NHL Mock Draft II: Bruins Could Trade Up to Get No. 1 Pick or Snag Top-10 Defenseman

NHL Mock Draft II: Bruins Could Trade Up to Get No. 1 Pick or Snag Top-10 Defenseman Welcome to the second of five NESN.com 2010 NHL mock drafts leading up to the June 25 NHL draft in Los Angeles.

The big question is still who will be picked first overall, and this year is especially puzzling. The top two prospects — Plymouth Whalers center Tyler Seguin and Windsor Spitfires winger Taylor Hall — are practically even in the minds of NHL teams and draft experts. Even after last week’s NHL combines in Toronto, the two future stars are still practically dead even.

There has already been plenty of speculation — and there promises to be more — that the Bruins and Oilers may swap picks because the Bruins have their hearts set on Hall, but so far, all Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli and Oilers GM Steve Tambellini have done is admitted to talking.

1. Edmonton Oilers
2009-10 record: 27-47-8, 62 points
The pick: Tyler Seguin, center, Plymouth Whalers (OHL)
Analysis: An Oilers pro scout told NESN.com on Thursday that he is in favor of Seguin, but obviously, Tambellini will lean heavily on what his amateur scouts say. Still, there is a growing sentiment Seguin is the kid the Oilers want because of their lack of depth at center and strong depth of talented wingers who need a skilled playmaker to feed them.

2. Boston Bruins (from Toronto)

2009-10 record: 39-30-13, 91 points
The pick: Taylor Hall, left wing, Windsor Spitfires (OHL)

Analysis: It appears more and more that Hall — who, along with other top prospects, was scheduled to visit Boston and meet with Chiarelli and the Bruins team brass — is the guy the Bruins want. The main question now is whether they will they put together a deal such as, say, this pick, the 15th pick overall and a roster player like a Blake Wheeler in exchange for Edmonton's top pick. Or will they  wait and see if the Oilers, as many believe now, pick Seguin?

"We came out with one guy ahead, but it flip-flopped," Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli told the media Wednesday after the GMs' meetings in Philadelphia. "If it was a sizeable enough gap, we would look at a deal. Whatever premium we put on it, their gap might be bigger."

3. Florida Panthers
2009-10 record: 32-37-13, 77 points
The pick: Brandon Gormley, defenseman, Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL)
Analysis: As we pointed out here last week, Gormley was scouted heavily by the Bruins last season, but they were one of many teams that like this stud rear guard. The Panthers were also another team interested, and unless they trade away some of their young forwards like Nathan Horton or Stephen Weiss, they will focus on securing their blue line.

4. Columbus Blue Jackets
2009-10 record: 32-35-15, 79 points
The pick: Cam Fowler, defenseman, Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
Analysis: There was more chatter at the combines and among the media this week that the Bruins are looking to trade a package of picks that could include one or more of the 15th, 32nd and 45th overall picks in order to get either Fowler, Gormley or Erik Gudbranson. There is also chatter that the Blue Jackets want a veteran puck-moving defenseman, so this pick could change if they deal for Maple Leafs blue liner Tomas Kaberele, who was made available by Leafs GM Brian Burke this week. But obviously if the Bruins, who had a deal in place for Kaberle at last year’s draft, deal for Kaberle, they’re not trading picks to get Fowler here.

5. New York Islanders
2009-10 record: 34-37-11, 79 points
The pick: Brett Connolly, left wing, Prince George Cougars (WHL)
Analysis: Thanks to two hip injuries, this 6-foot-2, 180-pound winger played in just 16 games last season after an amazing 60-point rookie season. The injury also kept Connolly, 18, out of the top prospects game. As a result, his stock went down a bit. But according to one NHL management member who interviewed Connolly, he impressed plenty of teams at the combines and is rising again. He could be a great fit on the wing with last year’s No. 1 overall pick, John Taveres. The Isles are apparently one of those teams and may be leaning towards Connolly now instead of Gudbranson.

6. Tampa Bay Lightning
2009-10 record: 34-36-12, 80 points
The pick: Erik Gudbranson, defenseman, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)
Analysis: According to a Red Wings source close to Steve Yzerman, Yzerrman is leaning more towards drafting a defenseman here to add another young stud to his blue line that already includes former No. 2 overall pick Victor Hedman.

7. Carolina Hurricanes
2009-10 record: 35-37-10, 80 points
The pick: Ryan Johansen, center, Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
Analysis: As referenced last week, besides his size ( 6-foot-3, 190 pounds), Johansen possesses plenty of similarities to Hurricanes captain Eric Staal. So why not draft a clone? Johansen would bring more young talent but also natural leadership.

8. Atlanta Thrashers
2009-10 record:
35-34-13, 83 points
The pick: Jack Campbell, goaltender, USA U-18 (USHL)
Analysis: We still really like Campbell here as the Thrashers’ first pick in the first round. New GM Rick Dudley worked in Chicago for the last five years as the team’s assistant GM, and he saw how goaltending can be the final piece for a Stanley Cup contender. But a smart man like Dudley realizes a goalie should be the foundation, not the final piece. The Thrashers are rebuilding, and what better way than to draft a netminder who has proven he can play in clutch games?

9. Minnesota Wild

2009-10 record: 38-36-8, 84 points
The pick: Mikael Granlund, Center, HIFK Finland
Analysis: The Finnish playmaker continues to be the buzz amongst scouts and could rise in our mock draft as we get closer to draft day. But right now, he remains at No. 11, where the Wild will hope he can be mentored by fellow Finn Mikko Koivu.

10. New York Rangers
2009-10 record: 38-33-11, 87 points
The pick: Nino Niederreiter, right wing, Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
Analysis: More and more, it’s not just Niederreiter’s skills that seem fit for the Rangers, but his name that seems right for Broadaway! All kidding aside, though, the Rangers could use this talented and energetic winger in a lineup that forever seems littered with worn-out veterans at the end of their careers.  

11. Dallas Stars
2009-10 record: 37-31-14, 88 points
The pick: Vladimir Tarasenko, right wing, Novisibirsk, Russia
Analysis: Tarasenko makes the biggest jump here, leaping 10 spots to the Stars, a team that could use an infusion of youthful talent — especially if and when Mike Modano retires. We received plenty of strife from NHL scouts the past week for having this Russian sniper at 21st last week and may get more still that he isn’t in the top 10. He could very well be by June 25.

12. Anaheim Ducks
2009-10 record: 39-32-11, 89 points
The pick: Jeffrey Skinner, center, Kitchener Rangers (OHL)
Analysis: The gritty Skinner would add even more toughness and skill up the middle for a team that already has one of the biggest and most talented in the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Ryan Getzlaf.

13. Phoenix Coyotes (from Calgary)
2009-10 record: 50-25-7, 107 points
The pick: Nick Bjugstad, center, Blaine High School (Minn.)
Analysis: This 6-foot-4, 188-pound high school junior happens to be the top-rated high schooler — No. 13 — on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters. Many have him going to the Wild because he is from Minnesota, but roots don’t always dictate a pick. Bjugstad falls to the Winnipeg … uh, we mean the Phoenix Coyotes.

14. St. Louis Blues
2009-10 record: 40-32-10, 90 points
The pick: Alexander Burmistrov, center, Barrie Colts (OHL)
Analysis: The Blues are always losing out to the Red Wings on the ice, so why not draft a dynamic player that many compare to Red Wings superstar Pavel Datsyuk? Burmistrov would add a solid two-way and skilled game to the lineup.

15. Boston Bruins
2009-10 record: 39-30-13, 91 points
The pick:
Derek Forbot, defenseman, USA U-18 (USHL)
Analysis: We still like the Bruins grabbing a defenseman here; that is, if they don’t trade up to swap picks with Edmonton or trade to get Gormley, Fowler or Gudbranson. This week, we’re leaning more towards a finesse puck-mover like Forbot rather than the gritty Dylan McIlrath. The B’s have plenty of grit, and Chiarelli has made known his desire for puck-movers.

16. Ottawa Senators
2009-10 record: 44-32-6, 94 points
The pick: Beau Bennett, right wing, Penticton (BCHL)
Analysis: Bennett moves up a spot here as the Senators apparently like what they saw at the combines from this crafty winger headed for the University of Denver.

17. Colorado Avalanche
2009-10 record: 43-30-9, 95 points
The pick: Dylan McIlrath, defenseman, Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)
Analysis: McIlrath drops down to the Av’s, as they could use some size and grit on their defense. Adam Foote redux but with more fights?

18. Nashville Predators
2009-10 record: 47-29-6, 100 points
The pick: Emerson Etem, right wing, Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL) 
Analysis: The Preds, who typically seem to win on defense and goaltending, start to build the offense for the future with this skilled winger.

19. Los Angeles Kings
2009-10 record: 46-27-9, 101 points
The pick: Austin Watson, left wing, Peterborough Petes (OHL)
Analysis: The highly-skilled and young Kings could get a developing two-way leader in Watson. Based on conversations with a Kings source this week, though, the Kings may use one of their RFA’s and this pick to move up. They are looking to make a splash in the unrestricted free agent market and may have to deal one of their impending RFA’s to find the money to do so. What better way to do so than to trade up and get a stud forward or defenseman in the top 10?

20. Pittsburgh Penguins
2009-10 record: 47-28-7, 101 points
The pick: Jonathon Merrill, defenseman, USA U-18 (USHL)
Analysis: It appears the Pens may lose Sergei Gonchar, and while they have some great young defensemen like Kris Letang in their NHL lineup, they may want to add to that blue line depth.

21. Detroit Red Wings
2009-10 record: 44-24-14, 102 points
The pick:
Mark Pysk, defenseman, Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL) 
Analysis: Niklas Lidstrom recently re-upped for another season, but that doesn’t mean he will do the same next season, as he reportedly refused a two-year offer. Time to build for the future on the blue line in Motown.

22. Phoenix Coyotes
2009-10 record: 50-25-7, 107 points
The pick: Teemu Pulkkinen, left wing, Jokerit, Finland
Analysis: Power-play specialist Pulkkinen helps a young, talented squad coming off its best season ever.

23. Buffalo Sabres
2009-10 record: 45-27-10, 100 points
The pick: Jaden Schwartz, center, Tri-City Storm (USHL)
Analysis: Schwartz adds more skill up front, and while the Sabres need more size at the forward position, the 5-foot-10, 180-pound Schwartz is too skilled to pass up here.

24. Atlanta Thrashers (from New Jersey)
2009-10 record: 35-34-13, 83 points
The pick: Tyler Toffoli, right wing, Ottawa 67’s (OHL)
Analysis: One scout told us this week that Toffoli has one of the best shots from the wing he has seen in a while. Could be a sniper for the Thrashers some day after losing one in Kovalchuk this past season.

25. Vancouver Canucks
2009-10 record: 49-28-5, 103 points
The pick: Jarred Tinordi, defenseman, USA U-18 USHL
Analysis: The Canucks need grit and size on the blue line. Tonordi is 6-foot-6, 205 pounds. If he is here at 25, he’s Vancouver's guy.
 
26. Washington Capitals
2009-10 record: 54-15-13, 121 points
The pick: Evgeny Kuznetsov, center, Chelyabinsk, Russia
Analysis: The enigmatic Kuznetsov makes the biggest drop (15 spots) because of plenty of question marks on whether he would come and play in the NHL — plus his attitude. But he will get time to develop NHL skills and adapt to North America, thanks to Washington's organizational depth.

27. Montreal Canadiens
2009-10 record: 39-33-10, 88 points
The pick: Kirill Kabonov, left wing, Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL)
Analysis: According to plenty of NHL team executives and media, Kabonov — a highly-skilled player with question marks on dedication and commitment — was a joy to interview at the combines. That, combined with his skill, has him rising the charts. The Habs have never shied away from enigmatic Russians with skill (see the Kostitsyn brothers and Alex Kovalev) and would love to prevent a player that played in their backyard (the QMJHL) from escaping.

28. San Jose Sharks
2009-10 record: 51-20-11, 113 points
The pick: Connor Brickley, Des Moines Buccaneers (USHL)
Analysis: Earlier this week, we did a feature on Brickley, an Everett, Mass., native and second cousin of former Bruin and current NESN color-commentator Andy Brickley. His stock is rising, and according to one Sharks source, we were right. So much so that another NHL scout told us the Sharks are very high on him. Can’t ignore that coincidence, can we?

29. Anaheim Ducks (from Philadelphia)
2009-10 record: 39-32-11, 89 points
The pick: Alexandre Petrovic, defenseman, Red Deer Rebels (WHL)
Analysis: Anaheim just can’t resist another d-man here and takes Petrovic if he falls to 29th.

30. Chicago Blackhawks
2009-10 record: 52-22-8, 112 points
The pick: Charlie Coyle, center, South Shore Kings (EJHL)
Analysis: Coyle drops two spots here, and if that is the case come June 25, the Hawks can’t resist drafting the cousin of Blackhawks great Tony Amonte.

Yardbarker

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 199,460 other followers