Every year, countless talking heads do up mock drafts of what they think NHL teams will do on draft day. The problem with the standard mock draft is that it’s too clean. It’s just assumed that teams will continue to select the best player available according to the scouts until all 210 choices are made. Of course, that makes no sense because trades will be made, GMs will go out on limbs, and Toronto will find another way to ensure 43 more years of futility. So it’s time for our second annual Ridiculous Mock Draft.
To Edmonton – Jason Spezza, 2010 1st Round Pick (16th), 2011 1st Round Pick, 2011 2nd Round Pick
To Ottawa – 2010 1st Round Pick, Rights to have Matt Carkner punch Ben Mulroney in the face
Spezza wants out of Ottawa. Edmonton wants more scoring and they’re high on Spezza. The Oilers are rumoured to be busy during the draft. It’s a match made in heaven. It’ll never actually happen because it makes too much sense. The Oilers kept impact, scoring, and leadership now with some potential payoffs in the future. Ottawa dumps a liability without making any of their rivals stronger, like that rumoured trade with Boston would have.
1. Ottawa Senators – Tyler Seguin (C)
So, now that the Sens have the #1 pick in this mock draft, they’ll take Alexandre Daigle. Well, I’m sure Seguin will be better than that. Hell, I don’t even think Daigle is a top six forward in Germany or wherever the hell his career has taken him. Anyway, Seguin is a big, powerful centre who will fit in perfectly where Spezza left off. Hopefully he doesn’t turn out to be as much of a basket case as Spezza. And, Ben, Team Tyler, bitch!
2. Boston Bruins – Taylor Hall (LW)
The Sens get rid of one problem and try to avoid the ghosts of the past. That leaves Boston in a pretty easy spot. Tyler’s off the board, Taylor goes next. Peter Chiarelli has the easiest job at the draft. The Leafs handed him the second overall pick and the team that drafts first dictates who he gets. Welcome to the no-lose scenario for Boston. Unless Hall turns out to be a bust. But then he’d have no more egg on his face than every “expert” in the media.
3. Florida Panthers – Erik Gudbranson (D)
New GM Dale Tallon has the unenviable task of fixing this mess. Well, if he did it on Chicago, how hard can it be to do it in a market with no history and no attendance. In the last year, the Panthers, under the guidance of Jacques Martins and Randy Sexton have disposed themselves of Jay Bouwmeester and Dennis Seidenberg. They’ve got to shore up that back end and Gudbranson is the way to do it. If you haven’t heard of him, you’re not alone. He’s drawing comparisons to Chris Pronger, Dion Phaneuf, and Tyler Myers. In other words, he’s big. And big blueliners are the new small and speedy forwards in the new NHL.
4. Columbus Blue Jackets – Cam Fowler (D)
Quick! Name one Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman. No, Steve Mason doesn’t count. In Fowler, the Blue Jackets get the puck-moving defenseman they’ve been lacking since Adam Foote stopped being Adam Foote. They don’t have much in the way of offensive depth either so if they went ahead and drafted a forward, it would surprise no one.
5. New York Islanders – Jack Campbell (G)
The Isles could use a touch more scoring and definitely some defense. But keep in mind who’s running this operation. Charles Wang and Garth Snow haven’t met a goalie they didn’t like. They already have Rick DiPietro and Dwayne Roloson under contract for next season with two more prospects becoming RFAs this summer. So why not top up the list of goalies in the system to at least 5? It’s a very Wang-ian thing to do.
6. Tampa Bay Lightning – Brett Connolly (RW)
The Lightning have more or less sorted out their ownership issues so they should be able to draft somebody useful this year. After all, how much did you hear about Victor Hedman after last year’s draft. It was all about Tyler Myers last year, not Hedman. What happens here depends entirely on what happens with Vinny Lecavalier. He’s been rumoured to be on the way out for a few years now. They could go blueliner but I figure Vinny is a goner sooner rather than later. So WHL star Connolly gets drafted in as a power forward to complement sniper Steve Stamkos. The only problem is that Connolly played in only 16 games last season with hip and groin maladies. So he may be about as impactful as Hedman, just without the owners’ pissing contest going on in the background.
7. Carolina Hurricanes – Nino Niederreiter (LW)
The Swiss star of the World Juniors is eligible for the draft this year. I would have figured that he was locked up by a Swiss league team or other European power but that goes to show how much I pay attention. The Hurricanes should be a far better team next year because Cam Ward will be back for a full season. With Ray Whitney planning to test the free agent market, Niederreiter becomes the best option for the ‘Canes. That and the fact that he has the best name in the draft makes him a good pick.
8. Atlanta Thrashers – Ryan Johansen (C)
The Thrashers need help everywhere. They just can’t fix everything all at once. They have Rich Peverly… And that’s about it. They have a bit of scoring with Johnny Oduya, who I realize is a blueliner, and Niclas Bergfors but they aren’t going to make up for Ilya Kovalchuk despite all being involved the same trade. So a centre like Johansen is a good fit for Atlanta here. Mind you, anything short of drafting a waterboy would be a good pick for Atlanta here.
To Minnesota – Rights to Ilya Kovalchuk, 2010 2nd Round Draft Pick, Rights to have Derek Boogaard punch Ben Mulroney in the face
To New Jersey – 2010 1st Round Draft Pick (9th)
Let’s face it. The Kovalchuk experiment in New Jersey was a colossal failure. Some of that may have to do with Jacques Lemaire being a defensive-minded coach which really isn’t Kovalchuk’s thing. The trade makes sense for Kovalchuk and the Wild. They have lots of cap space so there’s a big contract ready to go. Kovalchuk couldn’t handle a playoff run so the quiets of Minnesota would suit him well. And after all, we’re not looking at a particularly strong draft this year. Last year, this would be a dumb trade. This year, perfectly acceptable to give up on a top ten pick.
9. New Jersey – Alexander Burmistrov (C)
With Kovalchuk likely not coming back, the Devils need to find some offensive talent to fill the void. Enter Russian Alex Burmistrov. He may be ranked in the teens in some mock drafts but he has the potential to be an elite offensive talent and his defensive play has gotten him comparisons to Pavel Datsyuk. The Devils need some offensive creativity and having this guy come in would help lift some of the load off Zach Parise.
10. New York Rangers – Brandon Gormley (D)
So with the fallout from the above picks, non-picks and trades, a player who was ranked as high as 4th in some mock drafts nearly falls out of the top ten. Then again, frequent draft watchers would know that this is sort of the norm. Different teams look for different things and players lose out on millions, or in the NHL’s case thousands, of dollars in rookie contracts. Anyway, Gormley is a smart player for his age and has a hard, accurate shot. He isn’t as fast as Fowler or as physical as Gudbranson but is well-rounded enough to be considered above Fowler by some pundits. He’s top five good but this mock draft has him dropping like a stone.
To Toronto – Joe Thornton, Rights to Evgeni Nabakov, Rights to Patrick Marleau, Rights for Colton Orr to punch Ben Mulroney in the face
To San Jose – Anyone Toronto is willing to part with, Good karma
San Jose desperately needs to get rid of some of those bad vibrations and karma that have been holding them down. How can they so consistently be a good regular season team and screw things up in the playoffs? This trade isn’t about talent. This is about getting rid of any bad karma and bad luck in that locker room. Now Toronto has even worse luck and karma than San Jose but they did trade draft picks with Chicago and they won the Cup. Granted, almost every other team they traded with either underachieved or missed the playoffs but that’s beside the point. The point is that there’s no where but up for the Sharks in the post-season.