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Styles clash, but they're draft smash

Nobody knows how the first four picks will fall in the NHL Entry Draft. But it's almost certain defensemen Bryan Berard and Wade Redden won't be around when the Lightning selects at No. 5.

"No question, they'll be gone," Lightning scout Angelo Bumbacco said. "If not 1-2, then maybe 1-3."

Berard is the consummate offensive-minded defenseman. Redden is the consummate stay-at-home defenseman.

"I wish I could have both of them and play them together," Lightning scout Don Murdoch said. "What a great pair they'd make."

The Ottawa Senators, who used their first three first-round draft picks to select centers Alexei Yashin, Alexander Daigle and Radek Bonk, are expected to take Berard with the No. 1 pick.

The New York Islanders, Los Angeles Kings (who won the lottery) and Anaheim Mighty Ducks have the Nos. 2 through 4 picks, respectively. One of those teams, most likely the Islanders, is expected to take Redden.

The other top-four picks likely will come from among tough Finnish defenseman Aki-Petteri Berg,speedy center Steve Kelly, big center Chad Kilger, small center Daymond Langkow, and strong right wing Shane Doan.

The Lightning's pick also likely will come from that group. "They're all good players," Murdoch said. "Any of them can be a strong consideration. We'll have a lot of discussions when we get to Edmonton. Nothing is decided now."

Among the two defensive standouts, Redden is the more mature player. But Bumbacco and many scouts say Berard has the potential to be the better player.

"(Berard) could be a star; he's flashy," said Tony Esposito, the Lightning's director of hockey operations. "Redden won't be a star. Stay-at-home guys don't get the credit the offensive guys get."

The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Berard was raised in Woonsocket, R.I., and could become the third American-born player to be selected No. 1 overall.

Berard was playing U.S. high-school hockey one year ago. But he made the transition to the vastly more competitive Canadian Hockey League with no trouble. He was named rookie of the year.

It didn't take long for comparisons to be made between Berard and several NHL star defensemen. Some scouts have said he has shown the smooth skating of a Paul Coffey, the two-way ability of a Ray Bourque and the skills of a Brian Leetch to lead attacks.

"I see a little bits of each of those players in Bryan's style," said Paul Maurice, who coaches Berard with the Detroit Junior Red Wings of the Ontario Hockey League. In 58 games for the Red Wings, Berard posted 20 goals and 55 assists.

And Berard has a nasty streak. He's not afraid to stand his ground and accumulated 97 penalty minutes.

The 6-1{, 193-pound Redden isn't as flashy as Berard. But he's coveted because of his poise with the puck and rock-solid play in his own end.

"He's steady," Bumbacco said. "He doesn't make too many mistakes."

How steady? He was named MVP for Canada's gold-medal-winning under-18 team in Mexico in 1994 without recording a point. He finished last season for the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL with a plus/minus rating of plus 49.

And he does have some scoring touch. He had 14 goals and 46 assists in 64 regular-season games.

Redden grew up in Hillmond, Saskatchewan _ population 30. Obviously, the town wasn't big enough to support a hockey rink. So Redden's dad, Gord, who played six minor-league seasons in the Detroit Red Wings organization, built one. Redden credits the one-on-one instruction from his father as the major reason he has done so well in hockey.

"Whoever gets either (Berard or Redden) is going to be happy," Bumbacco said. "I know we would be."