The FanSided NHL network held a mock draft by all of our writers. As the Director of the NHL side of things I want to thank Bobby Zijiac from SenShot for all his hard work in putting this together, and all of our talented writers that contributed. Bobby’s write up will be at our NHL main page, Too Many Men On The Site.
I of course representing the Florida Panthers , had the third overall pick and decided to go against the obvious and went for offence. My choice was Ryan Johansen who is a gifted centerman out of the Western Hockey League, playing for the Portland Winter Hawks (no relation to Chicago). My reason in picking him was the Panther’s are desperate for help at center and for offence. Taking another defenceman, even if he’s the best player available just made my skin crawl. Obviously with Florida now trading Nathan Horton for defenceman Dennis Wideman, maybe things will look different come Friday and offence will be the choice. Provided they still have the pick at number three.
Ryan is big at 6′-2″ and plays extremely well at both ends of the ice. He’s climbed up the rankings from 12th to 6th in the Central Scouting reports. He’s younger than most of the picks available, yet his play is that of someone older. Whether he could help the Panthers this year is unknown, but he’s certainly a commodity that’s hard to find. A right handed shooting center is very rare thing.
I also had the responsibility for choosing the pick for the Atlanta Thrashers who currently are looking for a lead blogger (is that you? If so contact me), and I chose big defenceman Dylan McIlrath also from the Western Hockey League. Dylan has been playing for the Moose Jaw Warriors, and is 6′-4″ and 212 lbs and could be the next Dion Phanuef.
Here’s how our picks went.
|Pick||Team||Player Selected||Player’s Position||Player’s Junior Team||Analysis|
|1.||Taylor Hall||Left Wing||Windsor Spitfires (OHL)||Forget the raging debate over whether Hall or Tyler Seguin, the prototypical playmaking centre from the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers, is the better No. 1 pick. Watch Hall just once and he removes all doubts. This guy is absolutely electric. His speed is other-wordly; when he’s skating with the puck, he seems to be travelling through a different dimension. NHL fans are going to worship him; NHL defencemen are going to be terrified of him. Add to that a flare for scoring – especially in big games – and the fact he’s led his junior team to back-to-back Memorial Cup championships, and you have the kind of complete package that GMs can spend an entire career searching for…|
|2.||(From Toronto)||Tyler Seguin||Center||Plymouth Whalers (OHL)|| |
The second pick is probably the easiest pick to make in this year’s draft. There is all the talk about Taylor or Tyler, and we were really in the fortunate position to sit back and see which one comes to us. You can’t go wrong either way, but I feel as though we got a tremondous player in Seguin. He plays both ways, and is a fantastic playmaker. Although we already have some great playmakers on the team, Seguin is a unique talent in that he can also put the puck in the net at a solid clip. Essentially, he makes everyone around him better…
|3.||Ryan Johansen ||Center||Portland Winterhawks (WHL)||The Panthers are weak at center and Johansen can help solve that problem. He’s been compared to Eric Staal and for the Panthers,that’s a very good thing…|
|4.||Cam Fowler ||Defenseman||Windsor Spitfires (OHL)||Thrilled to have him drop (ever so slightly) to #4, Fowler has proven himself a winner; not only has he been a member of Team USA when they upset Canada at the World Junior Championships, but he’s also a central figure on the Memorial Cup winning Windsor Spitfires. He’s got some offensive skills as his 55 points in 55 games illustrates, but remains defensively responsible (+38 in the regular season)…|
|5.||Erik Gudbranson||Defenseman||Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)||Erik Gudbranson – A 6 foot 3 – 201 pound defensemen from Kingston in the OHL, is the type of physical specimen that should be a mainstay for any team. Strength and power, with a touch of finess, Erik can be a Chris Pronger like player for the Islanders, who would welcome him to the fold…|
|6.||Brandon Gormley ||Defenseman||Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL)||While taking another D-man might seem like overkill after drafting Victor Hedman in 2009, the Bolts can not pass up the chance to add Gormley. He has the ability to be a true two way player from the blueline, with the ability to score points along with his high level defensive skills…|
|7.||Brett Connolly ||Left Wing||Prince George Cougars (WHL)||Connolly could be the future winger to play beside Eric Staal. He’s a big strong forward who is hard to knock off the puck. With all the defensman already taken he’s the best avaliable…|
|8.||Nino Niederrieter ||Left Wing||Portland Winterhawks (WHL)||Atlanta needs scoring after Ilya Kovalchuk was traded away and Nino can provide that, as he has all the tools you want. El Nino as he is called could be the perfect answer to making the Thrashers a playoff contender…|
|9.||Kirill Kabanov||Left Wing||Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL)||This pick could turn out to be a stroke of genius or a total disaster. Kabanov, skill-wise, is right up there with Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin – he’s lanky, a terrific skater, dazzling with the puck. But he’s tanked on most team’s draft board because of series of horrible decisions he made this season that saw him abandon his junior team to play for Russia’s Under-18 World Championships team, only to then get dumped by the Russian squad and discover he wasn’t so much welcome back in Moncton anymore. He’s been labelled such a severe head case that a lot of people are talking late-second-round, or worse, for him. (If this were real life rather than mock draft, I’d actually trade down and hope to find him still available at the end of the first round or even early second.) If you take the kid at his word, he’s just a 17-year-old who got bad advice, became a political football, and has learned his lesson – and he’s absolutely committed to playing in North America. I’m gonna take him at his word, and hope I just made the steal of the draft…|
|10.||Quinton Howden||Left Wing||Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)||He’s a reach here, but the Rangers desperately need wingers, especially with size. Plus, I get to say “Moose Jaw” for the next 10 years…|
|11.||Derek Forbort ||Defenseman||United States National Development Program||He has the size and good movement for a big defender, something the Stars need both now and in the coming years. He is showing the ability to not only be a force in the defensive end, but also contribute with the offense.td>|
|12.||Mathieu Corbeil-Theriault||Goalie||Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)||Perhaps Frank stealing my draft pick was a blessing in disguise. Introducing Mathieu Corbeil – the 6’5” (or 6’6” or 6’7” depending on the website you visit) goaltender from the Halifax Mooseheads! A kid who has been underutilized over the course of the entire season and completely ready to grind it out and prove himself. In every comment I’ve read about Corby (yes, I’ve already given him a nickname), the observers have said they can’t believe how a kid that is this big can move so fast. He’s definitely channeling Jiggy with his ability to fill up the net and take away the corners. Is he butterfly, stand-up or flop-tastic? Only time will tell. td>|
|13.||(From Calgary)||Nick Bjugstad||Center/Right Wing||Blaine High School||Bjugstad is a year ahead of his peers, having accelerated his education so he could start at the University of Minnesota a year early. Minnesota’s Mr. Hockey probably will be a wing in college and the pros as he is a good but not elite skater. So rather than being a slow centre he will probably be one of the better skating wingers. At 6’5″, Bjugstad has a great frame that should fill out, allowing him to score some more garbage goals, but his main asset as a player is his rocket of a shot, which is one of the best in the entire draft.td>|
|14.||Jeff Skinner||Center||Kitchener Rangers (OHL)||An elite goal-scoring forward remains the Blues biggest need. They have spent many of their past 1st round draft picks on defensemen as they have picked Erik Johnson, Alex Pietrangelo, Ian Cole, and David Rundblad all in the first round since 2006. They also have a #1 goalie in the system in Jake Allen. This year they struggled to score goals so now the need is a scoring threat to help them out in the future. And Skinner is a very good threat. He has lit up the OHL as he scored 90 pts. in 60 games this year. He’s a great center and is a projected top-10 pick by many so this would be a steal at #14 overall.td>|
|15.||Vladimir Tarasenko ||Right Wing||Novosibirsk||Most mock drafts have the Bruins going with a defenseman with their second pick of the first round. While that would make sense, since their first selection is going to be a forward, I elected to go with another forward and pick based on potential. Tarasenko is a good skater with great acceleration. His quick hands and ability to score goals would make him an asset to the offensively-challenged Bruins. After all, Seguin is going to need guys to distribute the puck too, and a Seguin-Tarasenko first round for the B’s gives them offensive fire power that they currently lack.td>|
|16.||Emerson Etem||Center||Medicine Hat Tigers||Although I’m tempted with Jack Campbell and Mikael Granlund, the Senators need a pure scorer here, and Emerson Etem is that guy. Etem has a knack for the net and smooth skating abilities, but you can’t let this guy open. He should play with the U.S. in the World Juniors this coming December, and in the long run the best player Ottawa can take here.|
|17.||Jack Campbell||Goalie||United States National Development Program||The Colorado Avalanche believe that Campbell is the best goalie in the draft. Choosing a goaltender in the 1st round is always risky, but the Avs feel it’s worth it to shore up their most glaring organizational weakness with Campbell, a big-game goalie with a preternatural ability to win gold medals.|
|18.||Austin Watson ||Right Wing||Peterbrough Petes (OHL)||Though this draft is fairly deep defensively, Nashville really needs to build the wings, especially with Sullivan and Arnott entering final year of contract.|
|19.||Mikael Granlund ||Center||HIFK (FEL)||The Kings need some offensive punch, and while they might be more tempted to go with a larger (North American?) body, if Granlund slips this far, they’ll almost have to snap him up. Lacking a bonafide scorer, Granlund could provide some additional goals while contributing some good old fashioned heart to the team.|
|Left Wing||Sudbury Wolves (OHL)||The Penguins try to address their most-pressing need – a scoring winger who can play on one of the top two lines. John McFarland, a former first overall pick in the OHL draft, is the best available at #20. He’s scored 41 goals in two seasons with Sudbury, and he’s represented Canada in the last two Under-18 World Championships. A good skater with a hard wrist shot, McFarland is also a solid two-way player who can kill penalties.|
Detroit Red Wings
|Right Wing||Traktor Chelyabinsk (KHL)||I picked him because he’s a 172 lb forward that should add some grit to the 3rd or 4th line. He’s also Russian so should feel at home next to Datsyuk.|
|22.||Riley Sheahan ||Center||Notre Dame (CCHA)||Sheahan didn’t have the greatest debut at Notre Dame and there are some off-ice issues as he was recently arrested, but he has the potential to be a great two way centre. Offensively his ceiling isn’t terribly high but he has Selke potential defensively. Grabbing a Jordan Staal or Ryan Kesler at 22 suits us just fine.|
|23.||Alexander Burmistrov ||Center||Barrie Colts (OHL)||We made this selection because of the Sabres need for some depth at the center position, and his matching the build of the team, at 5 11, he is smallish, and needs to bulk up to play in the NHL successfully, but he is already being compared to the likes of Igor Larianov and Pavel Datsyuk, which is the caliber of player the Sabres are looking for. Very skilled with the puck, scouting reports have compared him to a water spider while skating, and a viper when attacking. Agility and deadly accurate. Hands down why he will work out well in the Sabres organization.|
|24.||(From New Jersey)||Dylan McIlrath||Defenseman||Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)||Dylan and Zach Bogosian on the same D pairing would make a hell of a backline for years to come. Plus any kid this big that comes from the WHL has to be good. Could be the next Dion Phanuef!|
|25.||Mark Pysyk ||Defenseman||Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)||With the barrage of injuries their defense corps has faced over the last couple of seasons, the Canucks need to have more defenders in the system, especially ones with a penchant for a physical style of defense.|
|26.||Tyler Pitlick||Center||Minnesota State (WCHA)||Capitals would like to add some depth up the middle, and Pitlick has decent size, is defensively responsible, and would be a good leadership addition to the team for the future.|
|27.||Brock Nelson||Center||Warroad High School||Although Montreal’s magical run was inspiring, there were things Montreal could have done better, including having a big body presence. Brock Nelson is the big man from Warroad who not only has a big frame, but also has some skill in those hands of his. Nelson should be able to provide grit for a team lacking a lot of it.|
|28.||Jon Merril ||Defenseman||United States National Development Program||Rob Blake is set to hang up his skates and the Sharks will need a future defenseman with some offensive skills. Merrill is already big at 6″3 200lbs and can only get bigger, so he can also a physical force that the Sharks can mold for the next few years until he is NHL ready.|
|29.||(From Philadelphia)||Petr Straka ||Right Wing||Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL)||Positives: Great, heads-up skater, always aware of everything around him, appears bigger and more menacing than he actually is which distracts the opposition and at times they forget he actually is a very good sniper. Also a chatterbox and has the potential of being a pretty good Pest. Negatives: Hesitancy. Still occasionally plays as if he feels like he hasn’t quite made it to the NHL level yet. He definately needs to ramp up his intensity if he’s going to make it.Watch the youtube video of him against Halifax when he scores on my goaltender pick!|
|30.||Tyler Toffoli ||Center||Ottawa 67′s (OHL)||He’s not very big, but he can get a shot off in a hurry and has a great amount of skill. I saw him play on NHL Network, and I’m actually surprised he lasted this long. However, he’s not very defensive-minded, so this is a total offensive pick who will be hitting the NHL in the middle of Toews’ and Kane’s contracts. He’ll be a good third-line spark plug — much like a Kris Versteeg.|
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