It’s on, folks; it’s on. The 2008 NHL draft commences in Ottawa Friday night with the first round selections, followed by Rounds 2-7 Saturday.
This week The Hot List will feature a mock top-15 draft, based on player value with a dash of what specific teams may need.
As for the rest of the first round, here’s some early predictions: Look for Jacob Markstrom to be the first goalie taken (likely by New Jersey), Minnesota will take a local high school defenseman (either Aaron Ness or Jake Gardiner) and Michael Del Zotto will be a great pickup if he goes to a team such as Detroit or Montreal – one which can harness his skills and pair him with a veteran D-man.
1. Steven Stamkos, C – Sarnia Sting (OHL): To Tampa Bay. They’ve already got a website up, so it’s more of a coronation than a selection. Stamkos’ speed, smarts and overall skill set will make him an instant Calder threat next year.
2. Zach Bogosian, D – Peterborough Petes (OHL): To Los Angeles. Obviously this is a coin flip pick between Bogosian and Drew Doughty. The big tiebreaker is the fact L.A. has a player similar to Doughty coming up in Thomas Hickey, so why not go with the more physical Bogosian?
3. Drew Doughty, D - Guelph Storm (OHL): To Atlanta. The Thrashers get a boatload of skill and puck-moving ability, not to mention a defenseman who learned to be a shutdown guy at the world juniors. All of a sudden the future doesn’t look so bad in Hotlanta.
4. Alex Pietrangelo, D – Niagara IceDogs (OHL): To St. Louis. Imagine trying to get through the forest that would be Pietrangelo and Erik Johnson in a couple years? The Blues are building a nice base for the future and Pietrangelo would be a perfect fit.
5. Nikita Filatov, RW – CSKA 2 (Rus.): To NY Islanders. We know he wants to play here and we know the Isles aren’t exactly overflowing with skill. Filatov is an offensive dynamo who loves to compete and will play somewhere in North America next year.
6. Luke Schenn, D – Kelowna Rockets (WHL): To Columbus. Touted as a Robyn Regehr-type of blueliner, Schenn will provide the Jackets with a steady presence on the back end. Let Rick Nash get the goals, Schenn will cause car wrecks for opposing forwards.
7. Kyle Beach, C – Everett Silvertips (WHL): To Toronto. Mercurial, nasty and offensively gifted, Leafs Nation will love Beach, should he be drafted to Hogtown. Look for more than a few Gordie Howe hat tricks in his future.
8. Tyler Myers, D – Kelowna Rockets (WHL): To Phoenix. The Yotes have plenty of young forwards to build around, but Myers would be a great foundation for the defense. The 6-foot-7 giant may need a couple years to develop, but he is ahead of most skaters his size as an 18-year-old.
9. Colin Wilson, C – Boston U. Terriers (Hockey East): To Nashville. If the Preds wanted to push it, Wilson could be in their lineup soon. He’s got solid offensive skills and a great work ethic. Wilson could also be taken by the Leafs at the seven spot.
10. Mattias Tedenby, LW – HV 71 (Swe.): To Vancouver. The needs in Vancouver are embarrassingly obvious; the team needs offense. Tedenby is lightning-quick and has played some of his best hockey internationally against North American teams (he’s been absolutely poison against Team Canada), so don’t let the 5-foot-9 frame throw you. The kid can make things happen.
11. Cody Hodgson, C – Brampton Battalion (OHL): To Chicago. Should Hodgson actually be available at this spot (he could flip with Beach or Wilson), the Hawks will get another great young forward. He’s smart, possesses good leadership skills and can put the puck in the net. I’m sure Hawks fans wouldn’t object to having another player like Jonathan Toews.
12. Mikkel Boedker, LW – Kitchener Rangers (OHL): To Anaheim. The Ducks scoop Edmonton’s pick here and would land a talented winger in Boedker. Lauded for his skating, Boedker would be a great complement to the other young Anaheim forwards.
13. Zach Boychuk, C – Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL): To Buffalo. The irony of the 5-foot-9 Boychuk going to the Sabres, a team that has embraced smaller prospects more than anyone, is not lost on me. Playing in the scrappy Dub, Boychuk never backed down and got his points despite his height. The Lethbridge center has a solid skill set and has ‘steal’ written all over him.
14. Colten Teubert, D – Regina Pats (WHL): To Carolina. The Canes aren’t exactly the most intimidating team in the league, so Cam Ward could have a new best friend in Teubert, a tough-as-nails blueliner who likes to crush opponents.
15. Josh Bailey, C – Windsor Spitfires (OHL): To Nashville. With their second pick of the first round, the Preds would be wise to tab Bailey, who led the surprising Spits in points this year with 96. Projected as a safe two-way forward, Bailey will be a solid pickup.
The Hot List, a weekly roundup of minor league, junior, college and high school players we’re excited to one day see in the NHL, appears every Tuesday, only on thehockeynews.com.
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