NHL.com experts make their 2010 Round 1 selections
Winning the NHL Draft Lottery was the easy part. The hard part will be deciding who to take.
Do they opt for dynamic left wing Taylor Hall? Or they choose high-scoring center Tyler Seguin? What about one of the highly talented defensemen available?
The Oilers are lucky -- they can wait another few weeks to make their decision. Here at NHL.com, however, we have our own work to do.
In the second edition of NHL.com's draft experts make their guesses at how the first round will play out.
After solving the Taylor/Tyler debate, the next question was which players go next, as the 2010 draft could be one of the deeper ones of recent vintage. Just ranking the top-flight defensemen alone is enough of a challenge. There isn't a lot of difference between Kingston's Erik Gudbranson, Windsor's Cam Fowler, Edmonton's Mark Pysyk, Moncton's Brandon Gormley and Derek Forbort of the U.S. National Team Development Program, because all of them have NHL star potential.
And then there are top-scoring forwards to pick through like Portland's Ryan Johansen and Nino Niederreiter, Barrie's Alexander Burmistrov, Medicine Hat's Emerson Etem, Windsor's Austin Watson and Minnesota scholastic star Nick Bjugstad. Also, there are talented European forwards like Finland's Mikael Granlund and Russia's Vladimir Tarasenko.
The decisions are no easier in net, with U.S. National Team star Jack Campbell and talented Seattle netminder Calvin Pickard from which to choose.
The draft order for this exercise won't exactly jibe with the final order, which won't be set until after the Stanley Cup is handed out. But for now, we went with the first 14 picks in the order by the lottery, and the final 16 slots in order of regular-season points.
Take a look at what NHL.com thinks might happen, and if you feel so inclined, send us your opinion.