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DRAFT CENTRAL: EUROCENTRIC

Monday, 06.12.2006 / 12:00 AM / News
New York Islanders
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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 MTL 65 41 18 6 175 146 88
2 NYI 66 42 21 3 211 185 87
3 TBL 66 40 20 6 217 173 86
4 NYR 63 39 17 7 197 155 85
5 DET 62 36 15 11 182 160 83
6 PIT 63 36 18 9 182 158 81
7 WSH 66 35 21 10 194 164 80
8 BOS 63 31 22 10 168 165 72
9 FLA 65 28 23 14 159 185 70
10 PHI 65 28 25 12 173 187 68
11 OTT 62 28 23 11 176 167 67
12 NJD 64 27 27 10 144 165 64
13 TOR 65 26 34 5 175 199 57
14 CBJ 63 26 33 4 163 201 56
15 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
16 BUF 64 19 40 5 123 215 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 66 31 36 5 67
K. Okposo 46 14 30 -2 44
R. Strome 66 14 28 22 42
B. Nelson 66 18 20 8 38
F. Nielsen 66 11 26 13 37
A. Lee 60 22 13 14 35
J. Bailey 54 13 20 13 33
J. Boychuk 56 7 25 15 32
N. Leddy 66 9 19 17 28
T. Hamonic 56 4 21 16 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 34 13 1 .911 2.48
C. Johnson 8 8 1 .889 3.08

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