Hockey’s Future 2006 staff mock draft

By HF Staff





Hockey’s Future 2006 Staff Mock Draft

Below is the 2006 Hockey’s
Future Staff Mock Draft, covering the first round of the NHL Entry Draft, to be
held in Vancouver, British Columbia’s GM Place on June 24, 2006. 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 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 draft.

No.

Team

Player

Reasoning

1

St. Louis

Erik Johnson, D
Ht: 6’4 Wt: 211
Birthdate: 03/21/88
Team: USNTDP

St. Louis
finds some pretty massive feet to help fill the shoes left behind with the
loss of Chris Pronger. The Blues begin their retooling with a solid two-way
defenseman and consensus No. 1 pick.

2

Pittsburgh

Jordan
Staal, C
Ht: 6’4 Wt: 215
Birthdate: 09/10/88

Team: OHL Peterborough

Although
defense is a priority and a trade with the Blues to get a crack at Johnson
can’t be ruled out, the Penguins would happily add Staal’s grit and two-way
play to complement Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

3

Chicago

Jonathan
Toews, C

Ht: 6’1
Wt: 195

Birthdate:
04/29/88

Team:
NCAA University of North Dakota

Toews’
offensive upside will be key in leading this down-on-its-luck Original Six
franchise back to the Promised Land. His two-way talent tips the scales in
his favor over the more mercurial Kessel.

4

Washington

Phil
Kessel, C

Ht: 6’0
Wt: 189
Birthdate: 10/02/87
Team: NCAA University of Minnesota

Kessel,
whose name once shared a breath with that of Crosby as players for the
future, falls to the Capitals – who couldn’t be happier. Kessel’s offensive
gifts could mesh well with sniper Alexander Ovechkin for years to come.

5

Boston

Nicklas
Backstrom, C

Ht: 6’0
Wt: 183
Birthdate: 11/23/87
Team: Swedish Elite League Brynas

Favorably
compared to Peter Forsberg, Backstrom may be the most NHL-ready forward in
the draft. He’ll also help shoulder some of the offensive load left behind in
the wake of Joe Thornton’s trade.

6

Columbus

Derick
Brassard, C
Ht: 6’0 Wt: 172

Birthdate: 09/22/87
Team: QMJHL Drummondville

Brassard
has elite offensive skill and visions of him feeding Rick Nash like he did
Guillaume Latendresse, and pairing with last year’s pick Gilbert Brule could
be filling the dreams of the Blue Jackets’ brass.

7

New York Islanders

Peter
Mueller, C
Ht: 6’2 Wt: 205
Birthdate: 04/14/88
Team: WHL Everett

The
Islanders would be delighted if Mueller falls to them at No. 7. Mueller would
give them the big, playmaking center they’ve craved since, well, when they
traded for Alexei Yashin to fill that roll.

8

Phoenix

Michael
Frolik, C
Ht: 6’1 Wt: 185
Birthdate: 02/17/88
Team: Czech Extra League Kladno

The
Coyotes gamble a bit on a skilled forward who has underwhelmed as of late.
However, should he reach his offensive upside – and with a tutor like Wayne
Gretzky on hand, chances are good – then Frolik could be the steal of the
draft.

9

Minnesota

Jiri
Tlusty, C
Ht: 6’0 Wt: 196
Birthdate: 03/16/8

Team:
Czech Extra League Kladno

Coming to
a Jacques Lemaire-coached team, you better be willing to commit to defense
and give 100 percent at all times. Tlusty is a hard-working forward with
offensive upside who would look great paired up with Marion Gaborik.

10

Florida

Kyle
Okposo, RW

Ht: 6’0 Wt: 195
Birthdate: 04/16/88
Team: USHL Des Moines

Mike
Keenan gets a gritty winger who can eventually step into a power forward
role. Okposo combines size, strength, stickhandling, and offensive awareness.
Equally comfortable along the boards, in the corners, and in open ice.

11

Los Angeles

Bobby
Sanguinetti, D

Ht: 6’1
Wt: 174
Birthdate: 02/29/88
Team: OHL Owen Sound

The Kings
grab potentially the most explosive offensive defenseman in the draft. His
knack for jumping into the play and quarterbacking the power play may make up
for his underwhelming physical presence.

12

Atlanta

Bryan
Little, C
Ht: 5’10 Wt: 190
Birthdate: 11/12/87
Team: OHL Barrie

A
pass-first playmaker, Little meshes well with Ilya Kovalchuk’s shoot-first
mentality. Although not the biggest kid in the draft, Little plays bigger
than his stature.

13

Toronto

James
Sheppard, C
Ht: 6’1 Wt: 204

Birthdate: 04/25/88
Team: QMJHL Cape Breton

The loss
of Gary Roberts and his sandpaper-style game was noticeable last year for the
Leafs. In Sheppard they find someone with a similar level of grit to his
game.

14

Vancouver

Patrik
Berglund,C
Ht: 6’4 Wt: 187
Birthdate: 06/02/88
Team: Swedish Elite League Vasteras

The
Canucks may have a few salary cap casualties and Berglund helps make up for
the loss. Offensively gifted, Berglund has a lot of room on his frame to bulk
up and be an imposing physical presence alongside fellow Swedes the Sedin
twins.

15

Tampa Bay

Jonathan
Bernier, G
Ht: 5’11 Wt: 177
Birthdate: 08/07/88
Team: QMJHL Lewiston

The Bolts
look to the goaltending hotbed of Quebec for the long-term answer to their
challenges between the pipes. Calm and cool under pressure, with solid
international experience, Bernier has come up big in big games.

16

Montreal

Ty
Wishart, D
Ht: 6’4 Wt: 205
Birthdate: 05/19/88

Team: WHL Prince George

The Habs
combine the best-player philosophy with need. In Wishart they get a hulking
blueliner who plays a solid, positionally sound overall game and who offers a
physical presence to help clear the crease.

17

Minnesota (from Edmonton)

Nigel
Williams, D

Ht: 6’4
Wt: 226

Birthdate:
04/18/88

Team:
USNTDP

Williams
may not be the most NHL-ready rearguard in the draft, but he may have the
most upside of anyone on the blue line. Having shored up the front line with
their first pick, the Wild roll the dice a little on a prospect with huge
potential.

18

Colorado

Chris
Stewart, F

Ht: 6’1
Wt: 228

Birthdate:
10/30/87

Team: OHL
Kingston

A
less-than-impressive performance at the draft combine may drop the winger,
but Colorado would love for this player to fall in their laps. Tough with
touch, Stewart would help the team in its effort to deal with an aging
forward unit.

19

Anaheim

Mark
Mitera, D

Ht: 6’3
Wt: 202

Birthdate:
10/22/87

Team:
NCAA University of Michigan

Anaheim is loaded
up front and unlikely to take a goaltender in the first round. A defenseman
fits the bill at this point. The robust Mitera can develop at his own pace in
the NCAA, and the formerly “Mighty” Ducks won’t have to rush and sign him.

20

San Jose

Chris
Summers, D

Ht: 6’1
Wt: 180

Birthdate:
02/05/88

Team:
USNTDP

Defensemen
with elite skating skills and elite speed will reign in the new NHL, and
Summers is Paul Coffey-like in his skating. Summers also plays a physical
game and enjoys making big hits. Summers does also has the puck skills to
play forward, which he did at the U18 Word Championships.

21

New York Rangers

Michael
Grabner, F

Ht: 6’
Wt: 170

Birthdate:
10/05/87

Team: WHL
Spokane

This
Austrian-born winger gets an opportunity to play with his idol Jaromir Jagr
on his favorite team. His blazing speed makes him even more of an asset – and
potentially more potent — in the new NHL, with its focus on eliminating
obstruction.

22

Philadelphia

Carl
Sneep, D

Ht: 6’4
Wt: 210

Birthdate:
11/05/87

Team:
USHL Lincoln

Blessed
with a huge frame, but surprising mobile given his stature. Sneep brings a
solid two-way understanding of the game and is very coachable. He possesses a
big shot and is an accurate passer.

23

Washington (from Nashville)

Artem
Anisimov, C

Ht: 6’3
Wt: 187

Birthdate:
05/24/88

Team:
Russian Super League Lokomotiv

With a
running mate for Ovechkin locked up with their first pick, the Capitals take
a bit of a risk on a prospect with good upside. A big, skilled winger, who
falls this low more due to politics than potential, Anisimov could be a steal
at this point in the draft.

24

Buffalo

Riku
Helenius, G

Ht: 6’3
Wt: 202

Birthdate:
03/01/88

Team:
Finnish Elite League Ilves Tampere

Helenius
opened a lot of eyes at the World Junior Championship, leading an average
Finnish squad to a silver medal. A big, butterfly-style goaltender, Helenius
has solid mobility in all directions, but remains a raw talent.

25

New Jersey

David
Fischer, D

Ht: 6’3
Wt: 185

Birthdate:
02/19/88

Team:
USHL Apple Valley

While
Fischer is quite raw, his upside is tremendous. The University of
Minnesota-bound defenseman brings size, skating, and two-way play to the
table. He has the ability to thrive in a more wide-open NHL. Named
Minnesota’s Mr. Hockey this year.

26

Calgary

Ryan
White, C

Ht: 5’11
Wt: 200

Birthdate:
03/17/88

Team: WHL
Calgary Hitmen

In the
least surprising pick of the draft, Calgary hopes that the hometown boy will
make good. White is the prototypical Sutter player who has some offensive
gifts wrapped up in gritty, two-way packaging.

27

Ottawa

Alexander
Vasyunov, F

Ht: 6’
Wt: 189

Birthdate:
04/22/88

Team:
Russia 3rd Division Lokomotiv

A
forward with outstanding offensive skills, Vasyunov has one of the highest
upsides in the draft. He averaged a goal a game in the Russian 3rd division.
A natural left winger with outstanding skating ability, scoring instincts and
wonderful hands.

28

Dallas

Leland
Irving, G

Ht: 6’
Wt: 177

Birthdate:
04/11/88

Team: WHL
Everett

After
another collapse in the playoffs, it’s clear to Dallas how important reliable
goaltending is. Irving, a calm, consistent goaltender, had a .938 save
percentage for the Everett Silvertips in the WHL Playoffs with three shutouts
in 12 postseason games.

29

Detroit

Nick
Foligno, F

Ht: 6’
Wt: 188

Birthdate:
10/31/87

Team: OHL
Sudbury

Nick
follows in his father’s considerable skates as a second-generation
first-round pick for the Red Wings. Foligno combines a solid goal scoring
touch with a hard-nosed attitude and willingness to go into the corners.
Plus, pedigree does count for something.

30

St. Louis (from Carolina)

Cory
Emmerton, C

Ht: 5’11
Wt: 177

Birthdate:
06/01/88

Team: OHL
Kingston

St. Louis
bookends the first round with an offensive prospect with elite playmaking
skills. Emmerton broke out this season with a 90-point season and has a knack
for making those around him better.

Copyright 2006 Hockey’s
Future. Do not reprint or otherwise duplicate without permission of the
editorial staff.