Well before I get you all reading, I'll start off by saying I am by no means an expert on all of these prospects, and for many of these picks I honestly had a lot of trouble deciding between many different players. I understand some of you will dislike the selections I have proposed, I just ask that before you critize, that you realise we all have differnet views and realistically, none of us are correct until 5 years down the road when the players have evolved. Lastly, I hope you enjoy the work I've put into this. Espo7â€™s Mock Draft 1 â€“ Chicago Blackhawks â€“ Kyle Turris, C, Burnaby Express : I think we all know the Hawks will be drafting a scorer; the only real question is which one? I believe Kyle Turris will be the first overall pick. Being a great skater with extremely soft hands, Turrisâ€™ vision and overall hockey sense is the main reason he goes first. Some may argue Pat Kane will go here, but I think Chicago will take a slightly safer route with a bigger bodied forward who could follow the same path Jonathan Toews has thus far in his pre-NHL career. The Hawks have a lot of talent and size already, a future with Toews and Turris down the middle makes mouths water. 2 â€“ Philadelphia Flyers â€“ Pat Kane, RW, London Knights : Kane IS the most talented player in his draft class. When Iâ€™ve seen this kid play he is down right amazing. To start off, yes size isnâ€™t as important in todayâ€™s NHL as speed, however it is still necessary. At 5â€™9 160, Kane is way too small to make the NHL this year or next (as some are expecting). I believe he falls to second because Chicago wants a two-way type centre with a bit less risk. After the Flyers season they easily will take the risk of drafting a potential Art Ross winner. They indeed will be viewing Van Riemsdyk as well; however with large forwards already in the system (Carter, Umberger) a speedy sniper to join Simon Gagne in a few years down the road looks appetizing. Kane, much like Turris, but to a larger extent, will need to put on some real muscle and weight before he plans on taking on pro defenders. 3 â€“ Phoenix Coyotes â€“ James Van Riemsdyk, LW, USNDP : Eyeing a series of very good young player such as Voracek, Cherepanov and Gagner, the Coyotes will take big American winger Van Riemsdyk. With large forward already in the system such as Martin Hanzal, Peter Mueller and Alex Kaigorodov, adding another big body who can skate fits well with the team. Van Riemsdykâ€™s sheer power and size combined with his skill level should make him a bonafide fixture on the Coyotes scoring lines soon, doubtfully this year, but 2008 and 2009 season he could be playing wing to Peter Mueller for one of the best young up and coming lines in the league. Last but not least, they choose JVR over the super skilled Cherepanov due to the fact that the Russian agreements are weary and Cherepanov could still remain in Russia. Voracek falls not due to his skill, but only because players like Cherepanov and Van Riemsdyk have higher offensive ceilings. 4 â€“ Los Angeles Kings â€“ Karl Alzner, D, Calgary Hitmen : LA will think long and hard about taking another solid European born forward in Jakub Voracek, yet in the end decide to take just as safe of a pick in Canadian d-man Alzner. Alzner is primarily a defensive defence-man however his offensive game has improved by leaps and bounds this year in the WHL. Arguably the closest player from the draft to be NHL ready, with young forwards such as Kopitar, Frolov, Cammalleri, Oâ€™Sullivan, Tukonen in the system, having two great young d-men with potential to be first pairing guys in Alzner and Johnson makes the Kings one of the top young player hotbeds in the league. 5 â€“ Washington Capitals â€“ Alexei Cherepanov, RW, Avangard Omsk : Already upset that there favored pick in Alzner was taken just ahead, and, the fact that no star goalies are in the draftâ€¦the Caps select an offensive wizard in Russiaâ€™s Alexei Cherepanov. Cherepanov seems to be a slight risk due to him being from Russia, however with Russian superstar Ovechkin and Semin already aboard, Alexei should already be dreaming about playing on a line with one of the two and forming part of two superb scoring lines around Ovechkin, Semin, and Backstrom. 6 â€“ Edmonton Oilers â€“ Keaton Ellerby, D, Kamloops Blazers : With enough offensive centre prospects in the works, Edmonton tries to get lucky and land a future number one d-man. Ellerby is still developing and is already an excellent physical specimen standing at 6â€™4 and weighing just over 190lbs. A very good skater for his size, Ellerby is a two-way player who has the potential to dominate. His physical game will definitely need to develop more for him to use his frame effectively. Some brought up consistency issues can be dealt with aging and maturity. Ellerby has a high ceiling and if all goes according to plan, he could fill into a poor manâ€™s Chris Pronger type mold. 7 â€“ Columbus Blue Jackets â€“ Jakub Voracek, RW, Halifax Mooseheads : After taking some risky offensive dynamos in the recent drafts with picks like Brule and Brassard, Columbus decides to take a safer but effective route for 2007. Voracek is probably the most NHL ready forward in the draft. Only a rookie in the â€œQâ€ Voracek has established himself as an offensive force that takes care of both ends of the ice. Another positive quality is his dominance in the playoffs, and the leadership both on and off the ice he shows to his teammates, despite his lack of North American experience. With Zherdevâ€™s future up in the air, a solid winger with his head on straight is definitely a positive for CBJ. Voracek could easily be on Rick Nashâ€™s RW in a season or two. 8 â€“ Boston Bruins â€“ Angelo Esposito, C, QuÃ©bec Remparts : With two other serious options in Gagner and Couture, Bean-town decides to go with the nifty playmaker Esposito. Somewhat ironic that Boston will have another Espo on their roster one day, Angelo has the all the skills to make it in the big league. A growing offensive force in Boston has already started with Bergeron, Kessel, Bochenski and Chistov, a future top two line centre, Esposito only needs to get focused and more mature to really capture his full potential. 9 â€“ St. Louis Blues â€“ Sam Gagner, C, London Knights : Sam Gagner is a very skilled player. With both himself and Kane playing together it has been hard to tell who benefited from that experience the most. The Blues should be pleased Gagner fell this far, and even though they would want a top defensive prospect, Gagner is the BPA and St. Louis will take him. Gagner has a stronger two-way game then some of the forwards going in the first round and with his great vision and hockey sense, could see himself on a top two line in St. Louis in 2-4 years, no problemo. 10 â€“ Florida Panthers â€“ Kevin Shattenkirk, D, USNDP : With some of their younger forwards developing into their potential the Panthers will be looking to add to their defence. Bouwmeester and Allen are solid ends; however the team lacks some flair and jump. A pure offensive defenceman, KS has often been described as a 4th forward. One of the top skating and puck handling â€œDâ€ in the draft, KS has the skill to take offensive risk and get back into the defensive plays. Obviously with risks, he does get caught here and there; however that is the risk you take with picking an offensive d-man. His lack of physicality isnâ€™t that big of an issue as his defensive awareness is growing up notches. The Panthers take a bit of a risk taking KS at 10; however they are drafting a player with tremendous raw talent and a very high ceiling of potential. 11 â€“ Carolina Hurricanes â€“ Logan Couture, C, Ottawa 67â€™s : After basically giving away Jack Johnson, the Canes are in the market for another young d-man. With McDonagh and Blum still on the table, they are left with a tough choice. In the end Carolina will take a future second line pivot behind Eric Staal in Logan Couture. The only real knock thus far with Couture is a lack of great skating, as well as his somewhat bad-health plagued season. Overall Couture is a great prospect who could turn into a real star. With decent size already, Couture will continue to develop and with the Canes current roster, he will have a few years to work on his overall game. 12 â€“ MontrÃ©al Canadiens - Ryan McDonagh, D, Cretin-Denham Hall H.S. : This pick could go many ways. There is no clear cut player to choose. With the majority of their forward prospects developing fast and expected to start next season on the Canadiens or on the Calder Cup champion Bulldogs, MontrÃ©al will pass on SEL prospect Lars Eller, and take Ryan McDonagh. Playing in high school the jury is still very much out on McD. He shows great poise and skill at his level, and the ability to progress at higher levels. If MontrÃ©al passes on McD it will be because of his lack of competition. MontrÃ©al could take McD for his overall talents, plus they have shown they arenâ€™t shy to draft player who are raw and not playing in the top leagues, ie. David Fischer. McD is actually Fischerâ€™s successor for the Mr. Hockey award. 13 â€“ Toronto Maple Leafs â€“ Zach Hamill, C, Everett Silvertips : Fans should be very happy when the Leafs select the WHLâ€™s top scorer. A smaller forward, Hamill isnâ€™t a great skater and lacks some foot speed. He does manage to make up for this with superb hockey sense and creativity. If Hamill played in the â€œQâ€ he might not be drafted this high. Playing in a very tough and physical WHL and still having a great season and becoming a leader on his team, this year was a huge development phase for Zach. Like most picks this range, Toronto has the options to potentially take more talented players in Mayorov, Eller, or Backlund. Same story though, they have higher ceilings but are also more risks. If Backlund had not been injured and continued his great progress as a young centre, he would most likely be taken here, or 2 or 3 picks prior. 14 â€“ Colorado Avalanche â€“ Mikael Backlund, C, VÃ¤sterÃ¥s : Colorado has a nice arrangement of available boom or bust prospects at this stage in the draft. Being considered short no top end D prospects, Colorado definitely considers drafting Nick Petrecki. Taking one of the top skilled players available in Backlund, the Avalanche may be considered to go off the board by a few picks to take this future Swedish star pivot. Backlund does it all, he makes solid and accurate passes and has a scoring touch. Works hard at both ends of the ice, if Backlund drops his â€œinjury proneâ€ label from this year, he could turn into one of the biggest steals in the draft. Backlund would join a developing offence with Stastny, Wolski, Svatos, Hensick and Fritsche already involved. 15 â€“ Edmonton Oilers (NYI) â€“ Lars Eller, W, FrÃ¶lunda : After drafting a top d-man in Ellerby, Edmonton now looks to further develop their young offence. Going about where he should, Ellerâ€™s great offensive skills and more North American like play will raise his status. Skill wise, he is one of the best playmakers in the league who has potential to be a dominant player. Heâ€™s another one of this draft class who have the three Sâ€™, size, speed, and skill. Oilers add a playmaking winger to set up future snipers in Cogliano and Schremp. 16 â€“ Anaheim Ducks (TB) â€“ Jonathan Blum, D, Vancouver Giants : Some might view this pick as surprising, but when you stare into the basics it makes a lot of sense. Pronger and Niedermayer arenâ€™t getting any younger. Sean Oâ€™Donnell canâ€™t have that long left in him either. With an already solid offensive base with the PPG line and Bobby Ryan coming soon, the Ducks can afford to take an offensive d-man who could become a solid PP guy with decent two-way skills. A Californian product himself, Blum would love playing for the Ducks. Not to mention, 2nd round Duck draftee Brendan Mikkelsson plays for the Giants as well and along with Mark Mitera, the three will be the future of the Ducks D. 17 â€“ New York Rangers â€“ Bill Sweatt, LW, Colorado College : If you havenâ€™t heard it by now, Sweatt is considered the fastest skater in the draft. From what Iâ€™ve seen live and on TV, he is one of the fastest players ever. Sweatt has potential to develop into an offensive threat in the NHL as well; not only does he have speed, but he can handle the puck at those high speeds. Heâ€™s a hard worked but could develop more of a physical game as he may only turn out to be a 3rd/2nd line centre (faster Brendan Morrison type possibly). Solid overall American kid, who would love to play in the Big Apple. Nationality may not be a fan of the team Captain; however Sweatt has the skill and will to bring fans out of their seats shift after shift. 18 â€“ Calgary Flames â€“ David Perron, RW, Lewiston MAINEiacs : I do expect some heat from this selection however that way I see it, it is possible. Perron is an extremely flashy and skilled winger, something the Flames have always looked for. Passing on Sutter for a more talented player, Calgary has a lot of good prospects in the system that will develop into good 3rd/4th liners. They take a bit of a risk with Perron who has a â€œboomâ€ factor to become a great NHL scorer. 19 â€“ Minnesota Wild â€“ Jim Oâ€™Brien, C, U. Of Minnesota : Oâ€™Brien is a big two-way centre with strong offensive instincts and defensive awareness. He wonâ€™t win any fastest skater awards, or any pro scoring titles, however he is the type of player that will help a team win hockey games. Good vision and strong work ethics have helped Oâ€™Brien to catch eyes playing for U of Minny. Born in Minnesota himself, the Wild would like to add some size to their front end that will contribute in other ways then just pure offenceâ€¦that isnâ€™t to say Oâ€™Brien cannot score. In a very limited ice time role Jim had 12 points (6+6) in 36 games. 20 â€“ Pittsburgh Penguins â€“ Nick Petrecki, D, Omaha : Pittsburghâ€™s good season doesnâ€™t really hamper them draft wise. Picking 20 is still a solid selection as any player picked 11-30 could go anywhere realistically. The Pens have a chance here to select a risky selection of Mayorov to potential have another super star scorer, or get the 3rd line centre behind Sid and Staal in Sutter. They decide to take the potential BPA and top d-man left. Petreckiâ€™s lack of high end competition hurts his ranking; however you canâ€™t hide true talent. A big man, Petrecki is a very good skater who imposes a huge physical presence. Petrecki has drawn some comparisons to the play styles to Ryan Parent as defensive shut down d-man. 21 â€“ Phoenix Coyotes (DAL) â€“ Maxim Mayorov, LW, Leninogorsk : The Coyotes have shown to take chances with some big European forwards (Kaigorodov, Hanzal). Mayorov is a power forward who is very strong on his skates and an above average skater. Good hands, coaches would like him to shoot more then he does. Heâ€™s a force in front of the net. With VanRiemsdyk already drafted in this mock, the sun dogs are developing a good skating big skilled team that could be a force to reckon with. 22 â€“ MontrÃ©al Canadiens (SJ) â€“ Brandon Sutter, C, Red Deer Rebels : After selecting a potential blue line star in McDonaugh, MontrÃ©al decides to take a big two-way centre from the WHL. A ground where the Canadiens have hit some gold before, with Ryan White and Ben Maxwellâ€¦Sutterâ€™s offensive game will continue to develop, expect him to add another 20-30 points onto last seasonâ€™s total for the next season. 23 â€“ Philadelphia Flyers (NSH) â€“ Brett MacLean, LW, Oshawa Generals : With Kane locked up 2nd overall, the Flyers decide to go back with their history of taking some size. They lack some young star D men after Pitkanen and possibly Coburn, however with MacLean on the board, heâ€™s the selection. Big man who plays a power game, MacLean has been underrated and overrated due to playing with Tavares. However, even with Tavares as his line mate, JT canâ€™t be shooting MacLeanâ€™s stick for him. 47 goals in 68 games is a very good year. MacLean will be under the radar and be a steal for the Flyers organization. 24 â€“ St. Louis Blues (ATL) â€“ Max Pacioretty, LW, Sioux City : After drafting a playmaking centre in Gagner, the Blues go after a big power forward that has great all around and two way skills. He may not have the best hockey sense out of the other 1st rounders but he has the talent to succeed. Pacioretty wonâ€™t be a superstar but could develop into a 60 maybe 70 point second liner. 25 â€“ Vancouver Canucks â€“ Oscar Moller, RW, Chiliwack Bruins : The Vancouver Canucks really would like to draft a big Canadian centre that can score. Problem is those type of players are few in this stage. Kevin Veilleux is still on the board; however Dave Nonis will feel that he lacks the offensive punch needed. Oscar Moller might be small in stature but he works as hard and plays big. He isnâ€™t as bad of a skater as people say; he has good acceleration from the many games Iâ€™ve seen live of him. Amazingly soft hands, he is a solid goal scorer and playmaker. Being from Sweden and coming over to the WHL at such a young age is another big plus and sign of the character Moller possesses. 26 â€“ St. Louis Blues (NJD) â€“ Thomas Hickey, D, Seattle Thunderbirds : St. Louis has taken two offensive forwards thus far and now they look to strengthen their blue line. With no Erik Johnson caliber players in this draft, there are about 10 or so d-men who wouldnâ€™t be surprise first rounders. The Blues take the swift skating offensive PP QB. Taking Hickey shows how the NHL has made small but talented defencemen very useful. His physical game and defensive game is still very raw, however that will improve with experience and maturity. 50 points in 68 games for a defenceman in the â€œdubâ€ is quite a feat in its own. 27 â€“ Detroit Red Wings â€“ Joakim Andersson, C, Frolunda : A history of drafting under the radar Europeans has turned out big for Motown. The Red Wings choice of Andersson is a solid pick. With a team built around two-way play and not being overly physical, JA fits right in. A player with great hockey sense, JA wonâ€™t bring anyone out of their seat. He will most likely develop into a 3rd line centre capable of putting up some decent point totals while being a top penalty killer and checker. With his size and defensive awareness, his game is much like fellow countryman Sammy Phalsson. 28 â€“ Washington Capitals (BUF) â€“ Michael Repik, RW, Vancouver Giants : Building their forward position so far with Cherepanov in their prospect pool, the Caps decide to take another European winger. Yes, Michael Repik is a good skating and very skilled smallish forward from Czech Republic; however, he cannot be defined under the European stereo-type. Repik has a very strong two-way game, along with a developing physical presence. He finishes his chances with his offensive talent and awareness. Whether he is making great tape to tape passes or sniping one top shelf, Repik is usually on the score-sheet. One might describe him as a less flashy Oscar Moller. Both players resemble some risk, yet both could develop into 20-30 goal NHL stars, which at 28, is appealing to the Capitals franchise. 29 â€“ Ottawa Senators â€“ Simon Hjalmarsson, RW, Frolunda : Lacking some offensive depth on the wings, the Senators decide to select a fast and skilled two-way winger from Sweden. A great U-18 Tourny propelled Hjalmarrsonâ€™s value to that of a first rounder selection. A very good shooter and playmaker, Hjalmarsson has the basic skills to become a very valuable 3rd or 2nd line player. To reach that point for Ottawa he will need to bulk up and put on some serious muscle and weight. 30 â€“ Edmonton Oilers (ANA) â€“ Colton Gillies, C, Saskatoon Blades : With Ellerby and Eller taking (coincidence), the Oil decides to take a big punishing checker in Gillies. His earth shaking hits arenâ€™t his only quality; his blinding speed makes him built for the new NHL. A force all over the ice, Gillies struggled on a bad team. However, he will never be a top line scorer. Gillies fits in with Edmontonâ€™s team build and will add a big power forward for some of their other forwards. His speed also fits in with other prospects (Eller, Cogliano). 31 â€“ Buffalo Sabres (PHI) â€“ Mike Hoeffel, LW, USNDP : Sabres already have good depth in their prospect pool. They could use some more size, especially on the wings. Hoeffel is a power forward who is also a strong skater with good acceleration and stride. Has been a goal scorer early on in his career, Hoeffel possesses good offensive tools but lacks some creativity and hockey sense. He wonâ€™t be a star but he can develop into a solid 2nd or 3rd liner. 32 â€“ Phoenix Coyotes â€“ Dana Tyrell, C, Prince George Cougars : The Coyotes take a player with great competitiveness and energy. A hard worker who never gives up, Tyrell will still never â€œwowâ€ you with his skill set. Good two-way vision and awareness will help him develop into a 3rd line energy player who can chip in some goals here and there (think Matt Cooke). 33 â€“ Vancouver Canucks (LA) â€“ Keven Veilleux, C, Victoriaville : Well Canuck fans, now you get a player who fits the original bill. A big power center. Standing at around 6â€™4 and weighing at over 200 pounds, Veilleux is an average skater with great hands. Sometimes passes a puck a little to much (mind you he does it well), Veilleux can resemble a lesser boom or bust type prospect. He will make the NHL, however the impact he makes is questionable. Vancouver selects him in hope he will reach his potential as a top 2 centre who uses his size and skill to put points up. Other teams passed on Veilleux due to his lack of using his size to his advantage, and his lack of inside fire. 34 â€“ Washington Capitals â€“ Logan MacMillan, C, Halifax Mooseheads : With their 3rd selection of the draft the Capitals select two way centre Logan MacMillan. â€œLouisâ€ is a solid all around player with good wheels and size. His defensive game is very sound for his age, where as his offensive instincts are good, but not elite. His potential to fill out his frame and become a 2nd or 3rd liner in the NHL isnâ€™t far off. A fairly safe selection, the Captials try draft a player to hopefully back-up Backstrom in the pivot. 35 â€“ Chicago Blackhawks â€“ Luca Cunti, C, Dubendorf : Chicago continues to draft offensive forwards. Establishing a young, talented and fast group of prospects, a draft featuring Turris and Cunti provides Chicago with two potential stars. One this for sure, the Hawks wonâ€™t be selecting Cunti for his defensive play (which really doesnâ€™t much exist). Cunti is a highlight player who can score with the best of them. A great shooter and stick-handler, his soft hands have helped him dominate games at his level. One he bulks up his already solid frame and gets a bit more of an edge into his game, Cunti could be a second round steal. A high-end talent, Cunti could have been a mid first rounder if he had not been recorded of attitude issues along with the fact that playing in the NHL might not be his only life goal. If Cunti gets focused, he could become a real star. Thankyou for reading, I hope you enjoyed.