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DRAFT: NewJerseyDevils.com Mock Draft

The NewJerseyDevils.com content team takes a stab at predicting the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft, which takes place this Friday in Vancouver

by Staff / newjerseydevils.com

Members of the NewJerseyDevils.com content team are trying their best to predict the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft. The draft begins this Friday evening in Vancouver, B.C. The participants in this mock draft are Team Reporter Amanda Stein, Radio Play-by-Play Broadcaster Matt Loughlin, Manager of Content/Reporter Chris Wescott, and Senior Director of Content Marc Ciampa.

Video: DRAFT | Preview Show Part 1

 Take a look at their picks and join the conversation by following on Twitter at @NJDevils. View all draft coverage at NewJerseyDevils.com/Draft.

1. NEW JERSEY DEVILS

Stein - Jack Hughes, C, USA U-18: Considered the most talented player in the Entry Draft, play-making abilities are through the roof and his vision on the ice is unparalleled. Broke several USTDP and international records in 2018-19, it would be tough to pass on Hughes to fill a center role on the Devils roster. It has to be appealing to have Hischier and Hughes as your potential one-two punch.

Loughlin - Hughes: Came into this season as the number one name on everyone's list. Though Kappo Kaako may have narrowed the gap, Hughes was never in danger of being knocked out of the top spot. He and Nico Hischier will form a formidable one-two punch down the middle for years to come.

Video: DRAFT | Preview Show Part 2

Wescott - Kaapo Kakko, RW, TPS (FIN): One of the more fun aspects of this draft is that there is a debate to be had. Kakko has made the first-overall pick a conversation and Ray Shero likes to keep his decision locked in a safe that he threw into the Hudson, only to be fished out after he walks to the podium in Vancouver. Kakko is a dynamic, scoring winger with great size and an ability to drive the net and work the corners. He possesses the puck extremely well in the offensive zone and has proven himself against men already. Both players are brilliant prospects with their own set of strengths and desirable characteristics. My gut is still leaning toward Jack Hughes, but I'll take a swing and say they grab the Finnish phenom.

Ciampa - Kakko: There's been a lot of talk about center vs. wing when it comes to Jack Hughes vs. Kaapo Kakko but the Finn can play center as well and when you look at Elias Pettersson and how well he's shown as a centerman, I believe that the Devils might take a look at Kakko down the middle.

Video: DRAFT | Preview Show Part 3

2. NEW YORK RANGERS

Stein - Kakko: If you're not going to get Hughes, the consolation prize isn't much of a consolation. A prize in and of himself, Kakko is a prolific scoring winger that has the build to slip right into an NHL lineup.

Loughlin - Kakko: A terrific "consolation" prize. Rangers get a forward who can get inside, has good hands and size and who distinguished himself at every level.

Wescott - Hughes: The Rangers have it easy. Whoever the Devils don't take... take the other guy. The best part of this whole debate and the hype is that, hopefully, these two players will be slugging it out against each other for their respective clubs for years. It's good for the sport. Hughes is an electrifying talent who has the ability to make his teammates around him better. Speed is the name of his game and he fits right in with where the NHL is headed.

Ciampa - Hughes: You can't go wrong with either of the top two picks. With Devils going with Kakko, the Rangers will select the only other option in this slot.

3. CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS

Stein - Alex Turcotte, C, USA U-18: A Chicago-native who plays a similar style to Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews. Contributes at both ends of the ice and can make plays at high-speed. The Blackhawks are poised to bring in a new generation to take over from Toews and Kane in the coming years, and Turcotte, a hometown boy, may be the fit they need for their future.

Loughlin - Turcotte: Nothing not to like. The Blackhawks draft the hometown (Island Lake, IL.) kid. Fits a need behind Jonathan Toews but deserves the high spot

Wescott - Bowen Byram, D, Vancouver (WHL): I am tempted to go with the ultra-competitive and hometown boy Alex Turcotte. But instead, I'll go with the best defender in the draft. The Blackhawks have a cupboard stocked with promising right-shot defenders who are a year or two away. Byram, a left shot, may be able to step in and play year one and could be an impactful player soon. With Jonathan Toews coming off a career year and Dylan Strome having a breakout campaign up the middle, maybe they pass on center help for a year and bolster the defense.

Ciampa - Dylan Cozens, C, Lethbridge (WHL)- At 6'3" he patterns his style of play after Matthew Barzal. With that size, that could be a very dangerous player to contend with, giving the Blackhawks some size and skill. 

4. COLORADO AVALANCHE (FROM OTT)

Stein - Cozens: Cozens can fill the second-line center role that the Avalanche are currently missing. For a player his size (6'4) he moves remarkably well and uses his size to also bring a little physicality to his game. Has played both wing and center, creating a little versatility for Joe Sakic and his team.

Loughlin - Cozens: The center spot dominates the early going. The Avs have a deep, young D corps but need to fill out the forward group. MacKinnon-Cozens looks very good down the middle.

Wescott - Cozens: The speedster with size could fit nicely into the already impressive forward group in Denver.

Ciampa - Byram: Thought by many to be the top defenseman available in the draft, he could easily go third. He led all WHL players, regardless of position, in points in the playoffs.

5. LOS ANGELES KINGS

Stein - Byram: The Kings have a stockpile of forwards in their pipeline, adding a potential top defenseman would be next. Byram is the top defenseman in the draft, can log big minutes and pick up points in the process. He led the WHL with 26 points in the post-season in 22 games with the Vancouver Giants. Would be an ideal defensive partner for Drew Doughty, and an opportunity for mentorship.

Loughlin - Byram: Kings need help in many spots and Byram fills a big one at D. Size, speed, creativity and more rolled into one package. No doubt about offensive skills but questions about his play in the defensive zone.

Wescott - Trevor Zegras, USA U-18: Here's a name I've heard come up a bit as an interesting prospect who brings a lot to the table and will likely go high. Centers are always in high demand and his 61 assists this season for the USNTDP ranked second on the team behind only Hughes.

Ciampa - Turcotte: Another player who could easily go in the top three, Turcotte was outstanding this season with the U.S. National Team Development Program and would be a great offensive piece for the Kings to plug in down the middle. 

6. DETROIT RED WINGS

Stein - Vasili Podkolzin, RW, SKA St. Petersburg 2 (RUS): Number two among European skaters, Podkolzin has committed to play with St. Petersburg SKA the KHL for the remaining two years of his current contract, some teams who need the fast track to getting younger may turn away from him for this reason. But there is a luxury in waiting on this forward with size (6'1) and raw talent and a high ceiling, the Red Wings will just have to wait it out while he finishes out his contract. Some pundits had Podkolzin going higher, but his contract situation may make some teams weary of drafting him.

Loughlin - Cole Caufield, RW, USA U-18: Some concerns about his size (though it's never held him back in his career) but new GM Steve Yzerman had success in Tampa Bay with smaller players and will welcome Caufield to the "Winged Wheel".

Wescott - Podkolzin: There's a good chance he slips further due to him likely staying in Russia for a couple of years. However, some team is going to pounce on this player who is without a doubt a top-five prospect.

Ciampa - Zegras: The U.S. National Team Development Program could have as many as five players in the top ten of this draft. Zegras plays a style similar to Hughes in a lot of ways including being a playmaker primarily. This would give the Red Wings a center who can play with winter Filip Zadina for years to come.

Video: DRAFT | Preview Show Part 4

7. BUFFALO SABRES

Stein - Caufield: Hard to turn away from his 72-goal season, considered the best natural goal scorer available in the draft, if not for his small 5'7 frame there would be potential of going higher than seven. Despite his small stature, he could fill goal-scoring needs for Buffalo.

Loughlin - Kirby Dach, C, Saskatoon (WHL): Big man who plays a 200-foot-game. Good speed and hockey sense.

Wescott - Caufield: Small, but dangerous. We've seen from the recent success of smaller players that it's really a non-issue. Can you compete? Can you make an impact? Are you elusive enough to avoid hits or create space? Caufield can play. He hit 100 points in 64 games this past season for USA Hockey.

Ciampa - Dach: Ranked third among North American skaters, the big center would be a perfect fit in the Sabres lineup. Dach had 25 goals and 73 points in 62 games.

8. EDMONTON OILERS

Stein - Dach: He's a big power forward (6'4) who is also strong inside the blueline. Dach has played primarily as a center but has spent time on the wing as well. With the Oilers, he may ride shotgun with some of the big guns (McDavid, RNH) or could fill a center role further down the lineup. Oilers need help with more balanced scoring, Dach may be able to provide that down the road.

Loughlin - Matthew Boldy, LW, USA U-18: Like LA, Edmonton has many needs but, unlike LA, they fill a big need up front. Another USNTDP product, Boldy provides size.

Wescott - Dach: Adding Dach would give the Oilers ridiculous flexibility up the middle and on the wing. With absolute stars Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins already on the roster, you could mix and match to find the right combination of centers and wingers from this group. Dach could play either center or wing, similar to Draisaitl and Nugent-Hopkins. While the Oilers need help on defense, Dach slipping and the flexibility and opportunity he would afford the team may be too good to pass up.

Ciampa - Philip Broberg, D, AIK (SWE): Ranked as the fifth European skater, but Broberg's stock has been rising. A big player who's a smooth skater and a left shot would be a great complement for the right shot rearguard Evan Bouchard. 

9. ANAHEIM DUCKS

Stein - Zegras: One of the more complete players in the NHL draft, Zegras would be an interesting option for the rebuilding Ducks. Zegras has excelled on the power play and spent the season as the number two center on the heavily stacked USNTDP. Smarts and speed, Zegras could fill in eventually for an aging forward group in Anaheim. The Ducks already have Sam Steel in their arsenal, adding Zegras would create lofty competition for who takes over that number one center role when Ryan Getzlaf hangs them up.

Loughlin - Broberg: Scary combination of size and speed. His defense is ahead of his offense.

Wescott - Peyton Krebs, C, Kootenay (WHL): There's a run on centers and the Ducks want to join the party. Although defense is also going to be an important target for them, they may see the centers passing by and decide to take one before the top guys are gone. Krebs is a playmaker and a good thinker of the game.

Ciampa - Caulfield: If not for his smaller stature, Caufield could have gone as early as three but he slides a little for that reason alone. He was an offensive juggernaut this season for the U.S. National Team Development Program with 72 goals and 100 points in 64 games. 

10. VANCOUVER CANUCKS

Stein - Broberg: Standing 6'3 Broberg carries himself smoothly as a bigger defenseman and could be a nice addition to the Canucks blueline that is currently getting younger. Broberg has both size and skill to match his skating, not afraid to carry the puck. I'm reserved in going Broberg to Vancouver only because the Canucks selected a defenseman (Quinn Hughes) in the 2018 NHL Entry draft, but I suppose you can never have too many!

Loughlin - Podkolzin: Canucks get a break as Podkolzin drops to here. Plays in all situations and excels. But when does he come to North America? Is under contract in the KHL and had indicated he will honor the last two years of that deal.

Wescott - Broberg: Even though the Canucks just snagged a top-flight defender last season, why not add another? It's not a bad idea to stock the cupboard and it would give rising star Elias Pettersson a young Swedish counterpart on the back end.

Ciampa - Boldy: The winger had 81 points in 64 games for the U.S. National Team Development Program and would be a great complement to Elias Pettersson in Vancouver.

11. PHILADELPHIA FLYERS

Stein - Boldy: Boldy fits well into the brand of hockey played by the Flyers. He uses his big frame well and is strong on the forecheck, while also being gifted offensively with a dangerous shot.

Loughlin - Zegras: Flyers are ecstatic that Zegras is available at this spot. Might be a tad small to player center in the long run but there is no doubting his offensive abilities. Will attend Boston University so the Flyers will draft and follow.

Wescott - Victor Soderstrom, D, Brynas (SWE): After Broberg came off the board, Soderstrom is the next best defender.

Ciampa - Krebs: Would have probably gone higher in the draft but suffered a partial tear of his achilles this offseason.

12. MINNESOTA WILD

Stein - Krebs: It was a tough off-season blow for Krebs in early June when he suffered a partially torn achilles tendon, but I don't think this will impact where he ends up in the draft. If Krebs is still on the board at 12, This is an opportunity for the Wild to replenish their depth down the middle. The Wilds top two centers (Staal and Koivu) are nearing the end of their careers. Here's a good chance to mentor and have Krebs pull into that role in a few years.

Loughlin - Krebs: All-around center who excelled despite playing for a bad junior team. Had a very good U-18 tournament for Canada.

Wescott - Boldy: A solid winger prospect who could even see himself higher on this list with all of the uncertainty in the range following the top two. Boldy could leave Boston College early, maybe after his freshman year, if his progression continues.

Ciampa - Thomas Harley, D, Mississauga (OHL): Wild would have probably pounced on Podkolzin (see below) but the thinking here is that after what Minnesota's experienced trying to get Kirill Kaprizov to come overseas, they might take a pass on a Russian tied to a KHL contract here.

13. FLORIDA PANTHERS

Stein - Harley: The last time the Panthers selected a defenseman in the first round was back in 2014 when they selected Aaron Ekblad. I don't see Harley making the roster right out of his draft year but adding another big defenseman (6'3) to the system isn't something I see the Panthers turning their backs on. 

Loughlin - Spencer Knight, G, USA U-18: Teams have tended to shy away from drafting goalies in the first round but GM Dale Tallon has never been afraid to think outside-the-box. Another USNTDP product, Knight is a pure butterfly goalie with above-average size and terrific athleticism. Is committed to Boston College so the Panthers will have to wait.

Wescott - Harley: Adding potential impact players on the back end is something the Panthers will want to do. Harley is likely the next guy on the list.

Ciampa - Podkolzin: Panthers take a chance on the aforementioned Russian with more patience to do so. He won't be coming over until 2022 at the earliest but could be a steal at this position.

14. ARIZONA COYOTES

Stein - Alex Newhook, C, Vancouver (BCHL): Small but dynamic, Newhook may be part of the Coyotes looking for an upgrade on offense. Newhook led the BCHL with 102 points (38 goals, 64 assists) in 53 games and is a bit of an undersized forward, but he has the vision of a playmaker and the ability for a quick release. I don't see Newhook falling out of the top 15.

Loughlin - Ryan Suzuki, C, Barrie (OHL): Stock has dropped just a bit but Coyotes snap up a good skater with unbelievable vision. High-level hockey IQ. Could be a steal.

Wescott - Arthur Kaliyev, RW, Hamilton (OHL): This kid can score. I hear that's valuable in hockey. He potted 51 goals for the Hamilton Bulldogs this year.

Ciampa - Kaliyev: Fourth in the OHL in goals with 51 and tied for sixth in points with 102. Would be a great get for the Coyotes at 14. 

15. MONTREAL CANADIENS

Stein - Cam York, D, USA U-18: The Canadiens are in need of stocking their pipeline with defensive talent and more specifically on the left-side. That's where Cam York comes in. The Habs are stacked on the right side with Weber, Petry, Juulsen and Folin as options. The selection of York could potentially fill a void that has recently plagued the Canadiens.

Loughlin - Raphael Lavoie, RW, Halifax (QMJHL): Canadians can't pass up the Quebec-born Lavoie. Outstanding size. Very good skills. Will need to find a bit more consistency to his offensive game.

Wescott - York: Taking the next best available defenseman makes a lot of sense for the Canadiens. York is a guy who can move and transport the puck. He had 65 points in 63 games last season for the USA U-18 squad.

Ciampa - Lavoie: Rated 20 among North American skaters, the Habs go slightly off the board here to bring in the big local center. 

16. COLORADO AVALANCHE

Stein - Soderstrom: He's a solid two-way defenseman with excellent vision, creativity and has a high compete level. His skating is one of his greatest assets. What may hold Soderstrom back is his small stature listed at 5'11 but with an NHL moving to speed and agility, he may fit in just fine as the second-ranked defenseman in this years NHL draft.

Loughlin - Harley: Will need to add some bulk to his 6'3 frame but he has the offensive skills to be a solid NHL performer.

Wescott - Knight: With two first-round picks the Avalanche have the opportunity to walk away with a dynamic forward talent and the best goaltender in the draft. Some may say it's too high for a goalie but the Avs take a swing on the best of them in this mock.

Ciampa - Soderstrom: Soderstrom could go anywhere from five to 25 in this draft. In the market for a right-shot D who can put up some points, Colorado would be a good home for the Swedish blueliner.

17. VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS

Stein - Suzuki: The Golden Knights drafted Suzuki's brother Nick in 2017, but traded him to Montreal in the Max Pacioretty deal. Another Suzuki may be in the mix with Ryan, who is a creative playmaker, something the Vegas system needs. Obviously, the scouting and management staff are familiar with the Suzuki family and might just make it easier to take the younger brother and keep him in their system.

Loughlin - Newhook: High-end speed, high-end smarts, high-end compete. Great Junior-A career with Victoria (BCHL). He might very well have been a top-10 pick if he played in the QMJHL. Next stop: Boston College.

Wescott - Suzuki: Although the Golden Knights traded his older brother, Nick, to Montreal, Ryan makes a lot of sense for Vegas. Maybe they take a gamble on the smart center.

Ciampa - Suzuki: After trading his brother Nick to Montreal this past season, Vegas stocks up on another Suzuki.

Video: PODCAST | Shero on Trades

18. DALLAS STARS

Stein - Kaliyev: 50-goals in the OHL last season, Kaliyev is one of the elite scorers in this years NHL draft. The left-wing still has some maturing to do, but pair him with a playmaker and eventually, the dividends will pay off.

Loughlin - Ville Heinola, D, Lukko (FIN): Somewhat undersized defenseman with questions about his speed. But his stock rose after playing well in the top Finnish men's league.

Wescott - Moritz Seider, D, Mannheim (GER): Possibly a steal here for the Stars who take the rising German defender.

Ciampa - Newhook: Newfoundland native played in the BCHL this past season and is set for Boston College. Won the league MVP and became the first Victoria Grizzlies player to top 100 points since Tyler Bozak did it in 2006-07.

19. OTTAWA SENATORS (FROM CBJ)

Stein - Lavoie: Skill, speed, and size are what the Quebec-native will bring into the Senators mix. There's plenty of room in the system to add another forward with size. He's shown strong playmaking ability and skates well for a player of his 6'4 size.

Loughlin - Soderstrom: Moved up from Swedish juniors to the SEL this year and didn't miss a beat as a 17-year old. Not particularly big but very smart. A defensive-defenseman.

Wescott - Newhook: Dynamic playmaker and a speedster to go along with it. Ottawa needs to add talent where they can get it and Newhook is a good pick here.

Ciampa - York: The California (and Scott Niedermayer) trained blueliner can put up big points from the back end and would be a great complement to Thomas Chabot.

20. WINNIPEG JETS (FROM NYR)

Stein - Bobby Brink: It's hard to pass on a player who had 68 points in 43 games for the Sioux City Musketeers in the USHL.

Loughlin - York: Honestly, he'll probably be picked earlier but, hey, it's my draft board and I think others slip ahead of him. Was the USNTDP's number one d-man. Enough said.

Wescott - Lavoie: A sizable forward at 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, Lavoie was the QMJHL's Best Professional Prospect (Mike Bossy Trophy).

Ciampa - Seider: Though likely to go late in the first round, Seider could be one of the three or four most NHL ready skaters in this year's draft. 

21. PITTSBURGH PENGUINS

Stein - Seider: A two-way defenseman and at 6-foot-4, right-handed, Mortiz could end up being an eventual top four in the future for the Penguins. Credited for his strong skating abilities, I can see him fitting with the mold of defenseman the Penguins covet, in terms of skating ability and offensive output.

Loughlin - Kaliyev: 50-goal scorer in juniors but the game is played in three zones and his interest in two of the three is questioned. But he's got NHL size and, well, that scoring. Can't buy that skill at the local store.

Wescott- Heinola: This may be a little bit high, but at this point of the first round, you take the guy you believe in the most. The Penguins go for the Finnish defender who looks like a top-four guy eventually.

Ciampa - Philip Tomasino, C, Niagara (OHL): Could be a steal for the Penguins at 21. Showed great improvement this past season, going from 24 points to 72 and five goals to 34. 

22. LOS ANGELES KINGS (FROM TOR)

Stein - Knight: The top-ranked goaltender. With the luxury of two selections in the first round, the Kings may jump in on this option to take a netminder with a ton of promise.

Loughlin - Seider: Right-hand shot with size (6'4", 200 pounds). Did not stand out while playing in the DEL but did so when playing at his age-level. Did I mention he's a right-hand shot and has size?

Wescott - Alex Vlasic, D, USA U-18: Vlasic could turn out to be a very good defender. Since I had the Kings go forward earlier, I think they'd turn their attention to defense next.

Ciampa - Heinola: Beyond Kaapo and Podkolzin, a lot of the top European skaters this year are blueliners and Heinola is in that crop.

23. NEW YORK ISLANDERS

Stein - Tomasino- Here's a center that can fill a void in the Islanders system, and one who can skate well with plenty of offensive upside. He may not have elite-skills, but he is well rounded. If you can grab a center like Tomasino this late in the first round, you go for it.

Loughlin - Brink: He's not very big but he competes and has outstanding hockey IQ. His skating prevents him from being an elite player but finds a way to get where he needs to go.

Wescott - Tomasino: Philip Tomasino is a good get for a team in the twenties. High-end skill seems to fit in with what the Islanders are putting together.

Ciampa - Brink: A real wild card in the draft in terms of where he could go, the 5'8" right-winger brought the offense for USHL's Sioux City and is committed to Denver for next season.

Video: PODCAST | Shero on Depth of Draft

24. NASHVILLE PREDATORS

Stein - Jakob Pelletier: With 39 goals and 50 assists for 89 points in 65 games and having played on both the Moncton Wildcat's power-play unit and their penalty-killing units. Has leadership abilities that the Predators covet, as an assistant captain this season.

Loughlin - Tomasino: Fantastic speed but on the smallish side. Will need to add muscle to compete in the NHL. 

Wescott - Brink: Brink might already be gone at this point, but the Predators aren't complaining. They add a player coming off a fantastic year in the USHL.

Ciampa - Jakob Pelletier, LW, Moncton (QMJHL): With 89 points in 65 games with Moncton of the QMJHL, the 5'9" spark plug would be a good addition up front for the Predators. 

25. WASHINGTON CAPITALS

Stein - Patrik Puistola, LW, Tappara (FIN): Time for the Capitals to address their lack of forward prospects in the system. Puistola is a reliable puck-handler and considered a potential top six forward in the making.

Loughlin - Nils Hoglander, LW, Rogle (SWE): Good but not great skater who has wonderful hockey sense and tremendous puck skills. Not very big but elusive. Lack of size could be a factor but he has the other tools.

Wescott - Puistola: An excellent puck-handler with high upside, helping the Capitals bolster their organizational depth at forward.

Ciampa - Egor Afanasyev, LW, Muskegon (USHL): The Russian came across the pond before the start of last season to play for Muskegon of the USHL. He's committed to play college at Michigan State but there are whispers he may end up going to the OHL, where Windsor owns his rights. 

26. CALGARY FLAMES

Stein - Hoglander: The feisty Hoglander is just 5'9 but plays much bigger than his current frame. Hoglander has been known for some crafty moves with his hands, and a never-give-up on a play attitude.

Loughlin - Matthew Robertson, D, Edmonton (WHL): Big defenseman who plays to his size. Some consistency issues but a very good defensive-defenseman with possible growth on the offensive end.

Wescott - Robertson: I have the Flames taking Robertson, not only because he's an Alberta boy but because he's a defenseman with good size who could develop into a nice piece to the puzzle.

Ciampa - Brayden Tracey, LW, Moose Jaw (WHL): Flames go for the local kid here who also fills a need with some scoring punch on the wing. 

27. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING

Stein - Samuel Poulin, LW, Sherbrook (QMJHL): A pure-scoring winger and tough to handle along the walls because of his size and strength. Tampa already has a couple of those, but Poulin is more for the long-term and waiting on him to develop could really pay off in the future.

Loughlin - Vlasic: Another USNTDP player (the pools seems bottomless). Big (6'6) and physical. There's still room for that type of player in the NHL. Like many players picked this late in the first round, he's a bit of a project who is a couple of years, or more, away.

Wescott - Hoglander: Simply going best player available at this point and this is a player with good hands and a high ceiling.

Ciampa - Connor McMichael, C, London (OHL): A great two-way player with a high hockey IQ who may need some additional team to build some strength, the Lightning would do well to add him here as one of the teams that can afford to be patient with their selections given the strength of their current squad. 

28. CAROLINA HURRICANES

Stein - Nicholas Robertson: When you hear about Robertson, you hear about work-ethic. There's a trait that is coveted by Canes head coach Rod Brind'amour. I had a hard time slotting in a defenseman to Carolina, despite some top-quality defense that may go later in this draft. Team owner Tom Dundon made it pretty clear, he's not up for drafting defensemen in the first round.

Loughlin - McMichael: Opinion varies on his ceiling. Well-rounded game and he always competes. Needs to add some bulk. Over a point per game for London.

Wescott - Pelletier: A good goal scorer at this point in the first round is an excellent choice for the "Bunch of Jerks".

Ciampa - Brett Leason, RW, Prince Albert (WHL): One of the most interesting potential first-round players, Leason had a breakout season with 36 goals and 89 points for Prince Albert and 25 more points in 22 playoff games. He has size, skill and explosiveness. But he's also 20 years old, two years older than most other players who will be drafted.

Video: PODCAST | Shero on Kakko/Hughes

29. ANAHEIM DUCKS ( FROM SJS-BUF)

Stein - Vlasic: He has both size and offensive upside and his cousin Marc-Edouard plays just up the Californian coast for the San Jose Sharks. Vlasic uses his size well and has that desirable offensive instinct. He would fill an organizational need on defense.

Loughlin - Afanasyev: Big winger who can score. Needs to improve his skating but looks good coming down the wing. Good shot. Needs to work on the defensive side of the game.

Wescott - Lassi Thompson, D, Kelowna (WHL): The Ducks get a defender after jumping on a center earlier.

Ciampa - Vlasic: A very safe pick who will play in the NHL. He has size and is excellent defensively. How he will do offensively is the question mark. 

30. BOSTON BRUINS

Stein - Lassi Thompson: The puck-moving defenseman from the WHL. Smart and mobile. He still has work to do with his defensive side of the game. Plenty of upside here if the team can exercise patience.

Loughlin - Nolan Foote, LW, Kelowna (WHL): Two years ago he would have been considered a top-ten pick but injuries and lack of performance have pushed him way down on some draft boards. But his size (6'3, 190 pounds), his bloodlines (his father, Adam, played 1,000-plus games in the NHL and his brother, Cal, is a highly-regarded prospect) and increased output this year (36 goals) makes it worth taking a chance.

Wescott - Poulin: The Bruins could use more scoring in their prospect pool and Poulin is a player with good upside.

Ciampa - Thompson: The opposite of Vlasic in a lot of ways, is strong offensively but needs to work on the defensive side. Bruins are a solid team that can afford to wait on him and develop. 

31. BUFFALO SABRES (FROM STL)

Stein - Heinola: The Sabres are stockpiling defensemen in their system, and Heinola may be the next one added to the list. The fourth-ranked European skater in the draft, Heinola carried himself well while playing in Liiga against men last season. This is an asset, having received that kind of development experience.

Loughlin - Leason: Passed over in the last two drafts but worth taking a shot after a breakout season. Big frame, improved skating. Did he find his game? Or did he excel because he's an over-age junior?

Wescott - Tobias Bjornfot, D, Djurgardens (SWE): Although more likely an early second-round pick, I could see the Sabres taking a safe route with a player who is easily projected as an NHL defender with little downside.

Ciampa - Hoglander: Very shifty and due for a breakout campaign after seven goals and 14 points in 50 games at the Swedish League. 

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