My Mock Draft
It's been a long while since I did one of these:
Updated: 6/22/06 at 1pm
1. St. Louis: D Erik Johnson, USNTDP (US)
I have no doubt St. Louis will field quite a few attractive offers for this pick, but in the end equation they'll do what the Lightning did in '98 and make the no brainer pick to begin the rebuilding process.
2. Pittsburgh: C Jonathan Toews, North Dakota (WCHA)
The Pens need a defenseman, but Johnson was the only worthy option in the top 5-10 picks. Instead they opt for Toews, a Rod Brind'Amour type two-way center who gives Pittsburgh an another dimension on top of the speed and flash of Crosby and Malkin.
3. Chicago: C Nicklas Backstrom, Brynas (SWE)
Kessel might be an option here, but there is allegedly a beef between 'Hawks prospect Jack Skille and his family and the Kessel clan. Instead, Chicago selects Nicklas Backman, a dynamic center who has heart and soul type leadership ability.
4. Washington: C Derick Brassard, Drummondville (QMJHL)
The Caps grab the best playmaker in the draft with a view towards putting him on Ovechkin's line down the road.
5. Boston: C Phil Kessel, Minnesota (WCHA)
Boston gets an early Christmas present with Kessel, the most dangerous and skilled one on one player in this draft.
6. Columbus: C Jordan Staal, Peterborough (OHL)
Columbus gets a battle tank of a center to some day station on a big line with Rick Nash. Look out.
7. New York (I): LW Jiri Tlusty, Kladno (CZE)
Neil Smith hearts Europeans, and with no Russian rated in the top ten he decides to settle on top Czech Tlusty.
8. Phoenix Coyotes: Kyle Okposo, Des Moines (USHL)
Phoenix hasn't been shy about going the US juniors/high school route before. See: Wheeler, Blake. This year they go for the Iginla-esque Okposo.
9. Minnesota: C Peter Mueller, Everett (WHL)
The Wild are enticed by high schooler Mike Forney, but simply can't pass on the gift of big, physical, talented center Peter Mueller.
10. Florida: C James Sheppard, Cape Breton (QMJHL)
Things that are for certain: the Panthers will trade Roberto Luongo and PantherNation will revolt when Mike Keenan chooses Sheppard's character over Michael Frolik's flash.
11. Los Angeles: C Bryan Little, Barrie (OHL)
The Kings think about Frolik, but no new GM is going to gamble with his first ever draft pick. Little is arguably the second best playmaker in this draft.
12. Atlanta: D Bobby Sanguinetti, Owen Sound (OHL)
The Thrashers have plenty of skill, a young goaltender and a deep well of big defenseman prospects. They don't have a dynamic puckmoving power play quarterback, however, until they grab Sanguinetti.
13. Toronto: LW Michael Frolik, Kladno (CZE)
A perfect way to begin rebuilding. Frolik is one of the best pure talents in the draft and Toronto rolls the dice.
14. Vancouver: RW Igor Makarov, Krylja (RUS)
TSN.ca has the wrong Russian. Makorov's got the skills, the skating and the blood lines and the Canucks system desperately needs forwards.
15. Tampa Bay: LW Mike Forney, Thief River (USHS)
He's going to North Dakota, and that's a good enough seal of approval for the Lightning to roll the dice on this talented high school sniper.
16. Montreal: D Chris Summers, USNTDP (US)
Floodgates! With most of the forwards off the board, Montreal starts the run on defensemen with talented two-way defender Summers.
17. Minnesota (via Edmonton): D Nigel Williams, USNTDP (US)
The Wild take on a project in big, fleet skating Williams.
18. Colorado: D Mark Mitera, Michigan (CCHA)
The Avs have seen plenty of Mitera who plays with Avs prospect TJ Hensick.
19. Anaheim: D Ty Wishart, Prince George (WHL)
Wishart is maybe the best stay-at-home defenseman in this draft, but his slow feet drop him to 19 where the Ducks are happy to have him.
20. San Jose: RW Michael Grabner, Spokane (WHL)
Speed. San Jose's game is based on it and Grabner's got it. Plus, Austria is right next to Germany, and we know how the Sharks love Central European winters.
21. New York (R): D Joey Ryan, Quebec (QMJHL)
The Rangers get some toughness along their backline with bruising American born defenseman Joey Ryan.
22. Philadelphia: G Riku Helenius, Ilves (FIN)
The two top goalies in the draft jump off the board at 21 and 22. Philadelphia has had some modest success with fellow Finn Antero Nittymaki.
23. Washington (via Nashville): C Artem Ansimov, Yaroslavl (RUS)
If Brassard doesn't work out with Ovechkin, the talented Ansimov might. The Caps find value at 23 snapping up one of the undervalued Russians.
24. Buffalo: D Yuri Alexandrov, Cherepovets (RUS)
Buffalo follows the Caps lead and takes undervalued 2-way defenseman Yuri Alexandrov out of Russia.
25. New Jersey: G Jonathan Bernier, Lewiston (QMJHL)
At some point they'll face life without Brodeur, so they grab talented Quebecois netminder Bernier.
26. Calgary: RW Chris Stewart, Kingston (OHL)
Stewart's free fall traces directly to his poor performance on the weights at the combine, but Sutter likes hard workers and on the ice Stewart definitely fits that bill.
27. Dallas: RW Jan-Michael Juutilainen, Jokerit Jr. (FIN Jr.)
Team Finland, er, the Stars take Nebraska-Omaha recruit Juutilainen, the new hero of corn country.
28. Ottawa: C Ben Maxwell, Kootenay (WHL)
Ottawa gets a potential steal in Maxwell if they can prod him to show more character.
29. C Patrik Berglund, Vasteras (SWE2)
Detroit likes their Swedes, so they take big, smooth forward Patrik Berglund.
30. St. Louis (via Carolina): C Ondrej Fiala, Everett (WHL)
St. Louis waits til their 30th pick to get some forward help with solid but perhaps injury prone two-way center Fiala.