ISS 2012 NHL Draft Guide

The ISS 2012 NHL draft guide has been released and these are their final rankings with changes marked in brackets (here are their previous rankings).  ISS does not rank goaltenders and skaters together, but none of the goaltending prospects are thought to be worthy of first-round selection:
1. Yakupov, Nail, LW 10/6/93 L 5.10.5 189 Sarnia OHL
2. Forsberg, Filip, RW 8/13/94 R 6.01 176 Leksands SweAl
3. Murray, Ryan, LD 9/27/93 L 6.00.5 201 Everett WHL
4. Grigorenko, Mikhail, RW 5/16/94 L 6.03.25 200 Québec QMJHL
5. Trouba, Jacob, RD 2/26/94 R 6.02 196 USA Under-18 NTDP
6. Reinhart, Griffin, LD 1/24/94 L 6.03.75 207 Edmonton WHL  (+4)
7. Rielly, Morgan, LD 3/9/94 L 5.11.5 190 Moose Jaw WHL
8. Dumba, Matt, RD 7/25/94 R 5.11.75 183 Red Deer WHL (-2)
9. Teuvo Teravainen, LW, 09/11/94, 5.11 161 Jokerit FinE (-1)
10. Ceci, Cody, RD 12/21/93 R 6.02.5 207 Ottawa OHL (-1)
11. Gaunce, Brendan, C 3/25/94 L 6.02 215 Belleville OHL
12. Maatta, Olli, LD 8/22/94 L 6.01.5 202 London OHL
13. Collberg, Sebastian, RW 2/23/94 R 5.11 Vastra SweJE
14. Galchenyuk, Alexander, RW 2/12/94 L 6.00.5 198 Sarnia OHL
15. Kerdiles, Nicholas, C/L 1/11/94 L, 6.01.5 200 USA Under-18 NTDP
16. Faksa, Radek, LW 1/9/94 L 6.03 202 Kitchener OHL
17. Wilson, Thomas, RW 3/29/94 R 6.03.5 203 Plymouth OHL
18. Finn, Matthew, LD 2/24/94 L 6.00.25 195 Guelph OHL
19. Lindholm, Hampus, LD 1/20/94 L 6.02.5 196 Rogle SweJE
20. Aberg, Pontus, LW 9/23/93 R 5.11 187 Djurgarden SweE
21. Koekkoek, Slater, LD 2/18/94 L 6.02 184 Peterborough OHL
22. Pouliot, Derrick, D 1/16/94 L 5.11.25 186 Portland WHL
23. Laughton, Scott, C 5/30/94 L 6.00 177 Oshawa OHL
24. Girgensons, Zemgus, F 1/5/94 L 6.01.25 201 Dubuque USHL
25. Sissons, Colton, C/R 11/5/93 L 6.01 189 Kelowna WHL
26. Skjei, Brady, LD 3/26/1994 L 6.03 203 USA Under-18 NTDP
27. Henrik Samuelsson C 2/7/94 R 6.02 195 Edmonton WHL (NR)
28. Dalton Thrower, D, 12/20/93 R 5.11.00 179 Saskatoon WHL (-1)
29. Bystrom, Ludvig, LD 7/29/94 L 6.00.75 208 Modo SweE (-1)
30. Adam Pelech, LD 8/16/94 L 6.02 210 Erie OHL (-1)

Falling out of the top-thirty: Tomas Hertl (30).

ISS assessed each team’s prospects assigning them a grade and here’s how the league looks to them:
A
Edmonton
A-
Los Angeles, Washington
B+
Chicago, St. Louis, Winnipeg
B
Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, Islanders, Philadelphia, Phoenix
B-
Anaheim, Boston, Carolina, Montreal, Nashville, Rangers, Ottawa, Pittsburgh, Tampa
C+
Calgary, Columbus, Detroit, New Jersey, Toronto, Vancouver
C
San Jose
C-
Dallas

In 2010 Ottawa’s prospects were given a C+ grade (with Kirill Lyamin on the horizon!), while in 2011 they also received a C+ (with Lyamin still “on the horizon”).  ISS see’s the following Sens prospects as on the horizon going into next season: Patrick Wiercioch, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Robin Lehner, Ben Bishop, Jakob Silfverberg, and Ben Blood.  They believe Ottawa “Needs help everywhere, priority should be Big center and in goal.”  Their selections are somewhat odd, with Pageau appearing ahead of Mark Stone, Stefan Noesen, Mika Zibanejad, etc (but then again they had Lyamin previously and the Zibanejad comment below).

In the ISS mock draft they have Ottawa selecting Brandan Gaunce with the 15th overall pick, saying “The Sens smashed a home run with Zibanejad last year and have seen their defensive prospects emerge well. Gaunce fits their strategy and needs. He makes them a very difficult team to play against in the near future.”  In 2011 they predicted Ottawa would select Ryan Strome.

My overall impression of ISS remains the same.  It’s a very useful guide to the draft, but I think their specific team analysis lacks sophistication and has to be taken with a grain of salt.  In terms of predictive success, ISS had the largest percentage of players selected in the draft last year (60%) compared to all the other draft guides (link), although their player-by-round predictions lagged behind most other outlets (Red Line Report, Future Considerations, and Hockey Prospects, only beating out The Hockey News).

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Senators News: May 28th

-Capgeek has contract numbers for Darren Kramer (600k) and Jakub Culek (590k).

Scott Cullen has posted his off-season game plan for Ottawa: “The Ottawa Senators were the surprise team of the NHL last season, making the playoffs in a year that was expected to be a rebuilding effort. There is a lot to like about a Sens team that has quality prospects on the way and received solid contributions from several rookies last season, but there are also reasons to be wary. Consider that Sergei Gonchar and Daniel Alfredsson both had bounceback seasons in their late-30s, or that defenceman Erik Karlsson had the most points by a defenceman in more than a decade, or that both Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek stayed uncharacteristically healthy. Any of these factors could reverse course and come back to stall the Sens’ progress next season, but there is at least reason to be optimistic that Ottawa is in position to better handle any potential shortcomings — certainly better prepared than anyone could have imagined they would be at this time last year. GM Bryan Murray knows that, while his goaltending is solid with the trade deadline addition of Ben Bishop to complement Craig Anderson, he’ll have to address the blueline, where he has three unrestricted free agents that could leave and a restricted free agent in Erik Karlsson that will be in line for a dramatic raise in pay after his prolific offensive season. The forward group has depth, with lots of young challengers for roster spots, but could always use another proven scorer. Seeing as the Senators had the worst record among playoff teams last season, it doesn’t require much to believe that they could miss the postseason next year but, at the start of the 2011-2012 season, any talk of Ottawa making the playoffs was a pipe dream and we all saw how that played out. Needs: One top six forward, three defencemen.”  For the most part Cullen’s comments are spot on, but one of point to consider: Gonchar and Alfredsson‘s down years were the first of their careers, so stand as anomalies instead of their production this season.

-I only got one half of my Cup final (New Jersey facing the Kings), making my predictions half right.  The Western Conference finished without a single competitive series (only one went to six games!), sucking any drama one might have hoped for from the supposedly superior conference.  As for the finals, I expect the Kings will win.

-There’s not much to get excited about in this year’s playoffs, but I have enjoyed the slap in the face it is for all the journalists who’ve said you can’t win with Ilya Kovalchuk in the lineup.  There remains in some of the media an irrational dislike or suspicion over Russian players which I believe is because they make easy targets.  Just like when Swedes were soft or (for those of you old enough) when French Canadians were soft (thanks for that Don Cherry), it’s picking on a non-English speaking group without seeming influence on readership/viewership as a scapegoat for things someone dislikes.  Nationality has nothing to do with performance (I remember when journalists would earnestly say that no team with a European captain could win the Stanley Cup).  On top of that it’s amazing how glib people can get about one player.  An individual on a hockey team, even a great player, can’t win without a strong supporting cast (which is why Wayne Gretzky never won a Cup outside of Edmonton).  In the post lockout era in particular, only teams that have three productive lines have won the Cup.  I don’t think Kovalchuk has anything to prove, but it has been amusing to see him praised to the roof going into the Cup final given all the criticism he has received over the years (his success is somehow a slap in the face to Ovechkin, the new favourite whipping boy).

-The players attending the NHL draft combine have been announced.