After the first round of the NHL Entry Draft concluded, there were still plenty of talents be to taken. Among those are players that The Hockey News had ranked in the top 30, Alexander Khokhlachev, Brandon Saad, and Tomas Jurco.
Khokhlachev was ranked at number 26 in CSS final rankings and some mock drafts put him with the Washington Capitals. However, the Capitals traded away their first-round pick to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Troy Brouwer. After the trade, Khokhlachev did not go to a team in the first round.
Khokhlachev is an extremely talented center, scoring 76 points in his rookie season with the Windsor Spitfires, is a great pick for anyone looking for a high goal scorer. He should be a steal for the team that selects him in the second round, as he had been slated by many to go in the first. He will need another year in juniors to bulk up and develop more, but he’s just a few years away from the NHL.
Brandon Saad is at the top of TSN’s Bob McKenzie’s picks to go next in the draft. From the Pittsburgh area, he played for the US Development Team before he got to the Saginaw Spirit of the OHL. In the CSS midterm ranking, he was number eight among North American skaters, but he fell to 19 by final ranking time. A big kid at 6’1” and 208 lbs, he’s physically developed for the NHL, but underperformed in his 2010-11 season with the Spirit with 27 goals. Even so, getting Saad in the second round will be a steal for any team.
Tomas Jurco should be a familiar name to anyone who watched the 2011 Memorial Cup. Or anyone that’s been on YouTube in the past few months. Jurco’s a magician with the puck, showing off his incredible skills in his own videos and the CHL All Star competitions. He’s fast and has phenomenal hands, so he is expected to go to a team in search of a talented, high-scoring winger.
After the first round, the draft is pretty wide open, so it’s tough to tell who will go where. But the competition should be tough for these three.
Our podcast 'RLD Hockey Talk' is LIVE every Wednesday afternoon at 1:00 ET/Noon CT. Some of our notable guests in past episodes have been Dustin Brown, Doc Emrick, John Buccigross, Dave Strader, E.J. Hradek, Elliotte Friedman and Jay Grossman.