The NHL Entry Draft takes place on Friday June 25. The big question seems to be who will go first, Taylor Hall
or Tyler Seguin. Personally I think that there is no doubt as to who will go first.
The best overall guide to the Draft has to be McKeen's. If you get a chance, buy it as their coverage is outstanding and in depth as far as their top 90 players are concerned.
Rotoworld will have a live chat starting at 7:00 ET on Friday for the Draft as well as up to the minute coverage on the first round. Please join us.
I'm wearing a mock turtle neck in honor of this mock draft.
1. Edmonton: Taylor Hall
(LW). I personally think that it is no contest and barring injury, we shall see that the sniper is the best pick five years from now. He is a natural goal scorer with a knack for big goals. He'll fit in nicely with the Oilers.
(via Toronto) Tyler Seguin(C). Do not be surprised if the Bruins trade down as they really want Hall. If they do not get him, someone will jump up to take Seguin. Seguin is a playmaking center who was forced to shoot more often with the Whalers due to a lack of talent around him. He is a bit soft but has outstanding offensive skills.
Erik Gudbranson (D). Florida is another team that is fielding a lot of calls to trade their pick. If they hold onto it, Gudbranson will more than replace Jay Bouwmeester
who they dealt to Calgary last off-season. Gudbranson is skillful both offensively and defensively and has the size to be a top defenseman.
Brandon Gormley (D). Columbus is looking for a defenseman to quarterback the power play. While he does not have a tremendous shot, his offensive prowess is what the Blue Jackets are lacking at this time.
5. New York Islanders
Jack Campbell (G). While I have not heard any talk of Campbell in this spot, the Islanders cannot rely on a return from Rick DiPietro
who has missed most of the last two seasons with injury. Campbell is a stud and proved it at the World Junior Championships and the Under-18 as he led the United States to gold in both tournaments.
6. Tampa Bay
Cam Fowler (D). Fowler's stock seems to be dropping as he is not a physical presence on the blueline. This is a nice spot for him as Tampa Bay is still looking for more offense from their rearguards and Fowler definitely has offensive flair.
Nino Niederreiter (RW). The Swiss native played his first season in North America with the Portland Winterhawks and starred for Switzerland at the World Junior Championships as his overtime goal eliminated Russia in the quarter-finals. Will eventually play on the top line.
Ryan Johansen (C). Another Winterhawk, Johansen is an excellent playmaker and two-way player. He needs to add weight and muscle but looks to be a top-six forward when he finally makes the NHL.
Brett Connolly (LW). Connolly lost some of his value as he played only 16 games for Prince George of the WHL this season due to a couple of hip injuries. He is outstanding offensive skills. The Wild are severely lacking in offensive talent so the choice of Connolly, who could easily have been the third overall pick, is a good one.
10. New York Rangers
Vladimir Tarasenko (RW). Tarasenko has a lot of offensive talent as he managed to play in the KHL as a top-six forward at the tender age of 18. His major drawback is that the Russian Federation and the NHL do not have an agreement, but look for the Rangers to go back to Russia despite the Cherepanov tragedy in 2008.
Mikael Granlund (C). Granlund is a play-making center with outstanding offensive skills. He first played for the Finnish World Junior team at the age of 16. The only knock against him is his size as he is listed at five-feet, ten inches, 180 pounds. If the Stars get him at this spot, players like Loui Eriksson
and James Neal
will benefit from his play-making abilities.
Emerson Etem (RW). The California-born forward could be coming home. Etem played his first season in the WHL in 2009-10 and potted 37 goals, enhancing his value as a goal scorer. He tends to play on the perimeter and does not like the rough going as his 26 penalty minutes in 72 games in the rough WHL indicates. He is however, a goal scorer and any team could use his abilites.
(via Calgary) Jeffrey Skinner (C). Skinner scored 50 times in his second season in the OHL and then scored another 20 in the playoffs as he shot up the rankings on all NHL teams' lists. Skinner is improving on the defensive side of the game and should be a top-six forward in the NHL as well as playing on the top power play.
14. St. Louis
Dylan McIlrath (D). McIlrath will never be a fantasy stud but will be the type of defenseman every team needs to win the Stanley Cup. McIlrath is a tough defenseman who is not afraid to fight. At six-feet, four inches, 210 pounds, he will only fill out more and take care of clearing the front of the net. He does not have above average offensive skills at this time.
Teemu Pulkkinen (LW). Winner of the Top Forward award at the recently completed under-18 World Championships with 15 points in six games, Pulkkinen is another European with outstanding offensive skills, something the Bruins could use after trading Phil Kessel
. He is a bit small at this time and not a great skater, but certainly his offensive skill should make him a mid-first round pick. He suffered some injuries this past season as he only played 17 games for Jokerit. He had 20 goals and 41 points in league play.