Hockey’s Future 2004 Staff Mock Draft

By HF Staff





The 2004 Hockey’s Future is complete and below you will find the picks<br />of our staff with their best guesses for each draft pick based on each team’s<br />biggest needs for the first round of the Entry Draft

The 2004 Hockey’s Future Staff Mock
Draft is complete. Below you will find the picks of our staff based on each
team’s biggest needs, or best player available, for the first round of the
Entry Draft. Included with each pick is the rationale for the choice from the
staff member who made the selection. In almost all cases, the pick was made by
a staff member who normally writes about the team making the pick. Trading of picks was not allowed for this
draft.

 

 

#

Team

Player

Reasoning

1

 

Washington

Name: Alexander
Ovechkin,
LW

Ht: 6-2 Wt:
212

Birth date: 1985-9-17

Team: Dynamo

CSS Rank: No. 1 European skater

If you find a scout who won’t say that Ovechkin is
the real deal, a future star in the NHL, you better check for a pulse. This
is the clear first overall choice this year and the only question is whether
the Capitals will trade down or not. He’s the best player available in the
2004 draft crop without a doubt.

2

 

Pittsburgh

Name: Evgeni
Malkin,
C/W

Ht: 6-3 Wt:
186

Birth date: 1986-7-31

Team: Magnitogorsk

CSS Rank: No. 2 European skater

With good organizational depth at every
position, the Penguins farm system is lacking only a superstar forward.
Despite missing out on Ovechkin because some ping pong balls didn’t bounce
their way, the Penguins and their fans should still be very happy with the
player available at No. 2. The lanky, 17-year-old Metallurg Magnitogorsk
center captured rookie of the year honors in the Russian Super League this
season. Malkin dominated the recent U-18 tournament with 8 points (4 goals, 4
assists) and 31 PIMs in 6 games. An excellent playmaker, shooter, and skater;
Malkin does it all.

3

 

Chicago

Name: Rostislav
Olesz,
C

Ht: 6-1 Wt:
202

Birth date: 1985-10-10

Team: Vitkovice

CSS Rank: No. 3 European skater

For a player that has been playing among
men since the age of 15, Olesz’s skills are undeniable. He plays a strong,
power, and skilled game that has earned comparisons to Jaromir Jagr and Bobby
Holik. He is no stranger to the defensive zone and has no glaring holes in
his game. His on-ice vision and willingness to pay the price physically means
that he is the best player available at this point.

4

 

Columbus

Name: Cameron
Barker,
D

Ht: 6-3 Wt:
214

Birth date: 1986-4-4

Team: Medicine Hat

CSS Rank: No. 2 North American skater

Barker is the best player available at
No. 4. Also, Columbus needs to add a high quality blueliner to their
organization. Barker will join a young core that includes Rusty Klesla and
Aaron Johnson.

5

 

Phoenix

Name: Andrew
Ladd,
LW

Ht: 6-2 Wt:
200

Birth date: 1985-12-12

Team: Calgary

CSS Rank: No. 1 North American skater

With depth at center but a lack of
wingers, when you consider that their prospects consist of Frantisek Lukes
and Lance Monych, the Phoenix Coyotes make no surprises and select Andrew
Ladd. Coming from the Calgary Hitman, a well known WHL team when it comes to
developing prospects, the 6’2” 200 lb left wing will definitely be a big part
of a young core that already consist of Mike Comrie, Derek Morris, Ladislav
Nagy and Shane Doan.

6

 

New York Rangers

Name: A.J.
Thelen,
D

Ht: 6-3 Wt:
205

Birth date: 1986-3-11

Team: Michigan State

CSS Rank: No. 11 North American skater

With the top forwards already off the
board, the Rangers go with who they feel is the top remaining defenseman.
Perhaps a bit of a surprise pick, the Rangers pass on talented but
potentially risky forwards Robbie Schremp, Alexander Radulov and Lauri
Tukonen, and acquire a player that they feel has the talent to be on the top
pairing one day.

7

 

Florida

Name: Rob
Schremp,
C

Ht: 5-11 Wt:
197

Birth date: 1986-7-1

Team: London

CSS Rank: No. 10 North American skater

The Panthers have one glaring need in
the 2004 Entry Draft — forwards who can score. With offense their primary
concern, and with few potential star forwards still remaining, they select
Schremp from the OHL’s London Knights.

Schremp is the most talented scorer available at this point in the draft and
the whispers about his character are unfounded. He is a skating, stick
handling, scoring machine who fared very well with a stacked London Knights
team that often saw him on only the second power play unit.

8

 

Carolina

Name: Lauri
Tukonen,
RW

Ht: 6-2 Wt:
198

Birth date: 1986-9-1

Team: Blues

CSS Rank: No. 5 European skater

Since 1997, when the Whalers became the
Hurricanes, the team has drafted a defenseman in either the first or second
round in every year except for 2000 (when they didn’t have a first rounder).
With the trading away of David Tanabe and Igor Knyazev at the 2003 draft, and
with Glen Wesley and Sean Hill up for free agency, it would appear that the
Hurricanes would continue their blueliner trend. However, with Tukonen still
available and a definite need for big forwards also present, they select
Finnish winger Tukonen eighth overall, and leave the defenseman for the
second round.

9

 

Anaheim

Name: Andrej
Meszaros,
D

Ht: 6-0 Wt:
198

Birth date: 1985-10-13

Team: Trencin

CSS Rank: No. 6 European skater

With Thelen and Barker off the board,
Anaheim looks to the next best defenseman to fill a need for blueliners with top-2
potential. Solid two-way play with great offensive upside, Meszaros was the
youngest player at this year’s World Championships and did not look out of
place.

10

 

Atlanta

Name: Wojtek
Wolski,
LW

Ht: 6-3 Wt:
202

Birth date: 1986-2-24

Team: Brampton

CSS Rank: No. 5 North American skater

Atlanta takes Wolski, the best available
consensus forward. The club is in good shape scoring wise at the NHL level,
but the system lacks offense. This big left wing has shown that he’s got the
tools to succeed at the next level all squeezed into a big body that still
has more growing to do. He creates room for his linemates and can put the
puck in on his own as well. In addition to his immense potential skill-wise,
this past season he adjusted well to a leadership role for the OHL’s Brampton
Battalion.

11

 

Los
Angeles

Name: Marek
Schwarz,
G

Ht: 6-0 Wt:
180

Birth date: 1986-4-1

Team: Sparta

CSS Rank: No. 1 European goalie

It is no big secret that the Los Angeles
Kings are lacking top prospects between the pipes, and it stands to reason
that this issue will be addressed with the 11th overall pick. From the Czech
Republic, Marek Schwarz competes in a league that has a history of developing
quality goaltenders, from Dominik Hasek and Kings current goalie Roman
Cechmanek to Tomas Vokoun and Martin Prusek. Already a veteran of the
international junior tournaments, Schwarz’s quick, athletic style and
competitive grit is reminiscent of Hasek.

 

At No. 11, Schwarz fills both an
organizational need and is the best available player on the board. The fact
that Schwarz is coming from Europe is consistent with Dave Taylor’s drafting
philosophy of taking college and European kids to gain those extra years of
development without being under an obligation to sign them.

12

 

Minnesota

Name: Drew
Stafford,
RW

Ht: 6-2 Wt:
202

Birth date: 1985-10-30

Team: North Dakota

CSS Rank: No. 7 North American skater

The selections of Meszaros and Wolski,
and the earlier pick of Thelen by the Rangers, made the choice a much easier
one. The recent signing of Ryan Stokes was a step towards addressing the
physical defensive needs for the Wild, so with this first rounder the team
fills another weakness: sizeable wingers with some talent. Brent Burns’ fate
is still unclear with regards to power forward or two-way defenseman, but
having the hard working Stafford up front in the depth chart will be of value
whatever should happen with Burns.

13

 

Buffalo

Name: Boris
Valabik,
D

Ht: 6-7 Wt:
212

Birth date: 1986-2-14

Team: Kitchener

CSS Rank: No. 6 North American skater

The Sabres found a solid forward
prospect in Kitchener a couple of years ago in Derek Roy, so they’ll turn to
that club again with the hope of finding a defensive presence in the form of
behemoth defenseman Boris Valabik. Valabik has a mean streak that the Sabres
have lacked on their blueline, with his selection also addressing Buffalo’s
lack of quality depth at this position.

14

 

Edmonton

Name: Alexandre
Picard,
LW

Ht: 6-2 Wt:
190

Birth date: 1985-10-9

Team: Lewiston

CSS Rank: No. 3 North American skater

Edmonton’s priority coming into the
draft is to increase their skill level and obtain a scoring forward. They
address both of those needs by grabbing the best player available fitting
that description while sidestepping a couple of tempting Russians and the
potential red-tape/transfer fee issues. The fact that Picard can find his own
end of the rink greatly increases the attraction for Edmonton, and his lunch
pail work ethic and reputation fits in well with what the Oilers already have
in their talent pool. This pick also coincides with the increase of
French-Canadians drafted by Edmonton in recent years.

15

 

Nashville

Name: Bruce
Graham,
C

Ht: 6-6 Wt:
220

Birth date: 1985-12-2

Team: Moncton

CSS Rank: No. 14 North American skater

The Predators are said to be interested
in centers, so the choice here will be Bruce Graham from Moncton of the
QMJHL. Graham may not be the stereotypical Predators’ selection, but he has
the skill and especially the size that is currently missing from Nashville’s
current crop of centers.

16

 

New York
Islanders

Name: Kyle
Chipchura,
C

Ht: 6-2 Wt:
197

Birth date: 1986-2-19

Team: Prince Albert

CSS Rank: No. 4 North American skater

The New York Islanders are lacking in
tough, gritty players and Chipchura seems to fit the bill. Although having an
off year offensively with the Raiders (15-33-48), Chipchura has a good
scoring touch and isn’t afraid to mix it up, tallying 118 PIM. Chipchura is
said to be inconsistent, but he is the tough, gritty player full of character
that the Isles need in the future.

17

 

St. Louis

Name: Alexander
Radulov,
RW

Ht: 6-1 Wt:
178

Birth date: 1986-7-5

Team: Dynamo 2

CSS Rank: No. 9 European skater

The Blues’ most glaring organizational
deficiency is a lack of a big-time scoring forward. While there are some
question marks associated with Radulov, his upside is definitely that of a
blue-chip scoring forward. Together with 2003 draftee Konstantin Zakharov and
2002 pick Alexei Shkotov, the Blues feel that Radulov provides them with the
final piece of a dynamic, creative, offensive dynamo of a line for years to
come.

18

 

Montreal

Name: Johan
Fransson,
D

Ht: 6-1 Wt:
183

Birth date: 1985-2-18

Team: Lulea

CSS Rank: No. 7 European skater

The Habs’ depth on defense is a concern
with the lack of progression of Ron Hainsey and Tomas Linhart. With Fransson,
they get a good skating, puck moving defenseman. The team was interested in
him last year until he opted out of the draft. There are concerns about his
injury troubles, but management saw something in his game they liked last
year, and getting named the SEL rookie of the year shouldn’t have changed
their minds any.

19

 

Calgary

Name: Enver
Lisen,
RW

Ht: 6-2 Wt:
190

Birth date: 1986-4-22

Team: Saratov

CSS Rank: No. 13 European skater

Despite the amount of noise made over
Darryl Sutter’s penchant for big Western Canadian kids, he knows what his
team needs: skill up front. The Flames run was made on heart, grit and
teamwork, but when they looked across the ice at the Lightning, and when they
look down through their own farm system, it is apparent skilled forwards are
lacking. Their defense is impeccable and with Krahn, Sabourin and Medvedev
all knocking on the door, goaltending isn’t as urgent a need as help up
front.

While some may not feel Sutter would make a move for a Russian, he can’t
ignore Lisin’s skill at No. 19, nor will Sutter ignore his scouts who have
not shied away from Russia in years past.

20

 

Dallas

Name: Ladislav
Smid,
D

Ht: 6-3 Wt:
202

Birth date: 1986-2-1

Team: Liberec

CSS Rank: No. 4 European skater

It isn’t often that best player
available and meeting organizational needs go hand in hand. The Dallas Stars,
after recently allowing Martin Vagner to reenter the draft, now look at their
defensive prospect cupboard as being less than full. Pleasantly surprised
that he has dropped, the Dallas Stars happily select Smid.

21

 

Colorado

Name: Al
Montoya,
G

Ht: 6-1 Wt:
190

Birth date: 1985-2-13

Team: Michigan

CSS Rank: No. 1 North American goalie

While Colorado has young netminders
Peter Budaj and Phil Sauve in the system already, it is impossible to turn
down the potential of Montoya, who was surprisingly still available at the
21st spot. Montoya’s competitiveness and all-around abilities could be the
long term answer for the replacement of Patrick Roy in Colorado. While the
team had planned to address their needs up front or on the blueline with the
first pick, they are more than pleased to be adding a quality player such as
Montoya.

22

 

New Jersey

Name: Mike
Green,
D

Ht: 6-2 Wt:
198

Birth date: 1985-10-12

Team: Saskatchewan

CSS Rank: No. 9 North American skater

With Paul Martin and David Hale cracking
the Devils line-up this last season the Devils need to restock the blueline
with a few stud defensive prospects, and in Green they get an excellent two-way
defender. Green flashed tons of character with a very bad Saskatoon team in
the WHL this season and when he makes it to the NHL he will contribute at
both ends of the ice.

23

 

Ottawa

Name: Dave
Bolland,
C/RW

Ht: 5-11 Wt:
171

Birth date: 1986-6-5

Team: London

CSS Rank: No. 8 North American skater

After hoping that one of the better
defensemen would drop into their hands at this point in the draft, the
Senators take the hard-nosed Mimico native who’s often compared to current
Senator Mike Fisher. Not just a grinder, Bolland has great hockey sense and
goal scoring upside. Not only is Bolland the best player left on the draft
board, but he also gives the Senators grit, something many people in Ottawa
feel they lack.

24

 

New York
Rangers

* from
Toronto

Name: Petteri
Nokelainen,
C

Ht: 6-1 Wt:
190

Birth date: 1986-1-16

Team: SaiPa

CSS Rank: No. 10 European skater

With the higher ranked forwards off the
board, New York goes with Finnish forward Nokelainen. Nokelainen plays a
strong two-way game, and the Rangers feel he could step into their lineup in
the near future.

25

 

Edmonton

* from
Philadelphia

Name: Lauri
Korpikoski,
LW

Ht: 6-1 Wt:
183

Birth date: 1986-7-28

Team: TPS Jr.

CSS Rank: No. 12 European skater

Torn between two forwards and a
goaltender, the Oilers decide that the draft is deep in keepers and elect to
go with a skater.

The display that Korpikoski and his linemates put on for the scouts in
Belarus during the U18 tournament made lasting impressions on many. The
6’1" 183 lb winger can score and has the terrific top end speed and
acceleration that has always attracted the Oilers. Edmonton has traditionally
had success with Finns, more so then with any other European nation, and the
fact that Korpikoski won’t turn 18 until a month after the draft certainly is
a big added bonus.

26

 

Vancouver

Name: Travis
Zajac,
C

Ht: 6-2 Wt:
205

Birth date: 1985-5-13

Team: Salmon Arm

CSS Rank: No. 15 North American skater

Despite the low level of competition he
plays at, Zajac possesses the size, skating ability, creativity, defensive
zone commitment, hockey sense, and intensity that most teams and scouts covet
in draft picks. By playing this past season at Junior A instead of the WHL,
Zajac remained eligible to enter a very good hockey program at North Dakota.
There he will attempt to take on part of the offensive load left void by the
departure of Zach Praise to the NHL.

 

Although being a little riskier than
they’re used to, this pick also fits with the Canucks’ tendency of taking the
best player available, as well as having the prospect playing in the U.S.
college ranks during development. The Canucks also need to take chances, in
order to find and develop that special talent that will eventually replace
the likes of Markus Naslund.

27

 

Washington

* from
Boston

Name: Wes
O’Neill,
D

Ht: 6-4 Wt:
200

Birth date: 1986-3-3

Team: Notre Dame

CSS Rank: No. 23 North American skater

A few top Capital defensive prospects
have been reeling or plagued by injuries and the team is in dire need of some
additional depth.

O’Neill is a big, mobile defender who is solid in his own end and has the
tools to develop into an offensive threat. He can be a physical force at
times, but relies mainly on strong body positioning and effective use of his
long reach to take away ice from opponents. O’Neill skates well for his size
and has a good slap shot.

28

 

San Jose

Name: Viktor
Alexandrov,
RW

Ht: 5-11 Wt:
183

Birth date: 1985-12-28

Team: Novokuznetsk

CSS Rank: No. 8 European skater

San Jose is a team built on speed and
work ethic with such forwards as Patrick Marleau, Marco Sturm, and Alexander
Korolyuk. Prospects like Milan Michalek, Marcel Goc, Josh Hennessy and Mike
Morris follow this mold. Alexandrov continues with this tradition, but may be
the most offensively talented of the entire group. Alexandrov has
demonstrated his considerable skill and creativity since he was a 15-year-old
with the Kazakhstan national teams, both junior and senior. That feat alone
is incredible, and Alexandrov comes from strong stock, as his late father was
Boris Alexandrov. If Alexandrov had instead been part of the Russian national
junior team it is doubtful he would have even been available at No. 28.

29

 

Washington

* from
Detroit

Name: Oscar
Hedman,
D

Ht: 6-0 Wt:
207

Birth date: 1986-4-21

Team: Modo

CSS Rank: No. 22 European skater

Hedman isn’t tall, but at 207 lbs he’s
not poorly built. Still, his greatest attribute seems to be as a powerplay
quarterback. In the 2004 U18 tournament he led Team Sweden in power play
goals (2), and was tied for the team lead in points (4) and goals (3). Hedman
is another pick that adds defensive depth to the Capitals’ system, and should
give them the offensive defenseman their system requires.

30

 

Tampa Bay

Name: Devan
Dubnyk,
G

Ht: 6-6 Wt:
194

Birth date: 1986-5-4

Team: Kamloops

CSS Rank: No. 2 North American goalie

The Stanley Cup Champion Lightning has a
solid core of young forwards and, after last year’s draft, promising
defensive depth in the system. Though General Manager Jay Feaster has spent a
few picks in the later rounds selecting a handful of goaltenders, Tampa Bay
still lacks a high-end goaltender for the future. Feaster and Lightning
goaltending coach Jeff Reese favor keepers with size (four goaltenders in the
Tampa system stand 6’4" or taller), a strong mental makeup, and a
competitive edge. A goaltender like Kamloops’ Devan Dubnyk, who stands
6’6", is mentally tough, and possesses above average lateral movement,
fits the bill perfectly and will go a long way in solidifying the Lightning’s
future in net.