I'm sure I'm going to get torn apart for my mock draft. Anyways, I threw in some surprises with the picks, possible reaches and possible fallers. Enjoy everyone. 1. St. Louis - Erik Johnson. This pick is a no brainer. The old addage is that you build from the defense out. The Blues have goaltending, and their defense, when healthy, is pretty decent. However, Johnson is that player that makes the defense go from being pretty decent to actually being very good. 2. Pittsburgh - Phil Kessel. This can go a series of different ways. Pittsburgh needs defense. I can very easily see them moving this pick to move down in the draft and acquire some additional assets along the way. If they stay, they go with the most talented forward. Yes, there are some issues with Kessel, but nothing that can't be overcome. As for the perceived issues with Crosby, I can easily see Kessel telling his mom to shut her pie hole if she spews anymore garbage. 3. Chicago - Johnathan Toews. Missing out on Kessel might be a blessing for Chicago. Kessel isn't what they quite need right now. Toews is though. A hard working, two way, dynamic pivot is what the Blackhawks need. This also allows for Ruutu to be moved to the wing where there's less stress on his back. 4. Washington - Peter Mueller. Mueller would fit with Ovechkin and Semin like a glove. He's not a bad skater, is a great passer, is defensively responsible and also has a mean disposition. Some would say that Mueller is selected too high here, but if you throw him on a line with Ovechkin, that's two big bodies who can check and score barrelling down. Shades of a potential Legion of Doom line are being built in Washington. 5. Boston - Derrick Brassard. Bruin fans shouldn't be upset that the Bruins passed on Backstrom. Instead, Bruins fans should be happy about the player that will fit really well with the Bruins. Brassard has speed to burn and is an offensive dynamo. He's a little on the small side and defense needs to be worked on, but that's nothing what a little hard work can't take care of. He will live up to his reputation of being a Simon Gagne-type of player. 6. Columbus - Bryan Little. He might be small, but he does everything so well. He's a great offensive player with good defensive instincts. He's fast and he isn't afraid to mix it up. He's also a gym rat, so you know he'll be in top shape and he'll be prepared for the physical toll the league may take on him. He'll also be very instrumental in making a great first line with Nash or a great second line with Zherdev. 7. New York I. - Nicklas Backstrom. The future crown jewel in the Island. A very deft and gifted playmaker with a bit of an edge. He's been referred to as a Forsberg-esque type player, with a little less bite. What the Islanders see is a great center to build around. They'll have to keep him away from Yashin though. 8. Phoenix - James Sheppard. Fits what Gretzky and Barnett are doing in Phoenix. Young, great size, skating ability, hockey sense, and yet another player with a bit of an edge. The other good thing about Sheppard is his versatility. Not only can he play the center spot, he can also play the wings as well. Could make for an interesting line of Sheppard, Doan and Nagy. 9. Minnesota - Kyle Okposo. The future power winger has Minnesota brass all giddy when thinking of a future that includes Voloshenko, O'Sullivan, PM Bouchard, Pouliot, Koivu, Irmen and hopefully resigned Marian Gaborik. That's a nice top 8 of forwards to build around. 10. Florida - Jordan Staal. The first real fall of the draft. Keenan will be falling over himself to see Staal land on his lap. Staal is the cornerstone of being a great second line centerman behind Oli Jokinen. With nobody really knowing about the status of Stephen Weiss within the organization, the Panthers look at rebuilding the second line with Eric's younger brother. Good size, skating ability, but questions about his hockey sense cause Jordan to fall. 11. Los Angeles - Michal Frolik. Los Angeles chooses the "enigmatic" Czech forward. Yes, he had a not so great year, but with Frolik going to the QMJHL, the Kings believe he will get his game back in gear and be the dominant game breaker he was supposed to be. 12. Atlanta - Bobby Sanguinetti - The forward corp is fine right now, but other than Braydon Coburn, Atlanta needs another defender to help build the defensive prospect pool. Sanguinetti is that guy. There have been unkind words about Sanguinetti being a Chris O'Sullivan type player, but Sanguinetti will answer those fears. 13. Toronto - Patrick Berglund. The future replacement for Mats Sundin. While questions about Berglund in terms of being a one dimensional player, he's going to benefit from playing in Sweden in two years. He has size, great vision, great playmaking skills and is hard to take the puck away from. Once he fills out, he's going to be a monster. 14. Vancouver - Jiri Tlusty. The choice right now in Vancouver is either the talented Czech forward or a defenseman to replace the possibly departing Ed Jovanovski. The Canucks go with the talented forward, believing they can find a way to retain the services of Jovanovski 15. Tampa Bay - Ty Wishart. Right now, if you look at the Tampa Bay pipeline for defensemen, it leaves something to be desired in terms of adding an impact defender. Wishart is that impact defenseman with size, skating ability, a good shot, and good defensive instincts. He's also going to grow into that mammoth frame of his and when he does, he might be a dominant defender for years to come. 16. Montreal - Nigel Williams. A forward would be great right here, but the only forwards available right now would be considered reaches. At this point, Gainey has already reached in terms of last year's draft (Price) and really needs to hit a home run this year. Williams is the home run. 17. Minnesota (via Edmonton) - Cory Emmerton. The first "reach" of the draft happens here. Minnesota gets a dimunitive player that plays the center spot, but is a great faceoff man who is also solid defensively. Emmerton can also play the wing. A future line of Emmerton-Koivu-Okposo could be something to watch out for. 18. Colorado - Tomas Marcinko. The second "reach" of the draft. Marcinko is a big body Slovakian who will be groomed before coming to the NHL. He has great size, but will need to add some more weight. He's got great skating ability and he's got great reach, which makes it hard to take away the puck from him. Think of Michal Handzus, but with more speed. You can ask him to play on the second line or you can have him be your shut down guy. He won't hurt you with his play. 19. Anaheim - Brian Strait. A no nonsense defender. He can hit like a freight train and plays a very simple game. With Pavel Trnka right now waiting in the wings to be the next big thing in Anaheim, the Ducks look at grooming the heir aparent to Ruslan Salei. 20. San Jose - Jamie McGinn. Doug Wilson goes back to his former stomping grounds and drafts the young winger with tremendous upside. A water bug so to speak in terms of skating ability and a work ethic that is second to none. Some may questiong McGinn's offensive game, but remember that Kilrea was bumping him around from line to line. 21. New York R. - Michael Grabner. The Austrian will be a fine fit in New York. He's got goal scorer written all over him and adjusted quite well to the WHL. He's not ready yet and probably won't be ready for another two to three years, but he'll make Rangers fans very happy for years to come. 22. Philadelphia - Yuri Alexandrov. The Flyers do the unthinkable and draft a Russian defenseman. Alexandrov will have to put on some weight and muscle, but the fact that he played in the Russian Elite League as a 17 year old speaks volumes about the talent the defenseman has. He's a complete package in terms of offensive ability, defensive play, skating ability and has a mean streak to boot. But the weight will have to be addressed. 23. New Jersey - Chris Summers - New Jersey is in a bit of a predicament right now in terms of which way the franchise is going to go. Patrik Elias is an unrestricted free agent. This pick will actually determine what way the Devils are looking. Summers would be a great addition to the defense. However, if the Devils choose a forward here, then you can start the rumours that they won't be able to resign Elias. I'm going to go out and say that the Devils resign Elias. 24. Calgary - Tomas Kana. Calgary goes overseas with this pick. Kana is a highly skilled forward with a bit of an edge. He's very coachable and does all the little things well. Sutter will be happy that nobody has chosen Kana yet. 25. Washington (via Nashville) - Jonathan Bernier. Washington begins the grooming process in terms of finding a goaltender to eventually replace Olaf Kolzig. Over the years, Washington has tried a bevvy of goaltenders with no luck. Bernier breaks that string of bad luck. 26. Buffalo - Nick Foligno. Family lines play a part here. Mike was a good player while in Buffalo and they take his son, who is a very similar player in comparison with his father. He's a good skater, not the greatest offensive player, but he will work the corners and get those garbage goals. More importantly, he'll make space for his linemates with the way he plays the game. 27. Dallas - Mark Mitera. Another no nonsense type defender. Has a good mean streak to him and great leadership abilities. With some of the defensemen in Dallas getting a little long in the tooth, Mitera adds another shot of youth. However, Mitera is mature beyond his years. His odds of making the Dallas squad this season could be quite good. 28. Ottawa - Claude Giroux. Probably the feel good story of the CHL this past year. Originally, this was a guy that nobody wanted because he was too small. His hard work and perseverance paid off and he was rewarded with a shot at the Gatineau Olympiques. He rewarded the Olympiques with inspired play. He is a dynamo offensively and not afraid to get his nose dirty. 29. Detroit - Michael Forney - The Red Wings are surprised to find the hard working yet gifted forward available at this spot. There will be no rush to get him to Motor City as soon as possible, so he will be given all the time in the world to develop. Could be that power forward to eventually replace Shannahan. 30. St.Louis (via Carolina) - Chris Stewart. St. Louis finds a pleasant surprise at the bottom of the first round with Chris Stewart still available. A young power forward in the making, there's still some room for improvement on Stewart's part. No one will mistake his skill set, but he needs to focus on being more consistent.