An NHL team plays 82 games in the regular season, all looking to secure a spot in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Now that the playoffs have begun, and sixteen teams are well underway in their quest for Lord Stanley, we can now look at the fourteen teams that are on the outside looking in.
Steven Stamkos has cemented his spot as the top overall pick in June, where Tampa Bay picks at number one. Who is going to round out the picks from number 2 to number 14, belonging to Carolina, the team to miss out on the playoffs by the least amount of points?
Here are the draft picks for the 14 teams that out of the playoffs.
1. Tampa Bay Lightning
Steven Stamkos, Center - Sarnia Sting (OHL)
Stamkos has been called a poor man's Sidney Crosby, as he possesses the speed and skill designated for a franchise player.
Shows not only great skill with the puck, with 43 goals and 38 assists this season, but also responsible defensive play, a rare find for a top line player.
A mature young man, look for him to make the jump to the NHL as an 18 year old, taking on the role of second line center and also seeing power play time along side of Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis.
2. Los Angeles Kings
Drew Doughty, Defence - Guelph Storm (OHL)
First of two picks in the first round. Rated the top defender in this year's draft, expect the Kings to bolster their blue line with this multi-skilled defenseman.
With a solid future locked in up front, with the likes of Dustin Brown, Patrick O'Sullivan, and Anze Kopitar, the Kings must focus on adding a premier defenseman to build around, along with future perennial Norris trophy candidate Jack Johnson.
Doughty is a solid presence in his own end, and shows responsibility and accountibility in his defensive play. What puts him above the other defensemen in this draft is his ability to lead the rush, and his offensive abilities in the offensive zone.
A point-per-game player, look for him to anchor the Kings powerplay for years to come, and be the two-way threat defenseman the Kings are looking to replace the aging Rob Blake with.
Look for the Kings to select a goalie with their second pick of the round at #23, perhaps either Chet Pickard, Goalie - Tri-City Americans (WHL), or Peter Delmas, Goalie - Lewiston MAINEiacs (QMJHL). This pick is soley to give them insurance on their future between the pipes with Jonathan Bernier already pegged as the goalie of the future in LA.
If they do not go with a goalie, the Kings could look at selecting David Toews, Left Wing - University of North Dakota (NCAA) with this pick. The younger brother of Chicago Blackhawk young gun Jonathan Toews, he does not have the all around skill and smarts of his older brother, but is more a of natural goal scorer.
3. Atlanta Thrashers
Alex Pietrangelo, Defence - Niagra Ice Dogs (OHL)
First of two picks in the first round. Another team with a young, skilled foundation at the forward position, with Angelo Esposito and Bryan Little set to arrive in the coming years, the Thrashers should be set to select this puck moving defenseman.
A big body (6'4", 211 lbs) who has a cannon for a shot, has great vision on the ice, and finds the seams well. Brief periods of inconsistency this season will force the Thrashers to think twice about this pick, but will decide he is too good to pass up.
Expect to see Atlanta build around their defence around Pietrangelo, along with Tobias Enstrom, as they attempt to solidify themselves as perennial play off contenders.
Look for the Thrashers to gamble with their second pick of the round at #27 by selecting Mikhail Stefanovich, Right Wing - Quebec Remparts (QMJHL), a one dimensional scoring winger who is considered a wild-card, as he is ranked in the top ten on some draft boards, and not even in the first round in others.
4. St. Louis Blues
Kyle Beach, Center - Everett Silvertips (WHL)
A tough, big power forward (6'3", 203 lbs) who is not afraid to get down and dirty, Beach should add some size and skill to the Blues forward squad.
Compared to current Blues center Keith Tkachuk. Look for the Blues to move him to the right wing to fully utilize his size, strength and shot, as he could get lost in the numbers game in St. Louis. The center position for the Blues is currently full with Andy MacDonald, Tkachuk, Jay McClement, and 2007 first round pick, Patrick Berglund, should be along within the next season or two.
A point-per-game player, Beach has shown that he can be inconsistent at times, but when he is playing to his full potential, he is the most dominating presence on the ice.
Has been known to take play reckless at times, which can lead to bad penalties. Labeled as a diamond in the rough, expect to see him play another year of junior and perhaps a year or two in the AHL, in order to fully develop into an effective pro-calibre power forward.
5. New York Islanders
Zach Bogosian, Defence - Peterborough Petes (OHL)
This tough, strong defenceman is a tremendous skater, and anchors the powerplay in Peterborough.
Not as naturally offensively gifted as Doughty and Pietrangelo, he has a highly effective shot from the point, which Peterborough centers around on their powerplay.
He also shows grit and toughness, and along with his puck moving abilities, should be a key addition to the Islanders, as they look to bolster their defence after 2006 first round pick Kyle Okposo has shown he is able to play right wing at the NHL level.
6. Columbus Blue Jackets
Luke Schenn, Defence - Kelowna Rocket (WHL)
First of two picks in the first round. Ranked lower on most draft boards, Schenn is the shut-down type defenseman the Blue Jackets are looking for.
Stocked full with young, talented forwards such as Rick Nash, Dan Fritsche, and Nikolai Sherdev, along with the likes of Gilbert Brule, Alexandre Picard, Derrick Brassard and Jakub Voracek expected to crack the line up in the next few years, Columbus is set to strengthen their defence corps.
Look for Columbus to build their blue line around this big (6'3", 212 lbs) defenseman, along with 20 year old Kris Russell who adds an offensive punch from the back side.
Look for the Blue Jackets to use their second pick of the round at #21 on another defenseman, most likely Jake Gardiner, Defence - Minnesota State University(NCAA).
This defenseman, who converted from forward in his senior year of high school, is offensively gifted, and sees the ice well. He is not afraid to lead the rush, and has a goal scoring ability that is rare for a defenseman.
7. Toronto Maple Leafs
Mikkel Boedker, Left Wing - Kitchener Rangers (OHL)
A speedy and skilled forward who was born in Denmark, Boedker has adjusted well to the North American game while playing for Kitchener. Has been an integral piece in their dominance of the OHL this season.
This playmaker sees the ice well, and shows strength much bigger than his size (5'11", 196 lbs). Drives to the net well, and is not afraid to dig for the puck in the corner. Always wants to have the puck on his stick, yet isn't a player who will keep it rather than dish it to a teammate in better position.
Look for the Leafs to keep Boedker in junior for one more year, then assign him to the AHL for at least a season.
As well, expect to see Toronto to move him from the left side to the right, as he is effective at driving the net and shooting on the fly on his off wing, and the Leafs are strong on the left side, with the likes of Alexei Ponikarovsky, Mark Bell, Jason Blake and Alexander Steen.
8. Phoenix Coyotes
Tyler Myers, Defence - Kelowna Rocket (WHL)
Surprise of the first round. A prototypical stay at home defenseman, this 6'7" player, considered a project by many scouts, has shown enough raw skill and potential to be a top ten pick.
Not offensively gifted, although can chip in with a timely goal, Myers is solid and responsible in his own zone, and plays the puck well.
Keeps the game simple, and makes a great first pass. His size makes his teammates on the ice bigger, as he is physical and difficult to knock off the puck.
As the Coyotes build their forwards around Peter Mueller and Kyle Turris, look for them to select Myers with this pick to mold him into a mainstay on Phoenix's blue line for years to come.
9. Nashville Predators (from Florida)
Cody Hodgson, Center - Brampton Battalion (OHL)
A playmaking center, Hodgson can also put the puck in the net. Has tremendous vision, and can always find the open player.
Will play around the perimeter at times, but drives well to the net when he has a step on the defender.
This pick will give Nashville the playmaking center they need to get Alexander Radulov the puck, as they are not getting this from Jason Arnott or David Legwand.
Look for Hodgson to finish his junior career, then make the jump to the NHL as a 20 year old.
10. Vancouver Canucks
Colin Wilson, Center - Boston University (NCAA)
This solid, two-way center can play at both ends of the rink. Not only a strong presence in his own zone, but contributed 29 points (11 G, 18 A) in 26 games in his freshman year at Boston University.
At 6'1", 215 lbs, Wilson is tough to knock off the puck, and difficult to stop from driving to the net without taking a penalty.
A smart, all-around player, look for Vancouver to pick him to play center for the Canucks, where they could be losing Trevor Linden to retirement this summer, and Henrik Sedin is an unrestricted free agent on July 1st.
11. Chicago Blackhawks
Zach Boychuk, Center - Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL)
At 5'10, 184 lbs, Boychuk is not by any means a big center, but makes up for it with his hard work and skill.
A proven performer at both the junior level and international level, Boychuk fits perfectly into Chicago's future blueprints as a second line center, behind Jonathan Toews.
With Blackhawk center's Yanic Perrault and Robert Lang both turing 38 next season, and Kevyn Adams cemented in as a fourth line center, Chicago is in need of depth at the center position.
With the hard-nosed, point-per-game Boychuk, along with 2004 second round pick Dave Bolland ready to make the jump from the AHL, they can see a bright future at the center position to go along with a young, star studded set of wingers they already have.
12. Anaheim Ducks (from Edmonton)
Michael Del Zotto, Defence - Oshawa Generals (OHL)
Look for Anaheim to select this offensive defenseman with this pick.
Has slipped in value since the start of the season due to poor play in his own zone, but Del Zotto is too strong of a skater and has too much offensive upside to over look.
A great power play defenseman, look for this defenseman to finish his junior career and play a year or two in the AHL before coming to an already solid defence corps in Anaheim.
With the likes of Mathieu Schneider, Chris Pronger and Scott Neidermayer not getting any younger, this makes this an even more attractive pick for Anaheim.
13. Buffalo Sabres
Nikita Filatov, Left Wing - CSKA Moscow (Russian Super League, Div. 2)
First of two picks in the first round. A dynamically talented hockey player, Filatov would add an explosiveness to any offence he plays for.
A right handed shot playing on his off wing, he would be a perfect fit opposite left winger Thomas Vanek on the Sabres top line if they moved Filatov to the right side.
Could be potentially a top 5 pick with his tremendous skill level and ability to be a game breaking player, but his stints of inconsistency and the unstable status of the Russian transfer agreement will scare teams off, and he drops out of the top 10 because of this.
Buffalo could perhaps be getting the steal of the first round with this gem, if everything works out.
Look for the Sabres to use their second pick of the round at #29 on Vyacheslav Voynov, Defence - Chelyabinsk Traktor (Russian Super League, Div. 1), a small yet simple and effective puck moving defenceman.
14. Carolina Hurricanes
Joshua Bailey, Center - Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
An aging team, with no player under age of 23 (Eric Staal), the Hurricanes are looking to rebuild, and they must start with the best player available on the board, regardless of position.
Bailey is an extremely smart player, who shows a great mix of speed and skill. He is creative with the puck, and finds way to get the puck to his teammates in scoring position.
Not a physical player by any means, but often comes out of the corner with the puck on his stick. Look for the Hurricane's to boast Eric Staal, Matt Cullen, Bailey, and 2007 first round pick Brandon Sutter down the middle for years to come.
That rounds out the draft picks of the teams that are not in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Sleeper of the draft could be Joe Colborne, Left Wing - Camrose (AJHL), a big (6'4", 195lbs), talented power forward, who is playing in the Alberta Junior A League. Weak performance at the World Jr. A Championship could hurt his draft stock, but Colborne skates well, scores goals, lays out devastating hits, and still has yet to grow into his body. Look for him to go late in the first round, perhaps to the New York Rangers at #22.