...THAT is the question.
St. Louis Game Time PROSPECT SUNDAY
By Brian Weidler, "Game Time" Prospect Department
2011 ENTRY DRAFT PREVIEW, PART 2: Mock Drafts
Leading up to the NHL Entry Draft -- or any pro sports draft, for that matter -- a big part of the fun is reading and participating in the various mock drafts that are done.
The NFL in particular makes a huge deal out of mock drafts, and they put such stock in the concept that they regularly pimp for a guy with no experience whatsoever in running a football team at any level, and they do so solely because the guy self-promotes his own mock drafts.
So, we thought to ourselves here at "Game Time" Prospect Central, "Selves," we said, "why can't we become the Mel Kiper Junior of professional hockey?" And with that thought in mind, your GTPD has been participating in several Mock Drafts for the last few years, mostly at the "Hockey's Future" website but also here at SB Nation (where we made the erroneous Blues' pick of Nick Bjugstad at 14th overall last year).
Just a note about the Bjugstad pick... he ended up going 19th overall to Florida, after the Blues had selected a player with a similar game (Jaden Schwartz) 14th overall and had traded their 2009 first-round pick (17th overall David Rundblad) for a pick one spot higher, which they used to select another scoring forward with good size and hockey sense (Vladimir Tarasenko). So while we may not have been spot-on in the specific player we chose for the Blues in last year's mock draft, we believe we correctly identified the type of player that the Blues ultimately ended up selecting. Twice.
After the jump, see who we at the "Game Time" Prospect Department have picked for the Blues in the mock drafts we're participating in this year.
Mock Draft Results
Your GTPD was in two Mock Drafts this year at the "Hockey's Future" site, one that has been suspended due to lack of participation by some other mock GM's (LINK to Mock Draft A), and one that is still ongoing, currently late in the fourth round (LINK to Mock Draft B). The first draft (the suspended one) allowed trades of picks only in that draft, while the second mock allowed no trades whatsoever. We prefer the "no trade" restriction, because while trades do happen at the Entry Draft, we've found that in too many mock drafts, the mock GM's are making trades that would never pass muster in real life.
Despite knowing that the Blues would not have a pick until 32nd overall unless we made a trade, your GTPD went into the mock drafts with a Top Ten list that looked like this:
GAME TIME PROSPECT DEPARTMENT 2011 DRAFT TOP TEN LIST
|G/T||Player||P/S||Ht||Wt||Birthdate||2010-11 Club/League||GP||G||A||Pts||+/-||PIM||CS Mid||CS Fin|
|1||LANDESKOG, Gabriel||LW/L||6-01||207||11-23-92||Kitchener (OHL)||53||36||30||66||+27||61||1 N||2 N|
|2||LARSSON, Adam||D/R||6-03||200||11-12-92||Skellefteå (SEL)||37||1||8||9||12||41||1 E||1 E|
|3||COUTURIER, Sean||C/L||6-04||195||12-07-92||Drummondville (QMJHL)||58||36||60||96||+55||36||2 N||6 N|
|4||STROME, Ryan||C/L||6-00||183||06-11-93||Niagara (OHL)||65||33||73||106||+28||82||19 N||8 N|
|5||BÄRTSCHI, Sven||LW/L||5-11||175||10-05-92||Portland (WHL||66||34||51||85||+23||74||6 N||7 N|
|6||SIEMENS, Duncan||D/L||6-03||197||09-07-93||Saskatoon (WHL)||72||5||38||43||+40||121||14 N||10 N|
|7||KLEFBOM, Oscar||D/L||6-04||200||07-20-93||Färjestad BK (SEL)||23||1||1||2||+ 1||2||8 E||6 E|
|8||McNEILL, Mark||C/R||6-01||204||02-22-93||Prince Albert (WHL)||70||32||49||81||- 4||53||22 N||14 N|
|9||PHILLIPS, Zack||C/R||6-01||181||10-28-92||Saint John (QMJHL)||67||38||57||95||+48||16||12 N||15 N|
|10||BIGGS, Tyler||RW/R||6-02||210||04-30-93||USNTDP U-18 (USHL)||55||19||12||31||...||161||5 N||22 NA|
Without a first-round pick, however, we had little hope that we would be able to select any of those players for the Blues without a trade and a good bit of luck
We found both in what we'll call "Mock Draft A."
In that draft, which allowed trades, we put the word out that we were willing to deal several of the Blues' picks in the second and/or third rounds for a first-round selection, if the player(s) we were targeting were still on the board. We had been observing that one of our Top Ten picks had been falling steadily down the charts, and when Detroit came to us with an offer, we were able to entice Detroit's mock GM to accept the 41st and 46th overall picks for Detroit's selection at 24th overall.
When the selection came up, we didn't waste any time in picking the ninth-ranked player on our list, Saint John's Zack Phillips.
Phillips' coach, former NHLer Gerard Gallant, had this to say about his skilled center at NHL dot com:
"Zack has great vision and is strong on the puck. He's a solid center and has come a long way in a short time. He kind of reminds me of an Adam Oates-type of player... he's strong on the puck down low and in the corners and has nifty hands."
The Scouting Report website (LINK here) also has good things to say about Phillips, whom they rank 26th overall. The Fredericton, NB native "plays hard in the defensive zone (and) is not afraid to use his 6’ 1 and 181 frame to make a hit or block a shot," while also noting that coach Gallant has used him on both the penalty kill unit and the first power-play unit. Phillips, they note, could stand to improve his skating and his faceoff ability, but these are skills that can be readily addressed, and TSR sums up their opinion of Phillips this way:
"Phillips’ strengths are easily his hockey sense and shot. He has a quick release and always seems to be wide open for a shot. This can be attributed to being on a great team and playing with great players but there is no denying Phillips has a knack for being in the right place at the right time to score goals. If Phillips can continue to develop and improve his speed he should be a solid NHLer in the future."
Our selection at 32nd overall in this mock was the same as our selection in Mock Draft B, and selections at 71st and 87th overall in the third round were the same in both mock drafts as well. These selections, and all the rest, will be covered in Part Three of our 2011 NHL Entry Draft special. Stay tuned...