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NHL Mock Draft #1

NHL Mock Draft Top 10

If you like betting on drafts and found Thursday’s NBA draft a bit overwhelming, tonight’s NHL Entry Draft may be just what you’re looking for. Not only is it considered one of the deepest drafts in recent memory, but there’s also plenty of mystery surrounding the top picks.

Let’s break down the possible top 10.

1. New York Islanders – John Tavares, center (London Knights)

Arguably the most hyped prospect since Sidney Crosby, John Tavares is a natural sniper, compared by some scouts to Mike Bossy. While he’ll never be a flawless skater, he has an inherent nose for the net, soft hands and an uncanny ability to protect the puck. He projects as a potential future scoring champ and many teams – especially the Toronto Maple Leafs – are tripping over themselves to try and acquire him.

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2. Tampa Bay Lightning – Victor Hedman, defense (Modo)

Perhaps the most impressive physical specimen in the draft. The 6’7″ Swede is thought to have the build of Pronger, the stride of Bouwmeester and the natural instincts and positioning of Lidstrom. He could just as easily go No. 1, so betting on who goes first is tougher than picking the UFC 100 fight card.

3. Colorado Avalanche – Matt Duchene, center (Brampton Battalion)

It’s fitting that Colorado seems likely to land what many scouts feel is the next Joe Sakic (or Steve Yzerman). Duchene isn’t big but he’s considered the most complete all-around player in the draft. He’s a leader with natural goal-scoring ability thanks to his great shot from anywhere; he also has good playmaking skills and can play in any defensive situation too. He rounds out the very unpredictable top three and could still go as high as first.

4. Atlanta Thrashers – Evander Kane, winger (Vancouver Giants)

The forward equivalent of Hedman, Kane is probably the most “toolsy” forward in the draft. He’s big, he’s powerful and he drives to the net with reckless abandon, reminding people of Jarome Iginla or Jeff Carter. The Power forward also wants to be on the ice in all important offensive and defensive situations. He still needs time to fill out, but he’s an exciting pick.

5. Los Angeles Kings – Brayden Schenn, center (Los Angeles Kings)

I’m betting management in Toronto does whatever it can to get the No. 4 or 5 pick and draft Schenn if the push for Tavares falls through. Brayden, brother of blue-chip Leafs defenseman Luke, looks like a modern-day Bryan Trottier. He’s gritty, physical, impossible to move from the front of the net, and a natural leader any team could build around. He has a Mike-Richards-like upside.

6. Phoenix Coyotes – Oliver Ekman-Larsson, defense (Leksand)

For any team missing out on Hedman, Ekman-Larsson is more than a nice consolation prize. While he needs to beef up his 6’2″, 176-pound frame and his release needs work, he’s a sleek skater who moves the puck well, dishes out big hits and takes great angles on rushing forwards. You can’t ask for much more than that at the draft.

7. Toronto Maple Leafs – Jared Cowen, defense (Spokane Chiefs)

It’s unlikely that the Leafs stay in this exact spot, as they’re likely to trade up or down, but most NHL predictions makers see Cowen as a No. 6 or 7 overall pick – and a steal at that. He was a man among boys in junior – huge guy, massive wingspan, devastating hitter.

8. Dallas Stars – Nazem Kadri, center (London Knights)

He’s not a can’t-miss prospect, but the tools are there. He has the size and fantastic stickhandling ability to become a big scorer and reminds some scouts of Vincent Lecavalier.

9. Ottawa Senators – Dmitri Kulikov, defense (Drummondville Voltigeurs)

The next Sergei Gonchar? He’s a tough, solid defender, not afraid to get physical, and he lowers the boom from the point on the power play. Any team would be lucky to have him and he could boost their offense immediately.

10. Edmonton Oilers – Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson (Timra)

Good luck stitching that name on a jersey! Still, the name won’t scare any teams off. Paajarvi-Svensson is an absolute burner who can freeze defenders with his quick hands. It remains to be seen if he can carry an offense or if he’s more of a supporting guy who needs a top forward playing with him, but he’s an appealing prospect – one you should project in your top 10 when making sports predictions.

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