We’ve heard enough about these guys… what about the rest?
LOS ANGELES — It goes without saying the spotlight will be on GM Steve Tambellini and the Edmonton Oilers when the first pick of the 2010 Entry Draft is announced Friday.
That selection is a no-brainer in that it will come down to either Plymouth pivot Tyler Seguin or two-time Memorial Cup MVP Taylor Hall of Windsor — I know, thanks for the news bulletin.
But what about the second time Tambellini and chief scout Stu MacGregor the podium to make the 31st pick? Who slots in there? Does anybody fall into their lap with the first pick of the second round? Will the Oilers keep the pick or try to move it?
With the first overall pick in franchise history a two-man race, which doesn’t lend itself well to my annual draft Wish List, that 31st selection has been a topic of debate among those on MacGregor’s scouting staff.
What you can take to the bank is this: you won’t find small forwards, undersized defencemen or goaltenders circled on the Oilers list at No. 31. They want size and grit with this pick.
Here’s my take on the five leading candidates to have their names called at No. 31, once all the Seguin-Hall drama has played out.
IF THERE IS A HOCKEY GOD…
USA U-18, USHL
Final Rank: 38 Midterm Rank: 42
Position: Defenceman Shoots: Left
Height: 6′ 6" Weight: 205
Born: February 20, 1992 Hometown: Millersville, MD
Born in: Burnsville, MN, USA
— Tinordi was the captain of the U.S National Team Development Program for the 2009-10 season and recorded two points (1-1-2) and was a plus-eight in seven games leading Team USA to a gold medal at the 2010 Under-18 World Championships.
— He is the son of Mark Tinordi, who totalled 1,514 penalty minutes in 12 NHL seasons with the Rangers, North Stars, Stars and Capitals from 1987-99. Tinordi wears 24, the same number as his father.
— Tinordi played in 67 games with the U.S. Under-17 team last season, where he recorded 20 points (6-14–20) and 71 penalty minutes.
WHAT THEY SAY
NHL Central Scouting’s Jack Barzee
"He skates very well for a big guy. He has an excellent shot from the point. He’s a pretty smart player. The head’s there, the hands are there, the shot’s there, the skating ability is there. He’s got a real, real cannon for a shot."
"He plays hard and he keeps his game simple. He’s a competitive, hard-nosed kind of player."
Despite his final ranking, most scouts feel Tinordi will go 20-25th. If he slips, MacGregor will run to the microphone like his hair is on fire and yell "T-i-n-o-r-d-i" at the top of his lungs. Can’t see the Oilers getting this guy.
THREE TO WATCH
South Shore, EJHL
Final Rank: 24 Midterm Rank: 19
Position: Right Wing/Center Shoots: Right
Height: 6′ 2" Weight: 202
Born: March 2, 1992 Hometown: Weymouth, MA
Born in: Boston, MA, USA
— Coyle, who will attend Boston University, was named Eastern Junior Hockey League Rookie of the Year after finishing fifth overall in scoring with 63 points (21-42–63) in 42 games.
— He was selected to represent his country at the 2009 Ivan Hlinka Memorial as well as the 2009 Four Nations Cup where he scored the overtime winner against Switzerland wrapping up the tournament title for the U.S. with a 3-0 record.
— Is the cousin of former NHL player Tony Amonte. Amonte, who also played hockey at Boston University, was drafted 68th overall in 1988 by the New York Rangers and had 900 points in the NHL playing for New York, Chicago, Phoenix, Philadelphia and Calgary (1991-2007).
WHAT THEY SAY
NHL Central Scouting’s Gary Eggleston
"Charlie is a skilled forward, who can play a power game as well as a finesse game. He has very good size and athleticism. He has very soft hands and is a confident puck handler. His passes are accurate and proper for the situation.
"He has a long and strong stride and beats defenders with his acceleration and puck skills. He has a very good wrist shot to support his passing skills in his role as a major contributor to his team’s offence. He should, however, shoot the puck more than he does to take advantage of his excellent shot."
"The book on him is that he’s big, strong and he competes. He’s also got good hockey sense."
Size? Grit? Decent skill? Compete level? Coyle fits the bill. The Oilers will be thrilled to get him with this pick.
Final Rank: 25 Midterm Rank: 17
Position: Center Shoots: Left
Height: 6′ 3" Weight: 205
Born: October 15, 1991 Hometown: Warroad, MN
Born in: Minneapolis, MN, USA
— In 25 regular season games in 2009-10, Nelson recorded a point in every game and scored a goal in all but two. He had 73 points (39-34–73), averaging 2.92 points-per-game. He has committed to the University of North Dakota (2011).
— His uncle, Dave Christian, was a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic gold medal-winning team and enjoyed an NHL career that spanned over 1000 games. An All-American at the University of North Dakota, he was drafted 40th overall in 1979 by the Winnipeg Jets.
— His grandfather, Billy Christian, and great uncle, Roger Christian, played on Team USA’s 1960 gold-medal winning men’s hockey team. Gordon Christian, also his great uncle, played hockey for the University of North Dakota (1947-1950) and was a member of the U.S. Olympic team that won silver in 1956.
WHAT THEY SAY
Director of NHL Central Scouting, E.J. McGuire
"Big, strapping center in the Minnesota High School league. Going to North Dakota next year and destined to be an NHLer with six-foot-two frame, 205-pound build. Guaranteed, hard-skating power forward."
"He’s got very good hockey sense and he skates well for a big player. A lot of people think he’s going to go in the top 25."
With 149 points in 56 high school games the past two seasons, Nelson has some offensive tools, but it’s his big body and skating ability that has the Oilers hoping he’s available.
Final Rank: 27 Midterm Rank: 24
Position: Center Shoots: Left
Height: 6′ 3" Weight: 183
Born: October 27, 1991 Hometown: Brooklin, ON
Born in: Oshawa, ON,
— After breaking out in 2008-09, his second season in Ottawa, with 23 goals in 53 games, Martindale settled into more of a play-making role this season, tallying 41 assists in 64 games.
— He had an advantage that most young hockey players don’t — his father was a goalie for the Toronto Marlboros in the OHA (1979-83).
— Martindale’s favourite athlete is Joe Sakic. He wore No. 7 in minor hockey because his father was a fan of Phil Esposito. He wears No. 77 in Ottawa because No. 7 is retired (Doug Wilson and Denis Potvin).
WHAT THEY SAY
Ottawa 67’s head coach Chris Byrne
"Ryan is a tall, skilled, swift-skating center who can play in all situations. Ryan has worked hard on playing a two-way game this season. He has a nose for the net and can beat defenders one-on-one with his size, speed or skill."
"Another big kid and he has good skill. He’s not consistently physical, but he works hard."
Not as highly rated as Coyle or Nelson, but the Oilers will take a long look at him at 31st if the others are gone.
Final Rank: 42 Midterm Rank: 56
Position: Left Wing Shoots: Left
Height: 6′ 2" Weight: 209
Born: December 4, 1991 Hometown: Kelowna, BC
Born in: Tacoma, WA, USA
— Hamilton played just 26 games for the Blades, but managed to record 16 points (7-9-16) and shake off breaking his collarbone (twice) as well as separating his shoulder. He will take part in Canada’s World Junior evaluation camp this summer.
— He is the son of Bruce Hamilton, a former Saskatoon Blades forward (1974-77) and current owner and general manager of the Kelowna Rockets. His father was selected by St. Louis 81st overall in 1977.
— Hamilton was drafted in the second round (36th overall) in the 2006 Bantam WHL Draft and was a member of Team Canada at the 2009 Under-18 World Championships.
WHAT THEY SAY
Saskatoon Blades Assistant GM Jarrod Brodsky
"Hamilton is a good skating winger with a powerful skating stride; good two-way player who is smart at both ends of the ice. He takes puck to the net and is learning to use his size and strength more."
"He’s big and strong with a good head for the game."
While MacGregor didn’t want to say too much about Hamilton, the Oilers scouting staff likes him — they like him a lot. With Hamilton losing so many games to injury, MacGregor is hoping he flies under the radar.
Round-by-round look at where the Oilers are slotted to pick.
- 1st round – 1st
- 2nd round – 31st
- 2nd round – 48th*
- 3rd round – 61st
- 4th round – 91st
- 5th round – 121st
- 6th round – 162nd**
- 6th round – 166th***
- 7th round – 181st
*From Nashville for Denis Grebeshkov
**From Anaheim for Lubomir Visnovsky
***From Ottawa for a 2009 seventh-round pick
Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.