HBW's first 2004 Mock Draft 1. Washington Capitals - Alexander Ovechkin, LW- I'm not fond of the word, but I'll use it here anyways. Duh. Ovechkin is the real deal. A swift skating, playmaking, sniper, power forward. 2. Pittsburgh Penguins - Evgeni Malkin, C- Malkin has been considered a top pick in this draft for a long time, but I don't think anyone's stock has risen more this year than Malkin's. Malkin is one of the youngest players in the draft class, almost a full year younger than Ovechkin, but that hasn't stopped Malkin from being a force in Russia. Many scouts actually prefer Malkin to Ovechkin, and while I'm not going to say I agree with it, the gap has definitely closed. The big playmaking center that the Penguins have been looking for for years. 3. Chicago Blackhawks - Cameron Barker, D- Quite a drop-off from #2, Chicago is forced to settle with the offensive defenseman from Medicine Hat. IMO Barker is the fourth defenseman selected in either of the past two drafts, but in this one goes third overall. Still a damn good defenseman though. 4. Columbus Blue Jackets - Rostislav Olesz, C- With guys like Nash and Svitov Olesz should fit just in. Olesz is a two-way forward with a high ceiling. Injuries set him back a bit this year though. 5. Phoenix Coyotes - Marek Schwarz, G- It's a known fact that Phoenix is looking at a goalie in the draft, the only problem is they're looking at the wrong one(Montoya). Hopefully they wisen up and take the superior Czech goaltender. 6. NY Rangers - Andrew Ladd, LW- The top rated North American won't, or at least shouldn't, last past this pick. The Rangers were eying Olesz but Columbus takes him two picks earlier. 7. Florida - Lauri Tukonen, W- Tukonen is one of many wild cards in the draft, he could go in the top 5, he could fall out of the top 10. Personally I feel he is well worth the seventh pick. 8. Carolina - Wojtek Wolski, LW- Like Tukonen he is a wild card, but I feel Wolski is worth as much as the third pick in the draft. The Hurricanes don't dissapoint the hometown fans. 9. Anaheim - Boris Valabik, D- Sooner or later some GM is going to look at his stats and his size and jump on him. Valabik definitely has an impressive resume, 6'7" crushing defenseman with 278 PIMs with Kitchner...but we seem to see one of these guys every draft. A big physical defenseman who is inconsistant as all get out, and Valabik is this year's. Anaheim is very weak in depth defensively as far as youth goes and they gobble up what they hope will be their savior on D. 10. Atlanta - Alexander Radulov, RW- Call it a reach if you must, Radulov is the 9th rated European, but there is no questioning Radulov's skill. On the same team as Alexander Ovechkin, Radulov actually had 8 more points, and is pretty physical to go along with it all. The only question here is his attitude. Regardless of him being a reach, he may be a steal. 11. Los Angeles - Alvaro Montoya, G- The first rated North American goaltender falls to the goalie hungry Kings. Without even thinking they snatch him up. Besides Ovechkin going first and Malkin going second, this is about the only other guarantee of the draft, Los Angeles will take a goalie. If they don't something is seriously wrong or both are off the board. 12. Minnesota - Alexandre Picard, LW- Fits into Minnesota's system like a glove. 13. Buffalo - Andrej Meszaros, D- The offensively gifted Slovak goes in a very tough choice by the Sabres. Meszaros has the potential to be the best offensive defenseman in the draft. 14. Edmonton - Robbie Schremp, C- A potential steal, Edmonton takes a chance at the characterly challenged, highly skilled Schremp. 15. Nashville - Kyle Chipchura, C- Like Minnesota with Picard Chipchura fits Nashville like a glove. A two-way forward that excells defensively. His offensive potential isn't as high as Picard's though. 16. NY Islanders - A.J. Thelen, D- Another wild card who very well could go in the Top 10. Solid on both sides of the ice. 17. St. Louis - Ladislav Smid, D- Picture the Blues defense if this guy falls to them. Unfair. Smid is another guy who could find himself on either side of the Top 10. The fourth rated European Smid is a safe two-way defenseman. 18. Montreal - Bruce Graham, C- A big, strong, two-way forward. Graham may be a reach at this point, he's the fourteenth rated North American. 19. Calgary - Viktor Alexandrov, F- Alexandrov is a high risk, high reward player, a real potential home run pick. 20. Dallas - Enver Lisen, W- The fastest player in the draft falls to the Stars. Lisen may be a top 15 player, he may fall out of the first round, he's a real wild card. He's fast and skill but has baggage. 21. Colorado- Mike Green, D- Lacking any real good defensive prospects...hell, who am I kidding, lacking any real prospects, Colorado snaps up a smaller Rob Blake. 22. New Jersey - Petteri Nokelainen, C- The Devils, known for taking guys out of the blue, take a possible reach, but regardless safe pick. Average skills all around on offense but above average defense. A great penalty killer. 23. Ottawa - Lauri Korpikoski, LW- The second Finn to go in a row, Korpikowski is a highly skilled, speedy player. Needs help on defense and attitude though. 24. NY Rangers - Wes O'Neill, D- A big, mobile defenseman who has skills to be a top 10 pick but has one major flaw. His hockey sense is questionable, and that may be the hardest thing to fix. 25.Edmonton - Jakub Sindel, C- Excellent skater with tons of playmaking ability. A high risk/high reward pick. 26. Vancouver - Devan Dubnyk, G- Let's not kid ourselves, goaltending is not Vancouver's strong point. Dubnyk has taken a step back this year but at this time last year was considered the best goalie this draft had to offer. 27. Washington - Jeff Schultz, D- The defensively hurting Capitals snap up the smooth 6'6" Schultz. Don't let the size fool you though, in 72 games he only had 33 PIMs. 28. San Jose - Lukas Kaspar, RW- A solid skater with good hands and a good frame. Kaspar may be a hidden gem. 29. Washington - Adam Pineault, RW- A huge reach here, but Washington is more interested in the fact that Pineault was thought of a top 10 pick this time last year than by the fact in 29 games at Boston College he only scored 8 points. Washington is looking for boom or bust players more than they are safe bets, and Pineault is definitely a boom or bust player. 30. Tampa Bay - Kirill Lyamin, D- A personal favorite of mine. Lyamin, a big Russian defenseman, plays a game very similar to Darius Kasparaitis. Flame away!