Wednesday, June 20, 2007

2007 NHL "Mock" Draft

I have taken a lot more interest in this year’s NHL Entry Draft than I have in years past. I have probably taken a little too much interest in this year’s draft considering the fact that I am spending a large portion of my time trying to figure out who the Canucks will draft, if Kyle Turris will go first overall or if Alexei Cherepanov will drop out of the top 10, when in reality I should be studying for my Socials Provincial exam which oddly enough falls on the same day as this year’s NHL Entry Draft. I definitely didn’t want to let all my extensive research go down the drain, especially when it comes at the expense of my Socials mark, so I thought why not give The Press Box Blog viewers a sneak peak of what I think will go down Friday in Columbus? As a result of everything I’ve read and heard along with my obvious knowledge and intelligence, I assembled this “mock” draft of the 1st round, exclusively for The Press Box Blog viewers. Enjoy!

1. Chicago Blackhawks: Patrick Kane
The Blackhawks truly believe that Kane is the best player in this draft class, and it doesn’t hurt that he’s a good old American kid and will indisputably put fans in the seats. Will fit in perfectly playing alongside Jonathan Toews down the road.

2. Philadelphia Flyers: Kyle Turris
With Kane out of the picture, there is no doubt that Turris is the best player available at this point. Turris has said that Philly has talked to him more than once and Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren described him as “very competitive and smart.” Has the potential to become a Steve Yzerman type player and remember, you heard him on The Press Box.

3. Phoenix Coyotes: James Van Riemsdyk
Van Riemsdyk offers the whole package, and when the Coyotes pretty much need help in all facets of their organization, James is a no brainer. Doesn’t hurt that the Coyotes have had a tendency of drafting American born players.

4. Los Angeles Kings: Karl Alzner
Los Angeles has a plethora of skilled players up front but aside from Jack Johnson they don’t have much on the back end, and while Alzner may not be the absolute best player available, he’s pretty close to it and I think far and beyond the best defenceman available.

5. Washington Capitals: Alexei Cherepanov
The Capitals will be willing to take a gamble on this skilled Russian. Alexander Ovechkin has a lot of say in what this team does and he will convince George McPhee and the Captitals’ scouting staff to pick Cherepanov, even though the Russian Transfer Agreement is still up in the air.

6. Edmonton Oilers: Jakub Voracek
While they were thinking about taking Sam Gagner from London, the Oilers feel that Voracek would turn out to be the overall better player. Voracek impressed everyone in his first year in North America and has good character and determination. The Oilers feel that he possesses too much upside to pass on. Many teams have him in their top 3.

7. Columbus Blue Jackets: Sam Gagner
Gagner will undoubtedly be a solid NHL’er. Has good blood lines and has an amazing skill set. Gilbert Brule and Sam Gagner will provide a dynamic one-two punch down the middle for the foreseeable future.

8. Boston Bruins: Keaton Ellerby
In the past, the Bruins have always chosen the best player available, but in a draft that is so wide open, they felt the need to draft this big physical two-way defenceman to solidify their back end.

9. St. Louis Blues: Mikael Backlund
The Blues are looking for a skilled forward, and while I feel Hamill or Esposito would be the better choice, the Blues always seem to end up with a European, Backlund being a pretty good one at that.

10. Florida Panthers: Zach Hamill
In the past, the Panthers have had the tendency of drafting players from the CHL, and they believe Hamill is the best player available. While they already have many skilled forwards in the system, the Panthers’ scouting staff has seen a lot of this kid in the WHL and is ecstatic that he is still available. Another future star that you heard first on The Press Box.

11. Carolina Hurricanes: Angelo Esposito
While the Canes would have preferred Alzner or Ellerby; they feel that Esposito has the raw offensive upside to become a superstar in the NHL. While the Canadiens made a strong push to trade up to draft the local hero, the Canes feel that Esposito is by far the best player available and are very excited to see him develop.

12. Montreal Canadiens: David Perron
While the Canadiens would have much rather drafted Esposito; they feel that Perron is the next best thing. They haven’t been reluctant in drafting French Canadians in the past and they feel that Perron took huge strides of improvement this season. They believe that Perron will keep on getting better and better in the years to come.

13. Toronto Maple Leafs: Logan Couture
The Leafs were thrilled that hometown hero Logan Couture was still available at 13. They feel that he is by far the best player available and will work even harder to achieve his goals playing with the Leafs.

14. Colorado Avalanche: Lars Eller
The Avs’ scouting staff yet again comes up with a gem. I haven’t read one bad thing about this kid; has good size and strength along with an amazing offensive tool set, should be a solid NHL’er.

15. Edmonton Oilers: Ryan McDonagh
The Oilers were looking for a defenceman and they felt that McDonagh was the best player available. Offensive defenceman with good size and strength; he too made some major strides this season. May be one of the steals of the draft.

16. Anaheim Ducks: Kevin Shattenkirk
The Ducks are very pleased with the selection of Kevin Shattenkirk. With Niedermayer’s retirement looming, the Ducks all of a sudden don’t have a lot of depth on the back end. Brian Burke has had a tendency of drafting American born players with his first round picks (Bobby Ryan, Ryan Kesler, RJ Umberger).

17. New York Rangers: Michal Repik
The Rangers were very impressed with Repik’s play in the WHL playoffs and the Memorial Cup. They feel as though he is the steal of the draft. Repik will fit in nicely with New York’s surplus of European players.

18. Calgary Flames: Colton Gillies
Darryl Sutter and the Flames turn some heads when they pass up on the Brandon Sutter. But they feel that Gillies is basically NHL ready and is a guaranteed 3rd line player, with the potential of becoming a 1st or 2nd liner. Gritty kid from the west; will fit in perfectly with the flames rugged style of play.

19. Minnesota Wild: Nicholas Petrecki
A big rugged stay at home defenceman with good speed that would be an ideal fit on Jacques Lemaire’s Wild. They feel that Petrcki was the best player available.

20. Pittsburgh Penguins: Brandon Sutter
The Pens had both Gillies and Petrcki ahead of Sutter on their list, but they feel as though Sutter will be a certain 3rd liner in the NHL, with the potential of becoming much more. The last name doesn’t hurt either.

21. Phoenix Coyotes: Bill Sweatt
Gretz and the Coyotes were very surprised when Sweatt was still available at 21 as they had him much higher on their list. The best skater in the draft with a lot of offensive upside. Phoenix yet again ends up with an American born player.

22. Montreal Canadiens: Jonathan Blum
The Canadiens were very impressed with his composure down the stretch with the Vancouver Giants; a great puck moving offensive defenseman, with under rated defensive abilities.

23. Nashville Predators: Brett MacLean
Put up 100 points with Oshawa this past season, but it remains to be seen if he was just feeding off John Tavares’ greatness. Nonetheless, MacLean has produced at every level and the Predators were delighted to select him.

24. St. Louis Blues: Maxim Mayorov
The Blues feel that this Russian is the best player available and is way too good to pass up on. The Blues had Moyarov much higher on their list and have no problem drafting him, even though there is no guarantee he will come over to North America.

25. Vancouver Canucks: Oscar Moller
The Canucks got the kid that they really wanted. Dave Nonis and the Canucks scouting staff saw a lot of him playing in Chilliwack of the WHL; is a good gritty player with a nose for the net. A perfect choice for the Nucks with their lack of depth at center. Yet another Swede joins Vancouver’s organization.

26. St. Louis Blues: Thomas Hickey
The Blues were once again surprised that Hickey was available this low; drafting 2 skilled forwards with their previous picks, they felt that this defenceman would be the perfect selection. Should make a nice pairing with Erik Johnson.

27. Detroit Red Wings: Joakim Andersson
The Red Wings will yet again draft a Swede, and yet again draft a very talented one. They feel like Andersson is already a top notch defensive forward ala. Samuel Pahlsson and they feel that he has a lot more to offer offensively.

28. Washington Capitals: Max Pacioretty
The Caps would have liked to draft a defenceman, but they feel that Pacioretty is definitely the best player available. They didn’t think he would be around at 28 but were very thrilled that he was. A prototypical power forward with deceptive speed and a developing defensive game.

29. Ottawa Senators: Tommy Cross
The Sens’ really like this kid from Boston College, they feel that if he ameliorates his offensive skills, he will undoubtedly become a top 4 NHL defenceman. Rumor is that the Sens’ are looking for a North American defenceman, and Tommy Cross would definitely fit the billing.

30. Edmonton Oilers: Akim Aliu
The Oilers are well aware of all the questions surrounding this kid’s attitude and behavior, but there are no questions surrounding his raw skill. The Oil are counting on the Gagners in London of the OHL to not only help Aliu develop as a player, but also as a person.

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