Down the Frozen River Podcast #3 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs Round 1 Recap, Round 2 Outlook, and More

All three analysts present their thoughts on each series from the first round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs and predict the outcomes of the second round. We also talk goalies and the top five picks in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. After a week off from the podcast, we are extremely proud to bring you our best yet.

Remember you can always contribute to the discussion using #AskDownTheFrozenRiver on Twitter and we’ll look at your comments, answer your questions, and read some great responses on future podcasts!

2015 Mock NHL Entry Draft (During the Playoffs, After the Draft Lottery)

By: Nick Lanciani

Based on the 2015 NHL Entry Draft Lottery from April 18th, 2015. There will be more versions of my mock draft as the playoffs continue to pan out and conclude.

200px-Logo_Edmonton_Oilers.svg1) Edmonton Oilers – C Connor McDavid, Erie (OHL)

Peter Chiarelli’s reign as GM of the Oilers begins with one of the most hyped turnarounds in hockey. Chiarelli’s leadership, combined with whatever decisions he makes in the offseason and drafting McDavid has talk of the Oilers making the playoffs, if not next season, then in the near future. A lot nearer than before. McDavid’s the best, period.

Buffalo Sabres Logo 2) Buffalo Sabres – C Jack Eichel, Boston University (H-East)

Eichel forgives Sabres GM, Tim Murray, on the stage with a professional handshake and is reunited(?- although they were never separated in the first place) with Evan Rodrigues. It’s possible that both make the roster on the same line.

Arizona_Coyotes.svg3) Arizona Coyotes – D Noah Hanifin, Boston College (H-East)

The plethora of talent youth in the desert continues to grow. Hanifin is the best defenseman in the draft and Coyotes fans are going to love him. Expect the Coyotes to continue to keep adding to their roster throughout the offseason. Keep in mind, however, that Arizona needs a solid starting goaltender at some point.

Unknown-34) Toronto Maple Leafs – C Dylan Strome, Erie (OHL)

Big, strong, great skating abilities- Strome is NHL ready in none other than the biggest market in the NHL. While McDavid and Eichel overshadow him in the leadup to the Draft, Strome finds his niche and competes next season for the Calder.

Carolina Hurricanes Logo5) Carolina Hurricanes – LW Lawson Crouse, Kingston (OHL)

6’4”, 211 pounds, and a physical force on the ice, brings a much needed power forward caliber to the Hurricanes lineup and adds size to their roster.

New Jersey Devils Logo6) New Jersey Devils – RW Mikko Rantanen, TPS (FIN)

He’s a big power forward that will provide some oomph in the Devils otherwise soft lineup. Rantanen’s a decent skater for his age and should be a part of New Jersey’s rebuild, because let’s face it, they have too many older players that didn’t do much for them this season.

Philadelphia Flyers Logo7) Philadelphia Flyers – C Mitchell Marner, London (OHL)

This guy is a really skilled playmaker with 128 assists and 185 points in 127 career OHL games. He’s drawn comparisons to Patrick Kane and Jordan Eberle, with great vision and passing skills. Not a steal of the draft, but a great player to draft.

Columbus Blue Jackets Logo8) Columbus Blue Jackets – D Ivan Provorov, Brandon (WHL)

Extraordinary at the 2015 World Junior Championship for Finland- 6’4”, 209 lbs, effective on the power-play, and difficult to move off the puck. Has hockey sense and hands that supplement his shot.

Unknown-39) San Jose Sharks – D Zachary Werenski, Michigan (BIG10)

The youngest player in NCAA history joins the youth movement in San Jose. He can block shots and adjust on the fly. He’s got some size to work with at 6’2”, 206 lbs. Werenski was named to the All-Big Ten Hockey First Team and the All-Big Ten Freshman Team this season.

Colorado Avalanche Logo10) Colorado Avalanche – C Pavel Zacha, Sarnia (OHL)

He effortlessly transitioned from the Czech Republic to North America. He’s 6’3”, 210 pounds, and can play a two way game. Think of him as this year’s bigger version of Boston’s David Pastrnak, if that suffices your hopes. Could fit well alongside Nathan MacKinnon on a line for the Av’s.

Unknown-211) Florida Panthers – LW Kyle Connor, Youngstown (USHL)

6’1”, 177 pounds, led the USHL in scoring with 80 points. His 34 goals ranked fourth in the USHL, with 9 game-winning goals and 32 points on the power play. Connor’s got quickness and hands that can do things with the puck on his stick.

Unknown-512) Dallas Stars – RW Timo Meier, Halifax (QMJHL)

Scored 44 goals in 61 games for Halifax this season. He can also be a playmaker as he had 46 assists this year too. Oh and he’s 6’1”, 209 lbs. Meier is exactly the player you want to covet if you are the Stars looking for substantial youth to build around.

Unknown13) Los Angeles Kings – C Mathew Barzal, Seattle (WHL)

Offensively minded, Barzal was injured for a lot of WHL action. The Kings luck out on a player that just may be able to make those around him better. He’s a 5’11”, 175-pound right shot forward with vision, playmaking skills, and had 12-45-57 totals in 44 games. Barzal also scored 4 times in 6 WHL playoff games.

Unknown14) Boston Bruins – D Gabriel Carlsson, Linkoping Jr. (SWE-JR)

6’4”, 183-pounds, this left-shot defenseman is big and intelligent for his position. He’s a stay at home defenseman, something the Bruins need in one of their younger defenders. Carlsson uses his size and strength as well as you need him to. He’s not an immediate replacement for the tremendously conditioned, Zdeno Chara, but Boston’s definitely thinking about Carlsson a few years down the road.

Picks 15-30 TBD with the conclusion of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Colby’s Corner- The NHL Entry Draft Lottery Edition

Colby Kephart sounds off on the current NHL Entry Draft Lottery process. We want to know what your thoughts are. How would you format the NHL Draft Lottery system?

2015 NHL Draft Lottery By: Colby Kephart

Structure: This year they changed the lottery system, giving every team a chance to win the 1st overall pick. The team that finishes last this year in regular season standings is guaranteed the 1st or 2nd overall pick. That means there’s some hope for Buffalo. Buffalo has a 20% chance of winning the lottery and getting the 1st overall pick.

Last year Buffalo, the last place team, had a 25% chance to get the 1st pick even though Buffalo lost (the lottery) and ended up with the second pick. This year’s odds were increased for the teams who almost made the playoffs. The team that just missed the playoffs now has a full 1% chance to get the 1st overall pick. The Arizona Coyotes finished 2nd to last this season and have a 13.5% chance of getting the 1st overall pick. The odds are as follows:

  1. Buffalo 20%
  2. Arizona 13.5%
  3. Edmonton 11.5%
  4. Toronto 9.5%
  5. Carolina 8.5%
  6. New Jersey 7.5%
  7. Philadelphia 6.5%
  8. Columbus 6%
  9. San Jose 5%
  10. Colorado 3.5%
  11. Florida 3%
  12. Dallas 2.5%
  13. Los Angeles 2%
  14. Boston 1%

My opinion: As a Buffalo fan, I am already sick of the Draft Lottery. I was upset last year when Buffalo didn’t get the 1st overall pick and now the NHL lowers the last place teams’s odds- this is crap. They would decide to do this when the next franchise changer comes along in Connor McDavid. I’m glad they made it so we can’t fall out of the second overall pick, because then we have a chance for Jack Eichel.

It is horrible when I run a draft simulator 10 times and I see teams like LA and Florida win the 1st overall pick. Both of those teams were eliminated with a few weeks left in the season. Buffalo was eliminated before it even started and you’re telling me LA can add Connor McDavid. COME ON!!!!! Pull yourself together NHL.

They need to go back to when only the bottom 5 teams got a chance for 1st overall pick. How about a team who actually needs help? Yes, when I ran the simulator 10 times Buffalo got the first pick 3 times, but if tomorrow turns out differently and Buffalo doesn’t end up with the 1st overall pick. I will be one pissed off fan.

Down the Frozen River Podcast- Playoffs(!?!) and Front Office Movement

This week on our podcast, Colby Kephart returns and Connor Keith debuts, as we discuss the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs and offer some speculation on management maneuvers in Boston, Buffalo, and Toronto. Be sure to check back this weekend as Colby will provide a written commentary on the NHL Entry Draft Lottery selection process overall. After the Lottery is determined, I will make a revised mock NHL Entry Draft and will continue to edit it as the 2015 Draft this June in Florida draws near. In the meantime, yes, we will continue to work on improving the quality of our audio for podcasts.

Take a listen and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you and see what you have to say. Have a question you want answered? Tweet to @DtFrozenRiver and use #AskDowntheFrozenRiver. We’d love to talk about what you want to talk about sometime.

Down the Frozen River Podcast- Playoff Preview, Early Draft Preview, Frozen Four Outlook

Presenting Down the Frozen River’s first ever podcast! Colby and I discuss a preview of who’s in and who’s out for the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, an early look at this year’s NHL Entry Draft, and last but not least a prediction of the Frozen Four outcome.

Take a listen and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you and see what you have to say. Have a question you want answered? Tweet to @DtFrozenRiver and use #AskDowntheFrozenRiver. We’d love to talk about what you want to talk about sometime.

2015 Mock NHL Entry Draft (Before the End of the Regular Season)

By: Nick Lanciani

Based on League Standings through March 22nd, 2015. There will be at least another mock draft or two during/after the playoffs, so things are likely to change.

Unknown-31) Buffalo Sabres- C Connor McDavid, Erie (OHL)

Obviously if you have the option to take one of the potential greatest players ever, you’d take him, right? McDavid is the best in the draft, bar none. He might also be one of the best to ever play the game, unless he turns into Patrik Stefan (which is unlikely).

Arizona_Coyotes.svg2) Arizona Coyotes- C Jack Eichel, Boston University (H-East)

Obviously if you have the option to take one of the potential greatest players ever, second to the guy that was taken first overall, you’d take him, right? There’s no doubt he might be this generation’s Mike Modano.

200px-Logo_Edmonton_Oilers.svg3) Edmonton Oilers- C Dylan Strome, Erie (OHL)

The Oilers continue to get the formula wrong and skip over drafting a defenseman, but at least Strome is better than some of the forwards they currently have.

Unknown-34) Toronto Maple Leafs- D Noah Hanifin, Boston College (H-East)

Toronto lucks out on Edmonton’s oversight and selects the best defenseman in the draft, which is good for them, considering that they really need a defenseman.

Carolina Hurricanes Logo5) Carolina Hurricanes- LW Lawson Crouse, Kingston (OHL)

6’4”, 211 pounds, and a physical force on the ice, brings much needed power forward caliber to the Hurricanes lineup and adds size to their roster.

Columbus Blue Jackets Logo6) Columbus Blue Jackets- D Ivan Provorov, Brandon (WHL)

Might be the only other NHL ready defenseman in the draft, can and will help stabilize Columbus’s blue line, as well as add youth to their roster.

New Jersey Devils Logo7) New Jersey Devils- LW Kyle Connor, Youngstown (USHL)

Quick on the play in tight spots, moves the puck well, and is capable of being a careful piece of the Devils rebuild. New Jersey badly needs youth and they need it now.

Philadelphia Flyers Logo8) Philadelphia Flyers- C Pavel Zacha, Sarnia (OHL)

He effortlessly transitioned from the Czech Republic to North America. He’s 6’3”, 210 pounds, and can play a two way game. Think of him as a larger version of Boston’s David Pastrnak.

Unknown-59) Dallas Stars- RW Mikko Rantanen, TPS (FIN)

Extraordinary at the 2015 World Junior Championship for Finland- 6’4”, 209 lbs, effective on the power-play, and difficult to move off the puck. Has hockey sense and hands that supplement his shot.

Unknown-310) San Jose Sharks- C Mitchell Marner, London (OHL)

This guy is a really skilled playmaker with 128 assists and 185 points in 127 career OHL games. He’s drawn comparisons to Patrick Kane and Jordan Eberle, with great vision and passing skills.

Colorado Avalanche Logo11) Colorado Avalanche- RW Timo Meier, Halifax (QMJHL)

Colorado has a good sense of the Halifax system- with Nathan MacKinnon on the Av’s roster- so they opt for a strong RW/C that bulks up their youth filled roster.

Unknown-212) Florida Panthers- D Zachary Werenski, Michigan (BIG10)

The youngest player in NCAA history joins the youth movement in Florida. He can block shots and adjust on the fly. With Aaron Ekblad as this season’s Calder Trophy favorite, Werenski would be in good company.

Unknown13) Los Angeles Kings- C Jansen Harkins, Prince George (WHL)

Harkins is a two-way player in all three zones of the ice and would balance out LA’s roster. Depending on his faceoff win percentage, there’s a chance he could be compared to Patrice Bergeron.

Unknown-214) Ottawa Senators- D Thomas Chabot, Saint John (QMJHL)

6’1”, 181 lbs. Smart transitional skating defenseman that can handle pressure in getting the puck out of his own zone- he’s a natural fit in Ottawa’s energetic, young, roster.

Unknown15) Boston Bruins- D Brandon Carlo, Tri-City (WHL)

The 6’5”, 196 lb. defenseman brings size and athleticism as a shutdown defenseman. He’s definitely more defensive minded, but that fits with Boston given how Dougie Hamilton and Torey Krug are equally offensive producing as defensive as they are.

Calgary Flames Logo16) Calgary Flames- D Oliver Kylington, AIK (SWE-2)

Kylington is a two-way defenseman that’s going to need some time to develop, but that’s just what Calgary has been successful at recently. The Flames need to add capable youth to their blue line as their forwards get more experienced and begin carrying their weight.

Unknown-317) Winnipeg Jets- C Nicholas Merkely, Kelowna (WHL)

Great playmaker that knows how to crash the net with precision and skill. Also has a great hockey IQ that makes up for some lacking physical qualities in his game.

Unknown-418) Minnesota Wild- RW Daniel Sprong, Charlottetown (QMJHL)

Sprong is a nifty playmaker with good hands and great speed, but he’ll need to get stronger to make the transition to the NHL and add grit to his already impressive offensive game.

Washington Capitals Logo19) Washington Capitals- C Travis Konecny, Ottawa (OHL)

His second half of the regular season in the OHL really displayed his skill level. With that said, his size isn’t much of an issue as his compete level and willingness is unmatched- and so is his work ethic.

Unknown-120) Vancouver Canucks- D Jakub Zboril, Saint John (QMJHL)

Zboril plays a willingly physical game despite only being 6’0”, 184 lbs. His shot from the point could come in handy on the power-play. Adds versatility to Vancouver’s defense.

Unknown-121) Detroit Red Wings- D Jacob Larsson, Frolunda Jr. (SWE-JR)

6’2”, 191 lbs. Sweden knows how to make solid defensemen and Detroit knows how to pick solid Swedish defensemen. Larsson reads situations well and controls the puck excellently.

200px-Logo_Edmonton_Oilers.svg22) Edmonton Oilers (from PIT)- LW Paul Bittner, Portland (WHL)

At 6’4”, 205 lbs. this LW adds some much needed size on a young Oilers roster. He’s a power forward that’s willing to be the first to rush in on a dump and chase, which would go a long way in Edmonton to finally have someone willing to go in and start a play.

Unknown-323) Buffalo Sabres (from NYI)- C Mathew Barzal, Seattle (WHL)

Offensively minded, Barzal was injured for a lot of WHL action. While his ranking fell far from where he could have been, potentially, the Sabres luck out on a player that just may be able to make those around him better.

Arizona_Coyotes.svg24) Arizona Coyotes (from CHI)- LW Jordan Greenway, USA U18 (USHL)

Tough to move off the puck and along the boards, Greenway is 6’4”, 222 pounds and will need some time to refine his game before being inserted as a force to reckon with in Arizona. Not to worry though, things will time out right in the Coyotes’ rebuild such that a skilled young lineup is on the verge of changing the franchise’s direction.

Unknown-325) Toronto Maple Leafs (from NSH)- LW Evgeny Svechnikov, Cape Breton (QMJHL)

This power forward will bring something to the Maple Leafs that they desperately need- fight. They need a fight in them and they need a fight to win. He might just also be a bit like another Evgeny (but with a different spelling)- Evgeni Malkin.

Unknown-326) Winnipeg Jets (from STL via BUF)- C Nicolas Roy, Chicoutimi (QMJHL)

Strong two-way center at 6’4”, 200 pounds and solid on faceoffs, he can get things going on the power-play. The Jets add to their plethora of young, skilled, prospects and don’t need to rush him in the lineup yet.

Philadelphia Flyers Logo27) Philadelphia Flyers (from TB)- LW Jake DeBrusk, Swift Current (WHL)

DeBrusk is always following the puck, whether it’s on the forecheck or forcing turnovers. He can be excellent on the power-play, focused on moving the puck where it needs to go and scoring. Might also bring some physicality to Philly, which is much appreciated by their fans.

Unknown28) Anaheim Ducks- C Colin White, USA U18 (USHL)

Can’t go wrong with one of the best skaters in the draft. The Ducks pick a forward that can move with the puck and carry it defiantly out of his own zone with ease. It also helps that he’s physically difficult to knock off the puck.

Unknown29) Montreal Canadiens- C Filip Chlapik, Charlottetown (QMJHL)

Positioning is one of Chlapik’s best assets, whether it’s with or without the puck, he goes to the right places. Smooth skating, with vision, he’s pretty decent all around as a 6’1”, 194 pound center.

Unknown-130) Tampa Bay Lightning (from NYR)- RW Michael Spacek, Pardubice (CZREP)

Closing out the draft, Tampa Bay picks up a small, but dynamic RW that is exciting to watch. The Czech program is really starting to crank out some great prospects that shouldn’t be overlooked, considering the current success and lucky find that David Pastrnak currently is with the Boston Bruins.