My Mock Draft

It's been a long while since I did one of these: [b]Updated: 6/22/06 at 1pm[/b] [b]1. St. Louis: D Erik Johnson, USNTDP (US)[/b] I have no doubt St. Louis will field quite a few attractive offers for this pick, but in the end equation they'll do what the Lightning did in '98 and make the no brainer pick to begin the rebuilding process. [b]2. Pittsburgh: C Jonathan Toews, North Dakota (WCHA)[/b] The Pens need a defenseman, but Johnson was the only worthy option in the top 5-10 picks. Instead they opt for Toews, a Rod Brind'Amour type two-way center who gives Pittsburgh an another dimension on top of the speed and flash of Crosby and Malkin. [b]3. Chicago: C Nicklas Backstrom, Brynas (SWE)[/b] Kessel might be an option here, but there is allegedly a beef between 'Hawks prospect Jack Skille and his family and the Kessel clan. Instead, Chicago selects Nicklas Backman, a dynamic center who has heart and soul type leadership ability. [b]4. Washington: C Derick Brassard, Drummondville (QMJHL)[/b] The Caps grab the best playmaker in the draft with a view towards putting him on Ovechkin's line down the road. [b]5. Boston: C Phil Kessel, Minnesota (WCHA)[/b] Boston gets an early Christmas present with Kessel, the most dangerous and skilled one on one player in this draft. [b]6. Columbus: C Jordan Staal, Peterborough (OHL)[/b] Columbus gets a battle tank of a center to some day station on a big line with Rick Nash. Look out. [b]7. New York (I): LW Jiri Tlusty, Kladno (CZE)[/b] Neil Smith hearts Europeans, and with no Russian rated in the top ten he decides to settle on top Czech Tlusty. [b]8. Phoenix Coyotes: Kyle Okposo, Des Moines (USHL)[/b] Phoenix hasn't been shy about going the US juniors/high school route before. See: Wheeler, Blake. This year they go for the Iginla-esque Okposo. [b]9. Minnesota: C Peter Mueller, Everett (WHL)[/b] The Wild are enticed by high schooler Mike Forney, but simply can't pass on the gift of big, physical, talented center Peter Mueller. [b]10. Florida: C James Sheppard, Cape Breton (QMJHL)[/b] Things that are for certain: the Panthers will trade Roberto Luongo and PantherNation will revolt when Mike Keenan chooses Sheppard's character over Michael Frolik's flash. [b]11. Los Angeles: C Bryan Little, Barrie (OHL)[/b] The Kings think about Frolik, but no new GM is going to gamble with his first ever draft pick. Little is arguably the second best playmaker in this draft. [b]12. Atlanta: D Bobby Sanguinetti, Owen Sound (OHL)[/b] The Thrashers have plenty of skill, a young goaltender and a deep well of big defenseman prospects. They don't have a dynamic puckmoving power play quarterback, however, until they grab Sanguinetti. [b]13. Toronto: LW Michael Frolik, Kladno (CZE)[/b] A perfect way to begin rebuilding. Frolik is one of the best pure talents in the draft and Toronto rolls the dice. [b]14. Vancouver: RW Igor Makarov, Krylja (RUS)[/b] has the wrong Russian. Makorov's got the skills, the skating and the blood lines and the Canucks system desperately needs forwards. [b]15. Tampa Bay: LW Mike Forney, Thief River (USHS)[/b] He's going to North Dakota, and that's a good enough seal of approval for the Lightning to roll the dice on this talented high school sniper. [b]16. Montreal: D Chris Summers, USNTDP (US)[/b] Floodgates! With most of the forwards off the board, Montreal starts the run on defensemen with talented two-way defender Summers. [b]17. Minnesota (via Edmonton): D Nigel Williams, USNTDP (US)[/b] The Wild take on a project in big, fleet skating Williams. [b]18. Colorado: D Mark Mitera, Michigan (CCHA)[/b] The Avs have seen plenty of Mitera who plays with Avs prospect TJ Hensick. [b]19. Anaheim: D Ty Wishart, Prince George (WHL)[/b] Wishart is maybe the best stay-at-home defenseman in this draft, but his slow feet drop him to 19 where the Ducks are happy to have him. [b]20. San Jose: RW Michael Grabner, Spokane (WHL)[/b] Speed. San Jose's game is based on it and Grabner's got it. Plus, Austria is right next to Germany, and we know how the Sharks love Central European winters. [b]21. New York (R): D Joey Ryan, Quebec (QMJHL)[/b] The Rangers get some toughness along their backline with bruising American born defenseman Joey Ryan. [b]22. Philadelphia: G Riku Helenius, Ilves (FIN)[/b] The two top goalies in the draft jump off the board at 21 and 22. Philadelphia has had some modest success with fellow Finn Antero Nittymaki. [b]23. Washington (via Nashville): C Artem Ansimov, Yaroslavl (RUS)[/b] If Brassard doesn't work out with Ovechkin, the talented Ansimov might. The Caps find value at 23 snapping up one of the undervalued Russians. [b]24. Buffalo: D Yuri Alexandrov, Cherepovets (RUS)[/b] Buffalo follows the Caps lead and takes undervalued 2-way defenseman Yuri Alexandrov out of Russia. [b]25. New Jersey: G Jonathan Bernier, Lewiston (QMJHL)[/b] At some point they'll face life without Brodeur, so they grab talented Quebecois netminder Bernier. [b]26. Calgary: RW Chris Stewart, Kingston (OHL)[/b] Stewart's free fall traces directly to his poor performance on the weights at the combine, but Sutter likes hard workers and on the ice Stewart definitely fits that bill. [b]27. Dallas: RW Jan-Michael Juutilainen, Jokerit Jr. (FIN Jr.)[/b] Team Finland, er, the Stars take Nebraska-Omaha recruit Juutilainen, the new hero of corn country. [b]28. Ottawa: C Ben Maxwell, Kootenay (WHL)[/b] Ottawa gets a potential steal in Maxwell if they can prod him to show more character. [b]29. C Patrik Berglund, Vasteras (SWE2)[/b] Detroit likes their Swedes, so they take big, smooth forward Patrik Berglund. [b]30. St. Louis (via Carolina): C Ondrej Fiala, Everett (WHL)[/b] St. Louis waits til their 30th pick to get some forward help with solid but perhaps injury prone two-way center Fiala.