Alan even started his part of the article off with terrible jokes, so you know this thing is legitimate.
But before we begin, let's talk a bit about the NHL awards:
1) Jeremy Roenick should host everything NHL-related from now until forever. Even if he's just a floating head like in Futurama. Throw in Dennis Leary and it becomes all the better.
Needless to say it easily tops Bettman's self-deprecation and Tim Thomas asking Manny Fernandez "Should I thank your wife?".
Actually, it doesn't top that last one. Each interview of an NHL personality should finish with the interviewer asking "And while we're at it...should I thank your wife for you?". More awkward comedy? Yes please.
2) This has nothing to do with the NHL or it's awards but Chad (Johnson) Ochocinco is going to be living with Quarterback Carson Palmer this offseason. AND WHERE IS REALITY TV ON THIS?!?!
We're overrun with shows featuring large families; people of different heights, weights, ethnic backgrounds,and sexual orientations; and Kathy Griffin, and no one is recording this?
Better yet, throw Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in a house together. Or Claude Lemieux and Kris Draper. What about Ken Daneyko and George Parros? Then let's make an NHL award for that. (See? I knew we'd get back on topic...)
3. Shaka Khan....really. I mean, is the NHL really that out of touch with "popular culture" that everyone was forced to sit through this? Poor Drew Doughty and Luke Schenn just finished their first years in the NHL, and now they'll never play well enough for an award for fear of this.
At least she didn't eat Bettman's toupee.
On to the draft....but first this. Just so you all remember the worst decision in NHL history.
15. Carter Ashton—Anaheim Ducks (Lethbridge-WHL)-BT
The Pick: Carter Ashton is a big kid, and a big kid has to have the right guy to pattern his game after. That guy is Cam Neely.
Ashton always enjoyed watching Neely's style of play, and now the 6'3 native of Winnipeg is looking to exert his own dominance at the NHL level.
Ashton had a great bounce-back season last year with his first 30-goal campaign, and he's smart enough to address the needs in his game, already having worked on his skating.
The Ducks were able to get younger on the blueline with the additions of Ryan Whitney and James Wisniewski at the trade deadline while Brandon Mikkelson played some solid hockey down the stretch. Names like Brian Salcido, Mark Mitera, and Brett Festerling are already strengthening the sound of the blueline for the Ducks, so taking Ashton—who could be fun to watch alongside Corey Perry—would be a good fit for Anaheim.
Other Considerations: Jacob Josefson, Chris Kreider. Both possess offensive abilities that would be interesting to watch develop alongside some of the bigger, more-powerful Ducks (specifically Kreider). If this team keeps drafting big, talented bodies, they'll only get harder to play against.
16. Jacob Josefson—Columbus Blue Jackets (Djurgarden-SEL)-Bass
Although the Blue Jackets need a defenseman more than they need a forward, Scott Howson will not be able to pass up on this talented young Swede, who managed to put up 16 points in the top league in Europe. Although his WJC performance was terrible, going pointless on a strong Swedish squad, his draft stock is still high, due to his great skating ability, offensive talent, and the fact that he was playing in the World Juniors with a stomach flu.
Columbus is weak on the back end but could go for some upgrades everywhere. With Derick Brassard coming back from injury next year, Jakub Voracek, Nikita Filatov, RJ Umberger, and Maksim Mayorov, the Blue Jackets have all sorts of talent on offense. By adding Josefson to the pack, Rick Nash and Co. will simply have another weapon to use.
17. Chris Kreider—St Louis Blues (Andover-US High School)-BT
The Pick: Chris Kreider is young, but he already has a lot of tools. He's 6'2, 201lbs, he's tough, he skates well, and he scored 33 goals in just 26 High School games.
Impressive yes, but therein lies the rub: Those games were United Stats High School games, which make this pick a bit of a reach at 17.
Kreider still needs to measure himself consistently against top-end competition, and the fact that he's only going in to Grade 12 next year could raise questions about his maturity and ability to handle the pressure.
Looking at the kid though, if that's going to be true, you wouldn't know it. He's smart enough and humble enough at a young age to know what parts of his game to work on, and he even convinced his parents to get the NHL Network so that he could study the World Juniors.
He's athletic (Kreider also plays lacrosse) and he's a smart kid off the ice as well and loves to challenge himself (he's currently in his second year of Russian at school).
Other Considerations: Peter Holland, John Moore. The Blues have some great depth coming up at centre specifically with Patrik Berglund (NHL All-Rookie this year) and Lars Eller, so if they could find a player who can be big and strong and transfer over to the wing that'd be advantageous. Kreider has the type of power-forward body they need.
18. John Moore—Montreal Canadiens (Chicago-USHL)-Bass
The highest ranked high school player this year, Moore has uncanny skating ability and the wheels to both play offense and retreat to defense for an opposing rush. He scored 39 points in Chicago this season. Scouts are often weary of picking USHL players in the draft, due to the lack of competition they face compared to players playing in Major Junior or even US College. However, there is a consensus that Moore will be able to succeed at the NHL level.
With Mike Komisarek leaving this summer (most likey) and with Andrei Markov and Mathieu Schneider getting up there in years, the Habs need another defenseman to add to their organization’s depth. Moore would be a solid addition to an organization desperate to end their longest championship drought in team history.
19. Peter Holland—New York Rangers (Guelph-OHL)-BT
The Pick: Holland brings good height to the Rangers, and if he can fill out, he'll be a dynamo.
The Guelph Storm product saw a 20-goal improvement from his rookie season in the OHL (2006/07) to this year (28 goals), helping the Storm to the playoffs and finishing second behind Matt Kennedy in team scoring.
More impressively, Holland had four goals in four playoff games in the Storm's opening round series against the Saginaw Spirit.
If Holland can expand his game offensively and continue to work on his defensive play, he'll be a quality NHL'er.
Other Considerations: David Runblad, Stefan Elliot. Considering taking a defenseman with this pick is probably more likely. The Rangers could stand to add a few more bodies to the mix even with the recent signing of Matt Gilroy.
20. David Rundblad—Calgary Flames (Skelleftea-SEL)-Bass
Rundblad is ranked in various places by various publications, but International Scouting puts him in the second round. Nonetheless, the Flames would love to add this speedy Swedish defenseman to complement Backlund, who will most likely be joining the team for the 2009-10 season.
After scoring 1.5 points per game in the Swedish junior league, Rundblad was called up to the Elite League, and managed to put up ten points. He struggled at the WJC with just two points in six games, but many scouts still like the raw talent that he has. He may take a bit longer to develop, especially since he is a defenseman, but the payoff could be enormous.
21.Stefan Elliot—Philadelphia Flyers (Saskatoon Blades-WHL)-BT
The Pick: Time for an interesting stat: There were seventeen teams in the NHL this year that had two defensemen score 30 points or more during the regular season. Of the 13 teams that didn't feature two 30-point defensemen, seven of them made the playoffs.
Of those teams, only two made it out of the first round: the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals (Pittsburgh is a strange team for this stat based on the fact that if Sergei Gonchar and Ryan Whitney hadn't been hurt half the year they wouldn't have qualified for this stat but c'est la vie).
The Philadelphia Flyers were one of the teams that lost out in the first round.
If the Flyers keep their roster intact this offseason, then they're set up front: James Van Riemsdyk and Claude Giroux are two youngsters ready to step up, and Jeff Carter, Mike Richards and Simon Gagne will be shouldering the offensive load.
Defensively, the Flyers have some good young talent in Ryan Parent, Luca Sbisa,and Braydon Coburn, but adding smooth-skating Stefan Elliot to the mix would be a dynamic addition.
Elliot has proven to be able to put up the points in his career, finishing first in goals and second in points amongst rookie defensemen in his inaugural WHL campaign in 2007/08. This past season, he improved his defensive play and boosted his offense and become a go-to guy for the Blades.
Elliot has the offensive ability to replace the aging Kimmo Timonen and provide the Flyers with a deadly weapon on the power play.
Other Considerations: Landon Ferraro, Nick Leddy. Ferraro would be a great asset, reminding Flyers' fans of the olden days where their favorites got by on their aggressive style of play and their craftiness. Ferraro's speed would also be a great asset to the depth of the team. Leddy would offer them another strong defenseman who's committed to improvement.
22. Calvin de Haan—Vancouver Canucks (Oshawa-OHL)-Bass
After having a good season on a bad team in Oshawa, de Haan still needs to increase his size a bit before making the jump to the NHL. He is an offensive defenseman who can move the puck well and see the ice even better. De Haan had 63 points in 68 games in the Ontario League this season and plays with such great poise and ability that he has caught the eye of many NHL scouts.
Vancouver has struggled in recent years on the blueline. With the Sedin twins possibly leaving via free agency this summer, there is a noticeable gap to replace up front, but the true gap is back in front of Roberto Luongo, who can only be counted on to stop so many shots. At some point, the defense needs to come up and help. That is where Calvin De Haan comes in.
Check back with Alan Bass for the next series of picks in the mock draft.
Alan Bass and Bryan Thiel are both Senior Writers and NHL Community Leaders for Bleacher Report. Either of them can be contacted through their profiles or you can email Alan at email@example.com and Bryan at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can check out Alan's archives here, and Bryan's here.
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