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2010 NHL Entry Draft: Atlanta Thrashers draft preview

Visit NBC’s Draft Headquarters for our complete coverage of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

It didn’t take long for Atlanta to make a splash at the draft as they shipped their later first round pick to Chicago as part of the blockbuster trade for Dustin Byfuglien. New general manager Rick Dudley has made a big opening statement for how he will mold the future of the Thrashers in shipping out two picks to get guys he wanted to play in the NHL now. While there may be some criticism to be had in doing that, preparing for the draft and talking to former GM turned Thrashers executive Don Waddell might not be a bad idea. Seriously. His last two first round picks? Zach Bogosian and Evander Kane. Look for the Thrashers to go for a scoring forward with their top pick.

2010 Draft picks:

Round 1 - 8th
Round 2 - 87th
Round 4 - 101st
Round 5 - 128th
Round 5 - 150th
Round 6 - 158th

Top prospects (per Hockey’s Future):

1. Patrice Cormier, C
2. Carl Klingberg, LW
3. Ivan Vishnevskiy, D
4. Jeremy Morin, RW
5. Arturs Kulda, C
6. Spencer Machacek, RW
7. Eric O’Dell, C
8. Paul Postma D
9. Angelo Esposito, C
10. Daultan Leveille, C

PHT’s Mock Draft results:

8 - Ryan Johansen - C - Portland (WHL)

Johansen will need more time in the WHL to mature, both physically and as a player, but he would instantly become the most exciting prospect for the Thrashers. He is praised for his hockey sense and ability to avoid defenders while with the puck, but is much to lanky to take the step to the next level at this point - he’d be killed, no matter how “shifty” he is. Still, he’s a pure scorer and playmaker who is drawing comparisons to Eric Staal.

What are the blogs saying:

Bird Watcher’s Anonymous:

While I don’t know which player the Thrashers will take at #8, I think the odds are very high that they will take one of three forwards from the WHL (Western Hockey League). I think they prefer Nino Niederreiter, but in our mock he was off the board by the time Atlanta picked--I wouldn’t be surprised if the that happened in the actual draft as well.

That leaves a choice between RW Bret Connolly and C Ryan Johansen and I went with Connolly (but Johansen would be a fine choice too). The reason I went with Connolly is that there is widespread agreement that were it not for a hip injury that wiped out most of his season, Brett would certainly be picked in the top 5 of the NHL Draft. He has a good sized frame at 6'2" and terrific hands. He scored at an impressive rate as a 16 year old playing in the WHL. When I spoke to Thrashers Director of Scouting Dan Marr he made the comment that their area scout had “never seen him have a bad game” which is a pretty strong statement about the teenagers consistency.