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Hoping For A Lucky Seven

by Mike Ulmer / Toronto Maple Leafs
Lucky Seven.

That, of course, is the hope for Maple Leafs fans going into the NHL entry draft, July 21 in Ottawa.

Like many drafts, there is no suspense as to who will be at the top of the heap. Sarnia Sting forward Steven Stamkos will be selected first overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

After that it gets interesting. The draft is rich in top-drawer defencemen and while Guelph Storm defenceman Drew Doughty is a consensus number two choice, the Los Angeles Kings might instead draft Russian star Nikita Filatov. Filatov has boatloads of talent and a great attitude, but without a transfer agreement with the Russian Hockey Federation, drafting a Russian player is risky.

What happens directly above them will have a profound effect on the Maple Leafs. Should either one of Doughty, Zach Bogosian or Alex Pietrangelo be available, the Leafs would leave the draft with a potential top four defenceman. Then there is the tantalizing Mikkel Boedker, a Dane who followed an excellent regular season with the Kitchener Rangers with inspired play in the Memorial Cup.

Here is a look at the top 10 prospects. Remember, this story does not come with a draft day guarantee.

1. Steven Stamkos, Sarnia, Centre. The whole package. Stamkos is a premier skater, playmaker and competitor.
2. Drew Doughty, Guelph, Defence. A stud defenceman who is NHL ready. Doughty figures to be an L.A. King unless the Kings opt for more scoring.
3. Zach Bogosian, Peterborough, Defence. Solid all-around defenceman who might challenge Doughty for years. A beautiful skater and puckcarrier.
4. Alex Pietrangelo, Niagara, Defence. A six-foot-three rearguard who can think the game and skate. He will take longer to mature than Doughty or Bogosian but might emerge as just as good a player.
5. Nikita Filatov. Russia. Left Wing. The Filatov Flyer is a potent offensive player who scored more than a goal a game for CSKA2 this season and added nine points in seven games at the World Juniors.
6. Mikkel Boedker, Kitchener. Strong Memorial Cup and OHL playoffs add luster to Boedker’s chances. He is very fit and a lightning-fast skater but there may be some doubts about his ability to finish around the net.
7. Luke Schenn, Kelowna, Defence. Strong, unspectacular defenceman who will do all the right things.
8. Colin Wilson, Boston University, Centre. Resolute and productive player in U.S. system. Limited speed.
9. Tyler Myers, Kelowna, Defence. Six-foot-seven rearguard who moves well for a man his size. Risky but potentially highly-impactful.
10. Kyle Beach, Centre, Kelowna. Sean Avery type who has a great shot and solid touch. He too is a risk but whatever happens, you will notice him.
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