June 20, 2008

NHL Draft Day is Here!

Tonight's the big night. The future stars of the National Hockey League will be ushered in and there's sure to be some player movement as well on the Draft floor.

Remember, if you're in the US you can catch all the NHL Draft coverage beginning at 7pm ET on Versus and TSN if you're in Canada. The NHL Network will pick up the remaining rounds tomorrow beginning at 10am ET.

My good buddy Scotty Wazz will in Ottawa with his Faceoff Hockey Show crew and will be live-blogging the first-round tonight, that is unless Kevin Lowe decides to draft him (I kid, I kid!). He posted his mock draft back on June 5th, but if you're too lazy to click there, here is what Scotty thinks will go down tonight:

1. Tampa Bay Lightning: Steve Stamkos, C, Sarnia Sting (OHL)
Great hockey sense, great vision of the ice, and leadership. Stamkos is the real deal and should be able to learn from the other franchise player, Vincent Lecavalier.

2. Los Angeles Kings: Drew Doughty, D, Guelph Storm (OHL)
Doughty’s ability has some questioning whether he could be a #1 overall pick. If he falls to the Kings, they’ll bolster their defense with him and Jack Johnson, sans Curious George.

3. Atlanta Thrashers: Luke Schenn, D, Kelowna Rockets (WHL)
After losing Braydon Coburn, the Thrashers need to build their defensive defensemen, which Schenn can be. His play is simple, but effective and should fit the Thrashers for years to come.

4. St. Louis Blues: Kyle Beach, LW, Everett Silvertips (WHL)
Beach can be described as another Blues’ left-winger by the name of Keith Tkachuk. He can score, muck it up, and be a leader. He’ll be a great asset for the Blues’ youth movement.

5. New York Islanders: Zach Bogosian, D, Peterborough Petes (OHL)
Bogosian has raised his stock this season by expanding his game into a well-rounded one. Not only will he be a force along the boards, but he’ll help start the rush up ice after winning the battle in the corners.

6. Columbus Blue Jackets: Tyler Myers, D, Kelowna Rockets (WHL)
The Jackets don’t have too much in blue chip defensemen, but Myers could change all of that. He’s a shut-down defenseman and once he fills out his 6’7 frame, should be the cornerstone to the Jackets’ blue line corp.

7. Toronto Maple Leafs: Alex Pietrangelo, D, Niagara Ice Dogs (OHL)
Pietrangelo is a mature defenseman who shows plenty of poise under pressure and lets his hockey sense make up for a lack of physicality.

8. Phoenix Coyotes: Nikita Filatov, LW, CSKA-2 (Russia)
Though getting Filatov out of Russia could be a hassle, he is worth it. He has amazing hands, can stick-handle in a phone booth, and has the ability to create time and space for himself.

9. Nashville Predators: Mattias Tedenby, LW, HV 71 (Sweden)
Likened to Martin St. Louis, Tedenby is small in stature, but has the game-changing ability just by his ability to create offense.

10. Vancouver Canucks: Colin Wilson, C, Boston University (NCAA)
After a year at BU, Wilson shown that he can be a very effective centerman, something the Canucks needs to build up for the future.

11. Chicago Blackhawks: Kirill Petrov, RW, Kazan (Russia)
With a quick first step, Petrov has been looked at as a deadly sniper. Though he may not like to dish the puck that much, Petrov’s speed and ability to make defenders look silly will help his cause.

12. Anaheim Ducks: Colten Teubert, D, Regina Pats (WHL)
Teubert has been touted as the next Chris Pronger due to his size, physicality and frame; it’ll serve the Ducks and Teubert well to be brought up in an defense that has plenty of future Hall of Famers on it already.

13. Buffalo Sabres: Cody Hodgson, C, Brampton Battalion (OHL)
Hodgson has been moving up the draft board thanks to his ability to be used in any situation on the ice and to recognize and adapt to situations very quickly. It also helps that he can score from almost anywhere.

14. Carolina Hurricanes: Zach Boychuk, C, Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL)
Boychuk has plenty of speed and skill to put out onto the market and has been amazing since stepping on the ice as a 16-year-old. His display at the Top Prospects game could put him even higher, but for now—he’ll sit in the middle.

15. Nashville Predators: Josh Bailey, C, Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
Bailey has the ability to become a great two-way center for the Predators, especially since they have enough scoring talent for the future already. Bailey's hockey smarts will make him a very reliable forward and a safe pick.

16. Boston Bruins: Michael Del Zotto, D, Oshawa Generals (OHL)
Though a knock on Del Zotto is his ability to overhandle the puck, the upside of being able to create plays from his own end. With taking on more responsibilities this season in Oshawa, it helped to round out Del Zotto's all around game.

17. Calgary Flames: Jordan Eberle, C, Regina Pats (WHL)
The size could be the only thing that kept Eberle being a higher ranked prospect. Eberle possesses a great scoring touch that could help become an elite scorer. His ability to get into scoring position only helps his cause.

18. Ottawa Senators: Colby Robak, D, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)
With the threat of Andrej Meszaros leaving, Robak would be a great fit for the Senators young blue line. Robak is strong on the puck and a superb skater, which will allow him to become a shut-down defenseman for years to come.

19. Columbus Blue Jackets (From Colorado): Luca Sbisa, D, Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL)
With the Blue Jackets needing some defensive help in the future, Sbisa could be the one they are looking for. He has the ability to move the puck or play a tight-defensive game when called upon. As they build for the future, Sbisa could be a great piece to the puzzle.

20. New York Rangers: Mikhail Stefanovich, C, Quebec Remparts (QMJHL)
The talent is there for Stefanovich, but the question of whether he will use it or not still remains. The comparisons to Nik Antropov has been thrown around, which is a backhanded compliment; though many see the similarities on devotion and desire.

21. New Jersey Devils: John Carlson, D, Indiana Ice (USHL)
The Devils can find gems in the draft and with Carlson, a New Jersey native, still on the board-- this will make this pick easy for the Devils. With the deep defensive talent pool, Carlson isn't ranked higher even though he has the skill set and size to play now.

22. Edmonton Oilers (From Anaheim): Yann Sauve, D, Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)
A solid shut-down defenseman, Sauve's stock has dindled a little after being the #1 pick in 2006's QMJHL draft. His offensive numbers have taken a hit, but it was due to him playing a safer defensive game, which will have him fit in well for any team.

23. Washington Capitals: Anton Gustafsson, C, Frolunda (Sweden)
Gustafsson plays a game as his father, Bengt, did when he was in his playing days. A strong, defensively responsible center with an ability to find the net will allow Gustafsson to flourish. If he goes to the Caps, it could be a great chance to see Gustafsson in a #16 sweater.

24. Minnesota Wild: A.J. Jenks, C, Plymouth Whalers (OHL)
A solid defensive game makes Jenks a desirable shutdown forward. Granted, something that will need to improve is his footwork and speed in order to be a decent forechecker. He has flown under the radar, but any team would reap the benefit of Jenks.

25. Montreal Canadiens: Daultan Leveille, C, St. Catharines Falcons (Golden Horseshoe Junior B)
The legend of Leveille has grown this season with an impressive performance in Junior B. With his commitment to Michigan State in the fall, it will give Leveille the ability to get stronger and faster, as well as help him with playing against better competition.

26. Buffalo Sabres (From San Jose): Jacob Markstrom, G, Brynas (Sweden)
Markstrom has the ability to be a starting goaltender soon, but with the amount of depth ahead of him, he could fall by the wayside. With lack of prospects, the Sabres could be able to snatch him up in the late first round.

27. Philadelphia Flyers: Joe Colborne, Camrose Kodiaks (AJHL)
Though many question his dedication, Colborne has the right stuff for the NHL. At 6'5, he only needs to fill out his 190-pound frame to make it big. Heading to the University of Denver next season should see him in the weight room more and allow him to prove that he has the desire for the NHL.

28. Los Angeles Kings (From Dallas): Greg Nemisz, C, Windsor Spitfires
Nemisz needs time to fill-out, but in the end-- he'll be a solid power forward in the league. He played much better this season on a better team, but was able to play better defensively this season. With his strength on the puck, Nemisz will be a solid pick at 22.

29. Atlanta Thrashers (From Pittsburgh): Tyler Cuma, D, Ottawa 67s (OHL)
Cuma played well in Ottawa in a shutdown role. With no noticeable flaws, it's hard to see a downside for Cuma. The Thrashers will need some defensive help for the future, so Cuma seems to be a no-brainer.

30. Detroit Red Wings: Chet Pickard, G, Tri-City Americans (WHL)
Pickard followed the way of Carey Price in Tri-City, which will only help his stock for the draft. With great stick-handling ability and a solid endurance level, Pickard could be another amazing starter in the goaltending factory known as the Tri-City Americans.

If you like to incorporate drinking games into events like this, for every selection that Scotty does not hit perfectly, take a drink. To make things interesting, take a drink for each spot in the Draft that said player falls from his mock draft.

That'll keep things entertaining and be sure to get you drunk before the first "monster" declaration from Pierre McGuire.

Ballhype: hype it up!

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