June 7, 2010 12:54 pm

Mocking the draft

As we know, the Kings have the 19th overall pick in the first round of the NHL Draft. Unlike the past few years, when it’s been relatively easy to pick a handful of first-round prospects who might end up as a King, this year it’s wide open. Conventional wisdom might be that the Kings will select a forward, given their need for 5-on-5 scoring, but remember also that the NHL is close to Major League Baseball than it is to the NBA or NFL in terms of draft-pick development. In the latter two leagues, it’s very common for a first-round pick to step in right away. In baseball and (to a lesser extent) hockey, a prospect might need a couple years to develop, by which time a team’s needs might have changed. That’s why, even though it’s a cliche, teams in the Kings’ position do often go with the “best player available.”

That said, a few pundits league-wide still try to take a crack at how the first round might play out. These mock drafts have a very low success rate — and that’s certainly no knock on those attempting to do them — but it can give you a general idea of where players might be slotted. So here’s a few mock drafts, with the player the Kings are projected to takeā€¦

mynhldraft.com: Quinton Howden, LW, Moose Jaw (WHL)

NHL.com (Mike Morreale): Austin Watson, LW, Peterborough (OHL) (Note: this draft is older, with the Kings slotted at No. 21 instead of No. 19. Nick Bjugstad and Brock Nelson would also theoretically be available)

NHL.com (Brad Holland): Howden (Note: same as above. Tyler Pitlick and Kirill Kabanov would also theoretically be available)

NHL.com (Shawn Roarke): Jeff Skinner, RW, Kitchener (OHL) (Note: same as above. John McFarland and Calvin Pickard would also theoretically be available)

NHL.com (Jen Raimondi): Watson. (Note: same as above. Pickard and Jonathan Merrill would also theoretically be available)

NHL.com (Adam Kimelman): Stanislav Galiev, RW, Saint John (QMJHL) (note: same as above. Dylan McIlrath and Jack Campbell would also theoretically be available)

NESN.com: Watson.

As you can see, that’s six mock drafts and four different players, and of course that doesn’t take into account the possibility that the Kings might move up or down in the first round. Should be interesting…

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