HabsWorld.net -- 

We all know Sidney Crosby is going first overall in this year’s 2005 Entry Draft, but who else is there after the first pick? We’ve heard of Crosby, Johnson, Brulé, Kopitar, Ryan and Pouliot, but what about the other prospects?

This year is a deep draft, but also one of the most puzzling. Many teams have very different evaluations of some players.There’s a lot of kids who are ranked either as top-10 picks or as a 2nd-rounder. This should give a very exciting draft.

In an effort to bring HabsWorld’s readers the best 2005 Entry Draft outlook possible, I have came up with an in-depth, pick-by-pick mock draft. This mock draft takes into account recent drafting tendencies by every team, as well as position needs and possible draft-day trades by teams interested in moving up or down to pick their favorite prospect.

 Here’s my take.

Pittsburgh Penguins Sidney Crosby
A no-brainer. Penguin’s franchise next savior should thrive in the new NHL with Mario as mentor on and off the ice. The presence of Malkin &. Fleury will also help Crosby carry some of the burden of bringing the Pens back to hockey proeminence.
Mighty Ducks of Anaheim Jack Johnson
Johnson is both the Best Player Available and Need pick for Anaheim here. The only other “flawless” prospect after Crosby, Johnson is the type of complete defenseman that could anchor Anaheim’s defense for years to come.
Carolina Hurricanes Bobby Ryan
Odds are good that Carolina trades down the draft to select Marc Staal, or makes a deal with Philly since Bobby Clarke is very high on Ryan. A pick swap with Vancouver is not unlikely. If Carolina keeps the pick, they would do well drafting Ryan for themselves, keeping with their trend of safe, strong N-A forwards…
Minnesota Wild Benoit Pouliot
Brulé might be the best-known quantity here because he’s a line mate of fellow Minnesota prospect Adam Courchaine, but his reputation of being an individualistic might hurt him with the team-first mentality of guys like Risebrough, Lemaire & Co. Pouliot seems the fit the bill the most at this point and would bring the top LWer Minnesota lacks now.
Montreal Canadiens Anze Kopitar
Flashback more than a decade ago… A tall, talented European kid is eligible at the draft. He’s clearly one of the most gifted players available that year, if not THE most gifted. He has it all: speed, strength, skills. But top-ranked teams pass on him because, well, he’s an European, a risk, he might not come over to North-America, etc. So he slips a couple of ranks and get scooped up at #5. The year: 1990. The team: Pittsburgh Penguins. The player: Jaromir Jagr. The same scenario could repeat itself this year with the Habs & Kopitar. And unlike Jagr, Kopitar isnt a headcase. After going with the safe pick in 2004 with Chipchura and being blessed with a much higher pick than they could have hoped for, the Habs can afford to take a risk on Kopitar. He could become the big skilled #1 center the Habs have longed for since Bobby Smith left Montreal..
Columbus Blue Jackets Gilbert Brulé
The clear-cut best player available at this point, Brulé is Columbus-bound unless they decide to draft down for a position pick that’d give them a defenseman. However one of the Blue Jacket’s most pressing needs is a #1 center and Brulé fits the bill. Zherdev-Brulé-Nash will strike fear in opponents for years.
Chicago Blackhawks Jack Skille
Predictions after the top 6 is where things get murky. We also enter the territory where Carolina could be drafting down to pick Staal. Providing Chicago is still picking 7th, their current philosophy seems to be about character and physicality. Jack Skille’s power game and late push up the rankings could have the Hawks sold on him.
Atlanta Thrashers Ryan O’Marra
With Coburn, Valabik & Lewis in the fold, Atlanta is more likely to go the forward way and could pick a future #1 setup man for Kolvachuk & Heatley in O’Marra. This well-rounded, complete pivot would slide in nicely in Atlanta’s lineup a few years from now.
Ottawa Senators Alex Bourret
Ottawa has depth and quality at every position, except in nets. What they lack is typical Eastern-conference gritty, power forwards. Muckler publicly said he wanted Price, but he knows first-hand the kind of impact a Peca-like player can bring to a team and it’s exactly what Bourret is all about. Perhaps a reach at 9th overall, but Bourret could be the character, momentum-shifting player the Sens needs so badly.
Vancouver Canucks Marc Staal
By now, either Carolina has traded down and picked Staal or he gets pick here. Since Vancouver’s depth at the blue line is thin, the safe, competitive defenseman would be a good fit for the Canucks. Staal is the steady, reliable, competitive defenseman Vancouver will be able to build its defense around once Jovanovski & Ohlund are gone.
Los Angeles Kings Carey Price
The Kings wanted to pick a goalie last year but settled for Mathieu Garon. With Price still up for grabs and also the best player available, L.A. has a tough choice. It all rests on their evaluation of Garon. Since Garon is closing on his mid-20’s and has yet to prove anything at the NHL level, Los Angeles would likely opt to add a future #1 goalie to their already good crop of prospects.
San Jose Sharks Martin Hanzal
The Sharks have some depth all over their prospects crop, but lack real high-end talent. At this point in the Draft, Martin Hanzal might be the player with the highest global upside. He could be a true first liner and it’s precisely what San Jose needs.
Buffalo Sabres Ryan Parent
Buffalo lacks solid defensive prospects and the Sabres have to choose between Parent and Bourdon. Parent is a safe pick here. A defenseman whose style has often been compared to that of Wade Redden, Parent would stabilize Buffalo’s defensive corps for years to come.
Washington Capitals Luc Bourdon
What the Capitals mostly lack is strong prospects blue liners. With Parent gone to Buffalo, their best pick at this point is Luc Bourdon. A complete defenseman with good athletic abilities, Bourdon could form a very steady pair with Eminger in the future.
New York Islanders Niklas Bergfors
The Islanders went overseas with their first pick of the past 3 drafts. If that that trend holds up, Swedish forward Niklas Bergfors would be the pick. A skilled player who competes hard, Bergfors would fit in the rest of the enigmatic crop of Islanders prospect. A trade with a team wanting to move up (Dallas, Florida or Philly) is always a possibility here.
New York Rangers Kenndal McArdle
The Rangers have quality prospects all over but most of them are somewhat wildcards. Lately the Rangers’ drafting strategy has been to select the best player available regardless of needs. At this point, that would most likely be Kenndal McArdle. This aggressive, dynamic forward would bring a nice mix to the Blueshirts crop of prospects.
Phoenix Coyotes Marek Zagrapan
The ‘Yotes surprised everyone with their gambling last year. To keep up with that trend, Zagrapan seems a good fit. A bit of a wildcard, the Slovakian pivot is a pure offensive generator whose main knock is his play in traffic. However, Phoenix might not have to look further than Ladislav Nagy to project the type of player Zagrapan could be at the next level.
Nashville Predators Matt Lashoff
Loaded with good prospects both on offense and defense, Nashville’s tendency has been to alternate between a winger and a defenseman with their first pick. So despite the fact that Nashville needs a center, the trend would lean toward Matt Lashoff. However there’s always a possibility that Florida trades up here if Latendresse is still available.
Detroit Red Wings Guillaume Latendresse
A new era is beginning in Detroit with the arrival of Mike Babcock. By selecting Latendresse, Detroit would have the kind of power forward that would remind Wings fans of Shanahan. Although his skating is a big concern, Latendresse’s physical game, mean streak and scoring touch are a rare mix. Detroit could have the steal of the draft on their hands here.
Philadelphia Flyers Michael Blunden
Its highly possible that Philadelphia moves up the draft to pick Ryan or someone else they like. If Clarke can’t find a trade partner, it gets interesting. The OHL has been kind to Philly lately, so they might go back to the well and select Michael Blunden. A big banging winger, Blunden is a Clarke-type of player. His offensive potential is a question mark however.
Toronto Maple Leafs Tuukka Rask
Toronto lacks everything as far as prospects are concerned. There most pressing need however might be to find a suitable replacement for Eddie the Eagle. They would probably be very happy and lucky to pick the Finnish goalie at this point of the draft. It would fill a position need without being too much of a reach.
Boston Bruins Andrew Cogliano
The Bruins’ prospects crop seriously lacks in high-end talents. There is very little as far as future 1st liner goes. Andrew Cogliano might be their best option right now. Small but incredibly shifty, he’d fit in well in new Bruins’ mentality based on speed and within the new NHL’s emphasis on offense.
New Jersey Devils Brian Lee
With the possibility of losing Niedermayer and Stevens soon, NJ has to think of its future corps of d-men while following their trend of picking players with highest possible potential. Lee could well become the best offensive d-man of this year’s crop and had some people whisper comparisons to Brian Leetch.
St. Louis Blues Jakub Vojta
The Notes have virtually no defenseman in the pipeline that projects as a solid NHLer, much less a first pair defenseman. At this point in the draft, the Blues could go with the position pick. Vojta could fill that huge hole in the depth chart. Considered a reach, Vojta’s offensive attributes could boost him up the draft.
Edmonton Oilers Devin Setoguchi
Setoguchi seems tailor-made for the Oilers. An offensive-minded player with an exceptional scoring touch and a good work ethic, the only knock on Setoguchi is his streakiness. However his offensive upside and ability to keep a good attitude when slumping offensively might be sufficient for Edmonton to pick him at #25.
Calgary Flames Chris Durand
Calgary just loves players from the WHL. They just do. There are no signs of that changing, so they could be going for a Westerner again. At this point the best bet would probably be Durand, a big player with some consistency issues but with enough upside to be worth a gamble.
Colorado Avalanche Jakub Kindl
Colorado’s draft tendencies always seemed to value raw talent over anything else. At this point there is little players with as much raw talent as Kindl. All the tools are there, what’s missing is the desire to use them. Still a good pick for Colorado who lacks depth at the blue line.
Dallas Stars Ryan Stoa
Dallas’ crop of offensive prospects is extremely limited as far as offensive potential is concerned. Picking a big center with a good overall upside like Ryan Stoa would be a good way for the Stars to start replenishing their depleted talent base.
Florida Panthers Scott Jackson
The Panthers have loads of depth at center but lack in the scoring wingers and defensive defensemen department. If Keenan trades up for a prospect he likes (Latendresse would be his kind of player), odds are very good that Jackson would be the Panthers’ man. He’s the big, tough, physical defenseman that’d fit nicely in a Keenan-type of team.
Tampa Bay Lightning Viatcheslav Trukhno
A bit of a reach at this point, Trukhno is a solid 2-way left-winger who can also player center. His nice blend of skills and physical play is worth the gamble. Since the Lightning lacks solid forward prospect and that Trukhno was playing on the P.E.I. Rockets – which is partially owned by Brad Richards – odds are good to see him end up in Tampa Bay.