Ok boys and girls it is time to start thinking about the draft. before we get to the fun of who we draft, let's cover some other things first.

1. As of today we would be picking 14th. We have 50 points and there are 13 other teams with fewer points than us, 1 team with equal points but a game in hand. In other words-middle of the road again.

2. Quick review of last years draft. I loved and called for mantha in the 1st. the last week or so before the draft I started to doubt that we would take him if there, boy am I glad we did! Nat is the second round was also a good pick. The brain trust did a great job moving down and adding an extra second round pick, then IMHO completely pissed that pick away on Tuzzi. he was a 6th round projection t best, and there were tons of guys available for that pick that would have been better. other than that, a good draft. No reaches, covered all positions of need.

3. Ok let's talk needs. What does our team look like say 5 years from now?

We have a nice pool of G's to pick from. Howard's career will be near the end, Marzek should be in his prime, with JP close behind him pushing. In other words, G is not a position of need early in the draft. if there is someone they like in the last 2-3 rounds, then grab a G. otherwise wait until next years draft.

Dmen. Our strongest position. 5 years from now Kronwall and Ericsson will be at the end. But Kindl, DeKeyser, Smith, and lashoff will all still be 31 (Kindl) or in their late 20's. A nice deep core to work with. But it doesn't end there. On the LH side we have Almquist, Oullett, nedermol (speling), dehaas, Wheaton and McNulty coming. On the RH side we have marchencko, Sproul, Jensen, and maybe Nicastro on the way. No all of these guys will not make it. But 2 or 3 will. They are all also playing really well at the AHL level, which means we can make moves if/when needed-like now! Point is, we are really deep on D. have guys with size, speed, skill, toughness, RH and LH. A great young group that we can develop.

Forwards. This area is much more of an issue. There are of course 2 groups when talking forwards: grinders for the bottom 8 and top 6 scoring forwards. We have plenty of the fromer and very few of the later. Look at the grinder tyoes that could be here: Abby, helm, maybe Miller, Andersson, Callahan, McKee-for a$$ whippings, Nat, little Tuzzi, plus whatever additional picks we have over the next 2-3 years. Plenty of bodies for the bottom 2 lines. Now when it comes to scorers it is a little more interesting. I see 4 guys: Nyquist, tatar, mantha, Jurco, and that is about it as of now. yes frk and Jarnkrok could turn into something, but both have a long long way to go. Now when looking at the scorers, there are 3 issues here: 1. All are LHed, 2. None are true centermen, and 3. There are only 4 guys! this is and should be our main area of focus in the draft, UFA, and trades for the next couple of years.

Ok moving into the order. For now let's assume we finish 15th or so. It makes the math easy if nothing else. Our picks are then: 15th, 45th, 75th, 105th, 135th, 165th, and 195th if I have done my math correctly.

so, who are the guys that could/should be available for each of those picks? With a focus on RHed F when possible........ Stay tuned.......