Monday, August 11, 2008

Avalanche: Colorado signs Fritsche & Williams


The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced today that it has signed forward Tom Fritsche and defenseman Nigel Williams each to an entry-level contract.

Williams, 20, helped the Ontario Hockey League’s Belleville Bulls reach the Memorial Cup this past year after joining the team at midseason from Saginaw.  He finished tied for fifth among league defensemen in goals with 15, while tallying 46 points in 67 combined games between the two clubs. The 6-foot-4, 226-pound native of Aurora, Illinois also racked up 100 minutes in penalties. He went on to finish second among OHL defensemen in playoff scoring with 18 points (7g/11a) in 21 postseason contests.

“Nigel finished the year strong, helping his team get to the Memorial Cup,” said Avalanche Vice President of Hockey Operations Craig Billington. “He participated in our development camp last month, and after two solid seasons at the junior level, we feel he is ready to take that next step in his development.”

Williams was Colorado’s second-round pick (51st overall) in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.

Fritsche (pronounced Fritt-chee) was also a second-round choice of the Avalanche, selected 47th overall in the 2005 Entry Draft.  The 21-year old just completed his senior season at Ohio State University (CCHA) in 2007-08, recording 19 points (5g/14a) in 39 games with the Buckeyes.  The Parma, Ohio native finished his four-year collegiate career with 107 points (32g/75a) in 137 games.  He joined Colorado’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Lake Erie Monsters, at the conclusion of his senior season, tallying five points (2g/3a) in 15 games with the Monsters.

“Tom got some pro experience at the end of last season,” said Billington.  “We look forward to him continuing his development within our organization.”

TSN: Nashville signs Pickart Staff

The Nashville Predators signed goaltender Chet Pickard to an entry-level contract on Monday.

The 18-year-old was the 18th-overall selection and the first netminder taken in the 2008 draft this past June.

Pickard, Nashville's second pick in the draft, played in 64 games for the Tri- City Americans of the WHL in 2007-08 and went 46-12-4 with a 2.32 goals-against average and .918 save percentage.

He also saw action in 16 playoff games for the Americans, posting an 11-3-2 mark, 1.78 GAA and .937 save percentage in those outings.

TSN: Doughty signs with Kings

From Staff

The Los Angeles Kings have agreed to terms on three-year entry-level contract with defenceman Drew Doughty, the club's first-round selection and second overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. Terms of the agreement were not announced.

Doughty played in 58 regular season games this past season for Guelph of the Ontario Hockey League and recorded 50 points and 68 penalty minutes.

Doughty was one of four 2008 draft-eligible players to help Team Canada win a gold medal at the 2008 World Junior Championships.  He was named Top Defenceman of the tournament after recording four assists in seven games.  Doughty became just the fifth Canadian defenceman to have won the award and the first to win the award before being drafted into the NHL. 

The 18-year-old was voted Best Offensive Defenceman in the 2007 and 2008 OHL Coaches Poll and named to the OHL All-Rookie Team in 2005-06. He represented Canada at the 2007 IIHF World Under-18 Championships and the 2006 IIHF World Under-17 Championships.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


You may notice over the course of the summer some subtle changes and additions made to Future Considerations. One, of course, has been this blog, adapted late in the 2007-08 season. 

This season, readers will also notice a change in the format of Future Considerations magazine. To check it out you'll have to subscribe. Much like last season where Michael Smith of Edmonton won an autographed Team Canada jersey of Karl Alzner, prizes will be up for grabs! To subscribe, visit Future Considerations.

More recently, you've seen the unofficial launch of FCBoards. The boards give another opportunity to share opinions, information and queries about both the game's top prospects and some of the lesser knowns. 

Granted, this is the unofficial launch of FCBoards, but feel free to beat the rush and join today. Be sure to post early and often because there will be prize giveaways once FCBoards officially launches! 

So grab your keyboard and get typing, as we move closer to the puck drop on the 2008-09 hockey season!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

FC's 2008 NHL Entry Draft Review

By Dan Stewart

The 2008 NHL Draft held Friday June 20 and Saturday June 21 at Scotiabank Place will go down as one of the more entertaining drafts since its inception in 1963.

There were a record number of trades, 13 in all, which included some big name NHL stars as well as draft picks changing hands during the first round on Friday evening. On Saturday morning, NHL GM’s continued to shuffle around picks and make strategic moves in hopes of selecting the desired prospects that they believe could wind up being major contributors down the road for the NHL franchise that were insightful enough to select them.

Some of the established names that were making there way out of there respective towns included star centre Olli Jokinen, who had a running feud with Florida Panthers management. Jokinen was traded to Phoenix for defenders Nick Boynton and Keith Ballard plus a 2nd round draft pick. Los Angeles Kings forward Mike Cammalleri, who did not fit in with the movement transpiring in the Kings organization, made his way over to the Calgary Flames for draft picks. Calgary turned around and traded underachieving scoring winger Alex Tanguay to the Montreal Canadiens for a 1st round draft pick. Philadelphia traded young playoff scoring ace R.J. Umberger, who was in line for a hefty pay raise, to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for draft picks. Other less notable deals were also made with mostly draft picks exchanging hands.

The prospect pool available from which to select from was seen as the deepest since the 2003 Entry Draft goldmine.

Potentially, solid NHL players could be found anywhere in the top three rounds with more projects later in the rounds.

Although, the depth of this draft is based on projection and will only be substantiated after four or five years have passed and some of these prospects are making an impact at the NHL level. The majority of the elite level prospects available in the 2008 edition were on the backend hence the reason the drafts tagging as “The Year of the Defenseman”.

Seen Stamkos?

The draft kicked off with undisputed number one prospect Sarnia Sting sensation Steven Stamkos going to Tampa Bay with the top pick. Stamkos held FC’s top ranking from wire-to-wire this year and while some in other organizations might have toyed with the notion of taking one of the top defenders with the first pick or looking into trade options. Tampa Bay who won the lottery back in April never once wavered about whom to select. Tampa even went as far as running a promotional campaign titled “Seen Stamkos?” with billboards, bumper stickers and t-shirts in the Tampa area and even a website dedicated to the young prospect.

After Stamkos, the next four teams that followed Tampa Bay went on a run of big defenseman with the Los Angeles picking puck rushing rearguard Drew Doughty with the 2nd overall, Atlanta grabbing ultra complete and physical defender Zach Bogosian in the third spot. St. Louis picking a defenseman with untapped offensive potential in Alex Pietrangelo at number four and Toronto trading up to grad the solid defensive and physical force Luke Schenn at pick five.

With the top defenseman already selected Columbus finished up the upper echelon of available talent with the selection of Russian scoring phenom Nikita Filatov, who was also selected in the CHL’s import draft by the OHL’s Sudbury Wolves one week later. The first six picks following FC to a tee with the top ranked prospects falling exactly the same as ranked.

Falling and Surprise picks.
Like years past the 2008 version was completed with a few surprises in regards to prospects sliding or being picked before they were projected to go. There were a few who slipped such as the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers winger A.J. Jenks (100TH overall), Quebec Rempart forwards Mikhail Stefanovich (98th overall) and FC’s QMJHL Draft Eligible prospect of the year Kelsey Tessier (110th overall), Chicoutimi forward Joel Champagne (129th overall), PEI forward Chris Doyle (141st overall), Moncton defender Mark Barbario (152nd overall), Memorial Cup Champion and WHL’s Spokane Chief goaltender Dustin Tokarski (122nd overall) and Finland’s Tappara goaltender Harri Sateri (106TH overall) were all rated as top two 60 prospects but fell to the fourth round or later in the draft.

There was also a case of prospect defenseman David Carle sliding to the seventh round where he was selected by Tampa Bay even though NHL teams knew full well he would never step onto the ice as a member of the NHL team. Carle, who was a highly regarded prospect arrived at the NHL Combine last month and during the physical and medical testing, was diagnosed with a heart condition that could prevent him from playing competitive hockey. Further medical testing proved this diagnosis conclusive and Carle let all NHL teams know the results. The lightning ownership made a classy move when they decided to use a 7th round pick on Carle as a courtesy and because he had worked towards this point for most of his developmental years, which was no doubt appreciated by David and the Carle family.

One prospect whom was a surprise first round pick even after passing through two previous NHL entry drafts Viktor Tikhonov. The Phoenix Coyotees selected the skilled Russian with the 28th overall selection and even traded up to secure his rights. Most list and rankings had Tikhonov as a late second rounder or as third round pick, where FC had him slotted.

Some prospects that were highly regarded by FC but surprisingly not fortunate enough to hear there name called at the draft consist of Tri-City forward Kruise Reddick, Owen Sound defender Michael D’Orazio and Finnish forward Joonas Rask. There were more in this category of highly ranked yet went unselected prospects that fell through the cracks because of one variable or another. This is what makes the draft so intriguing; one prospect could be top-20 on one NHL teams list while not even cracking the top 200 on another.

Bloodlines and Brother Acts

Whenever there is a prospect that comes along with a previous relationship to the NHL or other high level hockey competition the situation produces some preconceived notions and also creates intrigue as to what could be. Many times the younger version is a far different type of player than the original. This was the case this year with some of the bloodlines who were available this past weekend.

Some of the prospects who were selected and have bloodline ties to NHL hockey included Blues first rounder Alex Pietrangelo whose father is cousins with ex-Hartford Whaler goaltender Frank Pietrangelo. Former Blues fan favorite Basil McRae’s son Philip was also selected by dad’s old team in the 2nd round.

Colin Wilson, the 7th overall pick of the Nashville Predators is the son of former NHL two-way forward Carey Wilson. Washington 1st round pick Anton Gustaffson is son of current Swedish national team coach Bengt Gustaffson who also played for Washington. Phoenix traded up into the tail end of the first round to select overage Russian winger Viktor Tikhonov who is the grandson of the Russian coaching legend by the same name. Boston 2nd round selection Maxime Sauve is the son of former NHLer J.F. Sauve, nephew to former goalie Bob Sauve and cousin to former Colorado goalie prospect Philippe Sauve. Brett Hextall, a 6th round selection of the Phoenix Coyotes is the son of fiery Philadelphia goaltender Ron Hextall. Boston 4th rounder Jamie Arniel is the nephew of former NHLer and current AHL coach Scott Arniel.

Finally, there were some prospects that were drafted this year that currently have siblings playing in the NHL. This list consists of the storied Staal family which just graduated its fourth brother, Jared, by being drafted in the 2nd round by the Phoenix Coyotes. Islanders draft pick David Toews is not as highly skilled as his brother Jonathan is who stars for the Chicago Blackhawks, but could be joining his brother in the show before too long. And the tragic story of David and Matt Carle, brothers whose journey to play together in the world’s best league ended prematurely when David, drafted by Tampa Bay last weekend, was informed of a serious heart ailment that will keep him from ever playing the game he loves again. The condition David was diagnosed with has to do with the muscle around the heart being thicker than normal and has been known to cause heart failure in young athletes.

The Early Winners

Though some teams are given a distinct advantage with earlier draft positions based on the previous season standings, it does not always determine whose team will prove to have had the most productive draft. Inevitably some teams did better than others when it came to evaluating talent and deciding on whom to use draft picks on.

Phoenix had a very productive draft as they were able to add an NHL star in scoring centre Olli Jokinen from Florida, but when picking winners and losers of a draft the focus should be on draft picks and not major trades as the picks are what will be compared in five or 10 years time. While all teams are pretty happy with the assets gained over last weekend, below are five of the teams seen as the early winners of the annual crapshoot known as the NHL Entry Draft.

Los Angeles Kings
The Kings organization and GM Dean Lombardi used the 2008 NHL Entry Draft and its depth of defensemen to build what should be one of the most dominant defenses for the years to come. With a young Jack Johnson already in the NHL, Thomas Hickey drafted 4th overall last year and now the additions of a offensively dynamic Drew Doughty, physically punishing Colten Teubert and ultra aggressive Russian Slava Voinov this year, LA looks to be building a solid foundation for the future from the backend out. The selection of Swift Current budding power forward Geordie Wudrick could turn out to be a steal for the Kings. As well as a handful of skilled yet small forwards in Russian Andrei Loktionov and a pair of 20-year-olds in OHL scoring ace Justin Azevedo and NCAA scoring star Garrett Roe could all develop into much needed scoring depth down the road. Even if none of the later round picks work out, just the strength added to with the top three defenders is enough to call this draft as a tremendous success for the rebuilding organization.

St. Louis Blues
John Davidson’s Blues used the 2008 Draft to address a multitude of areas in the organization from adding another potential top-flight defensive prospect to play along side Erik Johnson et al. With loads of untapped offensive upside, OHL scoring star Alex Pietrangelo is a great addition to a team in the midst of a semi-rebuild. With their 4th and 5th round picks, St. Louis also grabbed strong offensive transitional defenders in USA U-18 defender David Warsofsky and overage Swede Kristoffer Berglund. One of the drafts hottest risers in the last quarter was big goalie Jake Allen who was selected in the 2nd round and will give the blues another top prospect to develop at the most pivotal position along with Marek Schwarz and towering Ben Bishop. With their other 2nd round pick they grabber former Blue Basil McRae’s son Philip who as a forward has a nice blend of size and skill. Big and tough north-to-south winger James Livingston selected in the third and sixth round pick Anthony Nigro who could develop into a solid prospect down the line round out the prominent selections made by St. Louis.

New York Islanders
The Islanders under GM Garth Snow and owner Charles Wang made one of the biggest impacts at the 2008 draft pulling off multiple trades and selecting a whole host of potential impact performers at both forward and defense. First, after moving out of the top-five, they grabbed a solid playmaking centre out of the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires organization in Josh Bailey with the 9th overall selection. With there next three forward selections they took a underrated playmaker in Corey Trivino, David Toews - theyounger brother of Chicago star Jonathan Toews - and big Russian wildcard Kirill Petrov. They also used later picks to add some size, aggressiveness and skill to their forward depth in late blooming talent such as tough Swede David Ullstrom and Sarnia Sting teammates Matt Martin and Justin DiBenedetto. On the backend they added small offensive dynamo Aaron Ness, a booming cannon point shot with Jyri Niemi, a solid project who plays a good two-way game in the USHL’s Matt Donovan and ultra safe pick in steady Travis Hamonic. The Islanders also took a shot on a wildcard goalie pick with highly inconsistent Kevin Poulin. Poulin was a 1st round talent earlier this year but tumbled down the rankings and is now considered a long term boom or bust prospect. New York could look back on the 2008 Draft as a turning point for the organization five-plus years from now.

Nashville Predators
The Predators, with assistant GM Paul Fenton and chief scout Jeff Kealty, went into the draft not looking to overhaul anything but rather just add to the mix they already had. With the 7th overall selection they nabbed strong power centre Colin Wilson who brings a blend of skill and size that Nashville did not have in the prospect cupboard previously. They then used their second 1st round pick on Chet Pickard, a potential franchise goalie they went into the draft targeting. With those two impressive prospects on board they went for some support on the backend in the form of solid Swiss two-way defender Roman Josi in the 2nd round. They also were able to add a potential sleeper in skilled forward Taylor Stefishen. With the last three picks the Predators went for some long-term project prospects. In this draft Nashville was successful in adding quality prospects to all three positions along with some potential late round sleepers.

New Jersey Devils
Lou Lamorello’s Devils, aided by super scout David Conte, made arguably the best bang for buck selections in the entire draft. First, they traded down twice to gain more picks and then finally were able to select top-15 talent Mattias Tedenby at number 24. They then followed up that steal of a selection by grabbing 1st round talent and two-way defenseman Brandon Burlon late in the 2nd round. The next pick, a 2nd rounder gained from moving back in the 1st round, was used to select enigmatic power forward Patrice Cormier who could turn out to be a real steal at this spot if he can get over injury issued that have plagued him for the past two years. With Adam Henrique, their 3rd round selection, they picked a player who fits in well with the defensive savvy two-way mold the Devils like in their players. Henrique has some nice offensive potential but is also very responsible in his own zone. They then used their 4th round pick on the underrated WHL’s Regina Pats defenseman Matt Delahey who could very well develop into a solid top-six two-way defenseman. Some observers were surprised that the Devils did not address the need of a top goalie prospect in the organization. With the astute picks they were able to make, the goalie can wait until next year.

Other organizations who look to have produced good drafts include the New York Rangers, Buffalo Sabres, Boston Bruins and (obviously) the Tampa Bay Lightning, who had the first overall pick. In all, 211 draft picks were made during the course of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft and with the expectation of the 2009 and 2010 versions yielding great talent, a new breed of NHL stars may be looking us in the face.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Live From The Draft...(Couch)!

Unable to attend the draft in person due to scheduling conflicts, I vowed to make my own splash at the draft...from my couch....and in the form of a blog.

It may not drain the pool, but this is draft day (part one) for yours truly.

Low and behold, I turn on the TV and 'See'n Stamkos at the podium. One has to wonder whether or not that's the first Tampa Bay Lightning jersey he's ever put on. He doesn't have the pressure new teammate Vincent Lecavalier comes in with, but after the marketing machine behind him, Steven will be expected to perform out of the gates.

Oh Dean Lombardi. Your attempts at humour are priceless! I see a sitcom in his future! And on top of it, he and the Kings were able to add defenseman Drew Doughty, who projects to be a top-pairing guy. Hard to argue that kind of logic for La-La Land. As an aside, before the season Doughty's season point-total goal was to eclipse the three digit mark. Perhaps not fair to himself, the young blueliner made it halfway there.

Anyone else see the kid wearing the 'Wang 08' Islanders jersey walking around the grounds?

Olli Jokinen to Phoenix?

Don Waddell congratulates the Detroit Red Wings on winning the Stanley Cup. I'm not sure why fellow clubs feel the need to do just that. Needless to say, Atlanta can't wait to have this happen. They attempt it by taking Zach Bogosian.

Nice plug by McKenzie in an attempt to sell the Bogosian family winabego. Wonder what commission ol' Bob will pull down.

The Calgary Flames finally part ways with Alex Tanguay, sending him to the Montreal Canadiens. Wasn't this supposed to happen last offseason before the draft as well, only involving Michael Ryder? Funny to think this time last year Calgary could have had two Ryders, yet now they have none.

For those scoring at home, FC is 3-3 on their rankings. Go Dan!

Has there been a selection Pierre McGuire hasn't loved? Thank goodness Zach Parise isn't around this draft!

Not much exciting going on with the St. Louis Blues after selecting Alex Pietrangelo. Even ol' JD wouldn't divulge what offers he had for his picks. Seems like none of the GM's want to break code and talk about what could've been. Perhaps the most exciting news to come out of the 'post pick interview' is to learn Pietrangelo owns some 'Seen Stamkos' merch. Cute!

Catching a live deal, the New York Islanders and Toronto Maple Leafs swap some picks.

Does anyone else feel for Kelowna Rocket Luke Schenn? I'm not even talking about having to go to the Leafs, but it's almost as if he's the only girl standing off to the side of the dancefloor and it's the last call scramble.

Was anyone else dying to see the Leafs pick Filatov after McGuire was going nuts about what a great pick this would be for Toronto?

Just a question, but is this draft day or trade day?

There used to be a debate among Blue Jackets fans when RJ Umberger was holding out in Vancouver as to whether or not to go after him. Turns out they now have the former Ohio State standout.

And speaking of fitting, Columbus goes and gets Nikita Filatov. Something tells me this Russian will be a lot easier to fetch out of Russia than their last first round Russian in Nikolai Zherdev. The trilingual kid will be in North America next year. I'm sure Columbus isn't expecting him to jump a plane to Russia in the wee hours one morning. For a kid who learned English at five, he sure didn't have a whole lot to say. Maybe he's already thinking about his boarding pass after going to a club that's never been to the postseason, nevermind the promiseland.

What would happen if we went two consecutive picks without a trade? And for the record, do the Islanders know eventually they have to stop trading down and select someone?

In keeping with the question asking, one has to wonder how far Dustin Rose will fall in this draft.

Who had a better line than Gord: "There are not a lot of great Danes in the NHL" after Mikkel Boedker was selected by the Phoenix Coyotes.

After the lack of a trade or any significant action, I fell asleep. It's ok though, because I woke up just in time to see the Buffalo Sabres move up ONE PICK. This is edge of my seat material, ladies and gentlemen!

With said pick, the Sabres select six-foot-seven Tyler Myers. After hugging his mom, I'd have to say Mrs. Myers has to stand a mean six-foot-three herself. Good genes. Not bad shorts either.

Again, for those scoring at home, FC's streak ended at the first six picks. Curse Nashville!

WHLer Colten Teubert marks the second defenseman taken by the Los Angeles Kings this draft. For such a highly rated prospect in this draft, why was he seated in the 300's?

Another pick Pierre McGuire absolutely loves. Hard to disagree though. There's something about Boychuk in a Hurricanes jersey that seems to fit.

For all the talk about Boychuk and his size and how smaller players are getting drafted since the lockout in the 'New NHL', why have NHL teams not tracked down all the small players from pre-lockout drafts that would suddenly be able to make it and excel? Do I dare place a guess on the fact that these are skilled players who just happen to be small or is there something behind this theory?

Simply cannot believe the roof in Kanata, ON is still on after the Ottawa Senators trade up two spots at the expense of a third rounder next year. Good part is it calls Daniel Alfredsson to the podium, who will be calling out the pick. Front office job in the future for Alfie? Methinks so.

I like the thought of Alfredsson and I sharing the same haircut. Do not share the same ideas on taking Erik Karlsson. Suddenly, Alfredsson's presence makes sense. It's nice to see a pick fool the TSN panel, as the name Chet Pickard was bandied about.

Not sure who Pierre McGuire was eyeing after the Karlsson pick, but his eyes were as big as silver dollars. Did he find Dion Phanuef chatting with Sidney Crosby while standing beside Luke Schenn?

Question from Gord Miller to Erik Karlsson: "How thrilling was it for Daniel Alfredsson to introduce you?" I'm not sure of the answer, but I'm sure it ranks right up with Alfredsson's Olympic gold.

Good to see Seabass in attendance tonight representing the Boston Bruins.

For those that caught me on The Pipeline Show Tuesday, this is me eating crow after predicting Joe Colborne would slide into the second round, even after host (and FC writer) Guy Flaming let out the fact the Edmonton Oilers would likely look at him with their first rounder. Just be aware he's got a long way to go to be Joe Thornton, Bruins fans.

Always suave, Brian Burke pokes fun at his boos by saying it's always good to come back to Ottawa. For the record, Burke robs the cradle with 17-year-old Jake Gardiner from Lake Minnetonka.

Sorry Dan (resident draft GOD), but I beat you on the Pickart vs. McCollum debate after the Predators take down the Tri City Americans netminder. Again, as proof, see The Pipeline Show ( - excuse the cheap plug, I get a quarter every time I mention it!).

Mad props for Bob McKenzie for calling out McGuire for loving each pick. He must be reading my blog! Give me a shoutout Mr. McKenzie!

10 of the 20 picks thus far in the draft have been defensemen. Only one goaltender has been selected as well.

Can anyone else figure out why the big board on stage only has 14 rows, thus needing three columns instead of two had they just stretched it one more row? Puzzling. Baffling if you will.

Touching story by Glenn Anderson. Hall of famer on and off the ice. Interesting to see Sam Gagner on stage for the Oilers selection as well. He looks like he could double as Eberle's little brother.

Just tossing it out there, but wouldn't things be a lot more interesting if someone streaked across the stage in front of Gary Bettman? We both know you couldn't help but laugh!

Interesting to see the New Jersey Devils take Brian Gionta's little brother Mattias Tedenby. Both are sub-five-foot-10 and both were sub-160-pounds when drafted. Gionta's had some success, so Louuuuuuuuuuuuu will be pushing for the same.

And coincidently, I have a craving for Tim Horton's hashbrowns. Weird. (Note, only TSN viewers will understand what I mean).

Again, a nice touch with Greg Nemisz of the Windsor Spitfires being selected by the Calgary Flames, the NHL club who held the rights of the late Mickey Renaud, who passed away this season. Coincidently enough, Nemisz's head coach is former Flames defenseman Bob Boughner.

Call it the first off-the-board pick if you'd like, but the Buffalo Sabres pick up pint-sized Tyler Ennis. McGuire observantly points out that both of the Sabres' picks are named Tyler. I think it's more interesting to note their average height is six-foot-one...yet neither is within four inches of that height. To save money for Buffalo down the road, Regier is going to ask Myers to carry Ennis in his pocket.

Great to see a trade that involves a draft selection being moved for a roster player. In other news, Steve Eminger is apparently worth a first rounder, six years after, well, being worth a sixth rounder.

I know Aaron Ness is small, but has everyone forgot about him? He can't be sticking around much longer, unless of course he's asked to return on day two.

For the record, I'd like to thank George McPhee and the Washington Capitals for saying nothing at the podium but the name of the player they chose to select - John Carlson. (Anyone else catch the irony of that sentence?).

Anyone else curious what The Great One did to his hand? He's sporting a band aid, and I don't think he's trying to start a new trend like rapper Nelly. Gretz must have tipped off the TSN broadcast crew to the pick of Victor Tikhonov. Either that or they saw the pre-made jersey. No stuck on name bar for this Russian.

The only one to rival the cheer received by Wayne Gretzky was Steve Yzerman, who nabs Thomas McCollum for his Detroit Red Wings, and drawing to a close the three hour and 49 minute opening round in Ottawa.

I feel for those who are in attendance tomorrow...

Saturday, June 7, 2008

FC's Mock Draft

Predicting the direction an NHL organization will go when selecting prospects at the annual entry draft can be somewhat of a crapshoot, but sticking with a formula which looks at the organization as a whole, the prospects currently in the each system, the NHL talent and the age of those representing the big club as well as past history and draft tendencies one can get a pretty good idea of how a team will go about making selections on draft day.

1). Tampa Bay Lightning – C Steven Stamkos
Organizational Summary: Tampa is light in the prospect cupboard and lacks a single prospect with real star potential. While they have been able to accumulate decent organizational depth of potential role players at the forward position, they do not have potential star caliber prospects whom can lead this team into the future. The defensive depth contains no top four potential candidates. Goaltending is the one area with some upside.
Reason for the Pick: With the exception of Vincent Lecavalier, no current Lightning regular or prospect comes close to wearing the ‘franchise’ tag like Stamkos will with the type of skill and persona that he exudes. With his marketable personality and on-ice talents the Lightning should gain some of the sporting spotlight down south as well as remain competitive for years on the ice.
The Top Prospects by Position
Forward: Dana Tyrell
Defenseman: Matt Smaby
Goaltender: Karri Ramo
Last Five First Round Picks:
2003 – NONE
2004 – D Andy Rogers (30th)
2005 – D Vladimir Mihalik (30th)
2006 – G Riku Helenius (15th)
2007 – NONE

2). Los Angeles Kings – D Drew Doughty
Organizational Summary: LA has a full stable of quality prospects in the system and does not need to fill a specific need because of the good overall organizational depth. The defense position is the weakest in the organization and should be solidified with a top prospect or two.
Reason for the Pick: With many young skilled forwards already playing in the NHL plus a blue-chip goalie prospect in Jonathan Bernier waiting in the wings, building a blue line to play with the young nucleus is the direction they should take.
The Top Prospects by Position
Forward: Trevor Lewis
Defenseman: Thomas Hickey
Goaltender: Jonathan Bernier
Last Five First Round Picks:
2003 – RW Dustin Brown (13th) & C Brian Boyle (26th) & C Jeff Tambellini (27th)
2004 – LW Lauri Tukonen (11th)
2005 – C Anze Kopitar (11th)
2006 – G Jonathan Bernier (11th) & C Trevor Lewis (17th)
2007 – D Thomas Hickey (4th)

3). Atlanta Thrashers – D Zack Bogosian
Organizational Summary: Recent trades have depleted a once healthy prospect cupboard. With little depth at all positions and few potential impact players on the horizon, Atlanta would benefit with just adding skilled prospects at all positions. Defense is the main weakness at both the organizations development and pro levels. They will look at the top echelon of defenders with this pick.
Reason for the Pick: Bogosian is the best player available at this point and adds a physical element to a team that desperately needs some size coming through the ranks. He brings his complete two-way game and also solid character and leadership qualities that will benefit the Thrashers down the line.
The Top Prospects by Position
Forward: Bryan Little
Defenseman: Andrei Zubarev
Goaltender: Ondrej Pavelec
Last Five First Round Picks:
2003 – D Braydon Coburn (8th)
2004 – D Boris Valabik (10th)
2005 – C Alex Bourret (16th)
2006 – C Brian Little(12th)
2007 – NONE

4). St. Louis Blues – D Alex Pietrangelo
Organizational Summary: St. Louis is blessed with some nice talent at all positions, some of whom some could develop into impact performers in the not to distant future. Goaltending is set with two good prospects that should make an impact sooner rather than later. The forward ranks have some nice talent but could use depth on the wings. Defense has some nice depth but no real stud prospect.
Reason for the Pick: A look at the second best forward in the draft, Nikita Filatov, brings up too many question marks so the decision to go with a defenseman is made. A choice needs to be made at this spot between a big stay-at-home physical defender in Schenn and the big two-way defender in Pietrangelo with good offensive upside.
The Top Prospects by Position
Forward: Patrik Berglund
Defenseman: Ian Cole
Goaltender: Marek Schwarz
Last Five First Round Picks:
2003 – D Shawn Belle (30th)
2004 – G Marek Schwarz (17th)
2005 – C T.J. Oshie (24th)
2006 – D Erik Johnson (1st) & C Patrik Berglund (25th)
2007 – C Lars Eller (13th) & D Ian Cole (18th) & RW David Perron (26th)

5). New York Islanders – D Luke Schenn
Organizational Summary: The Islanders posses solid depth at the forward position although lacking in high-end talent. Not much depth exists on defense and no real top four potential prospects at this position, although they do have a few potential top six defenders waiting in the wings. Goaltending depth is non-existent and they will need to draft at least one goaltender in this draft.
Reason for the Pick: This pick gives the Islanders a stud defender on which to build around. Not much doubt that Schenn will be a top four defender in the NHL and right now that fills a glaring hole in the Islanders organization as a premier defensive prospect.
The Top Prospects by Position
Forward: Kyle Okposo
Defenseman: Dustin Kohn
Goaltender: Stefan Ridderwall
Last Five First Round Picks:
2003 – C Robert Nilsson (15th)
2004 – RW Petteri Nokelainen (16th)
2005 – C Ryan O’Marra (15th)
2006 – LW Kyle Okposo (7th)
2007 – NONE

6). Columbus Blue Jackets – LW Mikkel Boedker
Organizational Summary: The forward ranks are deep on the wings although some depth at centre is required. Only Jakub Voracek has top-six skills but they do have good size and some limited offensive potential that could develop some solid secondary scoring. Defense has good depth but no potential top four prospects. Goaltending is the number one area of strength for the organization with a young starting goalie already in the NHL in Pascal Leclaire as well as a potential starting goalie waiting in Steve Mason.
Reason for the Pick: Adding a defenseman at this spot would have been ideal but all of the big four were selected before this pick. A trade down in the first round as well as Tyler Myers and Cody Hodgson get looks but Myers just has too many question marks to be taken this early. Instead they add an element of skill and speed in Boedker who they see as a rising potential superstar in the making.
The Top Prospects by Position
Forward: Jakub Voracek
Defenseman: Marc Methot
Goaltender: Steve Mason
Last Five First Round Picks:
2003 – RW Nikolai Zherdev (4th)
2004 – LW Alexander Picard (8th)
2005 – C Gilbert Brule (6th)
2006 – C Derick Brassard (6th)
2007 – LW Jakub Voracek (7th)

7). Toronto Maple Leafs – LW Nikita Filatov
Organizational Summary: The organization as a whole needs an upgrade in every prospect position. They have very few potential top six forwards, no top four potential defenders and only one strong goalie prospect in the system. After years of trading draft picks and prospects for stop gap fixes and short lived runs in the playoffs it has become a mandate the Leaf organization work to rebuild the prospect cupboard. An impact prospect at any position is what is required with this pick.
Reason for the Pick: After debate between Cody Hodgson and Filatov, the Leafs go with whom they see as having the higher offensive upside. The dynamic winger gives the Leafs organization a potential superstar to develop and call a homegrown talent. Even though he is an immense talent, to be taken this high in the draft the skilled Russian needed to assure the Leafs that his intentions are to play in North America for the Buds.
The Top Prospects by Position
Forward: Nikolai Kulemin
Defenseman: Anton Stralman
Goaltender: Justin Pogge
Last Five First Round Picks:
2003 – NONE
2004 – NONE
2005 – G Tuukka Rask (21st)
2006 – RW Jiri Tlusty (13th)
2007 – NONE

8). Phoenix Coyotes – D Tyler Myers
Organizational Summary: The prospect cupboard has recently become somewhat thinned out, but not from lack of quality drafting. Instead, most of the team’s top prospects have graduated and are contributing at the NHL level. They have good depth at the forward position although they will need to add scoring wingers. centre is set for years with young talent in the NHL and Kyle Turris set to join. Defense has depth but not many with potential top-notch talent. Goaltending is very deep and has some interesting possibilities developing with the addition of Montoya.
Reason for the Pick: With the number eight pick the problem arises that the Coyotes are a deep organization down the middle and that the next few top picks are all centres. If a trade cannot be reached to move down a few spots they should take the next best prospect that is not a centre and who is Myers. With some big wingers targeted later in the draft, Phoenix feels comfortable to pick Myers who fills an organizational need for a potential blue-chip prospect on the backend.
The Top Prospects by Position
Forward: Kyle Turris
Defenseman: Keith Yandle
Goaltender: Al Montoya
Last Five First Round Picks:
2003 – NONE
2004 – LW Blake Wheeler (5th)
2005 – C Martin Hanzal (17th)
2006 – C Peter Mueller (8th) & D Chris Summers (29th)
2007 – C Kyle Turris (3rd) & D Nick Ross (30th)

9). Nashville (from Florida) – C Cody Hodgson
Organizational Summary: The Nashville Predators organization has done a good job of evaluating talent and getting those who they target in the draft since their inception in the league. The have good overall depth and some solid prospects throughout. They only lack star potential at all positions which is a common thread throughout the league.
Reason for the Pick: After a slight slide down the draft board, the impressive two-way Hodgson gets selected by the Predators. They also look at Kyle Beach and Colin Wilson with this selection. This pick adds depth to the centre position and gives the organization the potential first line centre they are lacking.
The Top Prospects by Position
Forward: Nick Spaling
Defenseman: Cody Franson
Goaltender: Jeremy Smith
Last Five First Round Picks:
2003 – D Ryan Suter (7th)
2004 – C Alexander Radulov (15th)
2005 – D Ryan Parent (18th)
2006 – NONE
2007 – D Jonathon Blum (23rd)

10). Vancouver Canucks – C Colin Wilson
Organizational Summary: Not great depth of top end talent for the Vancouver Canucks, but they do have some potential talent at each position. The club has quantity, just not a lot of quality at the forward position and defense should be an area of concern. They could already have the goalie who eventually replaces Roberto Luongo in Cory Schneider so goaltending is the least of their worries.
Reason for the Pick: With a lack of size in the potential impact prospects they do have already in the system they select the big two-way centre from the Boston Terriers who is about a sure fire NHL prospect as there could be at this spot.
The Top Prospects by Position
Forward: Michael Grabner
Defenseman: Taylor Ellington
Goaltender: Cory Schneider
Last Five First Round Picks:
2003 – C Ryan Kesler (23rd)
2004 – G Cory Schneider (26th)
2005 – D Luc Bourdon (10th)
2006 – RW Michael Grabner (14th)
2007 – C Patrick White (25th)

11). Chicago Blackhawk’s – C Zach Boychuk
Organizational Summary: The Blackhawks are one of the deepest organizations with regards to potential impact prospects and already have a good stable of contributing young NHLers. The forward position has great depth although it could use some more prospects with scoring pop. Defense has good depth and goaltending is also a strength although they lack a true blue-chip prospect with star potential.
Reason for the Pick: The only need that is developing in the organization is on the backend but they think they can nab a few in the next few rounds. They have no current glaring weaknesses so they go with the best available prospect with this pick and determine that Boychuk is the safest bet at this spot.
The Top Prospects by Position
Forward: David Bolland
Defenseman: Niklas Hjalmarsson
Goaltender: Corey Crawford
Last Five First Round Picks:
2003 – D Brent Seabrook (14th)
2004 – D Cam Barker (3rd)
2005 – LW Jack Skille (7th)
2006 – C Jonathan Toews (3rd)
2007 – RW Patrick Kane (1st)

12). Anaheim (from Edmonton) – C Kyle Beach
Organizational Summary: The thinking of the Anaheim organization is size, speed and skill wins and it seems almost like when it comes to the draft it is regarded in that order. The biggest organizational need is on the backend. The limited quantity of prospects they have at this position require more time to develop and also possess limited upside. Goaltending is another position where they have quantity but not much quality.
Reason for the Pick: Brian Burke cannot help picking this prospect that has been compared to Todd Bertuzzi, a player Burke has always admired for his on the edge style. Others who get looks from the Ducks are defenders Michael Del Zotto and John Carlson.
The Top Prospects by Position
Forward: Bobby Ryan
Defenseman: Mark Mitera
Goaltender: J-P Levasseur
Last Five First Round Picks:
2003 – C Ryan Getzlaf (19th) & RW Corry Perry (28th)
2004 – D Ladislav Smid (9th)
2005 – RW Bobby Ryan (2nd)
2006 – D Mark Mitera (19th)
2007 – C Logan MacMillan (19th)

13). Buffalo Sabres – C Joshua Bailey
Organizational Summary: The forward position lacks star potential for the Sabres, although they do have a multitude of good depth players at the centre position. Both wings need special attention because of a major lack of depth. The defensive position is very strong in depth and has a few prospects with top-six potential and goaltending is also an organizational strength but they could always use more depth at the most crucial position. The lack of size is also an area that should be addressed in this draft.
Reason for the Pick: They also look at Michael Del Zotto with this pick as a possible Brian Campbell replacement but ultimately select the Windsor centre for his two-way game, size and the fact that the biggest need in the organization is at the forward position.
The Top Prospects by Position
Forward: Clarke MacArthur
Defenseman: Andrej Sekera
Goaltender: Jhonas Enroth
Last Five First Round Picks:
2003 – RW Thomas Vanek (5th)
2004 – RW Drew Stafford (13th)
2005 – C Marek Zagrapan (13th)
2006 – D Dennis Persson (24th)
2007 – NONE

14). Carolina Hurricanes – C Jordan Eberle
Organizational Summary: The Hurricanes are an organization that has had good luck mining mid-round picks to build solid defensive depth. They are lacking real star potential at all positions within the entire organization however they do have some good mid-range prospect working there way up the ranks. Defensive depth is the main strength while the forward position needs the most help.
Reason for the Pick: The top rated prospect left at the 14th spot are forwards and that plays right into the needs of an organization that has a glaring need of skilled forward prospects. Michael Del Zotto, Mattias Tedenby and Joe Colborne all get looks with this pick but Eberle seems to fill the organizational needs the best.
The Top Prospects by Position
Forward: Brandon Sutter
Defenseman: Jamie McBain
Goaltender: Justin Peters
Last Five First Round Picks:
2003 – C Eric Staal (2nd)
2004 – LW Andrew Ladd (4th)
2005 – D Jack Johnson (3rd)
2006 – NONE
2007 – C Brandon Sutter (11th)

15). Nashville Predators – D John Carlson
Organizational Summary: The Predators lack star-caliber prospects, an area they are trying to address with the previous pick and now with this selection. They are using this draft to re-stock a cupboard that has seen many good young talented prospects graduate to the NHL or have been recently used in trade acquisitions.
Reason for the Pick: First adding Hodgson and now Carlson gives the Predators two potential blue-chip prospects. The thought of taking another forward, the organizational need at this point is a possibility but Carlson moves close to the top of the class in the depth chart for defenders and is too good a prospect to pass up from Nashville’s perspective. Again, Michael Del Zotto and Mattias Tedenby get looks but they can’t let the targeted Carlson slip through their fingers.
The Top Prospects by Position
Forward: Nick Spaling
Defenseman: Cody Franson
Goaltender: Jeremy Smith
Last Five First Round Picks:
2003 – D Ryan Suter (7th)
2004 – C Alexander Radulov (15th)
2005 – D Ryan Parent (18th)
2006 – NONE
2007 – D Jonathon Blum (23rd)

16). Boston Bruins – LW Mattias Tedenby
Organizational Summary: The Bruins are an organization that has dipped into their prospect pool and come out with some nice impact players at the NHL level. They now face a situation of needing to re-tool the system. The strengths of the Bruins talent pool are on the backend with some potential top-six defenders and a likely starter waiting in the wings at the goaltender position. The forward spot, which has been decimated with call-ups and trades, needs the biggest upgrade.
Reason for the Pick: The Bruins go right after one of the most skilled forwards available and despite his small stature see Tedenby as a future top six NHL forward who will contribute in the not too distant future. They also look at Joe Colborne and Greg Nemisz with this pick but decide that overwhelming skill wins out over size for this selection.
The Top Prospects by Position
Forward: David Krejci
Defenseman: Matt Lashoff
Goaltender: Tuukka Rask
Last Five First Round Picks:
2003 – D Mark Stuart (21st)
2004 – NONE
2005 – D Matt Lashoff (22nd)
2006 – C Phil Kessel (5th)
2007 – C Zach Hamill (8th)

17). Calgary Flames – D Michael Del Zotto
Organizational Summary: After many years of desperately needing to add depth to the forward ranks, the tide has somewhat shifted in the Flames organization and now the most pressing need has become the need for a homegrown offensive defender. While they have compiled some forward talent they still could use a few potential top line prospects to be considered strong in that area. Goaltending on the other hand is one are that they seem to be good in, though they will likely grab a goaltender in one of the later rounds.
Reason for the Pick: The Flames have been able to fill their No. 1 organizational need with the selection of Del Zotto and can now shift back to adding quality forwards and more defensive depth with their next few picks.
The Top Prospects by Position
Forward: Mikael Backlund
Defenseman: Matt Pelech
Goaltender: Leland Irving
Last Five First Round Picks:
2003 – D Dion Phaneuf (9th)
2004 – RW Kris Chucko (24th)
2005 – D Matt Pelech (26th)
2006 – G Leland Irving (26th)
2007 – LW Mikael Backlund (24th)

18). Ottawa Senators – G Chet Pickard
Organizational Summary: The success the organization has enjoyed at the NHL level the past few years has taken its toll on the Senators’ prospect pool. The forward ranks contain a few prospects with potential but lack many safe players. The defense has some good potential but is getting thinned out. The major area of weakness that needs to be addressed is lack of a true goalie prospect from which to mold into the Senators “Goalie of the Future”.
Reason for the Pick: The Senators get a very solid prospect that has great upside and potential to become their next No. 1 goalie. They take a look at Joe Colborne and Greg Nemisz but then select who they have as the draft’s No. 1 goalie prospect.
The Top Prospects by Position
Forward: Nick Foligno
Defenseman: Brian Lee
Goaltender: Brian Elliott
Last Five First Round Picks:
2003 – C Patrick Eaves (29th)
2004 – D Andrej Meszaros (23rd)
2005 – D Brian Lee (9th)
2006 – C Nick Foligno (28th)
2007 – C James O’Brien (29th)

19). Columbus (from Colorado) – C Joe Colborne
Organizational Summary: The Blue Jackets have added a significant piece to the organization with Boedker at the sixth pick and can use this pick to gamble somewhat in hopes of a home run return. The main areas that beg to be addresses are still the overall lack of skilled type forwards and the lack of a true top four potential defender.
Reason for the Pick: With the pick of Boedker sixth overall and now this pick of Colborne, Columbus has taken the opportunity to upgrade the skill at the forward position. The thought of taking a defender with this pick is entertained as they look at both Colten Teubert and Luka Sbisa but decide to take the skilled forward. They will look to strengthen other areas of the organization with some of the later picks.
The Top Prospects by Position
Forward: Jakub Voracek
Defenseman: Marc Methot
Goaltender: Steve Mason
Last Five First Round Picks:
2003 – RW Nikolai Zherdev (4th)
2004 – LW Alexander Picard (8th)
2005 – C Gilbert Brule (6th)
2006 – C Derick Brassard (6th)
2007 – LW Jakub Voracek (7th)

20). New York Rangers – G Thomas McCollum
Organizational Summary: With recent trades and graduations of prospects to the NHL level, the Rangers prospect pool is starting to drain. The forward crop is still relatively healthy and deep but the defense lacks both top end talent and depth and goaltending position needs a shot of top rate talent. They could also use a blue-chip offensive prospect at the forward position.
Reason for the Pick: With the recent trade of Al Montoya the Rangers surprise all who had them taking a forward and go with a goalie prospect that they can groom and bring along slowly. They also look at Colten Teubert and Jack Gardiner with this pick as their defense needs to be addressed but the thinking is that the backend can be addresses with later picks and young free agents down the line.
The Top Prospects by Position
Forward: Alexei Cherepanov
Defenseman: Bobby Sanguinetti
Goaltender: Matt Zaba
Last Five First Round Picks:
2003 – RW Hugh Jessiman (12th)
2004 – G Al Montoya (6th) & C Lauri Korpikoski (19th)
2005 – D Marc Staal (12th)
2006 – D Bobby Sanguinetti (21st)
2007 – RW Alexei Cherepanov (17th)

21). New Jersey Devils – D Brandon Burlon
Organizational Summary: The Devils organization has always done well at drafting and developing homegrown talent but the well is running dry. They need to replenish at all three positions but the most glaring hole is on defense. The forwards are a group that contains a lot of promise but could also very easily produce nothing. The goaltenders are in need of depth and a few top-notch nominees to vie for the job of eventually replacing an aging Martin Brodeur.
Reason for the Pick: With the lack of depth and talent at both defense and in the crease, New Jersey is forced to look at who is left on the board and who best fits into the Devils style. The drafts two top goalies are off the board and thinking they can add a quality tender in one of the later rounds so they grab all-purpose defender and University of Michigan bound Brandon Burlon.
The Top Prospects by Position
Forward: Nicklas Bergfors
Defenseman: Matt Corrente
Goaltender: Jeff Frazee
Last Five First Round Picks:
2003 – C Zach Parise (17th)
2004 – C Travis Zajac (20th)
2005 – C Nicklas Bergfors (23rd)
2006 – D Matthew Corrente (30th)
2007 – NONE

22). Edmonton (from Anaheim) – D Colby Robak
Organizational Summary: The strength of the Oilers organization’s prospect pool lies in the abundance of quality forward depth. They lack many top notch offensive forwards but there are a few with potential. The backend has a stable of solid developing prospects but they all have limited upsides. The goalie situation is solid for now but they should add to this area before it does become a weakness.
Reason for the Pick: The organization’s current prospects coming through the ranks have limited offensive potential from the backend and Robak adds a dimension that is sorely lacking. Offensively he can start the transition with his breakout passing abilities better than all the rest and immediately moves to the top of the defensive prospect depth chart.
The Top Prospects by Position
Forward: Rob Schremp
Defenseman: Taylor Chorney
Goaltender: Jeff Deslauriers
Last Five First Round Picks:
2003 – C Marc-Antoine Pouliot (22nd)
2004 – G Devan Dubnyk (14th) & C Rob Schremp (25th)
2005 – C Andrew Cogliano (25th)
2006 – NONE
2007 – C Sam Gagne (6th) & D Alex Plante (15th) & C Riley Nash (21st)

23). Washington Capitals – D Colten Teubert
Organizational Summary: Some solid depth and nice talent in the forward prospects of the Washington Capitals are working their way up the ranks. The defense has some depth but could use more top talent to draw from. The goaltending of Washington has a good mix of talent who will soon be ready to look at taking over the crease in Washington.
Reason for the Pick: With all the offensive talent in the organization the Capitals opt for physical stay-at-home defender Colten Teubert.
The Top Prospects by Position
Forward: Eric Fehr
Defenseman: Karl Alzner
Goaltender: Semen Varlamov
Last Five First Round Picks:
2003 – RW Eric Fehr (18th)
2004 – LW Alex Ovechkin (1st) & D Jeff Schultz (27th) & D Mike Green (29th)
2005 – D Sasha Pokulok (14th) & D Joe Finley (27th)
2006 – C Nicklas Backstrom (4th) & G Simeon Varlamov (23rd)
2007 – D Karl Alzner (5th)

24). Minnesota Wild – D Jack Gardiner
Organizational Summary: The Minnesota Wild organization has depth all round but they are severely lacking in top talent at most positions. Goaltending is the only position which can be called solid. Forwards are comprised of a bunch of potential role players as well as some boom or bust prospects. The backend has nothing special and could use a major shot in the arm.
Reason for the Pick: The one of the local kids gets taken by the Wild and fills a pretty large hole in the prospect pool. They look at Greg Nemisz and Luka Sbisa but can’t pass up on the skating, speed and offensive potential that Gardiner possesses.
The Top Prospects by Position
Forward: Benoit Pouliot
Defenseman: Shawn Belle
Goaltender: Anton Khudobin
Last Five First Round Picks:
2003 – D Brent Burns (20th)
2004 – D A.J. Thelen (12th)
2005 – LW Benoit Pouliot (4th)
2006 – C James Sheppard (9th)
2007 – RW Colton Gillies (16th)

25). Montreal Canadiens – RW Greg Nemisz
Organizational Summary: The Canadiens organization has done a good job in the past few drafts at getting good value for all of their picks. They are somewhat strong in all areas but they should be looking too add a sizable forward who could play on the top few lines in a few years. The goaltending pipeline is another area that needs re-tooling though it has had two very recent graduations in youngsters Carey Price and Jaroslav Halak to the Habs roster.
Reason for the Pick: The Habs are able to address the number one need with the selection of big skilled winger Greg Nemisz. He gives the prospect pool depth on the right side as well as much needed size.
The Top Prospects by Position
Forward: Sergei Kostitsyn
Defenseman: Ryan McDonagh
Goaltender: Carey Price
Last Five First Round Picks:
2003 – RW Andrei Kostitsyn (10th)
2004 – RW Kyle Chipchura (18th)
2005 – G Carey Price (5th)
2006 – D David Fischer (20th)
2007 – D Ryan McDonagh (12th) & RW Max Pacioretty (22nd)

26). Buffalo (from San Jose) – C Mikhail Stefanovich
Organizational Summary: With Josh Bailey another centre taken earlier in this draft, Buffalo needs to focus on the wing and adding skill and size to both sides. Goaltending is an area they will add depth to later in the draft and the backend could also use some freshening up with a couple later selections picks.
Reason for the Pick: Buffalo selects Stefanovich with this pick as they see him permanently moving to right wing and being the skilled and big bodied presence they so desperately need coming through the system. The Sabres know what areas they need to address and with the available talent Stefanovich fits perfectly with this pick.
The Top Prospects by Position
Forward: Josh Bailey
Defenseman: Andrej Sekera
Goaltender: Jhonas Enroth
Last Five First Round Picks:
2003 – RW Thomas Vanek (5th)
2004 – RW Drew Stafford (13th)
2005 – C Marek Zagrapan (13th)
2006 – D Dennis Persson (24th)
2007 – NONE

27). Philadelphia Flyers – G Jacob Markstrom
Organizational Summary: While the forward ranks are somewhat deep, the Flyers could use some high-end skill at the centre position. Depth is also an area that is decent at both defense and the goalie position however true impact potential is lacking. The prospect cupboard will have a few years to develop and grow as the NHL team is relatively young and will not need replacing for a few more years.
Reason for the Pick: With many mediocre prospects at this position and no true potential No.1 to take the reins in a few years the selection of Markstrom is a strong pick for the future of the organization. They would also look at the defenders available but ultimately go with the best available for there needs.
The Top Prospects by Position
Forward: James vanRiemsdyk
Defenseman: Ryan Parent
Goaltender: Jakub Kovar
Last Five First Round Picks:
2003 – C Jeff Carter (11th) & C Mike Richards (24th)
2004 – NONE
2005 – C Steve Downie (29th)
2006 – LW Claude Giroux (22nd)
2007 – RW James vanRiemsdyk (2nd)

28). Los Angeles (from Dallas) – C Mitch Wahl
Organizational Summary: Overall, Los Angeles has a full stable of quality prospects in the system and has no major hole to fill. The defense position has been helped with the selection of Doughty but could use another top talent to solidify the position. The goalie position could use a replacement with the likely graduation of Bernier this upcoming season. The forward ranks could use a few highly skilled prospects.
Reason for the Pick: LA takes a playmaking centre and local product in Wahl which helps an area that they are somewhat lacking in. They look at some of the talent available in goal but decide that they can pick-up a talented prospect at that position later in the draft.
The Top Prospects by Position
Forward: Trevor Lewis
Defenseman: Drew Doughty
Goaltender: Jonathan Bernier
Last Five First Round Picks:
2003 – RW Dustin Brown (13th) & C Brian Boyle (26th) & C Jeff Tambellini (27th)
2004 – LW Lauri Tukonen (11th)
2005 – C Anze Kopitar (11th)
2006 – G Jonathan Bernier (11th) & C Trevor Lewis (17th)
2007 – D Thomas Hickey (4th)

29). Atlanta (from Pittsburgh) – D Luca Sbisa
Organizational Summary: The weakest part of the Atlanta organization has been on the backend and they added a potential top four future fixture in Bogosian but that alone is not enough. The forwards have a good mix of size and skill and the depth is adequate although not overly strong. The goaltender situation is decent as they have a very good prospect in Ondrej Pavelec in the minors and a young starting No.1 already in the NHL.
Reason for the Pick: With the earlier selection of Bogosian and now Sbisa, the Thrashers have taken a huge leap in the effort to reconstruct the backend for the future. They will now look to the forward position and address the lack of size and physical play with most of the remaining picks.
The Top Prospects by Position
Forward: Bryan Little
Defenseman: Zach Bogosian
Goaltender: Ondrej Pavelec
Last Five First Round Picks:
2003 – D Braydon Coburn (8th)
2004 – D Boris Valabik (10th)
2005 – C Alex Bourret (16th)
2006 – C Brian Little(12th)
2007 – NONE

30). Detroit Red Wings – D Tyler Cuma
Organizational Summary: With decent overall depth and some decent talent coming through the ranks at all three forward positions Detroit can select the best available player. They would be well server to add a couple blue-chip forwards. Size at both forward and defense is an area that they would also like to address.
Reason for the Pick: They will be looking to add one or possibly two goaltenders to the organization in this draft but with the top group already gone they look to deal the pick for a second and third later in the draft where they think their targeted goalie sits. With a trade not in the cards they look to add the best available which is the non-flashy but effective Cuma.
The Top Prospects by Position
Forward: Darren Helm
Defenseman: Jakub Kindl
Goaltender: Jimmy Howard
Last Five First Round Picks:
2003 – NONE
2004 – NONE
2005 – D Jakub Kindl (19th)
2006 – NONE
2007 – D Brendan Smith (27th)