Guess who is back from the dead! Yes, I apologize for my long silence, life outside my parents basement has been...surprising. But now that the locks are back on the door, I will have to write something!
NHL.com writers Mike Morreale and Adam Kimelman recently made their selections for an early 2011 NHL Mock Draft. In it, the Wild were slated to 14, where Morreale select Sven Baertschi and Kimelman select Tomas Jurco. I thought it would be an interesting task to a quick look at the two prospects.
LW Sven Baertschi, Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
Selected seventh overall by the Winterhawks in the 2010 CHL Import Draft, Baertschi has surprised many by scoring 37 points in 27 games as a rookie. Much like fellow teammate Nino Niederrieter, Baertschi is a Swiss-born player that will be looking to rise up draft rankings quickly.
Described by Hockeyfutures as a "smart and shifty offensive talent who has a very good understanding of the game with and without the puck", Baertschi brings in a game that the Wild would be very interested in adding. In addition, he is skillful at driving to the net and is extremely intelligent at positioning. However, size is an issue, especially since his physical game is still apparently still lacking.
Some wonder if he is just the product of playing besides Ty Rattie, a hopeful top 10 selection in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, but Baertschi remains a very interesting prospect considering there was little talk of him being a first round pick, nevermind a top 15 selection.
RW Tomas Jurco, Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)
While Baertschi has been relative unknown till now, Tomas Jurco has been exciting fans for awhile. You can find many Youtube videos of Jurco just showing off some amazing moves, one shootout move in particular which you can find below.
Jurco has had tons of hype heading into the 2010-11 season and when the prelimnary rankings came out, his spot at 6th in the QMJHL league was less than thrilling. According to the Telegraph Journal, Jurco said "I cannot say I was happy. My goal this year is to make the first round (of the NHL Entry Draft). I know why I was (sixth). I know I had a bad month.''
But despite a disappointing start, Jurco displays good offensive skill, nifty hands and great speed. He also possesses good vision and can play through traffic. According to Nathan White from Buzzing the Net, "If we're purely talking about offensive skills - the ability to dangle, to drop jaws, to give them the how's-she-goin', to put pucks in the net that have absolutely no business going in the net - Jurco may be at the head of the entire 2011 draft class." Jurco continues to polish his defensive game and looks to add some mass to his size and perhaps hopefully some experience with Slovakia during the upcoming World Junior Championships will push his draft ranking upwards.
Thomas Jurco sick shootout goal vs cape-breton March 10th 2010 (via nhldraftvideo)