Remind me next year to order Red Line three weeks before draft day instead of two...
Anyway, looking through Red Line's draft guide there are a lot of positives for the Lightning coming out of this draft. Here's how they had the picks the Lightning took rated and, where given, the short blurb about each:
#30 Dana Tyrell: "Love his speed, smarts, and competitiveness."
#54 Luca Cunti: "It's a team game, Luca. It's not all about you."
#62 Alexander Killorn: "Blazing fast playmaker. Stock rising like gas prices."
#100 Mitch Fadden: "Dynamic scorer should've been taken last year."
#160 Matt Marshall: "Bull in a china shop, but has no hands or finesse."
#207 Torrie Jung
#290 Michael Ward
NR Johan Harju
NR Justin Courtnall
On Dana Tyrell:
"Speedy goal scorer was one of the most pleasant surprises in the West this season. Fun to watch. Outstanding skater, with great first step quickness. Explosive stride and gets to top speed quickly. Wide-track base makes him solid on skates and strong on the puck. Loves going to corners and front of the net. Good hockey sense and sees the ice well. Balanced offensive skill - good playmaking ability and terrific shot. Owns a wicked 1-timer and can score from anywhere. Outstanding hockey sense at both ends, and is very effective defensively. Just flat out knows how to play the game. Excellent work ethic and plays with a lot of grit despite his smallish size. His skating allows him to elude big hits. Had a very disappointing playoff performance, but still a RLR favorite."
Makes you wonder why this guy wasn't a first rounder with praise so glowing. Red Line projects Tyrell as a "2nd liner for a good club" and compares him to Antoine Vermette/Chris Kunitz. After watching Vermette torture the Lightning a few times a year over the past three seasons, I'll take a clone of him on our side any day.
Red Line also ranked Tyrell 8th for its "Yvan Cournoyer Trophy" for the best pure skater in this draft saying, "Terrific power in first stride and accelerates like a race car."
On Luca Cunti:
This actually wasn't as bad as I would've expected, which tells me Woodlief and his gang know Cunti is the kind of talent that can come back and bite them if they pile on too hard.
"Perhaps the best pure skater in the draft. Effortless with great wheels. Edging is so clean you don't ever hear his blades against the ice. Has a quick stick, a variety of slick moves, and knows how to finish. Can make delicate, touch saucer passes off both sides of the blade. Super skilled, but unfortunately for Cunti it's all about having the spotlight. Very selfish. Bad teammate with huge character issues who creates problems in a team environment. Fabulous individual skills. Very dangerous on the rush. Dynamic and explosive - a real playmaker. gets shot off quickly and has knack for catching d-men and goalies off guard, often shooting from odd angles and off the wrong foot. Great puck control in tight spaces - shields it well and keeps feet moving in traffic. In total control on the PP where he gains the zone with ease and patiently waits for the right opening."
Red Line goes on to project Cunti as a "fabulously skilled but cancerous second liner" and compares him to "what Alexei Kovalev has become."
Cunti ranks 3rd for Red Line's Cournoyer Trophy for the best skater in this draft and the 13th best natural goal scorer. He also, unfortunately ranks 2nd for the "Scarecrow Award" for those with "$5 million dollar skills and 10 cent heads" with the damning sentence, "Played on three teams this year and every dressing room was pleased when he left." Ouch.
On Alexander Killorn:
"A superb skater with long, fluid stride and instant acceleration. Thinly built, but with a lean, lanky frame to fill out. Has a quick release on accurate shot, uncanny patience under pressure, and is always involved in the play. Shows the ability to control puck and make strong moves at top speed. Sept. 14 birthdate is barely elligible but may be the most complete player in Massachussetts Prep ranks. Shows up every night and is consistent game in and game out. Tremendous leader with great maturity level. Offensively gifted with a nasty side to his game: isn't shy about mixing it up in traffic, driving defenders to the net and battling for puck possession where he usually comes out on top. Creates tons of chances for himself and linematers with vision, creativity, and persistent forechecking."
Red Line projects Killorn as a versatile 2nd or 3rd liner for a strong team and compares the future Harvard forward to NHL veteran Brian Rolston.
On Mitch Fadden:
"Red Line had him as a second rounder last year even after a hugely disappointing campaign. Showed this year why we had such faith in him. An excellent skater with top end speed and very good lateral agility. Can create off the rush and beat defensemen wide and is a terrific finisher with soft hands and natural touch around the net. Excellent vision and creativity make him a constant threat in the offensive zone. Likes to set up behind the net or on the half-boards and can put crisp, accurate passes through traffic. Has very good hockey sense and is strong on the puck for a guy his size. Slightly built and needs to work on his defensive play. If he matures and decides he wants to be an NHL player, he has all the necessary skills."
Red Line makes an either/or proposition saying Fadden projects as a 2nd line scorer or a career AHLer and compares him to Montreal's Chris Higgins.
Red Line also ranked Mitch Fadden its 2nd best mid-round sleeper in the draft. Says Red Line, "Here's a quick description: 5'11" 180 lbs, 19 year old winger was buried in his first draft and then came on to lead his Major Junior team in scoring this season with 36-48-84 totals. You're probably thinking of David Perron, who's likely to go in the first round. But no, it's Fadden who for our money is the better of the two prospects." Perron did go in the first round, so that in some ways justifies the assertion Fadden's got first round skill. Of course Fadden finished second in scoring for Lethbridge behind Zach Boychuk, but you don't pay for Red Line for the stats. You pay for Kyle Woodlief's flair for verbally disemboweling prospects he doesn't like.
Fadden also ranked as the 10th best natural goal scorer in the draft as well.
On Matt Marshall:
Red Line ranked Marshall 4th for its "Roberto Duran "Hands of Stone" Trophy saying Marshall, "Has the hands of a surgeon... a tree surgeon." See now, if he spent that $40 a copy he makes to get a research assistant instead of on quart containers of vitriol, we wouldn't get great line like that one.
So there you have it. No mention of Johan Harju in the issue's section on potential European overage draftees. Still, you can hardly complain about the haul when in their first five picks the Lightning got players compared to Antoine Vermette, Alexei Kovalev, Brian Rolston, Chris Higgins and... Roberto Duran. Matt Marshall will make you say "no mas."