2009 NHL Mock Draft
As the NHL Draft quickly comes upon us, I have put together a mock draft of what fans can expect when the picks are made. Know this though, there will be trades of picks and some selections that will make you scratch your head but here is my best guess.
#1 – New York Islanders – Victor Hedman – D – This may come as a shock to some but the Islanders can’t miss with this pick as they try to rebuild. Tavares has more questions to him than does Hedman. Hedman will be able to step right in and help anchor their defensive corp that needs help. A smart franchise builds their team from the goaltender out. With DiPietro in net, they have to start building a solid defense in front of him so they can quit picking in the lottery every year.
#2 – Tampa Bay Lightning – John Tavares – C – This would be a nightmare scenerio for the Lightning as they have their heart set on Hedman. This set up would put into motion possibly a couple things. One, would be trading Vinnie LeCavalier and building their defense through a trade, most likely with Montreal. The other would be trading the pick to Toronto where they could get some defenseman (possibly Luke Schenn) and then picking up a center at #7 which could be Brayden Schenn. Trying to figure out what the Lightning will do with this ownership group is almost impossible but to the best I can figure, this would be the avenue they would go.
#3 – Colorado Avalanche – Matt Duchene – C – Joe Sakic’s replacement falls right into the Avs laps. Duchene is a do it all type of player. Skates very well, great shot with a quick release, can play the roll of playmaker, defensively sound and loves to compete. Sounds like Sakic to me.
#4 – Atlanta Thrashers – Evander Kane – C – A dinamic player that is a scorer supreme. 48 goals and 96 points in 61 games this year with the Vancouver Giants. He is a strong player that is a magician with the puck on his stick. He will get to the net and also help set up his wingers. Defense might be a better way to go for the Thrashers but they can’t let this kid slip by.
#5 – Los Angeles Kings – Magnus Svensson-Paajarvi – LW – Kings are in the enviable position of picking the best player as they are loaded with young talent. Svensson-Paajarvi is a very fast and fluid skater that has been compared to other Swedes by the names of Forsberg, Sundin and Naslund. Also have seen him compared to Hossa. Most consider him closer to Naslund as offense is first on the young Swedes mind and defense suffers because of it. The Kings will be able to correct that as you can coach defense but you can’t coach speed.
#6 – Phoenix Coyotes – Jared Cowen – D – This huge defenseman is exactly what the doctor ordered for the Yotes. The 6’5″ beast will be a shut down defenseman in the coming years but Cowen will need some seasoning. This does a couple of things for the Desert Dogs, first is getting some help on the backend where they suffer. They have a lot of offensive talent but need help on the defensive zone. The other will be saving money! Either by letting him season somewhere else next year or playing him with an entry level contract. This money straped team will to save a dime any way they can that is unless Jim Basille’s group buys it and then all bets are off.
#7 – Toronto Maple Leafs – Brayden Schenn – C – If the Leafs can’t get Tavares, this is who they want. This would pair up the Schenn brothers of Luke and Brayden but don’t think for a second that their games are similar. Luke is a shutdown defenseman and Brayden is a center that loves to score. Brayden had 32 goals and 88 points on what might have been the most dynamic line in all of juniors. The line consisted of Schenn, Scott Glennie (who also will be a 1st round choice this year) and Blue Jackets draft choice from last year Matt Calvert. Don’t be shocked if both Schenn brothers would be on the opening night lineup for the Leafs if it plays out this way.
#8 – Dallas Stars – Zack Kassian – RW – a power forward with a ton of sand paper to his game. He is not the fastest skater in this draft by far but does a lot of the other parts of the game well. He tripled his scoring out put from the year previous with 24 goals and 63 points. Some have compared him to Brenden Morrow but with his willingness to fight, he may be a slightly more skilled Jared Boll.
#9 – Ottawa Senators – Oliver Ekman-Larrson – D – The Sens already have said they are looking at a Swede defenseman that they believe is better than Hedman. Most think they are talking about Ekman-Larrson. A pure puck moving defenseman, has great hockey sense, moves the puck well, very good skater and is very poised. The problem with him is that he is very slight and has problems playing physical.
#10 – Edmonton Oilers – Dmitry Kulikov – D – If I couldn’t get Hedman, this is the guy that I would want. The top rated Russian, played this year in Drummondville and certainly helped his drafted stock. 6’1″ and 195 pounds, he has enough size to play physical when needed but he is a puck moving defenseman that loves to score. Had 62 points in 57 games this year. Very good skater that understands that he has to play both ends of the ice. This would be a great pickup for the Oilers.
#11 – Nashville Predators – Carter Ashton – RW – This might be a little early for Ashton but when you think of the Preds and Barry Trotz type of player, it’s Ashton. The kid has a motor that won’t stop and he went and proved it at the combine. On the VO2 max test at the combine, Ashton was the only player to complete the 17 minute ordeal. Ashton isn’t a all motor no skill grinder. He scored 30 goals this year with Lethbridge. That’s not to say he won’t play physical and get to the dirty areas because he will. Ashton sure sounds like a Trotz type of player to me!
#12 – Minnesota Wild – Jordan Schroeder – C – I put Schroeder here but this is a player that has a very good chance to slide a long way down. He has plenty of skill and speed but he is very small at 5’8″ and 175 pounds. The biggest part that might make him slide is how he came across to GM’s at the combine. Reports are out that he didn’t impress many scouts during the interview sessions. The reason I have Schroeder going here is that it’s a new day with the Wild with the change over and Schroeder being a Minnesota Gopher has given them more time to get to know the kid. If he isn’t picked here, watch him slide like you saw with Angelo Esposito after Montreal passed on him at 12 also and he slid to 20 when the Penguins grabbed him.
#13 – Buffalo Sabres – John Moore – D – It’s either Ellis or Moore here and the Sabres will go with possibly the best skater in the draft and also has size to help their blue line corp. At 6’2″ and 189 pounds, he can dish out the physical part but he is an offensive defenseman through and through. The way the Sabres love speed, this is the pick for them plus they like players that can score which Moore can do. He was the USHL’s defenseman of the year after he registering 14 goals and 39 points in 57 games.
#14 – Florida Panthers – Simon Despres – D – With the prospect of losing Jay Bouwmeester, Despres might be their poor man’s replacement. 6’4″ and 205 pounds, he has the frame to put on 25 more pounds and needs to put it in his upper body. He is a mobile defenseman but he will always be considered a shutdown defenseman. He likes to play physical but he is going to need a couple of years of seasoning to get him ready for the NHL.
#15 – Anaheim Ducks – Louis Leblanc – C – The Ducks like their forwards big, Leblanc is slight now at 6 foot and 178 pounds but has the frame to fill out and be another big center that the Ducks love. They also will love the way that Leblanc separates from his defenders and also the way he can control the puck.Leblanc’s scoring is also something that won’t break the Ducks’ heart as he put in 28 goals and 59 points in 60 games for the Omaha Lancers. He is also obviously smart as he is headed to Harvard to complete his seasoning. He won’t be there long if he continues to fill out and develop.
#16 – Columbus Blue Jackets – Jacob Josefson – C – The Jackets could go after the defenseman Ellis here as he has slid but the lack of center prospects in the system and Ellis’s size made me go with a center. For me it came down to 2 centers; Kreider and Josefson. For me, when you have 2 prospects that close I will take the one that has been playing against men as Josefson has played on the Djurgarden’s senior elite team versus Kreider who is playing high school hockey. On the scouting reports you hear things that make Head Coach Ken Hitchcock excited. Excellent 2 way player with very good defensive responsibilities, strong on the puck, moves his feet well and isn’t afraid to play physical. He is more of a playmaker and sees the ice well to set up his teammates.
#17 - St. Louis Blues – Ryan Ellis – D – A crazy gifted offensive defenseman as the 22 goals and 89 points for the Windsor Spitfires will attest. The big knock on Ellis is his size at 5’9″ and 173 pounds, he could struggle against bigger competition. He keeps proving his sceptics wrong though and that could continue. He has a very good right handed shot and has the ability to get it to the net from the point. His coach from the Spitfires says he already has a NHL quality one timer and slap shot. That wouldn’t disappoint the Blue at all!
#18 – Montreal Canadiens – Scott Glennie – RW – The Habs won’t be able to pass up on Glennie if he falls this far. Great skater and scorer and E.J. McGuire, from Central Scouting, says he has offensive ability similar to Jonathan Cheechoo and Jonathan Toews. He had 28 goals and 70 points in 55 regular season games, then backed it up with 18 points in 12 playoff games. Glennie is a pure scorer and loves nothing more than to tickle the twine.
#19 – New York Rangers – Nazem Kadri – C – If Kadri matures his game and physically, the Rangers could be selecting a dynamic scoring center. In the playoffs he had 21 points in 14 games. That’s how you want your players to step up and that’s when it counts the most. Kadri has good wheels and a great shot. He knows how to finish.
#20 - Calgary Flames – Chris Kreider – C – This will be a boom or bust pick. Plus your going to have to wait to find out. Kreider is only a junior in high school. He is a dominant player on that level but it’s hard to figure out how good he really is just due to the level of competition. The one thing that you do know is that he is a great skater with top level speed and exceleration. The part scouts and GM’s won’t know is how does his 33 goals and 56 points in only 26 games translate to much higher competition. The Flames with this pick will have to wait until at least 2010 to find out.
#21 – Philadelphia Flyers – Matthew Hackett – G – Flyers need to start grooming a goaltender. Hackett is where they can start. Hacket is the nephew of former NHL goaltender Jeff Hackett who is currently the goaltending coach for the Colorado Avalanche (don’t hold that against him). At 6’2″, he is a fairly big goalie with very good technique. Seems to be poised in the net and also has very good net coverage. Flyers have to start developing their own goaltending and you can’t expect a “Steve Mason” type arrivial. Most tenders take time. So there is no time like the present to get started.
#22 – Vancouver Canucks – Tim Erixon – D – Another prospect with NHL blood lines. Tim’s father was Jan Erixon who played with the Rangers for 10 seasons. The younger Erixon compares with his father as he is a defenseman that can handle the puck, lead the rush and also support it on the back side. He has brains and braun, Erixon is 6’2″ and 190 pounds and could easily add 30 pounds no problem but he uses his brains with that size also.
#23 – New Jersey Devils – David Rundblad – D – Another skilled defenseman that played with Erixon in Sweden this year. Rundblad loves to carry the puck end to end. He also has a very good shot from the point and being right handed comes in handy on the power play. He is a pretty smart player but seems to avoid physical play even though he is 6’2″ and 189 pounds. If the Devils get that part of his game worked out, they will have a pretty good 2 way defenseman.
#24 – Washington Capitals – Stefan Elliott – D – A good all around defenseman, some think that his offensive skill is underestimated and very close to being as good as Ellis. He is better though at making that good first pass out of the zone and supporting the rush versus going end to end with the puck. He can score though and had 55 points in 71 games this year. He is also considered a pretty good skater.
#25 – Boston Bruins – Landon Ferraro – C – More NHL bloodlines showing up in the first round. Landon is the son of Ray Ferraro who played for the Whalers, Islanders, Rangers, Kings, Thrashers and Blues. The “Little Ball of Hate” can score goals and did with a team with lesser talent on it with Red Deer. He had 37 goals but is best known for his defensive prowess. Even though he hasn’t played in a system that would allow him to show his scoring ability as much, he is well ahead of the curve on what has to be done defensively by centers in the NHL.
#26 – New York Islanders – Peter Holland – C – The Isle went safe with their first selection of Hedman but would be taking a big risk with Holland. His draft stock has been in free fall as he went from the #9 North American Skater mid-term with Central Scouting to #19. Now reports are out that he didn’t interview very well at the combine. Here is a quote from Chris Edwards of Central Scouting, “When he is competing, he is very noticeable and effective.” What jumped out at me was the “When he is competing…” Not the type of line that makes you want to jump and pick a player. He has all the physical skill though and could turn out to be very good but he also could turn out to be nothing more than an AHL player.
#27 – Carolina Hurricanes – Nick Leddy – D – Mr. Hockey from the state of Minnesota, this high school stand out is a fantastic skater that is on the same level as John Moore. Leddy has a pretty strong shot from the point and his coaches actually would like him to shoot more. Leddy is only 5’11″ but added 15 pounds of muscle from his junior year to senior year. He still needs to become stronger and I am sure the Minnesota Gophers, where he will attend next year, strength coaches will make sure of that.
#28 – Chicago Blackhawks – Philippe Paradis – C – this left handed shooting center already has a NHL caliber slap shot as he showed in the CHL Top Prospects event where he whistled a shot at 95.7mph to win the event. Most think he has more scoring talent than what he has shown. He has good size at 6’1″ and 196 pounds and could round out to be a pretty good power forward.
#29 – Pittsburgh Penguins – Kyle Palmieri – RW – The Pens are in desperate need of wingers to compliment there ridiculous skill at center. Palmieri could help them as he is a very passionate player that also has a lethal shot. Jack Barzee from Central Scouting compares him to Chris Drury. Pens would take a Drury beside Crosby or Malkin and especially at pick #29.
#30 – Detroit Red Wings – Carl Klingberg – LW – If the auto industry continues to struggle, don’t be surprised if the Red Wings relocate to Stockholm. They have a “Sweden Pipeline” that is the envy of every team in the league. They know how to find them and then develop them. Should be no different with Klingberg. At 6’3″ and 205, Klingberg can skate like the wind with a good work ethic and very good attitude. Now if he will sign a long term contract for half price, he would sound exactly like a Red Wing player.
Here are my picks. I will tell you that from 8 to about 40, it’s almost totally on teams personnel choice. A lot of the prospects are lumped together. 1 through 7 are more clearly defined but even then, there is debate over the first choice.
Let me know what you think and I look forward to seeing your comments.
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