At this year's draft, the Minnesota Wild will be looking to add a goal-scoring forward, preferably a winger. With the exception of Marian Gaborik, the Wild have never even came close to drafting and developing a goal-scoring forward, the closest would be Benoit Pouliot and Patrick O'Sullivan who are no longer part of the Wild organization.
Armed with the 9th pick overall in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, the Wild will have the chance to draft a goal-scorer, with options in Emerson Etem, Jeff Skinner, Vladimir Tarasenko, and Brett Connolly.
Because I have no life, I was able to compile a mock draft. Here, Circular Theory presents his first ever mock draft:
1. EDMONTON OILERS
Hall, Taylor LW Windor OHL 6'0.5" 185lbs
The first pick is really just a contest between Hall and Seguin. Both are similar sizes, both are willing to get gritty, and both are very skilled. But I feel Hall's resume and Oiler's need of a winger will make Taylor the 1st overall pick.
2. BOSTON BRUINS
Seguin, Tyler C Plymouth OHL 6'1" 172lbs
There is no challenge. The Bruins probably will have the easiest decision of the day, picking the leftover from the Oilers. Either way, they will end up with a key prospect for the organization
3. FLORIDA PANTHERS
Gudbranson, Erik D Kingston OHL 6'3.75" 195lbs
I love this kid. He's got everything. He's got skill, he's got size, he's got wingspan, he's got a long stick (grow up! you know what I mean...), he's got a solid shot, he's got smarts (top scholastic OHL player of the year) and he's got one hell of a character off the ice (see the TSN interview of how he dealt with his brother's sickness)
4. COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS
Fowler, Cam D Windsor OHL 6'1.25" 190lbs
Once thought of as a challenger to Taylor Hall, Fowler now falls into the 2nd group of prospects, mixed in with a number of defensemen. The Jackets will have a tough time choosing between two puck moving d-men (Fowler and Gormley) who can both run the powerplay and make the first pass out the zone.
5. NEW YORK ISLANDERS
Gormley, Brandon D Moncton QMJHL 6'2" 185lbs
The Islanders will pick the best player available and will end up with Gormley despite the fact that the Islanders already boast a very impressive defensive prospect pool. Nothing wrong with adding another puck moving d-man who plays a solid two-way game
6. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
Connolly, Brett RW Prince George WHL 6'2" 181lbs
Connolly missed pretty much the whole season (takes us Wild fans back doesn't it) but the season before, he did great. Talent is there, health is the only question but teams will have their own doctors to evaluate if his hip will be a problem. Assuming that it isn't, the Lightning would love to add Connolly and his skill to their prospect pool
7. CAROLINA HURRICANES
Niederreiter, Nino RW Portland WHL 6'1.5" 201lbs
Very impressive during the World Juniors where he led the Swiss team to an incredible run. He displays an impressive combination of grit and skill and the Hurricanes would love to add any blue-chip prospect to their pool, position not required.
8. ATLANTA THRASHERS
Granlund, Mikael C HIFK Finland 5'10" 180lbs
Granlund is somewhat undersized and does not have the speed and skating ability to make up for it but he is considered one of the best playmakers in the draft. He is also very smart and hardworking. The Thrashers will take the risk and hope that Granlund will end up playing with dangerous goal scorer Evander Kane.
9. MINNESOTA WILD
Etem, Emerson RW Medicine Hat WHL 6'0.25" 190lbs
Finally, the Wild. We wanted a goal scoring winger and Etem lead all WHL rookies with 37 goals. Not only can he score, he's fast and he's strong. Known for his awkward skating style, Etem, he isn't afraid to get dirty and go for the rebounds. But I'll be terribly honest, if Connolly was there, I would pick him but I don't expect him to last till 9th overall so Etem would by my 2nd choice.
10. NEW YORK RANGERS
Tarasenko, Vladimir RW Novosibirsk Russia 5'11" 202lbs
The Rangers have shortage of right wing prospects but fortunately the next best player available just happens to be one. The Russian problem has never scared the Rangers and most likely will not again.
11. DALLAS STARS
Forbort, Derek D USA U-18 USHL 6'4.5" 198lbs
With the departure of Ivan Vishnevskiy, the Stars is left with Philip Larsen as their top defensive prospect. Larsen is an average sized offensive d-man so the Stars would love to add a huge defensemen in Forbort. He is a great skater for his size, alot of physical tools and alot of raw ability.
12. ANAHEIM DUCKS
Johansen, Ryan C Portland WHL 6'2" 192lbs
The Ducks have a large number of goaltenders and high end blueliners, so they wouldn't mind adding a talent forward. Johansen is one of the biggest risers in the draft and arguably the best player available at the time
13. PHOENIX COYOTES
Bjugstad, Nick C Blaine HIGH-MN 6'3.75" 188lbs
Boasting a prospect pool of forwards like Kyle Turris and Mikkel Boedker, the Coyotes wouldn't mind adding a big, imposing forward. The recent Minnesota Mr.Hockey Award winner, Bjugstad has a solid shot and plays effectively at both ends and has a big frame to fill out when he gets older
14. ST.LOUIS BLUES
Skinner, Jeff RW Kitchener OHL 5'10" 187lbs
The Blues have tons of bluechip prospects but what they lack is a goal-scoring prospect and no one has scored as many goals in the CHL than Skinner. There is some risk involved with some questioning whether Skinner can take the physical play of the NHL.
15. BOSTON BRUINS
Pysyk, Mark D Edmonton WHL 6'1.25" 174lbs
Already drafting Seguin, the Bruins take this chance to try to refill their defensive prospect pool and select pick who does not have any glaring deficiencies but logs tons of ice time and is starting to see some offensive ability.
16. OTTAWA SENATORS
Burmistrov, Alexander C Barrie OHL 5'11.25" 157lbs
Senators have a great defensive prospect pool with Karlsson, Cowen and Wiercioch, and would like to start filling its forward prospect pool. They add skilled and fast Burmistrov, while not exactly big, has tons of offensive potential
17. COLORADO AVALANCHE
Campbell, Jack G USA U-18 USHL 6'2.5" 175lbs
With the recent graduations of Matt Duchene and Ryan O'Reilly and with a deep defensive prospect pool staring Kevin Shattenkirk and Stefan Elliott, the Avs decide to begin deal with the lack of a bluechip goaltender.
18. NASHVILLE PREDATORS
Kabanov, Kirill LW Moncton QMJHL 6'2" 173lbs
Kabanov's recent off ice behavior have dropped him from many teams list but after stating during the combine that he never wants to return to Russia and is thinking about changing his citizenship, teams are starting to look at him again. Very talented but obviously conflicted, the Predators put trust in Kabanov's words and draft him hoping to add a very skill winger to the organization
19. LOS ANGELES KINGS
Howden, Quinton C Moose Jaw WHL 6'2" 182lbs
Able to play center or wing, the Kings would love left wingers by adding a top skating two-way forward that can score goals and add a bit of physical play with the Kings mix of forwards starring center Brayden Schenn
20. PITTSBURGH PENGUINS
Kuznetsov, Evgeny C Chelyabinsk 6'0" 172lbs
Like Howden, Kuznetsov can be coverted into a winger, which is exactly what the Penguins are looking for. Still searching for a low-cost solution in terms of Crosby's linemates, Kuznetsov is the best player available with tons of skill, with the Russian factor dropping his draft stock to the Pens.
21. DETROIT RED WINGS
Watson, Austin LW Peterborough 6'3.25" 185lbs
One of the better defensive forwards and better shot blockers in the OHL, Watson started to show off some offensive when he got traded to the Peterborough Petes where he would take on a larger role, scoring 20 points in 10 games. The Red Wings are thrilled to pick him up this late.
22. PHOENIX COYOTES
Merrill, Jon D USA U-18 USHL 6'3.25" 198lbs
Already adding size to their forwards with Nick Bjugstad, the Coyotes add another big body to compliment their 2009 pick Oliver-Ekman Larsson. While OEL is seen as an highly skilled puck mover, Merrill is seen as a positionally sound defensive d-man who plays a physical game, a perfect match.
23. BUFFALO SABRES
Galiev, Stanislav RW Saint John QMJHL 6'0.75" 178lbs
With tons of talented prospects within the organization, the Sabres decide to talented player who is smart, fast and can generate offense on his own. While not scared off physical play, teams would like to see Galiev add more muscle but the Sabres are obviously not afraid to draft players who are a little less physical than others.
24. ATLANTA THRASHERS
McFarland, John C Sudbury OHL 6'0.25" 192lbs
At this point in the draft, the Thrashers are looking to add any high potential prospects, regardless of position, and they find one in McFarland. Previously considered to be a top 10 pick this draft, McFarland's lack of hockey sense dropped his draft stock. However, McFarland has NHL speed and an NHL shot and might get the Thrashers a steal if he improves on his defensive play
25. VANCOUVER CANUCKS
Schwartz, Jaden C Tri-City USHL 5'10" 180lbs
Looking to add a scoring forward to compliment Hodgson and Schroeder, the Nucks select the leading USHL scorer. Somewhat undersized, Schwartz has the offensive ability and hockey sense that the Canucks want in an scoring prospect
26. WASHINGTON CAPITALS
McIlrath, Dylan D Moose Jaw WHL 6'4.25" 212lbs
The Capitals decide to choose a strickly defensive d-man with limited offsensive abilties, but who is very good at what he does. He has all the tools that will make him into a defensive force that the Caps hope to see on their blueline alongside players like Mike Green and John Carlson.
27. MONTREAL CANADIENS
Pitlick, Tyler C Minnesota State WCHA 6'1.5" 194lbs
The Canadiens would like to add some size to their forward prospect pool and Pitlick offers that and more. Pitlick can play wing, has speed, has a heavy snap shot, doesn't back down from play and can create offense.
28. SAN JOSE SHARKS
Bennett, Beau RW Penticton BCHL 6'0.5" 173lbs
With the lack of quality wingers, especially right wingers, the Sharks are proud to select Bennett, a slick and fast forward that has excellent puck and playmaking skills. He obviously also knows how to finish off chances, scoring 120 points in 56 games.
29. ANAHEIM DUCKS
Sheahan, Riley C U of Notre Dame CCHA 6'1.5" 202lbs
Sheahan has the good combination of size, playmaking skills and hockey sense. The Ducks can afford to pick on a raw prospect like Sheahan with the previous selection of Johansen. They are hoping that it pays out big.
30. CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS
Pickard, Calvin G Seattle WHL 6'0.5" 195lbs
Spoiled with a young pro roster and a deep prospect pool in both forwards and defense, the Blackhawks try to shore up their goaltending prospect pool, covered by their top goaltending prospect Alec Richards, with the selection of Pickard. Displaying all-round ability with no glaring weakness, Pickard is a solid goaltender that never gives up.