First-round mock draft

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:41 AM ET

1. Pittsburgh Penguins

Sidney Crosby, C, Rimouski QMJHL

Let the hype begin.

2. Anaheim Mighty Ducks

Benoit Pouliot, LW, Sudbury OHL

The consolation for Crosby bridesmaid GM Brian Burke is that several teams covet this pick. Colorado is already rumoured to be dangling Milan Hejduk or Alex Tanguay.

3. Carolina Hurricanes

Jack Johnson, D, U.S. Junior Nats

Another team that could trade down, but just a few spots in order to get a proven NHLer and still get Sudbury defenceman Marc Staal on Tobacco Road with brother Eric.

4. Minnesota Wild

Bobby Ryan, RW, Owen Sound OHL

Doug Risebrough loves two-way forwards in his image. He'd take Johnson, but unlikely to let this 89-point forward slip further.

5. Montreal Canadiens

Gilbert Brule, C, Vancouver Giants

They will be tempted to take Quebec defenceman Luc Bourdon, but lack of scoring will lead them to Brule.

6. Columbus Blue Jackets

Anze Kopitar, C, Sodertalje, Sweden

Believing that picks 2 through 6 are about equal, GM Doug MacLean feels he can't lose. Jackets will continue to surround Rick Nash with Euro-stars. Kopitar is the top ranked player in Europe.

7. Chicago Blackhawks

Casey Price, G, Tri-City WHL

They struck it rich with forward Tuomo Ruutu in 2001, again with defenceman Cam Barker in '04 and now they need the goalie.

8. Atlanta Thrashers

Luc Bourdon, D, Val D'Or, QMJHL

GM Don Waddell won't rule out Price as as long-range insurance for Kari Lehtonen. Thrashers have hit enough draft home runs that they can experiment.

9. Ottawa Senators

Marc Staal, D, Sudbury OHL

Good fortune saw the Senators move up high in the lottery.

10. Vancouver Canucks

Martin Hanzal, C, Budejovice, Czech

Tallest forward in the first round at 6-foot-4 and the second ranked European skater. GM Dave Nonis makes his draft debut with the club's best position since drafting the Sedin Twins.

11. Los Angeles Kings

Jakub Vojta, D, Sparta Czech

Highest the Kings have picked in eight years, but not high enough to likely make a big splash.

12. San Jose Sharks

Ryan Parent, D, Guelph, OHL

Sharks will likely shift gears after taking Czechs with top two picks in 2003 and '04.

13. Buffalo Sabres

Jack Skille, RW, U.S. Junior Nats

They want Staal more, with only scant prospects on defence in Rochester.

14. Washington Capitals

Matt Lashoff, D, Kitchener, OHL

Searching for help on the blueline and won't be too picky where they get it.

15. New York Islanders

Kenndal McArdle, LW, Moose Jaw WHL

After going with Europeans three straight years, GM Mike Milbury needs a change.

16. New York Rangers

Alex Bourret, C, Lewiston QMJHL

After missing on the Crosby lottery, the talent-starved Rangers can make do with this fire hydrant sized 31-goal winger.

17. Phoenix Coyotes

Pierre-Olivier Pelletier, G, Drummondville, QMJHL

Coach Wayne Gretzky will try and move up or make a free agent splash.

18. Nashville Predators

Denis Istomin, F Cheljabinsk, Russia

Top winger from Europe is appealing.

19. Detroit Red Wings

Rask Tuukka, G, Ilves, Finland

Best-rated goalie in Europe would be a nice bonus.Wings always find a draft gem or two.

20. Philadelphia Flyers

Scott Jackson, D, Seattle WHL

Another team with the Midas touch in mid first-round picks.

21. Toronto Maple Leafs

Ryan O'Marra, C, Erie, OHL

Welcome back after two years without a first rounder. Their last two (Carlo Colaiacovo and Brad Boyes) were OHLers, but that was prior to GM John Ferguson's arrival.

22. Boston Bruins

Ryan Stoa, C, U.S. Junior Nats

Hardly anyone under contract, so it's a blank canvas.

23. New Jersey Devils

Nicklas Bergfors, W, Sodertalje, Sweden

Scouting boss David Conte could pick a milkman from Medicine Hat and make something of him.

24. St. Louis Blues

Marek Zagrapan, C, Chicoutimi QMJHL

Blues on the hunt for offence.

25. Edmonton Oilers

Devin Setoguchi, RW, Saskatoon WHL

Believe it or not, it's the lowest the Oilers have selected in their 26-year NHL history. They want McCardle or another WHLer.

26. Calgary Flames

Chris Durand, D, Seattle WHL

Like the Oil, GM Darryl Sutter will also stay close to home and look for a WHL defenceman.

27. Colorado Avalanche

Tomas Pospisil, RW, Trencin Czech

The Avs are looking to move up the draft and replace Peter Forsberg's offence.

28. Dallas Stars

Brian Lee, D, Moorhead USHSW

Picking exactly where they were last year and in a bit of a draft slump.

29. Florida Panthers

Michael Sauer, D, Portland WHL

GM Mike Keenan, who took a tumble in the lottery, would like to try and steal Tampa's thunder and move up.

30. Tampa Bay Lightning

Danny Syvret, D, London OHL

high-scoring defenceman's play in the Memorial Cup helped his stock rise. The Lightning also have the 31st pick as the draft snakes backwards.


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