The 2009-2010 campaign is officially over.  The Cup has been claimed (Chicago in 6, thank you very much!), the players are now on vacation, and its time for management to earn their keep.  Coming next on the NHL horizon is the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, June 25 and 26 from the hotbed of hockey, Los Angeles.

This draft is pretty much considered a two horse race:  Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin.  They have been the consensus best two players of this class, and have done nothing to prove otherwise throughout the regular season, playoffs, and junior competitions.  After the two big guns, this draft is very, very deep on defenseman.  Look for a lot of blueliners to go early and often.  Mock, yeah! Draft, yeah! Yeah? Yeah!

Here’s a look behind the curtain of the 14 lottery teams who missed the playoffs.

Let’s start the clock on the first pick!

By: Bryan Vickroy


Before we get to the first pick, here’s a little background information to help make the whole concept of the entry draft a bit clearer.  The Draft is seven rounds long.  All players eligible must be 18 by September 15, and not older than 20 on December 15, except for non-North American skaters.  A player who has been drafted can re-enter the draft if he hasn’t signed with the team who owns his rights within two years.  NCAA players may be drafted and keep their eligibility, as long as they do not play for a professional team, or hire an agent.  NCAA player rights are kept until 30 days after the player leaves college.

As an added bonus, here is a quick breakdown of the abbreviated leagues:

–         Onatario Hockey League (OHL)

–         Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL)

–         Western Hockey League (WHL)

–         Russian Kontinental Hockey League (KHL)

–         Finnish Elite League (FEL)

–         United States National Team Development Program (USNTDP)

–         High School (HS)

Without further ado, the picks.  With the first pick of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft……..

1. Edmonton Oilers

–         Taylor Hall, LW, Windsor Spitfires (OHL)

Was the top ranked player all season long, until the final scouting service report came out, dropping him to second.  Many feel Seguin would help there depth more, but Hall is an offensive dynamo, and Edmonton was utterly pathetic last year when it came to scoring.  There are also rumors that Boston covets Hall and is possibly willing to deal with Edmonton to make sure they get their man.

2. Boston Bruins (via Toronto)

–         Tyler Seguin, C, Plymouth Whalers (OHL)

Armed with two first round picks thanks to the Phil Kessel to Toronto deal, Boston is in a position to get a great player, no matter who falls to them.  While Hall would be ideal for plugging into the gap that trade caused, Tyler Seguin would also add scoring and depth to a team still shocked by their sudden playoff discombobulation.


3. Florida Panthers

–         Cam Fowler, D, Windsor Spitfires (OHL)

The Panthers have some young forward  prospects coming up, but they lack a true blue line talent that can control the flow of a game.  Fowler may not be as highly touted as some of the others in this deep defensive draft, but he has an offensive touch that will bring excitement to South Beach, and might even help stabilize some putrid special teams.

4. Columbus Blue Jackets

–         Brandon Gormley, D,Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL)

Going up against the Chicags and Detroits of the world in your own division is taxing on a team trying to stop goals from being scored.  Columbus also has zero depth on the defensive end.  Gormley gives them a presence on the blueline that fits into the new NHL style of play, and he should bloom into a top shutdown defenseman in the future

5. New York Islanders

–         Brett Connolly, LW, Prince George Cougars (WHL)

Injured or ill much of this season, Connolly’s stock took a bit of a hit.  But his performance at the scouting combine and his ability to light the lamp is too tempting to the Isles to pass up.  Appears to be back to his original form.  He can be paired up with past #1 pick John Tavares to form an elite tandem on Long Island.

6. Tampa Bay Lightning

–         Eric Gudbranson, D, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)

So far this offseason there haven’t been any Vinny Lecavalier trade rumors, which is good for their offensive depth.  Gudbranson completes their future top blue line pair with last years second overall pick.  Will do magical things on the power play, and should thrive in the more wide open Southeast division.

7. Carolina Hurricanes

–         Ryan Johansen, C, Portland Winter Hawks (WHL)

Reminds people of another big beast of a center already in Carolina; Eric Staal.  For a team that has to match up with Washington all season long, adding a second beast at center can only be beneficial.  Has impressed people with his poise and leadership capabilities, and shown flashes of being a two way playmaker for years to come.

8. Atlanta Thrashers

–         Vladimir Tarasanko, RW, Novisibirsk (KHL)

What better way to replace Ilya Kovalchuk than with what could be dynamic Russian winger?  Thrashers are basically starting over, again, and anything would be helpful.  They added a big feisty forward last year, now Tarasanko helps give the offense a little punch.  Has stated that he wants to come to the NHL right away, and not stay playing in Russia.

9. Minnesota Wild

–         Mikael Granlund, C, HIFK Helsinki (FEL)

Many people think the Wild will take a home grown talent like Bjugstad, but I feel they’ll go the safer route, and where they’ve been much more successful recently:  Finland.   Granlund can give the Wild that second centerman they’ve been waiting for their entire existence.  Added benefit is that if he somehow makes the team out of training camp, he’d get to play true home games along with fellow countryman Mikko Koivu, as the Wild will begin their season in Finland this upcoming campaign

10. New York Rangers

–         Nino Niederreiter, RW, Portland Winter Hawks (WHL)

Possibly the highest climber up the draft board this past season.  Had a strong regular season and postseason, not to mention a torrid World Juniors that displayed a strong scoring touch, something the Rangers desperately need. Quick and smooth, it won’t take him long to adjust to the professional game.

11. Dallas Stars

–         Derek Forbort, D, USNTDP

Another product churned out by the US Development Program, Forbort give the Stars depth on the back end, a scoring touch, and a player who is poised to have a long, solid career.  Big shot and smart with the puck, and in his own zone.  Fits Dallas’ needs perfectly.

12. Anaheim Ducks

–         Emerson Etem, C, Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL)

A California kid who has been a consistent scorer, and has the speed to fit into the Ducks’ up tempo style.  A good passer, and consistent finisher, could become a regular on a power play unit.  Anaheim is thin up the middle, and Etem could possibly be plugged into the lineup immediately.

13. Phoenix Coyotes (via Calgary)

–         Nick Bjugstad, C, Blaine (MN HS)

The top graded high school high school player in the draft, this State of Hockey prospect  will be given the time to mature and bring his game to the NHL level.  Many of the recent Minnesota prospects haven’t shown they have the complete game.  Bjugstad has the size and skill to be a star in the future.  Allowing him to grow a couple years isn’t that bad of an idea for a cash strapped team.

14. St. Louis Blues

–     Mark Pysyk, D, Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)

Although there are plenty of options left on the board, both offensive and defensive, I don’t see the Blues passing on the chance to get their hulking blue liner of the future.  Pysyk could fill in the legacy of Al McInnis and Chris Pronger in St. Louis.  The kid has a big shot, big body, and isn’t afraid to scrap.

Hopefully this will help you with the cravings for the coolest game on earth, at least for the time being.  Check back next week for a look at the entire first round, as well as changes and more in depth analysis of the players.

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  1. paulmbanks says

    Our first NHL Mock! congrats, glad to have you aboard

  2. Nick Bjugstad is a bit high should be 20 and up

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