The 2010 Entry Draft is three months away, and NHL Central Scouting won't release its final rankings for another two weeks, but here at NHL.com draft headquarters, we're putting on our scouting hats.
Things certainly will change between now and when the teams meet in Los Angeles on June 25-26 for the annual selection extravaganza, but here is how a few of NHL.com's draft gurus are guessing things could play out in the first round.
The big battle obviously will come at the top spot, where there's no clear-cut choice. Will it be Windsor Spitfires left wing Taylor Hall? Or will a team opt for Plymouth Whalers center Tyler Seguin
? Or could Hall's teammate, defenseman Cam Fowler
, jump into the discussion? All three are extremely talented, and the debate could rage until the night of the draft. Not even NHL.com's experts were unanimous.
After the top three, who goes next? Could it be one of the elite defensemen available -- the Kingston Frontenacs' Erik Gudbranson
or Brandon Gormley
of the Moncton Wildcats? What about talented but injured Prince George Cougars forward Brett Connolly
? Or could one of the highly skilled Russian-born forwards available be the choice? Vladimir Tarasenko
, who plays in the KHL; the Barrie Colts' Alexander Burmistrov
; and Kirill Kabanov
, who just left the QMJHL's Moncton Wildcats to return home, have scouts drooling. And will there be a goalie selected in the first round?
The draft order in place for this exercise was based on inverse order of the standings on Friday, March 26. Four teams -- Toronto, Calgary, Philadelphia and New Jersey -- currently don't have first-round picks. Boston, Phoenix, Anaheim and Atlanta each have two choices in the top 30.
Take a look at what NHL.com thinks might happen, and if you feel so inclined, send us your opinion.
One advantage to making the picks from this side of the aisle -- we'll be able to do this again in a few weeks.