Barring a major run or collapse Dallas will in all probability finish with the 6th-13th pick in the 2009 Draft. Dallas has their 1-3 round picks, 5th, 6th, and a 7th round conditional pick from Colorado. Which I assume means it could be this year or next. Dallas dealt their 4th rounder in the Brad Richards trade and their 7th rounder to Chicago for Doug Janik.
With that said, this is supposed to be a pretty deep draft with a lot of center/forward talent in the top fifteen. Outside of Hedman there's not a generational defenseman but supposedly there are plenty of solid defenseman who will be available in the top 75 picks. There's not a lot of consensus about goalies other than there are no sure fire, can't miss 1st round talents. Still though one or two good ones will be available later in the draft.
So you're Les Jackson for this little exercise. What does Dallas need? Most draft picks take three to four years before hitting the NHL. There are exceptions, see Backes, David or Simmonds, Wayne for example but three years is a fair developmental time. Thus everyone screaming defenseman, you're not wrong but that may not be the way this draft goes down.
Left Wing - Is pretty much set. Morrow, Neal, Benn, Brunnstrom, and Eriksson can all play left wing. As can Wandell and Ondrej Roman. I can't imagine they draft another one. Especially since the system is full of left shot forwards.
Center- Richards' contract is up in two years. I have no idea if he'll re-sign or if Wandell, Roman, Lindgren, or Sachetti will be ready. Of those Roman is probably the best pure center, but hardly a lock as a top two centerman. If Dallas is really high on Holland or Josefson, that could be the pick but I doubt they're leaning that way.
Right Wing - The cupboard here is pretty bare. Eriksson and Brunnstrom are both playing their off wings and Loui is due a big raise soon. Korostin is no sure thing. Wandell can play right wing but is another left shot. Sceviour seems destined to play wing for us but he may or may not be top six material. Sawada's a banger and Austin Smith may never get to the AHL, let alone NHL. This is a huge need but there are not a lot top end right wings in this draft. For the first round Kassian would be a huge reach unless Dallas trades back. Schroeder may be Zack Parise but may no longer be on the board. Scott Glennie is intriguing and playing right wing this season in Brandon. I'm searching for info to compare him and Schroeder. He's a guy Dallas could use and would be a very good pick up. I've seen him as high as 8th in some mock drafts and 14th in others. His playoff run will determine if he's top ten or not.
Defenseman - The good news is that all three of Niskanen, Grossman, and Fistric look like they can play at the NHL level. The bad news is there's not a lot behind them. I can't imagine a way in the world Dallas doesn't either sign a free agent defenseman or trade for one this off season. Zubov cannot be counted on. That is if Dallas even offers him another contract. Sydor is done, and Robidas' contract expires after next season. The four young guys, including Daley need a veteran.
Outside of that there's Ivan Vishnevskiy. He may be ready next year or he may never get more than a few games because his defense isn't/won't be NHL ready. Philip Larsen has been a revelation but beyond that? Monast has played well in the QMJHL. Hopefully he's a back pairing guy because otherwise it's practically non-existent. Bergin's shoulder issue could kill his development and Trevor Ludwig is not a prospect. Look for Dallas to sign another college/junior free agent defenseman, but they need at least two out of this draft.
Goalie - Turco's contract is up next season. His NTC may be void after this one. He's at an age where his best years are probably behind him and it's no sure thing he'll bounce back next season let alone play well enough for an extention. Stephan is probably a half way decent backup, though with Tippet behind the bench that may not be seen until Tobias leaves Dallas for greener pastures. He's a UFA after next season too. Brent Krahn is a UFA, three years behind because of injuries. I have to think his showing in the AHL will land him somewhere else this off season. Climie, is minor league filler.
Bachman's play hasn't been as good as last season, but neither is the team in front of him. He's still the best goalie in the system. Beskorowrany has been benched. I know the other Owen Sound goalie is supposed to be great but that's not a good sign. Especially since so far his club has refused to trade him. That may change this off season but starting less than 50% of the time in junior will not help his development. Once bright hopes are fading. Dallas has to take another goalie in this draft. I just hope it's in a later round. Reaching up to grab Besko seems like a bad second round pick right now. Every team in the NHL has been over scouting Jonas Gustavsson (he's an undrafted 24 year old free agent) but he'll probably end up somewhere he can fight for a starting job, like Colorado or Toronto.
I can't say I know enough about this draft to speak about anything out of the first 40 picks and the bigger the number the less my knowledge is. So I can't tell you who the 5th round sleeper this year is going to be. That said I can speculate about that 6th though 13th pick.
Assuming Dallas does not win the lottery the first six, Taveres, Hedman, MSP, Kane, Duchene, and Schenn should all be gone.
I like Jared Cowen but this is the best pick Dallas has hand in ten years. It's also most likely to be the best pick they'll have for another three to five years. Unless his physical says he'll completely rebound I just don't think the Stars can afford to take a chance on him. Not when there are other really good choices without his scary injury history.
Others are much higher on Nazim Kadri but he underwhelms me and I hope someone like LA or Phoenix nabs him before the Stars are on the board. Supposedly he's very selfish (doesn't use his linemates well) and recently got benched for a game by his OHL team for poor attitude. He's unquestionably talented but I would not take a chance in comparison to other equally talented players available.
Some mock drafts have Ryan Ellis going top fifteen some don't. I think he's a huge reach. His size and defensive struggles, especially as the competition gets bigger leave huge question marks. Seeing the difficulties Vishnevskiy has had learning defense makes me very wary of him. I really, really hope Dallas passes. He's not worth that high a spot.
More specifically though will everyone virtually throw things if they trade down a few spots? Is anyone else deathly afraid of a couple of these guys? The scouting staff has proven fairly adept at finding a late round gem but this is where you find franchise players and a lot is riding on this selection.
In my ideal world Dallas moves back from 6th to 11th, still nabs Jordan Schroeder and gets a defense prospect or a couple of 2nd round picks to draft an extra defenseman or two.
I don't claim to be a draft savant but I do know more than the average fan. If you've got a question about somebody leave a comment and I'll do my best to give as good an answer as possible.