A little late getting to this, but I have yet to do any kind of piece on what I thought about the draft and I know that all of you just CAN’T WAIT to hear my opinions on what I liked and disliked from the draft.  You ask, you shall recieve!!!  Here we go….


I won’t go pick by pick in the 1st round like I did last year.  Obviously you know I think the Avs made a bad decision taking MacKinnon over Jones.  I understand the Panthers passing on Jones for Barkov because of what they needed.  And that’s where you might say “you always take BPA!!”  Well the top 4 was essentially even, so if its even then it goes to need.  That’s why the Avs should have picked Jones (good luck fixing that average AHL blueline), but can understand the Panthers doing it.  They were desperate for a number 1 center.


The Lightning?  Horrific mistake, worse than the Avs and again that in no way is meant to take away from Drouin.  The kid will be a star.  But they haven’t won sh*t with Stamkos and St.Louis, how is Stamkos and Drouin going to be any different?  I know what would have won….Hedman and Jones as their number 1 pairing.


So the Preds get Jones at 4 and its a steal (and of course Pierre didn’t scream what a steal it was like he did with Larsson and Lindholm, the one time it would have been correct to do so).  The Preds still have other needs, but they at least realized they had a gift fall into their laps.  Now when they move Weber (could end up doing so next summer), they’ll have Jones to step in and they can focus on getting 2 or 3 high end offensive pieces.  And if he doesn’t move, then they’ll have 2 RH shot horses to anchor their top 4.


Canes taking Lindholm as I said in the last mock draft was the pick I would have made, Calgary got it right with Monahan, and the Oilers in my mind got it right with Nurse (I’m one of few who believed prior to the draft that Nurse has Norris trophy potential).  I’ll get back to Calgary and Edmonton later….


On to Buffalo, and I LOVED their draft.  They added 2 kids on defense and those picks could be just like Carter and Richards/Getzlaf and Perry were for their teams in 03.  Ristolainen has consistency issues but if he overcomes that he’ll be a stud, and Zadorov literally has no ceiling.  No doubt, he needs time to develop but you simply can’t find players who can do what he can.  And they weren’t done there.  Getting J.T. Compher at 35 was a great pick, such a well rounded player, and then they snagged hometown kid Justin Bailey at 52.  Bailey is a bit of a project but again a kid with a very high ceiling.  Nick Baptiste at 69 is a big kid who isn’t afraid to get his nose dirty, snagged tendy Calvin Peterson in the 5th round who I know nothing about but if you read my stuff last year you know I love taking a goaltender in rounds 4-7 of a draft, they just knocked it out of the park.  Time will tell, but I was a big fan.


Personally, I had no problem with what Mike Gillis did.  I don’t like the guy at all, I have a lot of not nice things to say about him, and I hate the way he’s treated Luongo.  But he made the right move by dealing Schneider to help his team out and he picked a kid in Horvat who that organization desperately needs.  And Shinkaruk isn’t exactly what they need on the ice, but like Horvat he is a high character kid and that team hasn’t had much of that.  Its funny, they were 15 picks apart yet Shinkaruk I would say is more likely to make that team next season.


How about them Dallas Stars?!  Yep, picked a center just like I had it all alon….3 wingers with your first 3 picks?!?  A team that needs centers and d-men picked 3 wingers with 3 high picks in a draft loaded with centers and d-men.  Are you trying to be the Oilers errrrrrrrrrrrr (now that Jay and Dan have left us, I can use that right?)  You know how I feel about Nichushkin, Dickinson is a well rounded kid but not a ton of upside, and I feel like they picked Remi Elie too soon but that’s just me, I do like what he brings to the table.


Meanwhile Philly did well.  I knew Morin would be their guy, he was the top rated Q d-man.  They needed something, they love the Q, pretty simple math.  Then to steal Hagg at 41 was insane.  Time will tell on him, but that guy at 41 is awesome.  ARIZONA (had Phoenix, made sure I changed it) took Domi which was good I felt they should have taken a center, and got Dauphin in the 2nd round who had a really good U 18’s in the spring.


Then we have the Jets and while I don’t know if I personally would have picked Josh Morrissey over Zadorov, it was the safter pick and I felt like for the 2nd straight year they had a great draft.  Nic Petan and Eric Comrie in the 2nd round is where I felt like they really crushed it.  Both kids easily could have been 1st rounders, in fact Comrie probably would have been had he not got hurt midseason.  3rd round they take a chance on J.C. Lipon, and the 4th round they grabbed Jan Kostalek, a d-man out of the Czech Republic and I had someone tell me that he believes Kostalek is the best prospect to come out of there in a long time.


Columbus of course had and used the 3 picks and I liked what they did with the top 2 picks getting Wennberg (center) and Rychel (winger/power forward).  Don’t know much about Marko Dano to be honest, but that’s a Jarmo Kekalainen pick for sure.  Then they grabbed Dillon Heatherington at 50 which was a good spot to take him.  Not much offense, but already pretty polished defensively.  Also Oliver Bjorkstrand at 89 was a good pick, a lot of people who watch the Portland Winterhawks really like his potential.


The Islanders add to their blueline with Ryan Pulock, liked that a lot, Ottawa taking Curtis Lazar us Northern Albertans feel is a total steal at 17, and then the Sharks traded up to get Mirco Mueller.  I like the pick, I hate that they blew their 2nd round picks (one to move up 2 spots I’m guessing in fear that the Jackets would take him because of Ryan Murray), and the other on Tyler Kennedy (like the player, not worth a 2nd rounder).  Detroit taking Anthony Mantha at 20 I wasn’t a big fan of to be honest, but its tough to ever question them.  I did like their 2nd round though taking Zach Nastasiuk and Tyler Bertuzzi.  Nastasiuk has size and uses it, and Bertuzzi is a fearless pest, the type of player who is tough to find.


Toronto had a great day simply by getting a big center at 21 that I felt they have really needed.  I’m a bigger fan of Gauthier than most, but I think a lot of people felt they filled a pretty big need with that pick.  And then using some of their picks to bring in Dave Bolland was great.  I’m a HUGE Dave Bolland guy and believe he is a perfect fit in Toronto.


Back to the Flames who take the guy Jay Feaster felt should have been LONG gone by 22 in Emile Poirier.  Hunter Shinkaruk fell into their laps, Ryan Hartman was there, Zach Fucale was there (actually those latter 2 were there again at 28!) and they passed to take a kid who most had as a mid 2nd round pick.  They redeemed themselves a BIT by taking Morgan Klimchuk at 28, but I don’t think this was the draft Flames fans were hoping for.  They didn’t screw up the top pick though so it could have been worse.


Not a big fan of the Burakovsky pick by the Caps but not bad value at that point, they did however get a steal in the 2nd round with Madison Bowey.  Then the Carburners took Shinkaruk followed by the Habs who had 4 picks in the next 31 and I felt like they killed it!  I was a big fan of McCarron espeically for a team lacking size like they do, Jacob de la Rose has some nice potential as a big 2 way center, I’m a HUGE Zach Fucale guy and can’t believe he fell all the way into their laps at 36, and then to get Arturri Lehkonen at 55 was great value.  The kid doesn’t have size, but huge skill much like their pick of Sebastian Collberg in the 2nd round last year.  Much like the Jets, 2nd year in a row I feel like the Habs did great!


The Ducks did a good job adding to their blueline as I believed they should by taking Shea Theodore.  And then finally after the Jackets, Flames and Stars passed, the Blackhawks stole hometown kid Ryan Hartman at 30 which likely made it even easier to say goodbye to Bolland who meant so much to that organization.  Very similar players, and while Hartman won’t step in right away he will be there before too long.  A PERFECT 3rd line player who might be able to jump into a top 6 role.


As for those teams that didn’t have 1st round picks, the team that stood out were the Blues.  Tommy Vannelli at 47 was good value (they love their American kids), and I like William Carrier at 57 who is quite skilled and has ok size.  When a contender can draft well, they can afford to deal their 1st round picks…see Detroit.


Just to hit on the Oilers once more before I end this since the majority of you are Oiler fans.  Again, I liked the draft they had.  Yakimov is VERY intriguing, he is compared to Martin Hanzal.  Slepyshev has big talent (Gare Joyce has said he could play in the NHL next season if he is willing to come over) and was well worth the home run swing late in the 3rd round.  And to get Greg Chase in the 7th round…those who watch the WHL think that was one of the biggest steals of the later rounds.  A total pest who obviously has some flaws, he needs to improve his skating, but this could be a pick that pays off huge for the Oilers.


The one thing I didn’t understand was not making sure you get Zach Fucale once he fell to the 2nd round.  This team DESPERATELY needs a goaltender like that in the system.  And while Marko (as he wants to be called) Roy was a pick many applauded at 56, I don’t understand taking him over Eric Comrie.  But, time will tell.


I’m just an idiot running his mouth.  We have no idea how this draft will shake down, but maybe it will be fun (probably not for me) to look back at a piece like this in 5 years and see what was right and what was wrong.  I believed I would get 10 first round picks correct in my last mock draft and only hit on 4, so it shows you what I know.  Having said that, you should still believe I’m right about everything….


Follow me on twitter where I’m also never wrong @TJ_Soups

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