I will try to do this quick cause there was a lot to talk about!
1. Edmonton – Nail Yakupov
I think in the end the Oilers couldn’t stomach the backlash that was likely to come with picking Murray or Reinhart. But Yakupov is the top offensive player in the draft, and while he doesn’t plug any of the Oilers holes (size in top 6, big 2 way C, D) he should give the Oilers 2 totally lethal scoring lines and make their PP dominant for years
2. Columbus – Ryan Murray
Couldn’t go wrong with Murray. The Jackets D has been disgusting throughout their exsistence. Now it’s starting to look real good with Murray joining Johnson, Wisniewski, John Moore and David Savard all in the fold. One more time, they needed to move up to 1 to take Yakupov for business reasons, but the right hockey move was holding and picking Murray.
3. Montreal – Alex Galchenyuk
Perfect pick. Been pimping this one for a while now and they came through. Montreal has needed a kid like this forever. Size, skill, 2 way ability, hard working, this kid has it all and I think he will emerge as the top player from this 1st round.
4. NY Islanders – Griffin Reinhart
They got it right. I said it all year that they needed to go D here but they didn’t like doing so. Most agreed. But the Islanders not only step up and get a big all world D-man to compliment their forwards but they did a great trade to land Lubo Visnovsky from the Ducks. The NHL’s version of the Oakland Raiders may finally be getting their act together.
5. Toronto – Morgan Rielly
I don’t LOVE the pick with Forsberg still on the board, but I love Rielly. Pair him with Jake Gardiner in a few years and it could easily be the quickest D combo in NHL history. Also, this gives Burke even more flexibility to do what he does best which is pull the trigger on a blockbuster to upgrade down the middle or in net.
6. Anaheim – Hampus Lindholm
This was the first real shock of the draft. And Pierre, that’s why people dislike you. “This is a steal, this is a total steal here!” No it’s not Pierre, that’s just as absurd as last year when he was saying Adam Larsson was the steal of the draft (being ranked 2nd and going 4th, wow what a slide…) I kept saying it, riser’s go higher than expected and this was definitely unexpected. But they got a D-man which they really needed, and this kid has the upside to be a total stud.
7. Minnesota – Matt Dumba
The Wild have drafted SOOOOO well lately and it continues here. I know you are all sick of it but I think Dumba will be the best D-man to come out of the top 10 guys. He has it all in his game. Yes he needs to tone it down, but he is an extremely smart kid and will learn to do that. I hate that the Oilers will have to play against him, Coyle, Koivu, and Granlund 6 times a year.
8. Pittsburgh via Carolina – Derrick Pouliot
Well this was the blockbuster. Time to brag, I called that trade pretty much bang on in my mock draft for a few weeks. It was a great fit for both teams. As for the pick, I didn’t like it. I love Pouliot but not in this spot. Forsberg or Teravainen would have been my pick. Forsberg with Crosby or Malkin?!? Pouliot better become a top pairing guy that can QB a PP because this was a reach and totally going for need over BPA.
9. Winnipeg – Jacob Trouba
Had to go D here, said it all year. That blueline moving forward isn’t that good. I’m not a Byfuglien fan, not an Enstrom fan, Bogosian I like but is still trying to figure it out, and Paul Postma was the only good D prospect they had. Not in love with Trouba, but he has the upside to be a number 1.
10. Tampa Bay – Slater Koekkoek
This isn’t a reach, but it’s higher than expected. The reason it’s not a reach is because Koekkoek fell only because of his shoulder injury. He has pretty great potential, could be a stud if the shoulder isn’t a problem moving foward. Tampa needed to upgrade the D and they got a good one here if he can stay healthy.
11. Washington via Colorado – Filip Forsberg
Steal. Total freakin steal. Even more so when you recall they gave up Varlamov to get this pick and a 2nd rounder as well. I had mocked Teravainen here last Saturday as a good fit and if I thought he was a good fit with the Caps obviously I think Forsberg is an even better fit! Power forward, plays a 200 foot game, great shot, he is the exact type of player the Caps needed up front.
12. Buffalo – Mikhail Grigorenko
Love it. I considered Buffalo for Grig’s last night but thought with them being a small market team they would be scared off by the flight risk factor. But obviously this kid has the potential to be a great centre in the league and at the 12th pick you shouldn’t be passing that up, especially when you have lacked a big centre since the days of Gilbert Perrault
13. Dallas – Radek Faksa
They needed D in my mind but at this point they couldn’t pass up Faksa. I think Faksa is a poor man’s Mikko Koivu. Plays a complete game, will get his nose dirty, not the quickest skater but can get around well enough. While I doubt he’s going to be the offensive star Koivu is, he will put up points.
14. Buffalo via Calgary – Zemgus Girgensons
I told you for months Girgensons would go here….just didn’t think it would be to somone else! Edmonton had a chance to pick Parise or Getzlaf in 03 and when they came up Kevin Lowe traded down to take Marc Pouliot. Well, this is that debacle 2.0. Teravainen was there for them to STEAL, and they passed it up to get quanity over quality. Meanwhile, the Sabres go from a team that is always small down the middle to getting real big in a real hurry down the middle. Great work by Darcy Reiger!
15. Ottawa – Cody Ceci
Solid pick. I said they needed a D-man here and they get the hometown kid. Put up great numbers this season but again I don’t know if he has the speed to bring much of his offense to the NHL, but he has the body to be a really good defensive D-man. It wouldn’t be the first time something like this happened. Mike Green never put up great offensive numbers in junior, and Jason Smith was a terrific stay at home D-man after being projected as an offensive guy.
16. Washington – Tom Wilson
Love this pick for the Caps! Big, tough, gritty, with offensive talent. Again, while the Caps didn’t need much, they got 2 big power forwards and they haven’t had functional toughness on their team (tough guys that can play). Worst case scenario with Wilson is that he’s a Ben Eager type. Best case scenario he is a poor man’s Milan Lucic.
17. San Jose – Tomas Hertl
I didn’t like this pick. Teravainen was far and away the BPA here, and if not him then they were DESPERATE for D-men and Olli Maatta had fallen to them as well. A big centre who has a good offensive skill set is never a bad thing, but when he’s not the BPA, and he’s not a need, it just doesn’t make sense to me.
18. Chicago – Teuvo Teravainen
They HAD to do it. A player that is this talented falls to you and you have to take him. And now it may give Chicago even more incentive to make that big Pat Kane deal as Teravainen plays such a similar game. I said goaltender the entire way and it would have been a good pick, but if you get a gift like this take it and pick a couple of goaltenders later on.
19. Tampa Bay via Detroit – Andrei Vasilevski
This was a good spot for a goaltender to go too and Stevie Y delievered like he always has. He isn’t affraid of Russian’s (he proved that last year with Namestikov), and so a Russian goaltender with this much talent was too good to pass up. Got his D-man, got his goaltender, nice haul for Stevie!
20. Philadelphia – Scott Laughton
I like this pick for Philly for the most part. It is possible that they move one of Schenn or Couturier (the former seems much more likely) if they make a big move for Bobby Ryan or Rick Nash. So they could have a hole with the 3rd line centre spot and down the line Laughton should be able to slide right in there. Not much upside in my mind with Laughton, but really high hockey IQ and should be a damn good 3rd line centre.
21. Calgary via Buffalo – Mark Jankowski
I had him going 25, but wow! Doug Armstrong was in a spot where he could gamble like that, Jay Feaster was in NO position to do that. They need sure things to re-stock their system and he trades down to take a kid who is AT LEAST 3 years away. Horrible job by Jay, and then to put the icing on the cake he gets on TSN and says something to the affect of “this kid will be the best player out of this draft in 10 years”. Unreal. Jankowski does have a great upside but this is a risk bigger than Jay’s….ok I won’t go there that’s not nice but this is just a terrible decision in my mind.
22. Pittsburgh – Olli Maatta
I think this just makes the Pouliot pick worse. Hey, that blueline looks like it will be SICK moving forward, but it would have been with Forsberg in the fold and no Pouliot. Maatta falls to the Pens here and it’s a total steal. I feel bad for Sam Cosintino because he gets a lot of flack but he kept saying during the Memorial Cup that Maatta “would be a top 10 pick”. He looked as though he may come close, but in the end he falls to 22. A steal here for the Pens but between the 2 picks I would give them a B- for not taking Forsberg.
23. Florida – Michael Matheson
Good pick here. I had them taking a D-man here most of the way, and Matheson fits the bill. Like most USHL D he is a great skater who isn’t very physical. I liked Matt Finn a lot better here but it’s the same idea and at this point it’s a crap shoot. Dale Tallon is doing a very nice job in Florida.
24. Boston – Malcom Subban
Oh the irony of Subban going to Boston, the arch rival of the Montreal Canadiens where PK plays (I know, that story has already been beat to death). But you can’t ignore it and it’s great. I didn’t think the Bruins needed a tendy here, but they don’t really have anything coming behind Tukka Rask so if they felt he was the BPA then so be it.
25. St.Louis – Jordan Schmaltz
Again, I like Matt Finn a lot better in this spot. I believe at one point I had Finn mocked to the Blues. But some scouts feel USHL kids get a bit underrated and obviously the Blues scouts felt that was the case with Schmaltz. He is a little more polished offensively than Matheson, but similar in that they’re both great skaters, both around the same size, both not very physical.
26. Vancouver – Brendan Gaunce
Some of you may think when I ripped the Flames apart in this blog that I did it just cause I’m an Oilers fan. Not true. I did it because they’re management is horrible. I actually dislike Vancouver more, and I admit I love this pick for them. Along the same lines as I had been thinking here. Character guy with size. I’m very surprised Gaunce went after Scott Laughton, but the Canucks love that surprise! At worse he is a great 3rd line centre, but unlike Laughton he has potential to be that 2nd line guy.
27. Phoenix – Henrik Samuelsson
Why didn’t anyone tell me that the rest of this didn’t post?!?! ANYWAYS…Hate this pick from the standpoint of I wanted Samuelsson to get to the Oilers at 32. But seriously I love it for the Yotes. He fits Tippett’s system perfectly, needs to work on the foot speed but that shoud come, and they know him maybe better than any team in the NHL. Tippett is tight with Ulf having worked together and played together in both Hartford and Pittsburgh.
28. NY Rangers – Brady Skeji
Another draft, another D-man for the Rangers. Staal in 05, Sanguientti in 06, Del Zotto in 08, McIlraith in 2010, and now Skeji. And it’s another USHL D-man and so you have heard this before: great skater, not very physical, solid in his own zone, has good potential offensively. It’s a solid pick by the Rangers but again I would have went with Matt Finn if picking a D-man.
29. New Jersey – Stefan Matteau
Another story that you’re never going to get sick of. Hey, did you know Matteau’s dad played for the Rangers and scored one of their biggest goals in franchise history?! Of course you did, that’s all people are going to talk about. I guess this is a solid pick, a safe pick. But to hang on to THIS pick when you have to give up a 1st in the next 3 years is beyond ridiculous. I guess Lou figures he won’t give one up until he HAS to.
30. Los Angeles – Tanner Pearson
Far be it for me to question the Stanley Cup champs, but I didn’t like this pick. I know a lot of people love Pearson and I hope he does well but his story just reminds me too much of Danny Syvret who was an early 2nd round pick by the Oilers in 05 and basically has been a career minor leaguer. Add to that if they wanted a winger to me a kid like Collberg who has much more offensive upside would have been a better choice. They already have a kid like Pearson in Tyler Toffoli, but again Lombardi and company know what they are doing so I should shut my mouth.
So there you have the first round. Definitely an intriguing one to say the least, and with so many big name players on the trade block it should be a very interesting day tomorrow. Lot’s of good prospect’s still on the board for rounds 2 and 3 also.
Follow me on twitter @TJ_Soups or the site @Soups_on_Sports