0118-draft16Hey, I actually did end up going 1.5!  Last time I asked off the top “why do I say 1.0, 2.0, etc.?”  Well this is the perfect time to do just that, because my official mock draft might not be ready for a week or so.  But with the draft lottery now wrapped up, I figured since I had a minute before beers with Harv and Bennett I would do a little top 14, limited write up version.  So here we go



Toronto Maple Leafs1. Auston Matthews  Zurich  Suisse A

Pos: C  Ht: 6’1.5  Wt: 194  Shot: L

Comparison: Anze Kopitar

The big winners, but is it POSSIBLE they trade back?  The Arizona Coyotes could put together one hell of a package which would include Dylan Strome.  So if the Yotes offered Strome, Max Domi, 7, the Rangers 1st and their 2017 1st….would the Leafs brass consider that?  It would be tempting.  But an elite 1st line centre like Matthews is too tough to come by so I wouldn’t.  Take Matthews, take D-men with the Pens 1st and 31, not to mention the Stamkos odds just went up, things are looking pretty sweet in Leaf land all of a sudden.



Winnipeg Jets2. Patrik Laine  Tappara  SM-Liiga

Pos: RW  Ht: 6’4  Wt: 206  Shot: R

Comparison: Ilya Kovalchuk

Every hockey fan is pumped for the Jets winning the 2nd overall pick, and let the Teemu Selanne comparisons begin!  Laine is a sniper, but as my Kovalchuk comparsion suggests he’s more of a power forward, bomb of a one timer type sniper.  Fits this team PERFECTLY, especially for a prospect like Kyle Connor.  Everyone is saying Scheifele, but Connor and Laine could be the Jets version of Backstrom and Ovechkin.  Please, I’m not saying Laine is Ovy like other knobs are going overboard saying, but just that Connor is an elite playmaker and Laine will be an elite finisher.



Columbus Blue Jackets3. Jesse Puljujarvi  Karpat  SM-Liiga

Pos: RW  Ht: 6’3.5  Wt: 203  Shot: R

Comparison: Jakub Voracek

They’re ecstatic because Kekalainen is a Fin and Puljujarvi obviously is a Fin, but the Jackets really needed to win this lottery.  Now, they really look destined to be that team that is always good never great.  Maybe they get lucky next season, maybe someone emerges, you never know.  But I hated the Johansen trade for them, and another winger, as talented as Puljujarvi is, I don’t believe will do a whole lot for them.



Edmonton Oilers4. Pierre-Luc Dubois  Cape Breton  QMJHL

Pos: C  Ht: 6’2.5  Wt: 202  Shot: L

Comparison: Shane Doan

Trade proposal I came up with Oiler fans, what’d you think?  Taylor Hall, Oscar Klefbom, and this pick to Montreal for P.K. Subban (assuming the rumours are true that they would like to move him for the right price), prospect Jacob De La Rose, and the 9th pick.  You do that?  I think the Habs would…again assuming they would like to move Subban.  Habs get a local kid like Dubois who is not only francophone, but a perfect fit for what they’re trying to do up front.  Then Hall gives them a lot more speed and offence, Klefbom is obviously a downgrade on the blueline but is already close to a top pairing guy on a brand new 7 year deal.  Then for the Oilers you get your number 1 D-man, you get a RH shot with a bomb for the PP, you get a prospect in De La Rose who has size and is great in his own zone (likely a 3rd line centre), and at 9 you could still take one of the big 4 D-men to replace Klefbom down the line (not to mention they still have Nurse, Davidson and Reinhart).  Anyway that went LONG!  If they stay at 4 it’s either Dubois or Tkachuk.  Either guy would be an incredible add for what Peter Chiarelli is trying to do up front.



Vancouver Canucks5. Mikhail Sergachev  Windsor  OHL

Pos: D  Ht: 6’2.5  Wt: 206  Shot: L

Comparison: Dougie Hamilton

I think they’ll move back a few spots (again, maybe with Montreal) and look to take their D-man there.  But contrary to what Craig Button had on his mock draft, this team is DESPERATE for defencemen in their system.  And while I was higher on Logan Brown than most earlier in the year, Button is going overboard on him.  He’s not a better prospect than any of the 4 D-men, not to mention the Canucks are already have potential 2nd line centres in Bo Horvat and Jared McCann.  Learn from the Oilers, build that blueline!



Calgary Flames6. Matthew Tkachuk  London  OHL

Pos: LW  Ht: 6’1  Wt: 195  Shot: L

Comparison: Andrew Ladd

This is a gift for Brian Burke.  His type of guy falling to 6th, this really would be the perfect scenario for the Flames.  Put him on the 2nd line (in 2018) next to Sam Bennett and as an Oiler fan I would probably hate it 5 times a year because man would they be hard to handle!  They have done 2 deals recently with the Canucks, so perhaps those 2 make a swap for 5 which would ensure the Flames of either Dubois or Tkachuk.



Arizona Coyotes7. Olli Juolevi  London  OHL

Pos: D  Ht: 6’2.5  Wt: 179  Shot: L

Comparison: Oliver Ekman-Larsson

They don’t get Matthews and they don’t even get Tkachuk who nobody has talked about but would also have been a pretty marketable kid for them.  Again, they’ll push hard to trade up, but not likely.  So back to business as usual for the Yotes and that being the case they are pretty desperate all of a sudden to rebuild their blueline.  I like Chychrun, but of those big 4 D-men in this draft it is anyone’s guess the order they go and obviously I have Sergachev going to the Canucks already.  I’ll say the Coyotes take Juolevi but they can’t go wrong with any of them.



Buffalo Sabres8. Jakob Chychrun  Sarnia  OHL

Pos: D  Ht: 6’2  Wt: 215  Shot: L

Comparison: Rob Blake

The Sabres get my guy!  Buffalo much like the Canucks and Coyotes really need one of these big 4 D-men.  Chychrun just has everything to be a legit number 1 D-man at the next level, but I will say that while some have said he’s a really intelligent kid, the interview would be huge for a kid like him.  Because if he’s got a really high IQ why is he dropping?  Likely because scouts have fatigue on scouting him, but maybe there is something to it.  Still, the fit for him in Buffalo is perfect.



Montreal Canadiens9. Logan Brown  Windsor  OHL

Pos: C  Ht: 6’6  Wt: 222  Shot: L

Comparison: Nick Bjugstad

If it were me, I’d take Mike McLeod here.  But Marc Bergevin has been looking to make the Habs a lot bigger since he became GM, and they really need a centre as the idea of Galchenyuk becoming a centre in the NHL is looking less and less likely.  I love the idea of this if the Habs are picking at 9 and not reading my Subban to the Oilers trade proposal and saying “that Tyler Campbell, he should be our new GM that guy knows what the f*** he’s doing!”



Colorado Avalanche10. Jake Bean  Calgary  WHL

Pos: D  Ht: 6’1  Wt: 173  Shot: L

Comparison: Tyson Barrie

Ironic that my comparison on Bean has been Barrie since it looks like Barrie is on his way out of Denver.  I’ve harped on it for years now, the Avs need to build up their blueline.  Jeff Marek was adamant before last year’s draft that he was told the Avs were taking a D-man with the 10th pick no matter what (had the 10th pick last year as well).  Then they didn’t, and Nikita Zadorov is a project.  I did like taking Nicolas Meloche in the 2nd round, but it’s not enough.  Jake Bean might not be enough, but I’ll feel a lot better about the situation if they snag Bean or one of the other big 4 D-men in this 1st round.



NJ Devils11. Alexander Nylander  Mississuaga  OHL 

Pos: RW  Ht: 6’0.5  Wt: 179  Shot: R

Comparison: Milan Hejduk

This is another team that might want to snag a D-man.  And for a few years now I’ve heard and read about how people love the talent they had on the back end and I always scratched my head.  Well, Eric Gelinas was ditched, people soured on Damon Severson this season, and Adam Larsson looks as though he’ll just be ok.  But the problem is at 11 is that the 4 best D-men are gone now.  So I went with the winger and what I love about this idea is that neither Adam Henrique, Travis Zajac or incoming Pavel Zacha are guys who need the puck on their stick all the time.  Nylander does, which is one reason I’m not as high on him as most are, but he would likely fit perfectly with this squad.



Ottawa Senators12. Tyson Jost  Penticton  BCHL

Pos: C  Ht: 5’11  Wt: 191  Shot: L

Comparison: Claude Giroux

I don’t know where they’ll go now with Bryan Murray out of the picture.  I THINK a forward would be the preference because they don’t seem to be too happy with a lot of their forwards.  And Jost is the type of kid who would fit with the culture they’ve had in Ottawa the last few seasons.  Not a big team, but a lot of bite.  They’re the Eastern version of the Calgary Flames.  Jost is 100% this type of player, and I said it when doing my prospects list that Jost has potential to be a 1st line centre someday.  It’s a lot less likely than others because of his stature and his skill level though high is a little limited, but this kids has big time passion.  And again like Logan Brown, I would take Michael McLeod but I can’t ignore that others are down on him.



Carolina Hurricanes13. Clayton Keller  USA NTDP  USHL

Pos: C  Ht: 5’9.5  Wt: 168  Shot: L

Comparison: Johnny Gaudreau

Again I’ll say it, he’s not playing the middle in the pro’s.  He’s suited to play the wing which would free him up a bit more offensively.  I hate comparing him to Gaudreau because everyone is going to use that comparison, but I honestly can’t think of another guy like that right now.  Kane and Gaudreau, that’s all you’ll hear about this kid.  He’s not Kane, but he might be Gaudreau.  And Carolina is set on D, they’re OK down the middle for now, but they can use a highly skilled winger like Keller likely will be.



Boston Bruins14. Michael McLeod  Mississuaga  OHL

Pos: C  Ht: 6’2  Wt: 188  Shot: R

Comparison: Ryan Kesler

Craig Button had Charlie McAvoy here, and I gave that a ton of thought and was going to go with it.  But then I thought about it….they took 3 D-men in the top 52 last year.  What they didn’t do was take a centre, even though they likely should have taken local product Colin White over Zach Senyshyn.  So McLeod fits, and he’s the BPA at this point which is also what the Bruins like to do.  And if he has a chance to learn from a guy like Patrice Bergeron he could be the next Patrice Bergeron.


I’ll have a full mock draft and a new top 50 (not 20) prospects list out soon, hopefully within this next week.


Follow me on Twitter @TJ_Soups

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