It's Not Done After Number One

Although there are 30 teams in the National Hockey League clamouring for the first pick in the projected entry draft on July 30th in Ottawa, only one team can get it, and therefore Sidney Crosby. But Sid the Kid is not alone in this draft.

Even though the other young hockey players entered in the draft have not joined the pantheon of sports stars who became known by simply their first name before they entered the pros (eg. Lebron, Michael), and do not have the talent set of Crosby, does not mean that they will go home without a team stating their name, position, and most recent team or country played for on the podium at Canada’s capital’s Westin Hotel. Someone has to be chosen #2, #3, and so on and so forth. The draft’s number one question is : Who?

Benoit Pouliot

The OHL’s 2004-2005 rookie of the year led the Sudbury Wolves to the second round of the junior league’s playoffs, before having his season ended by the Ottawa 67s. In the final game of that series (the sixth), he was not at his best, not contributing offensively, and taking some bad penalties for whacking opposing netminder Danny Battachio on the pads while passing him after a whistle. However, that is not to say the skilled winger (born in the city where he’ll be drafted) is that undisciplined throughout every game. He was able to put 29 goals in the back of the net during 69 games with the Wolves, while assisting on 38 others. The 67-point scorer was only picked in the 11th round of the OHL midget draft, and didn’t play as a 16-year old, but his emerging as a perennial junior star this past season will surely put him in a position to hear, “Benoit Pouliot,” in one of the first three picks this year. In fact, the only man who might stand in his way for being #2, is…

Jack Johnson

The rugged, agressive, 18-year old led the US to the under-18 gold medal at the Under-18 World Championships. He trains with his country’s developement program, playing 42 games this past year. The defenceman recorded 42 points this past year, 14 of them goals. The hard hitter went to Shattuck Prep School in Minnesota with Sid the Kid, and talked about going 1-2 in the draft. Although he has committed to playing this coming year for the University of Michigan, that dream could certainly come true come July 30th.

Bobby Ryan

The son of a charged wife-beater is basically the only other player who could seriously be considered for the coveted number 2 spot (although he probably won’t beat out Johnson or Pouliot for it). He played this past season for Owen Sound, leading the team in scoring and pacing it to a playoff berth. He is an awkward skater, something that could hold him from consideration for #2 when draft day rolls around. However, the power forward has connections in the NHL, with Flyers GM Bob Clarke a family friend. If the Flyers do not come up with one of the top 4 or 5 picks, they will not get him, unless Clarke pulls out a trade to acquire this right winger.

Anje Kopitar

Although the Slovenian big man will not be #2, he might still be one of the top 3 or 4 selections. The centre is a veteran, like Johnson, of the Under-18 World Championships, leading his home nation to second place at the 2004 version. He does not come from a country with a hockey reputation, but still produced 49 points in 30 games for the nation. The fact that Slovenia has produced no other players of NHL pedigree will probably scare teams away, although on unknown squad had him at #3 on their board. Although his countrymen aren’t strong in the sport, he will most likely be chosen in the top 5 of the draft.

Gilbert Brule

He was once considered number 2, but the Vancouver Giants centre’s draft stock fell, plummeting him no higher than #4 on any team’s draft board. However, the 5’10, 175-pound scored a hat-trick at the CHL’s Top Prospects Game with a hat-trick, an event that Crosby skipped. He may be small, but he battles like a big man, and also scores. Brule netted 39 goals in 70 games for the WHL’s Giants. He was also the CHL’s Scholastic Player of the Year, a turn-on for everyone in the league. He will be picked in the middle of the top 10, scouts believe.

Some other top prospects in the draft are:

– Carey Price, G, Tri-City Americans (WHL)

– Jack Skille, LW, US National Team

– Marc Staal, D, Sudbury Wolves (OHL)

– Ryan O’Marra, C, Erie Otters (OHL)

– Marek Zagrapan, C, Chicoutimi Saganuees (QMJHL)

Well, on July 30th, the number one question for the draft will be answered: Who’s #2? Review the prospects. Make your choices. And enjoy the draft!

39 Responses to It's Not Done After Number One

  1. Maximus says:

    I remember in 1991 everyone talked about Eric Lindros. I recall articles about how Pittsburgh would benefit if they traded Lemieux to Quebec for the big E. He was seen as the best 18 year old prospect out there. He did have a decent career but it is not what hockey fans had invision. Sidney Crosby is the best 18 year old prospect but there might be a better hockey player at 25 that will be drafted behind him. Remember that Alexi Kovalev, Marcus Nasland, Petr Forsberg, and Scott Niedermeyer were all drafted behind Eric Lindros. Who would you take from the 1991 draft. Therefore, it is possible that one of these kids will develop into a better hockey player. Long winded way of saying Jack Johnson for number 2.

  2. GretzNYR99 says:

    I like Pouliot and Brule. If it’s not Crosby, I’d love to see the Rangers get either Pouliot, Brule, or Johnson. Kopitar is a great prospect, maybe one of the most dynamic players to come into the draft Kovalchuk. He’s the total offensive package, plus size.

  3. CBA says:

    Looking at those players from 1991 you mentioned right now, I would want Forsberg probably. However, in 1991, I don’t criticise Quebec’s decision to choose Lindros. He was the best of them back then.

  4. G_Money says:

    Don’t really understand as to why everybody has talked off Brule.

    I think he is a fantastic player. He is only 5’10 but he plays like a monster when it comes to being aggressive. His point totals were still more impressive than that of Pouliot, Brule had 89 PTS last time I checked.

    Cherry is hooked on his kid and I find myself to be as well. He’ll be a much more offensive Peca.

  5. Nolan02 says:

    I think I would take Johnson, Pouliot and then Brule. I like the way Brule plays even though he had somewhat of a mediocre season last year in the W.

    I would love to see a good hockey market in the US get crosby. Maybe someone like Minni or LA or Chicago. Maybe it would actually draw interest in ANA or FLA. If those places could get excited about Hockey it could only be a good thing.

  6. BWbullies says:

    The big picture is it is all expectation. Of coarse they had to pick him it is the same as crosby is now, but look at what they got for him. Players that were picked after him ended up being better. So hopefully this doesn’t go to crosby’s head like it did to Eric and became a flop.

  7. 19Yzerman says:

    I read an article in the Ann Arbor News about Jack Johnson and the US to the under-18 gold medal team at the Under-18 World Championships. The article took up most of the frontpage of that days sports section.

    I am looking forward to seeing him play for the Wolverines.

    I can see it now if the team who draws the #1 overall pick drafts someone other then Crosby the cameras won’t be on that player during his glory moment of being selected #1overall . They will be on Crosby who would need a forklift to get his jaw off the floor. I don’t know which would be more surprising to see him not go #1 or him be a bust?

    This draft will be known as the 2005 Sidney Crosby lotto Ball sweepstakes draft.

  8. CechmanekForVezina says:

    I’d think it’d be more surprising if he didn’t go #1. There’s more hype around him (in the hockey community) than there was for Lindros, especialy since he’s all we’ve been able to talk about for a few months.

  9. guinsfan4life says:

    In light of the CBA, I am going to make an unheard of proclamation; Sidney Crosby is an overrvalued pick.

    In the past economic hell, teams would have scrambled and offered the house for the rights to pick Crosby. Free agents were overpriced, talent was not as highly valued, and scouting departments not as deep. Crosby is the type of player who can immediately add skill to an otherwise drab roster. Perhaps the next Gretzky?

    However, in the new NHL, where we will see free agents at an affordable price, the necessity to draft a Crosby to see immediate success is not a must to be competitive. Some teams will hire more scouts to find players so they are able to build from within and find other players who can contribute to the success of the big league clubs. Teams will find 3 players to fit under the cap for as much as they will pay Crosby.

    So there. The only person who doesn’t think there should be as much stock put in this draft as currently is.

  10. Timaa says:

    As a Flyers fan, of course if we don’t get that #1 pick being Crosby, I’d love to see Bobby Ryan in Philly. Being from Cherry Hill, NJ, he’s somewhat of a local boy. I’ve never seen him play, but followed juniors this year, and have heard a lot of great things, other than his skating ability. He sounds like he could be a big, hulking winger, with a bunch of offense. Does anybody else have any more info on him? If we don’t get one of the top 5 picks, I’d love to see Clarkie wheel and deal to get this kid. It’d be nice to see him on the wing of a Richards or Carter centered line. With that said, please God, please, send us Crosby. I think we’re owed one over the whole Lindros saga. I can only imagine what the 90’s would have been like if Forsberg stayed a Flyer.

  11. Maximus says:

    Kopitar comes from a country that traditionally does not develop hockey players. In the last ten years or so I cannot recall one player (even really skilled) coming to the NHL and dominating. I could be wrong but every draft year there is some kid from Switzerland, Belerus, France or where ever saying that they have increadable skill. However, those skills do not seem to translate to the NHL or AHL for that matter. I would not take Kopitar with a top 5 pick.

  12. CechmanekForVezina says:

    If we’re not that high, like middle of the pack, I’d like the Flyers to get a defenseman. We drained our top prospects besides Pitkanen to go for a cup in recent years (St. Jacques, Woywitka, Vandemeer), and it’s the weakest spot on the current roster besides left wing (unless Kapanen moves there as rumored). Clarke and his scoutss have a knack for picking good defensemen, so I think it’s time again after picking Carter and Richards in 03 and not having a pick till the third round in 04.

  13. TheCoach says:

    What’s wrong with you people? In no way was Eric Lindros a flop. He was the best player in the league for a period of time. He was on pace to be a sure hall of famer and one of the top scorers in the game. In fact, Lindros has averaged 1.2 PPG over his career while Forsberg has averaged 1.28. That’s pretty similiar.

    Having injury problems does not make you a flop. Lindros was a solid #1 pick.

  14. CBA says:

    Lindros was not a flop – he just had a disappointing career compared to those of Forsberg, Kovalev, etc.

  15. Timaa says:

    Yeah, I hear ya’, but I think we need immediate help on the blue-line, and I hope we can fill that need through free agency (I hope we can steal Niedermayer away from the hated Devils). If we do get a middle of the first round pick, yeah, let’s go for a young d-man, or if we get that “second place is first loser” pick then yeah, let’s pick up Jack Johnson. Other than him, who are some other defensemen prospects? Hopefully, we wont have to worry about this problem, picking at #1.

  16. Flyer_Fan says:

    I was reading the Courier Post write up.

    Ryan seems to be a pretty good choice if it is not Crosby.

    It sounds like he is gonna at least be a first rounder, so he must be good.

    He played with Owen Sound the past year. (juniors)

    It would be a year or two before he would crack the NHL though.

    Whomever we get, The future is bright for our team!

    TONS of great prospects.

    They have quite a few goalies in the system that will be in the NHL someday in my opinion.

  17. CechmanekForVezina says:

    I really don’t know much about the prospects entering this draft, but for the first time in a while I have trust in Clarke and the scouts for this draft. They’ve had waaaay too much time to think about it, and I’m sure those scouts weren’t just sitting on their butts all year while the players were.

    I’m not sure if they’d have enough money for Niedermyer, but isn’t Todd Simpson available? He’s always been solid and I think he’d fit well with Hitch*****.

  18. Weidner says:

    You are correct about the defensemen being the weakest spot. There seems to be some roster shifting to be done there.

    The left-wings shouldn’t be that bad.

    Potential Flyers lineup:

    L-WING /// CENTER /// R-WING














  19. brewstar03 says:

    Will the draft be on TV?

  20. NYRules says:

    thank you i hate people saying lindros sucks and was a waste. He was the most dominant player for about 3-4 years other than Feds in 94, but got unlucky with injurys. Had he never gotten injured hed surely be up there with the likes of Gretz Mess and Lemiuex for the top players in recent times.

  21. NYRules says:

    I think he should go to chicago but not if theyre going to do anything to help him. If they dont do anything then LA or NYR. It was great back in the early 90’s…. Gretz vs Mess….. Kurri, Robitaille against tikannen and Graves. Good stuff, we need more players like all of them in this league.

  22. TheCoach says:

    I think Lindros has had just a good a career as Kovalev.

    And even if I had to redo that draft, I still would have picked Lindros top 5, or even top 3. He had a dominant stretch and has put up 800 points. That’s better than most #1 picks.

  23. GretzNYR99 says:

    Ask Jay Bouwmeester how he felt in 2002…

  24. titans says:

    What does being “The son of a charged wife-beater” have to do with anything? His dad beat up his poor mother and this is a factor as to wether he can shoot a puck? Hmmmm…

  25. titans says:

    Yea that should be as riveting as an infomercial at 3:00am.

  26. nordiques100 says:

    and lindros won the MVP, kovalev never did. in fact it would be kovalev who was not as good as he should have been. he always teased the rangers with his skill but never put up the big numbers until he went to the pens.

  27. Maximus says:

    What did I say? He had a decent career but not what people invisioned. That is true….when he was drafted he was suspose to be the best thing ever to hit hockey….In reality he did not live up to the hype… no one could… He was not as talented as Lemieux or Gretzky….He was a great player for a couple of years. Yes, injuries will probably keep him out of the hall. (He always skated with his head down). I was not putting him down. I think Forsberg, Naslund, et all caught up to him as they matured. Crosby will not live up to the hype. He could go on to have a great career but I doubt he will come close to Gretzky’s records. There will be people that will then be negative because he did not match their expectations. If he has the same career as a Dale Hawerchuck it will be a great career. However, I bet people would be disappointed.

  28. Maximus says:

    Kovalev was one of the reason’s NYR won the stanely cup in 1994. He had over 21 points in that playoff run. Not all players develop at the same rate. You are right that Kovalev did not live up to his potential but he still is a great player capable of being the best player in the world on any given night.

  29. Maximus says:

    I did not say Lindros was a flop….Nobody could of lived up to his hype. I don”t think Crosby will live up to his hype either. If he does not have a Gretzky career people will say he was not good. I think he will be like a Dale Hawerchuck.

  30. Maximus says:

    Yes, TSN will show it Friday at 4:00et.

  31. ranger_fan says:

    Points arent everything in the playoffs. Kovalev was a smaller reason the Rangers won, Richter, Leetch, Messier, and Mattau were the primary reasons

  32. ranger_fan says:

    “The order of the draft will be unveiled, starting with the 30th pick and ending with the prized first.”

    So let me guess, now the Rangers will get one ball, or do we have the best chance to land #30?

  33. Maximus says:

    Kovalev was awesome in that playoff….a major reason NYR won. Leetch, Messier, Richter et all did not win when Kovalev was not a ranger

  34. CBA says:

    Yeah the draft lottery – but I don’t know if the real draft will be on.

  35. Aetherial says:

    Agreed, I have no idea what place that comment had in the article.

  36. gobruins08 says:

    The draft will be done 1-30 but the picks will be revealed to the public 30-1

  37. CechmanekForVezina says:

    Roenick is definitely going to be on the right, he said Hitch wants him to play with Primeau. I think the lines will look more like this

    L-WING /// CENTER /// R-WING





    Awesome first line, Primeau and Kapanen play great together. Pure scoring on the second line, Handzus is best when making plays and checking people away/crowding the net for his scoring wings. Solid checking third line with Richards there to pump up the scoring. Brashear and Stevenson can score with the right catalyst. And the fourth line could be an awesome youth line with Carter leading it. I don’t know who would fit on left there, probably someone else from the Phantoms. I think you’re on to something with Sharp moving to a wing though, we have too many centers but you just can’t have Sharp sit all the time.

  38. CBA says:

    I was just adding some information, OK? It doesn’t mean anything!

  39. killerchris says:

    That kind of logic is silly. Look at Thomas Vanek from Austria, he proved himself at the world championships and lit it up in the AHL this past year.

    I understand that it’s difficult to put your faith in a person when there aren’t any comparisons in terms countrymen that have preceded him. But, the guy is well, built has tons of skill and has shown at a reasonably high level.

    Kopitar is a top 5 player in this draft and I think the Blue Jackets will have a tough time passing him up unless someone falls.

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