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The Scouts Say

by Mike Vogel / Washington Capitals
Here's a look at what various scouting reports, scouting services and media reports are saying about the eight players chosen by the Washington Capitals in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft:

First Round
No. 21 – Center Anton Gustafsson, Frolunda

Central Scouting ranked Gustafsson fifth among European skaters and said: "Anton is a highly skilled player with strong puckhandling skills and playmaking ability. He is an effective passer through traffic who also has a good selection of shots. He's a tall, strong and talented two-way center with good vision and a fine understanding of the game. He plays a mature game even when playing against opponents who were two or three years older."

Hockey News ranked Gustafsson 24th and said: “By most accounts, Gustafsson has been almost dominant with the Frolunda uniors and possesses a good mix of skill, speed and acceleration and puckhandling ability. He’s not overly offensively gifted, but he plays a robust physical game.”
NHL translation: Two-way forward.

Red Line Report ranked Gustafsson 44th and said: “Complementary team-first guy who makes players around him better. Ended season on a down note with a serious back injury that would require research from interested teams … Goes to the net and establishes position well. Willing to take abuse to create screens and traffic on PP. Soft hands receiving passes and on deflections. Tall and rangy with long reach. Strong defensively – responsible for shutting down opposition’s best line. Excellent penalty-killer. Captain material.”
Projection: Two-way, 2nd line center on a good club.
Style compares to: Mike Fisher

ISS ranked Gustafsson 34th and said: “Powerful skater – skates in up-right position, A big power forward who is strong on the puck and plays very aggressive. Great size and competitiveness make him very appealing.”

McKeen’s ranked Gustafsson 44th and said: “What we do know is Gustafsson has good size, skates well and has decent skills. He has been compared favorable to his father, who had a successful pro career with the Washington Capitals and recently coached Sweden at the World Championships.”

No. 27 – Defenseman John Carlson, Indiana

Central Scouting ranked Carlson 17th among North American skaters and had the following quotes:
NHL Central Scouting's Jack Barzee "John Carlson is a big burly defensemen, he is a real good skater and a strong skater. He runs the power-play from the top of the umbrella and he has a very heavy shot.  He's a very self-assured kid and rightfully so – he's a boy, yet in a man's body and very physically strong ... I knew when I first saw him that he was a first-round pick. He was a guy I had seen before as an under-ager. He had all the tools – size, skill, physical presence and charisma."
Indiana Ice head coach Charlie Skjodt
"When I look at John Carlson, I just see pro written all over him. He's big, strong, can absolutely rip it. He's good on his feet and agile for a big kid. He's poised at all times and just has the mind for the game. He never gets rattled ... as a coach, you know what you are going to get every time John goes out on the ice."

Hockey News ranked Carlson 30th and said: “Carlson has the size, strength and skill set to be a top NHL prospect. That he’s not rated higher is a function of this year’s draft being deep in quality defensemen … He doesn’t have the physical tools of a [Luke] Schenn or the end-to-end abilities of a [Drew] Doughty, but he is a talented offensive defenseman who can quarterback a power play.”
NHL translation: Offensive defenseman.

Red Line Report ranked Carlson 37th and said: “Nice mix of size, strength, skating and physical presence. Not flashy, but solid and steady. Strong and likes to get involved physically. Tough kid who makes opposing forwards pay a steep price in front of the net and in corners.”
Projection: #4 rearguard who offers physical presence.
Style compares to: Barrett Jackman

ISS ranked Carlson 21st and said: “Carlson is a big defenseman who skates well and possesses a heavy shot from the point … Does a nice job of getting up the ice quickly and sealing off the offensive blueline. Carlson displays a great deal of poise and has the skills to generate offense. With good physical strength, John utilizes his size well during battles for loose pucks and position in all three zones.”
NHL Potential: Solid two-way defenseman. Has a big shot from the point.
Style compares to: Bryan McCabe

McKeen ‘s ranked Carlson 16th and said: “Carlson is a big defenseman with offensive upside and one of the hardest shots available at this year’s draft. ‘He’s an excellent quarterback of the power play with an absolute bomb for a point shot,’ notes one scout. ‘His vision, poise and creativity with the puck are all superb. He’s also dangerous joining the rush where he innately identifies openings.’”

Second Round
No. 57 – Defenseman Eric Mestery, Tri-City

Central Scouting ranked Mestery 59th among North American skaters and said: NHL Central Scouting's Blair Macdonald
"Eric has good mobility, is able to contain the opposition and plays well positionally. He moves the puck quickly and on the tape, and is a good skater which allows him to join the rush effectively. He needs to add a little bit more spark to his game and to play with more confidence to become a better defenseman."

Red Line Report ranked Mestery 97th and said: “Excellent size, mobility and hands. Smooth, long skating stride with quick feet. Surprising balance, quickness and speed for a huge, gangly kid. Very good stickhandler and has a good, if seldom seen shot. Always trying to throw hits and use the body, but is very ineffective physically.  Good energy level.”
Projection: Perenially frustrating #7 rearguard.
Style compares to: Shaone Morrisonn

Hockey News ranked Mestery 55th and said: “Mestery is a good skater for his size and there’s little risk in his game. Teams looking for a dependable defenseman will look at him in the second and third rounds.  He has good hockey sense and is reasonably mobile. The only problem is that as excited as scouts get about players with that kind of height, precious few of them work out at the NHL level.”

ISS ranked Mestery 55th and said: “Smooth skating and mobile defenseman who is sound in all aspects of the game. Mestery could be one of the smoothest skating d-men in the draft. He has great mobility for a guy at any size. Needs to find some emotion. If he can develop a mean streak it will help him in the transition to the next level.”

No. 58 – Right wing Dmitri Kugryshev, CSKA 2

Central Scouting ranked Kugryshev 10th among European skaters and said: "Dmitri is a skilled winger with good vision and the ability to make plays under pressure. He needs to improve his physical presence and his overall speed, but his work ethic and balance on his skates still make him an effective winger."

Red Line Report ranked Kugryshev 49th and said: “Competitive winger with good vision who makes a lot of plays … Excellent agility and quickness, but lacks elite speed. His work ethic is outstanding at both ends of the rink –tenacious in puck pursuit … very intelligent – exhibits good hockey sense in all three zones. Excellent hands in tight areas with lots of flashy puckhandling.
Projection: Quality third liner on top club.
Style compares to: Chris Kunitz

ISS ranked Kugryshev 70th and said: “His desire on the ice is hard to match. Kugryshev loves to play the body and get his hands dirty. His skating style is not strong, but that doesn’t mean he is not strong on his skates, quite the opposite. Kugryshev takes and gives contact very well and has decent speed with some very nice quick hands to top it all off.”

Fourth round
No. 93 – Goaltender Braden Holtby, Saskatoon

Central Scouting ranked Holtby fourth among North American goaltenders and said: NHL Central Scouting's Al Jensen
"He has unbelievable athleticism and quickness. He was able to keep his team in games and keep them competitive throughout the year. His recovery was exceptional as well as his ability to get his body in front of shots. He battled very hard and was strong. He is a flashy player – he has a very good glove hand and very quick hands and his play improved throughout the year."

Red Line Report ranked Holtby 57th and said: “Athletic goaltender had some ups and downs this season, but finished on a strong note. Outstanding natural quickness and long legs make him tough to beat down low. Has a great glove he uses to make a lot of spectacular saves. Excellent balance. Post-to-post and recovery speed are outstanding.
Projection: Streaky back-up who can’t hold #1 job.
Style compares to: Patrick Lalime.

ISS ranked Holtby 13th among goaltenders in this draft.

McKeen’s ranked Holtby 80th and said: “A stand-up goalie that faces shots square on, and often makes multiple stops from in close, Holtby gets to his feet quickly and handles the puck well. Holtby could go as high as the second round but is likely a mid-round selection.”

Fifth Round
No. 144 – Center Joel Broda, Moose Jaw

Central Scouting ranked Broda 70th among North American skaters and said: NHL Central Scouting's Peter Sullivan
"Needs to work on his consistency and play with intensity on every shift – has the tools to be a pro but must use them.  He skates well and has good speed.  He is certainly big enough to play the role of a power-forward centerman."
Moose Jaw Warriors General Manager Chad Lang
"We are very excited to have the opportunity to acquire an offensively skilled, two way centerman, that also brings tremendous character to our dressing room. This move allows us to improve on our culture and provides us with balance throughout our lineup."

Red Line Report ranked Broda 87th and said: “Little talked about gritty centre is an RLR favorite. Skating has been his biggest negative, but we’ve seen a fair bit of improvement in his stride this season … Outstanding scorer’s touch. Hard, accurate shot and can unleash it quickly. Can score from anywhere and is especially adept at hitting the corners of the net from the circles … Plays a physical style, likes to drop the gloves, and sticks up for his teammates … Has nice mix of skill and grit.”
Projection: Versatile third liner.
Style compares to: Brandon Dubinsky

Hockey News ranked Broda 96th.
ISS ranked Broda 93rd and said: “A strong two-way forward with some offensive punch. Broda is known for his incredible physical condition … An average skater with good speed, he needs to get that top gear to be a physically dominating presence. He started out the season on a torrid scoring pace and then slowed down.”

Sixth Round
No. 174 – Left wing Greg Burke, NH Monarchs

Central Scouting ranked Burke 140th among North American skaters
Red Line Report ranked Burke 234th.

Seventh Round
No. 204 – Left wing Stefan Della Rovere, Barrie

Central Scouting ranked Della Rovere 156th among North American Skaters.
Red Line Report ranked Della Rovere 164th.

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