Mock Draft Series
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When we left off last time, I had fully assembled my forward corps. I had also grabbed my first defenseman, Sheldon Souray, and goaltender, Carey Price. With that being said, I still need to solidify my goaltending situation, and round out my defence. Let’s take a look at how the latter half of this draft treated me.
9.02 (114) G Jonathan Quick, LA – Like I mentioned when picking Price, goalies are getting thin, and it’s high-time to draft another tender. I toyed with the idea of picking Mike Smith here, but I figured that the Kings are likely to win more games than the Lightning this year. Quick is a young goalie with upside, and should definitely see more starts than the 44 he had last year.
10.13 (139) G Pascal Leclaire, OTT – This pick happened for two reasons. First, Price and Quick both fall into the sleeper category. It seemed greedy to bank on both of them having the breakout (Quick) or bounce back (Price) years I’m expecting. With Mike Smith and Nikolai Khabibulin just getting drafted, my list of sleeper tenders was dwindling, and I felt I needed to solidify this position. If Leclaire is healthy, and the Senators challenge for a playoff spot, he could be a valuable contributor.
11.02 (142) D Denis Grebeshkov, EDM – I was pretty happy with how the defence situation played out to this point. Many of the sleepers and younger guys I was targeting, including Grebeshkov, Erik Johnson, Drew Doughty, James Wisniewski, and Kris Letang, are still hanging around. My one lament is that Kaberle was just selected by John. I think that’s one of the better value picks this draft. Back to Grebeshkov. He played very well in the second half of last season, and like the rest of his Oilers counterparts, he is young and will only get better.
12.13 (167) D Drew Doughty, LA – Doughty was remarkable as a rookie, logging big minutes and playing solid defence for the young Kings. He should benefit from an improved Jack Johnson, a more stable situation in goal, and an improved Kings offense. I think the Kings could challenge for a playoff spot this year, and Doughty could be a big reason why.
13.02 (170) D James Wisniewski, ANA – Wisniewski averaged a very solid 0.5 points per game last year, albeit only suiting up in 48 contests. With Chris Pronger headed to Philly, Scott Niedermayer getting on in years, and Francois Beauchemin bolting for Toronto, Wisniewski and Ryan Whitney should see lots of ice time this year. If Wisniewski plays a full season, 45+ points isn’t unfathomable.
14.13 (195) LW David Perron, STL – There seems to be one recurring theme in my logic: pick good young players on young teams that figure to be better this year. The Blues surprised a lot of people last year, and this year they will get the chance to prove that they are for real. With exciting talent like David Backes, Brad Boyes, T.J Oshie, Paul Kariya and Erik Johnson surrounding him, Perron could make a run at 60 points this year, which would be a welcome contribution from a bench player. I will admit though, I spent a good 5 minutes cursing at John after he took Kariya earlier this round. Great pick.
15.02 (198) RW Peter Mueller, PHO – Mueller is a great bench pick at this point. He had a very solid rookie campaign, and then regressed significantly as a sophomore. Expectations are low in Phoenix, and the team’s off-ice problems might take the focus off the team itself. This could create a low pressure environment for a guy like Mueller, who figures to see lots of quality ice-time this year. Mueller still has big-time goal scoring potential, and a bounce back season could be in the cards.
16.13 (223) LW Nikita Filatov, CBJ – There are definitely safer players I could have picked here, but the last pick off the draft is as good a time as any to take a total gamble. I’m already 3 goalies deep, and am not particularly sold on any of the defenseman remaining. Filatov has high end talent, and if he gets the chance to play in Columbus this year, he could very well be a Calder candidate.
Well, there it is. I’m very satisfied with my offense. I think my forwards stack up against any other team in this draft. Goaltending probably isn’t going to be the team’s strong suit, but like I’ve said before, unless you get one of the true studs in net, you’re better off waiting. And, by the same logic, if you grab a franchise keeper early and then wait until the very end to nab your second goalie, your win totals may average out to exactly what two mid-round goalies would have given you.
There are those who will argue that grabbing a stud defenseman or goalie early is essential since there are so few. I can definitely see the merits of that, and if you have the opportunity to get a Mike Green anywhere in the second round, I say go for it. Just make sure you don’t feel the need to get a goalie or d-man because everyone ahead of you is doing it.