The 2008 National Hockey League entry draft will take place in Ottawa at Scotia Bank Place and the first pick looks like it will belong to either the Los Angeles Kings or Tampa Bay Lightning.
This draft features one of the most dynamic prospects, since Sidney Crosby, in Steven Stamkos and one of the best defenseman, since Dion Phaneuf, in Drew Doughty.
All teams have different needs going into draft day, and with only about 5 games remaining for most teams it is about time to look into possible draft positions and who is available there.
#1 L.A. Kings: The L.A. Kings are no strangers to the top of the draft board over the last couple of years and are in need of serious goaltending, but having the first overall pick, will take the best available player and look for a good goaltender in the later rounds.
SELECTION: Steven Stamkos--He is a dynamic centreman who would look good in any NHL uniform. He recorded 92 points his rookie year and 105 points this past year playing in sixty-three and sixty-one games respectively. Stamkos is highly touted and is the concensus number one pick in this year's draft.
#2 Tampa Bay Lightning: The Lightning tend to draft swift skating playmakers, with high ceilings. The Lightning need a defender to play in the #3 whole on the blueline and accompany Dan Boyle on the Powerplay.
SELECTION: Alex Pietrangelo--Petro is the best puck-moving defender in this draft, and in the Ontario Hockey League he is a point-per-game guy. His downfall though is his unwillingness to play physically, especially with a 6'3" frame. There is no ceiling that is higher than Pietrangelo in this draft, other than Stamkos.
#3 Atlanta Thrashers: The Thrashers need a centre to replace Hossa with but also want to take the best player available. Lucky for them, they can kill two birds with one stone.
SELECTION: Kyle Beach--is a fantastic centreman who has great visibility and is the best playmaking centre in the Western Hockey League. He uses his size to his advantage and draws many comparisons to Mats Sundin, although, it is far too early to tell if this is what he will develop into.
#4 St. Louis Blues: The Blues have a lot of young and talented players and do not have a glaring need other than team depth. At this position in the draft they will take the best player available and lucky for them a pretty good defenseman should still be available.
SELECTION: Drew Doughty--Doughty, according to some is the best defenseman available in this draft. He has a tonne of maturity for his age and is able to be both an offensive defenseman and a stout defensive defenseman, as seen at the World Junior Hockey Championships where he played for team Canada. What he lacks is an ability to carry the puck up the ice. He does it regulalry, but also turns the puck over on most attempts.
#5 New York Islanders: The Isles are in desperate need of a young centreman stud in the system, especially after last year's deadline deal that sent Ryan O'Marra and Robert Nilsson to the Flames for Ryan Smyth. O'marra was the best centre ice prospect in the system for the Isles and they are looking to fill the void left by his departure.
SELECTION: Cody Hodgson--He has, quite possibly, the quickest first step in this draft, especially for a centreman. He's an explosive skater and is very strong on his feet. Hodgson is a guy who can play on the penalty kill, powerplay and 5 on 5. Cody has exceptional hockey sense and is a hockey player's hockey player.
#6 Columbus Blue Jackets: The Jackets will be looking for the best player available at number 6. They are a club in need of hard-nosed players who have excellent leadership qualities.
SELECTION: Colin Wilson--He is above average at every facet of the game. He is fast and is extremely skilled with and without the puck. He can play in all situations and has enormous hockey sense.
#7 Phoenix Coyotes:The Coyotes will look oversees at this point, trying to find a top 5 talent who has fallen through the cracks a little bit. Gretzky, again, will have a major role in the selection, so look for a very skilled and fast player.
SELECTION:Mikkel Boedker--The best Danish prospect ever and some say the best Dane to ever lace up the skates. He led the Danes in the World Juniors and played exceptionally well. Gretzky will love his leadership, vision and work ethic and he will fit well within the 'Yote's system.
#8 Toronto Maple Leafs: The Leafs are looking to take someone who might be able to step into their lineup immediately. They have announced a new focus on building for the future but with the glutton of prospects and young players at centre, defense and in goal they will look to draft a top winger.
SELECTION:Nikita Filatov--Is the top winger in the 2008 draft. He had an excellent World Juniors playing for the Russians and surprised some people doing it. He is the best Russian prospect in this draft and is as high as fifth on some draft boards. Filitov is a highly skilled left winger and could be a sleeper pick if there is such a thing this early in the draft. He Has a huge ceiling and star potential.
#9 Chicago Blackhawks: The hawks are going to look hard at taking a defender with their pick first, because they have lots of young, stout, players up front in Toews, Kane and Sharpe.
SELECTION:Zach Bogosian--is the quintessential captain. He demands pefection form his teammates and himself, plays against the other teams' best players and leads by example with an offensive touch many don't know he has. Bogosian is averaging just over a point-per-game with the OHL's Peterborough Petes this season. Bogosian is a steal this far down in the draft.
#10 Nashville Predators: The Nashville Predators will look to take the best player available at this point in the draft and luckily for them, this draft is very deep with good prospects.
SELECTION:Zac Boychuk--has a scoring touch that not many in junior hockey can match, but had to work extensively on his defensive zone coverage. Boychuk went to work improving his plus/minus from plus 3 his first season to plus twenty-six this past season. His scoring suffered this year as a result of a renewed emphasis on defensive play and from the amount of hockey he played. Boychuk played for Team Canada in the Canada-Russia Challenge, The Junior Super series between Canada and Russia, the Top Prospects Game, the WHL All Star Game and on Team Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championships.
The following is the rest of the draft order and who I think will be picked where. As far as the rest of the player's goes, it is really a crap shoot this year more than ever. All of the players from 10th-45th are good, solid prospects. Finding the gem in there is why the NHL scouts get paid the big bucks and not me.
Anaheim: Luke Schenn--D
Buffalo: Colby Rowak--D
Carolina: Mike Del Zotto--D
New York Rangers: Jordan Eberle--C
Calgary Flames:Mitch Wahl--C
Minnesota Wild:John Carlson--D
Los Angeles: A.J. Jenks--C
Ottawa: Vyacheslav Voynov--D
New Jersey: Colten Teubert--C
Atlanta: David Toews--LW
Montreal: Joe Colborne--LW
Buffalo: Tyler Cuma--D
Detroit: Jake Gardiner--D