Happy draft week! Basically I’m going to roll out a mock draft today, my final top prospects list on Thursday (which sees a lot of movement as of writing this), and a final mock draft Friday morning. Also, anything else I can think of to write on. I know a got a couple more prospect vs prospect blogs almost ready to go where I try and lay out why I have two similar prospects ranked the way I do. I’m higher on Joe Veleno who everyone seems to be down on (or at least not as high on as I am) and I have my concerns with Svechnikov where nobody else seems to. So that was one, Ty Smith vs Quinn Hughes will be the next and that could come out later today, or tomorrow. Another one I’m working on is an Oilers specific either mock draft or just a draft preview looking at the players who fit for them. Anyway, lots going on this week leading up to the draft.
If you’re new to my lists, I’m going to take this time to brag. Last year with my final mock draft, I was 6/6 to start, hit on 7 picks total, and had 28 of 31 going in the first round. In comparison, Sam Cosentino and Bob McKenzie had 27 of 31. I went 7/8 to start the draft in 2015, was all over Columbus to pass on Puljujarvi for a centre (initially I said Dubois, but figured by draft day they would move back) earlier than anyone else was (feel free to seek out my 2016 3.0 mock draft), and though I don’t like to put it in with the others, my third mock draft in 2014 I ended up doing the best I’ve done, hitting on 11 of 30 first round picks (the problem being that I did two more mocks after that and the immense trade talk around that draft really screwed me over, lesson learned). I don’t like bragging, but I work my ass off on these pieces and take a lot of pride in them (although, expect spelling mistakes because I got over 5,000 words here and can’t catch them all).
Something new I’ve done this season is put the tier the player is in along with the ranking. So normally beside a players name in the mock drafts I have where I’ve ranked the prospect on my top prospects list. Now, I’ve put his tiering first, followed by his ranking. So Rasmus Dahlin for example is in the first tier, and ranked first, so he’s listed as 1-1. Filip Zadina is in the second tier and is fifth ranked, so he’s listed as 2-5. Ty Dellandrea is in the fifth tier and is 23rd raned so he’s 5-23. If you don’t have it by now, I don’t know what to tell you other than you might have an ADHD issue.
Also, I have yet to put out my final top prospects list (that’ll come later this week, likely Thursday), but I have my mind made up on a lot of the kids so the rankings/tiers you see beside the players will be the one I’m going with on the new list. Finally before I begin I should point out that I scrambled and was exhausted on Sunday night while finishing this, so cut me a little slack on what mistakes might be in this as I can’t keep my eyes open long enough to proof read 5700 words.
1. Rasmus Dahlin (1-1) Frolunda SHL
Pos: RD Ht: 6’3 Wt: 185 Shot: L
Comparison: Drew Doughty
No point in changing this write up. I don’t believe we need to spend much time on this one. Jackpot if you’re a Sabres fan. They were desperate for someone who could anchor their blueline, and they won one of the best D prospects of all time. This was a DARK season for Buffalo, a terrific hockey market who don’t deserve what they’ve been going through. Happy for them, and Dahlin is the real deal.
Other Options: None
2. Andrei Svechnikov (3-6) Barrie OHL
Pos: RW Ht: 6’2 Wt: 192 Shot: L
Comparison: Thomas Vanek
Sounds like this is now locked in. I’m not in anyway surprised that they’re going to keep the pick, but surprised that its as ironclad this far out from the draft with how busy they are expected to be this off-season wheeling and dealing. I worry about Svechnikov, but I’ve never denied his upside or looked to hate on what other people see in him. And if he pans out the way just about everyone believes he will, the Canes will have a great combination up front (Necas and Svechnikov) to go with a lot of depth and then a terrific blueline. Its funny, Dundon apparently wants to make dramatic changes, yet on paper it looks like if they just continue to be patient that they could be in the playoffs next season with tremendous potential to be a powerhouse in the years to come. Winnipeg was the same way, and look how loaded they now are. Dundon should be ecstatic that the heavy lifting has been done for him already.
Other Options: None
3. Jesperi Kotkaniemi (2-3) Assat Liiga
Pos: C Ht: 6’2 Wt: 181 Shot: L
Comparison: Mikko Koivu
It was not long after I put out the last mock that I thought “you know, Montreal is taking Kotkaniemi because he fills the needs so well and he’s climbed to a spot for most that he’s not a drastic reach (though it’ll still be questioned by some much the same as the Blue Jackets were for taking Dubois in 2016)”. Then, I seen a more metrics based ranking system suggest that Kotkaniemi should be ranked third. Well, I was already big on him without knowing that, so it boosted his stock for me even more. And finally, I hardly ever go on recrutes.ca because Grant McCagg seems like one of the biggest pieces of shit doing this sort of thing, but despite him being a garbage human being he’s a Habs fan and he had Kotkaniemi at three. So that sealed it for me. But let’s keep these two things in mind. A) from the sounds of Elliotte Friedman in the last 31 Thoughts, Zadina isn’t even a consideration for them, and B) its between Kotkaniemi and one of the D-men (I would highly assume Dobson). A trade back sounds like something Bergevin would like to do, but come on. I’ll believe one is capable of happening in the top five once it happens. Twice in the last 17 years has it happened, once was it simply a trade back as Bergevin wants to do. Once in 17 years. He stays at three at makes his pick, and I believe its Kotkaniemi.
Other Options: Noah Dobson
4. Noah Dobson (2-4) Acadie-B. QMJHL
Pos: RD Ht: 6’3 Wt: 177 Shot: R
Comparison: Seth Jones
What a mess. Me being an Oilers fan, fuck, did we go through a lot of dark years (and still aren’t out of those woods). But NOTHING compared to what the Sens and their fans are going through right now and I feel horrible for them. How do you now trade Mike Hoffman? If I’m Peter Chiarelli for example, I don’t know that I’d trade them Milan Lucic for him, the guy is going to be toxic. And you can’t bring him back into that room, even with Karlsson gone, which is going to happen. And now, Karlsson’s trade value is taking a massive hit too because GM’s now know Pierre Dorion has the proverbial gun to his head. Its just such a mess. Anyway, this pick is extremely interesting. On one hand, I could see them going with Zadina for PR purposes. Not that he’d be anything of a reach, but a kid who just lit the Q up and will step right in for the Sens in the fall might be something that just has to happen for the Sens. But they don’t take wingers high. They haven’t taken a winger in the first round since 2011, haven’t taken one with their top first round pick since 2006 (Nick Foligno). Couple that with how bad things are all of a sudden looking on the blueline throughout their organization and I believe they’ll go with the top D-man they can get which in my mind would be Dobson. He fits the bill perfectly for them.
Other Options: Filip Zadina, Evan Bouchard
5. Evan Bouchard (3-10) London OHL
Pos: RD Ht: 6’2 Wt: 196 Shot: R
Comparison: Larry Murphy
In the latest 31 Thoughts podcast (which is FREAKING TERRIFIC, I can’t hype it enough), Jeff Marek and Sam Cosentino sold me on what the Yotes are going to do. They really could use everything. This is not a “good young hockey team”, it’s just a “young hockey team”. They have a very long ways to go, and really can’t make a wrong move in terms of need no matter who they select here. But the blueline doesn’t look good moving forward, especially on the right side. And as Marek pointed out (and I hadn’t caught this so full credit goes to him), they LOVE the OHL. 11 kids out of the OHL in the last four drafts. Its nuts. So with all this taken into consideration, Bouchard is looking as a kid who makes all the sense in the world for the Coyotes at five.
Other Options: Filip Zadina, Brady Tkachuk
6. Quinn Hughes (4-14) Michigan NCAA
Pos: LD Ht: 5’9 Wt: 168 Shot: L
Comparison: Phil Housley
So most agree with me that they should be taking a D-man, and Quinn Hughes was playing in their backyard this past season, so in this scenario he seems to make all the sense in the world. But I have heard that they would prefer a forward here. If Ken Holland were to take another winger with a top pick I might lose my skull. They made a bad pick to this point with Svechnikov over a kid like Joel Eriksson Ek, and Colin White in 2015, and Michael Rasmussen last year looks good but I truly believe he’s going to end up on the wing in the pros. You’re set on the wings (no pun intended), you need to start looking after the important shit Kenny! So I really hope in this scenario, for the sake of Wings fans, its either Hughes or Boqvist….but I wonder.
Other Options: Filip Zadina, Oliver Wahlstrom, Adam Boqvist
7. Adam Boqvist (3-9) Brynas SWE-J20
Pos: RD Ht: 5’11.5 Wt: 165 Shot: R
Comparison: Kris Letang
If this is how things break, I really believe the Canucks will still take a D-man. I know Canucks beat writer Ben Kuzma was discussing this scenario (or one similar to it) with his followers this weekend, but that’s where I’ve also got my stuff on how Jim Benning wants to go D with this pick. The question for me is would it be Boqvist, or would they go what would perceived to be off the board with Ty Smith? You’re in a spot where you can’t move back to eight or nine because the Hawks and Rangers are sitting there with three of Zadina, Tkachuk and Wahlstrom all still on the board and knowing they’re now getting one of them. And if you go back to eleven you’re running the risk of losing Smith to the Oilers because it sounds like they’re obsessed with him. So its yet another damn difficult spot for the Canucks, and I believe they’ll stand pat and grab Boqvist whom the fans would still be excited about and he fills a key need for them moving forward.
Other Options: Ty Smith
8. Filip Zadina (2-5) Halifax QMJHL
Pos: LW Ht: 6’0 Wt: 197 Shot: L
Comparison: Nikita Kucherov
Well what a break this would be for the Blackhawks. I honestly can’t believe I’m doing a mock draft that has Zadina falling all the way to eight. And some will probably read this, know I’m an Oilers fan and suggest that I’m just doing this to put one of these top wingers to the Oilers. Yes, I do hope something great breaks the Oilers way, but my mock draft is going to have zero influence on that so I’m all in on writing a mock draft that is accurate to what is going to go down in Dallas Friday night rather than writing about wishful thinking. Anyway, I could see the Hawks still passing on Zadina honestly! Tkachuk and Wahlstrom are damn good too! However, I just think Zadina fits that team like a glove and would be a hell of a weapon for them starting in the fall.
Other Options: Oliver Wahlstrom, Brady Tkachuk
9. Oliver Wahlstrom (3-7) USNTDP USHL
Pos: RW Ht: 6’1 Wt: 208 Shot: R
Comparison: Phil Kessel
Is it just a coincidence they’ve ended up with all these New Englanders? Kevin Hayes, Chris Kreider, Jimmy Vesey, Paul Carey, and now new head coach David Quinn. I believe GM Jeff Gorton is a Massachusetts native, so I highly doubt it is. But the Rangers could go several directions here, and it’s not just that Wahlstrom is a New England kid that I believe he’ll be the pick. He’s the best pure sniper in the draft, and if a team believes he’s going to have 40-50 goal ability then he’s damn difficult to pass on. The Rangers system has several needs, but sniper is definitely one of them and let’s not forget that they own picks 26, 28, and 39 in this draft, so this isn’t the only bullet they have to fire. After going where they went with their picks last year, it won’t be a shock if they go a little off most people’s board take a kid like Vitali Kravtsov or maybe even a Nils Lunkvist with this pick. But having said this, I’d be stunned if they passed on Wahlstrom.
Other Options: Brady Tkachuk, Vitali Kravtsov
10. Brady Tkachuk (3-8) Boston University NCAA
Pos: LW Ht: 6’3 Wt: 192 Shot: L
Comparison: Keith Tkachuk
Call me nuts here man, I think as of right now this is how its shaking down! And if the Oilers are there with Tkachuk on the board…I have a very good feeling they’d trade back! Think about it, when did you get REALLY excited for someone falling to the Oilers? 2003, Zach Parise. Traded back, dream shattered. I know for me, it happened again in 2015 when Mathew Barzal, who I had ranked 5th entering that draft, fell all the way to the 16th pick in large part thanks to the Boston Bruins…and they dealt the chance to draft him…with another terrific pick…for nothing. Now, they did simply pick Puljujarvi in 2016, but to this point it hasn’t paid off the way everyone had hoped. I know the needs of this club. They need D, they have NOTHING after McDavid and Draisaitl at centre in the organization so they badly need centres, but this is a BPA scenario. When people scream “take the BPA!!!” they often are idiots who don’t know what they’re talking about. But in THIS scenario, they’d spot on because it would be a gift for Tkachuk to fall this far, yet I believe its very possible because Ottawa, Arizona and Detroit all need D so bad. The absolutely PERFECT winger to play with Connor McDavid moving forward. Assuming one of Tkachuk or Wahlstrom (because I believe it would be between them two for the Rangers) get to 10, you simply HAVE to take whichever one is there. You don’t trade out in that scenario, nor do you trade back, nor do you take Ty Smith who I love and have watched play growing up and it sure sounds like they are head over heels for him.
Other Options: Ty Smith, Barrett Hayton
11. Ty Smith (4-12) Spokane WHL
Pos: LD Ht: 5’11 Wt: 176 Shot: L
Comparison: Brain Rafalski
I’m starting to get the feeling that teams are liking Smith a lot more than independent scouts do. And I’ve laid it out a lot in my top prospects lists but I’ll say it again here: he has everything needed to be a number one defenceman. If Smith were 6’2 and right handed he’d be the clear cut number two defenceman in this draft. So I feel as though the NHL teams might be seeing what I have, at least from the sounds of the rumour mill. So with that being the case, I’d watch for the Islanders to take him with one of these two picks. They could use a lot of help on the blueline both currently and moving forward.
Other Options: Bode Wilde, Vitali Kravtsov
12. Barrett Hayton (4-17) Sault Ste. Marie OHL
Pos: C Ht: 6’1 Wt: 186 Shot: L
Comparison: Ryan O’Reilly
Originally Calgary’s pick. Notice I didn’t have Hayton as a “other option” as these are the two kids who I believe they’re taking. Its dumb of me to only be cluing in on this now, because I kind of pride myself with my rankings on knowing what NHL scouts are looking for more than independent scouts, but Hayton is a kid who NHL teams value MUCH more than independent scouts. Now, I like him a lot too, but don’t see him as the “Bo Horvat” or even “Ryan O’Reilly” type impact. He plays like those guys (hence the O’Reilly comp), but I say it in my write up about him on my top prospects list that I see him as more of an elite third line centre who produces similar offensively to what Jordan Staal has done. But I believe teams see him as more than that, and even if Tavares re-signs the Islanders still can use some strengthening in the middle and should use one of these two picks to do so. If JT bolts, he’s a potential second line centre to do the dirty work behind Barzal. If JT re-signs (and sure looks like he’s going to), he’s a perfect third line centre as I’ve described.
Other Options: Joe Veleno, Isac Lundestrom
13. Isac Lundestrom (4-18) Lulea SHL
Pos: C Ht: 6’0 Wt: 183 Shot: L
Comparison: Henrik Zetterberg
Last year, my Stars “guy” was spot on with where they were going. The other day I seen where he said that the Stars are interested in a centre with this pick, so that’s what I’ll say for now. And I’ve really felt like Lundestrom has got underrated by a lot of scouts going into this draft. I’m not sure how someone can love Barrett Hayton, and then not like Lundestrom. Similar size, similar games, Lundestrom is a better skater and probably has better vision. Its not as though I believe there is a lot of separation with them either, but some scouts will have Hayton ten spots ahead…HOW?! But, to each their own. Anyway, its a good bet here that the Stars go centre, so Lundestrom fits that bill well.
Other Options: Joe Veleno
14. Vitali Kravtsov (5-24) Chelyabinsk RUS
Pos: LW Ht: 6’2 Wt: 170 Shot: L
Comparison: Filip Forsberg
Originally St. Louis’ pick. You know, the draft REALLY opens up, not just this one, but every year around the 10th or 11th pick. Teams lists just simply do not look alike. I’ve seen a few people suggest this pick, and it makes sense. The Flyers went with a Russian kid just two years ago (German Rubtsov who doesn’t look like a great pick thus far), and they can use some skill up front. I think someone else (we’ll get to him) makes better sense for them, but I see that kid falling. So they grab Kravtsov here, and at 19 we’ll simply see who is left.
Other Options: Joe Veleno, Bode Wilde
15. Serron Noel (3-11) Oshawa OHL
Pos: RW Ht: 6’5 Wt: 204 Shot: R
Comparison: Blake Wheeler
I feel like someone is taking Noel higher than most people have him. There have been a few rumours that suggest Noel scouting staffs for NHL teams like him a lot more than independent guys. I obviously like him more than the independent guys myself, but I understand the fears with him. Dale Tallon and the Panthers are old school. They love size, and while I wouldn’t say they LOVE the OHL, they’ve taken their fair share of OHL guys. So I’m guessing that Noel is directly in their wheelhouse. And with a young roster which is locked down, they can afford to take a guy like Noel and give him the two or three years he needs to develop.
Other Options: Bode Wilde, Akil Thomas
16. Joel Farabee (4-21) USNTDP USHL
Pos: LW Ht: 6’0 Wt: 162 Shot: L
Comparison: Kyle Palmeri
12 months ago I would have suggested they need to invest three or four straight first rounders on D-men! Fast forward to now and the Avs own Cale Makar, Conor Timmins, and Sam Girard. It’s not enough, but it’s a HELL of a start! They have picks 47 and 58 to perhaps add a couple more quality D-men to that stable. If you look at the Avs organizational depth chart, they don’t have a lot of high end skill playing behind MacKinnon and Rantanen. Farabee isn’t the most skilled player left on the board, but he’s a burner, he’s a character kid that they’ve loved (Landeskog, Conner Bleackley, Jost), and its not as though he’s lacking skill either.
Other Options: Bode Wilde, Rasmus Kupari
17. Nils Lundkvist (4-15) Lulea SHL
Pos: RD Ht: 5’11 Wt: 173 Shot: R
Comparison: Nick Leddy
I say they still really need some D. Ray Shero did a HECK of a good job piecing a competent blueline together last season. Having said that, they still need some guys and Lundkvist would fit the bill. While we’re on the topic of Lundkvist, allow me to say that I wouldn’t be shocked if he ended up somewhere in the top 10. He’s a very late riser, a mobile and RH shooting D-man. Rangers, Oilers, Islanders, none of those would shock me as teams to take Lundkvist. But until I hear something like that is on the table, this makes the most sense to me as the landing spot for Lundkvist and would be a hell of a pick for the Devils.
Other Options: Bode Wilde, K’Andre Miller
18. Rasmus Kupari (4-22) Karpat Liiga
Pos: RW Ht: 6’1.5 Wt: 189 Shot: R
Comparison: Matt Duchene
I really hate suggesting that their Finnish GM is going to take a Finnish player, because just about everyone (not me…not so humble brag) believed that’s why he was taking Jesse Puljujarvi the whole way leading up to the 2016 draft. Here however, it makes sense. Aaron Portzline is their top beat guy and he believes they’ll almost certainly be taking the top forward on the board here, and while none of us know what their board looks like, Kupari is definitely one of the most talented players available in this scenario. He’s listed as a centre, but I firmly believe he’s playing the wing in the show.
Other Options: Joe Veleno, Jonatan Berrgren
19. Bode Wilde (4-13) USNTDP USHL
Pos: RD Ht: 6’2.5 Wt: 198 Shot: R
Comparison: Jacob Trouba
The fall ends here for Wilde. He has number one D type talent, but the question is his hockey IQ. I always say that hockey IQ is complete bull shit, and that what happens is certain players are so talented that they’ve never had to think the game growing up. Wilde was committed to Harvard last year at this time, so he has to be relatively intelligent…doesn’t he?! If he has the actual IQ, I believe this kid is going to thrive, and in this case the Flyers would get a steal. Beyond that though, the Flyers can really use a bit of a re-stock of D in the system with so many of their kids now graduated to the main roster, and they have NOTHING on the right side in the organization. I’m kind of surprised that the Flyers guys I follow don’t mention this, it sticks out like a sore thumb to me.
Other Options: Joe Veleno, Grigori Denisenko
20. Akil Thomas (4-19) Niagara OHL
Pos: RW Ht: 5’11 Wt: 165 Shot: R
Comparison: Mitch Marner
I can’t bring myself to move off the point that the Kings are in love with the OHL. And so if Thomas is there at 20, I have trouble believing that they’d pass on him. And I got him as a RW because I believe that’s where he’ll end up, but he played the middle all season and has the vision you crave in your centres. And while Thomas isn’t an out and out burner, I feel he’s got real good speed which is what the Kings are looking for is to get away from the size and become more of a speed team (as we saw in the first round they are NOT a speed team as currently constructed!)
Other Options: Joe Veleno (again), Rasmus Sandin
21. K’Andre Miller (4-16) USNTDP USHL
Pos: LD Ht: 6’3 Wt: 198 Shot: L
Comparison: Ed Jovanovski
It’s always tough to get a feel for what the Sharks are going to do in the draft. They seem to make solid picks of late, but it feels as though they leave someone better on the board. Last year they took Josh Norris, but over Robert Thomas. 2015 they went with Timo Meier, but over Mikko Rantanen and Mathew Barzal. 2014 they took Nikolay Goldobin with Adrian Kempe still there. 2013 they traded up to take Mirco Mueller with Andre Burakovsky still on the board. I’m not bringing up examples of them passing on kids who weren’t higher ranked, all these examples are of kids most had higher ranked than the Sharks. So their drafting has been ok, but could or should be much better. Anyway, I believe they’ll look to address their blueline as they have next to nothing in the system. Last time around I suggest that I wouldn’t be shocked if they went with K’Andre Miller in this spot, and this time around I’m suggesting its exactly what they’ll do. He’s a candidate, much like Lundkvist and Noel, to go higher than most are expecting.
Other Options: Joe Veleno (yet again), Rasmus Sandin
22. Jonatan Berggren (4-20) Skelleftea SWE J-20
Pos: RW Ht: 5’11 Wt: Shot: L
Comparison: Jaden Schwartz
Originally Pittsburgh’s pick. As I discussed with the Sens first pick, they don’t like to take wingers in the first round. But if there was a spot to take one and break that trend it would definitely be with this pick. As you can read, I’m very high on Berggren. Most have him around this spot, I put him a little higher mainly because he’s a playmaker first and I love my playmakers. The Sens definitely need more skill up front, no matter if its a winger or another centre.
Other Options: Joe Veleno (yet AGAIN), Dominik Bokk
23. Joe Veleno (2-2) Drummondville QMJHL
Pos: C Ht: 6’1 Wt: 194 Shot: L
Comparison: Brad Richards
FINALLY! I actually believe this could happen. OBVIOUSLY when you see where I have him ranked, its not my call. I kind of want it to happen too, because I really believe this kid is going to prove so many people wrong who quite frankly just seem pissed at him for not meeting their own expectations on him. If he were a nobody entering the season and had the exact same production, the hype would be off the charts for him going into the draft. “His shot isn’t where it needs to be right now, but that can easily be developed” as opposed to what some people have to say now “that shot is terrible”. Anyway, we saw in last years draft that the Ducks trust their Q scout going back to back with Q picks (both solid), and even with Sam Steel in the fold they can still use more down the middle moving forward with both Getzlaf and Kesler on the back nine. Now, lots of places Veleno could end up well before this, but this is the lowest I believe he may end up going.
Other Options: Dominik Bokk, Jacob Olofsson
24. Grigori Denisenko (5-26) Yaroslavl MHL
Pos: LW Ht: 5’11 Wt: 163 Shot: R
Comparison: Sergei Samsonov
Its my opinion that they need some help on the blueline and should be focusing there. Beat writer Mike Russo seems to think they need to grab an elite offensive talent. I always get a little scared when beat writers claim they know what the team wants and it fits exactly what a beat writer would love to see the team do. But for now I’ll take his word for it and believe the Wild are going for the most dynamic forward on the board which would be Denisenko. They have a lot of need though and are really in no man’s land as an organization right now. It feels like Wild fans are stuck just waiting for the rebuild to happen.
Other Options: Dominik Bokk, Martin Kaut
25. Ty Dellandrea (5-23) Flint OHL
Pos: C Ht: 6’0 Wt: 184 Shot: R
Comparison: Elias Lindholm
I strongly believe this pick will be a centre the way it’s shaping up. There are a lot of centres who will be in the “BPA” range at 25, and its the Leafs biggest need in the system. Matthews-Kadri is ok down the middle, but add one more quality centre to them and now the Leafs are looking to be real difficult to match-up with. Now, maybe they go after that guy this summer, but even if they do it sill would not hurt their system one bit to grab a centre. Dellandrea fits great for them for a number of reasons. I know a lot of the draft analytics guys like him, including Mitch Brown of the Athletic who had some great stuff on Twitter about Dellandrea about a week ago. RH shot which if the Leafs are losing Bozak then I don’t believe they have another one in the system. A lot of different guys they could go with here, but to me Dellandrea makes the most sense for them should he still be on the board.
Other Options: Jacob Olofsson, Ryan McLeod
26. Rasmus Sandin (5-25) Sault Ste. Marie OHL
Pos: LD Ht: 5’11 Wt: 186 Shot: L
Comparison: Andrej Sekera
Originally Boston’s pick. I have them taking Wahlstrom at nine, but they could easily go D (especially if Hughes or Boqvist are there), but in this scenario they didn’t. So now with these picks at the back of the first, they really need to start loading up the blueline moving forward. And they’ve taken a lot of OHL kids in recent years, with two of those picks ironically being kids playing in the Soo (Brandon Halverson, Tim Gettinger). So Sandin ticks a lot of boxes. However, there are a million ways they could go with these two late firsts, the system is still very thin.
Other Options: Dominik Bokk, Kirill Marchenko
27. Ryan McLeod (6-30) Mississauga OHL
Pos: C Ht: 6’2 Wt: 190 Shot: L
Comparison: Andrew Cassels
Originally Nashville’s pick. All things even at eight, I believe they’d take a centre. But there really isn’t a centre to take anywhere near eight, and I had Zadina and Tkachuk falling right into their lap. Here, it makes a lot of sense. And they might view McLeod similar to the way they viewed Nick Schmaltz in 2014. Schmaltz has similar size and speed, and he fell in a similar fashion throughout his draft year like McLeod has done this year.
Other Options: Dominik Bokk (again), Johnny Tychonik
28. Dominik Bokk (5-27) Vaxjo SuperElite
Pos: RW Ht: 6’1 Wt: 179 Shot: R
Comparison: Martin Havlat
Originally Tampa Bay’s pick. FINALLY I have Bokk going after viewing him as a possibility for what felt like half the league, much like I did with Veleno. However with these two picks the Rangers have late first, I won’t be anything shocked if they end up going WAY off the board with both. Filip Chyitl was on my radar as a potential late first last year, but I’m sure nobody thought he’d go as high as 21st. Both their top picks last year showed that they aren’t afraid to do what they think. I could see Martin Kaut with one of these picks despite the heart condition scare, I could see a kid like Kirill Marchenko, I could see Johnny Tychonik, I could see Calen Addison, a lot of options for the Rangers who need a lot of different things. But I’ll GUESS they snag Bokk here.
Other Options: Martin Kaut, Kirill Marchenko
29. Adam Ginning (6-34) Linkoping SHL
Pos: LD Ht: 6’4 Wt: 206 Shot: L
Comparison: Erik Gudbranson
Originally Winnipeg’s pick. The Blues could go about a billion ways with this pick to be frank. After they’ve walked out of the last two drafts with two real good centres (Tage Thompson, Robert Thomas) and two real good wingers (Jordan Kyrou, Klim Kostin), if I had to guess with this one I’d say they’ll be looking for a D-man here. It’s not as if they’ve got an old blueline, they don’t. Next season they likely feature Parayko, Vince Dunn and Jordan Schmaltz all as regulars and they’re all 25 and under. But you always want that next wave to be ready, and there is a nice pocket here where there will be a lot of D in this range. Ginning had a tremendous U-18’s, and they’ve had a lot of success with the guys who are viewed as “stay at home” types. Like Parayko when he was drafted, Ginning has some untapped offensive potential too.
Other Options: Jonathan Tychonik, Alexander Alexeyev
30. Jacob Olofsson (6-29) Timra SHL
Pos: C Ht: 6’2.5 Wt: 189 Shot: L
Comparison: Alex Wennberg
Originally Vegas’ pick. I’ve harped on them for not loading up on D over the last several years. They left it far too long, and that system is pretty bare. Take for example taking Evgeny Svechnikov over Thomas Chabot in 2015. That’s not a hindsight thing, I believe I wrote about what a mistake it was at the time. But something else they’ve failed to stock up with is centres. Word is they’d like to go this way at six, but I don’t see who the centre could be with Kotkaniemi off the board (I’d take Veleno no problem, but people call me Soups…not Ken). At this pick and in this scenario though, Olofsson would make a lot of sense should he still be on the board. We all know the success they’ve had with Swedes, and Olofsson plays a very intelligent game and will be a coaches dream. There’ll be no hesitation to use Olofsson in any tough minute situation, which would make him an excellent compliment to Dylan Larkin.
Other Options: Calen Addison, Jonathan Tychonik
31. Alexander Alexeyev (6-35) Red Deer WHL
Pos: LD Ht: 6’4 Wt: 196 Shot: L
Comparison: Matthias Ekholm
They’ve loved their Russians over the years just like the Wings. But under the radar, they’ve gone heavy on WHL kids for a while now. They’ve taken 15 kids out of the dub in the last 11 drafts. So why not both?!?! Now, I got probably five different kids I could project them to take, but Alexeyev feels like the best fit for them.
Other Options: Jet Woo, Calen Addison
Follow me on Twitter @TJ_Soups