Leading up to the 2010 draft, Flordiapanthers.com will be highlighting some of the top prospects to look out for. At number 3, the Panthers have a lot of players to choose from. What direction and who will they pick?
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THE SHINNY: Known as a shutdown and nasty defenseman who will drop the gloves (think Chris Pronger), Erik Gudbranson recorded 23 points, a plus-11 rating and 68 penalty minutes in just 41 games this season.
Gudbranson is smart as they come, having won the 2009-10 Bobby Smith Trophy as the OHL's Scholastic Player of the Year (given to a player who best combines high standars of play and academic excellence).
Director of Central Scouting E.J. McGuire: “Gudbranson to me is a guaranteed long-term NHLer. In my opinion, Gudbranson is another Chris Pronger-type, what he brings that (Pronger) really didn't do much of, though, is he'll fight. He is some kind of tough. Chris Pronger is mean and will hit you; Gudbranson will hit you and fight you. Pronger is three inches taller than Gudbranson, so maybe Dion Phaneuf would be an even better comparison"
Gudbranson On Gudbranson: "I seem like a nice guy now but I like playing with a real edge on the ice. I like throwing the big hits. I mean, I play the game hard. I play the game; I don't mess around when I'm on the ice and I make sure everything gets done. I'll do anything to get it done. I think I move the puck well and I have a pretty good shot from the point. And I think the edge, that's big for me."
NHL Player: Shea Weber & Dion Phaneuf Goal Celebration: "A little fist pump & point to the passer" Movie: Billy Madison Pump-Up Song: Crawl by Breaking Benjamin Sport (other than hockey): Golf and baseball Breakfast Food: Eggs, oatmeal and toast Superhero: Batman
NEWS: Gudbranson Moves Up To Top-Rated Defenseman (4.07.10) Two years ago, NHL teams had to decide between high-skill defensemen Zach Bogosian Drew Doughty, Tyler Myers, Luke Schenn and Alex Pietrangelo at the top of the draft board. They could face a similar conundrum at this year's draft.
Erik Gudbranson, Cam Fowler, Brandon Gormley, Mark Pysyk and Derek Forbort all have NHL-caliber skills, and all five are certain to hear their names called early in the first round of the 2010 Entry Draft, June 25-26 in Los Angeles.
Central Scouting's final ranking had Gudbranson leading the pack at No. 4, followed in order by Fowler, Gormley and Pysyk. Forbort is No. 9.