Draft roundup: Picks 20-37

Here’s a quick look at who got whom since the last report.

Pick 20: Talgat  ZHAILAUOV goes  from his home country of Kazakhstan to Munich, where he is by far the youngest center and obviously a key building block for the franchise’s future. Short but thick, Zhailauov is said to be a good skater with great hockey sense. Munich broadcasters are protesting the pick, citing Zhailauov’s nearly impossible-to-pronounce last name.

Pick 21: Kevin DALLMAN, the one-time NHLer has developed fantastic offensive skills and good wheels and will help the Tridents’ powerplay immensely. The EURO Cup finalists had to dip into the free agent pool near the end of last season to fill out its defense, but that won’t be a problem now. With Dallman, they have six defensemen with a 75 OV rating or better.

Pick 22 Thomas POWELL will be a great compliment to Alexander Galchenyuk as they mature for the Hussars, but in the meantime, the hard-charging, offensive-minded Powell becomes the fourth 21-year-old left wing with a five-year contract in Minsk. He is arguably the most ready for EURO League action.

Pick 23: Weiyang ZHANG is described as the Chinese Lucic. He is big, mean and can put the puck in the net. Bratislava team officials are so convinced he is Milan Lucic’s half-brother they are trying to ascertain whether Lucic’s parents spent any time in China 25 years ago, but they say they are having absolutely no luck getting access to any documents in China.

Pick 24: Jason KROG, another former NHLer who developed while playing in Europe, is off to France. Very good defensively, Krog is polished in all areas of his game, although he is considered a little “soft” by some. The 31-year-old is an absolute bargain when his 3-year, $875,000 contract is considered. He is the third defenseman selected by Paris in this draft and observers expect him to be paired with fellow draftee Ossi Vaananen to give Paris an immediate upgrade on defense.

Pick 25: Mathis OLIMB of Norway joins a young crowd of forwards in Minsk. The 20-year-old with the 5-year contract is expected to develop into a physically strong skater with a good overall game.

Pick 26: Goalie Erik ERSBERG should someday be the number one netminder in Madrid, but he’s not ready just yet. Madrid will have to either resign Tomas Vokoun or sign a free agent for the top spot. The three goalies on their roster currently are all 35 or older and two of them are free agents.

Pick 27: Janne NISKALA comes ready to play – just add ice. And he comes with a great defense rating of 97. In Zurich, he will be a top penalty killer and be below only Dan Hamhuis on the depth chart.

Pick 28: Tony MARTENSSON of Sweden is the first of two consecutive picks for the Giants. At 26, he is mature by Belfast standards although he if very quiet in the dressing room and shouldn’t be expected to offer leadership. On the ice, he is as durable as the come and has no glaring deficiencies. He won’t push Sidney Crosby out as the team’s number one center, but feel free to pencil him in at number 2.

Pick 29: Olivier ROLAND, a left wing from Belgium, has great size and good skills across the board. We can foresee coach Darryl Sutter trying to coax more intensity out of him, but Sutter will be quite pleased with the rest of Roland’s game. The Belgian should break into the Giants lineup and see decent ice time this season.

Pick 30: Andrei VASILEVSKIY, an 18-year-old from Tyumen, Russia, was a first-round draft pick (19th overall) of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2012. In Paris, he’ll likely watch Jose Theodore and Tuuka Rask (if resigned) for a few seasons before getting his chance.

Pick 31: Aleksy MOROZOV, a 29-year-old Russian left wing who was once drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins, was picked by his hometown team in Moscow today. There is a lot to like about Morosov. He has flashy offensive skills, he’s responsible in the defensive zone and his contract is cap-friendly. Moscow is strong on the left side, with another Moscow-born star – Alex Ovechkin – getting top billing. Vaclav Prospal and Morozov will battle for ice time on the left side with James Van Riemsdyk and Benoit Pouliot also in the mix.

Pick 32: Czech goalie Jakub KOVAR lasted a long time in the draft and Edinburgh is thrilled about it. He’s only 18 now but there are few in the whole draft class with more potential. We won’t know for sure for nearly a dozen seasons, but at pick 32, Kovar might be viewed as the steal of the draft.

Pick 33: Andrey BYKOV, at 5-8, 160 pounds is a Smurf. Officially. What the Russian lacks in size he makes up in puck skills, speed and hockey sense. He may be in and out of the Berlin lineup this season and next, but he, Logan Couture and David Krejci will eventually be fixtures up the middle for the German squad.

Pick 34: Jason ZUCKER is gearing up for his EURO career by playing for the Minnesota Wild in the NHL. The Las Vegas-born, University of Denver grad, was passed over by the Smurfs because of his immense size (5-10, 174 pounds), but in London he will eventually stock the left side along with Taylor Hall and Season 2 draftee Jimmie Ericsson.

Pick 35: Morgan RIELLY was picked 5th overall in the 2012 NHL draft by Toronto. The Canadian defenseman has good size and is learning the game in Moose Jaw of the Western Hockey League. In Gothenburg, he will eventually see playing time with the likes of John Carlson and Erik Johnson, but that day may be a couple of seasons off.

Pick 36: Gerhard UNTERLUGGAUER will play his hockey 500 kilometers – a 4-and-a-half-hour drive from his birthplace in Villach, Austria. Durable and solid in all areas other than finesse and passing, he will immediately see plenty of ice time in Milan, perhaps even as Dustin Byfuglien’s partner on the number one defense pairing.

Pick 37: Nicklas DANIELSSON of Sweden is young (22) and plays with a lot of heart. He also has a habit of making things happen in front of the opposition’s net with good passing and shooting ability. He will battle with Jamie McGinn for the fourth line LW spot in the Milan lineup, but scouts think he will soon pass McGinn on the depth chart.


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