Well, it may be a tad early, but welcome to the first mock draft for the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, where we'll be simulating how the first round might look in June. Before we get on our way, I should note that the draft order was determined by the standings via Points/Game for games ending Wednesday, January 6th, 2010.
2010 NHL Entry Draft
With the first overall pick the Carolina Hurricanes select: Taylor Hall, LW, Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
Comment: This is a no brainer for right now; the Hurricanes have many holes and need to rebuild any way they can as soon as possible. Hall will be in the NHL next season and will look great lining up alongside Eric Staal. Nothing fancy with this pick.
With the second overall pick the Edmonton Oilers select: Tyler Seguin, C, Plymouth Whalers (OHL)
Comment: The Oilers will just go with the best player available and snag a guy they hope can turn into an elite level offensive player in the near future. Edmonton has skilled forwards, but Seguin hopefully can turn into a go-to guy that consistently produces at a high level.
With the third overall pick the Columbus Blue Jackets select: Cam Fowler, D, Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
Comment: While the Jackets do need some scoring up front, itís hard to pass on the best defenseman in the Draft. He will be in the NHL soon enough and should be relied on to produce from the back end. Fowler will bring a great offensive element to Columbus' D.
With the fourth overall pick the Boston Bruins select (via Toronto) select: Brett Connolly, LW, Prince George Cougars (WHL)
Comment: The Bruins select a guy who might end up being a very good forward in a few years. Even with the injury risk, they hope for big rewards down the line from a very talented forward in Connolly.
With the fifth overall pick the Florida Panthers select: Erik Gudbranson, D, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)
Comment: The Panthers need defensemen. Despite drafting Dmitri Kulikov and Keaton Ellerby, their defense is absolutely abysmal and they should take any help they can get. Luckily for them, Gudbranson is exactly the kind of player that can bring stability to their defense.
With the sixth overall pick the Anaheim Ducks select: Brandon Gormley, D, Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL)
Comment: The Ducks go with Gormley, a very gifted defenseman who they hope will be their power play quarterback and go-to guy on the blue line for many years to come.
With the seventh overall pick the St. Louis Blues select: Mark Pysyk, D, Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)
Comment: The Blues go with a defender who is a few years away, but could become an insulator for their skilled forwards like Oshie and Berglund down the line. Pysyk will bring a physical and shutdown element Blues fans will love.
With the eight overall pick the Tampa Bay Lightning select: Kirill Kabanov, LW, Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL)
Comment: The Bolts take the Russian factor risk, which is less so because Kabanov has come overseas and expressed interest in playing in North America. They get an extremely skilled winger who they hope can develop into a good NHL player. If he does, pairing him with Stamkos or Lecavalier will scare goalies for many, many years.
With the ninth overall pick the New York Islanders select: Mikael Granlund, C, HIFK Helsinki (FNL)
Comment: The Isles gets a very skilled forward who they hope can one day play on the same line as John Tavares even though theyíre both listed as centers. Skilled yet small, Granlund is an exceptional talent that can excite Isles fans and embarrass defenders.
With the tenth overall pick the Montreal Canadiens select: John McFarland, C, Sudbury Wolves (OHL)
Comment: The Habs take a bit of a risk with their system depth and hope for the home run hit with McFarland. He has one of the more highly regarded skill sets in the Draft and the Habs pray he develops so they can finally say theyíve developed their own first-line talent.
With the eleventh overall pick the Minnesota Wild select: Jaden Schwartz, C, Tri-City Storm (USHL)
Comment: The Wild try to get some help up front in a barren farm system, so they go the BPA (Best Player Available) route and get a good player in Schwartz who they hope to one day line up with Koivu.
With the twelfth overall pick the Atlanta Thrashers select: Vladimir Tarasenko, RW, Novosibirsk Siber (KHL)
Comment: Playing alongside Kovalchuk, if he isn't traded first, could mean big things on offense for Atlanta. Tarasenko will be in the NHL soon enough and should give Atlanta a chance at competing in the Eastern Conference annually.
With the thirteenth overall pick the Anaheim Ducks (via Philadelphia) select: Ryan Spooner, C, Peterborough Petes (OHL)
Comment: With their second pick in the top fifteen, the Ducks take a skilled forward who they can plug into the top of their system and who will grow and develop in a timely fashion. They obviously hope he can bulk up a bit, but Spooner is very skilled and the Ducks will be happy with this pick.
With the fourteenth overall pick the New York Rangers select: Jon Merrill, D, U.S. National Under-17 Team (USHL)
Comment: The Rangers take Merrill with the idea that they can take their time developing him. They already have plenty of young kids in their system with good potential either at the NHL level or right below, so they can let the talented defenseman round out his tools and hopefully turn into a solid player for the Blueshirts in five years.
With the fifteenth overall pick the Ottawa Senators select: Jeffrey Skinner, C, Kitchener Rangers (OHL)
Comment: Ottawa takes the talented forward out of Kitchener in the OHL. He is a few years away without a doubt, but the Sens will give him time to develop with some good forwards already on the team.
With the sixteenth overall pick the Dallas Stars select: Joey Hishon, C, Owen Sound Attack (OHL)
Comment: The Stars go BPA on their pick and select the Owen Sound forward with a great skill set. Itís a safer pick, but the Stars donít have any immediate system needs so they can take a shot at Hishon.
With the seventeenth overall pick the Detroit Red Wings select: Jack Campbell, G, U.S. National Under-17 Team (USHL)
Comment: Itís been a while since Detroit has picked this high, but they get a good one in Campbell. The Red Wings will hope that he can become the steady goaltender of the future that they desperately need. He certainly has the tools to do it.
With the eighteenth overall pick the Boston Bruins select: Evgeny Kuznetsov, RW, Traktor Chelyabinsk (KHL)
Comment: Having already had a first round pick early in the Draft and needing some firepower in their system, the Bruins take a risk with the Russian factor and select the highly regarded Kuznetsov. Itís a risk, but one that could pay high dividends.
With the nineteenth overall pick the Colorado Avalanche select: Nino Niederreiter, LW, Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
Comment: Looking to add some grit up front to their forward core the Avs take Niederreiter. He has size and physicality in his game, but he can also light the lamp and show some finesse.
With the twentieth overall pick the Los Angeles Kings select: Steven Shipley, C, Owen Sound Attack (OHL)
Comment: With a tremendous amount of young depth, the Kings go with their system's positional need and take a left winger who will be a great player that can contribute offensively.
With the twenty first overall pick the Nashville Predators select: Quinton Howden, LW, Moose Jaw Warriors(WHL)
Comment: The Preds take Howden out of Moose Jaw in the WHL as a BPA (Best Player Available) move. Howden is a skilled, physical forward and the Preds are happy to get him at 21.
With the twenty second overall pick the Vancouver Canucks select: Jordan Weal, C, Regina Pats (WHL)
Comment: Jordan Weal has absolutely torched the WHL the last two years and the Canucks go high on this kid despite his small stature. Weal is tremendously talented and donít think Eberle is responsible for his numbers, Weal played a big part in it.
With the twenty third overall pick the Pittsburgh Penguins select: Stanislav Galiev, C, Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)
Comment: The Pens desperately need to find a cheap, long-term, scoring winger. While Galiev may not have tremendous upside, if he can turn into a decent to good second line forward the Pens would be thrilled.
With the twenty fourth overall pick the Phoenix Coyotes select: Teemu Pulkkinen, LW, Jokerit (FIN)
Comment: The Coyotes go risky with the very high upside of Pulkkinen. Heís started off slow as an ultra hyped prospect, but the Coyotes have many young forwards in their farm system so they take a shot with Teemu.
With the twenty fifth overall pick the Phoenix Coyotes (via Calgary) select: Derek Forbort, D, U.S. National Under-17 Team (USHL)
Comment: Oddly enough picking back to back, the Coyotes take another high upside guy in Forbort out of the USNTDP. He has great tools and size, and if he rounds out, he should become a great asset for the Coyotes on defense.
With the twenty sixth overall pick the Washington Capitals select: Tyler Toffoli, RW, Ottawa 67's (OHL)
Comment: The Caps take Toffoli hoping that he turns into yet another high-end forward for them. Toffoli is talented, but needs to add some edge to his game.
With the twenty seventh overall pick the Buffalo Sabres select: Emerson Etem<, C, Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL)/p>
Comment: The Sabres draft Etem, which is a bit of a risk but one you can take at this point in the Draft in the hopes that his season wasnít a fluke and that his scoring touch is indeed for real.
With the twenty eight overall pick the San Jose Sharks select: Nick Bjugstad, C, Northwest (Elite I)
Comment: The Sharks take the high school kid with the upside with the knowledge that thereís a pretty decent shot he doesnít pan out, but their system gives them the ability to take the risk here.
With the twenty ninth overall pick the Chicago Blackhawks select: Austin Watson, RW, Peterborough Petes (OHL)
Comment: The Hawks draft Watson to add some size to their system and to take a shot at the skill set he brings to the table. Another year or two of junior might do him good to iron out his kinks.
With the thirtieth overall pick the New Jersey Devils select: Riley Sheahan, C, Notre Dame (NCAA)
Comment: The Devils love taking Americans for the college benefits. Sheahan has good upside that could give the Devils a reason to take a flier on him and he could pan out well in the Notre Dame program.
Corey Pronman is a contributor to Puck Prospectus, an Associate Scout for the USHL Sioux Falls Stampede and runs the statistical hockey site The Hock Project. You can contact him at CPronman@fau.edu.
Corey Pronman is an author of Hockey Prospectus.
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