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2010 NHL Entry Draft: Pro Hockey Talk’s mock draft

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Visit NBC’s Draft Headquarters for our complete coverage of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

It’s that time. Pro Hockey Talk now presents our highly anticipated, most likely grossly inaccurate mock for the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. For any NHL draft, and especially this year, anything after the fifth pick is up in the air. It’s isn’t about grabbing a player to fit a need, as team’s choose who they generally feel is the best player left on the draft board. There’s always exceptions, but generally teams’ boards are much different than all of the rankings we see leading up to the draft.

There is still some debate this year, however, and I’m sure some of our picks will be a bit contrarian. We’ll get started, with the Edmonton Oilers selecting.....

1. Edmonton Oilers

Taylor Hall - LW - Windsor (OHL)

The Oilers are in dire need of an impact player, and Taylor Hall is primed to be that player immediately this season. A lot of the debate this summer has been whether Hall or Tyler Seguin deserves the top spot, but in the end it’s Hall that will ultimately be the more dynamic scoring machine of the two. It’s this remarkable scoring touch that the Oilers need and what they’ll get with Hall.

2. Boston Bruins

Tyler Seguin - C - Plymouth (OHL)

Seguin may ultimately develop into the more complete player between himself and Hall, as he is certainly the most well-rounded playmaker in this year’s draft. He’s a center that makes the players around him better, and he’ll get the chance to make an instant difference next season in Boston.

3. Florida Panthers

Cam Fowler - D - Windsor (OHL)

The next big debate this summer is who goes next after Hall and Seguin. For most of this past season it’s been Fowler, but recently Gudbranson has taken the 3rd spot in nearly every recent mock draft. We’re sticking with our guns here, and going with the most offensively talented blueliner in the draft and a player who is likely the best skater of all the players this season.

4. Columbus Blue Jackets

Eric Gudbranson - D - Kingston (OHL)

Thank you Tyler Myers. His emergence as a top defenseman in the NHL as a large, solid blueliner has considerably raised Gudbranson’s stock. The defenseman out of the OHL is said to be the very next Chris Pronger, although hopefully without the bad attitude. He’s already a large fellow (6-4, 195) but at 18 years old is likely not going to make the jump to the NHL right away.

5. NY Islanders

Brett Connolly - RW - Prince George (WHL)

If Connolly had been healthy last season then this would have likely had been a three-headed battle for the top pick. Instead, he played in just 16 games for Prince George last season while battling a hip injury. With his injury history, taking Connolly this high is a big risk but his potential is just too great to pass him up. He has the ability to become the best player to come out of this draft class, if healthy.

6. Tampa Bay Lightning

Nino Niederreiter - RW - Porland (WHL)

I was tempted to put Gormley in this spot, as it’s tough to picture him falling past Tampa Bay. Yet the Lightning took Victor Hedman last year and now have the chance to add one of the premier all-around forwards in the draft. He’s one of the hardest workers of all the players this year, and showcased exceptional playmaking skill. His stock has skyrocketed since a great showing at the World Juniors and it’s tough to picture the Lightning passing up the chance to take a talent like Niederreiter.

7. Carolina Hurricanes

Brandon Gormley - D - Moncton (QMJHL)

Gormley is the rare defensemen with all of the tools and he would instantly improve the Carolina blueline. He’s gifted offensively, he can move the puck with ease, is a great skater and is more than solid in his own end. He’s the type of toolsy defenseman all teams wish they had and can be a top blueliner the Hurricanes can build around moving forward.

8. Atlanta Thrashers

Ryan Johansen - C - Portland (WHL)

Johansen will need more time in the WHL to mature, both physically and as a player, but he would instantly become the most exciting prospect for the Thrashers. He is praised for his hockey sense and ability to avoid defenders while with the puck, but is much to lanky to take the step to the next level at this point - he’d be killed, no matter how “shifty” he is. Still, he’s a pure scorer and playmaker who is drawing comparisons to Eric Staal.

9. Minnesota Wild

Mikael Granlund - C - HIFK (Finland)

He’s the top ranked European skater and for good reason. He’s magical with the puck and his leadership and intangibles are nearly unmatched outside of the top two this year. The only reason he wouldn’t go higher is he’s yet to play in North America, and generally European players need some time to mature heading into the NHL. It won’t be long, however, as Granlund has the offensive talent the Wild desperately need as they move forward under their new system.

10. NY Rangers

Alexander Burmistrov - C - Barrie (OHL)

He’s so small (5-11, 147) and not very well built, but his raw offensive talent and exceptional speed will make it hard for teams to pass him up. He’s like the Barry Sanders of hockey, weaving his way across the ice and is nearly impossible to hit, but there’s no way he’s ready for the NHL anytime soon.

11. Dallas Stars

Derek Forbort - D - USA U-18 (USDP)

This is the perfect player for the Stars to take in this spot. He’s a big, steady and talented defenseman who wont score many goals but does everything else nearly perfectly and many think he has the most potential of any defenseman in the draft.

12. Anaheim Ducks

Jeff Skinner - RW - Kitchener (OHL)

He’s going to fall because of his size (5-10, 187) but he’s about as pure a scorer as you can find. 90 points last year in 64 with Kitchener (OHL), and with another year of putting on muscle is deadly close to becoming the next great, young sniper in the NHL.

13. Phoenix Coyotes

Austin Watson - LW - Peterborough (OHL)

Flew under the radar in Windsor but really shined after being traded to Peterborough, and teams are high on his leadership and combination of size and skill. He’s the “hidden gem” that a player is labled with every draft.

14. St. Louis Blues

Dylan McIlrath - D - Moose Jaw (WHL)

He’s big and is perhaps the most intimidating player in the first round. He’s not just a big body as he has skill in the offensive zone as well and is the type of defensemen teams like to build around.

15-30 after the jump...

15. Florida Panthers

Emerson Etem - RW - Medicine Hat (WHL)

A talented US-born winger (from California!) that is poised to tear up the WHL. As a rookie with Medicine Hat he had 65 points in 72 games, and has an excellent combination of speed and scoring skill.

16. Ottawa Senators

Jack Campbell - G - USA U-18 (USDP)

Could go higher, but he’s falling on many draft boards because of concerns over his attitude. Yet he’s the best goaltender prospect to come out of the US in years and has the combination of athleticism, size and confidence in net every team hopes to have in their goaltender.

17. Colorado Avalanche

Jonathan Merrill - D - USA U-18 (USDP)

Has the tools to make a difference offensively, and is rock solid in his own end as well. He’s a big, hard hitting defenseman who is about as versatile as you could ask for, possessing great speed on top of his size and big shot.

18. Nashville Predators

John McFarland - LW - Sudbury (OHL)

Once considered an elite prospect, many thought McFarland would eventually be a top-5 pick in the NHL draft. Instead, he’s been a relative disappointment as he never took that next step in the OHL. He’s still a great talent, and taking him later in the first is not that much of a reach for the former #1 pick in the OHL draft.

19. Los Angeles Kings

Nick Bjugstad - C - Blaine (High-MN)

One heck of a player coming out of high school, but some scouts were worried about his concentration against lesser opponents. Still, he loves to score and has all of the ability to be a dangerous sniper.

20. Pittsburgh Penguins

Mark Pysyk - D - Edmonton, WHL

Many have Pysyk going higher, but it just seems like he’s one of those players with all of the tools to be great but withouth the mental makeup to put it together. He could develop into the great defenseman he has the potential to be, but he hasn’t gotten there yet.

21. Detroit Red Wings

Vladimir Tarasenko - RW - Novosibirsk (KHL)

This kid can score and every team would want him on their roster in a heartbeat and many have him as a top-10 pick. But there’s no guarantee he leaves the KHL to come across the pond to play with the team that drafts him; otherwise he’d go much higher and a team late in the first round may find him falling to them. It’s a risk, but later in the first round it’s a worthwhile one to take.

22. Phoenix Coyotes

Jarred Tinordi - D - USA U-18 (USDP)

A big defenseman with natural leadership ability who’s on his way to Notre Dame, and is a natural in his own end. Big, physical and intimidating he’s a call-back to the ways of old which should be no surprise; he plays just like his father, Mark Tinordi.

23. Buffalo Sabes

Riley Sheahan - C - U. of Notre Dame (CCHA)
An exciting prospect before last season, his production dropped off with Notre Dame and he’s fallen a bit. Yet he’s a gritty two-way player that excells in all areas of the ice, and is more than just a flashy scorer like you see at the top of the draft. 24. Chicago Blackhawks

Quinton Howden - C - Moose Jaw (OHL)

A skilled forward with a good combo of size, speed and scoring touch, yet who plays as a much smaller forward. He’s not flashy but creates turnovers on the forecheck and if he can play up to his size (6-3, 182) could be special.

25. Vancouver Canucks

Tyler Pitlick - C - Minnesota State (WCHA)

An intriguing prospect, with a big and deadly accurate shot. He’s also a physical and speedy forward, who was forced to be a one-man show on a bad Minnesota State team. He has the size and power to be a special player with the right roster around him.

26. Washington Capitals

Jaden Schwartz - C - Tri-City (USHL)

Forget the knocks on his size (5-10, 180), he’s well-built and is nothing short of a dynamic, pure scoring machine. He’s more than just a sniper, he’s willing to do the dirty work on defense and along the boards as well.

27. Montreal Canadiens

Brock Nelson - C - Warroad (High-MN)

He’s off to North Dakota next year to prove his offensive production in high school wasn’t a fluke. He’s an exciting scorer with hockey in his blood; his uncle, Dave Christian won the gold medal for the U.S. in 1980.

28. San Jose Sharks

Calvin Pickard - G - Seattle (WHL)

His numbers weren’t great with the Seattle Thunderbirds last season, but there’s no doubt he has the talent to become one of the top goaltender prospects in the NHL in the near-future.

29. Anaheim Ducks

Stanislav Galiev - RW - Saint John (QMJHL)

He’s more of a passer than a scorer, but he’s a Russian prospect who has is already having success in North America. He can get physical when needed, but should add some strength before make the jump to the next level.

30. Chicago Blackhawks

Beau Bennett - RW - Penticton (BCHL)

A talented winger, who is just coming out of prep-school hockey, he’s been shooting up draft boards and could sneak into the first round.