It did not take long for new Atlanta Thrashers GM Rick Dudley to put his signature on the team. Only two months into the job, Dudley traded the 24th and 54th overall picks (acquired from New Jersey Devils in the Ilya Kovalchuck trade) as well as prospects Jeremy Morin, Ivan Vishnevskiy, and a second round pick in 2011 to Chicago Blackhawks for immediate help. The players coming back from the Hawks, in two separate deals just before and after the draft, included hulking forwards Dustin Byfuglien, Ben Eager, and Andrew Ladd, as well as prospect Akim Aliu.
At the draft table Dudley followed a similar theme, selecting seven players who are 6’2 or taller and several who are known for their surly on-ice disposition.
With the eighth overall pick, Dudley made sublimely skilled forward Alexander Burmistrov the first selection of his tenure. The 18-year-old Burmistrov is an extremely quick and clever center who dazzled OHL fans with his evasive moves and inspired playmaking. Drawing comparisons to Pavel Datsyuk, the newest Thrasher prospect plays with the same intelligence and skill as the perennial Selke Trophy and Lady Byng candidate.
Despite his slight build, Burmistrov is expected to compete for a roster spot next year and due to his speed and hockey sense, should succeed. If the skilled pivot does play center for the Thrashers next year, he should have no shortage of big wingers to work the boards for him.
Julian Melchiori, D – Newmarket (CCHL)
Drafted: 3rd round, 87th overall
Height: 6’3 Weight: 185 lbs
Julian Melchiori is a big, strong-skating defenseman, the type of player always in demand with NHL scouts. A Junior-A product, Melchiori was named the OHA’s top prospect after scoring 23 points in 39 games with Newmarket. He also led the Canada East entry at the Junior-A challenge in scoring by defensemen. A nephew of former NHL players Mark and Mike Murphy, he models his game on Chris Pronger and hopes to emulate the smooth skating defensive pillar who can play in all situations.
Recruited by the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, he will have time to refine his game and fill out his frame.
This pick was acquired in the 2009 Mathieu Schneider trade with Montreal.
Nicknamed “Drago” by Saginaw coach Todd Watson for his resemblance to the fictional Russian boxer who fought Rocky Balboa, Telegin is a powerfully built winger with excellent offensive instincts. He uses his 6’2 frame to good effect down low and in front of the net and has a strong shot.
Named OHL Rookie of the Month in both October and November, the 18-year-old seemed to run out of steam towards the end of the season. With a further year to adjust to the OHL, he could dominate the league with his size and talent.
This pick was acquired in the Kari Lehtonen trade with Dallas.
Fredrik Pettersson-Wentzel, G – Almtuna (SWE-2)
Drafted: 5th round, 128th overall
Height: 6’1 Weight: 170 lbs
With their first pick in the 5th round, the Thrashers added Fredrik Petterson-Wentzel, the second ranked European goalie in the 2010 draft. The agile and lean netminder posted stellar numbers in the Swedish second division, recording a 1.89 GAA average and 6 shutouts for his club team and was the starter for the Sweden U-19 team.
Soon to turn 19, Pettersson-Wentzel will be a leading contender to backstop Sweden at the upcoming World Junior Championships in Buffalo.
Yasin Cisse is a budding power forward whose season with Des Moines of the USHL was curtailed due to a tendon injury. A big winger who battles hard on the boards and loves to finish his checks, Cisse has also shown a nice scoring touch in his limited action in the USHL, scoring 13 goals in just 18 games.
One of the players who dropped the furthest on many scouting services over the year, the 18-year-old Cisse is a project with an excellent upside. A product of Westmount, Quebec, Cisse is scheduled to join Boston University, although he is unsure whether it will be the coming season or 2011-12.
This pick was acquired in a trade with Chicago for a sixth round pick in 2009 (David Pacan).
With their first of three picks in the 6th round, the Thrashers selected defenseman Kendall McFaull from the Moose Jaw Warriors of the WHL. The 18-year-old McFaull was described by his coach as a hard-nosed stay at home type. He gained the attention of Atlanta scouts for his honest effort and physical play on the Warriors blue line. Standing at 6’2, McFaull has a solid frame and plays a no-nonsense game. The defenseman was one of the biggest risers on many scouting services over the year.
Tanner Lane, C – Detroit Lakes H.S. (Minn H.S.)
Drafted: 6th round, 160th overall
Height: 6’2 Weight: 170 lbs
A high scoring center with Detroit Lakes High School in Minnesota, Tanner Lane was selected in the 6th round by the Atlanta Thrashers. Yet to declare his college commitment, Lane tore apart the Mid State High Schools League, scoring 49 goals and 90 points in just 25 games. His numbers should make NCAA recruiters knock on his door all summer long.
At only 17 years old, Lane has a good frame to build on but will need to bulk up to succeed at the next level.
This pick was acquired from the NY Islanders, along with the 155th pick (Kendall McFaull), for a fifth round pick in 2011.
Sebastian Owuya D – Timra (SEL)
Drafted: 6th round, 169th overall
Height: 6’3 Weight: 200 lbs
A strong, physical defenseman from Sweden, Sebastian Owuya played eleven games in the Swedish Elitserien this past season and appeared comfortable playing against grown men. In 40 games with the Timra junior team he posted 3 goals and 13 assists, but most tellingly for his style of play, accumulated 118 minutes in penalties.
The 18-year-old Owuya was recently selected 40th overall in the CHL Import Draft by the Medicine Hat Tigers of the WHL and the Thrashers may encourage him to test his toughness in that league next year.
Peter Stoykewych, D – Winnipeg South (MJHL)
Drafted: 7th round, 199th overall
Height: 6’2 Weight: 180 lbs
With their final pick of the 2010 draft, the Thrashers selected Peter Stoykewych, a left-handed defenceman from Winnipeg South of the MJHL, who also played for Canada West at the World Junior A Challenge in 2009.
A recruit of Colorado College, Stoykewych is expected to play for the Tigers in 2011.The 6’2 defenseman has a hard shot and knows when to jump into the rush. Playing on the larger ice surface at Colorado College will benefit his skating while the off-ice regimen will add some weight to his frame.