Erik Johnson, D
Ht: 6’4 Wt: 211
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.
Ht: 6’4 Wt: 215
Team: OHL Peterborough
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.
NCAA University of North Dakota
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.
Team: NCAA University of Minnesota
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.
Team: Swedish Elite League Brynas
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.
Ht: 6’0 Wt: 172
Team: QMJHL Drummondville
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.
New York Islanders
Ht: 6’2 Wt: 205
Team: WHL Everett
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.
Ht: 6’1 Wt: 185
Team: Czech Extra League Kladno
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
Ht: 6’0 Wt: 196
Czech Extra League Kladno
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.
Ht: 6’0 Wt: 195
Team: USHL Des Moines
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.
Team: OHL Owen Sound
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.
Ht: 5’10 Wt: 190
Team: OHL Barrie
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.
Ht: 6’1 Wt: 204
Team: QMJHL Cape Breton
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
Ht: 6’4 Wt: 187
Team: Swedish Elite League Vasteras
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
Ht: 5’11 Wt: 177
Team: QMJHL Lewiston
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.
Ht: 6’4 Wt: 205
Team: WHL Prince George
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.
Minnesota (from Edmonton)
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
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
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.
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.
New York Rangers
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
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.
Washington (from Nashville)
Russian Super League Lokomotiv
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.
Finnish Elite League Ilves Tampere
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.
USHL Apple Valley
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.
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.
Russia 3rd Division Lokomotiv
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
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.
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.
St. Louis (from Carolina)
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.