DRAFT CENTRAL: The Top 3 D

Monday, 06.5.2006 / 12:00 AM ET / News
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DRAFT CENTRAL: The Top 3 D
Johnson, Sanguinetti and Williams

By Jason Lockhart

With the Islanders set to pick seventh overall for this year's NHL Entry Draft on June 24, 2006, it's time to take a look at this year's top prospects. In our first installment, we feature the three defensemen - all American - slated to be selected in the First Round.


Erik Johnson
Bloomington, Minnesota
Height: 6-4
Weight: 220
2005-2006 Team: USA National Team Development Program/Under-18 US World Junior National Team
2005-2006 Stats: USA NTDP - GP: 38, Goals: 11, Assists: 22, Points: 33/WJC - GP: 7, Goal: 1, Assists: 3, Points: 4, PIM: 18
Central Scouting Board North American Rank: 1st

 

Breakdown:
Erik Johnson is regarded as the top defenseman in this year's draft and a potential franchise player. The Minnesota native has impressed scouts with his hard shot, smooth skating and physical play. There's very little chance he'll be there when the Islanders pick at seven because he's going at the top.

Ranked only 17th by the International Scouting Service as late as June 2005, Johnson has since improved his game in leaps and bounds. His play at this year's World Junior Championships in Vancouver locked Johnson into the one of the top positions. Despite the US Team's failure to medal, he was a bright spot at the tournament.

Central Scouting Service Director E.J. McGuire likens Johnson's game to Ottawa Senator, Wade Redden.

"He's good at everything - that's the amazing thing," one scout told The Hockey News. "He has flare. He can really skate and open up the ice."

The slick skating defenseman will attend the University Of Minnesota starting in the fall of 2006, assuming the NHL team that drafts him doesn't sign him first.


Bob Sanguinetti
Lumberton, New Jersey
Height: 6-1
Weight: 182
2005-2006 Team: Owen Sound (OHL)
2005-2006 Stats: GP: 68, Goals: 14, Assists: 51, Points: 65, PIM: 44
Central Scouting Board North American Rank: 12th                                           

 

Breakdown:
Bob Sanguinetti possesses what is important in the new NHL -- Speed. The polished skating defenseman has quick feet and an accurate breakout pass that is valuable to any team's transition game. Some scouts are wary of Sanguinetti's small frame and lack of physical presence, but have confidence that he can overcome his deficiencies by contributing offensively.

"He's a good skater and moves the puck well," one scout told The Hockey News. "And he had a very good playoff [this past season]. You like to see guys finish strong. Owen Sound upset (heavily favored) Kitchener and he was a major part of it."

 

Nigel Williams
Montgomery, Illinois
Height: 6-4
Weight: 226
2005-2006 Team: USA National Team Development Program
2005-2006 Stats: GP: 48, Goals: 6, Assists: 9, Points: 15, PIM: 41
Central Scouting Board North American Rank: 13th

Breakdown:
Committed to Wisconsin next season, Nigel Williams has the speed and skill to be an NHLer in the future. His game has produced some comparisons to Chris Pronger, but scouts say he could be more aggressive - which says a lot by itself. Williams improved significantly playing with the National Developmental squad this past season and has a genuine shot at becoming a top four defenseman in the NHL.

"He is a little gangly, but he'll grow into his body," one scout told The Hockey News. "There is not much of a downside. He doesn't lack intensity, but I wish he was a little meaner."

 

MORE OF THE DRAFT CENTRAL '06

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - NYR 76 48 21 7 231 179 103
2 x - MTL 77 47 22 8 203 174 102
3 x - TBL 78 47 24 7 250 204 101
4 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
5 PIT 77 42 24 11 211 194 95
6 WSH 77 42 25 10 227 190 94
7 DET 76 40 23 13 221 208 93
8 BOS 77 39 25 13 204 198 91
9 OTT 76 38 26 12 220 204 88
10 FLA 77 35 27 15 192 210 85
11 PHI 77 31 29 17 202 220 79
12 CBJ 76 37 35 4 210 234 78
13 NJD 77 31 33 13 170 197 75
14 CAR 76 28 37 11 176 208 67
15 TOR 78 29 43 6 204 249 64
16 BUF 77 22 47 8 152 258 52

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 77 34 43 -2 77
R. Strome 76 16 32 20 48
K. Okposo 55 16 31 -11 47
F. Nielsen 76 14 28 8 42
B. Nelson 77 19 22 7 41
A. Lee 71 23 16 10 39
J. Bailey 65 15 23 3 38
J. Boychuk 67 8 25 9 33
N. Leddy 73 10 21 14 31
T. Hamonic 67 5 26 16 31
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 36 16 2 .913 2.42
M. Neuvirth 1 3 1 .881 2.94

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