McDavid, regarded as the top draft prospect since Sidney Crosby, has game-changing potential. He was third in the Ontario Hockey League in the regular season with 120 points despite playing 47 games. He’s been even better in the OHL playoffs; he had 11 points in a four-game sweep of London and leads all players in goals and points.
2. Buffalo Sabres - Jack Eichel, C, Boston University (H-EAST)
The 18-year-old became the first freshman since Paul Kariya in 1992-93 to win the Hobey Baker Award as college hockey's best player. He also was Hockey East Player of the Year, Hockey East Rookie of the Year and Hockey East Tournament MVP. He led all college players with 45 assists, 71 points, a plus-51 rating, 23 power-play points and a 1.77 point-per-game average.
3. Arizona Coyotes - Noah Hanifin, D, Boston College (H-EAST)
The left-shot defender had five goals, 23 points and 52 blocked shots in 37 games as a freshman with the Eagles. Scouts love his offensive ability but his defensive game is a bit underrated. Hanifin’s ability to excel in pressure situations and on the transition is a strength.
4. Toronto Maple Leafs - Dylan Strome, C, Erie (OHL)
A big, strong skater with the agility, reach and pedigree that NHL scouts crave, he led the OHL with 84 assists and 129 points in 68 games. He split the season between centering the second line behind McDavid and playing on McDavid’s wing. He’s continued his strong play in the postseason to help Erie reach the OHL conference final.
5. Carolina Hurricanes - Lawson Crouse, LW, Kingston (OHL)
A 6-foot-4, 215-pound power forward who is engaged physically each time he steps on the ice, he led the Frontenacs with 29 goals, two shorthanded goals and 51 points in 56 games. Some scouts have compared his style of play to Hockey Hall of Fame member Cam Neely and Eric Lindros.
6. New Jersey Devils - Mitchell Marner, C, London (OHL)
A 5-11, 160-pound two-way forward, he finished second in the OHL with 82 assists and 126 points in 63 games. He has 128 assists and 185 points in 127 career OHL games. Prior to sustaining an upper-body injury April 9 he had nine goals and 16 points in seven OHL playoff games. He's often compared to former Knights player and current Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane.
7. Philadelphia Flyers - Mikko Rantanen, RW, TPS (FIN)
Was considered by many observers to be the best player for Finland at the 2015 World Junior Championship, where he had a team-high four goals. The 6-3, 211-pound left-shot forward averaged more than 16 minutes of ice time per game with TPS and is effective on the power play. He has a good combination of hockey sense, hands and an explosive shot.
8. Columbus Blue Jackets - Ivan Provorov, D, Brandon (WHL)
The 6-foot, 201-pound left-shot defender was fourth among Western Hockey League defensemen with 61 points (15 goals, 46 assists) in 60 games as a rookie and his strong play has continued in the playoffs with two goals and eight points in 10 games to help Brandon reach the WHL conference finals. The Russian logs a lot of ice time, is good on special teams and likes to be a physical presence.
9. San Jose Sharks - Zachary Werenski, D, Michigan (BIG10)
The 6-foot-2, 206-pound freshman excelled as the youngest player in college hockey. He led all Michigan defenders with 25 points (nine goals, 16 assists), had 12 power-play points, a plus-9 rating and tied for the Michigan lead with 59 blocked shots. He was named to the All-Big Ten Hockey First Team and the All-Big Ten Freshman Team.
10. Colorado Avalanche - Pavel Zacha, C, Sarnia (OHL)
The Czech Republic native is relentless on the puck and creates scoring chances for teammates with his strength and smart decisions. He had 16 goals, 34 points and a plus-5 rating in 37 games. He exhibited good puck control, a strong work ethic and a great shot. He also played for the Czech Republic at the 2015 WJC.
11. Florida Panthers - Kyle Connor, LW, Youngstown (USHL)
The 6-1, 177-pound University of Michigan recruit led the United States Hockey League with 80 points, and his 34 goals were fourth, one behind the league leaders. His nine game-winning goals led the league and his 32 power-play points were tied for first. He’s shown great quickness in tight spaces and makes things happen with the puck on his stick.
12. Dallas Stars - Timo Meier, RW, Halifax (QMJHL)
The 6-1, 209-pound left-shot forward can play center or right wing and is strong with and without the puck. He has high-end hockey sense, competes hard and is effective in 1-on-1 situations. Led Halifax in the regular season with 44 goals, and with 23 power-play goals. He had 90 points in 61 regular-season games and he’s in the top five in goals and points in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoffs.
13. Los Angeles Kings - Gabriel Carlsson, D, Linkoping Jr. (SWE-JR)
At 6-foot-4 and 183-pounds, the left-shot defenseman plays big and smart. He’s considered a stay-at-home defender with a good reach who plays a safe, reliable game that has raised his stock among scouts. He uses his size and strength in a smart way.
14. Boston Bruins - Mathew Barzal, C, Seattle (WHL)
A fantastic east-to-west skater with the capability of creating time and space for linemates. The 5-11, 175-pound right-shot forward was the top center for the Thunderbirds. He has great vision, puck skills and playmaking ability. He had 45 assists and 57 points in 44 regular-season games, and scored four goals in six WHL playoff games.
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter: @mikemorrealeNHL
Author: Mike G. Morreale | NHL.com Staff Writer