2013 NHL mock draft – Final mock



Well this is it.  The final mock for the 2013 draft.  Enjoy this one folks.  It won’t be 2003, but 2008 was compared to 2003 and I believe this one is better than 08.  It seemed like in 08 the defensemen panned out but the forwards were a total crap shoot.  Usually it is the other way around.  Center’s all over the place in this draft so expect some great centers to not only go in the 1st round but to be found in rounds 2-7.  But this draft also has end d-men and some high end goaltending.  It probably won’t produce the all-stars that 03 did, but I don’t see too many misses happening in this 1st round.

Just a briefing, I’m not a scout and can’t see much of these kids and in some cases I haven’t seen them at all.  I just try to compile as many opinions as I can (especially Bob McKenzie’s rankings) and go from there.  While some fans scream to take the BPA (best player available) the truth is teams don’t always and can’t always do that.  It is getting tougher and tougher to trade in the NHL, so filling needs is becoming a must much like the NFL draft.  So I look at what the team has in the organization about 27 and under, and then take the best fit from a grouping of players.  This is a GREAT draft.  I’ve read and heard their are going to be about 15-20 players who normally would be 1st round picks in any other year dropping to the 2nd round this year.  So this draft is getting a lot of the same buzz that one got 10 years ago.


Colorado1. Colorado Avalanche – Nathan MacKinnon  6’0.5  190  C  Halifax  QMJHL

I tap.  I have been told on pretty good authority that they are indeed going with Nathan MacKinnon.  I feel as though it is a toss up between he and Jones and because of that things like need and in the Avs case marketing should be deciding factors.  But many have pointed to it and I can’t believe it is true that Patrick Roy is essentially running the show there and all it points to is how much of a train wreck this organization is.  There is hardly any experience in that front office, and the one guy that does have a bit of experience is Greg Sherman who did a terrible job prior to Sakic and Roy essentially taking over and really doesn’t have that much experience himself.  MacKinnon is great though, I would easily be screaming for him to go number 1 if the Panthers, Predators, Flames, Oilers, Sabres or Stars had this pick.  He’s explosive, he is a bull on skates (will probably play around 205-210 once he fills out), we all saw in the Memorial Cup how clutch he can be (although I will point out the goaltender he was lighting up was terrible), he has a great shot, great one timer, is coachable, will play a 200 foot game (he will, doesn’t really at this time), the only knock I’ve really heard on MacKinnon is playmaking but that hasn’t really effective the Avs current 1st line center Matt Duchene.  I love this kid, I just hate it for the Avs.


Florida2. Florida Panthers – Seth Jones   6’4  208  D  Portland  WHL

On the off chance that the Avs are in fact bluffing like I really believed they were and to be honest I STILL am not sure (though I do trust my guy), then MacKinnon is the slam dunk choice here.  But with Jones it is a bit of a question mark.  The big need for the Panthers is at center and I’m a HUGE Sasha Barkov fan and if you need a franchise center then you have to really consider taking him.  Especially when you factor in that the Panthers have invested in their blueline quite a bit in the last 4 drafts taking 3 d-men with their top pick (Kulikov, Gudbranson and Matheson).  So I will say I won’t be shocked if the pick were Barkov.  But Jones is just such a unique talent I think Tallon will have a difficult time passing on the kid.  He is ready to step into their top 4 next season and still has ridiculous upside to be the best d-man in the game.  And I get sick of people who are critical of him saying he’s not physical enough.  Duncan Keith, Ryan Suter, Erik Karlsson, Drew Doughty, Alex Pietrangelo, hell even Zdeno Chara isn’t that physical!  Everyone wants elite d-men to be as nasty as Chris Pronger was, well the fact is that very few guys are like Pronger or Shea Weber.  Great skater, move the puck well, can rush the puck, a cannon from the point, can QB a power play, can penalty kill, great stick (he has his fathers wingspan, best of all draft eligible kids at 81 inches) and my favorite…a high IQ.  He will play 25 minutes a night and while he’s not a crusher he does play with a bit of ego and won’t be afraid to do some dirty work when it is required.


Tampa-11-pres3. Tampa Bay Lightning – Aleksander Barkov   6’2.5  207  C  Tappara  FIN

As I just said, the Panthers could decide they just desperately need Barkov and end up taking him at 2.  In that case I have little doubt Jones would go here.  Pairing Jones with Hedman for the next 10-15 years probably wouldn’t be very fair to the rest of the league.  But I just can’t see Jones falling this far and so they take Barkov.  I have laid it down now more than enough times as to why it is the right move for Tampa to take Barkov over Drouin so I won’t do that again.  I had this before they bought out Lecavalier, and now with him gone I sure as heck am not changing it.  Barkov plays a great 200 foot game, is nearly 6’3, 210, great playmaker, great shot, great skater, he is another Anze Kopitar/Mikko Koivu type of guy.  You need these type of guys to win Cups, you don’t NEED guys like Drouin (see the 2012 LA Kings, 2011 Boston Bruins, 2009 Pittsburgh Penguins).  Love Drouin and not meaning to trash him in anyway.  But for the Lightning I love Barkov even more.


Nashville-11-pres4. Nashville Predators – Jonathan Drouin  5’11  187  LW  Halifax  QMJHL

Don’t discount Elias Lindholm being the Preds guy here.  We talk about franchise centers, well he isn’t far off MacKinnon and Barkov.  Different player, about 10 months older than those 2, but he has 1st line center potential too.  However, I just have a feeling the Preds wouldn’t pass on Drouin.  They’ve never had a forward with this elite level of talent who has stuck around.  Sure, they had Peter Forsberg for about a week in 2007.  They did have one guy like this for 2 years, Paul Karyia.  And that is the type of talent Drouin is.  People may forget just how good Karyia was in the late 90’s, and then again in 06 and 07 for the Preds.  Zach Parise, Pat Kane, Jordan Eberle, Drouin is that kind of talent.  I’ve said many times before and will again that his style probably resembles Eberle more than anyone, although Drouin has quicker feet at this age than Eberle did.  Amazing hands, amazing shot, great playmaker, will go to the tough area’s.  In most drafts he would be a sure fire top 3 pick.  Obviously he could be in this one, but I could also see him sliding as far as 5 just based on how deep this draft is and the needs of the teams.  I doubt that happens, but crazier things have happened.  Nobody thought Filip Forsberg (ironically now of the Predators) would fall past 5 last year and he ended up sliding all the way to 11.  Zach Parise back in 03 fell all the way to 17.  It happens every year and I don’t feel it is ironic that it mostly happens to wingers.


Carolina5. Carolina Hurricanes – Valeri Nichushkin  6’4  205  LW  Chelijabinsk 2  RUS

At the end of the day…or the end of all my mock drafts, while they get talked about as wanting to trade (I basically called a trade here on Sunday), trades just aren’t happening in the top 10 anymore.  Sure last year in a weak draft these same Hurricanes dealt the 8th pick in a package to the Pens for Jordan Staal.  But that was a lower pick, it was a weak draft, and it was a pretty elite piece to the puzzle they recieved.  They apparently want to trade down, not out, AND get a player.  The only team I could then see them dealing with is the Stars.  10 and Trevor Daly or Alex Goligoski for 5.  I think that will be more than Jim Nill and the Stars want to pay.  Another thing to consider is that they really are set down the middle, so while you COULD move Sean Monahan wing I just don’t think they would.  I would go with Elias Lindholm who played RW all season, but is a natural center because you never know when you may need to move a guy to the middle.  They could just take Darnell Nurse, but it doesn’t sound like they would take him here.  Jim Rutherford’s team is getting big and skilled and so they take the boom or bust guy, Valeri Nichushkin.  Amazing skill set on this kid.  Obviously the size, explosive skater, takes the puck to the net (doesn’t he Ryan Murphy…), great shot, great hands in tight, he probably is the 2nd highest skilled player in the draft next to Drouin and while being 6’4, 205.  It lists him as a LW but he is a LH shot so you better put a player like this on his off wing.  If they don’t trade down, I believe this is the pick.  If Nichushkin doesn’t go here, he could slide for a while.  Jersey would be possible, but if they passed….Winnipeg?  Columbus?  He’s a total wild card.


Calgary6. Calgary Flames – Bo Horvat  6’0.5  211  C  London  OHL

Last mock draft…”A similar kid to that is Bo Horvat so it is possible they simply would like Horvat better.”  Writing about him going to Buffalo I said at the end “maybe even as high as 6” speaking of Horvat.  Well, I got some pretty enticing information the other day that said the Calgary Flames want Bo Horvat at 6, so I’m going to roll with it and say they take Horvat.  Off the board?  Maybe, but I actually love it for their franchise.  I don’t love Jay Feaster, I don’t love John Weisbrod, but I love this pick.  The kid is a winner, a leader, he’s clutch, he has good size, he’s versatile, he is a GREAT kid to start a rebuild around.  The more things have been discussed and looked at, I don’t know if there is a big difference between Horvat and Sean Monahan.  Monahan has a little more skill, a little more height/length, but for the most part I see it as a wash between the 2 which is why last time I had Horvat going higher than expected (which was 8th to Buffalo).  And finally, Horvat is a big riser in this draft, and Monahan is a bit of a faller.  Horvat is Scheifele (7th in 2011) and Monahan is Couturier (an unimaginable 8th in 2011).  Again I’ll state, Horvat is really similar to Patrice Bergeron.  That guy didn’t suck in the playoffs in case you didn’t notice.  Horvat doesn’t project to be a 1st line center, but you win with a kid like this who can be used in any situation and more often then not comes up big.  Obviously possible that they trade up with 3 1st round picks, but it sounds more and more like the Canes are the only team willing to move out of the top 5 so not much point in moving 1 spot, and most of the Calgary media believes they will use all 3 picks.  I believe that’s the right course for the Flames.  Its a deep draft and they have a lot of needs so this is a great chance to fill them.


Edmonton_Oilers_1980s_svg7. Edmonton Oilers – Darnell Nurse  6’4  189  D  Sault Ste. Marie  OHL

Well this would be a tough call.  The Oilers REALLY need that big 2 way center.  Monahan would be perfect.  Having said that….they aren’t exactly loaded on the blueline going forward.  They have depth, but I would say they only have 2 sure things in their top 4 on D moving forward.  I’m a HUGE Darnell Nurse fan, and it is my understanding that the Oilers feel the same way.  I have it on pretty good authority that they’re trying very hard to move up to get Sasha Barkov, but as you know I believe that would mean moving up to at least the 3rd pick if not the 2nd.  And while a lot of people expect them to move the pick, I just don’t see it happening.  So I say the pick in this scenario ends up being Nurse.  I see a kid who in 5-10 years could be the best d-man to come out of this 1st round.  Better than Jones and that isn’t a knock on Jones at all I just think Nurse has THAT much going for him.  High IQ, love that.  Effortless skater, he simply looks like he is gliding around the ice, obviously he has the size and will likely be 210-220 once he fills out, incredible work ethic as was shown on Sports Centre earlier this week, and while I just made the case for not needing the mean streak fans crave in d-men…Nurse has it.  Scouts worry about his offense, but with his skating and shot I don’t see how it doesn’t come.  Jeff Marek said in an interview with Dan Tencer on Wednesday night that Nurse’s offensive growth was stunted because he hardly saw any PP time this past season.  I really believe this kid has it all and will be a legit number 1, a guy you build your team around.  You can’t go wrong here with anyone of Nurse, Monahan, Lindholm or Horvat should he fall here.  The bigger need is center, but the best of this group I believe is Nurse.


Buffalo-10-pres8. Buffalo Sabres – Elias Lindholm  6’0.5  181  C  Brynas  SWE

Again, a trade up with Carolina is possible.  Lots of balls in the air (that’s what she said), but I have to go with what I know.  What I know is that the beat reporters around the Sabres have said they still want to upgrade further down the middle.  Well with Monahan and Lindholm still on the board they have a big decision to make.  I love both players, but I just think that Lindholm is simply the better player.  Plus, they do have a log jam in the middle moving forward with Hodgson, Grigorenko and Girgensons.  Lindholm played the wing this season so he does have a bit more versatility than Monahan (although centers don’t have much of a problem when moving to the wing).  A Swedish Mike Richards might be the best way to describe Lindholm.  I said Zetterberg all year, but it wasn’t until recently that I started reading about how physical he plays.  Fearless on the ice, and one of the most competitive kids in the draft.  One of those kids that is hungry to win every puck battle.  And while a lot of people talk about his size not being that great, he’s almost 6’1!  When he fills out he will likely be 190-200 pounds.  That’s a nice size.  I really like the kid, a top 5 pick in most drafts.


New Jersey9. New Jersey Devils – Sean Monahan  6’2.5  188  C  Ottawa  OHL

I haven’t been able to get a good read on what Lou Lamoriello is going to do the last 2 years.  Stefan Matteau was an odd pick last year, especially when they have to forefit one and 29 in a weak draft seemed pretty obvious to everyone.  Anyway, they have this one.  If its me, I know most of their top prospects are d-men, but they aren’t high end d-men.  I would build the blueline around Adam Larsson rather than nickle and dime it like they’ve done, but Lou knows a hell of a lot more than I do!  Not a great need down the middle moving forward with this team.  Zajac is locked down for 8 years and Adam Henrique is at worst a damn fine 2nd line center.  But the Devils in the late 90’s/early 2000’s didn’t have a true 1st line center, their strength up front was depth down the middle.  Monahan would give them a great 1/2/3 down the middle.  No true number 1, but 3 guys who when the pan out should be able to play in any situation.  When you’re talking about Monahan you’re talking about a kid who has all the intangibles, plays a 200 foot game, high end speed is good although not by any means an explosive skater, good not great playmaker, uses his size very well.  I really love to compare him to Jordan Staal.  That’s who I see with this kid which is a hell of a get at 9.  He has fallen this season, but because of others rising, nothing he did wrong.


Dallas-13-pres10. Dallas Stars – Alexander Wennberg  6’1.5  183  C  Djurgardens  SWE

As I said earlier, I could see them trying to trade up with Carolina to get the 5th pick and in that case I would have them taking Lindholm.  If they can’t and things shake down this way then I like Wennberg.  And believe it or not, I like Wennberg here because I believe he is the top center left, not because he’s a Swede that a Red Wings decipol like Nill would love.  This kid is really well rounded and is one of the top skater’s in the draft.  Not an explosive stride, but extremely smooth.  He also has a very high IQ, plays a complete game, and isn’t afraid to go to the tough area’s on the ice.  He isn’t getting a lot of hype because he does nothing that really jumps out at people, and of course playing in Sweden a lot of people haven’t seen him play.  But make no mistake Wennberg is right there with Bo Horvat and while he might not be a 1st line center, he can be an elite 2nd line center.  Don’t sleep on Max Domi here either.  And if you wonder about all these centers being picked in the top 10, this is a draft rich in centers.  Last year it was rich in defensemen and picks 2-10 were d-men.  Lindholm, Pouliot and Koekkoek all weren’t expected to go in the top 10.


Philadelphia11. Philadelphia Flyers – Samuel Morin  6’6  200  D  Rimouski  QMJHL

Last mock draft I said “watch out for Samuel Morin in this spot” or something to that effect.  Tuesday night Craig Button had this as the pick in his mock draft but even before that when Bob McKenzie was doing his rankings and I seen that Morin had jumped a lot on them it hit me then that this will be the Flyers pick.  Button suggesting it just cemented that opinion rather than being the reason for it believe it or not.  This team LOVES the Q.  And this team is DESPERATE for d-men.  And Morin is really raw.  I’ve talked about this before with him how some scouts actually love how he lacked strength at the combine because they think “if he is this good before he gains strength and fills out, imagine how good he will be when he does!”  I can totally understand that logic.  The reverse side of that is Darnell Nurse who is a gym rat already, maybe some scouts don’t have him ranked as high because he is already so fit.  Anyhow, this is a big hunch.  They would be passing on Zadorov and Ristolainen who are both huge talents.  But there is nothing wrong with going with what you know and the Flyers know the Q.  Morin is a great skater for such a big kid (probably more smooth than Zadorov), he plays with a bit of an edge, and his offensive game rapidly improved over the balance of the season.  Because of his size and skating ability he has number 1 type potential and when you factor everything in he just makes total sense for the Flyers at 11.


Phoenix12. Phoenix??? Coyotes – Curtis Lazar  6’0  191  C  Edmonton  WHL

“With their first pick….the Seattle Mets select….”  As I have said in the past few mock drafts, while they really need a highly skilled guy like Hunter Shinkaruk or Max Domi, it just isn’t the Yotes style.  They love guys that have some versatility and are multi dimensional…not to mention a great 200 foot game.  Can’t go wrong with Lazar, I believe at worst he is an elite 3rd line center and if he rounds out his game a little more he could be an elite 2nd line center.  Again the comparison for me is Mike Richards, although not as in your face.  He hits, he’s a leader, has a heavy shot, great skater, high IQ, and is maybe the best 200 foot center in this draft.  If he’s not the best, he’s right there with a kid like Barkov.  Below the hash marks this kid is light years ahead of most 18 year olds.  Some see him as a winger because he lacks the playmaking ability most love in a center, but it doesn’t hurt David Backes, or Stamkos, or Duchene, and it shouldn’t hurt Lazar’s ability to play the middle either.  But having said all of this, make no mistake that the argument can easily be made for them to finally grab that skilled guy like a Domi or Shinkaruk.


Winnipeg-11-pres13. Winnipeg Jets – Nikita Zadorov  6’6  230  D  London  OHL

They’re on the right track.  Trouba is coming (although I see him as a 3 or 4 as opposed to some people who see him as a top pairing guy), but as I said all last year I just don’t like the blueline they have.  Bogosian is getting a bit of a reputation as an injury prone kid, Stuart is solid but the Southleast isn’t the Central, and I’m just not a big fan of either Byfuglien or Enstrom.  So I believe they need to keep building that blueline and Zadorov at 13 I believe would be a pleasent surprise.  No doubt, he is still pretty raw but the upside makes some simply drool over what he could be.  He is a bit of a clumsy skater but so was Tyler Myers at the same age.  He might be a better skater right now then Myers was actually.  And he is more skilled than Myers was at the same age.  And he on top of everything else is a flat out crusher!  Myers has never been that, so if you’re a big Tyler Myers fan then you should love Nikita Zadorov.  Where he is still really raw is understanding the game both offensively and defensively.  I doubt he is ever a PP QB, and his defensive positioning needs work although it is improving.  At worst he will still be a useful bottom pairing guy, but again that upside….the sky is the limit for this kid.


Columbus0814. Columbus Blue Jackets – Max Domi  5’9.5  190  C  London  OHL

As I’ve said a lot already, I would watch for them to package 2 of their picks in an attempt to move up.  But if they don’t, then I like Domi for them at 14.  I would LOVE for Domi to fall to the Leafs at 21 but that no longer seems possible.  Obviously he lacks size (height), but he makes up for that with some of his old man’s intensity and toughness.  I’ve said it before and will say it again, he really reminds me of Mike Comrie when he first came into the league.  People may forget Comrie sniping 32 in his first full season in the league.  Similar high end speed although Domi might be more explosive, he was terrific with the puck like Domi, Domi probably has a better shot than Mike did, and Mike was tough for how big he was just like Max.  Comrie had at least 2 fights that season (vs Briere and Kovalchuk) and Domi is a willing to go….pretty sure growing up in that family it was a requirement!  If he can’t pan out in the middle he can easily play the wing and I believe that will suit the Blue Jackets just fine.  Improving the skill level up front I would think is a must in this draft for Jarmo Kekelainen.


New_York_Islanders15. NY Islanders – Zachary Fucale  6’1.5  177  G  Halifax  QMJHL

80th mock in a row…or so…I’ve had it this way, and I doubt I will change it for the last one.  I absolutely love this pick for the Islanders if this is how things shake down.  There is a chance that Fucale won’t be around by the 15th pick, its very tough to read what will happen with goaltenders in the draft these days.  But the Islanders to me could really use that potential stud number 1 goaltender in this spot.  They have guys like Kevin Poulin, Anders Nilsson and Mikko Koskinen in the system, but none of them rival the upside of Fucale.  Craig Button has recently said this is the best 17 year old goaltender he’s ever seen.  Peter Loubardias told me that this kid is one of the best PEOPLE he’s ever met, and Kirk Ludeke a scout for Redline Report said on twitter that he talked to a few scouts and they basically echoed those words.  That’s pretty high praise.  He is tremendous post to post, extremely sound positionally, and has the right mental makeup to be a number 1 guy.


Buffalo-10-pres16. Buffalo Sabres via Minnesota –  Rasmus Ristolainen  6’4  203  D  TPS Turku  FIN

With the 8th pick they took Lindholm, so I think a talented d-man makes a lot of sense at 16.  Ristolainen not going until now would be a gift for the Sabres.  This kid has huge talent, maybe more talent than a kid like Morin and he’s much more smooth than a kid like Zadorov.  One thing that may scare off some scouts with him is that Finland hasn’t really ever pumped out big time d-men.  Pitkanen (who I have compared Ristolainen to) is a top 4 d-man but really has never lived up to what some believed he would become.  Kimmo Timonen has been a top pairing guy most of his career, Teppo Numinum might be the best they’ve ever produced, Jyrki Lumme was another good one, but they’re really few and far between.  So that, coupled with a guy like Pitkanen who has disappointed and a kid like Aki Berg who was a total bust and it may give GM’s some hesitation.  And you have heard some questions arise about his work ethic and consistency.  When he is on though, he is a great skater, physical, great puck mover, is a PP QB, good positionally, great stick, the kid is a horse on the blueline.  Now McKenzie has him ranked 8th, so he easily could go well before this, but I don’t think he goes any lower than this.


Ottawa0817. Ottawa Senators – Mirco Mueller  6’4.5  184  D  Everett  WHL

I have had a forward going in this spot all year I believe.  Maybe the very first mock I did I gave them a d-man, can’t recall.  But the last 3 for sure I gave them a center.  But the more I look at what they have on the way, while they are the deepest organization maybe in the entire league they aren’t THAT deep on defense.  Although that’s just me looking at their depth chart, they’ve had a lot of guys come out of nowhere the last few years that they’ve developed.  I do think the pick should be either a center, d-man or goaltender with the way they’ve developed wingers.  Bob McKenzie has said they would like to move up to get Monahan.  Going to be pretty tough for them to move up THAT high, but they do have a ridiculous amount of assets to play with.  Should they stay here, I love Mueller for them.  Big, rangy, LH shot d-man who skates very well, has a lot of raw talent.  Some feel he has untapped offensively potential, but even if the offensive game doesn’t come he still looks as though he can be a very effective top 4 shutdown d-man.  Karlsson, Cowen, Ceci, and Mueller could have the makings of one of the best top 4’s in the league in 5 years.


Detroit18. Detroit Red Wings – Ryan Pulock  6’1  211  D  Brandon  WHL

They still have a lot up front to work with in this organization, but the blueline has taken a flat out beating in the last 24 months or so.  You know who has left, and the reason you don’t know what’s coming is because they don’t have much coming.  Xavier Ouellet got a lot of hype prior to the WJC, and while I wouldn’t say he was a disappointment, he didn’t live up to the hype either.  Ryan Sproul is a nice d-man with really good size and great offensive talent.  But he’s REALLY soft for a kid who is 6’4.  Danny DeKeyser has stepped in and done a nice job, but many believe the kid is limited.  So they need to start building up their blueline again and while he’s had a rough year I’m still really big on Ryan Pulock.  He has that Al MacInnis like bomb from the point, a great puck mover, really good mobility, and doesn’t get pushed around.  His biggest flaw at this point and time is that he is prone to some pretty bad turnovers in his own zone, but that is something many d-men have to work through on their way up to the pro’s.  Lots of D options at this point other than Pulock too.  Josh Morrissey is still on the board, as is Robert Hagg….we all know the Wings love them some Swedes on their blueline.


Columbus0819. Columbus Blue Jackets via NY Rangers – Hunter Shinkaruk  5’10.5  172  RW  Medicine Hat  WHL

The 2nd of 3 selections for new GM Jarmo Kekalainen and the Blue Jackets.  We won’t know until draft day what a first time GM like Kekalainen will do because some GM’s rely heavily on their scouting staffs and some who have come from scouting (like Kekalainen) will get heavily involved in the process.  Add to that confusion is the fact that the Jackets have 2 directors of amateur scouting in Tyler Wright and Paul Castron.  This would be a fall for Shinkaruk, but it is a safe bet for it to be a winger who falls in a draft.  His size is a little troubling, he actually was smaller than his listed size prior to the combine.  Most of these kids were actually measured to be bigger than their listed size.  But what Shinkaruk lacks in size he makes up for with his incredible speed and lazer of a shot.  I don’t expect Shinkaruk to be a great all around player who has a great 200 foot game.  But what I do expect is 30 goals a season, with a few seasons of 40 mixed in there.  He is a classic sniper, he is willing to get his nose dirty and go to the tough area’s on the ice and apparently an extremely hard working kid.  The Blue Jackets really lacked a player with his talent last year and I believe both Domi and Shinkaruk would fit well with the lunch pail mentality the Blue Jackets have developed.


San Jose20. San Jose Sharks – Kerby Rychel  6’1  198  LW  Windsor  OHL

Haven’t changed this pick all spring and won’t now….although that likely means it won’t happen.  This organization needs everything basically.  The current roster is obviously good, but it’s aging and they have nothing coming other than last year’s 1st round pick Tomas Hertl.  Now this will look like I’m thinking that they need to replace Clowe but he actually has nothing to do with this pick.  More so, it’s looking at the Sharks and the way they’ve drafted.  They always stick to their board (which a lot of times is very different from others) and they have area’s they love.  One of the area’s they love is the OHL, and since the West is more about size now than skill I have Rychel selected with their pick.  Rychel plays the game with a little more skill than his old man did, but he still has a lot of what his dad brought to the table.  Always finishing his hits, willing to drop the gloves, and a beast in front of the net.  He doesn’t skate fluid, but he has pretty good speed nonetheless.  He plays with a lot of passion too which is usually a concern with power forwards, not Rychel.  Would look great next to Logan Couture in 3-4 seasons.


Toronto21. Toronto Maple Leafs – Frederik Gauthier  6’4.5  215  C  Rimouski  QMJHL

Apparently a lot of people have this same pick, I swear it is my own idea and not stolen!  I’m back to getting them the 200 foot player down the middle I believe they really need.  Some Leaf fans may believe Gauthier is just another Joe Colborne but I disagree.  No, he’s not physical at all.  But he isn’t a kid that plays small either.  He protects the puck well, he leans on defenders, he’s good along the wall, down low, and in front of the net.  He has good hands and is a pretty good playmaker too.  Some now have him as a 3rd line center but I think in time he will become a real good 2nd line center.  His scouting report kind of reminds me of Martin Hanzel.  About the same size, Hanzel was compared to Bobby Holik when he was drafted.  And while again, Gauthier isn’t as physical, point is that Hanzel has developed a better offensive game than perhaps was expected.  I really believe no matter who they like, the Leafs should take a center.  Moving forward they’re set on defense, and they look great on the wings as well.  They don’t have a legit number 1 center in the organization moving forward, so the next best thing is to make sure you’re deep down the middle.  Kadri is a good start to that, keep adding.


Calgary22. Calgary Flames via St. Louis – Nicolas Petan  5’8.5  163  C  Portland  WHL

This wouldn’t be my pick for them, but it is me playing a hunch.  I have heard a few rumors that suggest they really like Petan.  They might be able to get him at 28, but if you really like a kid and you have picks that close together, I don’t see why you wait.  Petan is majorly undersized, but the Flames have watched a kid just like that blossom for them this season in Johnny Gaudreau (although I still question that his game will translate).  One thing you can’t question though is Petan’s skill level.  When you lead the WHL in scoring (120 points) in your draft year, you probably are worth taking a look at as a potential 1st round pick.  Amazing hands, quick feet, slippery, and a really high IQ on the ice.  He needs to fill out to be around 180-185 in my mind but if he does the kid could really do some damage.  But I don’t like this for the Flames, especially if it means passing on kids like Ryan Hartman, Michael McCarron or even hometown kids like Josh Morrissey and Morgan Klimchuk.  The former 3 guys fill needs a lot more and are higher ranked by most.  The latter is similar but has more size and likely would have done the same thing had he been in Portland and not Regina.


Washington0823. Washington Capitals – Ryan Hartman  5’11.5  185  RW  Plymouth  OHL

If you have been reading these mock drafts, then you know I have had Hartman going to the Canucks a few times.  He’s a total pest, he dives, he’s cheap, he’s miserable to play against….something the Caps could really use.  I have tried to get a center to the Caps with their 1st, but there isn’t one that fits the bill for them at this point and their organization views Evgeny Kuznetsov as the teams future 2nd line center.  Also Hartman has played some center so that is a possibility though most see him as a winger.  Ironically another little bonus is he plays with Caps 1st rounder from 2012 Tom Wilson in Plymouth.  But the Caps really need a guy like this who is just such a headache to play against.  You can’t have a team full of them like the Canucks have put together, but you do need 1 or 2 of them.  And it’s not like he can’t play, he does have some pretty good skill and nice touch around the net.  I love this pick for the Caps.  They have a pretty loaded system so it’s tough to find their needs, but Hartman fills a big one in my mind.


Vancouver0824. Vancouver Canucks – Michael McCarron  6’5.5  234  RW  USNTDP  USHL

Well I no longer believe in the dream of the Carburners selecting one of their own in Ryan Hartman with the 24th pick.  Some things are too good to be true.  But reading between the lines, Mike Gillis is looking to get big and mean now.  He didn’t say that exactly in his press conference when he fired Alain Vigneault, but he loudly hinted at it.  So with that being said I have them taking McCarron who had a great U18’s for the U.S. and is one BIG kid!  As for McCarron’s skill set, he uses that amazing size as much as he can.  He’s a beast down low, on the wall, and has no problem crushing opponents.  And for such a big kid, he is a good skater, good agility and a great shot.  He might become a complimentary guy in a top 6 role much like Bryan Bickell did for the Hawks in the playoffs this year.


Montreal25. Montreal Canadiens – Anthony Mantha  6’4  190  LW  Val d’Or  QMJHL

Awesome size, awesome wheels, hands, playmaking, this kid seemingly has it all.  So why is he going 25th in the draft?  Soft.  No other way to say, this kid has all the tools to be a star, but simply refuses to get his nose dirty.  It’s not as if he has to be Milan Lucic, Bryan Bickell, Dustin Brown or Andrew Ladd.  He just has to go to tougher areas on the ice and use his size to his advantage.  He has to take the puck to the net, don’t stay on the perimeter so much.  And he’s doing this in the Q…not exactly the toughest of the 3 CHL leagues.  Again, Mantha needs to actually start using his size, but once he turns pro after next season he will learn that he will need to go to the tough area’s on the ice and grind out some of his goals.  The Habs are another team who are likely to trade up in this draft.  They have three 2nd rounders and two 3rd rounders, so simply by taking lets just say the 36th and 71st picks and packaging them with 25 I would guess they could entice a team like  the Red Wings perhaps who have never been shy to move back and pickup some extra assets.  Another one I would pitch, 34 and 36 to the Ducks for 26.  The Ducks 2nd rounder is owned by the Oilers.


Anaheim226. Anaheim Ducks – Josh Morrissey  5’11  182  D  Prince Albert  WHL

I believe this would be pretty sweet for the Ducks to see Morrissey still on the board with the 26th pick, but a LOT stranger things have happened than this.  To me, the Ducks despite having taken d-man with their top pick in 2 of the last 3 years with their 1st round picks still need more on defense.  Obviously this would not have been the case if Justin Schultz hadn’t of left miserable Anaheim for sunny and spectacular Edmonton….I’ve said this before and will say it yet again, there is a lot of P.K. Subban/Matthew Dumba in Morrissey’s game.  Yet he isn’t AS high risk/high reward as those 2 are.  Great skater, not very big but is fearless on the ice, can QB a PP, makes a great first pass, has a good stick and has good gap control.  A straight up steal for the Ducks should he fall this far in the draft.  If not Morrissey here, perhaps a kid like Jacob De La Rose or would fit the bill as I believe they could use some depth down the middle in the organization.


Columbus0827. Columbus Blue Jackets via Los Angeles – Robert Hagg  6’2  193  D  Modo  SWE

The 3rd of 3 picks for the Jackets.  Now that I have them loading up with skill with their top 2 picks they could stand to take a d-man.  Jarmo Kekalainen is known for being one of the best scouts in Europe when he was with the Blues.  So he knows European kids, he especially knew the SEL.  So even though he will not have had time to see a lot of Robert Hagg I would guess he knows him well through his connections.  He has consistency issues, but it is more so that at times he looks like a potential top pairing guy and sometimes he just looks solid.  A far cry from being a guy who is known for disappearing.  He blocks shots, will take the body, skates well, positionally sound, and has some offensive upside.  His low end is probably a number 4 guy, his upside is a top pairing guy.  This would book end a great 1st round for the Jackets.


Calgary28. Calgary Flames via Pittsburgh – Thomas Vannelli  6’2  165  D  Minnetonka  USHS

Here is my wild card pick for the Flames.  Good chance that Feaster and company make at least one pick like this.  It is ironic too because I was thinking about doing this the other day, and then I was reading some of Kirk Luedeke’s tweets the other day.  Someone asked him who this year’s Mark Jankowski could be?  Boom.  Tommy Vannelli.  This kid is REALLY raw, but he can fly on the ice, he loves jumping in the play, and even though he hasn’t played against great competition as of yet he is pretty good defensively.  They need to take a d-man with 1 of these 3 picks and they love their American kids larely because of assistant GM John Weisbrod.  It is a total home run swing to take, but at 28 and with 2 picks already in the bag it is a little safer to take that swing.  I wouldn’t do it, but the Flames have shown they don’t care about what other people think they should do.


Dallas-13-pres29. Dallas Stars via Boston – Valentin Zykov  6’0.5  206  RW  Baie Comeau  QMJHL

I have Jim Nill getting a center with his first pick so now I was going to suggest he go out and get a d-man, but Zykov has fallen to 29 and is too good to pass up.  While you see a Russian winger you may think of a kid who is soft but highly skilled, that’s really not his game.  He is a power forward.  He will hit, he goes into the corners, goes to the front of the net, he’ll get a lot of greasy goals in the NHL.  That’s not to say he doesn’t have skill either, but his game is really going to translate at the pro level.  And apparently he interviewed very well at the combine.  I was actually pretty surprised he wasn’t higher on Bob McKenzie’s list, I have trouble finding flaws in this kids game.  Now as I said, they could go with a d-man here.  Shea Theodore, Madison Bowey, Ian McCoshen, Chris Bigras, there are a lot of options for the Stars if they want to go that route.  If they want another kid who has fallen a bit, Andre Burakovsky but I don’t see him going in the 1st round until we decide on how his last name is spelt! (Burakowsky or Burakovsky?!)


Chicago30.Chicago Blackhawks – Madison Bowey  6’1  195  D  Kelowna  WHL

I really believe that defense is the play with this pick, and Bowey is their kind of guy.  He is a great skater and can really move the puck.  The Hawks won the Cup because of having a blueline that could really move the puck well.  Look at Johnny Oduya.  The guy is a turnover machine, but he skates well and moves the puck and you didn’t hear the Hawks complain about his game all playoff long.  Well Bowey has good size to go along with that skill set so as long as he’s available at 30 I can’t believe they would pass on him unless of course someone who they have highly ranked fell to them (maybe that would be Burakovsky).  They need to address goaltending in this draft at some point.  They did address it a little already by signing Finnish goalie  Antti Raanta this spring.  But Raanta will step in next season as Corey Crawford’s backup.  I think it is vital they find a kid in this draft, so maybe they take Eric Comrie or Tristan Jarry with this pick.  It wouldn’t be that much of a reach.



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