Happy McDavid day Edmonton Oiler fans! It is an organization changing day for Edmonton and Buffalo. For fans of the other 28 teams, it won’t suck for you either! As has been over stated this season, this is a great draft class and could be one of the best of all time. Just over 1 hour until it all unfolds.
So…WHAT THE HELL!?!?!? This Hamilton deal just f***ed everything up for me!!! And then the Lucic deal made it even worse! At this point it is just about keeping things updated but I feel good about the spots I have most of these guys going, but now I don’t know what to do! Last year on draft day I was driving all day out to Golden, B.C. Winding through the mountains on highway I had never driven on before, trying to update twitter every 2 minutes, every trade imaginable is about to go down, it’s amazing, it’s all about to happen, this team and that team are so close, the 1st pick is about to be dealt to Vancouver, OH MY GAWD!!!!!…..
Crickets. All night. So, all this stuff today is a bit of a headache as much as it is fun to watch unfold. But it’s clear now that I’m not going to do well with this mock because the flood gates have opened.
As always, a little insight to how I look at things. I’m looking at what teams have 25-27 and under in their organization. I look at need and not just the BPA (best player available) these days as do most teams because it is getting more and more difficult to make trades in the NHL. Also I try and look for patterns with teams and their past 4 or 5 drafts. Do they go CHL heavy? Do they love the NCAA/USHL kids? Maybe they’re head over heals for Europeans?
Remember, just because McKenzie or Redline report or ISS or CSS have one guy ranked higher than another doesn’t mean that he is the BPA for that particular team. This is why they have their own scouting staffs people. Also, a little add I made to this final mock draft, I put where I personally rank these kids off to the right side of their name and team in brackets, in case you are wondering what that means. Ok Boston, please don’t make 9 more trades in the next hour, here we go…
1. Connor McDavid Erie OHL (1)
Pos: C Ht: 6’0.75 Wt: 195 Shot: L
Comparison: Joe Sakic
1 more time. He has a chance to be a legend. And it is very odd saying this, but the Oilers have done a great job bringing in the right people to ensure this kid gets the most out of his abilities. Sid started out with Ed Olczyk as his head coach. Great analyst, seems like a great guy, bad coach. Toews had Dennis Savard. Stamkos had BARRY MELROSE. So he’s in better hands than most of these guys have been. Couple that with all the young talent the Oilers have amassed from years of complete humiliation, he really is coming into a fantastic situation.
Other Options: None
Pos: C Ht: 6’2 Wt: 196 Shot: R
Comparison: Mike Modano
I have to think he would be the top pick any other year since Crosby. Potentially better than Tavares, MacKinnon, probably going to be better all around than Stamkos, he has all the tools to be an elite player as well. The Sabres future is so damn bright.
Other Options: None
3. Dylan Strome Erie OHL (6)
Pos: C Ht: 6’3 Wt: 185 Shot: L
Comparison: Niklas Backstrom
This is where the draft gets interesting. I’m keeping this pick as Strome, because if they do pick it is pretty widely speculated that they want a center. As of writing this Chris Johnston from Sportsnet is reporting they aren’t moving the pick barring something out of the blue coming their way. So the Bruins loading up on the middle of the 1st wasn’t for Hanifin apparently, althought Joe Haggerty out of Boston is tweeting that the Bruins are still trying to move up to this pick to get Noah Hanifin. But back to the Yotes, I wouldn’t completely rule out Maloney going off the board and taking Barzal if he can’t trade back, because I do think part of the reason this is being dangled is because he likes a guy like that better than Strome.
Other Options: Noah Hanifin, Mathew Barzal
4. Mitch Marner London OHL (7)
Pos: RW Ht: 5’11 Wt: 160 Shot: R
Comparison: Patrick Kane
So now the question becomes if Arizona stays at 3 and takes Strome do the Leafs trade back with the Bruins? We’ll see….Anyway, I tap. While I strongly believe this pick should be Hanifin or Provorov, and it does sound like Babcock strongly agrees with me and believes this should be Hanifin, they continually say that Mark Hunter has the final say here and that he wants to take his boy Marner. I think it’s a mistake, I think they need to ensure the blueline is set if they’re serious about a full on rebuild, but the thing is that it’s being suggested now that they aren’t set on that. I hate to say this Leaf fans, but they are starting to sound dysfunctional as ever. I hope that’s not the case because I want this team back to being a regular playoff team and a contender. Anyway, perhaps if they send Marner back to London and he plays center all season it’ll justify the pick. But while Pat Kane is amazing, he doesn’t win anything with Toews, Seabrook and Keith. I just don’t see an undersized winger, let alone 2 of them (Willie Nylander last year) as building blocks. Going to be damn good players who put up numbers, but I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again you don’t buy an 80 inch 4K TV when your house needs a roof.
Other Options: Noah Hanifin, Ivan Provorov
5. Noah Hanifin Boston College NCAA (3)
Pos: D Ht: 6’2.75 Wt: 203 Shot: L
Comparison: Scott Niedermayer
Could the Hurricanes move back to 13/14/15 with the Bruins with Hanifin still on the board? I don’t think it would take all three picks, but maybe two of them and then two or all three of the 2nd’s Boston has. We’ll see….Anway, just like last year I really believe Ron Francis understands how desperate this organization is for defensemen. Ryan Murphy isn’t an answer, neither is Justin Faulk, and Haydn Fleury didn’t really look like an answer this year either. But Hanifin is, and Provorov is, and should they prefer him Zach Werenski is. They are really good up front, and those guys need a back end to enhance their skills. I can’t believe it looks as though they’ll have their choice of the D-men, but it really does appear to be the case. And Hanifin is awesome. I don’t buy the Jay Bouwmeester comparisons, because Hanifin is a really intelligent kid while J-Bo is…I won’t say it.
Other Options: Ivan Provorov
Pos: C Ht: 5’11.25 Wt: 175 Shot: R
Comparison: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
Still not going to move off this pick, even though I can make just as good of a case for the other options guys I have at the bottom. Some people have opened my eyes to the fact that they don’t have the center that every team needs. I don’t think they’re bad with Henrique, but Zajac is about to be 30 and nobody is on the way. Ray Shero won in Pittsburgh with great strength down the middle. So I’ll suggest they pass on the perceived BPA and take Barzal who is the best center on the board. He has shot back up everyone’s list after his U 18’s. Also watch for a trade down, as they only own 5 picks in this draft.
Other Options: Pavel Zacha, Kyle Connor
7. Ivan Provorov Brandon WHL (4)
Pos: D Ht: 6’0.5 Wt: 201 Shot: L
Comparison: Hampus Lindholm
What a gift this would be for the Flyers! My man Patty will be going NUTS if this happens, as he should be! They have loaded up on D the last 2 drafts, but you can never have enough high end D-men and I think Provorov is worthy of going as high as 3rd in the draft. He does it all, doesn’t have a flaw in his game. And where is GM Ron Hextall from? Brandon, Manitoba. Provorov falls to 7, I can’t see him passing. Zacha and Crouse though would definitely fit the “Philly mode” though.
Other Options: Pavel Zacha, Lawson Crouse
8. Zach Werenski Michigan NCAA (8)
Pos: D Ht: 6’2 Wt: 206 Shot: L
Comparison: Ryan Whitney
They have proven to be a BPA team. They went with all forwards in 2013 with their three 1st rounders, and last year it seemed like D was the way to go and they took Sonny Milano. They’re a candidate to trade up as they own three 2nd round picks, two 3rd’s, two 5th’s and two 7th’s (although no 4th). Sounds like they’re pressing HARD to get up to 3 to take Hanifin. One of Provorov or Hanifin is available at 6, a deal between the Jackets and Devils makes too much sense. Jarmo Kekalainen acknowledged Saturday the need for D in the organization, more so now that they’ve lost Mike Reilly. A lot of people have them taking Rantanan here likely because of the Finnish connection, but Werenski is the higher ranked prospect by most and they just have to start addressing the backend. Who is Kerby Rychel going to fetch in a trade? Teams are trading less and less, and even more so trading D-men. The value in them has never been higher, so you have to take a high end one while you can.
Other Options: Mikko Rantanan, Pavel Zacha
Pos: C Ht: 6’3 Wt: 210 Shot: L
Comparison: Tuomo Ruutu
I THINK they’re a candidate to trade back, possibly with the Flames and as I’ve said before Travis Konency could be the target because of Doug Wilson’s ties to the Ottawa 67’s. Then again, Dreger has them in the hunt for Cam Talbot and as a team possibly offering their 1st pick like morons for Talbot. But I don’t do trade back’s (or idiotic deals) so I’ll have them taking Zacha who is a center but again I’ll state I see him as a winger simply because he is a shoot first guy. The comparison is Ruutu, but another guy he’ll remind many of in terms of style of play is Jeremy Roenick. Loves to score, loves to be physical.
Other Options: Mikko Rantanen, Lawson Crouse
10. Jakub Zboril Saint John QMJHL (20)
Pos: D Ht: 6’0.75 Wt: 184 Shot: L
Comparison: Sergei Gonchar
You better not be f***ing me on this Jeff Marek!!! But I’m going to go all in with what he’s telling anyone who’ll listen. He has said that he was told by someone in the know with the Avs that they are taking a D-man no matter what. They’re in a terrible position to take a D-man if things break like this. They’re whole system is bad but let’s be real here they’re pretty stocked up front moving forward. But I’ve said this in a lot of the mock drafts: “I would trade up, trade back or simply reach for a D-man here”. Zboril is the best D-man on the board at this point. But if it is the case that they’re taking a D no matter what, trade back if you can’t move to 3. Side note, this team has only selected CHL players in the first 3 rounds of the draft since 2007.
Other Options: Jeremy Roy
11. Mikko Rantanen TPS SM LIGA (9)
Pos: RW Ht: 6’3.5 Wt: 211 Shot: L
Comparison: Marian Hossa
This will be a forward, I have very little doubt about that. And I’m guessing a winger although in my mind you can never have too many center’s in the system. Rantanen has the makings of a great all around winger and obviously because he’s a Fin people will believe he’s a perfect fit with Sasha Barkov.
Other Options: Kyle Connor, Timo Meier
12. Lawson Crouse Kingston OHL (14)
Pos: LW Ht: 6’4 Wt: 215 Shot: L
Comparison: Andrew Ladd
The Stars don’t seem to like the American system. Just one Collegiate/USHL player in the last 3 drafts. 2012 7th rounder, Russian Dimitry Sinitsyn who bolted to the Regina Pats the next season. But they love size, they love speed, they love intangibles, and so they’ll love Crouse . I’ll be honest, I REALLY want to put Eriksson Ek here. I think center is the need, Connor is ranked right around here by most but as I say they don’t seem to like kids out of the American system. I could easily see Eriksson Ek going here, but Crouse fell to them and I think he’ll be tough to pass up.
Other Options: Joel Eriksson Ek, Kyle Connor
Pos: C Ht: 6’1 Wt: 177 Shot: L
Comparison: Kyle Turris
I still can’t wrap my head around what has happened today! HAVE to think the Bruins trade up. But I will say, with these 3 picks they can lay a great foundation for the future, and it does look as though they’re now going into full rebuild mode. I would hope Sweeney isn’t done, although this feels a lot more like Cam Neely calling the shots. Connor is a center and they really need one. But I have no clue where they’re now going with any of this.
Other Options: Timo Meier, Colin White
Pos: RW Ht: 6’1 Wt: 209 Shot: L
Comparison: Loui Eriksson
I’ve had a tough time with this pick as I believe they have a big need both at center and on D. THEN, they do the Hamilton trade so I don’t know what to think!!! The previous is what I had wrote, and then the Lucic deal came down! So again, I have zero clue at this point where they’re going with all this. It’s not just these 3 picks, they own 3 pretty good 2’s (37, 45, 52). Meier fits what they have looked for in the past, but who the heck knows where this new regime will go should they use these picks.
Other Options: Colin White, Joel Eriksson Ek
Pos: C Ht: 6’0 Wt: 183 Shot: R
Comparison: Patrice Bergeron
With their 3rd pick, they take the hometown boy! They need help down the middle, yet I had them taking Connor. And why haven’t I addressed the D? Well again they have 37, 45 and 52 that they could use on D. But needless to say with these 3 picks things are not going to go anywhere near what I’m suggesting. Just totally guessing what they do should they hold onto all these picks, which they won’t. I do have a hunch that should they use all these picks, they won’t pass on White.
Other Options: Joel Eriksson Ek, Jeremy Roy
16. Evgeny Svechnikov Cape Breton QMJHL (26)
Pos: RW Ht: 6’1.75 Wt: 199 Shot: L
Comparison: Alexander Semin
It’s gone from “they aren’t using this pick” to “I see one unlikely scenario where they use this pick” to “they’re using this pick” to now where I’m saying I guarantee they use this pick. As years go on, GM’s get more and more terrified to make deals. Last Friday it came out that the Blackhawks want a 1st AND a top 6 forward still on his ELC. Insane, nobody is ever going to give EITHER of those assets for a fading Sharp (maybe Tim Murray gives them his top pick and Sam Reinhart). So Bob Stauffer is aggressively hinting that they’re taking Svechnikov. From what I hear, he’s a great kid and did awesome in interviews. He’s 1 dimensional, nothing of a need, and not a player you win with. I hate this pick. The Oilers scouts have been heavily scouting the QMJHL this season so I assume that is who had them so hot and bothered. As for the other options here I’m praying they go with, Eriksson Ek because Stauffer is asking a lot about him and I just wonder if he was told something about the Oilers really liking him. He’s a center, but you can always move a center to the wing, or trade a current center who will have a lot more value for a major need. I’m in the minority, but I love the idea of Samsonov because I think he’s a franchise guy. As you know as well I also love the idea of Jeremy Roy, but you can get guys like Roy later on.
Other Options: Ilya Samsonov, Joel Eriksson Ek
Pos: C Ht: 6’1.25 Wt: 182 Shot: L
Comparison: David Krecji
This might be a bit of a reach for Harkins. 2 of 30 picks under Kevin Cheveldayoff have been kids out of Europe, so while I like Eriksson Ek better than Harkins, they don’t like going that route. Maybe they will, but history suggests they won’t. They also seemingly reached for Josh Morrissey in 2013 and that has worked out extremely well.
Other Options: Joel Eriksson Ek
Pos: C Ht: 6’1.75 Wt: 180 Shot: L
Comparison: Derek Stepan
Again, he’s the big riser and I think he can go as high as 12 in this draft. Dallas, Boston, Edmonton, Winnipeg which is every pick in between 11 and 18 could take him. He’s good, and his game translates to the wing if need be. I compared him to Stepan but another good one is Ryan Kesler. Because once Eriksson Ek fills out he’ll be around the same size, and plays a very similar game. Kesler is…I’m not a fan despite being a great player.
Other Options: Travis Konecny, Nick Merkley
Pos: D Ht: 6’0 Wt: 188 Shot: R
Comparison: Dan Boyle
This pick has changed, and it’s back to a D-man. They can get a D-man later on, but they don’t pick again until 73. It’s unlikely a kid like Kylington, Dunn, Dermott, Meloche, Juulsen, or Vande Sompel is still on the board. So Roy is a must take, he’s a need, the Wings have liked picking out of the Q of late, he’s a RH shot on the back end which they’ve lacked, he’s smart, I just love this kid and he fits pretty perfect. I do think Ekriksson Ek would be their guy if he fell here, but as you can see I believe he doesn’t get past 18 and could go as high as 12 in my mind. They could easily trade back too, they have been known to do that. Maybe with Arizona for 30 and 32.
Other Options: Thomas Chabot, Oliver Kylington
Pos: G Ht: 6’3 Wt: 200 Glove: L
Comparison: Henrik Lundqvist
With all the center’s now gone, they have to look to another big need here. Maybe they trade back, maybe they trade up. But to me, Samsonov makes a lot of sense for the Wild. If Dubnyk leaves, this is not the immediate replacement. He won’t be over here for 3 years. But in the organization they do not have anything close to a goaltender like this who I really believe is going to be a superstar. Their goaltending got big time exposed in the first half of the season, so make certain that doesn’t happen again. Whether Dubnyk stays or goes, I love this pick for Minny.
Other Options: Paul Bittner, Thomas Chabot
21. Travis Konecny Ottawa OHL (17)
Pos: RW Ht: 5’9.75 Wt: 175 Shot: R
Comparison: Zach Parise
What a STUPID trade by Tim Murray. Buffalo’s loss is Ottawa’s huge gain. I’m a huge fan of Konceny! Love his intangibles and that is a big trait for Bryan Murray. We all rave about the fight the Flames showed this season, well for 3 of the last 4 seasons the Sens have been that team in the East. Konecny will fit PERFECTLY with the culture the Sens have built, and of course it doesn’t hurt that he’s the 67’s captain. Ideally, they want a D-man, but it might be a reach here. Also Craig Button brought up a fair point with Jason Gregor last Friday in that some teams in the 1st round might pass on D like Roy, Chabot, and Kylington simply because there are a lot of similar guys to them available later on (Jacob Larsson, Travis Dermott, Vince Dunn, Noah Juulsen, Erik Cernak, etc). So at picks 42 and/or 48 they could take a D-man, and with 4 picks in the top 50 they’re a prime candidate to trade up, maybe with Colorado should the Avs fail to trade up.
Other Options: Thomas Chabot, Brandon Carlo
Pos: D Ht: 6’5 Wt: 196 Shot: R
Comparison: Jonathan Ericsson
They have to go D here in my mind. It is just too damn tough to trade wingers for quality D-men and that is basically the only trade chips the Caps have. And they have only taken 1 player out of the Q since 2006, so that to me eliminates Thomas Chabot as a candidate, so welcome to the Brandon Carlo era Caps fans! This is a team that loves to go BPA, but I can see it catching up with them. However, neither Carlo or Chabot would be reaches here. As for the theory of waiting until the 2nd to take a D-man, well they can’t unless they swing a trade because they wasted their’s on a fading Curtis Glencross at the trade deadline.
Other Options: Thomas Chabot, Denis Guryanov
23. Thomas Chabot Saint John QMJHL (23)
Pos: D Ht: 6’1.5 Wt: 180 Shot: L
Comparison: T.J. Brodie
Much like the Caps picking before them, they shouldn’t pass up taking a D-man after so many forward selections in the 1st round the last 10 years. They need to stock the cupboard on D, especially with Kevin Bieksa on the back 9 in his career and Dan Hamhuis entering the final year of his contract. And like the Caps, they don’t have a 2nd (at least not at the moment, they are shopping Eddie Lack for one). So with all that said, Chabot ends up being their guy. He can fly and will have decent size once he fills out.
Other Options: Jake Debrusk, Paul Bittner
24. Vince Dunn Niagara OHL (33)
Pos: D Ht: 5’11.75 Wt: 187 Shot: L
Comparison: Kimmo Timonen
Have to go D here. Maybe they can trade back, and again I’ll toss Arizona out there and land the 30th and 32nd for this pick and maybe 65? Because you can get a kid like Dunn or Meloche or Dermott or Juulsen or Larsson, so many of these D-men will be there at 30. But Dunn is such a great skater and again Mark Hunter will know him well being an OHL kid. I’m a pretty big fan, and believe he would be a top 20 pick in most other drafts. But this is the point of this draft where the depth will flex it’s muscle.
Other Options: Nicolas Meloche, Travis Dermott
25. Nick Merkley Kelowna WHL (22)
Pos: RW Ht: 5’10.5 Wt: 191 Shot: R
Comparison: Jiri Hudler
Another change in the mock. Had Merkley going to the Jets in my first mock. Him lasting this long would be a surprise. But he could go as high as 11, and he could go here. Opinions will differ on him. I’m not a HUGE fan, because no matter how great the intangibles, I don’t want kids who are small who lack high end speed. But my friend Peter Loubardias LOVES him and he’s forgot more than I’ll ever know! I like Merkley a lot as a player and I’m pulling for him, but for me personally I wouldn’t take him until the 2nd round. He fits perfect with the Jets though.
Other Options: Brock Boeser, Jake Debrusk
26. Brock Boeser Waterloo USHL (27)
Pos: RW Ht: 6’0.5 Wt: 191 Shot: R
Comparison: David Booth
I would go center if I were the Habs, but in this scenario they can’t. No center is worth taking here, although if they love a guy then they’ll have to as they don’t have their 2nd. D? Grit on the wings? Size on the wings? Boeser brings grit and some ok size on the wings as well as an ability to score in multiple ways. I thought hard about Oliver Kylington here, but he has dropped all season and I just don’t know if he ends up going in the 1st round.
Other Options: Jacob Larsson, Oliver Kylington
Pos: LW Ht: 5’11.75 Wt: 174 Shot: L
Comparison: T.J. Oshie
Just like the Habs, they need a center. I get that they have drafted so well, but they have been thin in the organization down the middle for a while now. What if Ryan Kesler walks next summer? And this isn’t a cap team. Yet in this scenario, they would be reaching pretty bad to get one. So who else? I like the idea of Denis Guryanov, but they have stayed away from Russians. Last time this answer was Sprong, but he doesn’t have the jam that the Ducks love. Debrusk does, and it is a GIFT that he ends up at this pick. Far from a need, but is just exactly what the Ducks crave. As I’ve said before he at worst will be a top 9 guy, and plays with a ton of jam.
Other Options: Zach Senyshyn, Filip Chlapik
28. Denis Guryanov Togilatti 2 MHL (16)
Pos: RW Ht: 6’2.5 Wt: 183
Comparison: Patrick Marleau
Is it Gurianov or Guryanov? I’ve seen both. So Tampa is loaded up and down the roster and the scary thought is they are simply HORRIBLE with their top picks! 2010, Brett Connolly over Cam Fowler (not hindsight, was stupid in the moment). 2012, Slater Koekkoek over Filip Forsberg who was supposed to be a top 5 pick and slid to 11 (they picked Koekkoek 10th). And my favorite was 2013 when they got another gift in Seth Jones falling to 3. Absolutely PERFECT fit to play beside Victor Hedman and they really needed D…and they took a guy in Jonathan Drouin who they had a boat load of already, all of whom are played ahead of him during the playoffs. I’m not as big on BPA as others are because I feel like it’s so subjective and I view most of these players as being in tiers. But this is the perfect example of how if a great prospect falls to you, TAKE HIM!!! ANYWAY, last time I said Jacob Larsson who is just a very steady, smart, safe D-man. But they love Russians, they love wingers, so why should I believe they’ll go away from that? Guryanov falls to them here, which is also something they clearly don’t like, but he feels like their kind of kid.
Other Options: Jacob Larsson, Zach Senyshyn
Pos: G Ht: 6’4 Wt: 215 Glove: L
Comparison: Mike Smith
This is off the board a bit, it’s a hunch. Elliotte Friedman made mention in his 30 thoughts piece yesterday that they’ll be adding a goaltender or two in the draft, as will the Wild (which is why I had Samsonov going there). They don’t have their 2nd round pick so they don’t pick again until 61 (last pick of the 2nd, so they do have a 2nd just not their own). So Blackwood fits the fact that they love the OHL and would very likely be gone by 61. I’m probably over thinking it here, but not much separates the kids from 25-40.
Other Options: Nicolas Meloche
30. Oliver Kylington Farjestad SHL (36)
Pos: D Ht: 6’0 Wt: 174 Shot: L
Comparison: Ryan Murphy
I still don’t feel good about this, but I still do have Kylington going in the 1st round….again, barely. Quite the drop for this kid. Seemed like a sure fire top 10 pick at midseason. All offense in his game and much like Ryan Murphy he tries to play 1 on 5. The Coyotes (whatever town their in by the time he arrives) could be the perfect landing spot for him however. He would learn how to play in his own zone and a structured game for Dave Tippett, otherwise he won’t play for Dave Tippett. Also he would have a fellow Swede D-man named Oliver on the team, so he wouldn’t feel the pressure put on him by Arizona’s fan to be the best Swedish D-man named Oliver on the team.
Other Options: Jacob Larsson, Travis Dermott
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