Keep in note that this is a mock, not who I feel are the 30 best players available(though personal preference did come into play a few times). 1. Pittsburgh Player: Sidney Crosby Position: Center 2004-05 Team: Rimouski(QMJHL) 2004-05 Stats: 62 GP 66 G 102 A 168 PTS 84 PIM Vitals: 5’10”, 180 lb, Left Shot CSB Ranking: 1st North American Analysis: I don’t think there is anything more to say about the kid. Simply put he’s the most intriguing prospect to enter the NHL Draft in 21 years. 2. Anaheim Player: Jack Johnson Position: Defenseman 2004-05 Team: US National Program 2004-05 Stats: 42 GP 14 G 27 A 41 PTS 170 PIM Vitals: 6’0”, 197 lb, Left Shot CSB Ranking: 4th North American Analysis: A strong, physical two-way defenseman with offensive upside who can dominate on the ice. Leadership to boot. Will attend Michigan in the fall. 3. Carolina Player: Benoit Pouliot Position: Left Wing 2004-05 Team: Sudbury(OHL) 2004-05 Stats: 69 GP 29 G 38 A 67 PTS 102 PIM Vitals: 6’2”, 180 lb, Left Shot CSB Ranking: 2nd North American Analysis: A late bloomer who was an 11th round pick of Sudbury who had a grand total of 4 games of OHL experience before this season but is still considered one of the safest picks of the draft. Great feet and scary vision. Hasn’t played up to his natural talents yet. 4. Minnesota Player: Bobby Ryan Position: Right Wing 2004-05 Team: Owen Sound(OHL) 2004-05 Stats: 62 GP 37 G 52 A 89 PTS 51 PIM Vitals: 6’0”, 210 lb, Right Shot CSB Ranking: 3rd North American Analysis: Born Robert Stevenson Bobby Ryan has had an interesting, and difficult, life to this point. What has turned weaker people into busts only makes Bobby Ryan stronger. A big, strong power forward with loads of leadership abilities Ryan reminds me a lot of Rick Nash. A very awkward skating style is his only real downfall. 5. Montreal Player: Anze Kopitar Position: Center 2004-05 Team: Sodertalje(Sweden Juniors) 2004-05 Stats: 30 GP 28 G 21 A 49 PTS 26 PIM Vitals: 6’2”, 202 lb, Left Shot CSB Ranking: 1st European Analysis: Kopitar could never play another game and still get the title as best Slovenian hockey player ever. Granted that’s not hard. Ranks high on every aspect of his game. Skating, shot, sense, leadership, defense…the only flaw any scout can find in Kopitar’s game? He’s Slovenian. Personally I feel he’ll end up being the second best player in the draft, but there’s a definite risk in drafting not only a European this high in the current NHL, but in drafting a European from Slovenia. 6. Columbus Player: Gilbert Brule Position: Center 2004-05 Team: Vancouver(WHL) 2004-05 Stats: 70 GP 39 G 48 A 87 PTS 169 PTS Vitals: 5’10”, 170 lb, Right Shot CSB Ranking: 5th North American Analysis: Brule was thought of as this year’s Malkin a year ago. While Malkin’s star continues to rise, Brule’s has gotten dimmer. Still considered one of the top 6 players of the draft by pretty much every scout out there. Brule has great skills and fantastic hockey sense, something you can’t teach, but his play style takes a toll on his body and he has a very small stature to be a power forward. It worked in the WHL, but will that style work on a kid this size in the NHL? Brule’s worst downfall though, to me, is he is very easy to agitate. Brule, to me, reminds me far too much of Kris Beech, especially in this aspect. Once someone gets under Brule’s skin he starts to take stupid penalties. 7. Chicago Player: Jack Skille Position: Right Wing 2004-05 Team: US National Program 2004-05 Stats: 54 GP 24 G 31 A 55 PTS 76 PIM Vitals: 6’1”, 200 lb, Right Shot CSB Ranking: 11th North American Analysis: With Corey Crawford in goal and three consecutive first rounders used on defenseman Chicago will go for a forward if they stay in this position. Skille has flaws in his game, some scouts question his hockey instincts, but by watching him play you’d never know it. A speedy skilled power forward Skille would look awfully nice on a line with Tuomo Ruutu in a few years. Will go to Wisconsin in the fall. 8. Atlanta Player: Marc Staal Position: Defenseman 2004-05 Team: Sudbury(OHL) 2004-05 Stats: 65 GP 6 G 20 A 26 PTS 53 PIM Vitals: 6’3”, 185 lb, Right Shot CSB Ranking: 9th North American Analysis: The younger brother of Hurricanes center Eric Staal, Marc has a lot of the same qualities as his older sibling. Staal is, by no means, a flashy player but a steady performer with no real holes in his game and a splendid personality. There’s a vast split between scouts on this one though. Some rank him right next to Johnson as a top 5 talent in the draft, some rank him as nothing more than a late first rounder. There is nothing in particular in Staal’s game that really stands out besides the fact there is no real downside to his play. A potential second pairing defenseman with limited downside plays in the favor of the Thrashers who have gone with boom or bust defenseman with their last two picks(Coburn and Valabik, both whom I’m not a fan of). 9. Ottawa Player: Carey Price Position: Goaltender 2004-05 Team: Tri-City(WHL) 2004-05 Stats: 24-31-8 2.34 GAA, .920 SV% Vitals: 6’2”, 175 lb, Left Glove CSB Ranking: 1st North American Goaltender Analysis: Price is all that made a mediocre Tri-City team somewhat competitive this past season. Price isn’t going to step right into the NHL and make an impact, he doesn’t have the upside of Fleury or Lehtonen, and he doesn’t have any one aspect of his game that shouts draft me. But at that same time he has no real pitfalls and has unquestionable anticipation and confidence. It may take a few years for Ottawa to reap the rewards of drafting Price, but it should be worth it. I know not every Senators fan wants the team to draft a goalie but Ray Emery isn’t good enough to be a starter for a team that will be competing for the Cup year in and year out and you can only rely on stopgaps for so long(read: Hasek). 10. Vancouver Player: Ryan Parent Position: Defenseman 2004-05 Team: Guelph(OHL) 2004-05 Stats: 66 GP 2 G 17 A 19 PTS 36 PIM Vitals: 6’2”, 183 lb, Left Shot CSB Ranking: 8th North American Analysis: The Canucks well at defensive prospects is shallow to say the least. Parent is pretty much the opposite of every defenseman in the Canucks system save a couple. He’s a defensive defenseman with very little in the terms of offensive ability. He’s a smooth skate, plays strong and smart. Parent may not be a dynamic player, but he could be an unsung hero on the blueline for a long time. 11. Los Angeles Player: Tuukka Rask Position: Goaltender 2004-05 Team: Ilves Tampere 2004-05 Stats: 18 GP .875 SV% Vitals: 6’1”, 190 lb, CSB Ranking: 1st European Goaltender Analysis: Rask was considered the best goalie in the draft at one point but later that destinction went to Price. Not because of anything Rask did, but because of what Rask didn’t do. He didn’t play much at all. Ilves barely played him but would not send him to his juniors team so the bulk of his playing time this season came from international tournaments, in which he shined. Finland has been a hotbed for great goaltenders the past few years and I don’t expect anything less from Rask. I think highly of him. He’s a long way from NHL ready though. 12. San Jose Player: Ryan O’Marra Position: Center 2004-05 Team: Erie(OHL) 2004-05 Stats: 64 GP 25 G 38 A 63 PTS 60 PIM Vitals: 6’1”, 183 lb, Right Shot CSB Ranking: 14th North American Analysis: You can pencil O’Marra in as a second line center in the NHL in a few seasons and, odds are, you won’t be disappointed. O’Marra is considered as safe of a prospect as there is in this draft, but with safety is a lack of flash and dynamics that scouts love ever-so-much. O’Marra is a strong, smart, and skilled player with a fantastic character and potential captain leadership qualities, but does nothing amazing. 13. Buffalo Player: Luc Bourdon Position: Defenseman 2004-05 Team: Val-d’Or(QMJHL) 2004-05 Stats: 70 GP 13 G 19 A 32 PTS 117 PIM Vitals: 6’2”, 185 lb, Left Shot CSB Ranking: 6th North American Analysis: Bourdon has all the tools to be a fantastic physical defenseman in the NHL. Has a very well-rounded game and has offensive upside(though very little talent as of right now). Only downfall on his game is some scouts question his decision making. 14. Washington Player: Alex Bourret Position: Center 2004-05 Team: Lewiston(QMJHL) 2004-05 Stats: 65 GP 31 G 55 A 86 PTS 172 PIM Vitals: 5’10”, 210 lb, Left Shot CSB Ranking: 17th North American Analysis: Bourret is a powerful scoring machine who’s strongest aspect may not be his skills, but his fire for the game. Plays very hard, sometimes too hard. Needs to add to his frame to be successful in the NHL with his style. 15. New York Islanders Player: Martin Hanzal Position: Right Wing 2004-05 Team: Budjevoice(Czech Jr.) 2004-05 Stats: 37 GP 22 G 22 A 44 PTS 80 PIM Vitals: 6’3”, 189 lb, Left Shot CSB Ranking: 2nd European Analysis: Amazing skill and a big body who still has room to grow(some reports have him being as tall as 6’5”). Fantastic speed and hockey sense. Suffers from the same problems many Europeans do though. Doesn’t use his size to his advantage enough, in fact he has been labeled a diver by many. Boom or bust pick. 16. New York Rangers Player: Brian Lee Position: Defenseman 2004-05 Team: Lincoln(USHL) 2004-05 Stats: 12 GP 0 G 3 A 3 PTS 4 PIM Vitals: 6’3”, 200 lb, Right Shot CSB Ranking: 15th North American Analysis: A real wild card, Lee could go in the top 10 and he may fall completely out of the first round(though unlikely). Lee is an offensive-minded defenseman who’s style is eerily similar to that of Jordan Leopold’s. Lee will attend the University of North Dakota in the fall. 17. Phoenix Player: Marek Zapragan Position: Center 2004-05 Team: Chicoutimi(QMJHL) 2004-05 Stats: 59 GP 32 G 50 A 82 PTS 50 PIM Vitals: 6’1”, 183 lb, Left Shot CSB Ranking: 23rd North American Analysis: The Czech Import is another wild card. Top 10 talent but a vastly varied opinion by scouts means he could fall far. While Zapragan put up very solid stats with Chicoutimi some scouts felt he made a mistake by coming over to the QMJHL. He worked on his physical play and he vastly improved it, but some feel that came at the cost of some offense. Could go top 10, could fall into the middle of the second round. 18. Nashville Player: Niklas Bergfors Position: Right Wing 2004-05 Team: Sodertalje(Sweden Jr.) 2004-05 Stats: 21 GP 18 G 16 A 34 PTS 25 PIM Vitals: 5’11”, 192 lb, Right Shot CSB Ranking: 5th European Analysis: Bergfors plays well beyond his talent level. He has a physical side of him that doesn’t match his size. His hard play has enabled him to put up very nice numbers in the Swedish Juniors, but will it be enough for him to get picked this early? 19. Detroit Player: Jakub Kindl Position: Defenseman 2004-05 Team: Kitchener(OHL) 2004-05 Stats: 62 GP 3 G 11 A 14 PTS 92 PIM Vitals: 6’3”, 194 lb, Left Shot CSB Ranking: 18th North American Analysis: Kindl came over to North American from the Czech Republic with anticipation of being a top 10 pick and being an offensive presence on the blueline. The large blue liner still has good offensive upside and a fantastic stride, but has major consistency issues. A real boom or bust pick a team like Detroit can afford to make, but not one else before them. 20. Philadelphia Player: Kenndal McArdle Position: Left Wing 2004-05 Team: Moose Jaw(WHL) 2004-05 Stats: 70 GP 37 G 37 A 74 PTS 122 PIM Vitals: 5’11”, 195 lb, Left Shot CSB Ranking: 7th North American Analysis: Everyone knows Bobby Clarke wants Bobby Clarke, but if he can’t move up and get him McArdle may not be a bad consolation. McArdle is a classic Clarke player. Good offensive skills, solid defense, tenacity, leader, willing to give up the body for the good of the team…the prototypical power forward. Could end up being a Richards-level steal for the Flyers if they get him. 21. Toronto Player: Guillaume Latendresse Position: Right Wing 2004-05 Team: Drummondville(QMJHL) 2004-05 Stats: 65 GP 29 G 49 A 78 PTS 76 PIM Vitals: 6’2”, 215 lb, Left Shot CSB Ranking: 52nd North American Analysis: Every draft has a highly skilled player who was once thought to be a top 5 pick end up slipping. As much as I like Latendresse he’s looking like a prime candidate to be this year’s Salmonsson or O’Sullivan. But can it even count as slipping when a guy’s CSB rating is in the 50s? Latendresse has solid offensive skills, good enough defense, but bouts with consistency and skating are holding him back in the eyes of many scouts. 22. Boston Player: Ryan Stoa Position: Left Wing 2004-05 Team: US National Program 2004-05 Stats: 49 GP 19 G 35 A 54 PTS 52 PIM Vitals: 6’3”, 200 lb, Left Shot CSB Ranking: 13th North American Analysis: Stoa has the skills to be an early first rounder, but hasn’t yet put them all together. If he ever figures out how to work his natural skills he could be a real steal. Needs to be more aggressive on the ice because he has the size and skill to be a dangerous player in traffic. 23. New Jersey Player: Scott Jackson Position: Defenseman 2004-05 Team: Seattle(WHL) 2004-05 Stats: 72 GP 6 G 16 A 22 PTS 46 PIM Vitals: 6’4”, 200 lb, Left Shot CSB Ranking: 21st North American Analysis: A little off the map, but not far. Jackson is the prototypical Devils defenseman. Good leader, plays best under pressure, good hockey sense, fantastic defensive awareness, and a physical edge. 24. St. Louis Player: Devin Setoguchi Position: Right Wing 2004-05 Team: Saskatoon(WHL) 2004-05 Stats: 69 GP 33 G 31 A 64 PTS 34 PIM Vitals: 6’0”, 180 lb, Right Shot CSB Ranking: 10th North American Analysis: Vastly talented Setoguchi has severe troubles with consistency. When at the top of the game there were few better in the WHL, when he wasn’t he was downright terrible. A very nice World Under-18 tourney raised his stock. 25. Edmonton Player: Denis Istomin Position: Center 2004-05 Team: Chelyabinsk Traktor(Russian Tier 1) 2004-05 Stats: 42 GP 11 G 5 A 16 PTS 24 PIM Vitals: 6’1”, 196 lb, Left Shot CSB Ranking: 4th European Analysis: Vastly skilled and an effortless skater, Istomin has fantastic playmaking ability and a solid shot. Could be a potential steal if taken here. 26. Calgary Player: Dan Bertram Position: Center 2004-05 Team: Boston College(NCAA) 2004-05 Stats: 38 GP 9 G 8 A 17 PTS 58 PIM Vitals: 5’11”, 175 lb, Right Shot CSB Ranking: 36th North American Analysis: Bertram is a prototypical Flames player. Great speed, plays hard, smart player, character to spare, coaches love him…to steal from TSN- “Where some players are not yet the sum of their parts, Bertram would be greater than the sum of his.” 27. Colorado Player: Matt Lashoff Position: Defenseman 2004-05 Team: Kitchener(OHL) 2004-05 Stats: 44 GP 4 G 18 A 22 PTS 44 PIM Vitals: 6’2”, 205 lb, Left Shot CSB Ranking: 12th North American Analysis: An early-season bout with mononucleosis zapped Lashoff of a lot of his power throughout the season which could affect his draft stock. Add a concussion to the mix and Lashoff had a tough season that he would rather forget considering most felt he would have been a high pick last year had he been eligible (missed the cutoff by 2 weeks). A team like Colorado can afford to take a guy like Lashoff though, his skill is beyond a 27th pick, but his season will probably scare many teams away. 28. Dallas Player: Radek Smolenak Position: Left Wing 2004-05 Team: Kingston(OHL) 2004-05 Stats: 67 GP 32 G 28 A 60 PTS 58 PIM Vitals: 6’2”, 180 lb, Left Shot CSB Ranking: 34th North American Analysis: Smolenak, a Czech import, has some of the best finishing skills in the draft. Quick hands, blinding speed, leadership skills, and a newfound physical game blend to make an intriguing pick. But still, very raw. 29. Florida Player: Tomas Pospisil Position: Right Wing 2004-05 Team: Trinec Jr.(Czech Jr.) 2004-05 Stats: 38 GP 19 G 18 A 37 PTS 44 PIM Vitals: 6’0”, 172 lb, Right Shot CSB Ranking: 13th European Analysis: Early in the season I had Pospisil penciled in as a top 10 pick. To this day I still feel highly about him. Injuries hurt his stock though. Strong skater and a fantastic playmaker. Boom or bust. 30. Tampa Bay Player: Ondrej Pavelec Position: Goaltender 2004-05 Team: Kladno Jr.(Czech Jr.) 2004-05 Stats: 39 GP 2.30 GAA .930 SV% Vitals: 6’2”, 180 lb, Left Glove CSB Ranking: 2nd European Goaltender Analysis: Pavelec is the return of an extinct breed of goaltender, the stand-up goalie. Plays angles well and has a solid glove. At least five years away from the NHL. Flame away!