1. Edmonton Oilers – Taylor Hall, LW
It will be a tough decision between Hall and Seguin; you really can’t go wrong with either one. Hall has dominated in the OHL the last few years, and has performed well on the big stage (2010 World Juniors). He would fit well with Jordan Eberle on a top line in Edmonton.
2. Boston Bruins (from TOR) – Tyler Seguin, C
I’m sure Toronto would like to have the opportunity to draft Hall or Seguin. Luckily for Boston, they got this choice in exchange for Phil Kessel. I think Seguin would be great with the B’s, and wouldn’t be under pressure to perform at a high level early on.
3. Florida Panthers – Erik Gudbranson, D
The Panthers already have a cupboard full of defensive prospects, but Gudbranson is too good for them to pass up. He has drawn comparisons to a smaller version of Chris Pronger.
4. Columbus Blue Jackets – Cam Fowler, D
Like Florida, the Jackets don’t necessarily need a blue-liner. But Fowler is exactly what they’ve been looking for: a puck-moving defenseman. He won’t go past #4.
5. New York Islanders – Brett Connolly, RW
Connolly has the potential to be John Tavares’ go-to-guy, if drafted by the Islanders. Though he had an injury-riddled season, his ceiling is high and he has great offensive skills.
6. Tampa Bay Lightning – Brandon Gormley, D
Some people believe Gormley is just as good as Gudbranson and Fowler. Tampa Bay would be wise to draft him, setting up a great defensive 1-2 punch with Victor Hedman for the future.
7. Carolina Hurricanes – Mark Pysyk, D
The ‘Canes have selected a forward with their first pick in the last three drafts. Time to go defense here, and Pysyk would be a smart pick. He’s a quality two-way defender.
8. Atlanta Thrashers – Ryan Johansen, C
Johansen seems to be rising up in the first round, and has had a great season with Portland of the WHL.
9. Minnesota Wild – Emerson Etem, RW
GM Chuck Fletcher needs to replenish the Wild’s cupboard with more offensive talent. Why not turn to a natural goal-scorer like Etem?
10. New York Rangers – Nino Niederreiter, RW
He stole the show at the World Juniors this past winter for the Swiss, and is a smart all-around forward.
11. Dallas Stars – Derek Forbort, D
Dallas really needs to shore up their defense for the future, and turning to the 6’5” Forbort would certainly be a start.
12. Anaheim Ducks – Jack Campbell, G
Campbell backstopped the Americans to Gold in the World Juniors. He would be a great pick for the Ducks, who don’t have much top-end goaltending talent in the system.
13. Phoenix Coyotes (from CGY) – Austin Watson, RW
Like Johansen, Watson’s stock seems to be rising at the perfect time. He’s considered to be one of the better two-way forwards in this draft.
14. St. Louis Blues – Alexander Burmistrov, C
The Blues will be happy to see Burmistrov still available, and would like to add someone with his gifted offensive abilities.
* I will update the mock draft later in the Stanley Cup Playoffs when the order amongst playoff teams is determined.
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