Today I want to focus on two quotes from Ben Wright's interview with GM Rick Dudley:
I've seen some of the players that might come into play with our first draft pick, and our second draft pick, and maybe our third draft pick.
I started in Atlanta and went to Buffalo, to Mississauga, to Moncton for two games, back to Hamilton, to Windsor, to Chicago and then back to Atlanta. So I've been traveling a bit.
At the risk of looking like a hockey stalker, I tried to trace out Dudley's scouting trip mentioned above to see which players he might have been watching in person in late April. I looked up the games played in the following locations worked out the logistic of his route. It makes sense except for one part, I think he must have observed Windsor before going "back to Hamilton" because that's the only way the dates work out. So here's my guess regarding his trip.
- April 15 NHL Boston @ Buffalo
- April 16 OHL Barrie @ Mississauga
- April 19 QMJHL: Cape Breton @ Moncton
- April 20 QMJHL: Cape Breton @ Moncton
- April 22 OHL: Kitchener @ Windsor
- April 25 AHL: Manitoba @ Hamilton
- April 26th AHL Milwaukee @ Chicago
Now before we take a look at the names of players Dudley observed, it is important to note that this late in the hockey season Dudley's choices were much more limited. A great many prospects were no longer playing and he needed to create a travel plan that was reasonably efficient.
NHL Boston @ Buffalo. Pending UFAs
- Buffalo: Toni Lydman, Henrik Tallinder, Raffi Torres, Matt Ellis.
- Boston: Dennis Seidenberg, Mark Recchi, Miro Satan, Shawn Thornton, Johnny Boychuk, Steve Begin. RFA Blake Wheeler could be possibly be moved.
OHL Barrie @ Missassagua
- Thrashers Prospect Chris Carrozzi
- Alexander Burmistrov Central Scouting #11 NA Skater
- Devante Smith-Pelley CS #76 NA Skater
- Gregg Sutch CS #101 NA Skater
- Taylor Carnevale CS #185 NA Skater
QMJHL: Cape Breton @ Moncton
- Brandon Gormley Central Scouting #6 NA Skater
- Kirill Kabanov CS #31 NA Skater
- Morgan Ellis CS #97 NA Skater
OHL: Kitchener @ Windsor
- Thrashers Prospect Jeremy Morin
- Taylor Hall Central Scouting #2 NA Skater
- Cam Fowler #5 NA Skater
- Jeff Skinner #34 NA Skater
- Justin Shugg #53 NA Skater
- Philipp Grubauer #15 NA Goalie
Conclusion: So who could the Thrashers consider with one of their 1st round picks? To draft Hall or Fowler the Thrashers would probably have to trade up out of the #8 spot. Gormley could fall to them at #8. Burmistrov and Skinner appear likely to be more mid 1st rounders. Kabanov is the real wildcard as he go late 1st round or even fall into the 2nd in response to questions about his commitment and coachability.