As if trying to produce a Mock Draft the First Round of the 2007 NHL Draft wasn’t hard enough, here is my longest of shots attempt at a Second Round Mock Draft – an exclusive for Ranger Ramblings readers.
Each player has his Hockey News rating (THN), his Central Scouting rating (CSS) and his International Scouting Service rating (ISS), as well as his ISS player comparison – if available.  CSS divides their ratings between North Americans (NA) and Europeans (Euro).  The draft positions used are as of June 20, 2007.  Please note that Chicago holds an option on Vancouver’s pick at #56 and Los Angeles holds the option to Vancouver’s pick at #61.  Minnesota’s selection at #42 is a compensatory pick from the NHL because they did not sign former first rounder A.J. Thelen.  Given the potential for trades come the draft, it is very possible that the Second Round will change dramatically.  Another point to consider is that there are as many as 10 second round players could very well find their way into the end of the first round – which will make for an interesting second round due to the slippage factor.

  1. Buffalo Sabres – Logan MacMillan (C)

THN: #38 – CSS: 42 NA skater – ISS: #24 (Rod Brind’Amour)

With Sabres possibly facing the loss of Daniel Briere and Chris Drury, the son of former NHLer Bob MacMillan is a solid two-way forward who can play in all situations.  Logan could better as the season progressed and into the playoffs.

  1. Phoenix Coyotes – Nick Ross (D)

THN: #58 – CSS: #18 NA skater – ISS: #42 (Sheldon Souray)

While there are issues about Ross and conditioning/fitness level, he is a d-man who likes to hit and has the ability to move the puck and owns a great shot from the point – hence the Souray comparison by ISS. 

  1. Vancouver Canucks – Riley Nash (C)

THN: #95 – CSS: #64 NA skater – ISS: #37 (Patrick Eaves)

Nash has been a late riser in draft circles; in fact he wasn’t even rated by ISS in their October 2006 ratings.  He played for the same BCHL team (Salmon Arm) as Devils first rounder Travis Zajac.  Nash is a solid player who does a little bit of everything and comes to play every night.  

  1. Washington Capitals – Colby Cohen (D)

THN: #54 – CSS: #25 NA skater – ISS: #43 (Bryan McCabe)

The 6-2/200 rearguard is an offensive d-man who has the potential to QB the power play in the NHL.  His puck moving skills and hockey sense are the keys to his game.  While ISS mentioned possible attitude problems, they see improving his defensive play as the only concern in his development.

  1. Chicago Blackhawks – Michal Repik (RW)

THN: #33 – CSS: #58 NA skater – ISS: #26 (Henrik Zetterberg)

Repik is too good of an offensive player for the Blackhawks to pass up at this point in the draft.  THN compared him to Milan Hejduk.  Repik’s game is keyed by his strong skater, puck skills and outstanding scoring ability.  Because of his size (5-10/180), he tends to be more of a finesse player.  If he can bulk up a bit, he make some teams regret passing him up in the first round.

  1. Edmonton Oilers – Brendan Smith (D)

THN: #46 – CSS: #68 NA skater – ISS: #54 (No player comparison)

Smith has good size (6-2/170) and tremendous offensive ability and strong skating ability.  The one downside is he hasn’t mastered the defensive side and he needs to become stronger – two facets of his game that are sure to improve as he joins the University of Wisconsin in the fall.

  1. Columbus Blue Jackets – Jim O’Brien (C)

THN: #25 – CSS: #38 NA skater – ISS: #22 (Patrick Marleau)

O’Brien started last year as a 17-year-old freshman at the University of Minnesota and was used a fourth-liner.  As a result, his numbers might not impress (43-7-8-15), but they should get better as he gets more ice time and responsibility.  However, he has good hands and hockey sense to match.  His game will continue to grow as he matures and fills out his 6-2/185 frame.

  1. Boston Bruins – Mike Hoeffel (LW)

THN: #27 – CSS: #22 NA skater- ISS: #31 (Cory Stillman)

Hoeffel lost valuable development time last year due at an ACL injury.  At 6-2/186, he projects out as a power forward with solid skating ability.  Of all the second rounders, he might be the one most likely to be a first round pick because of the potential he has.  He will attend the University of Minnesota in the fall.

  1. St. Louis Blues – John Negrin (D)

THN: #29 – CSS: #85 NA skater – ISS: #44 (Bret Hedican)

Negrin suffered a concussion early in the season and then followed that up with an ankle injury that limited him 50 games in Juniors and the Canadian Under-18 team.  He is one of the better skaters in the draft and has the ability to make smart first passes out of the zone.  His numbers will improve as he gets more ice time and responsibility.  While he has good size (6-2/195), he needs to learn to play a more physical and tougher game.

  1. Florida Panthers – Jeremy Smith (G)

THN: #42 – CSS: #1 NA goalie – ISS: #49 (Cam Ward)

While the 2007 Draft does not feature an elite goaltender, Smith is a solid NHL prospect who fills a definite need for the Panthers.  While he put up good numbers splitting time in the regular season, Smith ended up watching Michal Neuvirth excel in the playoffs for Plymouth.  Smith’s butterfly style allows him to make the first save and control rebounds – especially on low shots.

  1. San Jose Sharks – Ruslan Bashkirov (LW)

THN: #43 – CSS: #35 NA skater – ISS: #45 (Mike Grier)

Bashkirov is another in a long line of European prospects who have come to North America to continue their development.  A teammate of Angelo Esposito, Bashkirov uses his size well (5-11/186).  He gives a consistent effort every night and only his skating holds him back from being a higher draft pick.

  1. Minnesota Wild – Pat White (C)

THN: #60 – CSS: #23 NA skater – ISS: #23 (Craig Conroy)

White is the solid type of two-player that coach Jacques Lemaire loves.  He can play in all situations (Even, PP and SH).  White was one of 10 finalists for the MR. Hockey Award as the best high school senior in Minnesota.  He is staying close to home, as he will head to the University of Minnesota in the fall.

  1. Montreal Canadiens – Simon Hjalmarsson (LW)

THN: Not Rated in Top 100 – CSS: #6 Euro skater – ISS: #38 (Mike Cammalleri)

Hjalmarsson is another player not rated by ISS in October 2006, but improved as the season progressed.  He is a strong skater who works hard shift-in and shift-out.  While he is not all that big (5-11/169), Simon is not afraid of physical play.

  1. Toronto Maple Leafs – Stefan Legein (RW)

THN: #57 – CSS: #13 NA skater – ISS: #142 (No player comparison)

Despite his size (5-9/170), Legein is a feisty player in the mold of a Sean Avery or Darcy Tucker – except with better skating ability and scoring skills (43 goals in 64 OHL games).

  1. Colorado Avalanche – Bill Sweatt (LW)

THN: #28 – CSS: #27 NA skater – ISS: #32 (Mike Fisher)

Sweatt is a two-way player whose speed and defensive abilities are ahead of his offensive game.  He might be the best and fastest skater in the draft.  He will be a good speed/defensive member of a second line and will be a valuable contributor as a penalty killer.

  1. Washington Capitals – T.J. Brennan (D)

THN: #69 – CSS: #29 NA skater – ISS: #51 (Tom Pressing)

Brennan is an offensive defenseman with good skating skills and puck handling ability.  At 6-1/204, he has good size but still need to learn to be more a physical presence.  He won’t be a star blueliner, but he will be a steady defenseman who will contribute offensively and be a good addition to the firepower at forward. 

  1. Tampa Bay Lightning – Dana Tyrell (C)

THN: # 34 – CSS: #15 NA skater – ISS: #35 (Martin Gelinas)

At some point salary cap restrictions will force Tampa Bay to move one of their top forwards.  Tyrell will be a nice player to have in reserve.  He has big-time skating skills and, despite his size (5-10/185), plays a physical game and does not shy away from the gritty job, and displays solid leadership skills.

  1. New York Rangers – Max Gratchev (LW)

THN: #39 – CSS: #46 NA skater – ISS: #39 (Ales Kotalik)

Gratchev is an offensive player who needs work with this defensive play and must get stronger to compensate for his smallish stature (5-10/196).  Since he just missed being eligible for the 1006 Draft, Gratchev is more mature than most of the 2007 prospects and has shown steady improvement in his three years in the QMJHL.  If Gratchev is gone, and I was running the Rangers, I would look to Zach Torquato or Joel Gistedt.

  1. Colorado Avalanche – Joel Gistedt (G)

THN: #44 – CSS: #1 Euro goalie – CSS: #72 (No player comparison)

With the Avalanche’s goaltending depth in questions, Gistedt definitely fills a need.  Another possibility for the Caps is Kent Patterson, but Gistedt is closer to being NHL ready.  He was passed over in last year’s draft and responded with a solid 2006/2007 as he replaced former NHLer Tommy Sale as the number one netminder with Frolunda in Sweden.   

  1. Dallas Stars – Zach Torquato (C)

THN: #56 – CSS: #61 NA skater – ISS: #48 (Jason Allison)

Since Mike Modano can’t play forever, or at least for as long as Chris Chelios, Torquato is a solid pick for the Stars.  He plays PP and SH in addition to even strength and uses his soft hands and puck handling skills well.  Torquato has good size (6-0/195), but he needs to use it more often.  He also needs to strengthen his skating game – something that keeps out of the first round.

  1. Pittsburgh Penguins – David Stich (D)

THN: #67 – CSS: #73 NA skater – ISS: #66
Stich is strong two-way defenseman who has the skill set and hockey sense to play in all situations in Junior hockey.  He was the assistant captain of the Czech team in the Under-18 Tournament.  At 6-2/209, Stich has the size and desire to play a physical game and he is ready, willing and able to hit anything in an opposing jersey.

  1. Los Angeles Kings – Keven Veilleux (C)

THN: #20 – CSS: #33 NA skater – ISS: #47 (Sergei Samsonov)

At 6-5/202, Veilleux combines NHL size with NHL skill as a potential power forward on the first or second line.  However, and you knew that was coming, his play is consistently inconsistent.  He followed up a solid Under-18 Tournament for Canada with a poor second half and virtually non-existent playoff.  He might even be able to get away with his inconsistency except his skating is average.  Despite all of that, the potential is there for a special player with the right coach and situation.

  1. Columbus Blue Jackets – Olivier Fortier (C)

THN: #51 – CSS: #44 NA skater – ISS: #55 (No player comparison)

New GM Scott Howson needs to add some depth to his forward corps and Fortier gives him a solid two-way player.  He was used as a checking center on Canada’s Under-18 team (along with Brendon Sutter).  While his offensive game is under development, he is a good defensive player who utilizes his speed.  Because of this, he has the potential to be a third line center who can be more if his offensive game equals his work ethic.

  1. Nashville Predators – Kevin Marshall (D)

THN: #59 – CSS: #47 NA skater – ISS: #56 (No player comparison)

After losing Ryan Parent and Kimmo Timonen in two separate trades with the Flyers, David Poile needs to replenish his defense.  While the 6-1/191 Marshall might be classified as a two-way d-man, his defensive game is better than his offensive game.  He plays a steady defense and will play aggressively, and has the ability to block shots and disrupt passes.  Offensively, he is a good skater whose hockey smarts allow him to make the right play.

  1. Colorado Avalanche – Teddy Ruth (D)

THN: # 64 – CSS: #32 NA – ISS: #70 (No player comparison)

If Colorado doesn’t draft Ruth, they could tab his Under-18 defense partner and fellow Notre Dame freshman to be Ian Cole.  Fighting Irish coach Jeff Jackson called Ruth “a blood and guts kind of defenseman … who plays a tough, physical style.”  He plays a simple game and is able to make the first pass.  He could stand to use his 6-1/200 frame better, but that will come as he develops during his collegiate years.

  1. Vancouver Canucks – Juraj Valach (D)

THN: #85 – CSS: #125 NA skater – ISS: #98 (No player comparison)

Every team is on the lookout for the next Zdeno Chara.  The Capitals spent two first round picks on Sasha Pokulok (6-5) and Joe Finley (6-7).  Valach is the next contender as he weighs in at 6-6/216.  As you might imagine, graceful is not one word that would be used to describe Valach.  He does have some issues with his skating, but that is to be expected given his size.  He does own a big shot from the point and is a d-man who is more comfortable leading the rush than joining it.  If this pick ends up transferring to Chicago, Valach would not be a bad addition for the Blackhawks because he would have time to develop and mature.

  1. New Jersey Devils – Casey Pierro-Zabotel (C)

THN: #62 – CSS: #75 NA skater – ISS: #59 (No player comparison)

Lou Lamoriello has no problems taking chances come draft day.  He is also known for taking lesser-known players.  Pierro-Zabotel spent three years in the BCHL – the same league as Travis Zajac.  Casey is a solid all-around player who will be playing for Michigan Tech in the fall.  He has the ability to elevate his game to match other skilled players.

  1. Florida Panthers – Nicholas Torp (D)

THN: #82 – CSS: #7 Euro skater – ISS: #69 (No player comparison)

The 5-11/196 fireplug does a little bit of everything.    He has the ability to move the puck and find the open man.  At the same time, he doesn’t shy away from physical play – although he could be even more physical.  One thing that can’t be questioned is his leadership.  Torp was an assistant captain of the Swedish Under-18 team.

  1. Buffalo Sabres – Dustin Jeffrey (C)

THN: #93 – CSS: #137 NA skater – ISS: #78 (No player comparison)

Jeffrey proved all 30 teams wrong when they passed over him in 2006.  He scored 34 goals and 58 assists with Sault Ste. Marie.  At 6-2/205, Jeffrey is a solid two-way player who is more playmaker than pure goal scorer and plays in all situations.  His skating needs work, or else he would have been a higher draft pick.

  1. Ottawa Senators – Spencer Machacek (RW)

THN: #65 – CSS: #52 NA skater – ISS: #33 (Kris Draper)

The Senators have plenty of offensive dazzle the likes of Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley.  What they can use is a forward who plays a solid two-way game – and that is Machacek.  He is a consistent player who can play and contribute on all four lines.  He finishes his checks and brings that type of energy to every facet of his game.  While he is 6-1/182, Machacek would benefit from getting stronger to absorb the physical punishment he will get (and deliver) in the NHL.

  1. Vancouver Canucks – Vitali Karamnov (C)

THN: #63 – CSS: #19 Euro skater – ISS: #52 (Mike Fisher)

Karamnov plays a strong all-around game and feature a solid sense for the game.  He uses his speed and puck handling skills to generate his offense.  He has good leadership qualities and was the captain of Russia’s Under-18 squad.  At 6-1/180, he isn’t overly physical, but he will do what it takes to make the play.  If this pick is transferred to Los Angeles, I am not so sure they would take another center.  The Kings would be better off looking at defenseman like Keith Aulie.  The 6-5/208 Aulie has surprisingly good skating skills for a man his size, but he needs to learn to use it more effectively.  The Kings might also look at a pair of goaltenders: Trevor Cann who was a workhorse playing in 62 of 66 games for Peterborough or Kent Patterson who played in the USHL.

I have one side note in reference to Patterson.  The Rangers should try and acquire a third round pick if Patterson is still available.  He was born September 15, 1989 – which means he is the youngest player in the draft because that is deadline for eligibility in the 2007 Draft.  He is a few years away from even considering turning pro – which will let the Henrik Lundqvist and Al Montoya situation play out its course and leave the Rangers with another solid netminder in the system.




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