By Brian Weidler, "Game Time" Prospect Department
With the NHL Entry Draft only two days away, it's a good time to review some of the mock drafts that have been done, in order to see what direction the "experts" have decided the Blues will be taking on Friday and Saturday in Ottawa.
The chart below shows the results of several of the more influential mock drafts; the "Canuck71 Mock Draft" at the "Hockey's Future" site, is the draft in which your GTPD particpated as the Blues' general manager (full results of the Blues' haul in that draft are documented IN THIS THREAD).
As you can see, the consensus among those in the know is that the Blues will settle on one of the so-called "Big Four" defense prospects available in this draft -- in alphabetical order, Zack Bogosian of the Peterborough Petes (OHL), Drew Doughty of the Guelph Storm (OHL), Alex Pietrangelo of the Niagara Ice Dogs (OHL), and Luke Schenn of the Kelowna Rockets (WHL).
Each of these young men brings something a little different to the table -- Bogosian is an all-around defenseman who is known for big hits; Doughty is said to have "off-the-charts" hockey sense and is a premier offensive catalyst; Pietrangelo is a Chris Pronger in the making, physically as well as in his game; and Schenn is considered the most "NHL-ready" of any d-prospect in this draft, having excelled on a grand stage at the World Junior Championships for gold medalist Canada.
. . .
L to R: Zack Bogosian, Drew Doughty, Alex Pietrangelo, Luke Schenn
As might be expected, the rumors are hot and heavy that the Blues will trade this pick. Depending on who you listen to, the Blues are on the threshold of:
-- Trading the fourth overall pick for someone else's Top Ten pick, which they wil use to select either stud forward Colin Wilson of Boston University or Lars Eller's countryman and Frolunda teammate Mikkel Boedker, and also picking up another pick or two for Jarmo Kelalainen and Co. to use in this draft, or...
-- Trading the fourth overall pick for a first-line NHL scoring forward and a prospect, using their two second-round picks to select from a group of second-tier defense prospects that includes collegian Cody Golubef, Brandon's tower of power Colby Robak, Saskatoon import Jyri Niemi, and Minnesota high schooler Aaron Ness.
The safe bet is that the Blues will stay put with their pick, and that they will choose a player who will team with Erik Johnson to create one of the top young one-two punches on defense in the NHL. Our thinking here at Game Time Draft HQ is that the appeal of Russian forward Nikita Filatov will be too much for one of Los Angeles or Atlanta to pass up; the team that doesn't take Filatov will select Bogosian, and Doughty will fall to the Blues in the fourth spot.
Don't forget to check in here at "Game Time" on Friday night for the Live Blog of the first round. Our esteemed online editor will be hosting the festivities here, and your GTPD will be providing live updates to Brad via text and cell phone from the Draft Party at Scottrade. Also, look for a full Blues' Draft Review in this space first thing Sunday morning, guaranteed to be more in-depth and content-rich than anything else you can get on-line or in print in this market. Until then, remember... "if we do not prepare for ourselves the role of the hammer, there will be nothing left but that of the anvil." Auf wiedersehen.