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.
1) 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).
2) 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.
3) 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.
4) 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.
5) 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.
6) 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.
7) 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.
8) 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.
9) 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.
10) 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.
11) 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.
12) 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.
13) 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.
14) 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.
15) 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.
16) 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.
17) 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.
18) 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.
19) 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.
20) 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.
21) 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.
22) 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.
23) 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.
24) 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.
25) 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.
26) 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.
27) 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.
28) 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.
29) 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.
30) 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.