an NHL franchise. No, not golf season (unless your Alexei Yashin). I mean
the draft. While the playoffs are the most high profile of all the events
that take place through out the season, the NHL Entry Draft is the place
where the future cornerstones of every NHL team -and even of the NHL itself-
are put into place. The following is the second annual mock draft done by
myself. Last year’s mock draft had a good/bad outcome. While most of the
players I selected to go in the first round did actually go in the first
round, I wasn’t as accurate in picking their final destination. This year, I
have decided to go to a two round mock draft, which will prove to be an even
bigger challenge, but one I feel up to. This should provide even more reason
for criticism, which I look forward too. Here is a list of the draft
selection order for the first two rounds including compensatory draft picks.
This has been updated as recently as June 20th and is supplied by the
Round 1 1. Atlanta 2. NY Islanders 3. Tampa Bay 4. Florida 5. Anaheim 6. Minnesota 7. Montreal 8. Columbus 9. Chicago 10. NY Rangers 11. Calgary 12. Nashville 13. Boston * 14. Phoenix 15. Carolina 16. Vancouver 17. Toronto 18. Los Angeles 19. Edmonton * 20. San Jose 21. Pittsburgh 22. Buffalo 23. Philadelphia 24. New Jersey (from STL) 25. Montreal (from WSH) 26. Dallas 27. Ottawa 28. New Jersey 29. Chicago (from DET) 30. Los Angeles (from COL)
* Picks 13 and 19 – Edmonton has the option to switch first-round picks with
Boston in the 2001 or 2002 Entry Draft.
Round 2 31. Phoenix (from NYI-T.B.) 32. Buffalo (from T.B.) 33. Nashville (from ATL-VAN) 34. Florida 35. Anaheim 36. Minnesota 37. Montreal 38. Columbus 39. Toronto (from CHI) 40. NY Rangers 41. Phoenix (from CGY -ANA) 42. Nashville 43. Edmonton (from BOS) 44. Florida (from PHX) 45. Phoenix 46. Carolina 47. Tampa Bay (from VAN) 48. Florida (from VAN) 49. Los Angeles (from TOR) 50. Buffalo 51. Los Angeles 52. Edmonton 53. Columbus (from SJ-MTL) 54. Pittsburgh 55. Buffalo 56. Philadelphia 57. St. Louis 58. Washington 59. Chicago (from DAL) 60. Ottawa 61. Washington (from NJ-MTL) 62. Detroit 63. Colorado
Round 2 Compensatory Pick Notes
· Pick 45 assigned to Phoenix for club not signing 1999 first-round draft
pick Scott Kelman.
· Pick 48 assigned to Vancouver for loss of Group III player Mark Messier.
· Pick 50 assigned to Buffalo for club not signing 1999 first-round draft
pick Barrett Heisten.
that no trades will take place (which of course will happen). So, with out
further adieu I give to you the NHL class of 2001:
1. Atlanta- Ilya Kovalchuk, LW The ultimate no-brainer pick since Eris
Lindros in 1991. While the Thrashers would love to have added a center or a
goaltender, the obvious choice for the top pick is Kovalchuk. The Thrashers
needs are large and at all positions due to the fact that they are only a
two year old franchise. Kovalchuk’s speed combined with Heatley’s strength
and power will provide the Thrasher’s with two top-notch number 1 line
wingers. Now if only they can get Stefan to remember how to play center.
2. New York Islanders- Stephan Weiss, C “Mad Mike” is at it again. With
Spezza still available, expect the unexpected from the Islander chief.
Milbury will be impressed with the playoff performance that Weiss had
against Spezza in the second round of the OHL Playoffs. Combine that with
Weiss’s character and scoring ability which was greatly under-rated this
year with a short-staffed Plymouth team. He will be a great second line
3. Tampa Bay- Alexander Svitov, C This is the guy that Dudley is said to
have had his eyes on since March. He would be a good compliment to
Lecavalier. One scout called him a “Bobby Holik” type player. Someone that
will park himself in front of the net and bang for loose pucks is something
that the Lightning have needed for a long time and maybe as soon as the
2002-2003 season Svitov can be plying his trade in T-Bay.
4. Florida- Jason Spezza, C Florida wants a defenseman badly, but at this
pick it is to early in the draft for a D-man. When Spezza falls into their
lap they are elated. Spezza will provide Florida with another scorer. Given
how awful Florida scored goals behind Pavel Bure and that second line
forward Ray Whitney was dealt at the deadline, look for Spezza to have every
opportunity to step straight into a top two line position next year.
5. Anaheim- Stanislav Chistov, RW Anaheim was bitterly disappointed when
Weiss was picked, as he would have been the ideal front-line center that the
Ducks have been desperate for since 1993. Still, Chistov is no down-grade.
Arguably the best player in the draft talent wise, the diminutive winger
will be an outright steal at number 5.
6. Minnesota- Dan Blackburn, G The first goalie to be selected, Blackburn
will give the Wild a future budding star. Following the led of Nashville to
draft a talented winger in their first year followed by a goalie in the
second year, Minnesota sets themselves up beautifully in the crease with
Fernandez and Blackburn in the nets for 10 years.
7. Montreal- Mike Komisarek, D The highest selected defensemen in this
years draft, Komisarek is a beast. While his offensive upside is apparently
limited, Mike has all the other tools needed to be a dominate defenseman for
15 years. First, he’s 6-4, 225lbs. Second, he’s very mobile, being compared
by some to Jeff Jillson. Some even say that Mike is father along in his
career then Jeff Jillson was at the same age. Montreal is lacking in top
four D-men with size and aggressiveness. Mike fills this hole quite well.
8. Columbus- Fredrik Sjostrom, RW Looking for a skilled, goal-scoring
winger, the Blue Jackets selected Sjostrom. He is a very talented player who
will still need some filling out, but has the potential to be a dynamic
player if he can put some more grit in his game.
9. Chicago- Colby Armstrong, RW I know, I know. Mike Smith DOESN’T pick a
European? It’s true. Chicago has talented players (Amonte, Zhamnov, Daze,
Mironov), but no leadership. When Steve Sullivan is your inspirational
leader, you have problems. Armstrong should help in this area as he is
described as a Darcy Tucker like player who really endears himself to his
teammates. He may not be the most talented player, but he has the heart and
desire that the Blackhawks need.
10. New York Rangers- Pascal Leclaire, G The Rangers need help at all
positions in the future, but the goal is the biggest problem. Leclaire is a
bit of a wild card this year due to a plethora of injuries and loosing his
starting role come playoff time. However, the potential of this young
netminder is unlimited. With Richter and Hebert close to the end of their
careers and no heir apparent for the number 1 job, Leclaire puts to rest
some concerns of Sather’s
11. Calgary- R.J. Umberger, C The Flames are in desperate need of scoring
and size up front and Umberger has the potential to be a premier power
forward. With his size and strength, Umberger will be able to put the points
on the board and also help his linemates due the same due to his work ethic
in the corners and along the boards.
12. Nashville- Dan Hamhuis, D Nashville has quantity but not quality on the
blueline. Hamhuis solves that problem. The best offensive defenseman in the
draft will be a future powerplay quarterback. Basically, Hamhuis is a player
who is similar to Scott Neidermayer, just a notch below him in most aspects.
Still, with his offensive talent, he will be a future all-star hopeful and
someone who should help Nashville’s enigmatic offense.
13. Edmonton- Mikko Koivu, C This pick is assuming Edmonton will switch
picks with Boston, which is an almost certain proposition. Edmonton would
have loved to get Blackburn or Leclaire, but once they were gone they opted
for the skilled Koivu. Koivu will give them a skilled center, something they
will need if Weight forces a trade in the near future.
14. Phoenix- Carlo Colaiacovo, D An offensive defensemen is high on the
Coyotes draft priorities and Carlo is the best one left. The fact that his
stock has risen dramatically in the past two months doesn’t hurt either. If
Carlo can improve his numbers so that they are more in line with his skill
level, look out, the Coyotes will have a real gem.
15. Carolina- Mark Popovic, D Carolina has no real defensive prospects
coming up in the future that appear able to take over a top four position.
With Tanabe, Popovic will help make the Canes powerplay very mobile and
potent. Also, Popovic is reliable in his own end.
16. Vancouver- Tuomo Ruutu, C Once Vancouver acquired Alex Auld, they
shored up their most glaring weakness; goaltending. Ruutu represents the
best player available and Burke has a habit of truly picking the best
overall. Ruutu will be a solid second line center, though Vancouver has
players with that potential coming out the ying yang. It will be interesting
to see what happens to this pick or Ruutu if they do select him.
17. Toronto- Chuck Kobasew, RW Toronto needs forwards to replace the aging
corps that is in place now. Kobasew will bring a goal scorers touch to the
top two lines in the future. Kobasew has the ability to come up big in big
games. Given Toronto’s implosion in the final two games against New Jersey
in the playoffs, they could really use that ability.
18. Los Angeles- Igor Knyazev, D The Kings like this young blueliners
aggressiveness, leadership, and all-round steady game. With Miller and
Norstrom pushing 30, it’s time to add a future D-man to replace them 5 years
down the road. This potential future captain will do nicely.
19. Boston- Alexander Polushin, RW The need for size on the wings prompts
Boston to pick this talented, but inconsistent winger. If his work ethic
ever kicks in, Polushin has the ability to be a number 1 line winger. The
biggest question right now will be; can O’Connell sign him?
20. San Jose- Jeff Woywitka, D The Sharks would like to add another
blue-chip defenseman to there pipeline now that Jillson appears likely to be
wearing a teal uniform next year. Woywitka is the most consistent defenseman
left and will be a steady influence in the near future.
21. Pittsburgh- Lukas Krajicek, D The Pens are looking to add an offensive
blueliner to the future mix and Krajicek is likely the most skilled one
left. Krajicek might not have much size or strength, which might effect his
icetime in the NHL, but his skill level is high, something the Pens need on
22. Buffalo- Tim Gleason, D Buffalo looks to ensure it’s future along the
blueline with Gleason. Though Buffalo seems to be set for the near future on
the blueline, Gleason should erase any long-term doubt as well. Some
question his smarts, but Buffalo has a good track record with prospects and
should be able to get him on the right path.
23. Philadelphia- David Steckel, C With a pick that could turn out to be
reminiscent of Michael Rupp, Philly picks Steckel. Steckel has some untapped
potential, the question is, can it be tapped. Still, if he can improve his
skating, Steckel will make it as at least a third line checker/enforcer.
Clarke loves guys his size (6’5, 200lbs.) and will be pleased to get him.
24. New Jersey- Jiri Novotny, C Though New Jersey would like a goalie,
there are none available this high in the draft. Novotny will help supply
size and good work ethic to an organization that thrives on such qualities.
Possibly the heir apparent to Bobby Holik.
25. Montreal- Ales Hemsky, RW After adding some strength on the blueline in
Mike Komisarek, Montreal addresses their glaring lack of scoring by getting
the Martin Havlat of this years draft. Hemsky might need to add some weight
to be successful, but at 25th, he could be a real steal.
26. Andrei Medvedev, G Surprising everyone, Dallas announces the third
first round goalie in this years draft. Medvedev has a notion for being
quirky and a potential trouble maker, but Dallas, after Belfour, know all
about how to handle this. If he gets his act together, he has the ability to
be a game-stealer.
27. Ottawa- Doug Lynch, D Ottawa looks to add to their stable of
up-and-coming blueliners with the selection of Lynch. At 6’3, 205lbs, many
people say he can be another Mark Tinordi. Considering the way the Sens were
getting pushed around in their own zone in the playoffs by the larger Maple
Leafs forwards, they could use his size and strength.
28. New Jersey- Duncan Milroy, RW Picking the best of what’s left, New
Jersey adds a playmaking forward. Milroy has the ability to make those
around him better and could be this years Scott Gomez. Milroy should be a
solid NHLer who, if he can overcome his size deficiency, could be a number 1
29. Chicago- Jay Harrison, D I know, TWO picks and NO Russians by Smith? I
guess pigs fly after all huh? Harrison continues to help to overcome the
leadership void in the Blackhawk organization. If Harrison can overcome his
nasty habit of making terrible plays with the puck at times, he could be a
real solid blueliner, much like a young Ken Daneyko.
30. Los Angeles- Marcel Goc, C A potential draft day steal, Goc could
develop into a top line pivot. He has probably played against the most
former NHLers of all the prospects in this years draft and that will serve
him well in the future. He already has a headstart on most prospects when it
comes to being NHL-ready.
31. Phoenix- Tim Jackman, RW A potential future Shane Doan, Jackman has the
ability to be an aggressive second line forward who can do a little bit of
everything; score, hit, do the dirty work down low, backcheck, etc. Some
wonder about his intensity, but Gretzky and Co. could be the coaxing he
32. Buffalo- Fedor Tyutin, D As the old saying goes, you can never have to
many defensemen. Buffalo will test that with the selection of yet another
blueliner. Tyutin is a very aggressive D-man who should be a good crease
clearer in the future for the Sabres.
33. Nashville- Igor Pohanka, C Injuries and an awful team limited Pohanka’s
effectiveness this season. He missed the Top Prospects game, but those who
seen him play in Prince Albert saw a skilled forward who on most other teams
would have added another 15 points onto his total of only 49. He has skill
and isn’t afraid to try and make things happen.
34. Florida- Brendan Bell, D Florida is in need of some blueliners to
replenish a soon-to-be depleted blueline corps. Age is starting to become a
factor. Bell will provide a PP quarterback for Bure and Co. for the next 15
years. Given how Svehla is playing, this is a great selection.
35. Anaheim- Timofei Shishkanov, LW The Ducks decide to take a chance on
the talented, but potential trouble making winger. Shishkanov has all the
skill needed to go in the top half of the first round. What has held him
back is the fact he only seems to show up for the games that will help his
draft rankings and not for games for his regular club in Russia. Boom or
36. Minnesota- Kiel McLeod, C Minnesota grabs a potential top line pivot
here. Kiel has the scoring ability and smarts to be a huge top line center.
The drawback is his skating, but he will have two more years of junior to
overcome this and with some work, he should be able to.
37. Montreal- Matthew Spiller, D Montreal continues restructuring a
blueline full of soft players (not including Souray). Spiller will not lead
your team offensively, but he will ram his man through the boards. His
skating is also a strength to his game and that will help him to adjust to
38. Columbus- Aaron Johnson, D Columbus is thin for blueline prospects
after Klesla. Johnson will be like a poor man’s Klesla. He can hit, score,
make a good clearing pass and take his man out of the play very effectively.
If he improves his foot speed, he will be a great pick up.
39. Toronto- Kyle Wanvig, RW Why trade for him if you can get him for free?
That is the question Quinn will ask himself when Wanvig is still on the
board at 39. Wanvig is streaky at times, but when his game is on, he is one
of the most effective power forwards in all of juniors. Given that a
contract was in place with Wanvig before the whole broken fax machine fiasco
came on signing deadline day (June 1st), it shouldn’t be to hard to get
Wanvig inked and ready for training camp.
40. New York Rangers- Alexander Perezhogin, LW A winger with a lefthanded
shot is something that Sather will be happy to get in Perezhogin. He won’t
be a top-line forward, but he has a chance to be an effective two way
forward with good agility and puck handling.
41. Phoenix- Michael Garnett, G With Burke getting older and the lack of
faith in Ptrick Desrochers, Garnett becomes the heir apparent to number 1
role. It’s hard to say if Garnett has number 1 potential or not, though next
season should help as he will be given a real test playing for the
struggling Saskatoon Blades.
42. Nashville- Garth Murray, RW Murray shone at the Memorial Cup and seen
his draft stock rise. He proved himself to be a tough, physical forward who
can drive the net hard. Also, his desire to take on all oncomers appealed to
the Nashville brass.
43. Edmonton- Yared Hagos, C Hagos is not the typical high-flying speedster
that the Oilers usually go for, but he still can bring a ton of skill to the
table. He’s a potential second line scoring winger with decent size. If
Edmonton can improve his skating, he could be a huge bargain at 43rd.
44. Florida- Nathan Paetsch, D Paetsch will compliment Bell down the road
as a strong one-two offensive punch from the blueline for the Panthers.
Paetsch is an excellent passer who needs to work on the defensive aspects of
45. Phoenix-Brent MacLellan, D MacLellan will bring a good physical
presence to the Coyotes to help Colaiacovo develop his offensive game. It’s
not known if he has the smarts to be dominate physically at the NHL level,
but at 45, he’s worth a look.
46. Carolina- Jason Bacashihua, G Needing a heir apparent to Irbe, and not
sure if Pelletier can do the job, Carolina go for some insurance with
“Cash”. While Bacashihua is a wild card due to playing only against junior
opponents, he is still highly regarded.
47. Tampa Bay- Tomas Duba, G Duba is another darkhorse goalie. He virtually
came out of nowhere to unseat Medvedev as the top ranked European goalie
according to CSS. Once Weekes gets moved, Tampa Bay will need a backup for
Khabibulin. Duba is the man for the job.
48. Florida- Vladimir Korsunov, D Florida will add another defensemen with
this young Russian rearguard. He is a bit of a gamble do to his lack of
strength, but he has the size to fill out and improve in that area, making
him a potential top four defensemen.
49. Los Angeles- Derek Roy, C Los Angeles adds another character player in
Roy. Though only 5-8, Roy plays a very energetic two-way game. In a best
case scenario, Roy can be a Theo Fleury. In a worst case scenario, he’s Ian
50. Buffalo- Andrei Taratukhin, C Trying to improve an offense that is
average at best, Buffalo makes this talented center their first forward
selection of the draft. He’s smart, competative, plays in traffic, and is
very aware defensively. These traits will have him in Buffalo at some point
down the road.
51. Los Angeles Kings- Jens Karlsson, RW. Though the Kings were looking at
other players with this pick, Karlsson was just to good to pass on again.
Though he has seen his stock fall drastically since last year at this time,
he still has the potential to be a dominate force in the NHL. If he could
only learn to use his size better.
52. Edmonton- Eddie Caron, C After passing on him at 43 for Hagos, Edmonton
is pleased to see Caron still available at 52. Caron has good size at 6-2,
214lbs, but average foot speed and a questionably understanding of the game.
Playing on the speedy Oilers under the very knowledgable Lowe and MacTavish
should cure those problems.
53. Columbus- Cory Stillman, C The Blue Jackets look to add a center to
play with Sjostrom in the future and do that by adding Stillman. Stillman
has good size and if he improves his intensity, he can be a very talented
player on a game in, game out basis.
54. Pittsburgh- Jay McClement, C Pittsburgh is in need of some players who
will go into the corners and do some hard-nosed digging. McClement is at his
bet in these situations. He has the potential to put up good numbers, but
even in a worst case scenario, McClement will be a solid addition to
Pittsburgh’s third line.
55. Buffalo- Tomas Malec, D Malec will join Gleason and Campbell as the
teams future offensive blueliners. Potentially the fastest rising player in
the draft, Malec can be a future PP quarterback, something Buffalo
56. Philadelphia- Jordin Tootoo, RW In an effort to add more two-way minded
players to the system, Clarke selects the Tazmanian Devil of the draft in
Tootoo. Tootoo’s offensive game has improved greatly this year and combined
with has hitting game, he could be a poor man’s Mike Peca.
57. St. Louis- Adam Munro, G The only real long-term need in St.Louis is a
goalie. After Turek and Johnson, the Blues are thin. Turek is seeming to not
be the answer in the playoffs that the Blues need and could be shipped out
soon. If so, Munro will be needed to strengthen the depth chart and become
the heir apparent to Johnson.
58. Washington- Shaone Morrisonn, D Looking to add to the likes of Cutta
and Yonkman, Washington will select yet another WHL D-man to help out the
future stocks along the blueline. Morrisonn has nice size and good mobility.
Potential for some offense lies in this young man’s stick.
59. Chicago- Drew Fata, D Adding to it’s future blueline corps of Harrison
and McCarthy, the Blackhawks figure to have one of the brightest young
bluelines in three or four years. Fata is the type of defenseman who is good
at everything, though great at nothing.
60. Ottawa- Colt King, LW Adding a big banging winger who can score is just
right up the Sens alley. King is a somewhat risky pick as it is unclear what
his offensive upside is, but he could be another Kyle Wanvig. At the very
least, he should be a strong third line player with size.
61. Washington- Greg Watson, C A strong showing at the Top Prospects Game
(he was the MVP) helped his stock, but since then, Watson has been very up
and down. He can be a second line scorer who can put the puck in the net,
but he must learn to play with more confidence and not squeeze the stick so
tight, like he has the tendency to do when things are not going well.
62. Detroit- Mike Cammalleri, C Despite his small frame, Cammalleri has the
chance to be an excellent offensive force in the NHL. He has shown that he
can fight through checks to get to the net and that he can play with the
puck like it’s on a string. It will be interesting to see if this also goes
in the NHL.
63. Colorado- Drew MacIntyre, G Looking to add another goaltender to their
depth charts in preparation for the eventual depart of Roy (weather through
free agency or retirement), MacIntyre has the skills and attitude to
eventually be a potential number 1 netminder in the league. Given how little
is behind Roy and Aebischer, MacIntyre will have plenty of opportunities to
develop into the number 1 job.
Well, that’s it. I know there is naturally going to be some criticism, but
it has been fun doing this mock draft and criticism is a part of that fun.
So I look forward to reading your comments and until next year (the year of
Bouwmeester and Whitney) I say good day and good drafting.