NHL draft news
Jonathan Toews seems to have given conflicting quotes on whether or not he will return to UND next season. In an interview with Hockey News, Toews said: "Why not stay another year in school... even if I am ready (to play in the NHL)? It was an adjustment period for me in the first half (of the season in college). I would like to spend a whole season there, where everything is clicking and be a big part of the team and a leader."
However, he told a group of reporters in the NHL Combine: "I think for any kid, when you have that opportunity to step in, why wait? It’s been my dream to play in the National Hockey League one day regardless of who it’s with. If I am ready next year and they want me to step in and be a big part of their team, I’m all for it and I’d love to have that opportunity."
The director of NHL's Central Scouting bureau, E.J. McGuire, seems to think every player in this year's draft could use at least another year of development, including consensus first pick Erik Johnson (Gopher recruit). McGuire told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "The guys ready to step in? Not very many. Is Erik Johnson ready? Is Jordan Staal ready? I'd like to see them both play another year -- Johnson with the development team or in college, and in the case of Staal, another year of Junior. But I'm not selling tickets. I'm not the Blues' marketing director, who wants to see those players on the ice scoring goals."
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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette hockey writer Dave Molinari did a Q&A, where he analyzed the top five prospects in the draft.
Sports Illustrated's Allan Muir speculated that Gopher recruit Kyle Okposo could be drafted higher than Phil Kessel. Red Line Report's Kyle Woodlief says Kessel is the top forward in the draft, however.
Lots of speculation. What will actually happen? It looks like we'll have to wait until June 24 to find out... and maybe longer than that to get a definitive answer about Toews' future in Grand Forks.
For those of you living in the Twin Cities and looking for a place to watch the draft, the Minnesota Wild are hosting a party at the Oakdale Buffalo Wild Wings on the 24th at 4:30 p.m. There will be live call-ins from Vancouver and guests Kevin Falness (Wild radio host), Mike Greenlay (Wild TV color man) and Doug Woog (former Gopher coach and current WCHA broadcaster). All fans will get "comprehensive" draft information when arriving at the party, and prizes will be given out throughout the night.