Evander Kane, Matt Duchene, John Tavares, Victor Hedman and Brayden Schenn are the favorites to be the first five players picked. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
With a week to go until the teenaged fanfare hits Montreal like so many Vermont grad parties, it seems like the perfect time to wade into the waters of prognostication and churn out a 2009 NHL mock draft. Naturally, it’s impossible to predict how trades will affect draft positioning (or player selection, for that matter), so here’s how I see things going down in an orderly world.
1. New York Islanders – John Tavares, C, London, OHL. Gives Isles a marquee player, instant offense, maybe even a new rink.
2. Tampa Bay – Victor Hedman, D, Modo, Sweden. Bolts have the offense; need the puck-moving D-man to get it up ice. Oh, and Vic is huge.
3. Colorado – Matt Duchene, C, Brampton, OHL. With Sakic winding down, Avs retain 1-2 punch down the middle with Duchene and Paul Stastny.
4. Atlanta – Evander Kane, C, Vancouver, WHL. Fans will love combination of scoring and physicality; maybe he gets a shot to play with Kovie in a year or two?
5. Los Angeles – Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson, LW, Timra, Sweden. I can see the youth-riddled Kings trading this pick, but if not, MPS is a fantastic prospect up front.
6. Phoenix – Jared Cowen, D, Spokane, WHL. Injury may warrant another year of junior, but Cowen will be a tower of power for Yotes when he makes the leap.
7. Toronto – Brayden Schenn, C, Brandon, WHL. He’s a Brian Burke-type player who scraps and scores, plus the Buds can re-use the Schenn iron-on nameplate from this year.
8. Dallas – Jordan Schroeder, C, University of Minnesota, NCAA. Playing a hunch here, but I bet new GM Joe Nieuwendyk goes with a fellow college boy who can score in bunches.
9. Ottawa – Nazem Kadri, C, London, OHL. Sens need offense in a bad way; Kadri is crafty and plays all three forward positions.
10. Edmonton – Zack Kassian, RW, Peterborough, OHL. Oilers want more grit and size; Kassian has both in spades.
11. Nashville – David Rundblad, D, Skelleftea, Sweden. Preds can have a stacked ‘D’ for years to come with Shea Weber, Ryan Suter and the offensively inclined Rundblad.
12. Minnesota – Dmitry Kulikov, D, Drummondville, QMJHL. Wild needs more than Brent Burns to get its offense from the blueline going; Kulikov can do that.
13. Buffalo – Oliver Ekman-Larsson, D, Leksand, Sweden-2. Aging blueline corps can be stabilized in part by the fast-rising OEL, who tore up Sweden’s second division.
14. Florida – John Moore, D, USA U-18, NTDP. If J-Bo has no future in the Sunshine State, why not bring in J-Mo as the future? Skating and mobility is off the charts.
15. Anaheim – Scott Glennie, C, Brandon Wheat Kings, WHL. Ducks need more offense and Glennie can provide it with tenacity and a good shot.
16. Columbus – Ryan Ellis, D, Windsor, OHL. Sure, the Jackets have Kris Russell, but they also have one of the worst power plays in hockey. Ellis fixes that in a hurry.
17. St. Louis – Jacob Josefson, C, Djurgarden, Sweden. Blues can add depth to their youth with Josefson, an excellent two-way forward with Swedish Elite League experience.
18. Montreal – Drew Shore, C, USA U-18, NTDP. Habs need size up front and Shore teams that attribute with speed to be a dangerous weapon.
19. New York Rangers – Jeremy Morin, LW, USA U-18, NTDP. Blueshirts aren’t exactly an offensive juggernaut; Morin gives them a shooter.
20. Calgary – Peter Holland, C, Guelph, OHL. Flames don’t have a lot of elite forwards in the pipeline; Holland brings smarts and good hands.
21. Philadelphia – Dylan Olsen, D, Camrose, AJHL. Despite the need, this is no slot to take a goaltender if you’re Philly. Instead, how about a two-way defender who plays with a physical edge?
22. Vancouver – Nick Leddy, D, Eden Prairie, Minnesota H.S. Canucks need help everywhere, but especially on D. Minnesota’s Mr. Hockey can definitely provide that in a couple years.
23. New Jersey – Kyle Palmieri, RW, USA U-18, NTDP. Why should GM Lou Lamoriello’s love affair with American college kids end? Palmieri is heading to Notre Dame and brings skating and work ethic.
24. Washington – Louis Leblanc, C, Omaha, USHL. Caps have the wings sewn up, but could use more help up the middle. The Harvard-bound pivot plays a solid two-way game.
25. Boston – Calvin de Haan, D, Oshawa, OHL. Offensively inclined blueliner will help B’s restock the cupboard on the back end.
26. NYI (SJ) – Simon Despres, D, Saint John, QMJHL. With one sure thing already taken, Isles can go out on a limb on Despres, a big, skilled defender who needs to work on his commitment.
27. Carolina – Carter Ashton, RW, Lethbridge, WHL. Rangy forward has potential to develop into a force; already has the goal-scoring knack down.
28. Chicago – Tim Erixon, D, Skelleftea, Sweden. Hawks keep stockpiling talent, grab two-way defender with NHL bloodlines (father Jan played for Rangers).
29. Detroit – Joonas Nattinen, C, Espoo Blues Jr., Finland-Jr. Big, reliable, two-way forward can play in Europe for a couple more seasons, then make an impact. Sound familiar?
30. Pittsburgh – Stefan Elliott, D, Saskatoon, WHL. Offensive defenseman will become another weapon in Penguins system.
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Ryan Kennedy is a writer and copy editor for The Hockey News magazine, the co-author of the book Hockey's Young Guns and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Mondays and Wednesdays, his column - The Straight Edge - every Friday, and his features, The Hot List and Prep Watch appears Tuesdays and Thursdays.
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