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2010 NHL Entry Draft: Gudbranson poised for #3 pick, Isles trading down?

I’m getting ready to head over to the Staples Center for tonight’s draft, but wanted to pass along a few more notes.

First, it’s almost an absolute certainly that I’m confident in the order of the first three picks tonight. Taylor Hall will go 1st overall to Edmonton and then Tyler Seguin to Boston with the 2nd pick. But what about 3rd?

Leading up to the draft Cam Fowler seemed to be the consistent #3 pick, but lately that opinion has been changing. I’ve maintained that Fowler was the best defenseman in the draft (and have him going third to Florida) but it seems that Florida is getting ready to draft Eric Gudbranson in that spot.

Gudbranson is a physical specimen, and is primed to step into the NHL immediately. Generally, these young prospects who are this tall need time to fill out and build muscle, but Gudbranson is already a very stocky and well-built player. He’s also extremely charismatic, well-spoken and (I can admit this) a good looking guy. He would be the perfect player for Florida to build around and market in the area.

Now after the third pick, that is likely to be Gudbranson, you’d think that Fowler would be very next pick. That’s likely, although with Columbus shopping their 4th overall pick anything can happen. I highly doubt, however, that a team would trade up to #4 and not take the next best player on the board, which would be Fowler in that position.

What follows could get interesting. The Islanders aren’t looking to take any risks and despite the amount of talent at #5, the Isles could trade down if they feel they would get better value in the 10-15 range (hypothetically). That could certainly see some waves sent across draft boards, as the player the Isles would nab at #5 is likely a bit different than a team trading up.

Tonight could be interesting, considering the amount of picks up for sale. Every team’s draft board is completely different and tonight is shaping up for us to see some teams grab players a bit higher than we might have expected.

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