1. New York Islanders C John Tavares, London (OHL) – 6′0″/ 199 lbs; Lots of speculation that Tavares will drop to the two spot, but GM Garth Snow is smarter than that. Tavares is a great kid with a good head on his shoulders. It’s a safe choice, smart choice and the only choice.
2. Tampa Bay Lightning D Victor Hedman, MoDo (Swe) – 6′6″/220 lbs; Great consolation prize for the Lightning, who are is desperate need of a prime time defenseman. This is their man. With Stamkos and Hedman to build around, the Lightning are well on their way to conend.
3. Colorado Avalanche C Evander Kane, Vancouver, (WHL) – 6′0″/170 lbs; Lots of potential in the body to build muscle. Could be a very good power forward in the NHL, with lots of speed and energy. Tested very well at the NHL combine.
4. Atlanta Thrashers C Matt Duchene, Brampton (OHL) – 5′11″/190 lbs; Falls a little but on my list, but remains high on everybody else’s. Although Duchene is considered the best all around player in the draft, Kane probably has more potential, which is why he slips a little bit on this list. Did not impress at combine, especially with one on one interviews.
5. Los Angeles Kings -LW Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson, Timra (Swe) – 6′1″/187 lbs; Fits well in the Kings’ batch of European forwards. ISS ranks him as the 4th best skater in the draft.
6. Phoenix Coyotes – D Jared Cowen, Spokane (WHL) – 6′5″/216 lbs; Cowen can step right in as a big physical defenseman to replace Derek Morris, who was lost at the deadline last season. The Coyotes have a lot of young offensive fire power, so shoring up their blueline is a calculated move.
7. Toronto Maple Leafs – C Brayden Schenn, Brandon (WHL) – 6′0″/196 lbs; Brian Burke has a tendency of acquring brothers: Scott & Chris Pronger and Henrik & Daniel Sedin. If Burke cannot move up in the draft, Schenn is a quality fall back option.
8. Dallas Stars – C Nazem Kadri, London (WHL) – 6′1″/177 lbs; Kadri has been moving up the draft boards as of late due to his performance in the OHL playoffs. He has great speed, crafty hands and tested well at the combine. Stars wil have a lot of options with their pick.
9. Ottawa Senators – D Dmitri Kulikov, Drummondville (QMJHL) – 6′1″/195 lbs; The Sens need an offensive defenseman, and this guy is it. Already playing in North America, he has 62 points in 52 games from the blue line.
10. Edmonton Oilers – RW Jordan Schroeder, Minnesota (NCAA) – 5′8″/168 lbs; A short, but speedy American forward with the ability to score. This sounds like it has already been tested before in Edmonton (see: Erik Cole). Shroeder is the best skater coming out of the US, and is excited about playing in the NHL, especially in a Canadian city. The Oilers could go with a defenseman here, but they are already stacked with defensemen.
11. Nashville Predators – D Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Leksand (Swe) – 6′1″/165 lbs; The Preds already have a lot of defensive depth, and they are in desperate need of scoring, but Larsson is too good to pass up. He will need to bulk up a little bit, but plenty of potential. It is possible that the Preds trade this pick for some scoring.
12. Minnesota Wild – C Jacob Josefson, Djurgarden (Swe) – 6′0″/187 lbs; Good size and good knowledge of the game. Good play maker and holds his own defensively. Would be a nice Jacques Martin type player, if Martin was still the coach in Minnesota.
13. Buffalo Sabres – D Ryan Ellis, Windsor (OHL) – 5′10/173 lbs; Another player that is gradually rising on draft boards. He was well introduced during the World Junior Championships with his poise with the puck, ability to man the powerplay and his booming shot. This type of defenseman is exactly what the Sabres need.
14. Florida Panthers – RW Scott Glennie, Brandon (WHL) – 6′1″/180 lbs; Good size and good hands to be a productive NHL scorer.
15. Anaheim Ducks – C Peter Holland, Guelph (OHL) – 6′2″/190 lbs; An Anaheim type forward – big, thick and has hands.
16. Columbus Blue Jackets – D Simon Despres, Saint John (QMJHL) – 6′3″/205 lbs; Very big defenseman who has a good shot from the point and most importantly – can run the powerplay. There are probably better options at this spot, but the BJ’s desperately need to improve their powerplay, which was their achilles heel last season.
17. St. Louis Blues – C Louis LeBlanc, Omaha (USHL) – 5′11″/170 lbs; A Quebecor who played in the US. The Blues have slowly built their team around speed, and LeBlanc fits this mould. Slowly rising on draft boards; ranked #12 by the ISS.
18. Montreal Canadiens – RW Zack Kassian, Peterborough (OHL) – 6′3″/205 lbs; Huge power forward who brings a lot of energy.
19. New York Rangers – RW Landon Ferraro, Red Deer (WHL) – 6′0″/170 lbs; Fits in nicely with the Rangers’ defensive mantality. However, the Blue Shirts still need to find ways to put the puck into the net.
20. Phoenix Coyotes – C Drew Shore, US18 (NTDP) – 6′2″/198 lbs; Big, strong centerman who can compliment Peter Mueller’s size and speed. Lots of room to grow and should evolve under Gretzky.
21. Philadelphia Flyers – D John Moore, Chicaco (USHL) – 6′2″/190 lbs – Rumors say that the Flyers are after J-Bo, who is a big and mobile blue liner, much like Moore is. Whether they get J-Bo or not, Moore is the best available player at this point and should be taken before the 20th pick.
22. Vancouver Canucks – D David Rundblad, Skelleftea (Sweden) – 6′3″/190 lbs – Did not produce much overseas, but has the talent and the body to be a very productive NHL player. He is a risky player that he will have to change, especially in the Canuck system, but a type of player that the Canucks may be able to use, especially in powerplay situations.
23. New Jersey Devils – D Tim Erixon, Skelleftea (Sweden) – 6′3″/190 lbs – Back to back Skelleftea boys. Erixon is a player who has gradually dipped in many prospect rankings, but still carried the talent and intellegence to play defence at the NHL level. He is a very findamental player, who fits well in New Jersey’s system.
24. Washington Capitals – D Calvin de Haan, Oshawa (OHL) – 6′0/170 lbs – An offensive defenseman who I got to see a lot of playing in Oshawa. He is very smart and shows a lot of potential. Took on more of an offensive role once Tavares left Oshawa and should continue to show improvement as his OHL career goes forward. Lots of potential, but may need to bulk up.
25. Boston Bruins – D Dylan Olsen, Camrose (AJHL) – 6′3″/207 lbs – A big boy who is a nice fit to Boston’s defensive system. He is still a little raw, but with his size and untapped potential, he can be a nice shutdown defenseman who can help put up goals.
26. New York Islanders – LW Chris Kreider, Andover (HS-MA) – 6′2″/200 lbs – It is believed that the Isles will try and package this pick along with their second round pick to move up. If not, they get a high risk-high reward player in Kreider. Since he is coming out of high school, he will need some time to develop. However, his size and skill are too much to pass up.
27. Carolina Hurricanes – D Stefan Elliot, Saskatoon (WHL) – 6′1″/185 lbs – A very smart player who is working on his shot to become even more of a complete player. Like all young defensemen, he will need time to learn to play physically, but the potential is there.
28. Pittsburgh Penguins – RW Jeremy Morin, US NDTP – 6′1″/193 lbs – A goal scorer who is willing to use his big frame to help his team score. He can also wire shots from anywhere and try and find seems to get the puck in the net.
29. Chicago Blackhawks – RW Carter Ashton, Lethbridge (WHL) – 6′4″/212 lbs – Holy smokes, what a big body. He has skilled hands and obviously size to play a productive physical game in front of the net. He is a player that any team could use.
30. Detroit Red Wings - C Jordan Caron, Rimouski (QMJHL) – 6′3″/200 lbs – Another big body that drops into Detroit’s lap. Like Franzen and Holmstrom before him, Caron is a big body with enough sense to get in front of the net and use his body to score. Willing to sacrfice his body to score.