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Sports Forecaster Mock Draft

I've decided to link this one since it is one of the very few mock drafts that has a solid rationale behind it rather than knee jerking for a goaltender. [url=http://www.forecaster.ca/tbo/hockey/extras.cgi?2006-nhl-draft-mock]Canada's Sports Forecaster service has the Lightning selecting Cape Breton power forward James Sheppard[/url] with the #15 pick. Red Line has compared the left winger to a young Kirk Muller.

Lightning to Acquire Denis and Move Up??

The Columbus Dispatch [url=http://www.dispatch.com/bluejackets/bluejackets.php?story=dispatch/2006/06/23/20060623-F6-04.html]is reporting two rumors surrounding the Tampa Bay Lightning and Columbus goaltender Marc Denis.[/url] The first scenario, which appears bogus, has the Lightning moving Ruslan Fedotenko, John Grahame and a 2nd round pick for Denis. Grahame, of course, is an unrestricted free agent and the Lightning don't have a 2nd round pick in this draft making the deal impossible. The second rumor involves the Lightning moving the #15 pick and Fredrik Modin to Columbus for Denis and the #6 pick where, presumably, the Lightning would have many quality centers like Derick Brassard to choose from.

My Mock Draft

It's been a long while since I did one of these:

Trib: Lightning Leaning Towards Center Help

Erik Erlendsson [url=http://www.tbo.com/sports/lightning/MGB90574POE.html]previews the Lightning's draft philosophy a bit in tomorrow's Trib.[/url] In many ways echoing Bolt Prospects' own analysis of the Lightning system, Feaster confirms the team feels safe switching their concerns from any specific positional need to taking the best player available. Goaltender, apparently, is not a priority for the team as Feaster cites [url=gerald-coleman]Gerald Coleman[/url], [url=jonathan-boutin]Jonathan Boutin[/url], [url=karri-ramo]Karri Ramo[/url] and [url=vasily-koshechkin]Vasily Koshechkin[/url] are already in the fold. Instead, Erlendsson hints the team is styill looking for skill up front, particularly at the center position. Bolt Prospects lists scoring line center and offensive defenseman as the Lightning's two primary needs in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. Most intriguingly in the article, Feaster puts a trade [i]up[/i] on the table as well as a trade down to pick up additional draft choices. A move up would allow the Lightning to dip into the very deep pool of centers available in the first 10-12 picks of this draft. A move down would allow the Lightning to take an offensive defenseman prospect without potentially reaching at 15.

TSN's Tip: Tampa Will Go Off The Board For Goalie

TSN released its mock draft today, and again, Tampa is falsely accused of having a shallow pool of goaltenders to develop. TSN not only has Tampa taking a goalie at 15, but going off the board to take the Everett Silvertip's Leland Irving ahead of Jonathan Bernier and Riku Helenius as the draft's first goalie. Irving, who is not an ideal Jeff Reese goaltender in size at 6-0, had a terrific playoff run for the 'Tips and has good numbers (1.91 GAA, .925 sv%), but was rated the No.3 North American goalie by ISS and the No.37 prospect overall by The Hockey News. TSN cites Irving's rising stock as a reason he'll make the jump up to 15.
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