2008 NHL Draft Preview: Magic 8-Ball Edition

David HeereSenior Analyst IJune 11, 2008

Everyone is gearing up for the upcoming draft on June 20 andI decided to join in the festivities. This draft is considered by some (myself included) to be a deep draft full to the brim with defensemenbut seriously lacking depthin star forwards. Looking at my draft order list I am finding several teams have two picks in the 1st round, as well as, some other teams that do not have any picks and this got me looking into my magic 8-ball to see what will happen on the 20th in Ottawa.


There are five teams which have two picks in the 1st round: Los Angeles 2nd and 28th, Atlanta 3rd and 29th, Columbus 6th and 18th, Nashville 9th and 16th, and Buffalo 13th and 26th. So I asked my magic 8-ball “What does all this translate to come draft day?”


My magical ball responded, “With the 1st pick in the 2008 entry draft Tampa Bay has traded its pick to Columbus or Nashville.” Yes, it is indeed a very specific 8-ball andI agree with it. Steven Stamkos (who will be the #1 pick regardless of who has it) is an amazing center and is indeed worthy of being the #1 overall pick just like Sidney Crosby, Joe Thornton, and VINCENT LECAVALIER.


Tampa Bay has a young superstar #1 center in Lecavalier and I really do not know why they would get another one with so many other areas to fill in their team. The “areas to fill” part is the part where Nashville and Columbus come into play. Columbus and Nashville have some pretty talented prospects in their ranks that would fill out to be good 2nd and 3rd line players. Both teams are pretty solid already on their 2nd and 3rd lines and really want help on their top lines. Both teams also have a top-10 pick anda mid-roundpick in the 1st round. If you ask me, a deal with Tampa Bay and Columbus/Nashville is a match made in heaven (or my magic 8-ball) and will benefit both sides immensely.


Personally I see Columbus being the ones to strike the deal. On this years trade deadline, Columbus and Tampa Bay were trying to get a deal done that would send Brad Richards to Columbus but it fell through. A goalie (most likely prospect Steve Mason, 2008 world juniors MVP) was apparently all that was missing. Columbus obviously had some other players that Tampa Bay wanted and now that Tampa has their goalie (they hope) maybe these two clubs can connect again and instead of Brad Richards for a goalie and some players have it be the 1st overall for the same players and the 6th or 18th or both if Tampa Baygets really greedy and Columbus gets really desperate.


The bottom line is the 8-ball says there is something big brewing at the draft with trades a plenty and we should all be excited to watch it.


Just for kicks here are some cool NHL draft facts:


Florida, Colorado, San Jose, Dallas, and Pittsburgh are without picks in the 1st round this year.


Detroithas the fewest 1st roundpicks since the 1998 draft with four: 1998 25th overall Jiri Fischer, 2000 29th overall Niklas Kronwall, 2005 19th overall Jakub Kindl, and 2007 27thoverall Brendan Smith.


St Louis has the most picks in the last five drafts with eight: 2003 30th overall Shawn Belle, 2004 17th overall Marek Schwarz, 2005 24th overall T.J. Oshie, 2006 1st overall Erik Johnson, 2006 25th overall Patrik Berglund, 2007 13th overall Lars Eller, 2007 18th overall Ian Cole, and 2007 26th overall David Perron.