Draft

Third Round, Sixty-Third Overall

Name: Brock Beukeboom
Position: Defenseman
Shoots: Right
Height: 6.01
Weight: 202 lbs
Born: 4/1/1992, Greenwich, CT
Last Team: Sault Ste Marie (OHL)
Rankings: CSS 41 (North American Skaters), RLR 68 (Overall), THN 49 (Overall)

2009-2010 Statistics:
Sault Ste Marie (OHL), 66 GP, 7-19-26, -9, 64 PIM
SaulT Ste Marie (OHL Playoffs), 1 GP, 0-0-0, -3, 0 PIM

Scouting Comments:
"Even though he plays a physical, competitive game, he has less grit tha his father, but more talent." -THN

Strengths:
Buekeboom has good bloodlines, with his father being the son of former Rangers defenseman Jeff Beukeboom. He's got good straight line mobility, likes to take the body, and has a cannon shot that he's deployed on the power play for Sault this season. Cleans up the front of his net.

Weaknesses:
Beukeboom is coachable and a quick learner, but he still needs to refine his decision making. Prone to move the puck blindly or hold onto it too long. His shot takes a long time to release, as well, and he sometimes struggles with accuracy. Needs to work on his pivots.

Projections:
Beukeboom likely will need a couple of years in junior to develop before the Lightning sign him and bring him into the pro ranks. He has offensive upside, but it remains to be seen if it develops over the next couple of years. Red Line Report projects Beukeboom to be a solid number five defenseman who plays a style like Francois Beauchemin.

Thoughts on Day One

Wow, what a night. Things went to plan for three picks and then everything descended into slow moving chaos. The Blue Jackets took the guy I, personally, thought the Lightning would end up with at the fourth pick, the Islanders took the guy half the internet thought was going to the Lightning with the fifth pick, and then the Lightning decided not to take the guy everyone thought they would take with the sixth pick, as Brandon Gormley and Cam Fowler spiraled down the draft board in the mild hockey equivalent of an Aaron Rodgers/Brady Quinn draft free fall.

What to make of Brett Connolly, though? There's absolutely no doubt his athleticism and skill are world class, or at least they were prior to his injuries. Connolly's agent wouldn't allow teams to perform an MRI on prior to the draft to verify its soundness, so one wonders how the Lightning made an informed decision about it. Between his hips and some talk of structural weakness in his hand, I seriously wonder if the Lightning have drafted a guy who will end up being a part time player like Buffalo's Tim Connolly. Adding to my fears was a post-draft interview on TSN that did nothing to disspell whispers I've heard about Connolly's attitude. He looked annoyed and bored, all at the same time, and I'm wondering what is going on in his head. Is he going to carry a chip on his shoulder into the rest of the offseason and training camp to show the world that not only are his hips healthy, but that he was indeed the best player in this draft class? Or is Connolly already a little burned out by the scrutiny that comes with being a premiere prospect? Seriously, after watching the interview and after my making a big deal of how badly Connolly came across, the BoltProspects staff reviewed several pieces of interview footage, and we've come to the unnerving conclusion Connolly may be incapable of emoting genuine happiness.

Smile, man. You just were selected in the top ten of the NHL draft.

First Round, Sixth Overall

Name: Brett Connolly
Position: Right Wing
Shoots: Right
Height: 6.02
Weight: 181
Born: 5/2/92, Prince George, BC
Last Team: Prince George (WHL)
Rankings: CSS 3 (NA Skaters), ISS 11 (Skaters), RLR 13 (Overall), THN 4 (Overall)

2009-2010 Statistics:
Prince George (WHL), 16 GP, 10-9-19, -3, 8 PIM
Canada (U18 WJC), 4 GP, 1-0-1, E, 10 PIM

Scouting Comments:
"(Connolly) makes an impact on the game without looking like he's even breaking a sweat." - Red Line Report

Strengths:
Prior to his hips injuries, Connolly was a blend of great top end speed, agility, and world class hockey sense. He finds seams in the offensive zone and buries his chances with ruthless efficiency. He's also an underrated penalty killer.

Weaknesses:
Injuries. Connolly has had serious hip flexor problems in both of his hips which cost him much of his draft season, and there's some question if his skating ability will ever recover. He's also slight of build and needs to get bigger to win one-on-one puck battles. He's not terrible defensively, but his game in the defensive third does need refinement.

Projection:
If he's healthy, the Lightning have a first line scoring winger for the next ten years. Red Line compares Connolly to Sharks star Patrick Marleau in terms of his skills package. But, it's also a possibility that Connolly's injury problems never go away and he's a part time player a la Buffalo's Tim Connolly. High risk. High reward.

BoltProspects Mock Draft

The 2010 NHL Entry Draft starts Friday night with round one and BoltProspects has decided to throw its hat into the ring with our own first round mock draft, including a carefully placed page break to force readers to hit the "Read More" button! Just a reminder, BoltProspects will be holding its annual draft chats on Friday and Saturday during the draft on the BoltProspects message board chat room. To access the chat room you have to register for the message board, which is free. In addition, don't forget to follow BoltProspects' Twitter page for the best single sentence Lightning draft news around. Now that the shameless advertising is aside, here's the mock draft. Enjoy!

1. Edmonton Oilers: LW Taylor Hall, Windsor (OHL)
There will be very little suspense when Edmonton takes the podium Friday night. Hall gives the Oilers a winger with explosive, world-class speed and great finishing ability.

2. Boston Bruins: C Tyler Seguin, Plymouth (OHL)
It's disgusting a team with as much talent as Boston does gets to add a Joe Sakic-type centerman into the mix. Brian Burke should be kicking himself for trading this pick.

3. Florida Panthers: RW Brett Connolly, Prince George (WHL)
We suspected Florida needed a scorer at this pick even before the Horton trade. Now? They roll the dice Connolly's hips will hold up and they get a Patrick Marleau-type talent.

4. Columbus Blue Jackets: D Cam Fowler, Windsor (OHL)
This pick just as easily could be Gormley, considering the Blue Jackets like QMJHL prospects and his pairing partner was a Blue Jackets property, but Fowler's power play mastery is the deciding factor that places him in Columbus.

5. New York Islanders: D Erik Gudbranson, Kingston (OHL)
The Islanders have taken forwards with seven of their last eight first round picks. Now they grab a shut down defenseman with big time leadership potential.

11 for 6: Ryan Johansen

Today's entry brings to a close our 11 for 6 series on the eleven draft prospects we feel are most likely to go to the Lightning at the sixth overall pick. Just as a reminder, BoltProspects will be holding its annual draft chat on Friday and Saturday over the course of the two days of the draft in the BoltProspects message board chat room. Registration for the message board is free and will get you access to the chat room, so if you aren't already signed up for the BoltProspects message board, you might want to get that out of the way today to be ready for Friday night.

In addition, don't forget to check back with BoltProspects and with the BoltProspects Twitter page over the course of the week for the latest draft news and rumors. Finally, as a part of draft week coverage, BoltProspects will be issuing its own first round mock draft later this week. It's one of our favorite times of the year on BoltProspects so be sure to check back often to stay informed with what's going on.

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