Some sites are starting their coverage of the 2007 NHL Draft, and while most of this stuff is still wildly inaccurate, it's fun to take a look at how some people think the top of the draft will shake out.
We'll start with Kyle Woodlief's Redline Report. Woodlief says Angelo Esposito(formerly of Shattuck-St. Mary's) is the clear cut number one pick. It really sounds like Ontario's Logan Couture could make a serious run at the number one pick though. He has Boston College recruit Nick Petrecki going second overall. Petrecki has a lot of talent, but he did not play well last year for Omaha in the USHL, and he could really drop down if he struggles again. When all is said and done, I think at least two other defenseman will get drafted before him.
Woodlief also has Minnesota recruit Mike Hoeffel in his top ten at number 5. I've said Hoeffel is a first round talent for about a year now, but 5th overall seemed a little high to me. Woodlief has a reputation for sometimes putting wildcards way to high in his rankings. Then again, if Hoeffel has a big year with the U18 team, he could get drafted that high.
The other college hockey player mentioned was Minnesota goalie Kent Patterson, who recently decided to leave Blake as a junior to play in the USHL this season. Woodlief calls Patterson the front-runner in a very weak goalie class. I'll agree that this is a weak goalie class, but what about guys like Jeremy Smith, who carried the US at the U18s this summer, or Bryan Hogan, who performed very well in the USHL last season? I still really like what I've seen out of Patterson the few times I've watched him play.
I also saw ISS's top 15 for the NHL Draft.(courtesy GPL) They have Couture at number one over Esposito already, and Petrecki 6th overall behind defenseman Mark Katic at 5. I'll be surprised if Katic isn't the top defenseman taken next year. Sam Gagner, who backed out of attending Wisconsin is at 12, and two players that are going to college round out the top 15, with James van Riemsdyk at 14 and Minnesota recruit Jim O'Brien at 15. Their list also highlights the fact that it's a banner year for the WHL, as one third of the players on their list are from the WHL.