>There’s A Draft In Here…
The first to go, was 2010 commit Reilly Smith, a winger, drafted by the Dallas Stars in the third round (69 overall). Smith, who played last season for the St. Michael’s Buzzers in the OJHL, was originally ranked at number 158 on the NHL’s Central Scouting list. His selection at 69 is a jump of 89 spots. AT 6’0, 157 Smith has good size, but desperately needs to fill out a his frame. Dallas made it clear that the wing was an area of concern, selecting 4 wingers out of 5 picks.
Next to go, was sophomore defenseman Chris Wideman, selected by the Ottawa Senators in the fourth round (100 overall). Wideman, who quarterbacked the CCHA’s second best powerplay in 2009, will surely be on the Sens “watch list,” as they’re steadily rebuilding a solid D-corps. His puck moving abilities are a must have on every NHL roster. Look for Wideman to continue to improve in the following years.
No action for Miami in the fifth round, however another winger, Curtis McKenzie, set to join the ‘Hawks in the Fall, was also taken by the Dallas Stars, only in round 6 at 159 overall. He led the Penticton Vees of the BCHL in scoring this season, with 33 goals and 41 assists. McKenzie is considered to be a two-way power forward who is strong in front of the net and in the corners, but can also score goals and has great size for that, at 6’2, 192.
Last to be taken was sophomore goaltender Connor Knapp, by the Buffalo Sabres in round 6, 164 overall, just five spots down from McKenzie. Knapp was ranked number 19 on the list of 31 North American goalies that are draft eligible. In his freshman campaign, Knapp posted a 13-5-3 record and a 2.09 goals against average and will fit nicely in a Buffalo organization with a dwindling supply of ‘tenders in the system. Knapp, along with Wideman, will be attending the USA World Junior Evaluation Camp in August.