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DRAFT CENTRAL: EUROCENTRIC

Monday, 06.12.2006 / 12:00 AM ET / News
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DRAFT CENTRAL: EUROCENTRIC
Backstrom, Frolik, Tlusty

By Jason Lockhart

European prospects continue to impress each year. This crop is no exception, with a few forwards anticipated to go early in this year's NHL Entry Draft.

Draft Central continues with a glance at the top three European picks predicted to make a splash in the NHL.


Nicklas Backstrom, Center
Gavle, Sweden
Height: 6-0
Weight: 183
2005-2006 Team: Brynas (Swe)
2005-2006 Stats: GP: 46, Goals: 10, Assists: 16, Points: 26, PIM: 30

The best Swedish prospect in some time, Nicklas Backstrom is making serious strides towards becoming an elite NHLer. Backstrom earned Rookie of the Year honors this season in the Swedish Elite League and garnered rave reviews at the World Championships in May.

Backstrom has good hockey sense, superb puck control and uncanny playmaking ability. He reminds many scouts of Peter Forsberg because of his ability to thread the needle on seemingly impossible passes.

Like his fellow Swedes, Backstrom is defensively responsible. His quick stick is effective in cutting off centering passes.

"He's not as tough as Forsberg," one scout told The Hockey News. "(But), he plays heads-up hockey all the time. You see him go into a corner and he comes out with the puck. He has no problems with physical play."

Some scouts say he's NHL-ready, but another year in the Swedish Elite League will help improve his game.

 

Michael Frolik, Right Wing
Kladno, Czech Republic
Height: 6-1
Weight: 187
2005-2006 Team: Kladno (Cze)
2005-2006 Stats: GP: 48, Goals: 2, Assists: 7, Points: 9, PIM: 32

Like Phil Kessel, Michael Frolik was highly touted and a sure lock to go in the top three of this year's draft as recently as 18 months ago, but his stock dropped a bit on the International Scouting Service chart.

One theory suggests he lost some dexterity because of his growth spurt that added five inches and 27 pounds.

Despite his drop in stock, Frolik is still considered a top ten pick with an explosive skating ability and excellent acceleration. He knows how to score, but is also a terrific passer.

Scouts say Frolik needs to work on his strength and physical play to effectively compete in the 82-game NHL grind.

 

Jiri Tlusty, Left Wing
Slany, Czech Republic
Height: 6-1
Weight: 185
2005-2006 Team: Kladno (Cze)/ Under-18 Czech National Team
2005-2006 Stats: Kladno GP: 44, Goals: 7, Assists: 3, Points: 10, PIM: 51/WJC GP: 4, Goals: 0, Assists: 0, Points: 0, PIM: 0

Jiri Tlusty may not be as highly regarded as Backstrom or Frolik, but he's got enough talent to land a spot on the first or second line.

Don't be fooled by Tlusty's poor production in the Czech league. He was one of the youngest players in the league and played hard to the end on a terrible team.

"(Tlusty is) an elite talent, but the pieces need to come together," one scout said to McKeen's Hockey Prospects. "(He) has a strong, well-balanced lower-body and meanness, but lacks consistency and fluidity. He'll score more when he moves better with the puck at full speed."

According to the Central Scouting Report, Tlusty is an excellent skater with a shot that's hard to stop.

The Czech Republic native is more of a sniper than a playmaker indicated by his penchant for producing greater goal totals than assist totals.

The 2006 NHL Entry Draft is scheduled for June 24 in Vancouver, BC.

 

MORE OF THE DRAFT CENTRAL '06

 

 

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 9 6 5 0 11
K. Okposo 9 1 6 0 7
F. Nielsen 9 3 2 -1 5
B. Nelson 9 1 4 -4 5
T. Hickey 9 1 4 -4 5
A. Quine 9 1 4 0 5
S. Prince 9 3 1 1 4
R. Strome 6 1 3 3 4
N. Leddy 9 1 3 3 4
C. Clutterbuck 9 2 1 -1 3
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
T. Greiss 5 4 1 .930 2.34
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