This is my final mock draft of the year. I will be completing the second round sometime this week and have that posted as a second installment. 1. Washington Capitals: Alexander Ovechkin So what do I say about the obvious choice here? Many credible scouting companies have suggested that Malkin may be nearly as good of a player and has closed the gap, but none have suggested that Malkin has overtaken Ovechkin for the first overall selection thatâ€™s already had his name carved into it since nearly 2002. 2. Pittsburgh Penguins: Evgeni Malkin The other certainty in the draft. As I mentioned above, Malkin may have proven to the Penguins that losing the Ovechkin sweepstakes may not be that bad. His performance at the recent Under 18 Championships really showcased his dominating potential and he could be ready to step into the Pens line up as early as next season )if there is one) 3. Chicago Blackhawks: Cam Barker Alright, so hereâ€™s where it gets interesting. This pick isnâ€™t as clear cut Barker as Iâ€™ve seen on a lot of mock drafts. I could just as easily see the Hawks drafting Tukonen or Olesz or Ladd. Barker is an immense defensive talent though, and even though the Hawks already have some solid young defenseman, none could have the offensive impact that Barker could make one day. 4. Columbus Blue Jackets: Marek Schwarz Alright so the Blue Jackets already have Marc Denis. And then they have Pascal Leclaire waiting in the wings. But you can never have too much goaltending. And Iâ€™m sure Schwarz is the 4th best player available on a lot of teams lists. By the time Schwarz is ready to come to North America, Leclaire should be in the NHL and Denis should be gone (or Leclaire gone and Denis still manning the nets). The Jackets offense has been stocked with young offensive players so far, and while the defense could possibly use some help, Schwarz is a solid pick. 5. Phoenix Coyotes: Andrew Ladd Ladd is a protypical character forward. He brings it all every game and heâ€™s still improving drastically. His offensive ceiling may be a bit higher then most people give him credit for. Future third line forwards arenâ€™t rated number one in North America by CSB. He fits into the Coyotes system very well and while scouting last yearâ€™s WHL selections, the Yotes must have seen a lot of Ladd. 6. New York Rangers: A.J. Thelen Thelen is one player thatâ€™s hard to get a read on. Some scouting agencies donâ€™t seem to be very high on him, in fact Mckeens is the only one I know of that has him in there respective top 10. But another reality is that each NHL team will have different rankings just as scouting agencies. Thelen is an outstanding offensive defenseman, with size. He oozes with pro potential. And having just traded Brian Leetch, Thelen (who ironically is being compared to Leetch) is the fairytale selection. 7. Florida Panthers: Rob Schremp Mike Keenan is running the show now, and looking over Iron Mikeâ€™s drafting record, he doesnâ€™t seem to drift outside of the CHL for the first round. Schremp makes sense for the Panthers. They must have seen a lot of him while scouting a lot of their OHL selections from the past few years. Sure there are a lot of questions marks, but there is also a lot of talent. I donâ€™t see Schremp letting down the Panthers. 8. Carolina Hurricanes: Rostislav Olesz Olesz is a very talented centerman and judging by his rankings from scouting agencies, he should have been chosen by now. He provides Carolina with another future top line centerman (with Staal last year). 9. Anaheim Mighty Ducks: Lauri Tukonen Tukonen makes a solid selection for the Ducks at number 9. He works hard and his performance at the Under 18â€™s was really the case closed on his offensive potential which was being criticized before, simply because his offensive numbers this year coming into the tourney werenâ€™t dazzling. He could be a definite steal at this position. 10. Atlanta Thrashers: Alexandre Picard Picard is a bit of an enigma. When heâ€™s on, heâ€™s a tremendous player who skates hard, hits, scores, and is all over the ice. But when heâ€™s off, he can be virtually invisible out there on the ice. The Thrashers hope to unlock that consistency factor in Picardâ€™s game so that he round into a solid scoring option alongside Heatley and Kovalchuk. 11. Los Angeles Kings: Alvaro Montoya It only makes sense doesnâ€™t it? The Kings seem to need to draft a franchise goalie every year. And they donâ€™t. But Montoya is not only a goaltender, but the best player available at this position. He provides them with a staple in goal for the future, something they just donâ€™t have right now IMO. The Kings have managed to stock the rest of their farm system with solid drafting the past few years, so itâ€™s time to take a gamble on that goaltender. 12. Minnesota Wild: Drew Stafford Stafford is a budding power forward, who had a tremendous year at North Dakota. Heâ€™s big and heâ€™s skilled and he fits very well into the Wildâ€™s current crop of prospects. 13. Buffalo Sabres: Andrej Meszaros Meszaros is a Slovakian defenseman whoâ€™s only hitting the tip of the iceberg regarding his potential. Considered mostly an offensive defenseman, Meszaros is pretty solid at the other end of the ice too. Buffalo is generally all over the place when it comes to drafting, and Meszaros is no reach. ISS has had him in their top 10 for much of the year. 14. Edmonton Oilers: Alexander Radulov Radulov is another real wild card of the draft. Heâ€™s a highly enigmatic offensive wizard who at times can dominate the game. Redline seems incredibly high on him, where as THN and Mckeens are not quite as high on him. However, the Oilers have never been known to pass up a gamble selection and run with it. Radulov could be a big time offensive player in the future. 15. Nashville Predators: Wojtek Wolski The Preds system is stacked, from position to position. Nearly all of their prospects took steps forward this year. Wolski is a player who saw his draft ranking nosedive over the last two months of the season. It wasnâ€™t so much what he did, but what others around him did to improve their ranking. Heâ€™s a good offensive talent and heâ€™s definitely got top line potential. His inconsistency currently holds him back. At times he looks disinterested in the game, and has developed many lazy characteristics over the course of the season. 16. New York Islanders: Ladislav Smid Smid is a very solid two way defenseman who seems like a lock to be an eventual NHLâ€™er. Itâ€™s just at what capacity that uncertain. Is he a future top pairing defenseman, or a future third pairing defenseman? He has a solid WJC and has had a pretty consistent year overall. Some scouts seem to think heâ€™s got a raw untapped offensive potential that could develop, in which case the Isles could be the beneficiary. 17. St. Louis Blues: Travis Zajac Holy Crap, I think it took me like 20 minutes to decide on this particular selection. So many guys to ponder, so many situations. Zajac is an interesting pick though. Heâ€™s a very talented offensive player, playing against inferior competition. Heâ€™s a real wild card pick by the Blues, who seem to love taking gambles on players with high offensive upside. 18. Montreal Canadiens: Cory Schneider By the time Cory Schenider is ready for NHL action, who knows what will happen, but as of right now the Habs are set in goal with superstar Jose Theodore and possibly the best young back up in the NHL, Mathieu Garon. But like I said, who knows by the time Schneider is ready (probably at least 3 years before he even sees AHL action). Even with the signing of Yann Denis (who definitely gives the Habs another option), Schneider is an attractive selection because he could eventually be the best goaltender to come out of this draft. 19. Dallas Stars: Petteri Nokelainen Nokelainen is a very polished Finnish forward who works hard and is the prototypical Stars draft pick. He had a very solid Under 18â€™s, and was a full time contributor in the SM-Liiga this year. Heâ€™s already pro ready, and his offensive potential could be seriously underrated. 20. Colorado Avalanche: Kyle Chipchura Chipchura falls a bit simply because Iâ€™m just not sure how good he is. His stats this year are just not very flattering, especially for someone ranked so high. On the bright side, he did have a good Under 18â€™s for Canada, where he was one of our best players. Colorado could desperately use another solid forward prospect, and despite his drawbacks, Chipchura is still a very good selection. 21. New Jersey Devils: Lauri Korpikoski Korpikoski is a very offensive talented finnish winger who is all over the map in terms of scouting agencies. Redline has him inside their top 10. Mckeens outside their top 40. THN sandwiched in between the two. However Conte and crew love to take some gambles, especially on players with very high upside. If Korpikoski can improve his consistency and round out his game, he could be a special player. 22. Ottawa Senators: Dave Bolland Bolland is a very solid player and is an excellent addition to the Senators prospect pool. He absolutely exploded on to the draft scene this year, after putting up very weak numbers last year. Heâ€™s a very good goalscorer, whoâ€™s very smart, plays a solid two way game and is only improving with more consistency. I think there is more offense there then people give him credit for. 23. New York Rangers (From Toronto): Roman Voloshenko Voloshenko is a natural offensive talent who knows how to burry the puck. The one major drawback is his speed, which has drawn concerns from many scouts. However you canâ€™t teach skill, skating can be improved upon. The Rangers could use someone like Roman, who just knows how to score and isnâ€™t completely one dimensional either. 24. Edmonton Oilers (From Philadelphia): Mike Green Green is another wild card for this draft. There is no question that his talent level is very high. He can skate, he hits, heâ€™s a solid powerplay QB, heâ€™s a complete package. The only thing lacking from his game are height and a good team to play for. Sure Edmonton has some good defenseman currently, but you pick BPA and go from there. 25. Vancouver Canucks: Wes O Neill O Neill is definitely a project pick. Heâ€™s seen his stock drop considerably this year after being considered nearly a shoe in for a top 10 selection earlier. The main reason being his lack of development and improvement over the course of the season. Some scouts question his hockey sense and overall hockey intelligence, which is definitely something you look for in a defenseman. However O Neill is also a big body, who can skate, has a terrific shot, can run the powerplay and is a potentially solid defenseman. 26. Washington Capitals (From Boston): Boris Valabik Valabik takes a bit of a fall, and Iâ€™m honestly not sure why. Just worked out that way. Heâ€™s a big mean mother, heâ€™s got some offensive skill and heâ€™s not as an atrocious skater as heâ€™s made out to be. He is very raw however and heâ€™s prone to some defensive lapses. Washington gets a solid player here, a bit of a project, but one who could be a defensive staple for many years. 27. San Jose Sharks: Victor Alexandrov A pick thatâ€™s a bit out of left field, but the Sharks will do that. Alexandrov is a very talented offensive player and after receiving much hype a few years ago, disappeared and then reappeared again. If he can continue to progress and get over to North America, he could really impress a lot of people, once he gets himself into the limelight. 28. Tampa Bay Lightning: Devan Dubnyk Dubnyk is a big solid goaltender who had a very good overall year from the WHL to the Under 18â€™s. He moves well, especially for a big guy. The Lightning currently have the Bulin Wall and John Graehme forming a solid duo, and even some solid picks from the past few years, but none have the impact potential Dubnyk does. 29. Washington Capitals (From Detroit): Bruce Graham Graham is a big, tall and lanky QMJHL centerman whos seen a steady climb all year in the draft rankings. Despite being such a big guy, heâ€™s a good skater and more of a finesse player then a power forward. However with that big build, there is plenty of room for improvement, especially in the area of consistency. 30. Calgary Flames (Stanley Cup Winner Prediction): Carl Soderberg Soderberg is a very talented offensive player, who has just yet to put everything together. His inconsistency is currently holding him back from being a higher selection. Definitely a gamble, but one that could pay off if he can put all his assets together.