More to draft than just Sid

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:11 AM ET

Bobby Ryan has no trouble with the fact he and the rest of the 2005 National Hockey League draft class have been overshadowed by Sidney Crosby.

In the next couple of weeks, however, all that is going to change.

Crosby rightfully has garnered the majority of headlines in major junior hockey for the past couple of seasons, but clubs selecting after he is taken first overall won't have much to complain about. Set to go July 30 in Ottawa after a delay of five weeks because of the lockout, the draft features a group of teens that collectively is deep in talent.

"I don't think (Crosby's dominance) matters because he has done some great things for the game," Ryan, a right winger with the Owen Sound Attack of the Ontario Hockey League, said. "Guys like me have been able to fly under the radar, which has been good."

Though Crosby widely has been lauded as the next great thing to happen to hockey, the others that come after him -- Benoit Pouliot, Ryan, Jack Johnson, Gilbert Brule, Anze Kopitar, Carey Price, among others -- are no slouches.

"I think there are six or eight guys who could go No. 2," Maple Leafs director of amateur scouting Barry Trapp told The Sun's Mike Zeisberger. "Yes, it is the Sidney Crosby draft, but I love it because it's one of the deepest in years."

Ryan was third among skaters in North America by NHL Central Scouting rankings in its mid-term rankings and should be a top-five pick next week. Central Scouting completed its final rankings in March but have waited to release the list pending a ratification of a new collective bargaining agreement. That is expected later this week.

When the draft dust settles, it's probable the teams will pick in reverse order in every other round. So the club that chooses 30th overall, or the last pick in the first round, would then make the 31st choice, and so on. The draft order in Rounds 1, 3, 5 and 7 would be the same (without factoring in previous trades) as would that in Rounds 2, 4 and 6 would be the same.

So the one drawback for the club that wins the lottery and gets Crosby is it wouldn't pick again until 60th.

Also, once a team's ball rolls out in the lottery for the first round, the rest of its balls, if it has any, will be withdrawn. Based on the criteria for the first round, each of the New York Rangers, Buffalo Sabres, Columbus Blue Jackets and Pittsburgh Penguins will have three balls and hence the best chance to win the Crosby sweepstakes.

Ryan, who thinks he will be back in Owen Sound for one more season, is excited the crapshoot finally is in sight.

"Spirits were down since the end of the season because we never knew if we were going to have NHL hockey to watch, let alone have a draft," Ryan said.

"Now it's a real relief."


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