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The 2005 NHL Entry Draft is almost upon us, and anticipation is almost off the charts, with Sidney Crosby poised to go to Pittsburgh.  After that though, all the questions begin, who’s going to go where?  There is cause for optimism for Montreal Canadien fans, as the team has the 5th overall pick in the draft.  The following mock draft is the consensus of several HabsWorld staff members.  Each pick is listed, as well as a brief scouting report, and each team’s draft history, with their top pick in each of the last 3 years.  Biographical details are from the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau (CSB).


Sidney Crosby, Centre, Rimouski (QMJHL) 5’11, 193 lbs

Obvious #1 choice, Crosby creates some wicked depth down the middle for the Pens. Lemieux, Malkin, and Crosby?  Watch out East.  Now if only they had a few wingers and d-men.

Recent Draft History:
2004: Evgeni Malkin, C (2nd overall)
2003: Marc-Andre Fleury, G (1st overall)
2002: Ryan Whitney, D (5th overall)



Jack Johnson, Defenceman, UTDP (USA INTL), 6’1, 201 lbs

Johnson is a typical Brian Burke player, hard-nosed, with a strong skill set for a defenceman.  Has a knack for the net, despite playing against team’s top lines.  Future #1 for sure.

Recent Draft History:
2004: Ladislav Smid, D (8th overall)
2003: Ryan Getzlaf, C (19th overall)
2002: Joffrey Lupul, RW (7th overall)



Benoit Pouliot, Left Wing, Sudbury (OHL), 6’3, 179 lbs

Pouliot fits the typical Carolina pick, good size and versatility.  GM Jim Rutherford has only good things to say about this kid, which makes it hard to believe he’ll pass him up.

Recent Draft History:
2004: Andrew Ladd, LW (4th overall)
2003: Eric Staal, C (2nd overall)
2002: Cam Ward, G (25th overall)



Bobby Ryan, Right Wing, Owen Sound (OHL), 6’1, 213 lbs

Can anyone name me another RW in Minnesota not named Gaborik?  Not many can.  This pick would give the Wild another legit scoring threat in the coming years, with good size to boot.

Recent Draft History:
2004: A.J. Thelen, D (12th overall)
2003: Brent Burns, D (20th overall)
2002: Pierre-Marc Bouchard, C (8th overall)



Gilbert Brule, Centre, Vancouver (WHL), 5’10, 175 lbs

Brule is a feisty centreman who has no qualms about mixing it up, and also has a strong nose for the net.  With the team moving Higgins and Hossa to the wing, another C won’t hurt.

Recent Draft History:
2004: Kyle Chipchura, C (18th overall)
2003: Andrei Kostitsyn, RW (10th overall)
2002: Chris Higgins, LW (14th overall)



Anze Kopitar, Centre, Sodertalje Jr. (SWE), 6’3, 202 lbs

Let’s cut to the chase here, GM Doug MacLean said he wants Anze Kopitar to centre Nash and Zherdev for years to come.  We put him here, but expect Columbus to trade up to get him.

Recent Draft History:
2004: Alexandre Picard, RW (8th overall)
2003: Nikolai Zherdev, RW (4th overall)
2002: Rick Nash, LW (1st overall)



Carey Price, Goalie, Tri-City (WHL), 6’2.5, 222 lbs

A bit of a reach here, but the Blackhawks don’t have a strong goaltending prospect to their credit.  Given all the goalies they’ve used, Price should move up quickly on the depth chart.

Recent Draft History:
2004: Cam Barker, D (3rd overall)
2003: Brent Seabrook, D (14th overall)
2002: Anton Babchuk, D (21st overall)



Marc Staal, Defenceman, Sudbury (OHL), 6’3.5, 196 lbs

The Thrashers are beginning to regret last year’s selection of Valabik, and this is an opportunity to make up for it.  And with the new NHL encouraging mobile d-men, Staal’s stock will rise.

Recent Draft History:
2004: Boris Valabik, D (10th overall)
2003: Braydon Coburn, D (8th overall)
2002: Kari Lehtonen, G (2nd overall)



Martin Hanzal, Budejovice Jr. (CZE), 6’4, 198 lbs

Another reach here, but a fair comparison of Hanzal is that he has the size of Marian Hossa, and the skill and shiftiness of Martin Havlat.  What isn’t there to like if you’re the Sens?

Recent Draft History:
2004: Andrej Meszaros, D (23rd overall)
2003: Patrick Eaves, RW (29th overall)
2002: Jakub Klepis, C (16th overall)



Jack Skille, Right Wing, UTDP (USA INTL), 6’1, 198 lbs

With the teams ahead drafting for need, Skille is a gift at #10.  He has good size and speed, and an above average shot to boot.  Heading to US collegiate level next season.

Recent Draft History:
2004: Cory Schneider, G (26th overall)
2003: Ryan Kesler, C (23rd overall)
2002: Kirill Koltsov, D (49th overall)



Tuukka Rask, Goalie, Ilves Jr. (FIN), 6’2, 183 lbs

Another reach for a goalie here, but do they ever need one.  They’ll be gambling with Garon and Hauser between the pipes next year, and have no real strong goalie in their system.     

Recent Draft History:
2004: Lauri Tukonen, RW (11th overall)
2003: Dustin Brown, RW (13th overall)
2002: Denis Grebeshkov, D (18th overall)



Ryan O’Marra, C, Erie (OHL), 6’1.5, 193 lbs

What do the Sharks need?  Something other than a RW.  O’Marra is one of the most consistent players in the draft, and exudes strong leadership skills, another need for San Jose.

Recent Draft History:
2004: Lukas Kaspar, RW (22nd overall)
2003: Milan Michalek, RW (6th overall)
2002: Mike Morris, RW (27th overall)



Luc Bourdon, Defenceman, Val d’Or (QMJHL), 6’2.5, 199 lbs

The Sabres always seem to be short on defensive depth, and this year is no exception.  He is reliable in his own end, and also has a bullet shot at the point.  Likely a steal here at #13.

Recent Draft History:
2004: Drew Stafford, RW (13th overall)
2003: Thomas Vanek, LW (5th overall)
2002: Keith Ballard, D (11th overall)



Ryan Parent, Defenceman, Guelph (OHL), 6’2, 183 lbs

Ranked by some as better than Bourdon, Parent is a nice consolation price for the Caps.  There’s nothing flashy about his game, and stability is something Washington really needs.

Recent Draft History:
2004: Alexander Ovechkin, LW (1st overall)
2003: Eric Fehr, RW (18th overall)
2002: Steve Eminger, D (12th overall)



Niklas Bergfors, LW/RW, Sodertalje Jr. (SWE), 6’0, 198 lbs

Once again, Mike Milbury surprises everyone and takes a European higher than anyone expects.  Bergfors is one of the most gifted offensive players in the draft, but must work on D.

Recent Draft History:
2004: Petteri Nokelainen, C (16th overall)
2003: Robert Nilsson, RW (15th overall)
2002: Sean Bergenheim, LW (22nd overall)



Alex Bourret, Centre, Lewiston (QMJHL), 5’9.5, 209 lbs

The size factor strikes again.  Top-10 talent, but at only 5’9.5, he slips this far.  The Rangers, who have recently went for size and less skill, do a 180 and get a strong, gritty scoring threat.

Recent Draft History:
2004: Al Montoya, G (6th overall)
2003: Hugh Jessiman, RW (12th overall)
2002: Lee Falardeau, C (33rd overall)



Brian Lee, Defenceman, Lincoln (USHL), 6’2.5, 202 lbs

A typical riser, Lee brings a lot to the table, good size, mobility, and yes, he can play defence too!  But because he wasn’t in a real competitive league, some teams will shy away.

Recent Draft History:
2004: Blake Wheeler, RW (5th overall)
2003: Tyler Redenbach, LW (77th overall)
2002: Jakub Koreis, C (19th overall)



Guillaume Latendresse, RW, D’ville (QMJHL), 6’1.5, 216 lbs

Don’t let the CSB rank (52) fool you, this kid is a power forward in the making.  He has no troubles scoring, but there are a few deficiencies that need to be worked on.  Could be a big steal.

Recent Draft History:
2004: Alexander Radulov, RW (15th overall)
2003: Ryan Suter, D (7th overall)
2002: Scottie Upshall, RW (6th overall)



Marek Zagrapan, Centre, Chicoutimi (QMJHL), 6’0.5, 195 lbs

The Wings have always had a history of drafting purely skill players (Datsyuk, Hudler, etc…).  Just imagine, Zetterberg to Zagrapan, yipe!  Needs a lot of polishing in his two-way game.

Recent Draft History:
2004: Johan Franzen, C (97th overall)
2003: Jimmy Howard, G (64th overall)
2002: Jiri Hudler, C (58th overall)



Kenndal McArdle, Left Wing, Moose Jaw (WHL), 5’11, 190 lbs

McArdle fits most of GM Bob Clarke’s criteria.  He has good speed, some grit, and can put the puck in the net every now and then too.  Could be a future 2nd liner alongside Richards.

Recent Draft History:
2004: Rob Bellamy, RW (92nd overall)
2003: Jeff Carter, C (11th overall)
2002: Joni Pitkanen, D (4th overall)



Devin Setoguchi, RW, Saskatoon (WHL), 5’11.5, 186 lbs

The Leafs need help virtually everywhere, and this is a good place to start.  Setoguchi will never be a front-end player, but he’ll be a quality 2nd liner, and the Leafs need some of them.

Recent Draft History:
2004: Justin Pogge, G (90th overall)
2003: John Doherty, D (57th overall)
2002: Alexander Steen, C (24th overall)



Matt Lashoff, Defenceman, Kitchener (OHL), 6’1.5, 201 lbs

He didn’t have the greatest of years, but that was mostly due to mono.  He’s not going to be a #1 or 2 guy, but he’ll be a steady #3 or 4, with a quality two-way game.

Recent Draft History:
2004: David Krejci, C (63rd overall)
2003: Mark Stuart, D (21st overall)
2002: Hannu Toivonen, G (29th overall)



Jakub Kindl, Defenceman, Kitchener (OHL), 6’2.5, 199 lbs

Consistency was a significant issue for him this year, but no one can deny his skills.  He’ll have plenty of time to develop and learn in a very strong Devils farm system.

Recent Draft History:
2004: Travis Zajac, C (20th overall)
2003: Zach Parise, C (17th overall)
2002: Anton Kadeykin, D (51st overall)



Brendan Mikkelson, Defenceman, Portland (WHL), 6’2, 180 lbs

St. Louis need a lot of everything, but they need d-men most.  Mikkelson is primarily a defensive defenceman, but his reliability makes him a very attractive commodity.

Recent Draft History:
2004: Marek Schwarz, G (17th overall)
2003: Shawn Belle, D (30th overall)
2002: Alexei Shkotov, RW (48th overall)



Ryan Stoa, Centre, UTDP (USA INTL), 6’3, 200 lbs

Edmonton’s biggest organizational need is at the pivot spot, as their flyer pick of Ninnimaki seems to be all but a flop now.  Stoa has good size and skill, but will be several years away.

Recent Draft History:
2004: Devan Dubnyk, G (14th overall)
2003: Marc-Antoine Pouliot, C (22nd overall)
2002: Jesse Ninnimaki, C (15th overall)



Andrew Cogliano, St. Mike’s (Jr. A), 5’9.5, 178 lbs

Cogliano is very adept offensively, but also is easily knocked off the puck, and that’s at the Jr. A level.  If he can overcome his size issue though, he’ll be a sure steal here.

Recent Draft History:
2004: Kris Chucko, LW (24th overall)
2003: Dion Phaneuf, D (9th overall)
2002: Eric Nystrom, LW (10th overall)



Jakub Vojta, Defenceman, Sparta Jr. (CZE), 6’0, 194 lbs

Colorado is another of those teams who need everything.  They especially need defence, where only Liffiton is a legit prospect.  Vojta’s a risky pick, but has top-end potential.

Recent Draft History:
2004: Wojtek Wolski, LW (21st overall)
2003: David Liffiton, D (63rd overall)
2002: Jonas Johansson, LW (28th overall)



Dan Bertram, Right Wing, Boston College (HE), 5’11, 175 lbs

Had it not been for the U-18’s, he may have been a 3rd rounder. His speed is his greatest asset, but durability long-term will be a concern due to his in-your-face style of play.

Recent Draft History:
2004: Mark Fistric, D (28th overall)
2003: Loui Eriksson, LW (33rd overall)
2002: Martin Vagner, D (26th overall)



Michael Blunden, Right Wing, Erie (OHL), 6’3, 213 lbs

Blunden is your typical Mike Keenan player, big and tough.  He doesn’t have great finishing skills, but is decent defensively, and also helps fill Florida’s need for size and extra grit.

Recent Draft History:
2004: Rostislav Olesz, C (7th overall)
2003: Nathan Horton, C (3rd overall)
2002: Jay Bouwmeester, D (3rd overall)



Ondrej Pavelec, Goalie, Kladno Jr. (CZE), 6’2, 180 lbs

Tampa has a decent crop of prospects, except in goal.  Pavelec played exceptionally well for the Czechs in international competition, and is very strong positionally.

Recent Draft History:
2004: Andy Rogers, D (30th overall)
2003: Mike Egener, D (34th overall)
2002: Adam Henrich, LW (60th overall)