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2006 Draft Tracker

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First Round Selections

1. St. Louis Blues - Erik Johnson, D, U.S. National Under-18
- The fifth American player (Lawton, Modano, Berard, DiPietro) to be taken first overall at the NHL Entry Draft. Bob McKenzie's take: "This is a franchise defenceman who scouts say is better at age 18 than Chris Pronger is. He's ready to go."
2. Pittsburgh Penguins - Jordan Staal, C, Peterborough (OHL)
- Eric (2nd) and Jordan Staal (2nd) are the second highest duo of brothers taken after Pierre (1st) and Sylvain Turgeon (2nd). Pierre McGuire's take: "There was a lot of talk about trading this pick, and I would have been surprised if the Penguins didn't take Staal."
3. Chicago Blackhawks - Jonathan Toews, C, Univ. of North Dakota (WCHA)
- Toews played in 2005-06 with the University of North Dakota and with Canada's 2006 World Junior Team. Bob McKenzie's take: "Toews is the most complete player in the draft who can play all three zones on the ice well. A born leader."
4. Washington Capitals - Nicklas Backstrom, C, Brynas (Sweden)
- The Capitals let Ovechkin announce the selection, and he just might be playing on the same line with him next season. Bob McKenzie's take: "This guy is a great player and the sky's the limit. Scouts say he compares well to Peter Forsberg."
5. Boston Bruins - Phil Kessel, C, Univ. of Minnesota (WCHA)
- The Bruins make their highest selection in the draft since picking Joe Thornton first overall in 1997. Bob McKenzie's take: "Kessel is the best pure scorer available at the draft. He has great game-breaking ability, with great speed and hands."
6. Columbus Blue Jackets - Derick Brassard, C, Drummondville (QMJHL)
- Highest Drummondville forward since Daniel Dore (5th in 1988 - Quebec), Daniel Briere was 24th in 1996 to Winnipeg. Pierre McGuire's take: "You put him in with Gilbert Brule and Rick Nash, and they're going to be an even more explosive, high-scoring team."
7. New York Islanders - Kyle Okposo, RW, Des Moines (USHL)
- At seventh overall, Okposo is the highest player ever taken directly out of the USHL. Bob McKenzie's take: "This guy is a bull in a china shop - a big physical power forward who loves to hit and contribute to the offence."
8. Phoenix Coyotes - Peter Mueller, C, Everett (WHL)
- Mueller attended high school with fellow Coyotes first rounder Blake Wheeler. Youngest member of the 2006 U.S. World Junior team. Bob McKenzie's take: "Scouts had him going anywhere from eight to 30. He's a power play specialist who skates well with good speed."
9. Minnesota Wild - James Sheppard, C, Cape Breton (QMJHL)
- Trains with Andy O'Brien, the conditioning coach for FLA and same trainer Sidney Crosby used to improve on his quickness. Bob McKenzie's take: "A power forward with size 15 skates! He knows what it takes to win, is good defensively and has good leadership."
10. Florida Panthers - Michael Frolik, C, Kladno (Czech Republic)
- Frolik played in the 2005 WJHC as a 16 year old and had three goals in 13 tournament games. Bob McKenzie's take: "He was rated as a top three player but had a rough year. He's a home run or a miss, but most believe he's a home run."
11. Los Angeles Kings - Jonathan Bernier, G, Lewiston (QMJHL)
- Kings take the consensus No. 1 goalie for the first time since 1994, when Jamie Storr went seventh overall. Pierre McGuire's take: "Lewiston coach Clement Jodoin says this is an unbelievable goaltender with great skill."
12. Atlanta Thrashers - Bryan Little, C, Barrie (OHL)
- The Thrashers take a Round 1 centre for the first time since 1999, when Patrik Stefan went first overall. Bob McKenzie's take: "He's a solid 5-10 and 190 pounds. His hockey sense is outstanding, and brings a great deal of competitiveness."
13. Toronto Maple Leafs - Jiri Tlusty, LW, Kladno (Czech Republic)
- Tlusty was captain of the 2006 World Under-18 Czech Republic team. He had 46 points in 99 career games with Kladno Jr. (29-17). Bob McKenzie's take: "His temperment is of a guy from Flin Flon, he's resilient, plays a very consistent game and skates well."
14. Vancouver Canucks - Michael Grabner, RW, Spokane (WHL)
- Grabner is just the fourth Spokane player to go in the first round (Ty Jones-97, Ference-97, Falloon-91). Bob McKenzie's take: "This guy is all about offence, an interesting pick by the Canucks, who must have guessed he was going to go this high."
15. Tampa Bay Lightning - Riku Helenius, G, Ilves (Finland Jr.)
- The Lightning get some much-needed development in net. Bob McKenzie's take: "ISS ranked him as the top goalie, he played well in last year's Under-18 and could be a solid Finnish netminder."
16. San Jose Sharks (from Montreal) - Ty Wishart, D, Prince George (WHL)
- Wishart was a member of the Under-18 Junior World Cup team that won gold in the Czech Republic. Bob McKenzie's take: "Not an offensive player, but has leadership abilities and brings a lot of size and speed."
17. Los Angeles Kings (from Minnesota-Edmonton) - Trevor Lewis, C, Des Moines (USHL)
- Lewis and highly ranked Kyle Okposo made up one of the most dangerous lines in the USHL (62-71, 133 pts, +53). Bob McKenzie's take: "A lot of teams liked this player. The Kings think of him as a complete player like Rod Brind'Amour."
18. Colorado Avalanche - Colorado, Chris Stewart, RW, Kingston (OHL)
- Better numbers in his first two OHL seasons (117 pts in 126 gms) than brother Anthony (113 pts in 133 gms). Bob McKenzie's take: "At 6-1, 228 pounds, he's a linebacker on skates. He was bulked up with a football-type body, but is getting in better shape."
19. Anaheim Ducks - Mark Mitera, D, Univ. of Michigan (CCHA)
- He played for US in 2006 WJHC and went from being the seventh defenceman to a number three, won gold at the 2005 World U-18s. Bob McKenzie's take: "He's a smart, safe pick, at least another year or two away. He's a reliable, stay-at-home player."
20. Montreal Canadiens (from San Jose) - David Fischer, D, Apple Valley H.S., Minn. (USHS)
- Won the Mr. Hockey Award, given to the outstanding senior boys high school hockey player in the state of Minnesota. Bob McKenzie's take: "A bit off the board, but Fischer is a big mobile defenceman who can become an offensive player."
21. New York Rangers - Bobby Sanguinetti, D, Owen Sound (OHL)
- Fourth in points for Owen Sound (14-51) in 68 games, and tied for second in OHL for playoff points by a defenceman with 15. Bob McKenzie's take: "Sanguinetti is a great playmaker, but scouts have said he's not that physical. However, that does not mean soft."
22. Philadelphia Flyers - Claude Giroux, RW, Gatineau (QMJHL)
- Giroux won the league's rookie scoring title after collecting 103 points and tied for 11th in QMJHL overall scoring. Bob McKenzie's take: "His agent Larry Kelly says this guy has Doug Gilmour's heart and vision. And scouts agree with him."
23. Washington Capitals (from Nashville) - Semen Varlamov, G, Yaroslavl 2 (Russia)
- First Russian netminder to be taken in the first round since Boston's Evgeni Ryabchikov in 1994. Bob McKenzie's take: "He's not a prototypical Russian goalie - with his agility and athleticism, this guy has the ability to steal games."
24. Buffalo Sabres - Dennis Persson, D, Vasteras (Sweden Jr.)
- The Sabres have recently made a run of drafting solid forwards, and Persson addresses the need to build on D. Bob McKenzie's take: "The Sabres want help on the back-end and obviously see potential in him because Buffalo went a bit off the board."
25. St. Louis Blues (from New Jersey) - Patrik Berglund, C, Vasteras (Sweden Jr.)
- Won 'TV puck' award at elite Swedish Amateur tourney. Sundin and Naslund were past winners. Bob McKenzie's take: "The Blues obviously wouldn't have made this deal unless they were in love with this player. His performance at the U-18s impressed people."
26. Calgary Flames - Leland Irving, G, Everett (WHL)
- Set Everett records for wins, saves, GP and GAA in a season. Led CHL goalies with 3, 791 minutes played. Bob McKenzie's take: "Teams had this kid ranked as the No. 1 netminder at the draft. He already has an invite to the 2007 WJHC development camp."
27. Dallas Stars - Ivan Vishnevski, D, Rouyn-Noranda (QMJHL)
- He averaged almost a point a game as a rookie defenseman in the QMJHL and was seventh in league rookie scoring. Bob McKenzie's take: "This guy has terrific speed - he flies! And he's not the least bit afraid to get into the offence attack."
28. Ottawa Senators - Nick Foligno, LW, Sudbury (OHL)
- Mike Foligno's son led Sudbury in points (70) and assists (46) and finished 40th in OHL total points. Bob McKenzie's take: "He'll bring grit and sandpaper to the Senators. He can be a bit emotional, but the Senators can pull him back in."
29. Phoenix Coyotes (from Detroit) - Chris Summers, D, U.S. National Under-18
- Summers helped the U.S. capture gold at the 2006 U-18s and plans on playing defence next year at the University of Michigan. Bob McKenzie's take: "This guy is one of the best skaters in the draft, and also played for a while as forward."
30. New Jersey Devils (from St. Louis-Carolina) - Matthew Corrente, D, Saginaw (OHL)
- In his second season with the Saginaw Spirit of the OHL, Corrente scored six goals and 30 points with 172 PIM. Bob McKenzie's take: "He's a mobile, puck-carrying blueliner who is not afraid to get tough and drop the gloves."
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