Below is the 2008 Hockey’s Future Staff Mock Draft, covering the first round of the NHL Entry Draft, to be held in Ottawa, ON on June 20-21, 2008. Included with each pick is a brief explanation behind the thinking that went into the pick. In most cases, the team’s beat writer made the pick – for the few teams without a regular writer, the pick was made by a consensus of Hockey’s Future writers. Trading of picks was not allowed for this mock draft.
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Steven Stamkos, Sarnia OHL
Really. Any questions? Speed, skill, solid two-way play. Clearly the elite pick in this draft. The consensus No. 1 with all the major services for multiple reasons.
Alex Pietrangelo, Niagara OHL
In a selection of potential and promise over proven performance, Pietrangelo is a bit of a surprise pick over the two higher-rated blueliners to follow. That said, some hockey watchers believe that Ice Dog has the highest potential upside of the three – and with the Kings rating Bogosian, Doughty, and Pietrangelo equally promise and potential trumps all.
Zach Bogosian, Peterborough OHL
NHL Central Scouting has also vaulted the big blueliner to the top of its defensive rankings. At 6`2 he`s got the size to dominate the blueline and this season he`s shown that he has an impressive offensive arsenal at his disposal. Bogosian can be a rock on the Thrashers` blueline for years to come.
Nikita Filatov, Moscow CKSA-2
Nikita Filatov, next to Stamkos, is the most prolific forward in this year’s draft. St. Louis has a great deal of talented young defensemen and not too many goal scoring wingers, which makes Filatov – who has been favorably compared to Cherepanov but does not have the knock on the same work ethic – a perfect fit. While the Blues have great depth at center they have no high-octane wingers in their system.
New York Islanders
The Islanders would be thrilled if Doughty falls to them at the fifth pick. Running up to the draft, Doughty was at one time thought to challenge Stamkos for the top spot. Perhaps paralysis by over analysis factors into Doughty`s fall, but he remains an elite prospect who does all things well on the blueline and has a nice offensive upside.
At 6`2, 210 pounds, Schenn has the most NHL-ready size of the top blueline prospects, but does not project to the same level as the aforementioned four. That said, he has all the tools to be a solid all-around defenseman for years to come and should fit nicely into a top-two pairing in the not-too-distant future.
Colin Wilson, Boston U (NCAA)
The new regime is in and Wilson is just the type of character player that the Leafs need to build around. He`s not flashy, nor is he the offensive player that Boedker is, but he is future captain material who is not afraid to get dirty and can rally a club to his cause.
Mikkel Boedker, Kitchener OHL
Other than Stamkos, Boedker has the most offensive potential of any draft pick. He’s made a solid transition to the North American game, while showing the offensive wizardry that makes him such an attractive selection. Defense is not his strong point, but his offensive prowess is not something that can be taught.
Nashville (from Florida)
Cody Hodgson, Brampton OHL
A safe and solid pick for the Predators as Hodgson does a lot of little things right and plays the game the right way. He’s a solid leader that has a nose for the net (40 goals, 85 points) and is capable of playing all facets of the game.
Some character questions make this a bit of a risky pick for the Canucks, but everything else about Beach screams quality pick. He’s got the size, the two-way, rugged play, and a nose for the net. However, the questions about alleged character issues make this a big risk/reward-type pick for the Canucks.
Mattias Tedenby, HV71 Sweden
Chicago’s biggest hole is at left wing, as the organization has very little depth and firepower at this position. As a result, Tedenby’s exceptional speed and puck-moving abilities will surely be welcomed.
Anaheim (from Edmonton)
Tyler Myers, Kelowna WHL
Myers is definitely part of the group that the Ducks have identified as the top half-dozen defenders. He`s certainly the biggest at 6`7. His size and potential is just too great to pass up and the club will hope that he develops into a Shane O’Brien-type, with the sky being the limit to how high he can go.
Petrov projects as a power forward at the NHL level, and would quickly improve the Sabres’ organizational depth by bringing good size, speed, and hands around the net.
Zac Boychuk, Lethbridge WHL
The organization is loathe to draft a defenseman who needs developmental time with its first-round selection, so the club will go after the small, but offensively gifted forward prospect in Boychuk, who brings a dose of instant offense to the organization.
Joshua Bailey, Windsor OHL
Going with the best-player available theory and with an organizational need to replenish the system’s forward prospects, Bailey is a logical choice. Bailey has also shown an ability to play both ends of the ice, improving to plus-30 this season (after a minus-24 finish) to go with his 96-point production.
Colten Teubert, Regina WHL
The Bruins currently have more mobile, smallish and offensive-minded defensemen in their system and could use more size at that position. Teubert is a big, shut-down style defenseman who would be a good fit.
Joe Colborne, Camrose AJHL
At 6’5, Colborne would certainly add size to the middle of the Flames line up. His combination of prodigious size and hands has drawn comparisons to Joe Thornton and The Flames could really use some high-end offensive talent. Although committed to the NCAA route, Calgary has shown a willingness over the years to draft players going that direction.
The Senators are in the market for a puck-moving blueliner and DelZotto may be the best and most offensively minded of the remaining bunch. He’s had 47 assists in both his OHL seasons and has shown a marked ability to lead the offensive charge from the back end.
Columbus (from Colorado)
Luca Sbisa, Lethbridge WHL
The Blue Jackets are on the record talking about the importance of puck-moving defensemen and Sbisa more than fits the bill. Although the club is looking for more immediate help, they will be more than satisfied with a player they consider one of the more talented left on the board.
New York Rangers
Colby Robak, Brandon WHL
Good size at 6’2, but Robak has yet to show a willingness to put it to good use. He’s a gifted offensive defenseman who will look right at home quarterbacking a power play or making that first headmanning pass out of the defensive zone.
The Devils have had success in the past taking players of smaller stature who have a nose for the net, and Eberle could be another one of those picks. His 42 goals in 70 games shows a nose for the net and his offensive gifts would be a welcome addition to the Devils’ system.
Edmonton (from Anaheim)
Tyler Cuma, Ottawa OHL
A skilled, scoring forward was the hope but with those players all gone Edmonton takes who they feel is the best player available. The converted forward was Rookie of the Year for Ottawa in 2006-07 and has played in the last two U18 events for Canada. Cuma finished the season as the only Ottawa blueliner to have a positive plus/minus rating.
Grachev provides size down the middle in the future, something missing from the current lineup. Not afraid to hit, this 6’3 center will fill out and become that much stronger in the next few years. Capable of strong two-way play and utilizes soft hands to make good passes in traffic.
Drafting at 24, the Wild won’t be expecting someone ready to play right away, but will be looking for someone who is a good candidate to play in the NHL and Carlson has all the tools. He’s a big guy with a big shot and a nasty streak. The Wild could use all of those. The current defensive prospect pipeline is a bit lean.
Jake Gardiner, Minnetonka HS
Third time’s the charm. Fischer, McDonagh, and now – Gardiner out of Minnesota. Size, offensive ability, and the ability to keep him tucked away in a nice U.S. college, therefore not using up valuable — and full — spaces in the minor system. Blazing fast – potentially one of the draft’s fastest – his hockey sense has been questioned. Time is on Montreal’s side – Gardiner is the pick.
Buffalo (San Jose)
Yann Sauvé, Saint-John QMJHL
The Sabres seem to be perennially lacking a big, rugged defenseman, which may lead them to pick this 6’3, 220-pound blueliner who patterns his game after Calgary star Dion Phaneuf.
The Flyers desperately need to bolster their goaltending depth and get excellent value in the late round with the Tri-Cities’ netminder. His stellar playoff performance vaults him above other contenders and provides his steady hand under fire.
Los Angeles (Dallas)
Although a little undersized at the moment (5’11, 165 pounds), Karlsson had a big-league coming-out party at the under-18’s where he led Sweden with seven goals in six games. He is a solid all-around defenseman who is positionally sound and will benefit from a few years’ seasoning.
Zac Dalpe, Penticton BCHL
The Thrashers are likely to deal this pick, but if they don’t, they’ll continue to build up the middle with a player they can stash in the college ranks for a few years. A solid offensive player who has developed a passable defensive game this season.
Aaron Ness, Roseau Minnesota HS
Like Karlsson, Ness is a touch undersized right now (5’10, 160), but he’ll have plenty of time to fill out. What’s big-league right now is his skating and passing ability. He has very soft hands, is an excellent passer, and already possesses elite-level skating.