In continuing with our preparation for the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, which takes place June 25th – 26th at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles, today’s draft primer will profile right winger Brett Bulmer from the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL. Bulmer is quickly climbing up draftboards across the NHL after coming out of nowhere to have a very productive season out west. The intriguing combination of skating ability, size and offensive upside could see him go pretty high on draft day.
Strengths: For those of you who read my prospect review last week, you’ll find that there are quite a few similarities between Bulmer’s game and that of current Leaf prospect Kenny Ryan. Both are big strong wingers (Bulmer is 6’2 180 lbs), who play an up-tempo, physical style of game but Bulmer’s got more offensive upside. Brett’s got a decent scoring touch around the net, but he excels primarily in the corners and along the boards, where he uses his big frame to shield the puck from opposing defenders. Bulmer plays with a lot of energy every shift, and his surprising speed for a big guy creates trouble for opposing teams by applying a lot of offensive zone pressure on the forecheck.
Weaknesses: Considering Bulmer only has one full season in Canadian Major Junior, his game is still quite raw and it’s going to take some time for him to make an impact at the NHL level. Scouts like his body type and can dream of the type of player he can be when he puts on a few more pounds, but for now, he’s still a little too lean to carry this style of play against bigger, stronger opponents. He’s still more of an athlete than he is a hockey player right now, showing the occasional lapses in defensive coverage and struggles at times with stick handling and puck control.
Long-Term Upside: What you’re really drafting here is a pile of clay, with the hopes that you can mold it into something you can use. Bulmer has the frame and physical projection of a power forward, but the hockey sense and hands are still a work in progress. As such, the pick would present considerable upside but at the same time, would carry significant bust potential. There is the potential there for Bulmer to become one of the those powerful scoring wingers in the mold of a Chris Stewart.
Draft Day: NHL Central Scouting is very aware of Bulmer’s upward trend and has him currently ranked at 65th overall amongst North American Skaters, up 99 spots from their midterm rankings. He had a so-so playoff run, but the body type and intriguing upside should garner him plenty of attention in the late 2nd round to early 3rd round. With Toronto’s current first pick at 62nd overall, this could be one of the top names on their board for that selection.