Mock Draft

Saturday, June 19, 2010 ·

Less than a week from the NHL entry draft I have looked over numerous guides and scouting reports to try and come to a consensus on how the 1st round might go down. The top 15 selections should more or less stay there with a little movement within. It's the bottom 15 that makes this first round interesting. There has to be 25 players that one could at least make and argument for a 1st round selection.

I'm not some donkey that pretends to have 1st hand knowledge on all these
players(there always seem to be a lot of them out there this time of year). This list was compiled by just comparing various guides and scouting reports. It's all for fun, so here we go.

-4 teams with no 1st round pick: TOR, CGY, N-J, PHI
-4 teams with 2 1st round picks: BOS, ATL, ANA, PHO
-11 teams with no 2nd round pick: TOR, CGY, PHI, T-B, OTT, PIT, BUF, VCR, WSH, S-J, NSH
-2 teams with 3 2nd round picks: FLA, CAR
-7 teams with 2 2nd round picks: EDM, BOS, CBJ, NYI, MIN, L-A, CHI


1. EDM - Taylor Hall W, Windsor- OHL
-I don't buy this "take the centre" crap(BTW, Hall is a natural centre who has been playing the wing). Hall is the premier player in this draft. I'll take Brian Kilrea's word for it. Hall should go number one.

2. BOS - Tyler Seguin C, Plymouth- OHL
-No brainer. Hall and Seguin have separated themselves from the pack. B's GM Peter Chiarelli is on the record saying he'll be taking one of those two forwards.

3. FLA - Erik Gudbranson D, Kingston- OHL
-The Panthers need help everywhere so why not take the best combination of toughness and skill on the blueline in the draft. The Orleans product becomes the highest drafted Ottawa product since Doug Smith went 2nd to L-A in '81.

4. CBJ - Mikael Granlund C, HIFK Helsinki- FinE
-Was coming off an injury as he performed poorly at U-20's in Saskatchewan, but was absolutely dominate at the U-18's this spring. The Jackets hope the search ends for Nash's centre as they grab this serious draft climber. Many scouts believe he has the most "hockey sense" in the draft.

5. NYI - Cam Fowler D, Windsor- OHL
-More than happy to see the smooth skating Spit fall to them here. Will join Carp's Calvin de Haan on the blueline of the future to compliment Tavares, Okposo and Bailey up front.

6. TBL - Brandon Gormley D, Moncton- QMJHL
-Steve Yzerman knows championship teams are anchored by stud blueliners. Has to take the last of the big three available in this draft here.

7. CAR - Brett Connelly W, Prince George- WHL
-Medical records and personal testing will determine how far this top 5 talent falls. If his hip is fine, you'll see this natural scorer lighting it up Staal's wing in a couple years. Potential steal at 7.

8. ATL - Nino Niederreiter W, Portland- WHL
-This gritty and talented Swiss winger made a name for himself at the U-20's. Put him in your top 6 with Kane in a couple of years and the perennially soft Thrashers could be much tougher to play against.

9. MIN - Nick Bjugstad C, Blaine- MN-HS
-Size and skill down the middle is a good way to build your team. Slot this high schooler from Blaine, Minnesota (that is already pushing 6'4) behind Koivu in a couple of years and watch him grow into number one role.

10. NYR - Jeff Skinner C, Kitchener- OHL
-They went for expensive busts in Gomez and Jokinen looking for a top end centre. Why not try drafting one? Not an explosive skater but Skinner has great hockey acumen and can flat out score. 20 goals in 20 playoff games with Kitchener this spring. That'll do pig. That'll do.

11. DAL - Ryan Johansen C, Portland- WHL
-Brad Richards has one year left on his mammoth contract. With one more year of seasoning in junior this 6'2 playmaking centre who does everything well might be ready to begin what should be a long and steady NHL career.

12. ANA - Derek Forbort D, Under 18-USHL
-Next to Gudbranson, probably the best combo of grit and skill on the back end in the draft. A future Ducks blueline that includes Forbort, Gardiner and Sbisa looks bright.

13. PHO - Alex Burmistrov C, Barrie- OHL
-Lumped in with Tarasenko and Kabanov, Burmistrov is viewed as the safest high end Russian talent in the draft as he excelled with Barrie in the OHL. Safest, as in most likely to not bolt for the KHL. Turris and Burmistrov would look pretty good down the middle in Winnipeg in 2 years. Did I say that last part out loud?

14. STL -Vladimir Tarasenko W, Novosibirsk- KHL
-With a slew of good young forwards already making their mark at the NHL level, the Blues can afford to swing for the fences. They take this top 5 talent, wait a year for his KHL contract to expire next summer....and hope. Halak is going to save the day anyway right?

15. BOS - Dylan McIlrath D, Moose Jaw- WHL
-With Seguin already in tow, why not grab a defenseman that's already over 6'4. McIlrath made huge strides this season and many believe it is just the start of an upward trend for this hulking d-man with a mean streak. Learning from Chara couldn't hurt either.

16. OTT - Johan Larsson W, Brynas- SJ18A
-Many guides don't even have this guy in their top 100. Coming out party was at the World under 18's. If Granlund was the best in Minsk, this guy was a close number 2. At 5'10 200 lbs, this tenacious winger plays a solid two way game. Here's what ISS says:
"Larsson is a coaches dream, he will lie out to block shots, get back and wrestle big players in front of the net, is intelligent with the puck and shows no fear going into the corners or driving the net. Larsson is extremely powerful and driven to succeed".
Does that description remind you of anyone?
Larrson will be the biggest climber at this draft. I'm betting the Sens make it so nabbing him at 16. Remember, Karlsson wasn't rated by many to be a 1st rounder and Bryan Murray took him at 15.

17. COL - Jack Campbell G, Under 18- USHL
-The surprising Av's rode youthful enthusiasm and stellar play from Craig Anderson to an unexpected playoff berth. Campbell fills the need for a bona fide blue chipper in the organization between the pipes. Note: The other team that could most likely take Campbell earlier would appear to be Tampa, but after what we saw in the playoffs, will Yzerman spend the 6th overall pick on a goalie? We'll see.

18. NSH - Austin Watson W, Peterborough- OHL
-The trade from Windsor helped this 6'3 inch winger emerge as a star in his own right. Solid two way winger that can check and score. Probably a steal at 18.

19. LAK - Emerson Etem C/W, Medicine Hat- WHL
-One of many emerging prospects starting to come out of California(the Gretzky effect?). Can play centre or the wing and has proven to be an effective scorer and penalty killer. Many scouts see him as raw, but that can also be viewed as a positive with so much room to grow. The Kings are thrilled to get a California kid at 19.

20. PIT - Quinton Howden W, Moose Jaw- WHL
-Every guide I've read implies that Howden is already close to being a complete player. He just needs to fill out that 6'2 inch frame and get some pro experience. Often played against the other team's top players and provided excellent secondary scoring. A solid natural winger. Something the Penguins dearly need.

21. DET - Jonathan Merrill D, Under 18- USHL
-Other team's needs and situations see this versatile defender fall to 21. Many guides have him going between 10-15. Great hockey sense and poise with the puck and over 6'3 has the size to match up against power forwards. Lidstrom can't play forever, time to reload. An absolute steal at 21, but it's the Wings, what else is new?

22. PHO - Jarred Tinordi D, Under 18- USHL
-The son of Mark is a chip off the old block. Bigger than dad at 6'5 and just as mean. Has the potential to be a prototypical shutdown blueliner for years to come. Will compliment last year's first rounder Ekman-Larsson as both with grow together with the solid group of young forwards.

23. BUF - Mark Pysyk D, Edmonton- WHL
-Compares to Fowler in skating ability, but has played on some bad teams in Edmonton. Considered to have great hockey sense and huge potential. The knock is many scouts see him as soft, which is why he's available at 23. Could look good in a couple years with Tyler Myers.

24. ATL - Riley Sheahan C, Notre Dame- CCHA
-Great playmaker with very good hockey sense but falls to 24 because of recent public intoxication charge. Don't read into that. "Young teenager has few beers and makes an ass of himself". Hands up if you think that's unique? Give the kid a break. The Thrashers will, and are thrilled to get him here.

25. VCR - Evgeny Kuznetsov C, Chelyabinsk- KHL
-If not for the "Russian Factor" this highly skilled centre is long gone by now. There are rumblings that he he'll play in the CHL next season which could see him climb. If he's available here, the Canucks just can't pass on this skilled centre that could join Henrik Sedin and Kesler down the middle in a couple years.

26. WSH - Kirill Kabanov W, Moncton- QMJHL
-Once thought of as one of the most elite prospects in this draft, but what a horrible year for his reputation. After leaving Moncton mid season due to internal altercations he was then kicked off the Russian U-18 team. He said all the right things and had answers for everything during an engaging scrum at the combine. If there is one team that can make the Russian feel comfortable, it's Washington. If this works out, the rich just got richer.

27. MTL - Tyler Pitlick C, Mankato- WCHA
-As safe a pick that there is at this point. The nephew of former Sens D-man Lance Pitlick is more skilled than his uncle and has the potential to be a solid 2nd line power centre. One of those prospects that doesn't do anything great but everything very well.

28. SJS - Tyler Toffoli W, Ottawa- OHL
-Well, the Sharks are on the clock with an Ottawa 67 rated in the vicinity of their pick. That means Tyler is wearing teal. This dangerous goal scorer has seen his stock rise to the point where he's a 1st round pick.

29. ANA - Beau Bennett W, Penticton- BCHL
-The Kings took one California kid in the 1st round, the Ducks grab the other. All Bennett did was lead the BCHL in scoring as a 17 year old rookie. Some question his conditioning but the same can be said for many prospects. Very high ceiling. Worth the gamble here.

30. CHI - John MacFarland C, Sudbury- OHL
-Scouts have soured on this former 1st overall OHL pick due to a perceived lack of desire. "All the tools, not toolbox". The Stanley Cup champs can afford to take the risk and hope for a home run with this extremely talented centre that wowed many with his testing at the combine.

Honourable mentions:

Jaden Schwartz C, Tri-City- USHL
-83 points in 60 games this season. Could be a late bloomer just scratching the surface.

Teemu Pulkkinen W, Jokerit- FinE
-Playing with Granlund as his centre he led the U-18's in scoring.

Stanislav Galiev C/W, Saint John- QMJHL
-Obligatory Russian factor comment, but Galiev is already in North America after a solid season with Saint John.

Brock Nelson C, Warroad- MN-HS
-Always tough to judge American high schoolers, but this 6'2 200 lb centre has people wondering where the ceiling will be.

Ludvig Rensfeldt LW, Brynas- SJ18A
-Very competitive Swede has the skill and hockey sense to excel at both ends of the ice. Isn't shy about using his 6'3 inch frame to his advantage.

Brad Ross W, Portland- WHL
-Every guide pretty much says the same thing. Decent skill, but his real edge comes with his ability to get under the skin of the opponent. A classic agitator that can also play.

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Welcome to my Healthy Scratches blog. You can hear Jason York and myself weekdays from 3-6 on Team 1200. I use this blog to expand upon some of the things we talk about on the show, and anything else that really pops into my ample head.
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