Previewing the 2010 NHL Draft: Erik Gudbranson

PHILADELPHIA - JUNE 04: NHL top prospect Erik Gudbranson speaks to the media before Game Four of the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Wachovia Center on June 4, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Name: Erik Gudbranson

Position: Defense

Height: 6-4

Weight: 195 lbs

Age: 18

Home Country: Canada

Playing In: Ontario Hockey League (Juniors)

Scouting Reports after the jump......

My Take: Erik Gudbranson is undoubtedly one of the better defensemen in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. One thing that sets him apart from, say, Cam Fowler is his physicality and his "old school" style of play. While he has some offensive potential, he is more well known for throwing the body around and playing a feisty style of hockey. For this reason, he is often compared to veteran Cris Pronger of the Philadelphia Flyers.

Also, Gudbranson is great at making the first pass out of his own zone. It is rare that you get a crossbreed of an offensive but also physical blue-liner. He is a gem just waiting to be claimed by a National Hockey League franchise.

Hockey's Future: In 41 games for the Frontenacs, Gudbranson scored 2 goals and added 21 assists for 23 points. He finished with a +11 rating and 68 penalty minutes in a season that was shortened due to a bout with mononucleosis. In 7 playoff games, Gudbranson scored 1 goal and added 2 assists for 3 points. Gudbranson was supposed to play in the 2010 CHL Top Prospects Game but missed it due to his illness. Read More...

NHL Fanhouse: Multiple scouting reports I've read compare Gudbranson to Chris Pronger. Suspension jokes aside, this is quite the lofty praise for a kid who just turned 18 in January.

Gudbranson shouldn't be mistaken for a Cam Fowler type of player. Fowler's game is defined by his ability to see the play developing in front of him and move the puck to the right spot. Gudbranson's impact may come more without the puck than with it. Read More...

The Hockey News: If not for a bout of mononucleosis and a knee injury, Erik Gudbranson would be challenging Fowler for the top defensemen. And in the eyes of some scouts, he's doing just that. "We've got him ahead of Fowler," one scout said. "I think he has the potential to be Chris Pronger Jr. He has a real nasty streak and has more offense than people give him credit for." (Read more in THN Draft Preview 2010 edition)

Projected to be Drafted: 4th or 5th overall

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