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Mock drafts work in the NBA because the prospects are so familiar to fans by the time they're selected. They work in the NFL because you can narrow down the field based on a team's depth chart. They don't work in baseball because if "Moneyball" taught us anything it's that MLB scouting staffs have some M.I.T. super computer managing their draft boards better than a fan with a scouting report can.

Do they work in hockey? Sometimes. Like when really, really smart people like Bob McKenzie or Jeff Marek offer their selections. Or when scouting services dedicated to deciphering the draft rankings offer their mock-ups.

Otherwise, NHL mock drafts are usually born from hasty research, some institutional knowledge, understanding a franchise's tendencies and pretty much tossing darts.

So it's in that spirit that yours truly and "What We Learned" columnist Ryan Lambert traded emails and built our own mock draft, which admittedly will be more "mocked" than mock.

You'll either look back on this as the definitive ranking of talent for the first 30 picks of the 2010 NHL entry draft, or two schmucks that don't know their Gudbrandson from their Niederreiter.

(Wyshynski's selections marked with a GW; Lambert's with an RL. Duh.)

1. Edmonton Oilers: Taylor Hall, C, Windsor (OHL)

Full disclosure: I'm Team Tyler. But Hall is an explosive winger, a potential franchise player and a worthy No. 1 overall pick. But most of all for the Oilers: He's a folk hero for Canadian fans, who are going to watch Hall and Jordan Eberle(notes) resurrect this franchise from the depths of despair until they inevitably abandon the city for another team as soon as the CBA allows them. (GW)

2. Boston Bruins (from TOR): Tyler Seguin, C, Plymouth (OHL)

Boston general manager Peter Chiarelli on draft day: "It is with middling pleasure that the Bruins grudgingly select Tyler Seguin of the Plymouth Whalers because the stupid Oilers took Hall and I'm pretty sure it was Tambellini just screwing with me. I made the mistake of telling him we realllllllly need wings because we have 16 centers under contract. Hell. OK, we'll see ya on Saturday." (RL)

3. Florida Panthers: Cam Fowler, D, Windsor (OHL)

Were we building a team, we'd opt for nasty physical defenseman Erik Gudbranson here. But this is Dale Tallon building a team. Tallon is the same man that gave Brian Campbell(notes) the gross national product of Slovenia as a free agent because he was an offensive puck-moving defenseman. So we'll assume Fowler, who is exactly that and a good one, will be the choice here. (GW)

4. Columbus Blue Jackets: Erik Gudbrandson, D, Kingston (OHL)

Y'know what Columbus doesn't have? A big, mean, physical defenseman who can chip in offensively. OK, so most teams don't have that, but Columbus doesn't have too many d-men to whom even two of those adjectives can apply. Gudbrandson is all of them, and a perfect fit for the Blue Jackets. (RL)

5. New York Islanders: Brandon Gormley, D, Moncton (QMJHL) 

The defenseman hat-trick in the top 5! This is your weirdly mature defensive compliment to the weirdly mature John Tavares(notes) taken No. 1 overall last season. Gormley's a puck-moving, two-way defenseman from some backwater speck on the map called Murray River, which is where Brad Richards(notes) is from (and what Brad Richards could probably purchase with one-year's salary). (GW)

6. Tampa Bay Lightning: Brett Connolly, RW, Prince George (WHL)

It seems to be a universally agreed-upon fact that Connolly would've gone in the top 5 had a hip injury not limited his season to under 20 games. Well, the sixth pick isn't in the top 5, and Steve Yzerman must realize that this kid could become the heir apparent to Marty St. Louis as Steven Stamkos'(notes) resident right wing. (RL)

7. Carolina Hurricanes: Nino Niederreiter, LW, Portland (WHL)

Sometimes you draft for a need and sometimes you just take the best damn player on the board, and that's what Niederreiter is at this point for the Hurricanes. The Swiss forward became a star at world juniors last season and made more than a few highlight reels. Good forechecker, ton of potential as a power-play specialist. El Nino on the Hurricanes. Somewhere, a headline writer just climaxed. (GW)

8. Atlanta Thrashers: Alexander Burmistrov, C, Barrie (WHL)

To call the Thashers thin down the middle would be to call that whole oil spill "kind of bad for the environment." Burmistrov has no KHL commitments because he never signed a deal with Ak Bars Kazan. He's big, he's skilled, and would have been a top-5 pick if he hadn't had a Russian name. (RL)

9. Minnesota Wild: Ryan Johansen, C, Portland (WHL)

Oh, this is a tough one, because Minnesota high school phenom Nick Bjugstad is on the board and the dude won the Mr. Hockey Award for Minnesota high-school hockey awesomeness. But Johansen's the second-best North American center in the draft behind Seguin, and they can use a blue-chipper at center. (GW)

10. New York Rangers: Vladimir Tarasenko, RW, Novosibirsk (KHL)

OK, it might be a little early to start going after KHL-committed Russians, sure, but this kid has serious skills and the Rangers have the prospect depth at forward to gamble a bit. So why take him at all? Chris Kreider's a left wing, Derek Stepan and Evgeny Grachev(notes) are centers, and no one worth mentioning is a right wing. (RL)

11. Dallas Stars: Derek Forbort, D, USHL

Drafting for a need here, as Forbort has a ton of upside as a 6-5 defenseman who only weighs around 195 pounds. If he's around at this point, the Stars should gobble him up, because that blue line could use some blue-chippers in the system (even though he's committed to North Dakota next season). Hockey's Future claims he has "exceptional decision-making" abilities, so be sure to ask him for his wine-pairing recommendations in a few years. (GW)

12. Anaheim Ducks: Jeffrey Skinner, C, Kitchener (OHL)

How good are the Ducks down the middle? Well, after Ryan Getzlaf(notes) is 602-year-old Saku Koivu(notes), then Todd Marchant(notes). So a goal-scoring center who's not bald or seconds away from retirement could be just what the doctor ordered. And what's that? Bob McKenzie says he's the best pure goal-scorer in the draft? Yeah, the Ducks would like that. (RL)

13. Phoenix Coyotes (from CGY): Mikael Granlund, LW, Helsinki

Fact: Last year's first-round choice of Oliver Ekman-Larsson on defense snapped a streak of nine straight No. 1 picks wasted ... er, used on forwards. The streak begins again with Granlund, considered a savvy offensive player who, like Victor Hedman(notes) last year, has been playing against men while many of his peers have been dominating other teenagers. Downside: Only 5-10. (GW)

14. St. Louis Blues: Austin Watson, RW, Peterborough (OHL)

You think of the Blues' big prospects and you think of your Pietrangelos and Coles and Rundblads and then you realize, "Oh hey they're all defensemen." Watson is the best forward available, and there ya go. Kid's not exactly skillsy, but he's big, strong, fast, and a terror on the forecheck. (RL)

15. Boston Bruins: Emerson Etem, C, Medicine Hat (WHL) (Ed. note: This pick now belongs to the Florida Panthers due to the Nathan Horton(notes) trade.)

Man, I really thought Lambert was going to take Jack Campbell with the Blues pick. He's getting Esposito'd. Anyhoo, Etem is one of the best athletes in the first round, with great speed at the forward spot. He fancies himself as a Marian Gaborik(notes) type, presumably without the injury history. A California kid goes to Boston; Ducks had their shot. (GW)

16. Ottawa Senators: Jack Campbell, G, USNDTP

OK, OK THIS is where Campbell finally goes. The Senators have no goaltending. None. If you think they do, you're wrong. So they get Campbell, the best goalie in the draft by far and then wait several interminable years for him to mature into someone they can ruin by calling him up too early. I'm sorry I let him fall this far, but that whole Halak trade has me confused as to the future of St. Louis goaltending. (RL)

17. Colorado Avalanche: Nick Bjugstad, C, Blaine (HS)

The Avs have a lot in the pipeline defensively now, so I think they go forward here with Bjugstad, an NHL legacy who's a 6-5 center (but a stick at just 188 pounds). He's got some promise, and the Avalanche can use a blue-chipper at the pivot behind Matt Duchene(notes) in a few years. (GW)

18. Nashville Predators: Riley Sheahan, C, Notre Dame (NCAA)

The Predators love NCAA players. They've drafted nine players that went on to play college hockey in the last three drafts, two of them in the first or second round. That Sheahan had a nothing-to-write-home-about offensive year with the Irish (six goals, 11 assists) won't matter much to the Preds, who would have seen him play plenty of times; one of his teammates last season was '07 draft pick Ryan Thang. (RL)

19. Los Angeles Kings: Beau Bennett, RW, Penticton (BCHL)

We didn't get the "hometown" celebration with Etem; we get one with Bennett, the California-born center who lit up the BCHL. Now we know what you're saying: What the [expletive] is the BCHL? It's the British Columbia Hockey League, and his dominance in that junior league might not exactly sell too many teams on him. But he's a right wing, which the Kings can use in their system. He's still got some physical maturation to go. And he played for the Los Angeles Junior Kings in 2009, so he probably owns some team swag anyway. (GW)

20. Pittsburgh Penguins: Dylan McIlrath, D, Moose Jaw (WHL)

The Penguins have some decent prospects at pretty much every position save for goalie, but there's nothing like a first-round talent on the board. So they take the best talent available: McIlrath. The kid is big (6-foot-4, 215!), physical, and not afraid to drop the gloves (19 fighting majors). Given the Pens' D situation, they can afford to wait a bit for the McIlrath to mature. (RL)

21. Detroit Red Wings: Mark Pysyk, D, Edmonton (WHL)

We've read that Pysyk is a bit of a "safe" pick, in the sense that his upside isn't as great as some of the other D-men in the first round but that the potential for him to bust is rather low. So Ken Holland takes the smart, two-way defender here to join a few others in the system looking to soften the blow in a post-Lids world. (GW)

22. Phoenix Coyotes: Jonathan Merrill, D, USNTDP

Merrill, by all accounts, is one of the better defensemen in the draft. International Scouting has him at No. 11 overall. The reason he slipped is his attitude. He got suspended by USA Hockey for off-ice incidents and TSN says his interviews at the combine were poor. Buton the other hand, no one questions his hockey skill, and the Coyotes can afford to gamble their second first-round pick that he'll mature in college. Remember, Keith Yandle(notes) was turned down for academic/character issues by TWO colleges before he got drafted. (RL)

23. Buffalo Sabres: Jarred Tinordi, D, USNTDP

Oh, Buffalo's going to love this guy. NHL legacy, great defenseman and he can send you into the Canadian side of the falls with a bodycheck. He's also 6-6, making him and Tyler Myers(notes) the best twin towers since Akeem and the Big Boss Man. At the very least, the Sabres can rent them out to NASA, so one can get on the other's shoulders and fix the Hubble. (GW)

24. Chicago Blackhawks (via Atlanta Thrashers): Tyler Pitlick, C, Minnesota State (WCHA)

This is a bit of a safe pick despite some higher-talent players on the board, but Pitlick wins draws like a pro and has a strong all-around game that features both power and skill. If he can continue to grow offensively (he has no help at Mankato State), this is one of those late-round picks GMs will be kicking themselves over. (RL)

25. Vancouver Canucks: Quinton Howden, LW, Moose Jaw (WHL)

I think Lambert hates goalies, because I really thought Calvin Pickard was going in the previous pick. Anyhoo, the Canucks snag Howden here as a speedy two-way forward that's just starting to figure out how to put together his impressive offensive skills. They could go 'D' here, but if a player like Howden's on the board he'd be hard to pass up.(GW)

26. Washington Capitals: Evgeny Kuznetsov, LW, Chelyabinsk

Lots of D (Carlson, Alzner) and goaltending (Varlamov, Neuvirth) in the system, lots of youngish forwards at the NHL level. So — surprise! — here's a Russian forward that some have as the first of his countrymen to go in the draft. There's always the fear that he'll be anchored to the KHL forever, but what Russian wouldn't want be lured to North America by the promise of being a second-line wing behind Alex freaking Ovechkin? (RL)

27. Montreal Canadiens: Jaden Schwartz, C, Tri City (USHL)

Wait a moment: an undersized forward on THE CANADIENS? Crazy, we know. But Schwartz has a ton of offensive potential in his 5-10 frame. Bonus: He's got the most heartbreaking back story in the draft in sister Mandi's battle with cancer. (GW)

28. San Jose Sharks: Calvin Pickard, G, Seattle (WHL)

There, Greg, are you happy now? A team with very little goaltending in the pipeline (very little anything, really) drafts a goalie who will never win anything despite more than a decade of quality service and strong statistics, and will then be told he's off the team via Twitter or something. (RL)

29. Anaheim Ducks (from PHI): Alexander Petrovic, D, Red Deer Rebels(WHL)

Time to start rebuilding that blue line and this 6-4 defenseman is a great building block, even if he's a bit raw. Plus Jeff Marek's taken a shine to him at No. 29, and Marek's a nerd for this stuff. (GW)

30. Chicago Blackhawks: Justin Faulk, D, USNTDP

Faulk is your regular ol' solid offensive defenseman prospect and, oh yeah, he can shoot the puck through a wall. He's a strong skater and tough to dislodge from the puck despite "only" 6 feet, 196 pounds. Plus I've heard Chicago has a recent history of developing good defensemen.

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