RotoWire Partners

NHL Mock Draft: Reviewing the Picks

Peter Maingot

Peter has been covering fantasy sports for Rotowire for over 10 years. He's covered hockey, football and basketball over the past decade but now focuses strictly on the frozen game. From the Great White North, Peter is a strong proponent of physical, up tempo hockey.

The opinions expressed in this NHL draft review should not be used by teams in this newly formed league as a reason for not trading with the team named PMain. What follows is the outcome of a mock draft with RotoWire writers and editors. It is a standard 12-team roto-style league with 10-category scoring: G, A, P/M, PIM, PPP. SOG, W, GAA, SV% and SHO. Each team starts two centers, two left wings, two right wings, four defensemen and two goalies in addition to four bench spots.

1. Daniel Sedin (Van - LW) Darryl Smith
2. Alex Ovechkin (Was - LW) Shannon McKeown
3. Steven Stamkos (TB - C) Nick Sero
4. Corey Perry (Anh - RW) Jason Thornbury
5. Henrik Sedin (Van - C) Edward Kensik
6. Evgeni Malkin (Pit - C,RW) Andrew Fiorentino
7. Bobby Ryan (Anh - LW) Doug Fairchild
8. Henrik Lundqvist (NYR - G) Peter Maingot
9. Jonathan Toews (Chi - C) Dan Pennucci
10. Nicklas Backstrom (Was - C) Jeff Erickson
11. Martin St. Louis (TB - RW) Scott Pianowski
12. Anze Kopitar (LA - C) John Toperzer

Nothing stands out as odd here, though Ryan before Lundqvist is aggressive/ambitious - especially if Bobby stays on the second power-play unit. It is somewhat surprising that more goalies aren't taken, though that will become a recurring theme. McKeown's joy of landing Ovechkin will be inevitably tempered later by other realities.

1. Pekka Rinne (Nsh - G) John Toperzer
2. Pavel Datsyuk (Det - C,LW) Scott Pianowski
3. Zach Parise (NJ - LW) Jeff Erickson
4. Ryan Miller (Buf - G) Dan Pennucci
5. Tomas Vokoun (Was - G) Peter Maingot
6. Patrick Kane (Chi - RW) Doug Fairchild
7. Ilya Bryzgalov (Phi - G) Andrew Fiorentino
8. Roberto Luongo (Van - G) Edward Kensik
9. Jarome Iginla (Cgy - RW) Jason Thornbury
10. Eric Staal (Car - C) Nick Sero
11. Brad Richards (NYR - C) Shannon McKeown
12. Ryan Getzlaf (Anh - C) Darryl Smith

Fairchild is pushing the envelope by not taking a goalie in the first two rounds. Ultimately he was vindicated, though, as the dreaded goalie run where panic ensues and goalies get taken far too early based on the their ranking didn't really take effect in this draft (unlike the Yahoo! Family & Friends draft earlier that same day). Mr. McKeown has started of well, but we'll see if that holds up.

1. Tim Thomas (Bos - G) Darryl Smith
2. Mike Green (Was - D) Shannon McKeown
3. Carey Price (Mon - G) Nick Sero
4. Ryan Kesler (Van - C) Jason Thornbury
5. Drew Doughty (LA - D) Edward Kensik
6. Sidney Crosby (Pit - C) Andrew Fiorentino
7. Ilya Kovalchuk (NJ - LW,RW) Doug Fairchild
8. Henrik Zetterberg (Det - C,LW) Peter Maingot
9. Zdeno Chara (Bos - D) Dan Pennucci
10. Corey Crawford (Chi - G) Jeff Erickson
11. Patrick Marleau (SJ - C,LW) Scott Pianowski
12. Shea Weber (Nsh - D) John Toperzer

Drafting Zetterberg and Marleau at No. 32 and No. 35 is insane value. Price will end up being drafted three rounds ahead of two other top-12 goalies (more on that in round 6). McKeown was hurt with the Mike Green selection (ahead of Kovalchuk, Zetterberg and Marleau) while Mr. Thornbury showed a large leap of faith in Kesler's rehab. Meanwhile, Fiorentino makes an early large investment in the Pittsburgh offense and a positive Crosby outlook for the coming campaign. Weber will prove to be a better selection than Green or Doughty. Maingot hoped to land Chara at pick 41 in round 4, but new nemesis, Pennucci, took him 33rd.

1. Marc-Andre Fleury (Pit - G) John Toperzer
2. Antti Niemi (SJ - G) Scott Pianowski
3. Milan Lucic (Bos - LW) Jeff Erickson
4. Dustin Byfuglien (Wpg - RW,D) Dan Pennucci
5. Alexander Semin (Was - LW,RW)Peter Maingot
6. Jimmy Howard (Det - G) Doug Fairchild
7. Rick Nash (Cls - LW,RW) Andrew Fiorentino
8. Lubomir Visnovsky (Anh - D) Edward Kenski
9. Jeff Carter (Cls - C,RW) Jason Thornbury
10. Keith Yandle (Pho - D) Nick Sero
11. Joe Thornton (SJ - C) Shannon McKeown
12. Miikka Kiprusoff (Cgy - G) Darryl Smith

Erickson put his drafting where his rankings were and that meant a fourth-round investment in Looch. A 30-goal/70-point season with 110 PIMs should satisfy Jeff. Pennucci takes Buff 40th overall while two other D-men get drafted based on last season's output. Pianow and Fairchild take their first goalies. Fairchild taking Howard ahead of Ward and Halak will be worth monitoring as the season unfolds.

1. Duncan Keith (Chi - D) Darryl Smith
2. Dan Boyle (SJ - D) Shannon McKeown
3. Kris Letang (Pit - D) Nick Sero
4. Jonas Hiller (Anh - G) Jason Thornbury
5. Patrick Sharp (Chi - C,LW) Edward Kensik
6. Thomas Vanek (Buf - LW) Andrew Fiorentino
7. John Tavares (NYI - C) Doug Fairchild
8. Danny Briere (Phi - C,RW) Peter Maingot
9. Claude Giroux (Phi - C,RW) Dan Pennucci
10. David Backes (StL - RW) Jeff Erickson
11. Jonathan Quick (LA - G) Scott Pianowski
12. Mike Richards (LA - C) John Toperzer

Keith ahead of Letang is a head shaker in a league that counts PIMs. Kensik landing Sharp at 53 seems fortuitous and righteous. Maingot took Briere ahead of Giroux based on the higher goals and PIMs expectations and was called on it by Pennucci, who then drafted Giroux. That is a comparison to follow all season. Goals are harder to come by than assists and Giroux will draw a lot more attention now with Richards and Carter gone. Top defensive lines will draw the JVR-Giroux-Jagr trio over the Hartnell-Briere-Voracek trio, while both French-Canadian forwards should see first power-play duty. Pianow takes Quick despite the Bernier threat and the coach's claim in preseason that he'll ride the hot goalie this season and won't guarantee either a certain amount of starts. Meanwhile, Topper has invested in two Kings centers in the first five rounds, putting his fantasy eggs for center in one enticing basket.

1. Ryane Clowe (SJ - LW,RW) John Toperzer
2. Nicklas Lidstrom (Det - D) Scott Pianowski
3. Dany Heatley (Min - RW) Jeff Erickson
4. Martin Brodeur (NJ - G) Dan Pennucci
5. Brent Burns (SJ - D) Peter Maingot
6. Marian Gaborik (NYR - RW) Doug Fairchild
7. Cam Ward (Car - G) Andrew Fiorentino
8. Matt Duchene (Col - C) Edward Kensik
9. Johan Franzen (Det - LW,RW) Jason Thornbury
10. Jaroslav Halak (StL - G) Nick Sero
11. Jeff Skinner (Car - C,RW) Shannon McKeown
12. Chris Pronger (Phi - D) Darryl Smith

Heatley falls to round 6, 63rd overall, and Gaborik drops to 66th. Lack of heart hurts Heater while lack of consistent good health drops Gabby. Amazingly, both Ward and Halak are drafted two rounds after Howard. Pennucci taking Brodeur ahead of Ward, and Halak shows that he's a Devils fan - but one should never draft with your heart ahead of the rankings. Rounds 5-6 have been good to McKeown - Boyle and Skinner.

1. Niklas Kronwall (Det - D) Darryl Smith
2. Christian Ehrhoff (Buf - D) Shannon McKeown
3. Phil Kessel (Tor - RW) Nick Sero
4. Brenden Morrow (Dal - LW) Jason Thornbury
5. Dwayne Roloson (TB - G) Edward Kensik
6. P.K. Subban (Mon - D) Andrew Fiorentino
7. Vincent Lecavalier (TB - C) Doug Fairchild
8. Joe Pavelski (SJ - C,RW) Peter Maingot
9. Alexandre Burrows (Van - LW) Dan Pennucci
10. Dion Phaneuf (Tor - D) Jeff Erickson
11. Teemu Selanne (Anh - RW) Scott Pianowski
12. Alex Pietrangelo (StL - D) John Toperzer

Darryl Smith takes Kronwall ahead of Ehrhoff, Subban, Phaneuf and Pietrangelo - all in the same round. Smith believes in Kronwall and his insertion, ahead of Ian White, into Rafalski's former spot on the Wings' first PP unit. Based on where he took Kronwall, he'll need that to happen to justify the selection ahead of a plethora of talented blueliners, including Edler, Goligoski, Streit and Enstrom, in addition to the other four D-men taken in this round. Heady drafting by Thornbury and Pennucci: picking up power forward left wings Morrow and Burrows, respectively, who should each bag 30 goals this year with 70-90 PIMs. Selanne's age creates a great value buy opportunity for Pianow.

1. Alexander Edler (Van - D) John Toperzer
2. Dustin Brown (LA - LW,RW) Scott Pianowski
3. Paul Stastny (Col - C) Jeff Erickson
4. Alex Goligoski (Dal - D) Dan Pennucci
5. Mark Streit (NYI - D) Peter Maingot
6. Niklas Backstrom (Min - G) Doug Fairchild
7. Tobias Enstrom (Wpg - D) Andrew Fiorentino
8. Martin Havlat (SJ - RW) Edward Kensik
9. Kari Lehtonen (Dal - G) Jason Thornbury
10. Scott Hartnell (Phi - LW) Nick Sero
11. Erik Karlsson (Ott - D) Shannon McKeown
12. Taylor Hall (Edm - LW) Darryl Smith

Call me crazy, but the group of D-men drafted in this round is as good or better than the five D-men taken in the seventh round. They all have 50-point upside, which is somewhat of a reach for guys like Kronwall and Phaneuf (who jumps the line from some with his 88 PIMs last season). Dustin Brown is another excellent value pick for Pianow. Brown contributes in so many categories, and he's staring at a career-year playing this season with former Philadelphia line mates Richards and Gagne. Erickson sticks to his numbers and takes Stastny, with several 65-to-70-point centers still to be had. Sero continues to build a PIMs-laden squad with the addition of Hartnell.

1. Logan Couture (SJ - C) Darryl Smith
2. Loui Eriksson (Dal - LW,RW) Shannon McKeown
3. James Neal (Pit - LW) Nick Sero
4. Tyler Myers (Buf - D) Jason Thornbury
5. Chris Stewart (StL - RW) Edward Kensik
6. Mikhail Grabovski (Tor - C) Andrew Fiorentino
7. Jason Spezza (Ott - C) Doug Fairchild
8. Nathan Horton (Bos - RW) Peter Maingot
9. Marian Hossa (Chi - RW) Dan Pennucci
10. James Reimer (Tor - G) Jeff Erickson
11. Michael Cammalleri (Mon - LW) Scott Pianowski
12. Tyler Ennis (Buf - C,LW) John Toperzer

Round 9 shows how deep the talent pool is this year, as several young talented budding stars - Couture, Myers, Stewart - are taken. Sero snags a likely 30-goal scoring left wing in Neal, who will be skating with Malkin. Nicely done. Maingot accepts the health risk and takes Horton ahead of Hossa, encouraged by the fact that Horton should see the bulk of power play minutes at right wing this season with Recchi retired and Ryder in Dallas. The 85 PIMs Horton accumulated last season increases the attraction. Erickson shows faith in Reimer as his second goalie.

1. Brandon Dubinsky (NYR - C,LW) John Toperzer
2. Ondrej Pavelec (Wpg - G) Scott Pianowski
3. Craig Anderson (Ott - G) Jeff Erickson
4. Derek Roy (Buf - C) Dan Pennucci
5. Mikko Koivu (Min - C) Peter Maingot
6. Cam Fowler (Anh - D) Doug Fairchild
7. Jack Johnson (LA - D) Andrew Fiorentino
8. Andrew Ladd (Wpg - LW) Edward Kensik
9. Mark Giordano (Cgy - D) Jason Thornbury
10. Andrei Markov (Mon - D) Nick Sero
11. Jose Theodore (Fla - G) Shannon McKeown
12. Jordan Eberle (Edm - RW) Darryl Smith

Topper makes an interesting pick in Dubinsky, who should get 20 goals, 50 points and 90 PIMs. The PIMs potential must have made the difference but the power play points likely will decrease, unless he can crack the first PP unit playing alongside Richards and Gaborik. Erickson has set up a curious No. 2 goalie tandem with Reimer and Anderson (he's virtually guaranteed a "W" when Ottawa plays Toronto). Pennucci trumps Maingot by snagging Roy. Maingot recovers to take Koivu, less injury prone but also less of a goal scorer and talent than Roy. Thorn and Sero both go defense, with Thorn making the wiser pick in Giordano with an 80-90 PIMs bonus while Sero rolls the dice on the fragile Markov. McKeown goes with Theodore, who, unfortunately, is the first goalie his team has selected. To quote a certain broadcasting Hall of Famer, "Oh my."

1. Michael Grabner (NYI - RW) Darryl Smith
2. Steve Mason (Cls - G) Shannon McKeown
3. Justin Williams (LA - RW) Nick Sero
4. Joe Corvo (Bos - D) Jason Thornbury
5. Erik Johnson (Col - D) Edward Kensik
6. Evander Kane (Wpg - LW) Andrew Fiorentino
7. Dustin Penner (LA - LW) Doug Fairchild
8. Ryan Whitney (Edm - D) Peter Maingot
9. John Carlson (Was - D) Dan Pennucci
10. Brent Seabrook (Chi - D) Jeff Erickson
11. Shane Doan (Pho - LW,RW) Scott Pianowski
12. Patric Hornqvist (Nsh - RW) John Toperzer

McKeown adds his second goalie in Mason while the depth in defense this season is apparent with such talents as Corvo (a perfect fit for Boston and its power play), the oft-injured Ryan Whitney (Maingot adds talented depth later to cover the Whitney bet) and Seabrook. Carlson is the one D-man taken here we're not sure about, as most of the preseason power play time has gone to Green and Wideman. We're flogging a dead horse here for Pianow, but Doan chosen at 131st overall is ridiculous value, especially if he gets moved to a Cup contender like the Canucks (Coyotes need a young franchise goalie) or the Flyers (if Voracek disappoints or injuries afflict the top-six wingers) at the trade deadline.

1. Steve Downie (TB - RW) John Toperzer
2. John-Michael Liles (Tor - D) Scott Pianowski
3. Kevin Shattenkirk (StL - D) Jeff Erickson
4. Matt Moulson (NYI - LW) Dan Pennucci
5. James Wisniewski (Cls - D) Peter Maingot
6. Dennis Wideman (Was - D) Doug Fairchild
7. Ryan Callahan (NYR - RW) Andrew Fiorentino
8. Alex Tanguay (Cgy - LW) Edward Kensik
9. David Krejci (Bos - C) Jason Thornbury
10. Semyon Varlamov (Col - G) Nick Sero
11. Jason Pominville (Buf - RW) Shannon McKeown
12. Ryan Suter (Nsh - D) Darryl Smith

Topper makes an aggressive PIMs pickup in Downie. That's a good pick here and a possible trading chip down the line to a squad that needs PIMs. Five solid D-men taken here: Liles has 45-plus points written all over him this season, Erickson gets a super soph in Shattenkirk while Maingot takes advantage of Wiz's suspension to grab him 137th overall, then Fairchild gets a 50-point upside player in Wideman, who has led Washington D-men in preseason ice time on the power play, while Suter provides a host of solid peripherals including a plus-20 last year. Amazing when you can get a 69-point first line/first PP unit left wing in the latter half of the 12th round - Tanguay to Kensik. Ditto for a 62-point center for Thorn in Krejci, who has 85-90 point upside and was money in the B's postseason Cup run with 12 goals and 23 points in 25 playoff games.

1. Victor Hedman (TB - D) Darryl Smith
2. Mike Ribeiro (Dal - C) Shannon McKeown
3. Kimmo Timonen (Phi - D) Nick Sero
4. Mike Smith (Pho - G) Jason Thornbury
5. Tomas Kaberle (Car - D) Edward Kensik
6. Jaromir Jagr (Phi - RW) Andrew Fiorentino
7. Travis Hamonic (NYI - D) Doug Fairchild
8. Jamie Benn (Dal - LW) Peter Maingot
9. Drew Stafford (Buf - RW) Dan Pennucci
10. Joni Pitkanen (Car - D) Jeff Erickson
11. Andy McDonald (StL - C,LW) Scott Pianowski
12. Sergei Gonchar (Ott - D) John Toperzer

Hedman gets chosen ahead of Kaberle, Zidlicky, Pitkanen and Timmonen; all of whom appear to be in line to get more power-play time than the young Swede. Jagr is finally drafted, several rounds after RWs like Eberle, Callahan and Pomminville. Maingot takes this year's popular sleeper Jamie Benn ahead of longtime favorite Andy McDonald, who quietly had 53 points in 58 games last year and is a permanent fixture alongside David Backes on both the Blues' first line and first PP unit. Topper gets Gonchar with pick 156 while Pennucci nabs a 30-goal scorer in round 13, showing once again how deep the talent pool is this year.

1. Cory Schneider (Van - G) John Toperzer
2. Patrice Bergeron (Bos - C) Scott Pianowski
3. Nikolai Kulemin (Tor - LW) Jeff Erickson
4. Tuukka Rask (Bos - G) Dan Pennucci
5. Patrik Elias (NJ - LW) Peter Maingot
6. Jordan Staal (Pit - C,LW) Doug Fairchild
7. Adam McQuaid (Bos - D) Andrew Fiorentino
8. Erik Cole (Mon - LW,RW) Edward Kensik
9. Jamie McBain (Car - D) Jason Thornbury
10. R.J. Umberger (Cls - LW) Nick Sero
11. Devan Dubnyk (Edm - G) Shannon McKeown
12. James van Riemsdyk (Phi - LW) Darryl Smith

Topper puts the backup goalie play into action with Schneider and Pennucci wisely follows with Rask. Elias, who was a 62-point player last year without Parise, is the de facto No. 1 center and power-play center to start the season in New Jersey with Travis Zajac likely out until late November/early December. Fiorentino makes a PIMs/plus-minus bet on McQuaid. McKeown adds a third goalie in Dubnyk while the trendy pick of JVR finally takes place. At this point in the draft it makes sense, even with Simon Gagne still on the board.

1. Devin Setoguchi (Min - RW) Darryl Smith
2. Rene Bourque (Cgy - LW,RW) Shannon McKeown
3. Valtteri Filppula (Det - C) Nick Sero
4. Brad Boyes (Buf - C,RW) Jason Thornbury
5. Grant Clitsome (Cls - D) Edward Kensik
6. Sergei Bobrovsky (Phi - G) Andrew Fiorentino
7. Daniel Alfredsson (Ott - RW) Doug Fairchild
8. Jonathan Bernier (LA - G) Peter Maingot
9. Sheldon Souray (Dal - D) Dan Pennucci
10. Patrik Berglund (StL - C) Jeff Erickson
11. Jordan Leopold (Buf - D) Scott Pianowski
12. Gabriel Landeskog (Col - LW) John Toperzer

By this stage you can't knock any pick really. Clitsome is a great late pick because he is guaranteed first power-play unit deployment in Columbus with Nash and Carter for at least the first eight games while Wisniewski serves his suspension to start the season. If the power play is doing well upon Wiz's return, Clitsome likely stays with the first unit. If not, he can be discarded for another D-man in the free-agent pool. The third backup goalie taken is Bernier, who could see anywhere from 20 to 40 starts this year (King's coach Terry Murray already said he will ride the hot hand between Jonathan Quick and Jonathan Bernier this season). Pennucci has since dumped Souray for Dmitry Kulikov, who is playing on Florida's top power-play unit with Brian Campbell and the Fleischmann-Weiss-Booth line. Leopold is coming off a career year but will not be on the Sabres' first power-play unit after their offseason investment in Ehrhoff.

1. Jakub Voracek (Phi - RW) John Toperzer
2. Brian Gionta (Mon - RW) Scott Pianowski
3. Ian White (Det - D) Jeff Erickson
4. Chris Kunitz (Pit - LW) Dan Pennucci
5. Marek Zidlicky (Min - D) Peter Maingot
6. Kurtis Foster (Anh - D) Doug Fairchild
7. Kevin Bieksa (Van - D) Andrew Fiorentino
8. Milan Hejduk (Col - RW) Edward Kensik
9. Alex Steen (StL - C,LW) Jason Thornbury
10. Matt Cooke (Pit - LW) Nick Sero
11. Roman Hamrlik (Was - D) Shannon McKeown
12. Anders Lindback (Nsh - G) Darryl Smith

Plenty of useful picks here. Voracek and Gionta have 30-goal/60-point upside. White will push Kronwall for power play minutes while Kunitz gets first-line duty with Malkin and Neal. Maingot, in selecting Zidlicky, has decided to go with five D-men to help compensate for Wisniewski's suspension and Whitney's questionable ankle. Prior to last season's injury-marred 46-game season, Zidlicky averaged 43 points, 70 PIMs and 25 PP pts in 77 games over the previous three seasons. Along with center Mikko Koivu, Zidlicky is the Minnesota holdover who benefits the most from the offseason additions of Heatley and Setoguchi. Lindback becomes the fourth backup goalie chosen with the last pick of the draft. There is a small chance that Rinne gets moved at the deadline if Nashville is struggling and management decides it can't afford to re-sign both Rinne and star defenseman Shea Weber.


Darryl Smith
is a little young and thin on the wing while PIMs could be a challenge.

lags in the goaltending department. He may want to consider investing in Tampa Bay's Mathieu Garon and his expected 30 starts or another backup. His trio of Theodore, Mason and Dubnyk appears to be his Achilles' heel.

is pretty stacked, though a nit-picker might say he needs a third goalie and some more truculent players.

is fairly loaded but needs a defenseman and more sin biners.

's lineup has few flaws, if any. A reliance on one NHL team for both centers doesn't seem a big deal. Better depth and/or upgrade on some wing scoring may be prudent with goaltending and PIMs both areas of strength to trade from.

's team is perhaps the strongest. The Rask choice partially makes up for the Brodeur reach. Kulikov, a waiver-wire pickup after the draft, is good insurance on Carlson while Stafford may prove better than Hossa. There is a lot of depth at every position and plenty of PIMs grit with Byfuglien, Chara and Burrows.

has an amazing and deep group of forwards. A better third goalie may be needed as well as a better No. 4 D-man. Overall, it's a very strong squad.

has an impressive team and a healthy Crosby could mean he has a championship team. Callahan and McQuaid are the only two minor scuffs (that should be fairly easy to overcome).

sports a strong team led by a phenomenal top-6 at forward. Still, nobody's perfect - the defense needs a little help and the goaltending lacks depth.

has a solid group of forwards and a great PIMs trio of talent in Lucic, Backes and Phaneuf. The defense is talented and will deliver plenty of assists and power play points. What will make or break Jeff's season (barring a trade) will be how effective his No. 2 goalie platoon of Reimer and Anderson performs.

is strong in nets but has rostered several injury-prone/sensitive players. The depth is there to help overcome injuries/missed games, though he's PIMs reliant on a quartet that he'll need to stay healthy (Burns, Briere, Horton, Semin) for him to compete in that stat category.