It's the new calendar year and the OHL regular season is well into its second half. It's a perfect time to take a look at what 2010 NHL draft selections have yet to receive their NHL contract. Of course, these players must sign before June 1st, or said NHL team relinquishes their rights (and they go back in the draft or become free agents...depending on their birth date).
Phil Lane - Phoenix Coyotes (52nd overall)
Lane has taken great steps forward offensively this year to go with the in your face, physical, grinding style he brings to the table. With all his intangibles, he could make a solid 3rd/4th line guy. I can't see the Yotes passing on signing him.
Brock Beukeboom - St. Louis Blues (from Tampa) (63rd overall)
The Blues acquired his rights in the Eric Brewer deal, and even with all the injury problems he's had, I think he's taken a step forward this year in Niagara. He's refined his physical approach and is much more disciplined. Defensively, he's looked solid with the Dogs and considering he was a piece of the Brewer deal, I can't see the Blues letting him go.
Scott Wedgewood - New Jersey Devils (84th overall)
A no brainer really. One of the top netminders in the OHL and a member of Team Canada. Considering New Jersey has the oldest netminding duo in the NHL, it would be a good idea to continue to add goaltending prospects.
Austin Levi - Carolina Hurricanes (85th overall)
Another I'd be surprised about if he went unsigned. He's got the size, nastiness and mobility you like to see in NHL defenseman and his defensive game has progressed very well in Plymouth.
Julian Melchiori - Winnipeg Jets (87th overall)
Already playing as an overager after getting sent back by the Jets, you have to wonder if he's in their plans (a carry over draft pick from a previous regime). He's got size and is fairly steady defensively, but his offensive game never really developed as one would have hoped.
Brandon Archibald - Columbus Blue Jackets (94th overall)
Another guy who hasn't really developed into the player many thought he'd become. His numbers have regressed every year. But he does have size and mobility on the back end. Still think he's a longshot to get signed.
Stephen Silas - Colorado Avalanche (95th overall)
I've always been a fan of Silas' game and he's had a solid bounce back year after a disappointing one last year. He has two way potential at the next level. But he isn't the biggest guy and there may be some concern as to what type of player he profiles to become at the NHL level.
Geoffrey Schemitsch - Tampa Bay Lightning (96th overall)
Injuries have really hurt Schemitsch's development in the OHL. He's going to need a big second half with the Oshawa Generals (his new team) in order to get signed I think. Another one of those guys, who I'm not really sure what type of role he'd play in the NHL.
Steven Shipley - Buffalo Sabes (98th overall)
Another guy who just hasn't really progressed in the OHL. He's essentially the same player he was when the Sabres drafted him two years ago. Still inconsistent offensively and doesn't use his size away from the puck as much as he should. Depends on whether the Sabres still see potential in him.
Andrew Yogan - New York Rangers (100th overall)
He's finally healthy and it's showing in Peterborough this year. Mind you, he's playing as an overager, but on many nights he's been Peterborough's best forward. The size and skill package is as alluring as it was on draft day and I'd be surprised if the Rangers didn't sign him.
Gregg Sutch - Buffalo Sabres (143rd overall)
Still a strong, physical checker, but the offensive game never really arrived as many thought it would when he was a highly touted Midget player. He can be an entertaining OHL player to watch (I've always been a fan), but I'd be surprised if he got an NHL contract at this point.
Sam Carrick - Toronto Maple Leafs (144th overall)
Has really taken a step forward this year...in nearly every area. He definitely profiles as an NHL player in the Burke system and I'd be surprised if the Leafs let him go.
Joe Rogalski - Pittsburgh Penguins (152nd overall)
Playing as an overager with the Soo, Rogalski hasn't had a terrific year. He can still have some difficulty defensively, and the offensive game hasn't really progressed from the point it was when he was drafted. I think he's a long shot to get signed.
Corey Durocher - Florida Panthers (153rd overall)
Good size, but the offensive game just never really developed to the point I'm sure Florida was hoping for. And he's not a physical guy or a terrific forechecker, so I don't see his game transitioning well to the NHL level. A project pick that just never really materialized.
Reid McNeill - Pittsburgh Penguins (170th overall)
I think he has a better shot than Rogalski of getting signed by the Pens, but McNeill's game hasn't really developed a whole lot either. He's solid defensively and does have some size, but the offensive game hasn't taken any steps forward really. Is he good enough defensively to be a stay at home guy at the NHL level?
Alex Friesen - Vancouver Canucks (172nd overall)
Even if the Canucks sent him back for an overage year, I think they'd be foolish to let Friesen slip away. He profiles well as a checking line center at the next level because of his speed, tenacity and faceoff capabilities.
*of note Rob Flick has to be signed by Chicago, and Tony DeHart has to be signed by the New York Islanders. Both are former OHL'ers playing on AHL contracts this season.
Any predictions as to which of these guys gets a contract by June 1st?