1. Florida Panthers D Aaron Ekblad Barrie (OHL)
Florida needs what Florida needs- defense. Sign a few free agent forwards, or make a good trade, and they have the potential to do a lot more now that they have a solidified goaltender in net.
2. Buffalo Sabres C Sam Reinhart Kootenay (WHL)
Sabres have some good depth on defense with young players and whatnot, but they need to focus on growing offensively with Grigorenko and Girgensons.
3. Edmonton Oilers C Leon Draisaitl Prince Albert (WHL)
6’1”, 208 pound, center that beefs up the Oilers down the middle. Just might be the miracle that Edmonton needs, or is that said every year? It’s time to develop a real plan and get active in the trade market if free agency isn’t going to work out for the Edmonton Oilers.
4. Calgary Flames C Sam Bennett Kingston (OHL)
Calgary steals a good one that’ll do well alongside Sean Monahan. He’s a two way center that everyone has had their eye on in the Sam and Sam battle between this year.
5. New York Islanders LW Michael Dal Colle Oshawa (OHL)
This power forward seems like he could be the key alongside Tavares. Then again, these days anyone could be the key with the Islanders because of the revolving door management has made so attractive. Their youth will improve, but they need a solid veteran that actually wants to be there. Doug Weight would you consider playing again, Gordie Howe or Chris Chelios style?
6. Vancouver Canucks LW Jake Virtanen Calgary (WHL)
In the expected aftermath, Kesler goes and Virtanen arrives. Vancouver’s got to find a goaltender as well. Hello Cam Ward? Or if the right moves are made, Ryan Miller? Anyone? Anyone?
7. Carolina Hurricanes LW Nicholas Ritchie Peterborough (OHL)
Carolina needs size in their lineup and at 6’2”, 226lbs, Ritchie packs a punch. What they also need is a new third jersey, but I’ll reserve that for another time.
8. Toronto Maple Leafs C Jared McCann Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
If they can’t acquire a good center, why not draft one? Either that or defense! Honestly, though, how can anyone in management focus in Toronto with all that is surrounding Dion Phaneuf, Nazim Kadri, Dave Bolland, and anyone else that I might have missed.
9. Winnipeg Jets RW Kasperi Kapanen KalPa (Finland)
Jets resolve some issues (Evander Kane) and work on building around Mark Scheifele. Better goalie needed- this is the market to get someone.
10. Anaheim Ducks (from OTT) LW Brendan Perlini Niagara (OHL)
Talent runs deep in Anaheim, as noted by their season and GM of the year, Bob Murray. Another power forward drafted in the first round and another reason why the Ducks will improve their physicality to take on their rivaling California teams.
11. Nashville Predators RW William Nylander Sodertalje (SWE-2)
Seth Jones and Shea Weber need someone to score- they can’t do everything people. Nashville is going to be going through an interesting time now without Legwand and based on their last couple of seasons. This year will be a test as to whether or not they need a shakeup or something else.
12. Arizona Coyotes D Haydn Fleury Red Deer (WHL)
Unsure of whether or not Keith Yandle may be trade bait the Coyotes pick a defenseman just in case. Also, another case for a new third jersey, only it should be retro and classy.
13. Washington Capitals D Anthony DeAngelo Sarnia (OHL)
Washington takes a D-man because he’s an offensive defenseman (& offense wins, right Ovi). This year the Capitals learned that you can have the leading scorer and the worst plus minus in one player. Regardless, the Winter Classic will look cool in DC, right?
14. Dallas Stars C/RW Alex Tuch USA U18 (USHL)
He’s no Mike Modano, but he’s big (6’4”, 213) and can play a Western Conference style game. Youth movement continues in Dallas, and maybe they can land a big Star or two in a trade or free agent signing (oh and, yes, that pun was completely intended).
15. Detroit Red Wings D Julius Honka Swift Current (WHL)
Defense wins championships. That’s been the mantra since, forever, for the Red Wings.
16. Columbus Blue Jackets D Jack Dougherty USA U18 (USHL)
Columbus adds youth to their blue line and make moves this summer to become a contender. Bet on it. Admit it, you didn’t think they would be as competitive as they were against the Penguins. A healthy Nathan Horton and a leader in the locker room in the form of Scott Hartnell are the kind of veterans that you need and want to be involved with not only the team, but the surrounding community as well.
17. Philadelphia Flyers LW Sonny Milano USA U18 (USHL)
The Flyers take a winger with good hands and hope to do better than this year. Isn’t that what everyone thinks every year? I’m not sure what else to say other than, Lecavalier. Irony comes in the form of Daniel Briere’s contract being bought out and then the same monstrosity being taken on by the Vincent Lecavalier signing, but you probably already knew that. Sorry to inflict pain.
18. Minnesota Wild G Thatcher Demko Boston College (Hockey East)
We have the first goaltender of the draft! He had an impressive year at BC and is the best goalie in draft. Backstrom, Harding, Bryzgalov, Kuemper, someone make up their mind because Demko looks promising. In the meantime, hey BC, keep up with producing good goaltenders, okay?
19. Tampa Bay Lightning LW Nikolaj Ehlers Halifax (QMJHL)
Ehlers falls unexpectedly but Tampa sticks to the Q (& Halifax- Jonathan Drouin last year, Ehlers this year) and gets a steal at 19th overall pick. 19 was also a good number for another reason, but I’m sure GM Steve Yzerman already knows.
20. San Jose Sharks C Dylan Larkin USNTDP (USHL)
Jumbo Joe or Marleau, which one will be the one to go? Larkin replaces them eventually. And I promise not to talk about the Kings in front of you, okay? Oh. Sorry.
21. St. Louis Blues C Ryan MacInnis Kitchener (OHL)
As in Al MacInnis’s son. Great skater that can play in any situation. Fits the Western Conference mold. By the way, are new jerseys on the way, because I bet they’d look awesome. St. Louis has a thing for making good looking jerseys.
22. Pittsburgh Penguins LW Nikita Scherbak Saskatoon (WHL)
Pittsburgh wanted Demko, but settles for a winger instead. He’s unselfish and great teammate. And the team needs a gold third jersey, but might I recommend one that is fresh and not a carbon copy of the nineties or eighties. I’m thinking rearranging the color palette on the home jersey and changing it to gold would look cool. But wear black helmets, because I’m not so sure gold helmets are a cool thing in hockey, unless you’re Notre Dame.
23. Colorado Avalanche D Rolan McKeown Kingston (OHL)
While Brendan Lemieux (Claude Lemieux’s son) drew interest from Jack Adams winner, Patrick Roy, the Av’s need another young defenseman to offset all of their young offense men from the last few seasons.
24. Anaheim Ducks LW Brendan Lemieux Barrie (OHL)
So the Ducks take him instead (see comment above). He’s scrappy and fits the rivalry with San Jose & Los Angeles. He compliments the Ducks roster nicely, especially if they do what everyone thinks they might do.
25. Boston Bruins C Nick Schmaltz Green Bay (USHL)
It was either a Swede, a Czech, or an American- and he’s good. At least, NHL Network told me he is. Either way, there’s no need to rush him in, the Bruins have enough down the middle for now.
26. Montreal Canadiens LW Adrian Kempe Modo Jr. (SWE- JR)
So the Canadiens take the Swede I was thinking of instead (again, see the comment above). 6’1”, 187, finally brings some size to Montreal.
27. Chicago Blackhawks C Brayden Point Moose Jaw (WHL)
If this guy turns out to be a gem, then somebody better start working on finding the Blackhawks horseshoe. I mean, really, Saad, Kane, Toews- they’ve stolen from the draft before and they’ll do it again if you’re not looking.
28. Tampa Bay Lightning (from NYR) LW Ivan Barbashev Moncton (QMJHL)
This playmaker has hands, is Russian, and ushers in a new beginning for the Lightning.
29. Los Angeles Kings C Jakub Vrana Linkoping (SWE-2)
Vrana slides down the ladder in the draft and the Kings get a steal. Skilled Czech= Cup clincher (if you need him to be). Oh and time for the obligatory congratulations to the 2014 Stanley Cup champions, maybe you can share the comeback wealth with everyone else next year, okay?
30. New Jersey Devils C Robert Fabbri Guelph (OHL)
I’m still unhappy with how the NHL handled the Kovalchuk contract, but anyway, Fabbri rounds out top 30.
*Barring any trades, this is how I see it progressing, but I’d like to see a lot of trades just to destroy my mock draft picks, like how someone always destroys my bracket during March madness.