NHL Mock Draft 1.0: Who Will Go Where?

Shane House@sghcantcopyAnalyst IJune 21, 2010

WINDSOR, ON - JANUARY 20:  Taylor Hall #4 of Team Cherry skates in the Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects game against Team Orr on January 20, 2010 at the WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario. Team Cherry defeated Team Orr 4-2. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Claus Andersen/Getty Images

With each season that passes, there is a new crop of potential prospects that come into the draft with high expectations. Most of the time, they are blue chip and pan out as expected, and then there are the ones that don't exactly work out. 

Look up such prime examples as Alexander Daigle and Patrik Stefan.

This year's draft is no exception. There are players that will come right in and excel, while others will live a life in the minor leagues and end up playing somewhere in Europe.

But the one consistency that comes up is the fact that the draft is always exciting to watch.

So here it is, your first round mock draft. Lets hope there are no Patrik Stefans this year.

1. The Edmonton Oilers will select Taylor Hall from the Windsor Spitfires

This is a split decision. Tyler Seguin and Taylor Hall are both ready for the NHL and are both game changers. The reason Edmonton makes this pick here is that they are strong down the middle but need that scary threat speeding down the wing. Hall, combined with Sam Gagner and Jordan Eberle on the first line, is a combination for a threatening first line.

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2. The Boston Bruins will select Tyler Seguin from the Plymouth Whalers

Blessed with amazing playmaking ability, Seguin will be a great fit in Beantown and will do very well learning from the very talented Marc Savard. He has speed and great puck handling skills, and he is that game changer that will take Boston to the next level.

3. The Florida Panthers will select Erik Gudbranson from the Kingston Frontenacs

Drawing comparisons to such All-Stars as Chris Pronger and Dion Phaneuf, Gudbranson is the immovable object that Florida's defense has been lacking since Ed Jovanovski in the early 90's. Combine his size with Kulikov's offensive abilities, and you have a recipe for a scary top pairing on defense.

4. The Columbus Blue Jackets will select Cam Fowler from the Windsor Spitfires

Considered the best defensive prospect going into this season, Cam Fowler is still an amazing defensive prospect that will fit perfectly into Columbus. He has great hands and good foot work, and he is a good shot from the point. Will finally give Columbus that top notch defenseman that they have never had.

5. The New York Islanders will select Brandon Gormley from the Moncton Wildcats

It is not even fair how many prospects the Islanders currently have in their system. Their only glaring need in the prospect pool is a blue chip goaltender, but unless they trade down, there is nobody available here at that position. Gormley is not flashy in one area but is solid with every area of his game. This is something that the Islanders could use in there back end soon enough.

6. The Tampa Bay Lightining will select Alexander Burmistrov from the Barrie Colts

Burmistrov is a Russian player that has blazing speed, dirty dangles and playmaking ability. Sounds like someone Steve Y used to play with (Pavel Datsyuk). Look for Yzerman to draft the Russian and give him the proper time to develop into the second line centre that Tampa may need in the future.

7. The Carolina Hurricanes will select Nino Niederreiter from the Portland Winter Hawks

Showing that he can play with the big boys at the World Championships, Niederreiter is a scoring machine that has already proved he can perform at an NHL level. He should fit in perfectly with Carolina captain and all-star Eric Staal.

8. The Atlanta Thrashers will select Brett Connolly from the Prince George Cougars

Although you can question Connelly`s durability, you cannot question his uncanny talent. If not for his injuries this season, he would be higher up on this list. If he is able to stay off the IR in his career, Connelly could make a fitting first line with Bryan Little and Evander Kane.

9. The Minnesota Wild will select Jeff Skinner from the Kitchener Rangers

Coming out of nowhere was Skinner, who got 60 goals in 84 games last season. He was a force to be reckoned  with, and if he can keep developing at the same pace, you might see him as the Wild's new top goal scorer very soon.

10. The New York Rangers will select Ryan Johansen from the Portland Winter Hawks

This move would finally solidify the Rangers down the middle. He is a tall, talented center with blazing speed and playmaking ability. He is exactly what the Rangers need in a year or two when Chris Drury leaves.

11. The Dallas Stars will select Mark Pysyk from the Edmonton Oil Kings

Even though his stats wouldn't suggest it, Mark Pysyk is a very fast, reliable defensive player that could quite easily (in my opinion) be the steal of the draft. He had mediocre stats because he was playing for a below average team, but he is exactly the type of prospect that Dallas could use on defense.

12. The Anaheim Ducks will select Emerson Etem from the Medicine Hat Tigers

With the exception of their first line last season, the Ducks had a lot of issues putting the puck in the net, causing their 11th place finish. Since their prospects project to be 2nd-3rd line players, they need that legitimate scorer to finally give them that secondary scorer they need. Etem is exactly this.

13. The Phoenix Coyotes will select Jack Campbell from the U.S. U-18 NTDP

Not only was he sensational at the world juniors, but he also basically won at every level he played on in the Juniors. He is a big game goalie that is exactly what the Coyotes have been missing in their prospect pool. Sure they do probably need a forward as well, but the Coyotes will get that with their second first round pick.

14. The St. Louis Blues will select Mikael Granlund from HIFK Helsinki

He is a bit small, but he has great scoring ability and a nose for the net (Not to mention his skating ability has developed nicely in Finland's top league). This is exactly what the St. Louis Blues need in their system. They are already set in goal with Jaroslav Halak, recently being acquired and for the most part, their blue chip prospects are defensive players. So this only makes sense.

15. The Boston Bruins will select Dylan McIlrath from the Moose Jaw Warriors

Not only goes McIlrath have the ability to dish out bone crushing hits, but he also has the ability to play very good defensively. He won't be putting up big numbers in the NHL, but he is exactly what the Bruins need in there defensive corps. A big, tall, defensive- minded player that has a nasty edge.

16. The Ottawa Senators will select John McFarland from the Sudbury Wolves

McFarland is a fast, reliable skater that has a deadly wrist shot. That is exactly what Ottawa needs down the middle as they have been having issues finding a permanent center to play behind Jason Spezza. He is a year or two away, but he will definitely be that gritty forward that will take the Senators to the next level.

17. The Colorado Avalanche will select Derek Forbert from the U.S. U-18 NTDP

This is just a no-brainer for Colorado. Forbert has fallen in the draft, and the Avalanche need a quick-moving defensive player to be ready in a year or two. That is exactly what Forbert is, and on top of that, he has just a great all-around game.

18. The Nashville Predators will select Austin Watson from the Peterborough Petes

Easily one of the best two-way players in the draft, Watson could easily be an elite two-way forward in the NHL some day. He has a big frame (6ft3, 185 lbs), good scoring ability, and is always responsible at both ends of the ice. Sounds like something that the Predators can sink there teeth into.

19. The Los Angeles Kings will select Vladimir Tarasenko from Novosibirsk 

For being one of the youngest people in the league, he didn't really show it by absolutely lighting it up this year in the KHL. He is a fast player with an elite shot and that is exactly what the Kings need on there first line. The only reason he is this low in the draft is because he is Russian. But Los Angeles will take that risk.

20. The Pittsburgh Penguins will select Nick Bjugstad from Blaine (HS)

The only thing that the Penguins have ever been lacking on there roster has been a game-changing winger. Although Bjustad is a center, he could easily be converted to the wing with his massive 6-4 frame. He has very soft hands, and with a little work on skating, could become a great find for the Penguins.

21. The Detroit Red Wings will select Jonathon Merrill from the U.S. U-18 NTDP

Only one thing describes Jonathan Merrill: Solid. His overall game has no flaws and can only get better. He definitely has the potential to be a top four defensive player, which is exactly what the Red Wings could use in there system (especially with Lidstrom on his way out and only two defensive prospects really making an impact in there system).

22. The Phoenix Coyotes will select Riley Sheahan from Notre Dame

Riley Sheahan is the type of player that every team covets. He is a very energetic two-way player that is willing to do anything to have his team succeed. The Coyotes will allow him to develop in Notre Dame and become that two-way player they can use on their 2nd-3rd line.

23. The Buffalo Sabres will select Quinton Howden from the Moose Jaw Warriors

Howden fit the bill for that the Buffalo Sabres look for in their players: Tough, relentless on the forecheck, and fast. Howden fits all of these to a tee. He won`t impress you with his talent, but it is the effort that he shows that makes him get picked by the Sabres.

24. The Atlanta Thrashers will select Calvin Packard from the Seattle Thunderbirds

Even though the team was one of the worst in the league last season, Packard showed all the scouts that he has the talent to be a very good goaltender in the future. No team needs one more than the Thrashers. They need a goal-tending prospect more than anybody else in this draft, and Packard fits the bill perfectly.

25. The Vancouver Canucks will select Jarred Tinordi from the U.S. U-18 NTDP

This will be the fourth player taken from the U.S. U-18 NTDP, and for good reason. Tinordi is a leader that can get nasty if need be. He wont blow you away with his offense, but he has the potential to be a Robyn Regehr type of player. Tough, rugged, and most importantly, a leader. This is something that the Canucks could also use.

26. The Washington Capitals will select Jaden Schwartz from the Tri-City Americans

The leading scorer in the USHL last season, Schwartz is a player that, with the right development, could be a great play-making center behind number one Niklas Backstrom. However, he is most definitely a project that will need time to develop.

27. The Montreal Canadiens will select Evgeny Kuznetsov from Chelyabinsk

Defense will not be an issue with the emergence of P.K. Subban this post-season, so offense is the burning issue heading into this draft. Sure they have prospects like Max Pacoiretty and Louis Leblanc, but none have the potential that Kuznetsov does. He is a Russian center that could either explode into a star player or implode into a Radek Bonk. I have the feeling that Montreal will take that risk to possibly get that star forward they have been missing.

28. The San Jose Sharks will select Beau Bennett from the Penticton Vees (BCHL)

Even though Bennett was in Junior A, he showed he could light up the lamp with great plays and even better shots. He will need time to develop, but San Jose has never been scared off  by that. Look for this winger to be in their system very shortly.

29. the Anaheim Ducks will select Charlie Coyle from South Shore (EJHL)

The soon-to-be Boston University student is a hard-working player that is very strong down low and in the corners. His potential only shows a 2nd-3rd line winger, but there is no way you can pass up on a player whose favourite pass times are working out and skating.

30. The Chicago Blackhawks will select Brock Nelson from Warroad (HS)

The Blackhawks are not short on prospects and are willing to give time to players to develop, which is why they will select Nelson. He is a great scorer who has very good hands and a winning pedigree. The only issue here is his skating ability. But as I said before, the Blackhawks are plenty with prospects and are not short on time.

These are my picks for the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. Although I do feel these are accurate, I don't think they will stay the same for too long because there will be trades happening in the up-and-coming future.