23 June 2007

And so begins the season of desperation and anxiety

Let's face it, the draft is mostly boring. The kind of boring that finds itself second chair to Kenny Rogers' first start of the season with the Tigers. The kind of boring where you're cursing the Red Wings for being good when it's nearly 10:00 and they haven't gotten their first pick yet and all you want is Vancouver and Calgary to just forget they were supposed to show up for a few minutes so you can see who your team wins and then shut the damn thing off and have a beer.

But we watch it anyway. It's arguable if this is because we're curious about the maybe near, maybe far off futures of our teams or if it's because by the end of June we're all so starved for hockey that we're frequently flipping our TVs to Versus in hopes that we'll happen to inexplicably catch the NHL roadtrip commercial or something. Anyway, after those long hours of everyone else picking, the Wings finally got in a few of their own:

Round One 27th overall: Brendan Smith
In his post-draft interview, Smith, a 6'1" defenseman who idolizes Scott Niedermayer and will play at the University of Wisconsin this season admits he was a Leafs fan (his younger brother's favorite team was Detroit), so I like him immediately. He wears #14 because Shanahan is his hometown hero, so coming to Detroit is huge for him.

The NHL Draft Media says:
A skilled defenseman with good puck skills… has good mobility and a good skating stride… able to join the rush well and is creative with the puck… needs to make better decisions with the puck and move it quicker… needs to improve the consistency of his physical play.
And the Detroit News reports:

He can move the puck, is a great skater, quarterbacks the power play, and even though he lacks some size now at 6-foot-1, 170 pounds, he's not afraid to throw his body around.

In 39 games with St. Michael's of the Junior A League (a step below the Ontario Hockey League), Smith had 90 penalty minutes in 39 games.

"I like to be gritty," Smith said. "You have to be chippy in the corners and I'm not the biggest guy."

Round Three 88th overall: Joakim Andersson
There were rumors that the Wings would take 6'2" center Joakim Andersson in the first round. When he got passed up, few expected him to last until our second pick, 88th overall, in the third. Unsurprisingly, we ended up with a Swede - but Andersson is all right with that, stating that Detroit is his favorite team, and Zetterberg his favorite player. On further investigation I have determined that might have dreamy eyes, and he might take dramatic pictures of himself and post them on silly myspace-type sites with the caption "Konnichiwa, Joakim Andersson desu." (I have a feeling that second one is most assuredly not him, but I can hope.)

MyNHLdraft.com says:
A physical two-way center that is strong on the draw. He plays a simple game and is strong in all three zones. Enjoys the physical aspect of the game, is good at creating room for his teammates. Protects the puck well when driving to the net. Is a good all around decision maker, showing good playmaking abilities as well as leadership qualities. Needs to work on his skating and mobility.
Hockey's Future looks at his potential:
Andersson is a very complete two-way center in the Samuel PĂ„hlsson mold. It's a comparision that has come up frequently the last two years, as Andersson has emerged as a top prospect.
Looks like the Wings approved of Anaheim's style of play, taking two young kids who aspire to play like two instrumental Ducks in the playoffs this year.

Round Five 148th overall: Randy Cameron
Cameron, a 5'11" center with the Moncton Wildcats, finished 15th in scoring in the QMJHL, and only 6 goals fewer than Blue Jackets first pick (7th overall) Jakub Voracek (who in that picture looks a hell of a lot like Petr Hemsky). There isn't much available on him, being this deep into the draft, but he looks like a potential solid pick.

Round Six 178th overall: Zack Torquato
The Wings seem to be hoping Torquato will be their late sleeper hit. The kid looks a little more like he belongs at some ivy league prep school than in the NHL, but reading up on him, he's rather endearing. A pre-game nap and a pre-game meal of chicken and pasta are part of his game-day rituals, and he patterns his game after Joe Sakic of the Colorado Avalanche. Don't let appearances fool you though, he also pled guilty to assault and served two years probation when he played with the Saginaw Spirit. Now I really feel like he probably belongs the rich snobby kid in some coming of age movie. (He also coincidentally looks like my childhood best friend's younger brother...weird.)

His coach with the Erie Otters (who have an really unfortunate logo) speaks well of his work effort and compares him, in that regard, to Brad Boyes. He also says, "He's capable of playing against everybody's best players and it seems like he thrives on that."

The Central Scouting Report says:
A skilled forward with good versatility... plays a consistent high-energy two-way game... has a good wrist shot and able to make passes through traffic... needs to improve his skating stride... needs to be more consistent around the net.
Sportsnet, at the beginning of the OHL season, reported:
Jack of many trades, but a master of none. Isn't a natural scorer, but has the ability to finish and make plays. Smart and heady, makes few mistakes. Is aware defensively, but needs to apply himself more in his own end. Good skater, with a smooth and efficient stride but could stand to work on his quickness. Doesn't wow you with his skill set, but gets the job done. Good vision and creativity but lacks that 'bring you out of your seat' component to his game, which separates him from the top-end guys this year. Should be a very solid all-around player in the future.
Round Seven 208th overall: Bryan Rufenach

The Wings went off the charts to draft 5'11" defenseman Bryan Rufenach for their final pick. He played 31 games last season with the Lindsay Muskies (what on earth is a Musky?) of the OPJRA but he was a point a game producer.

He signed a letter of intent to play with Clarkson this fall, and the press release included the following:
Bryan is the kind of the offensive-defenseman that we have been trying to get here for quite some time. He will be a young defenseman in the ECAC, but in time he should be very good. Bryan will provide a spark to our power play and we look for him to join the rush offensively.

So there we are, two days later and we're really and truly down to no more hockey until the fall. I thought about going through the Oilers' picks too, but CiO did a nice job of it - and this took long enough. Time to abuse youtube and pretend the light isn't so far off.

Meanwhile, the Tigers won yet again! I've found my new good luck charm - I managed to talk Earl Sleek from Battle of California into cheering for them, and it seems to be working. We haven't lost since! Go Tigers!


Stoosh said...


I live in Pittsburgh but grew up in Erie and I try to get back to catch as many Otters games as I can during the year. You guys are going to love Torquato. Erie is in the early stages of a rebuilding process that bordered on an overhaul, and they acquired Torq from Saginaw last year to spearhead the whole thing (traded Ryan O'Marra to Saginaw to get him).

The Boyes comparisons are pretty close, although Torq is more physical and a bit quicker. He's a center who can also play wing without any real problem. I was really hoping the Pens would've taken a shot at him, but they didn't.

You're right about that Otters logo, by the way. But that's typical Erie, which can't seem to do anything without first ratcheting the cheese factor up to about 11.

Steph said...

Stoosh - thanks for the info, it's always so hard to dig anything up on the picks, especially as you get farther down in the draft, and the scouting reports are always worded weirdly and padded with a bunch of stuff you have to weed out anyway :b He sounds great though, I'm really hoping he'll be our steal of the draft this year, especially since it was projected he'd go so much sooner.

And does that mean there's more where that logo comes from? On second though...maybe I don't really want to know that.

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