Monday, June 22, 2009

NHL Mock Draft Part 1

So the NHL draft is this Friday at 7pm EST. I will be doing a running diary throughout the first round and in order to get ready for the event I have decided to do a mock draft where I will make my predictions for each pick.

Now I won't see hit here and try and give you some BS about how I know everything about these guys because in all honesty I don't watch a lot of amateur hockey but I have done my research and consulted with my NHL and OHL Insider Stevie P and of course Bryan "the Hermit" Cruse. Both guys follow hockey closely and have intimate knowledge of the players projected to go in the 1st round.

Here are picks 1-10

#1 New York Islanders - John Tavares 6-0 198 POS: C Team: London (OHL)

Tavres is pretty much the consensus number 1 pick. He has been breaking records since he was 16 and is being hyped as the nest Sidney Crosby. He has the ability to put up massive numbers, showcased by his 3 consecutive seasons in the OHL with at least 104 points. He has crazy marketability and is the kind of player the Islanders could rebuild their franchise around. He is by far the best offensive player in the draft and one of the most NHL ready.

#2 Tampa Bay Lightning - Victor Hedman 6-5 212 POS: D Team: Mode (Swe)

I guess it is fair to say that lightning strikes twice as two years in a row now the Tampa Bay Lightning will be getting a legitimate #1 overall pick. Hedman is a great defenseman who will be a franchise player in TBay and will help the team immediately. Tampa needs defense and Hedman will help them sure up that weakness. His immense size makes him a defensive presence but it is his speed and skating that truly make him a threat. A combination like this hasn''t been since in a long time.

#3 Colorado Avalanche - Matt Duchene 5-11 190 POS: C Team: Brampton (OHL)

In Duchene Colorado gets a possible replacement for Joe Sakic who is on his way out. Duchene is the definition of a complete player and there are even some scouts who believe he may go #1. He has the ability dominate a game and his play making ability is tops in the draft bar none. Adding to this impressive resume is Duchene's ability to kill penalties. He is going to be a great NHL player and is a steal at #3.

#4 Altanta Thrashers - Evander Kane 6-1 176 POS: C Team: Vancouver (WHL)

Kane is a true power forward who knows how to put the puck in the net. He made team Canada this year for the WJC at 18 years old and was impressive. What is even more impressive are his 48 goals in the WHL which is no easy feat. He has a big frame and isn't afraid to use it and is a great two way player. Atlanta will need to get a center man to compliment Ilya Kovalchuk and try and convince him to stay with the team rather than demanding to be traded.

#5 LA Kings - Brayden Schenn 6-0 198 POS: C Team: Brandon (WHL)

This is where the draft will get interesting. The Kings are loaded with young talent and are actively shopping this pick around the league. The two most interested teams seem to be Ottawa and Toronto. If Toronto moves up it will be to unite Brayden with his brother Luke. If Ottawa moves up Dany Heatley will most likely be involved in the deal as he has asked for a trade.

Whoever gets the pick Schenn is likely the choice and is a solid one at that. He gives it 100% every night and has already been declared the next Mike Richards. In the words of Bryan Cruse he is a "massive beauty." He has great hands which he uses to not only score 30+ goals but also to rack up the assists.

#6 Phoenix Coyotes - Dmitiri Kulikov 6-1 183 POS: D Team: Drummondville (QMJHL)

Kulikov is the best defenseman in the draft not named Hedman. He can do it all and is a very solid player at both ends of the ice. Phoenix will take a defenseman here and out of Kulikov, Cowen, and Larson scouts believe Kulikov is the most NHL ready. He is a smart player knowing when to join the rush and when to hang back and he has a decent shot as well.

#7 Toronto Maple Leafs - Jared Cowen 6-5 220 POS: D Team: Spokane (WHL)

Lots of questions about Cowen coming into the draft as he is coming off of major knee surgery. If not for the surgery he would be a top 3 pick making him a possible steal at 7. He is a very offensive minded defenseman and faces criticism for not using his size as much as he should but he is still a solid player. He will make a great defense pairing with Luke Schenn provided the Leafs don't move up and take Brayden Schenn.

#8 Dallas Stars - Oliver Ekman-Larsson 6-2 176 POS: D Team: Leksand (Swe)

The Stars are desperately in need of some new blood on defense with the loss of Phillipe Boucher and the aging of Sergi Zubov. Larsson would be a welcomed addition as he is a big hitter and a great skater. His shot is comparable to that of pro level players and TSN has his playing style to be in the likeness of Scott Neidermayer. He has been criticized for taking too long to get his shot off but other than that he is solid.

#9 Ottawa Senators - Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson 6-1 201 POS: LW Team: Timra (Swe)

MPS could be the possible replacement of Dany Heatley if he gets his wish and gets traded. He has speed and size for days and will have instant chemistry with fellow countryman, and last years 1st round pick by the Senators, Erik Karlsson. Top 10 wingers are rare now a days and Ottawa would be foolish to pass up such a great talent.

#10 Edmonton Oilers - Ryan Ellis 5-9 173 POS: D Team Windsor (OHL)

Ellis is a bit of a wild card and could go anywhere from 10th to 24th. Edmonton could use a defenseman to quarterback the powerplay as Lubomir Visnovsky is not really working out. Ellis is young but has great talent and is a serious offensive threat on the powerplay. His best skill however is his ability to keep the puck in the zone. During the WJC he made several plays that made my jaw drop including an unreal stop of a shot with his foot in the air.


Look for part 2 tomorrow where I cover picks 11-20. Thanks again to Stevie P and Bryan "the Hermit" Cruse for their input and help. Also remember that the running diary will start around 6:45 EST on Friday just 15 minutes before the draft.

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