Brian Rosenbaum

In The Crease

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Oilers Nail It!

Friday, June 22, 2012

21. Calgary Flames (from Buffalo via Nashville)-Mark Janowski

  Mark Jankowski has some hockey roots, but it didn't help him draw a ton of attention - at least from a first-round perspective. He's six-foot-two but just 170 lbs. so he'll probably take quite a while to make it to the NHL level. One thing he does have is scoring instincts, however, particularly when it comes to passing. Time will tell if Flames GM Jay Feaster ends up looking shrewd or silly by making this pick.

  22. Pittsburgh Penguins-Olli Maatta-Defenseman

At 16, Olli Maatta was the youngest player ever selected to compete for Finland at the World Junior Championships. Having played pro hockey in Finland before joining the London Knights for the 2011-12 season, Maatta has experience playing at a higher level that not many prospects possess. This maturity is reflected in his game. He is known for being a responsible defenseman with the puck and for making smart decisions out of the defensive zone. Scouts became more intrigued with Maatta’s offensive upside once he began leading the powerplay for the Knights towards the end of the season. Along with Brian Dumoulin, the Penguins have been loading up on defensemen in the early portion of the draft.

  23. Florida Panthers-Michael Matheson-Defenseman

While his offensive numbers may not catch scouts' eyes, Michael Matheson is known as one of the best defensive defensemen in this year's crop. He played this past season with players generally older than him but still managed to compete at a high level. He is a top-end skater and attracts teams with his ability to close the separation between himself and the opposition. He is rarely caught out of defensive position because he almost never takes risks. His offensive game needs work. He doesn't have great puck possession skills and he holds only an average shot. He is more of a first pass defenseman rather than a blueliner who will lead the rush. Nevertheless, Matheson projects to be the perfect complementary player that will fit on any blueline in the league. He should help bolster an already deep prospect pool in Florida.

  24. Boston Bruins-Malcolm Subban-Goalie

P.K. Subban's brother might just try to stop his brothers in the Boston-Montreal series soon. Like P.K., Malcolm plays with intensity and is determined to be the best. Despite being just 12 years old when he began playing the position, Subban has natural abilities that make him such an intriguing prospect. He’s arguably the most athletic goaltender in the draft with the ability to move post-to-post quicker than most. Scouts agree that Subban’s low rebound control needs improvement since he tends to leave undesirable rebounds in front. He also can struggle at times with point shots when there is traffic in front of him. With Tim Thomas out of the picture, the Bruins needed to add depth for the future. Subban could push Tuukka Rask for starts in a few years.

  25. St. Louis Blues-Jordan Schmaltz-Defenseman

Jordan Schmaltz has the potential to be the type of defensemen that fantasy owners love. He has offensive upside and could develop into a power-play quarterback for the Blues. That being said, he's a long-term project and he shouldn't be counted on to play in the NHL over the next couple of years. The Blues went a bit off the board with this one, but it's not shocking that he was taken late in the first round.

  26. Vancouver Canucks-Brendan Gaunce-Forward

Brendan Gaunce has one of the best work ethics in the draft class. He is a high-character player and a fierce competitor, willing to play at both ends of the ice. He was used in almost every situation this past season with Belleville and was one of the most valuable players in the OHL. He doesn't excel in any particular area in his offensive game, but he still managed to produce at a point per game pace in the 2011-12 campaign. He projects to add secondary scoring at the NHL level, which would be especially helpful for an already deep Vancouver team. The biggest question mark with Gaunce is his skating, as he doesn't possess great speed. However, he makes up for it by doing all the little things that NHL teams covet. Look for Gaunce to have an impact as a consistent two-way forward at the next level.

  27. Phoenix Coyotes-Henrik Samuelsson-Forward

Henrik Samuelsson's father Ulf was a controversial defenseman in the NHL. He shares some of his dad's feisty tendencies, so don't be shocked if he delivers the occasional polarizing hit. It'll take a while to do so, however, as he's pegged for some serious development time before potentially making it to the NHL. He doesn't have great speed but his shot makes him an intriguing future pest.

  28. N.Y. Rangers-Brady Skjei-Defenseman

Brady Skjei doesn't shine in any particular aspect of the game, but is consistent in all facets. He plays a strong two-way game, completing his tasks on both ends of the ice. Skjei is a skillful defenseman, which surprises scouts who see his large frame. He is an excellent skater and plays with poise. Skjei is solid defensively, and often wins one-on-one situations despite not being overly physical. It will probably be a while before he finds a way to establish himself on the Rangers' roster. However, if Skjei continues to progress offensively and learns how to use his size effectively, he may become one of the best blueliners out of this class.

  29. New Jersey Devils-Stefan Matteau-Forward

The son of Stephane Matteau, the young Matteau is one of the hardest working players in the draft. He is a budding power forward who uses his size and toughness to help him in the offensive zone. He doesn't possess the best puck possession skills, but he makes up for it with his above-average skating ability. He has deceptive quickness for a big-bodied player. He bothers opponents by throwing his body all over the ice. Matteau's defensive game is improving and by the end of the season he was used on the penalty kill. He projects to be a bottom-six forward who plays a playoff hockey style of game.

  30. Los Angeles Kings-Tanner Pearson-Forward

Tanner Pearson is the prototypical late-bloomer. Being draft eligible since 2010, Pearson has continued to work on his game and finally finds himself near the top of scouts’ rankings. He had a breakout 2011-12 season. Scouts are impressed with his determination and his ability to create offensive chances. He plays with grit and tenacity, and uses his size to get in front of the net. Pearson needs to become a better skater, but you can expect him to work on it. If he improves his defensive game, expect him to surprise people at the next level. The good news is that the Kings have a deep enough pool of NHL forwards and prospects to wait for him to progress.              

Brian Rosenbaum is the Senior Hockey Editor of He's run the hockey coverage since its inception in 2000.
Email :Brian Rosenbaum

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