ESPN.com's 2009 NHL mock draft
Here is our first 2009 mock draft heading into the NHL's official proceedings on June 26-27 in Montreal:Josh Bailey, an out-of-the-box pick. Chris Pronger were reconsidering. Still, he looks like a franchise defenseman and a perfect fit for Tampa Bay; maybe Tavares would look good five years from now on Steven Stamkos' wing, but Hedman offers yang to last year's No. 1's yin. Hedman says he tries to model his game after Nicklas Lidstrom, and at 18, he does a passable impression -- if Lidstrom were 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds. Like most Swedes, Hedman would probably play one more season in Sweden before joining his NHL club. That's a point he'll get pressed about in interviews at NHL Central Scouting's combine. Another question: Why didn't he look for his offense more at the under-20s? Joe Sakic will be back (and with the certainty Sakic won't be around for a long time), Duchene would fill a crying need. Powerfully built at 5-11 and 200 pounds, Duchene has a low center of gravity (probably a few inches north of his ankles), making him hard to knock off the puck. Magnus Svensson-Paajarvi, forward, Timra (Sweden): The best skater at the draft, an absolute blur. Svensson-Paajarvi first impressed at the 2008 world juniors. He went into the under-20s last winter with even higher expectations, but didn't quite elevate his game. His father is a hockey agent back home with a client list that includes Henrik Zetterberg. The Kings have no need for a blueliner here (recent drafts, including last year's No. 1 Drew Doughty, have the defense corps well-stocked. Svensson-Paajarvi has a decent frame to build on (6-foot-1, 200 pounds, and maybe still growing).
8. Dallas StarsDmitry Kulikov, defense, Drummondville (QMJHL): Kulikov made a seamless transition to major junior hockey since coming over from Russia last fall. The Stars can't count on Sergei Zubov, as injuries have finally taken their toll on one of the league's most underrated talents. Kulikov as Zubov redux? Quite possible, though he's a little less dynamic offensively than Zubov was at the same stage.
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