2005 Mock Entry Draft: The Crosby Show

Finally the Draft Lottery is complete and the Draft order has been determined. Now that we know who is picking where, the question is who will pick whom after the Pens pick you know who. Here is a mock draft of where some of this years prospects will go.

***TheFourthPeriod.com Will Have Live Show Coverage on the Draft Tomorrow. Log On to www.thefourthperiod.com/draft/draftshow.html at 12 PM***

1. Pittsburgh Penguins – Sidney Crosby. you may have heard of this kid. He is only the most heralded player to ever enter the NHL since Eric Lindros. Sid the Kid has all the skills. He sees the game on another level, can skate, shoot and pass with precision. And has that drive that can take him to bigger and better things. Though small in stature, he can handle himself physically.

The Pens are stocked with young talent and Crosby only makes them that much better. Him and Evgeny Malkin are going to be the league’s next dynamic duo. Malkin is another franchise type forward. These two give the Pens arguably the best young forwards in the league. But they are going to be surrounded by others like Malone, Koltsov, Kraft, Fata, Armstrong, Anshakov that makes the team even better. With guys like Orpik, Whitney, Welch and of course a franchise type goalie in Marc Andre Fleury, the team is also very solid on the back end. It wasnt like this team needed any more young players as they have a group that is among the best in the league. But they needed an identity to move the team forward and Crosby gives them that.

2. Mighty Ducks of Anaheim – Jack Johnson. The last time Brian Burke was picking second overall behind a team that was selecting a presumed can’t miss prospect, he ended up with Chris Pronger. If Johnson turns into half the player Pronger is, Burke would be striking gold yet again. Though not as towering as Pronger he plays that kind of game. He can be physical, he can play it tough, but also can play the smart sound game of defence. He also has that kind of offensive upside that Pronger had as well. He is willing and able to take over a game wanting and craving to be in the middle of all the action.

The Ducks have tons of top young forwards like Lupul, Perry, Getzlaf, Chistov. Johnson would join the teams top pick last year in Ladislav Smid in anchoring their defence for years. With Giguere still young, and Bryzgalov waiting in the wings, the Ducks are in great shape in all positions. Burke has entered a great situation and now needs to use his smarts to build the right team around all this young talent.

3. Carolina Hurricanes – Bobby Ryan. First Eric Staal a big forward, then Andrew Ladd another big forward and now Ryan. Ryan is a big tough strong power type forward. But he also has the skills around the net to put points on the board. He has all the makings of being a top power forward in the NHL. These type of players are in great demand but short supply and something the Canes simply cannot pass up. His skating is not the greatest and if improvements are made, Ryan can take his game to the next level.

The Canes could form the next legion of doom line if they pick Ryan. With Staal and Ladd, the Canes right now have some solid forwards to build around. that is the team’s strength right now. They have a nice young nucleus with Williams, Vasicek, Cole among others around leaving the Canes with a bright future. Ryan would simply strengthen a solid forward core. They also have a future number 1 guy in Cam Ward in goal. The team only lacks any depth and talent on defence but if Jack Johnson gets taken, the Canes should forget about need and go for the next best available talent.

4. Minnesota Wild – Benoit Pouliot. It would be in the Habs best interest to trade up to get this French Canadian future star. But he would probably be picked by the team run by former Habs. Though he has been a late bloomer, he has turned himself quickly into an elite prospect. He has everything teams want in a player. good size, a fluid skater, great hands and vision. All of this comes so naturally for him. The only thing is that since he was a late bloomer he doesnt realize how good he really can be. The rewards will be great if the effort gets put in. and nothing will benefit him more than the teachings of Jacques Lemaire.

The Wild since their inception have started from scratch building through the draft and nurturing their young talent. They have the star forward in Gaborik but need a guy to play with him. It could be Miko Koivu, it was hoped to be PM Bouchard, it may end up being Patrick O’Sullivan. no one really knows but Pouliot would be yet another option and yet another supreme talent added to the stable. They had so many good young forwards they moved Brett Burns to defence to join last years pick AJ Thelen and the Wild’s current top Dman Nick Schultz. It wouldnt surprise me if the Wild did trade down with a team like the Habs, perhaps draft the top rated goalie while adding more prospects and depth through trade.

5. Montreal Canadiens – Gilbert Brule. If the Habs dont trade up, they could land themselves a younger version of team captain Saku Koivu. This kid has skills. He can score and score at will. That is of course if he isnt battling, scrapping, and creating havoc physically. That’s pretty good for a guy his stature. He may not get away with that in the NHL with players like Chara, Bertuzzi around but his fearlessness could make him a heck of an NHLer. he has the skills to succeed.

The Habs have a large nucleus of young players on the team and in the system. The team integrated guys like Ryder, Ribiero and Komisarek and next season may see the likes of Higgins, Perezhogin, Hossa, Kostitsyn, Plekanic, Chipchura, Hainsey, Danis find their way into the lineup. With Bob Gainey running the show and guys like Andre Savard and Pierre Gauthier behind the scenes the Habs will always field a competitive team that wont sacrifice the future. Brule would be yet another key piece to the puzzle.

6. Columbus Blue Jackets – Anze Kopitar. Due to where he comes from, doubters exist. Not every day, or any day for that matter has a top talent come from Slovenia. Until now that is. He may be considered a gamble but he has been playing in Sweden and played well in the Worlds. Kopitar has good size and terrific skill. He is the total package. He can skate, shoot, pass, stickhandle but his best asset may be his playmaking.

Call it a risk but Kopitar may be the perfect compliment for the Jackets two big guns in Rick Nash and Nik Zherdev. This dynamic duo may evolve into a terrific trio if Kopitar is added to the mix. The Jackets are assembling a nice group of forwards with last year’s pick Picard, Svitov who came from the bolts and Fritsche a potential team captain in the making. After starting the building process with the backend with Klesla and Leclaire the team’s first two top picks, the Jackets have assembled quite the forward core. Kopitar could be the set up guy for Nash the team need which could put them over the top.

7. Chicago Blackhawks – Ryan O’Marra. He may be a safe pick, but a great pick at that. O’Marra does everything well. He has good size, high skill level and willing to play in traffic. But his best traits are his character and leadership. His experience as captain of the U18 tourney was a sign of things to come. He may not have the upside of some of the other guys but a quality pick nonetheless.

The Hawks are building around Tuomo Ruutu. they have 3 stud defence prospects in Barker, Babchuk and Seabrook. They have drafted several goalies in recent years and are hoping one of those develops eventually as a replacement for Thibault. And O’Marra will add to their quality depth of forwards that include Bolland, Vorobiev, Yakubov, Fraser, Arnason, Bell, Calder among others. The Hawks have one of the better groups of young players but the team really needs star players and quality veterans to righten their ship.

8. Atlanta Thrashers – Martin Hanzal. At 6’4 and growing, Hanzal’s size is tantalizing. not because he will eat up space but because he is skilled and talented. He may be the perfect centre for the team’s two franchise players. His hockey sense is also high which would allow him to keep up with the Thrasher’s two stars. He can get things done offensively and an allstar at the U18 tourney.

With Kovalchuk and Heatley up front and Lehtonen in goal, the Thrashers have 3 franchise players to build around. after drafting semi bust Patrick Stefan the Thrashers have done a great job stocking their club with good young talent. With Valabik, Coburn and Exelby on defence they have solid cornerstones to build around. This is a very well rounded group that has a huge future with 3 star youngster.

9. Ottawa Senators – Marc Staal. The rich get richer. Staal is just a solid player on the ice using smarts and positioning to succeed. He is just a steady player who comes from good bloodlines. But he is of great character and a leader which will be great traits to add to the Sens dressing room.

The Sens may be the best team in the league. And they are young too. They have a franchise type forward in Jason Spezza to add to an already talented young group that includes Havlat, Hossa and Fisher. And they have arguably the best blueline in hockey and they are in their prime. Emery is also a solid goalie prospect. And with guys like Eaves, Bochenski, Vermette, Meszaros knocking on the door, the Sens are top heavy with young talent. Adding a top 10 pick is icing on the cake.

10. Vancouver Canucks – Carey Price. Though the Canucks would love to trade up to get Vancouver native Gilbert Brule, Price adds another asset to a position of need. Price is the top rated goalie in the draft and warrants a top 10 selection with his solid play for a bad team in junior. He has good size and moves well with good instincts. Though there isnt one part of his game that is over the top, he is just solid in all parts.

Yes the Canucks drafted Cory Schneider last year but there is no problem having too many goalies. They have plenty of quality in other areas with prospects like King, Kesler, Reid, Koltsov as well as a nucleus on the parent team that is still in their prime. Simply put, the Canucks will take the best player available even if it happens to be a goalie. It may serve them best to take care of the goaltending position which they have neglected for years.

11. Los Angeles Kings – Marek Zagrapan. This kid has top end speed and skill. He has decent size but is a bit shy physically. However he has made strides in being better at playing in traffic. Even if he is soft, his puck skills and skating cannot be overlooked. He could be the right centre to play with Alex Frolov.

The Kings are deep in terms of talented young players with now Garon tending goal, Gleason and Grebeshkov soon to anchor their defence and a host of young talented forwards with guys like Brown, Cammellari, Tukonen, Tambellini. They are surrounding their top player Frolov with some excellent youngsters. If the team can lure some veterans to give LA some star power, this could be a real good team for years to come.

12. San Jose Sharks – Brian Lee. Perhaps this kid is missing the red hair and the letters TCH at the end of his name. Lee plays the kind of game that star Brian Leetch plays. He is an offensive defenceman. He can skate, make plays and jumpstart the offence. He is a heck of a player with the puck on his stick. He has good size and comes from a great pedigree being from Minnesota.

The Sharks have a young team and can afford to take a player from college to let him develop slowly and be patient. They have quality in all positions in their system with Ehrloff a solid prospect on defence, Toskala a backup who may be ready to be a starter in goal and guys like Goc, Michalek and Bernier knocking on the door ready to challenge for a job in San Jose and join guys like Cheechoo and Dimitrakos who have graduated to the NHL.

13. Buffalo Sabres – Jack Skille. SKille possesses the talents to be an NHLer. He has good speed, good skill and is tenacious. He has decent size and may develop into a solid 2nd line player for years. the only knock on his game is his hockey sense or lack thereof. But that shouldnt stop him from being in the NHL. He will be a good forechecker.

THe Sabres dont have tons of money to spend so it would be preferable to get a college player and keep him in school. But they also dont need any more young players as this team is full of them. With guys like Vanek, Stafford and Paille knocking on opportunity and with a host of young guys like Roy, Pyatt, Kotalik, Afinogenov already there among others who are in their prime, the Sabres are stocked with tons of forwards. They also have a decent young defence they employ and have 3 young goalies battling for the top job. Offence and an identity are what the Sabres really need and they wont find it in the draft.

14. Washington Capitals – Luc Bourdon. The Caps need NHL calibre players not any more prospects. But they will gladly take this fine blueliner. Bourdon has good size and plays physical. He is very solid in his own end but also is willing to take the body and make others pay. He has an offensive upside which is an added bonus.

The Caps are now Alex Ovechkin’s team. He is their franchise player. The team is very young and inexperienced and they will need to add some proven NHL talent to play with all their young kids. They have youngsters at all positions with Ouellet in goal, Eminger, Morrisson on defence and besides Ovechkin they have Gordon, Semin, Fehr, Klepis, Flieschman, Sutherby up front. Their future is very set, it is the here and now that will be the problem for the Caps. At least the anticipation of Ovechkin should put fans in the seats.

15. New York Islanders – Ryan Parent. We never know what Milbury is going to do on draft day but Parent would be a solid pick. He is not flashy or dynamic, just solid. He skates well and is solid in his own end. He will not be a huge point getter, nor will he put players through the boards. He plays his position well and could be a reliable defender for a long time.

The Isles have put their team in the hands of Dipietro in goal. They have a few solid young forwards that look to make the grade such as Bergenheim, Nilsson, Nokelainen, Colliton among others. But the team is lacking in any good up and coming blueliners and this pick would fill a need.

16. New York Rangers – Alex Bourret. The Rangers may have not gotten the Quebec league player they wanted but Bourret is a solid pick. He is like the Taz on skates a whirling dervish on ice. Though small, he is stocky and well built. He not only will offer infectious energy but some offence as well. He has the skills to be an offensive force. Think of a guy like Pat Verbeek.

The Rangers lost out bigtime in the lottery not only losing out on Crosby but not even being in the top 15. But after gutting all their veterans, the Rangers are in a good position for the future. They have 2 excellent prospects in goal with Lundqvist and Montoya. They have an excellent blueliner to build around in Tyutin. and they have a host of forwards that should be solid for years like Korpikoski, Balej, Immonen, and Jessiman. Though they may still not have a franchise skater to build around and give them hope, they are building a solid foundation which bodes well for the future.

17. Phoenix Coyotes – Tuuka Rask. Yet another Finnish goalie in a long lineup of goalies that have come from that country in recent years. He has good size and can carry a team. He has proven that already by keeping a poor Finnish team in games at the recent Jr tournaments. He will be a solid project in goal adding to a position that is not deep nor solid to begin with.

The Yotes went off the board last year picking Blake Wheeler. The team has some solid young players like Sjostrom, Wheeler, Taffe, Lisin, Ballard, Spiller and Leneveu who are going to challenge for work in the future. They have a solid young nucleus with the parent team with guys like Doan, Nagy, Comrie, Mara and Morris leading the way. But their goaltending is subpar and though Leneveu could be good, their cupboard is bare.

18. Nashville Predators – Radek Smolenak. The Preds need scoring and that is what Smolenak does best. He has good size and a nice pair of hands. he can handle himself physically yet also be slick and quick at the same time. Some say he is the best finisher in this draft not named Crosby.

The Preds have tons of young talent as they should as they have built through the draft and nurtured their young players since inception. Vokoun is their top player and he is still in his prime. They like Finley waiting in the wings. They have 2 stud blueliners that will make an impact in Suter and Weber to join young Hamhuis who is already among the teams better defenders. and they have a ton of young talent up front with Upshall, Erat, Legwand, Hartnell and Radulov. Though no Crosby among them, they have a solid group of prospects that should help them for years.

19. Detroit Red Wings – Niklas Bergfors. The Wings are hoping Bergfors marks the return of quality talent coming from Sweden. Things have dried up in recent times. But Bergfors could change all that. He has skill, works hard and has a good all round game. He has doubters in that some think he isnt fast enough or skilled enough to play at the next level. But he is competitive and pretty solid in all areas.

The Wings have had much success in Europe so it would be safe to think they would go this route. Sweden has been a favorite place of theirs with the likes of Liv, Kronvall and Zetterberg among their better young players. They have loads of high end skill with guys like Datsyuk, Grigorenko and Hudler on this team. For a team that has drafted late or has traded their picks for veterans, they have a nice group of young players and getting a chance to actually draft in the first round, in the teens no less is an added bonus.

20. Philadelphia Flyers – Guillaume Latendresse. Go big or go home as they say in Philly. Well not really but Latendresse is a big power winger that fits in the Flyers mold. His only question mark is his skating. But he has the size to bull his way to the net and has high skill, and highly competitive.

Like the Wings, the Flyers are a team that has not picked early due to them winning but with some nice moves have picked up some very top end young talent. The team may be one of the oldest in the league but with guys like Nittimaki, Pitkanen, Seidenberg Carter, Richards, Umberger, Sharp, the Flyers have an excellent young nucleus. The FLyers have arguably the best balance of young players and old and should be a contender for years to come.

21. Toronto Maple Leafs – Andrew Cogliano. Like former Leaf first rounders Carlo Coliacovo and Brad Boyes, Cogliano is a local product. He is a terrific playmaker that has great hockey sense. He is a bit on the small size but has tremendous speed and anticipation. because he is only 5’9 and the fact that he was playing in a lower level, that may make teams shy away. But at his skill level, he is a worthy first rounder.

The Leafs need all the skill they can acquire and all the young players they can get. Their cupboard is bare in terms of high end skill and a guy like Cogliano would make things much brighter. After years of spend spend spend, the Leafs must turn over a new leaf and build within. This pick would be a nice start. They have some building blocks with Steen, Wellwood, Stajan, Coliacovo among others but still relatively thin.

22. Boston Bruins – Kenndal Mcardle. He is a reminder of Bruins past. He is quick, gritty and hard working. But he is also a scorer and highly skilled. He is projected to be a solid 2nd liner. He will get down and dirty and pay the price to get the job done. That will endear him to Bruins fans.

The B’s need to keep Thornton. He is still young and their franchise guy. Him, Samsonov and Bergeron are 3 excellent players to build your forward unit around. They have others waiting in the wings too with Boyes and Hilbert ready to crack the lineup. With Stuart, Boynton on defence and young TOivonen and Raycroft in goal, the Bs have all the pieces of a very good team in place for now and well into the future. Depth is something they need, plus to fill their parent team but they have some nice young players in place.

23. New Jersey Devils – Ryan Stoa. Stoa has good size and can handle himself in traffic areas. He has good speed and skilled enough to produce. He did suffer from a slump late season and that has hurt his stock. But he has all the tools, if he can put it together he should be a good one.

The Devils David Conte is probably the best scouting director in the league as he usually finds 3 or 4 players in every draft. Despite being perennial contenders and finishing high in the standings, the Devils do have a nice group of young players thanks to some excellent drafts. Ahonen should be the backup under Brodeur in goal for this season. Hale and Martin have established themselves as solid NHLers already on defence and Zach Parise is another top talent to add to an already deep group of forwards. They also have guys like Zajac, Suglobov, Voros waiting in the wings.

24. St. Louis Blues – David Setoguchi. Simply put, Setoguchi is a finisher. He can score, and score in bunches. But he can also be prone to a slump. He is streaky. Consistency will be his biggest battle. But he is a top offensive guy in this draft. He has high skill and is willing to play in traffic.

The Blues are in desperate need of youth up front. They have addressed their goaltending for the future with their pick last year of Marek Schwarz. They have two studs on defence in Jackman and Backman. But they have little to no skill at the forward position in their system. the team has some decent players like McClement, Shkotov, Backes and Sejna but significant upgrades are needed. The team is paying the price for overspending, trading youth for veterans and giving away high draft picks.

25. Edmonton Oilers – Brendan Mikkelson. A local product, Mikkelson comes from NHL bloodlines. His dad was a blueliner back in the 70s. He is a pretty dependable player. He can skate and pass but he wouldnt be confused with an offensive stud. He is solid and clearing the front of the net but still needs work in his own end and gaining strength in order to compete at the next level.

The Oilers have lived on young players for years and seen many of hte better ones flock for more money. The new CBA should change that and this team should be a well Oiled machine for years. Conklin finally gives them solid goaltending but they have Deslauriers and Dubnyk waiting in the wings. With Brewer, Bergeron and Semenov the team has a nice foundation on defence but guys like Greene, Woywitka and Lynch are soon to come. The team is loaded with young forwards with Hemsky, Torres, Stoll already making an impact. But with Schremp and Pouliot on the way, the Oilers should be even more skilled than ever.

26. Calgary Flames – Scott Jackson. In true Flame fashion, character is the way they go. Jackson has loads of it. He is big, tough and physical. he did put up some decent numbers but he is a defensive defenceman. Jackson has good hockey sense and is a great leader. He is a Darryl Sutter type player with his toughness and character.

The Flames are basically Iginla and a bunch of players who night in and night out bring their lunch box and work their tails off. They have a nice young team as is but have a top prospect in Dion Phaneuf on the way. He will be an impact player. But the team boast not only guys like Leopold, Lombardi, Kobasew on the team already but others like Nystrom, Cucko and Krahn on the way.

27. Colorado Avalanche – Denis Istomin. The Avs need an influx of skill and Istomin is a guy who can bring that to the mix. Like most Russian prospects, he is a great skater. He has tons of skill and talent, can pass with precision and can finish. He is not as dynamic as other Russians that have come through the ranks in the past. This is not a great year for Russians but Istomin would be a solid pick.

The Avs are thin in terms of young players. Many of their key veterans are over 30 but they do have some solid guys in their prime like Hedjuk, Tanguay, Liles, Vaananen and Aebischer. But their system is bereft of prospect with only guys like Boychuk, Wolski and Svatos being the candidates to make the team. The Avs have gutted their team of youth to go for a shot at the cup. But simply put they have done that too much as now need to restock their organization.

28. Dallas Stars – Michael Blunden. Blunden is a big rugged forward who has the making of being a power forward in the NHL. at 6’3 213 he has NHL size. He also has decent speed and hands. THe only concern is that he doesnt have the offensive capabilities to be a big scorer in the NHL.

The Stars are a team in transition. This has usually been a veteran group that has year after year been in contention. but now many of their veterans are getting old and leaving. They have some nice players coming up with Eriksson, Miettinen, Jokinen, Lessard, Daley, Belle to go with guys like Morrow, Kapanen, Ott and Svoboda with the team already. The biggest problem is they dont have a guy like Modano to build around for the future. They are going to have some lean years in Dallas until they get better but things are looking up.

29. Florida Panthers – Danny Syvret. The Panthers are loaded with skill and talent. Syvret gives the team a different look. Yes he was passed over the last two years but his character, leadership and desire are not a problem. His size has been a drawback. He raised his stock with a great showing at the world Jrs and Memorial Cup. The Panthers need a player like this to supplant their skilled guys.

Florida is perennially a top 5 pick. Now they have to pick at the end of the draft. This team is loaded with young talent so that should not be too big a detriment to them. With Luongo, Bouwmeester, Krajicek, Van Ryn, Horton, Jokinen, Olesz, Meyer, Stewart. Now they need some veterans to help guide this team and bring a winning attitude. This team needs to win now to bring fans back and keep hockey in south Florida.

30. Tampa Bay Lightning – Jeff Frazee. The Bolts need a goalie. Not because Khabibulin could leave but they need a goalie for the future. Frazee put on a good performance winning goal at the U18 tournament. He is a very athletic and acrobatic. He is good positionally and has good size. He would finally give the team some help at this position down the road.

The Bolts are in great shape. They have a young nucleus with Lecavalier, Richards, Fedotenko, Kubina, Sarich. They have solid vets with Modin, St. Louis, Sydor, Khabibulin and a nice niche of young players ready to come up and contribute like Afaneskenov, Artuhkin, Polushin, Egener and Heinrich. They draft well, make smart trade and screwed singings. there is no wonder why they won the cup as they know how to build a team.