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Lessons to be learned in NHL.com's mock draft

By Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Staff Writer

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Lessons to be learned in NHL.com's mock draft
For a better understanding of fantasy hockey and where to target players you have your eye on, take a look at the 12-team league NHL.com assembled for the coming season.
With just over a week left until the 2010-11 NHL regular season begins, it's time to give you a look at NHL.com's fantasy hockey mock draft. This analysis is designed to help you understand where players are expected to be drafted and when you can target players you have your eye on.

Here are the rules for our mock draft. Twelve NHL.com experts got together and took part in a standard Yahoo! Snake draft. The roster consisted of two centers, two left wings, two right wings, four defensemen, two goalies and four bench spots. The statistical categories were that of a standard 6-by-4 league: goals, assists, plus/minus, penalty minutes, power-play points, shots on goal, wins, goals-against average, save percentage and shutouts.

Behold, our NHL.com Mock Draft:

Round 1
Pick
OVERALL
Player
team
1 1 Alex Ovechkin (Was - LW) Team Imperato
2 2 Sidney Crosby (Pit - C) Team Foster
3 3 Evgeni Malkin (Pit - C) Team Cubeta
4 4 Steven Stamkos (TB - C) Team Marrone
5 5 Ryan Miller (Buf - G) Team Morreale
6 6 Martin Brodeur (NJ - G) Team Holland
7 7 Nicklas Backstrom (Was - C) Team Feldman
8 8 Henrik Sedin (Van - C) Team Blinn
9 9 Zach Parise (NJ - LW) Team Schiazza
10 10 Ilya Kovalchuk (NJ - LW,RW) Team Kalan
11 11 Mike Green (Was - D) Team Haberman
12 12 Dany Heatley (SJ - LW,RW) Team Lozo

Best Pick: Dany Heatley - You can't really go wrong with any of these guys, but Heatley's dual position eligibility helps. Heater could also be in line for a huge season in his second year with San Jose.
Head Scratcher: Ryan Miller - Selecting an unproven goalie ahead of the League's most consistent and best goaltender is just not the best idea. Until Marty proves us wrong, he's got to be the No. 1 netminder drafted.
Summary: No shockers with the top three taken, but Team Marrone surprised a bit with Stamkos being selected at No. 4. Will he be able to repeat his great season from a year ago? Two goalies go in the opening round, as well as the league's most elite defenseman in Green.

Round 2
Pick
OVERALL
Player
team
1 13 Henrik Lundqvist (NYR - G) Team Lozo
2 14 Roberto Luongo (Van - G)
Team Haberman
3 15 Drew Doughty (LA - D)
Team Kalan
4 16 Ilya Bryzgalov (Pho - G) Team Schiazza
5 17 Joe Thornton (SJ - C) Team Blinn
6 18 Pavel Datsyuk (Det - C) Team Feldman
7 19 Daniel Sedin (Van - LW) Team Holland
8 20 Eric Staal (Car - C) Team Morreale
9 21 Martin St. Louis (TB - RW) Team Marrone
10 22 Ryan Getzlaf (Anh - C) Team Cubeta
11 23 Patrick Kane (Chi - RW) Team Foster
12 24 Jimmy Howard (Det - G) Team Imperato

Best Pick: Ryan Getzlaf - People continue to forget how talented he is. Don't let last season's injury scare you -- we've got him ranked 13th overall.
Head Scratcher: Drew Doughty - We all love Doughty, but 15th overall is simply too high.
Summary: Four goalies selected in this round with Lundqvist leading the way. Youngster Jimmy Howard could turn out to be a great pick for Team Imperato, as Howard's expected to get the full workload in Detroit this year. Possible mistake from Team Blinn here: Selecting Thornton before Datsyuk never seems like a good decision.

Round 3
Pick
OVERALL
Player
team
1 25 Marian Gaborik (NYR - RW) Team Imperato
2 26 Rick Nash (Cls - LW,RW)
Team Foster
3 27 Miikka Kiprusoff (Cgy - G) Team Cubeta
4 28 Duncan Keith (Chi - D) Team Marrone
5 29 Jarome Iginla (Cgy - RW) Team Morreale
6 30 Henrik Zetterberg (Det - C) Team Holland
7 31 Patrick Marleau (SJ - C,LW) Team Feldman
8 32 Alexander Semin (Was - RW) Team Blinn
9 33 Bobby Ryan (Anh - LW)
Team Schiazza
10 34 Jonathan Toews (Chi - C) Team Kalan
11 35 Jason Spezza (Ott - C)
Team Haberman
12 36 Tomas Vokoun (Fla - G) Team Lozo

Best Pick: Alexander Semin - Very similar player to Gaborik selected seven picks later; if Semin stays healthy, he could have a monster season.
Head Scratcher: Tomas Vokoun - Teams were starting to get desperate to grab their first goalie, but with plenty of other netminders still available, Vokoun could have been selected a couple of rounds later.
Summary: Keith was the third defenseman selected overall behind Green and Doughty -- we've got him ranked as the No. 2 blueliner. Team Haberman building a well-rounded squad with a defenseman, goalie and center being selected in the first three rounds.

Round 4
Pick
OVERALL
Player
team
1 37 Mike Richards (Phi - C) Team Lozo
2 38 Jeff Carter (Phi - C)
Team Haberman
3 39 Tuukka Rask (Bos - G)
Team Kalan
4 40 Anze Kopitar (LA - C)
Team Schiazza
5 41 Marc-Andre Fleury (Pit - G) Team Blinn
6 42 Dan Boyle (SJ - D) Team Feldman
7 43 Corey Perry (Ana - RW) Team Holland
8 44 Daniel Alfredsson (Ott - RW) Team Morreale
9 45 Pekka Rinne (Nsh - G) Team Marrone
10 46 Marian Hossa (Chi - RW) Team Cubeta
11 47 Jaroslav Halak (StL - G) Team Foster
12 48 Shea Weber (Nsh - D) Team Imperato

Best Pick: Corey Perry - Plenty of good picks in this round, but Perry (our 21st ranked player overall) is simply a fantasy stud in all categories.
Head Scratcher: Daniel Alfredsson - Aging veteran is more of a fifth or sixth round selection.
Summary: A couple of Flyers lead off round four -- Carter could outdo Richards this season, but both players should have solid years. Team Holland begins his draft strategy of drafting talented tough guys. Every team but Team Feldman has drafted their first goalie.

Round 5
Pick
OVERALL
Player
team
1 49 Vincent Lecavalier (TB - C) Team Imperato
2 50 Ryan Kesler (Van - C)
Team Foster
3 51 Nicklas Lidstrom (Det - D) Team Cubeta
4 52 Michael Cammalleri (Mon - LW) Team Marrone
5 53 Travis Zajac (NJ - C)
Team Morreale
6 54 Chris Stewart (Col - RW) Team Holland
7 55 Marty Turco (Chi - G)
Team Feldman
8 56 Craig Anderson (Col - G) Team Blinn
9 57 John Tavares (NYI - C) Team Schiazza
10 58 Jonathan Quick (LA - G) Team Kalan
11 59 Zdeno Chara (Bos - D) Team Haberman
12 60 Chris Pronger (Phi - D) Team Lozo

Best Pick: Michael Cammalleri - It was a tough call between Cammalleri and Lecavalier, but the Canadien forward is a left wing, so that gives him the edge.
Head Scratcher: Jonathan Quick - The emergence of Jonathan Bernier could significantly hurt Quick's value this season. Although it's safe to assume Quick will start the year as the No. 1.
Summary: Team Feldman becomes the last squad to grab their first goalie with Turco. Team Blinn selects goaltenders Anderson and Fleury in back-to-back rounds. Three solid defensemen also come off the board in Round 5, with Lidstrom being selected at No. 51 overall.

Round 6
Pick
OVERALL
Player
team
1 61 Phil Kessel (Tor - RW) Team Lozo
2 62 Johan Franzen (Det - RW)
Team Haberman
3 63 Paul Stastny (Col - C)
Team Kalan
4 64 Nathan Horton (Bos - RW) Team Schiazza
5 65 Sergei Gonchar (Ott - D) Team Blinn
6 66 Alexandre Burrows (Van - LW) Team Feldman
7 67 Dion Phaneuf (Tor - D) Team Holland
8 68 Patrik Elias (NJ - C, LW) Team Morreale
9 69 Niklas Backstrom (Min - G) Team Marrone
10 70 Jonas Hiller (Ana - G) Team Cubeta
11 71 Christian Ehrhoff (Van - D) Team Foster
12 72 Cam Ward (Car - G) Team Imperato

Best Pick: Johan Franzen - If healthy, the "Mule" could score 30-40 goals -- he had 18 points in 12 playoff contests last season.
Head Scratcher: Nathan Horton - While it's possible Horton could have a nice bounce-back season in his first year in Boston, No. 64 overall is still way too early for a risky pick.
Summary: Just two teams are still defenseman-less: Team Morreale and Team Schiazza. Team Foster's selection of Ehrhoff is an interesting pick. Ehrhoff emerged last season as the lead blueliner on a high-powered offensive team and it's possible he does even better in his second year with the Canucks.

Round 7
Pick
OVERALL
Player
team
1 73 Dustin Byfuglien (Atl - RW, D) Team Imperato
2 74 Thomas Vanek (Buf - LW) Team Foster
3 75 David Booth (Fla - LW) Team Cubeta
4 76 Mark Streit (NYI - D) Team Marrone
5 77 Brian Rafalski (Det - D) Team Morreale
6 78 Steve Downie (TB - RW) Team Holland
7 79 Danny Briere (Phi - RW) Team Feldman
8 80 Brad Richards (Dal - C) Team Blinn
9 81 Loui Eriksson (Dal - RW) Team Schiazza
10 82 Joe Pavelski (SJ - C,RW) Team Kalan
11 83 Simon Gagne (TB - LW) Team Haberman
12 84 Tyler Myers (Buf - D) Team Lozo

Best Pick: Brad Richards - A 91-point player in Round 7; pretty impressive for Team Blinn.
Head Scratcher: Dustin Byfuglien - While Big Buff is listed in our sleepers story, this is just far too early, even with defenseman position eligibility.
Summary: Team Holland drafts another gritty player that has the potential to score 20-25 goals. Team Cubeta sticks with his strategy of selecting players that were injured last season and have slipped a bit in fantasy drafts this season -- Malkin, Getzlaf, Hossa and now Booth.

Round 8
Pick
OVERALL
Player
team
1 85 Mikko Koivu (Min - C) Team Lozo
2 86 Semyon Varlamov (Was - G)
Team Haberman
3 87 Tomas Kaberle (Tor - D)
Team Kalan
4 88 Carey Price (Mon - G) Team Schiazza
5 89 Peter Mueller (Col - C, LW) Team Blinn
6 90 Erik Johnson (StL - D) Team Feldman
7 91 Scott Hartnell (Phi - LW) Team Holland
8 92 Antti Niemi (SJ - G)
Team Morreale
9 93 Dustin Penner (Edm - LW) Team Marrone
10 94 Lubomir Visnovsky (Ana - D) Team Cubeta
11 95 Kari Lehtonen (Dal - G) Team Foster
12 96 Alexander Frolov (NYR - LW) Team Imperato

Best Pick: Scott Hartnell - Counting on a bounce-back season from the tough left winger.
Head Scratcher: Semyon Varlamov - Listed as Washington's opening day starter, but Varlamov could possibly lose his job this season.
Summary: A lot of questionable goalies come off the board in Round 8: Varlamov, Price, Niemi and Lehtonen. All four of these guys could lose their jobs this season if things don't pan out as expected. Mueller could have been listed as the worst pick this round, but details about his concussion injury are still up in the air.

Round 9
Pick
OVERALL
Player
team
1 97 Matt Duchene (Col - C) Team Imperato
2 98 Bryan McCabe (Fla - D) Team Foster
3 99 Ales Hemsky (Edm - RW) Team Cubeta
4 100 Patric Hornqvist (Nsh - RW) Team Marrone
5 101 Brenden Morrow (Dal - LW) Team Morreale
6 102 Steve Ott (Dal - C)
Team Holland
7 103 Mikael Samuelsson (Van - RW) Team Feldman
8 104 Tobias Enstrom (Atl - D) Team Blinn
9 105 Alex Goligoski (Pit - D) Team Schiazza
10 106 Andrei Markov (Mon - D) Team Kalan
11 107 Zach Bogosian (Atl - D) Team Haberman
12 108 Patrick Sharp (Chi - C,LW) Team Lozo

Best Pick: Patrick Sharp - Ranked 67th overall in our rankings, Sharp was a great late-round pick, plus he has dual-position eligibility.
Head Scratcher: Steve Ott - Another tough guy for Team Holland. One too many, possibly?
Summary: Markov could end up being the best pick of this round if he gets healthy quickly. Duchene and Hemsky are two players that could be in line for breakout seasons. Two Thrashers d-men selected; while Enstrom put up the points last season, Bogosian clearly has more upside -- solid pick by Team Haberman.

Round 10
Pick
OVERALL
Player
team
1 109 Dustin Brown (LA - RW) Team Lozo
2 110 Ryan Smyth (LA - LW)
Team Haberman
3 111 David Backes (StL - RW)
Team Kalan
4 112 Teemu Selanne (Ana - RW) Team Schiazza
5 113 Mason Raymond (Van - LW) Team Blinn
6 114 Brian Campbell (Chi - D) Team Feldman
7 115 Sheldon Souray (Edm - D) Team Holland
8 116 Kimmo Timonen (Phi - D) Team Morreale
9 117 Tomas Plekanec (Mon - C) Team Marrone
10 118 Keith Yandle (Pho - D) Team Cubeta
11 119 Mike Knuble (Was - RW) Team Foster
12 120 Brent Seabrook (Chi - D) Team Imperato

Best Pick: Mike Knuble - One of the most underrated fantasy players, Knuble is a power-play beast who gets playing time with several superstars in Washington.
Head Scratcher: Sheldon Souray - Currently under contract but not on the ice with the Oilers -- if he gets traded in the near future, Souray can be a late-round steal.
Summary: Plekanec is having a big preseason and could be in line for another 70-point season. No goalies drafted in this round while several defensemen flew off the board.

Round 11
Pick
OVERALL
Player
team
1 121 Michael Del Zotto (NYR - D) Team Imperato
2 122 Jonathan Bernier (LA - G) Team Foster
3 123 Jay Bouwmeester (Cgy - D) Team Cubeta
4 124 Niklas Kronwall (Det - D) Team Marrone
5 125 Claude Giroux (Phi - RW) Team Morreale
6 126 Steve Mason (Cls - G) Team Holland
7 127 Brian Elliott (Ott - G) Team Feldman
8 128 Nikolai Zherdev (Phi - RW) Team Blinn
9 129 James Neal (Dal - LW) Team Schiazza
10 130 Brooks Laich (Was - LW)
Team Kalan
11 131 Victor Hedman (TB - D) Team Haberman
12 132 Kurtis Foster (Edm - D) Team Lozo

Best Pick: Claude Giroux - Extremely gifted talent could finally break out this season. If you're not convinced, go check out his preseason shootout goal on Sept. 24 against the Maple Leafs.
Head Scratcher: Victor Hedman - Solid stay-at-home defenseman just doesn't put up enough points to be a valuable fantasy player.
Summary: Several good players drafted in this round. While Del Zotto was probably selected a bit early, he could build off an impressive rookie season. Bernier could end up being this year's Tuukka Rask or Steve Mason from two seasons ago if he's able to take over the starting job from Jonathan Quick. Bouwmeester is in line for a nice bounce-back season while Zherdev and Neal could also have big years.

Round 12
Pick
OVERALL
Player
team
1 133 P.K. Subban (Mon - D) Team Lozo
2 134 Taylor Hall (Edm - LW)
Team Haberman
3 135 Stephane Robidas (Dal - D)
Team Kalan
4 136 James Wisniewski (NYI - D) Team Schiazza
5 137 Ryan Suter (Nsh - D) Team Blinn
6 138 Mark Giordano (Cgy - D) Team Feldman
7 139 Ryane Clowe (SJ - LW) Team Holland
8 140 Shane Doan (Pho - RW) Team Morreale
9 141 Antero Niittymaki (SJ - G) Team Marrone
10 142 Ray Whitney (Pho - LW) Team Cubeta
11 143 Ryan Whitney (Edm - D) Team Foster
12 144 Anton Stralman (Cls - D) Team Imperato

Best Pick: Ray Whitney - While he may not score a ton of goals, the "Wizard" will easily put up 60-70 points while skating on Phoenix's top line with Shane Doan and Wojtek Wolski.
Head Scratcher: James Wisniewski - Extremely injury-prone defenseman has never appeared in more than 69 games or scored more than 7 goals in a single season.
Summary: Whitney's linemate Shane Doan could have also gone down as the best pick in Round 12, but Whitney is a playmaker and should finish the season with more points. Youngsters Subban and Hall could obviously have great seasons, but it's also possible they flop as rookies.

Round 13
Pick
OVERALL
Player
team
1 145 Michael Leighton (Phi - G) Team Imperato
2 146 Ed Jovanovski (Pho - D) Team Foster
3 147 Brandon Dubinsky (NYR - C) Team Cubeta
4 148 Jack Johnson (LA - D) Team Marrone
5 149 Tyler Seguin (Bos - C) Team Morreale
6 150 Marc Savard (Bos - C) Team Holland
7 151 Derek Roy (Buf - C) Team Feldman
8 152 Milan Lucic (Bos - LW) Team Blinn
9 153 Wayne Simmonds (LA - RW) Team Schiazza
10 154 David Clarkson (NJ - RW) Team Kalan
11 155 Kyle Okposo (NYI - RW) Team Haberman
12 156 Wojtek Wolski (Pho - LW) Team Lozo

Best Pick: Derek Roy - Of course center is a deep position, but Roy still came just one point short of his third consecutive 70-plus-points season last year.
Head Scratcher: Jack Johnson – While his 36 points last season were a career high, Johnson's brutal plus/minus continues to derail his fantasy value year-to-year.
Summary: Several young, talented and gritty players selected in Round 13: Dubinsky, Lucic, Simmonds and Clarkson. All four players carry even more value in leagues that include hits. Marc Savard could end up being useless in fantasy leagues this season, but he was worth a flyer for Team Holland at pick 150.

Round 14
Pick
OVERALL
Player
team
1 157 Paul Martin (Pit - D) Team Lozo
2 158 Stephen Weiss (Fla - C)
Team Haberman
3 159 Kris Versteeg (Tor - LW)
Team Kalan
4 160 Olli Jokinen (Cgy - C) Team Schiazza
5 161 James van Riemsdyk (Phi - LW) Team Blinn
6 162 Niclas Bergfors (Atl - RW) Team Feldman
7 163 Dan Carcillo (Phi - LW) Team Holland
8 164 Andy Greene (NJ - D)
Team Morreale
9 165 Jakub Voracek (Cls - RW) Team Marrone
10 166 Rene Bourque (Cgy - RW) Team Cubeta
11 167 Andrei Kostitsyn (Mon - LW) Team Foster
12 168 Derick Brassard (Cls - C) Team Imperato

Best Pick: Olli Jokinen - Second time's the charm right? Jokinen's second go-around in Calgary should be better while skating on a line with Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay. Expect him to find his groove again.
Head Scratcher: Derick Brassard – Every year people think he's going to have a breakout season. Nine goals and 36 points in 79 games last year simply doesn't say breakout, does it?
Summary: Bourque was a close second as the best pick in Round 14. The former Blackhawk produces in every category and should build off his impressive 27-goal, 58-point season from a year ago. Team Feldman may have caught a steal in this round with the selection of Bergfors, who could pot 30 goals this season as Atlanta's most talented scorer.

Round 15
Pick
OVERALL
Player
team
1 169 Devin Setoguchi (SJ - RW) Team Imperato
2 170 Mike Ribeiro (Dal - C) Team Foster
3 171 Chris Mason (Atl - G) Team Cubeta
4 172 Pavel Kubina (TB - D) Team Marrone
5 173 Tomas Fleischmann (Was - LW) Team Morreale
6 174 Keith Ballard (Van - D) Team Holland
7 175 Guillaume Latendresse (Min - LW) Team Feldman
8 176 Tomas Holmstrom (Det - RW) Team Blinn
9 177 Kevin Bieksa (Van - D) Team Schiazza
10 178 Jordan Staal (Pit - C) Team Kalan
11 179 Dan Ellis (TB - G) Team Haberman
12 180 Jason Pominville (Buf - RW) Team Lozo

Best Pick: Mike Ribeiro - Hands down the best pick in Round 15. He has recorded 273 points in 305 games since joining the Stars four years ago -- that's 0.90 points-per-game. We've got Ribeiro ranked 118th overall, so grabbing him at 170 is clearly a steal.
Head Scratcher: Chris Mason - Might not even win the starting goaltending job in Atlanta against Ondrej Pavelec. Enough said.
Summary: Slightly worse than Ribeiro, Pominville is another late-round steal for solid points production. Kubina could have a better year than his 38 points from last season as he's back with Tampa Bay this year and could be the top d-man on the top PP unit.

Round 16
Pick
OVERALL
Player
team
1 181 Antoine Vermette (Cls - C) Team Lozo
2 182 Erik Karlsson (Ott - D)
Team Haberman
3 183 Jonas Gustavsson (Tor - G)
Team Kalan
4 184 Alexander Edler (Van - D) Team Schiazza
5 185 Johnny Boychuk (Bos - D) Team Blinn
6 186 Kris Letang (Pit - D) Team Feldman
7 187 Matt Carkner (Ott - D) Team Holland
8 188 Matt Carle (Phi - D)
Team Morreale
9 189 Jamie Benn (Dal - LW) Team Marrone
10 190 Ryan Callahan (NYR - RW)
Team Cubeta
11 191 Jamie Langenbrunner (NJ - RW) Team Foster
12 192 Martin Hanzal (Pho - C) Team Imperato

Best Pick: Jamie Benn - See our sleepers story. We love him.
Head Scratcher: Matt Carkner - Yet another tough guy for Team Holland. While their squad may have PIMs wrapped up week-to-week, Carkner offers absolutely nothing else.
Summary: Several interesting picks in the final round. Vermette had 65 points last year while playing with Rick Nash and is expected to do so again; Karlsson could be the No. 2 defenseman to Sergei Gonchar in Ottawa, which should result in a big year for the youngster; Letang could be the new Gonchar for the Pens this year; Callahan also made it into our sleepers story; Langenbrunner had 61 points last season and if he gets the chance to skate with either Zach Parise or Ilya Kovalchuk, similar numbers should be expected.


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