out of the OHL so falls under different rules. If the Hawks sign him, he could always return for his overage year...or go to the AHL to play with brother Terry (signed with the Hawks through next year).

*Michael Schumacher - Saulte Ste. Marie Greyhounds (Los Angeles Kings)
Drafted out of Europe, similar to Simon Karlsson, but Schumacher does need to be signed by the June 1st deadline. Even though I'm not particularly sure I see an NHL player in him, I would be surprised if the Kings didn't sign him. He's absolutely massive and does have some intriguing skills.

It'll be interesting to track these players to see if and when they earn their ELC.

1 comment:

Jess Rubenstein said...

Andrey Pedan-- is every thing you mentioned but his lack of self control will not help his career if he doesn't stop taking bad penalties.

Mitchell Theoret-- Nice late bloomer who is showing that his improvement was more than playing with Ritchie/Strome.

Islanders need more guy like Theoret who will do anything a coach asks of him.

You left off Peter Ceresnak 2011 NYR 6th of Peterborough who really is hard to judge because of the mess the Petes are.

He has played decent hockey at the WJCs but I think his fate will not be decided until his Pete season ends and the NYR can see how he does in the AHL on an ATO

Great blog enjoy your workd