In keeping with tradition, I've once again put together a mock draft. I don't think it's one of my better ones but I've put in a lot of work into this and am still happy with how it turned out. Due to my lack of knowledge about most of the prospects this year, I've leaned more heavilly on rankings and articles than I have in the past and have used a lot of the analysis from other sources such as TSN and ISS to help with the write-ups. I've tried my best to look for value for each team while also trying to view areas of weakness in the various organizations while at the same time including some guys who rose and fell from where the consensus said they should go since the draft never plays out the way people expect it to. Let me know what you think: 1. Chicago â€“ RW Patrick Kane Going into the draft, Kane is every scoutâ€™s consensus #1 overall pick and he cemented himself in that position with his efforts down the stretch and in the OHL playoffs which complimented his strong showing at the WJC. Kane is a skilled, playmaking forward with good speed and a good shot. The only knock on him however is his size. He is listed at 5â€™10â€ and only 160 lbs but players similar in size have still found success in the NHL which means that it shouldnâ€™t deter the Blackhawks from making Kane the top pick in Columbus. 2. Philadelphia â€“ LW James Van Riemsdyk James Van Riemsdyk is among the bigger players ranked in the top 5 for this yearâ€™s draft class. Standing at 6â€™3â€ tall and tipping the scales at around 200 lbs. he is one of the top power forwards available. He has the frame to add more muscle which will only help to improve his physical play which is already one of his best assets. Thanks to his size, Van Riemsdyk is adept at protecting the puck with his body and also has a good reach with his stick. Heâ€™s a force in front of the net and has a great shot and possesses good vision, especially in traffic. If Kane and Van Riemsdyk do end up going 1 and 2, it will be the first time in NHL history that two Americans have achieved that honor. 3. Phoenix â€“ C Kyle Turris Many will point to the league that Turris played in as a sign of caution over whether to rank him this high or not, however, most scouts have looked past the league and simply evaluated the player and liked what they saw. Turris is a very gifted playmaking Center which an accurate shot and a quick release. In the BCHL playoffs, Kyle collected 26 points in only 14 games and was named the BCHLâ€™s MVP this season. He can improve his size as he is only 170 lbs and could also stand to improve his play along the boards, but with his upcoming move to Wisconsin of the NCAA heâ€™ll have plenty of time to develop and work out the kinks in his game. 4. Los Angeles â€“ D Karl Alzner Given the age of some of LAâ€™s top defensemen and only highly touted prospect Jack Johnson among those ready to make the jump to the NHL, the Kings are in dire need of some restocking in that area and opt for the steady, stay-at-home defenseman from the WHL, Karl Alzer. Alzner is not considered a sexy pick by any means, but he is a solid pick who will provide the team who takes him with strong leadership qualities and a calming presence in pressure situations and when handling the puck. Alzer has good skating ability and can read plays well and is good positionally. Scouts would like to see him take more risks offensively but is a very well-rounded player who should one day provide the Kings with a great 1-2 punch with Johnson on the blueline. 5. Washington â€“ RW Alexei Cherepanov The draftâ€™s first real wildcard is Russian star Alexei Cherepanov. While there is no denying his incredible talent, the lack of a transfer agreement between the NHL and Russia makes taking him a risk for whichever team chooses to do so. The Capitals however are well-aware of the risks associated with Russian born players and hope that the presence of countrymen Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin will make coming to North America to play a more attractive destination for Cherepanov who simply dominated the WJC and was named the tournamentâ€™s top forward after posting 5 goals and 3 assists to lead all players in points. He also broke Pavel Bureâ€™s record by most goals scored by a rookie in the Russian Super League. Cherepanov shows good puck handling ability and a nose for the net. He makes smart decisions with the puck and has a quick release. He needs to work on his consistency however and despite not being afraid to take a hit, has to display more of a physical presence in his game. 6. Edmonton â€“ RW Jakub Voracek The Oilers give Sam Gagner a lot of consideration at this spot, but with a few talented Center prospects in the fold already they instead decide on the Czech superstar who played this past season in the Q with the Halifax Mooseheads. After a disappointing performance in the WJC, Voracek made up for it with an outstanding run in the playoffs with Halifax, collecting 24 points in 12 games including a 7 game triumph over the heavily favored Moncton Wildcats. Voracek has good speed and passing ability. He can play in traffic and can make plays at top speeds. Like a lot of young players, he needs to establish consistency in his game, but there is no question that the talent is there and he should be a great fit for the run and gun offence employed by the Oilers once heâ€™s able to make the jump to the NHL. 7. Columbus â€“ C Mikael Backlund In the first big surprise on draft day, the Blue Jackets take the talented Swede with the 7th overall pick. Backlund was viewed as a lock for the top 10 before the season started, but a rash of injuries and struggling play to start the year, he slipped in the rankings. His talent however is not to be questioned as he is an extremely smart player with excellent speed. He displays high-end passing ability, sees the ice well and shows a nose for the net that scouts love to see in players. Backlund also displays the kind of competitiveness and leadership qualities as well as strong defensive play that make him the type of player Ken Hitchcock teams thrive on. 8. Boston â€“ C Sam Gagner After slipping somewhat, the Bruins snag the small, talented Center who is the son of former NHLer Dave Gagner. Along with Patrick Kane, Gagner had a great season playing for London in the OHL. Sam is a tremendously gifted player who is among the best playmakers in the draft this year. Has very good hands and is also creative with the puck and makes his line mates better. Gagner is also a reliable player defensively which is a key for new head coach Claude Julien. He does not possess great size and he will need to work on improving his strength, but the Bruins are more than happy to select him at 8 when most figure he will be gone by 5 or 6. 9. St. Louis â€“ C Angelo Esposito If somebody placed Angelo Esposito 9th on a mock draft a year ago, you would have been laughed at and called every name in the book. However, after a year in which scouts began to pick apart every facet of his game, Esposito took a free-fall down the draft board rankings. Some scouts donâ€™t like the fact he plays on the outside for the most part and complain that almost all of his offence is generated by his speed and think he needs more than just that to succeed at the next level. He needs to also display more competitiveness and be more willing to fight for loose pucks. The Blues however donâ€™t let him slip any further and with two additional picks in the 1st round are more than willing to roll the dice on the former top rated prospect that still has a lot of the traits that had him so highly ranked in the first place. He sees the ice well and has the ability to make accurate passes and is not afraid to go to the net. 10. Florida â€“ C Logan Couture The Panthers have been slowly building a strong crop of forwards both on the main roster and in their prospect pool but are still in need of more good Centers to compliment their wingers. Enter Logan Couture. Couture was also a highly touted prospect at the start of the season who was rated #1 by ISS at one point. He is a solid two-way Center with excellent offensive instincts. He has the ability to be a great leader and has been a reliable player in his own zone. He protects the puck well and can play in all situations. Needs to play tougher in traffic and improve his balance. 11. Carolina â€“ C Zach Hamill In a somewhat surprising move, the â€˜Canes select the slick Center from Everett of the WHL instead of choosing what many people to believe their biggest need, a defenseman. However, with aging forwards such as Ray Whitney, Rod Brindâ€™Amour and Cory Stillman, plus injury plagued Erik Cole, the â€˜Canes donâ€™t feel confident enough in the forward depth in the organization to pass on a talent like Hamill when theyâ€™re few and far between. Hamill led the Dub in scoring this season with 93 points. He sees the ice very well and can set up his line mates with his playmaking ability. 12. Montreal â€“ D Keaton Ellerby After watching Carolina pass on Ellerby, the Canadiens run to the podium to announce the selection of Ellerby who many think will be long gone by the time the draft reaches Montreal. With only a small handful of blueline prospects to get excited about, the Canadiens are thrilled to add somebody with the upside of Ellerby. There are some who feel he may have a higher ceiling than top ranked Karl Alzer. Ellerby is an offensive defenseman with great mobility that can finish his checks. He handles the puck well and can play in all situations. He needs to be able to fill out his 6â€™4â€ frame better as he is currently listed at only 186 lbs. but is definitely one of the best players available in this yearâ€™s draft. 13. Toronto â€“ C Colton Gillies Gillies has been up-and-down in the rankings a lot this season with many differing opinions on him but the Leafs should like the package presented by Gillies. His style of play is one that teams love to see in their players. He out muscles his opponents and has the ability to land punishing hits. Has great speed for a player of his size and while he isnâ€™t flashy he showed increased confidence with the puck as the year went on. He does need to get better around the net and show more consistency offensively but he still has the talent to play in the league for a long time. 14. Colorado â€“ D Nick Petrecki Currently, the Avs donâ€™t really have any defenseman who can intimidate the opposition and play the role of a shutdown guy and the only one close enough, Karlis Skrastins, is 32. With offensively gifted players like John-Michael Liles, Brett Clark and Jordan Leopold, the Avs need to get bigger and meaner which they do by selecting Nick Petrecki. Standing 6â€™3â€ and weighing 213 lbs, Petrecki embodies everything that you would want to see in a stay-at-home defenseman. He has a strong physical presence with the ability to make the big hit. He has good positioning and takes away the middle of the ice. Petrecki is quick to the puck and makes hard and accurate passes but needs to improve the consistency of his decision-making and his discipline. 15. Edmonton â€“ C Lars Eller The Oilers would have liked to land Petrecki here but are just as glad to select Eller. After taking Voracek earlier in the round and passing on Sam Gagner to do it, the Oilers will probably be looking for a Center at some point before the 1st round is over. Eller has shot up the rankings since the beginning of the season and with good reason. He is a skilled playmaking forward with good mobility and break-away speed. He controls the puck well and competes for the puck and has displayed an excellent shot with a quick release. The biggest area he needs to improve on is his play along the boards, especially given his size. 16. Anaheim â€“ D Ryan McDonagh Despite winning the Stanley Cup, the Ducks can still improve. For most of the season and during the playoffs, the Ducks rarely used their 5th and 6th defensemen and they simply cannot continue to employ such a strategy especially given recent reports that Scott Niedermayer is considering retirement. McDonagh is a skilled offensive defenseman with the ability to rush the puck. He is strong along the boards and plays a steady game and makes smart plays with the puck. McDonagh would compliment current Anaheim defensive prospects Mark Mitera and Brendan Mikkelson. 17. NY Rangers â€“ RW David Perron Most of the Rangersâ€™ go-to offensive players are aging and recently acquired Alex Bourret may or may not develop into the top six forward that he was projected to be when he was drafted which gives the Rangers motivation enough to select Perron who really improved his draft stock with a strong showing at the Memorial Cup. Perron is a tremendous stick-handler and is arguably one of the most talented forwards available. He protects the puck well and makes impressive passes through traffic. Perron led all rookies in the QMJHL in goal scoring with 39 and was a +37 and finished second in points with 83. 18. Calgary â€“ D Kevin Shattenkirk The Flames love to have depth on defense and opt to take the best player available on draft day by selecting the talented blueliner Shattenkirk. He is an offensive defenseman with good puck skills who can read the play well. He possesses good mobility and also displays strong leadership qualities. He will need to show more consistency with his play defensively and needs to add more power to his legs but those are problems that can be corrected in time. 19. Minnesota â€“ D Thomas Hickey After allowing A.J. Thelen to walk away without a contract, the Wild are looking to draft a replacement as they donâ€™t have many solid blueline prospects in the pipeline. Thomas Hickey is another strong offensive defenseman he can control a power play and is smart with the puck. He can skate with the puck and carry it out of his own zone and make good outlet passes. He does show good positioning defensively and can play in all situations which is something the Wild value in their players. 20. Pittsburgh â€“ D Tommy Cross The Pens have one of the best offences in the entire league and need to start building up their defense by adding talent around Kris Letang and Ryan Whitney. Tommy Cross is a big stay-at-home defenseman with good lateral mobility and quickness. He skates with the puck well and has a strong shot from the point and can run a power play. He is physical in the defensive zone and looks to dominate the front of his net by playing hard with the stick and using his strength to establish defensive side position and drive opponents away from the crease. 21. Phoenix â€“ LW Bill Sweatt Sweatt is a great skater and one of the fastest players in the draft. Heâ€™s not a very flashy player but still possesses some offensive skills with the ability to make plays. He is a very hard worker and is determined. He shows good puck handling skills and good anticipation. Heâ€™ll need to get stronger and improve his ability to fight through checks. 22. Montreal â€“ C/RW Brandon Sutter After already securing a top defensive prospect earlier in the draft, the Canadiens next look to add a forward and pass on talented Russian Maxim Mayorov to take Brandon Sutter. Sutter played this past season in Red Deer where he played for his father Brent. Sutter is not a very flashy player but he works hard at both ends of the rink. He makes simple, effective plays and is relied heavily upon in all situations. He has a great work ethic and excellent puck pursuit. He needs to work on his conditioning and improve his one-on-one skills but his hockey sense should keep him in the league for a long time. 23. Nashville â€“ D Jonathan Blum After trading away Ryan Parent and now Kimmo Timonen, the Predators will once again look to add more depth defensively which was among the best in the league in recent seasons. By taking Jonathan Blum, the Predators will reunite him with junior teammate Cody Franson. Blum is a good two-way defenseman who makes smart decisions with the puck and has high-end passing ability. He very rarely gets beat with his solid positioning. Heâ€™ll need to fill out his frame better to have more success at the next level but has shown the strength to take a hit in the past. 24. St. Louis â€“ C Joakim Andersson After going with a high risk/high reward pick, the Blues now decide on a safer option with the big Swede. Andersson is a very strong two-way player that works hard. He has soft hands and the ability to make plays in the offensive zone. He is also a versatile player that can play in all three zones. He has developed into a very good face-off guy and has the ability to elevate his play in important situations. He plays the physical game well and can create space for his line mates. Is great along the boards and wins a lot of one-on-one battles. 25. Vancouver â€“ C Patrick White Most will expect the Canucks to take either Brett MacLean or Oscar Moller with this pick, but the Canucks rarely look towards the OHL or the WHL with their first pick (only once in the past 6 years have they selected a player from either league with their top pick) and instead opt to take White who is off to play for the University of Minnesota in the fall. White is a skilled forward with a strong physical presence. He plays tough in traffic and in the corners. He is good on the right wing and can get his wrist shot off with ease. He is very mature for his age and has all the skills to succeed in the NHL. He is very smart and patient with the puck and plays well in traffic. He has good size and is tough to push off the puck. Has also displayed a willingness to go to the net without the puck, something the Canucks have been lacking. 26. St. Louis â€“ D Alex Plante An overload of forward prospects now, the Blues use their third pick in the 1st round to provide some help for last yearâ€™s top pick Erik Johnson by taking the massive rear guard from the Calgary Hitmen. Plante is a bit of a wildcard in that he is still raw in his development but scouts drool over his size, 6â€™4â€ and 225 lbs. Plante is an intense player who is mean and not afraid of playing along the boards or competing physically. However, he also has a lot of skill in moving the puck quickly and shooting it from the point. In 58 games with Calgary, he had 8 goals to go with 30 assists. In the playoffs he was nearly a point-per-game player with 11 points in 13 games. 27. Detroit â€“ C Jim Oâ€™Brien The Red Wings feel that they need to draft a Center which is why they announce Jim Oâ€™Brienâ€™s name as their first pick in 2007. Oâ€™Brien is a skilled forward with good on-ice awareness and he handles the puck well. Scouts have had a hard time getting a read on him however since he saw such limited ice time on a stacked team at Minnesota. He has a good work ethic and a good wrist shot. He will need to continue to improve his physical play and he also needs to work on his mobility and speed. 28. Washington â€“ RW Oscar Moller Moller goes a little bit later than expected but finds himself in a great position with an emerging offensive force in Washington. With Ovechkin, Semin, last yearâ€™s top choice Nicklas Backstrom and Alexei Cherepanov selected earlier, Moller fits right in with what the Caps are doing. Moller is a playmaking forward with a good work ethic. Is a two-way player that competes every shift and displays good skating ability and vision and is able to anticipate the play. He needs to work on fighting though checks better and play better in traffic but his leadership traits will help him to succeed at the NHL level. 29. Ottawa â€“ LW Maxim Mayorov When you have the 29th overall pick in what is considered a weak draft, the chances of you finding an impact player is slim. The Sens however are lucky enough to find themselves in just that position when Maxim Mayorov falls into their laps after nearly sliding out of the 1st round entirely due to concerns over the lack of a Russian transfer agreement. The Sens have not been a team to shy away from taking Russians as they have selected 10 since 2000 and while offence is not necessarily a problem for the Sens, Mayorovâ€™s upside is just too good to pass up on. He is a power forward who protects the puck well and is strong on his skates. He has good puck skills and is effective in front of the net. He is tough to contain one-on-one and can fly up and down the wing with or without the puck. 30. Edmonton â€“ C/RW Dana Tyrell The Oilers close out the 1st round by taking their third forward. Tyrell is a player every coach wants on his team. Has a tremendous work ethic. His tenacity on the puck creates offensive opportunities and he can play in all situations. Tyrell plays bigger than his size and is very responsible defensively, has lots of energy on the forecheck and is willing to take a hit to make a play. He is a deceptive skater with good speed, but will need to improve his acceleration as well as his puck protection.