Hey guys, here is my effort with a small commentary explaining my reasoning behind each pick. Comments welcome, thanks. 2007 1st Round Mock 1. Chicago Blackhawks - Patrick Kane The Blackhawks takes the player who has is emerged as just about the consensus number 1. Ideally for them he is a slick winger, blessed with incredible hands, who eventually will combine with Toews to produce many points. Not only will he post big numbers and increase Toews’ totals but Toews’ defensive awareness may well be enough to cover up any defensive deficiencies the Blackhawks may be worried about. The pick is well received by the Hawks faithful. 2. Philadelphia Flyers - Kyle Turris The Flyers top brass flirt with the idea of taking Van Riemsdyke second but decide the long term upside of Turris is too great and pick him second overall. They see the small but skilful pivot as somewhat of a project, willing to give him the full 4 years in college to get upto around 195lbs and 6’1 when he makes the big show but have him pencilled in as their future #1 center. They love his game and the contrast he brings with Jeff Carter and Mike Richards down the middle, giving them a tremendous future roster capable of playing a number of styles. 3. Phoenix Coyotes - Jakob Voracek The Yotes have a farm packed full of high risk, high rewards prospects such as Lisen, Kaigorodov and Wheeler so decide taking a safe, talented winger in the top 3 is a must. The man who is perhaps the safest pick in the top 5 is Halifax winger Voracek, who has good size, speed and skill and a strong desire to make the NHL. The great one hopes this good one combines with Peter Mueller to form a big, skilled, scoring line within 3 years. 4. Los Angeles Kings - Karl Alzner The Kings may well trade down here to try and pick up a couple of later picks in the hope someone is in love with a certain prospect, if they have no bites, however, they have no qualms about picking up solid blue-liner Alzner at the 4th spot. Alzner pans out to be a reliable, 15 year, top 4 d-man and the Kings hope he his no thrills style is the perfect foil for the prized Jack Johnson. Not overtly offensive, could find his attacking game under the tutelage of Rob Blake and Lube Vishnevski. 5. Washington Capitals - Sam Gagner The Capitals take a center with their first pick for the second time in as many years. Like the Flyers they briefly consider Van Riemsdyke but have him closely rated with Gagner and given their need for help down the middle they decide upon Kane set up man. McPhee is a fan of Gagner’s work on a line with an offensive dynamo like Kane and feels he can work well on a second line with Semin, providing the Capitals with a dangerous 1-2 punch with Ovechkin and Backstrom on the first unit. Gagner’s skating needs work but his passing is as good as anyone’s in the draft and the Capitals are more than happy to bring him on board. 6. Edmonton Oilers - James Van Riemsdyke The Oilers love that Van Riemsdyke falls to them as he offers the size that they lost when Ryan Smyth left for Long Island. The hulking winger gives the Oil a legitmate top line threat that may or not be the case with Robbie Schremp. Capable of playing to his size and tough to knock off the puck when he’s on his game, like Smyth JVR isn’t a fantastic skater but if he has half the impact the former captain had the Oil will have a great player on their hands. 7. Columbus Blue Jackets - Keaton Ellerby The Blue Jackets have glaring needs on the blue line and with the imminant arrival of highly touted but small puck mover Kris Russell, the need is for a large blue liner capable of partnering him. With Ellerby they get an intriguing package of size and speed, but with nagging questions over hockey sense it remains to be seen how effective he’ll be. Has all the tools and blessed with a frame around which to build an NHL body, the BJ’s will be hoping he shines rather than fades away. 8. Boston Bruins - Angelo Esposito The Bruins took former #1 prospect for the 2006 draft Phil Kessel with their 1st pick last year and this year they follow suit, taking the former ‘phenom’ Esposito at 8. Espo has all the tools, and despite reports to the contrary, a good attitude and willingness to learn which is very similar to the Kessel of this year. Bruins management think they reignite a surge in development plus they love seeing another guy named Esposito wearing the big B. 9. St Louis Blues - Alexei Cherapanov The Blues end the enigmatic Russian’s slid down the draft board, and love that he fell to them. A top 3 talent with an NHL shot, Cherapanov has numerous question that lead to the team above passing up on him, top of the list being the lack of a Russian Transfer Agreement. Despite his obvious talent, the winger is seen as moody and at times disinterested, a factor the Blues will be looking to change providing they can smuggle him out of Avangard. 10. Florida Panthers - Logan Couture The Panthers select walking medicine cabinet Logan Couture hoping the doctors will patch him up enough to eventually make it to the show within 3 years. The center was well touted coming into this year but had a stop start year with illness and injury, and despite that put up an impressive 78 points. His game isn’t all offensive however as he plays well in all 3 zones. Florida gets themselves a steal if Couture can stay healthy. 11. Carolina Hurricanes - Kevin Shattenkirk The Canes made a huge mistake last autumn trading away their future all star defenseman Jack Johnson for a burrito and coke. Having realised their error Canes management pick the premier offensive d-man in this year’s crop hoping Shattenkirk’s points on the point will make fans forget about the ill fated trade. That may not work but if they forget to sign Shattenkirk or accidentally waive him, they should have a player capable of putting up good numbers on their power play for a long time. 12. Montreal Canadiens - Zach Hamill The Canadiens have a need for a defenseman but with two first round picks and no stand out d man left on board they decide to pick undersized Hamill, leading scorer in the WHL this year. Blessed with great hands and creativity, Hamill has questions surrounding his size and willingness to go into the places that count at the NHL level. The Habs however, have shown a willingness to draft guys with question-marks in the past and do so again with the dynamo from Everett. 13. Toronto Maple Leafs - Lars Eller The Leafs need help everywhere and take Eller, the Dane generally regarded as one of the most well rounded players in the draft. Fast, strong, skillfull, good size, Eller appears to be the whole package but bares the same wildcard that Anze Kopitar had coming into the draft, being from a non-traditional hockey country. Comparisions have been drawn between the two due to that facet and if Eller has the same impact, the Leafs may finally have someone to pin their future hopes on. 14. Colorado Avalanche - Brett Maclean The Avs continue to stockpile talented prospects with the addition of Maclean would rode the coattails of John Tavares to a 100 point season in the OHL. Big with a great shot and good strength, Maclean is a goal scorer, who some feel has been improved by playing with The Next One, but whom the Avs feel will be well suited to the NHL and a top 6 role. Skating is an issue but has time to develop that alongside a young Avs forward core. 15. Edmonton Oilers - Nick Petrecki The Oilers desperately need an offensive d-man but with all signs pointing to them acquiring that man in FA or via a trade, they decide to spend their second pick of the first round on the kid with the man’s body who brings the nasty streak missing since Pronger left for Anaheim. Petrecki is big and nasty, and whilst he may not be a huge point getter the performance of Ottawa’s Chris Phillips showed there is still a place for those guys in the NHL. Questions have been asked about the defenseman’s hockey sense which is no doubt an area the Oilers will be looking to focus on. 16. Anaheim Ducks -Thomas Hickey The Ducks are massively top heavy in their defensive corp and Chris Pronger and Nieds can’t last forever. The current prospects on the blue line are primarily stay at home guys so the Ducks take confident offensive d-man Thomas Hickey with their 1st rounder. Ryan McDonagh is highly touted but as yet his offensive potential hasn’t shone through and the Ducks are confident Hickey will be a future pp QB once the big two retire or leave. Typical Duck, very clever and very quick, the Ducks are confident Hickey will be the ying to Mitera’s yang a few years down the line. 17. NY Rangers - Mikael Backlund The Rangers are pleased to select the guy they see as the long term replacement for Michael Nylander. Like Nylander, Backlund is Swedish, smart and shows good leadership. Backlund was formally touted as a top 5 pick but saw his stock fall due to injury and a stall in his development but the Rangers will look to bring him over as soon as possible to mould his development in their own way. The Blueshirts have chosen defensemen with their first pick in the last two drafts and decide to draft the forward to augment their forward prospects. 18. Calgary Flames - Bill Sweatt The Flames have just 1 pick in the first four rounds of this year’s draft, so it would be no surprise to see them trade the 18th overall for a couple more picks to a team looking to secure someone’s rights in the spot. If they don’t make the move however, the Flames decide to pick the probably the safest prospect left on board in Colorado College’s Bill Sweatt. Blessed with blazing speed and an outstanding work ethic Sweatt is considered a lock to make the NHL by the Flames, in what role remains to be seen. 19. Minnesota Wild - Ryan McDonagh The Wild can’t believe their luck when Minnesotan High School player of the year McDonagh falls into their lap. Being a local boy, the Wild know all about the young d-man and are shocked noone has moved for him before now as many regard him as being the best potential blue liner amongst this year’s crop. Steady, clever and very good in his own zone McDonagh projects as a potential top pairing guy for the Wild down the line, providing his can find his offensive game. Wild fans are ecstatic. 20. Pittsburgh Penguins - Sergei Korostin The Pens go somewhat off the board in drafting Korostin at 20 overall. The Russian is a typical product of his national system, blessed with amazing hands and unbelievable offensive talent but with questions surrounding his motivation and drive, he also has a reputation of being somewhat selfish. The Pens hope that by combining the winger with fellow Russian Evgeni Malkin, the fears over his mentality will be unfounded and they’ll have themselves another offensive diamond. 21. Phoenix Coyotes - John Blum The Coyotes take a defenseman with their second pick, settling for skinny but skilful Blum. Despite concerns over his size, the Yotes pick Blum on the back of a good memorial cup run, where he displayed his intelligence and good breakout pass. Blum needs time to develop further but could eventually wind up in the Phoenix top 4. 22. Montreal Canadiens - Alex Plante The Habs pick the huge blue liner with the supreme offensive skills with their second pick in 2007. Looking like they may lose Souray, Plante would be the perfect replacement eventually as he has a great shot and is outstanding with the man advantage. Scouts are worried by his skating and no doubt the Habs will be working on that to get him up to NHL level. They look forward to seeing him on the point within 5 years however. 23. Nashville Predators - Maxim Mayorov The Predators acquired back their own 1st rounder yesterday and with it decide to take the talented Russian out of Leninogorsk. Big, hard-working and not short of skills the Preds like that Mayorov brings non-typical Russian intensity to the table, even back checking strongly. They hope he will eventually pan out as a 2nd liner, if not a good 3rd liner. 24. St Louis Blues - Ian Cole The Blues love the big defender, who plays a very steady, solid game. Directly opposite to their first selection, Cole seems to be a pretty safe bet to make the NHL as at least a good 3rd pairing guy. Similarly to the Blues star prospect Erik Johnson, Cole learnt his trade playing for the US Hockey Development team who preach sound fundamentals and is yet another solid American defensive prospect coming through in the draft this year. 25. Vancouver Canucks - David Perron The Nucks pick point-machine Perron, the first overager taken in 2007. Has great hands and can finish as well as the best prospects this year, potentially an ideal candidate for riding shotgun with the Sedins…if he can keep up. Scouts have big concerns over his skating and the way he plays on the outside. The Nucks have a sketchy history when drafting players so don’t be surprised if Perron ends up a bust. 26. St Louis Blues - Brandon Sutter The Blues select the guy with the great bloodlines with their second selection in three picks, and third overall of the first round. Sutter has hockey sense in spades and brings his A game every night. Not necessarily the most talented prospect in the draft but possesses a willingness to do what it takes to win and has the size that the Blue have liked historically. Interesting to see how his career pans out in relation to his famous family. 27. Detroit Red Wings - Oscar Moller The Red Wings select the small Swede with the big heart with their first selection in 2007. Playing for the expansion Chilliwack Bruins, Moller was given a lot of opportunities to play in different situations a factor that can only helps his draft stock. Small but works very hard and is solid both defensively and offensively, the Wings continue to stock their Swede Army with Moller, who’s biggest negative is his size and the speed that he doesn’t possess. 28. Washington Capitals - Mark Katic The Caps are building a young team of slick skaters and slick puck handlers and need help on d, Katic answers all three of these facets. Widely regarded as the best skater in the draft, Katic will be a top 4 defenceman, qb’ing the pp in Washington so long as he doesn’t get pounded into an early retirement due to his diminutive size. Has a ton of heart and is really coachable, the Caps hope he becomes the puck moving defensemen they have needed since Gonchar left the capital. 29. Ottawa Senators - Colton Gilles The Sens pick a prototypical Senator at 29, with center Gilles. Gilles is big, strong and very quick but is not ideal suited to center so the Sens may well move him to wing, or back to the blueline where he started out on his road to the NHL. Scouts worry about his hockey sense and offensive abilities so don’t expect to see Gilles taking up a sport on the Sens top two lines, 3rd line seems to be his NHL home. 30. Edmonton Oilers - Jim O’Brien The Oilers round out the first round picking O’Brien, the big center from Minnesota. O’Brien has left scouts scratching their heads all year as he possesses great skills and size and has top 6 potential but hasn’t really put it together this season. Scouts are concerned about an iffy looking skating stride but the Oilers figure, his potential upside is too much to pass up with their 3rd 1st rounder.