Well folks, the 2009-10 season on the ice wrapped up last week, but there is still some business remaining, as the 2010 Entry Draft takes place next Friday in Los Angeles.
The best young talent will be drafted that day, and for the 29 teams that didn't get a chance to have a Stanley Cup parade, the optimism of landing a hidden gem or a proven commodity is always there on this day.
With that being said, here's another 2010 Mock Draft for your reading pleasure. Of course, this isn't the first and definitely won't be the last mock that you will read in the next week, but my approach was very simple.
I provide a quick rundown of picks 30 to 1, and based the player selection on what the team needs position-wise, and also who is already in the system.
Beau Bennett, RW, Penticton (BCHL)
The newly crowned Stanley Cup champions don't have any immediate needs in terms of rushing any prospects to the bigs, so expect Bennett to be taken and brought along slowly.
Although there are a lot of changes expected on the Chicago roster, the club does already have Kyle Beach and Jack Skille, who can both potentially step in next season. Bennett would be a good three to four years away.
Brock Nelson, C, Warroad (HIGH-MN)
The Ducks get this pick due to the Chris Pronger deal that took place last year right before the draft.
The club's biggest needs seem to be down the middle, as Ryan Getzlaf is the only long-term solution on the Anaheim roster at the moment. The team does have Peter Holland and Kyle Palmeiri in the pipeline, but Nelson gives them a great long-term solution as well.
John McFarland, C, Sudbury (OHL)
Yes, the Sharks seem to be in good shape down the middle, with Joes, Thornton and Pavelski, in place. That's also not considering that Patrick Marleau is a candidate to most likely re-sign with the team as well.
However, at this stage of the draft, McFarland would be the best player on the board. There's no reason not to take him.
Teemu Pulkkinen, LW, Jokerit (Finland)
Even with a late pick this year, the Canadiens will be able to grab a solid youngster in Pulkkinen, who was all over the place this past season with his production, but had a brilliant run at the World U18 Championship.
Considering Mike Cammalleri is the only true LW threat on the roster, if the young Finn can show some consistency, he might not be that far off from joining the Montreal roster.
Alexander Petrovic, D, Red Deer (WHL)
There are rumors that the Caps might make a play for Anton Volchenkov come July 1st, but there might be no need for that if Petrovic plays in the NHL as he has in the WHL.
Alexander Ovechkin and company would be well protected by the hulking Russian. The team's blue line is in dire need of some youth, and Petrovic might be the answer.
Charlie Coyle, C/RW, South Shore (EJHL)
Coyle is several years away from making the NHL, but the Canucks will be good for the time being with the Sedins, Kesler, Burrows and Raymond all on the roster.
Eventually, Cody Hodgson, Michael Grabner and Jordan Schroeder will join them. Long-term, the outlook for Vancouver's forward group looks very strong.
Kirill Kabanov, LW, Moncton (WMJHL)
This pick was acquired by Atlanta from New Jersey in the Ilya Kovalchuk deal back in February. Considering GM Don Waddell's drafting history, it wouldn't be a surprise to take a chance on the volatile Kabanov, whose reputation has taken an extreme beating the last six months.
At one point, Kabanov was a surefire top 10 selection, so he might be worth a gamble for the Thrashers, who could get him to eventually play with Nik Antropov on the top line.
Jarred Tinordi, D, US U-18 (NTDP)
Jarred's dad, Mark, was a great stay-at-home defenseman in the NHL for a number of seasons, and the younger Tinordi is in the same mould as his father.
Buffalo's blue line is considered one of the weaker ones in the league, and that's with Tyler Myers back there. Look for Tinordi to be a great fixture for the Sabres on the back end in a couple of years.
Jonathan Merrill, D, US U-18 (NTDP)
The Coyotes had a great run in 2009-2010, and there are more treasures to look forward to, especially with Oliver Ekman-Larsson (OEL) in the fold.
Merrill will be one of those great all-around blue liners that teams love to have, and with veterans such as Adrian Aucoin, Derek Morris, and Ed Jovanovski expected to be gone soon, the Coyotes will have a different look with Merrill, OEL, and Michalek on the back end.
Riley Sheehan, C, Notre Dame (CCHA)
This would be a very unusual Red Wings pick, as: a) the team never picks this high—for Detroit, picking higher than 25th is not a normal occurrence, and b) not taking a small European.
Sheehan would be the perfect big body to complement the Red Wings going forward, as he'll have time to develop his game further and eventually be in a second or third line role.
Austin Watson, LW/RW, Peterborough (OHL)
How happy will Watson be when GM Ray Shero calls his name? He's still a year or two away from making it to the big show, but you know he'll be lining up with either Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin.
On top of that, he's considered one of the best defensive forwards in the OHL, so PK duties might be a given as well.
Alexander Burmistrov, C, Barrie (OHL)
The young Russian should be going higher than this, but based on needs, he'll fall right into GM Dean Lombardi's lap. Burmistrov is considered one of the most explosive offensive players in this draft, and he could turn out to be the perfect second-line pivot behind Anze Kopitar for LA.
Vladimir Tarasenko, RW, Novosibirsk (KHL)
Considering all that has happened with Alexander Radulov for this franchise, GM David Poile might not be all that keen on selecting another Russian player, but at this stage of the draft, he has to grab Tarasenko.
Also, with the blue line cupboard full with the likes of Cody Franson, Ryan Ellis and Jon Blum, the Predators really need some offense.
Calvin Pickard, G, Seattle (WHL)
Pickard would give the young Avs a goaltender of the future, as Craig Anderson might be kept around for a few more years, but eventually, will have to be replaced.
With the forwards locked and loaded, the blue line could potentially be addressed with this pick, but at this stage, Pickard might be the best play on the draft board for Colorado.
Nick Bjugstad, C, Blaine (HIGH-MN)
With Erik Karlsson's development last season, and the expected arrival of Jared Cowan this fall, Ottawa can really use a forward with this pick.
The 6’4” Bjugstad still has a lot of time to develop, but he could eventually turn into a great power forward for the Senators. Although he is currently playing as a pivot, don't be surprised if he ends up being a winger once he gets to Ottawa.
Derek Forbort, D, US U-18 (NTDP)
It wouldn't be a surprise if the Bruins ended up moving this pick, but if Forbort drops to this spot, it would be a blessing in disguise for Boston, who really needs to shore up its blue line.
Forbort would be a few years away from reaching the roster, but would get great mentoring from Zdeno Chara.
Dylan McIlrath, D, Moose Jaw (WHL)
There are a lot of different options available for the Blues, but considering the amount of young forwards on the roster (Patrik Berglund, TJ Oshie, David Perron, Alex Steen), not to mention in the system (Lars Eller), a blue liner might be the safe pick here.
Although Erik Johnson and Alex Pietrangelo are the two offensive studs, somebody will need to eventually replace Barret Jackman, so why not McIlrath?
Emerson Etem, LW, Medicine Hat (WHL)
This is the second pick of the first round that the Coyotes will have, and the club can thank Flames GM Darryl Sutter for that. Phoenix acquired this pick at the March 2009 deadline deal that sent Olli Jokinen to Calgary.
Etem is an intelligent player, and has a knack for scoring. Could eventually turn into a great line mate for Kyle Turris in a few years.
Mikael Granlund, C, HIFK Helsinki (Finland)
Considered to be the best European prospect in the draft, Granlund would be the perfect two to Ryan Getzlaf's one down the middle for Anaheim.
He sees the ice well, and could form a potent second line for the Ducks with Bobby Ryan lining up next to him.
Jack Campbell, G, US U-18 (NTDP)
A lot of folks have Campbell going all over the place, but the best fit might be the Stars.
With the Marty Turco era officially over, Dallas needs to have somebody in their system for down the road, as I find it hard to imagine that Kari Lehtonen will be able to hold up over his three-year contract extension, and actually make a difference during his tenure. When Lehtonen's contract is up, Campbell would be ready to jump in.
Mark Pysyk, D, Edmonton (WHL)
This might be a pick out of left field for some, but Pysyk might be the best fit for the Blueshirts.
With Evgeny Grachev, Chris Kreider and Derek Stepan already up front, Pysyk would join the likes of Ryan McDonaugh and Bobby Sanguinetti in regards to blue line youngsters.
Nino Niederreiter, LW, Portland (WHL)
The Wild have the worst prospect system in the league at the moment, but this kid would automatically give the team a bonafide offensive talent for the future.
He was great at the World Juniors, and finally, Mikko Koivu would have somebody to play with on the Wild.
Ryan Johansen, C, Portland (WHL)
Although Ilya Kovalchuk is gone, the Thrashers have a lot of pieces that will slowly come together over the next few years to form a solid core.
Johansen would be another great forward to add to the ranks, as he could team up eventually with Evander Kane, or maybe play a Jordan Staal-type of defensive role, with Nik Antropov and Bryan Little manning the top two C slots.
Jeff Skinner, RW, Kitchener (OHL)
Eric Staal is the only big offensive talent up front, but there are reinforcements on the way. Brandon Sutter joined him last year, and other players such as Drayson Bowman and Zach Boychuk are expected to make the leap this fall.
Skinner would be just another name to add to the group, giving the Canes a quintet of forwards to build for another Cup run.
Brett Connolly, RW, Prince George (WHL)
Stevie Y's first pick as a GM will be a doozy, as Connolly could team up with Steve Stamkos in a few years to terrorize opponents.
It's quite possible that Connolly could be gone in the top five, but then that means a quality d-man will be available at this pick for Yzerman as well. Either way, the Bolts look to be trending up again.
Brandon Gormley, D, Moncton (QMJHL)
GM Garth Snow could go in a lot of different directions with this pick, but he would be foolish to pass up on Gormley.
With John Tavares, Kyle Okposo and Josh Bailey up front, Gormley could join Calvin de Haan to create a scary power play in a couple of seasons.
Now, if only something could be done about that goalie situation.
Cam Fowler, D, Windsor (OHL)
The Blue Jackets are loaded with talent up front, as Jakub Voracek, Nikita Filatov and Derick Brassard are all key cogs in terms of offensive talent.
However, Fowler would fill the team's greatest need tremendously. With John Moore also on the way, the Jackets should have a great 1-2 punch on the blue line for the next decade.
Erik Gudbranson, D, Kingston (OHL)
With Dimitry Kulikov already on the back end as the finesse puck-mover, Gudbranson would be the perfect complement in terms of a big body to eat up a lot of ice time.
The Panthers need a lot of help in different areas, but GM Dale Tallon did a wonderful job of constructing the Blackhawks. He'll make the smart moves for Florida and turn that team into a playoff squad.
Taylor Hall, LW, Windsor (OHL)
Regardless of what he's saying in interviews, I get the sense that he isn't all that keen on going to Edmonton, and would absolutely love Boston. He would also fill one of the team's needs, and that is to replace Phil Kessel. Hall could go nuts on the first line with Marc Savard setting up his shots.
I do see a scenario unfolding where the Oilers and Bruins swap picks, with other pieces moving about as well. That is how Hall will end up in Boston.
Tyler Seguin, C, Plymouth (OHL)
According to most scouts, it's a toss-up as to who goes No. 1. Most pundits are picking Hall, but Seguin fills Edmonton's need more. With the dynamic duo of Jordan Eberle and Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson already in the fold to play on the wings, Seguin would provide the perfect 1-2 punch with Sam Gagner for the next decade.