Each and every year for each and every sport, everyone puts up a mock draft at entry draft time. It's the internet equivalent of buying a Tamogachi or tucking your pants into your socks—people just do them to fit in.
Sidenote: I'm breaking my record for fastest sidenote ever I'm pretty sure. The 'cuff of pants in the sock' thing has to be the weirdest fashion trend since wearing your clothes backwards/inside out in the early 90's. Maybe this doesn't happen other places. Maybe Canada is just weird.
But seriously, while we're concerned with reading comprehension, spelling, and keeping the minds of today's youth active, let's remind them how to dress themselves too ok?
The NHL is no different. Simply typing the words "NHL Mock Draft 2009" into google will probably yield you 1,213 pages worth of results. If we're lucky, that's how you found this mock draft.
First let us introduce ourselves though: Bryan Thiel and Alan Bass are two of your Community Leaders here in the NHL Section on Bleacher Report. While Alan is currently interning for The Hockey News and I'm working on various sports broadcasts for Rogers TV (it's a Canadian thing), we figured to put together a two-man mock draft for a few reasons:
1) If only one person does it, then you leave it open to slanted views. Like how I'd mysteriously have John Tavares slip to number seven overall, or Alan would somehow have the Philadelphia Flyers trade up to number two to draft Victor Hedman.
2) It invites a different strategy because now you have to plan around what someone else may do, adding a little excitement to the process.
3) Neither of us are anti-social. That'd be a bad thing in this business.
Anyhow, this is boring, so let's get to it! Alan and I alternated picks with me choosing odd numbered picks (1,3,5,7, ect.) and he got the evens. And wouldn't you know it? The first pick of the draft is a surprise!
1. John Tavares—New York Islanders (London Knights-OHL)- BT
Ok, so I lied. No surprises.
The Pick: Despite being denounced for his playoff performance, Tavares brings to the table exactly what the Islanders need: A finisher.
Tavares scored 58 goals this most recent OHL season, while the Isles scored just 201—second fewest in the league. Throw together a line of Tavares, Josh Bailey, and Kyle Okposo, and the Islander's future looks bright whether they're in Kansas City, New York, or Suzhou China.
Other considerations: Victor Hedman, Matt Duchene. Any of the three top picks would be a quality addition to the Islanders. While not of the same calibre, Bailey fills the need down the centre that Duchene would occupy. Tavares is naturally a centre, but moving him to the left side to form this line would be a dream come true. Hedman is a strong possibility—it's all up to Garth Snow.
2. Victor Hedman—Tampa Bay Lightning (Modo-SEL)- Bass
Tampa needs a defenseman, and Sweden just happens to have a future star coming out this year. Hedman, the most talented defenseman in this year’s crop, will be a great fit in Tampa Bay where they have been struggling since the lockout.
After losing Dan Boyle, Tampa Bay has yearned for a top-two defenseman, and Hedman could be that player. Their top defenseman right now is Andrej Meszaros, who is clearly not a top NHL defenseman. Many scouts have said the same about Hedman, though, but the Lightning are hoping that the assumption is wrong.
3. Matt Duchene-Colorado Avalanche (Brampton Battalion-OHL)- BT
The Pick: In the top three picks, there have been three different kinds of players taken: The top goal-scorer went in Tavares, the top all-around defenseman in Hedman, and now the most complete North American offensive threat, Matt Duchene.
With Joe Sakic running on fumes and Paul Statsny developing into an injury concern, Duchene not along brings strong leadership qualities to the Avalanche dressing room, but he's got the offensive pedigree, hockey background, and commitment to be successful.
Other Considerations: Evander Kane. Kane is not far back of Duchene, his offensive production was split down the middle goals/assist wise, but Duchene seems the likely candidate to take over from Burnaby Joe.
4. Evander Kane—Atlanta Thrashers (Vancouver Giants-WHL)- Bass
Kane is underrated, which is saying a lot for a player ranked sixth by International Scouting. He has unbelievable talent and would be a perfect complement to Ilya Kovalchuk’s game.
He compares his game to Jarome Iginla’s, in that they both have tremendous offensive abilities while playing with a fiery passion that fans seem to love. With 96 points in the Western League this season and six points at the World Juniors, Kane has shown he is clearly capable of playing good hockey.
The Thrashers may also draft Kane in an attempt to lure Kovalchuk back to Georgia. Atlanta has been rumored to be trying to move Kovalchuk since his contract expires at the end of the 2009-10 season.
By drafting a player who can both make Kovalchuk a better player and become a better player himself by playing with the Russian star, Kovie may be influenced to stay in Atlanta for a couple more years to see how things pan out.
5. Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson—Los Angeles Kings (Timra-SEL)- BT
The Pick: Paajarvi-Svensson has been playing against men since he was 16 years old in the SEL, so like most high-end European prospects he has experience at the highest levels of competition overseas. It's time for MPS to transfer that to North American ice now.
The Kings have a handful of quality wingers who can play either side of Centre, and MPS only adds to that. Surrounded by Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar, and Alexander Frolov (in need of an extension after next season), the talented Swede will have talent to play with.
Other considerations: Jared Cowen. Cowen is a huge defenseman and mobile for a big man (we still have yet to see how he comes back from a torn ACL though).
The Kings are strong on the back end though as Drew Doughty, Kyle Quincey, Jack Johnson, and Davis Drewiske are all under 25 and seeing big minutes with the Kings. Along with Peter Harrold and Matt Greene on the back end, the Kings can afford to shore up the resources up front.
6. Jared Cowen—Phoenix Coyotes (Spokane-WHL)- Bass
Although an injury derailed Cowen’s season, the Coyotes are much too desperate after losing both Keith Ballard and Nick Boynton in the first Olli Jokinen trade; they need a new, young defenseman to try and rebuild their team, whether it is in Hamilton or Phoenix.
Cowen is a defensive defenseman who indeed can put up some points, but will not be flirting with the league leaders any time in his career. He is compared to Braydon Coburn of the Philadelphia Flyers, who was a bit of an early bloomer and has since become a top two defenseman on the team.
7. Brayden Schenn-Toronto Maple Leafs (Brandon-WHL)- BT
The Pick: The little brother of the Leafs' stalwart from last season, Brayden Schenn would be the perfect centre piece for a Brian Burke team.
Schenn knows how to get to the net, play the body, and will score. He's led Brandon in scoring the past two seasons and was 7th in the WHL in scoring this year. The athletic centre exemplifies the kind of attitude that the Leafs are looking for going forward.
What's more, Brian Burke has always seemingly been drawn to brothers: He made drastic steps to draft both Sedins in Vancouver, and retained Rob, and later signed Scott Niedermayer in Anaheim. Why not some more?
Other Considerations: Zach Kassian, Nazem Kadri. The seventh pick would be a little too high for either of these players, but looking at the board, the Leafs should target a dynamo forward early on. Then again, with the futures of Tomas Kaberle and Pavel Kubina in doubt, maybe Ryan Ellis or Oliver Ekman-Larsson are possibilities for the defense here.
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.