Wednesday, June 21, 2006

NHL Draft Preview Part I

I've got the first 14 picks of my Mock NHL Draft ready, so I figured I'd post them. I'll post the remaining 16 picks sometime later this week, although that will probably be a complete crapshoot.

1. St Louis Blues- Erik Johnson, Defenseman, USA NTDP U18

Comment: The Blues could also use a talented scoring forward, but they need so much help right now that they have to take the best available player.

2. Pittsburgh Penguins- Jordan Staal, Forward, Peterborough(OHL)

Comment: The Staal's are like the Canadian version of the Kennedys. After seeing the way Eric has developed, and his impressive fitness tests, I think Jordan goes a little higher than most people think. If Johnson doesn't go first, he'll definitely be picked here.

3. Chicago Blackhawks- Jonathan Toews, Forward, North Dakota

Comment: Toews is a very good all-around player and should be a good NHLer for a very long time. Chicago has said that they want to sign their pick right away, so this is bad news for North Dakota fans.

4. Washington Capitals- Phil Kessel, Forward, Minnesota

Comment: The Caps want an elite offensive talent to play alongside of Alexander Ovechkin.

5. Boston Bruins- Nicklas Backstrom, Forward, Brynas(Sweden)

Comment: The Bruins would probably like to pick a defenseman, but there's no defenseman available worth picking this high. They may try to trade down. Backstrom would an incredible value for a 5th pick though.

6. Columbus Blue Jackets-Peter Mueller, Forward, Everett(WHL)

Comment: There seems to be a bit of a gap between the top 5 players, and the next group of 5 players, but Mueller seems to be considered the best of that next group.

7. New York Islanders-Derick Brassard, Forward, Drummondville(QMJHL)

Comment: The Islanders need scoring help, and Brassard should be able to help with that.

8. Phoenix Coyotes- Michael Frolik, Forward, Kladno(Czech Republic)

Comment: Frolik's stock has dropped a lot this year, but the Coyotes need a high-scoring forward, and while I don't think Frolik is a sure thing, he's got that potential.

9. Minnesota Wild-Jiri Tlusty, Forward, Kladno(Czech Republic)

Comment: The Wild could pick local kid Kyle Okposo, but they'll probably be more interested in picking the best two-way player available. There's also the possibility of the Wild trying to move up to take one of the top forwards, but I don't think they'll make the deal.

10. Florida Panthers- Nigel Williams, Defenseman, USA NTDP U18

Comment: Mike Keenan will be looking to add a defenseman, and while Williams might be a bit of a stretch this early, he has a better physical upside than Bobby Sanguinetti or Chris Summers.

11. Los Angeles Kings- Jonathan Bernier, Goalie, Lewiston(QMJHL)

Comment: Matt Zaba is rated as the best goalie in the Kings system. That's not good. They could also use a defenseman, but will decide to take the best goalie in the draft instead.

12. Atlanta Thrashers- James Sheppard, Forward, Cape Breton(QMJHL)

Comment: Atlanta could use a skilled center, and Sheppard could easily be a top 6 or 7 pick.

13. Toronto Maple Leafs- Kyle Okposo, Forward, Des Moines(USHL)

Comment: The three things Hockey's Future feels the Leafs need: 1. A goal scorer to play with their finishers. 2. Young guys to play on the wings 3. A player with speed and toughness. That describes Okposo perfectly.

14. Vancouver Canucks- Bryan Little, Forward, Barrie(OHL)

Comment: Little has the potential to go much earlier in the draft, but with the number of quality forwards available, I'm guessing he gets shuffled to the bottom.


Anonymous said...

Okposo to the wild at 9. Bernier wont go that high either.

Anonymous said...

there is a rumor that Carolina will trade up to #2 and take Jordan. I have heard they would part with Jack Johnson to move up.

Anonymous said...

That'd be a big mistake, IMO. But for the Penguins it'd be a good deal...they need Dmen awfully bad.

Brad said...

If the Carolina rumor doesn't happen (which would be very bad news for Michigan fans since I think Jack would be very tempted to leave and play with his good friend Crosby), I don't think the Penguins take Staal. He's another center and with Malkin coming over from Russia next year the Pens are loaded down the middle.

I think the Pens are more likely to take Kessel, since I think (along with others) that he projects as a winger in the NHL and would be ideal to finish off Crosby's passes. Washington desperately needs a true center to play with Ovechkin and I think it's more likely Staal goes there.