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Metropolitan Division team needs for 2015 draft

by Adam Kimelman

The 2015 NHL Draft will be a great opportunity for teams to shore up positions of need with an injection of energetic, young talent.

As the first round of the draft draws near, there's no better time to take a glimpse at the possible draft needs of all 30 teams.

While there still may be trades and surprises in the works leading up to the draft, which will be held June 26-27 at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla., the priorities likely will remain the same. Here's a breakdown of what Metropolitan Division teams could be looking to do when they arrive in Florida.

The first round of the draft is Friday, June 26 (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports); rounds 2-7 will be held Saturday (10 a.m. ET; NHLN, TVA Sports).

Keep in mind the possible fits for each team are based on draft position. Teams are listed in alphabetical order.


Top priority: Scoring upgrade

The situation: The Hurricanes have ranked in the bottom third of the League in scoring the past two seasons; this season they were 27th with 2.23 goals per game. Upgrading the offense with one of the highly talented forwards that will be available with the No. 5 pick is imperative, potentially one who could contribute next season.

Possible fits: Lawson Crouse, LW, Kingston (OHL); Mitchell Marner, C, London (OHL); Mikko Rantanen, RW, TPS (FIN)


Top priority: Defensive depth

The situation: The Blue Jackets have spent the past few seasons adding talented offensive players. Among them are forwards Alexander Wennberg and Marko Dano, who earned full-time NHL spots this season, and Kerby Rychel, Oliver Bjorkstrand and Sonny Milano, who could be close to joining them. With the eighth pick of the first round, they will set their sights on a defenseman; general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said during the NHL Scouting Combine that defense would be a priority.

Possible fits: Ivan Provorov, D, Brandon (WHL); Zachary Werenski, D, Michigan (BIG10); Jakub Zboril, D, Saint John (QMJHL)


Top priority: Playmaking center

The situation: The Devils' top center, Travis Zajac, hasn't had more than 20 goals or 60 points in five seasons. The need for a No. 2 center was so great that Patrik Elias had to be shifted to the middle from the wing. Getting bigger and more skilled at forward is a need, but center is where it's most pressing. With the sixth pick of the draft they should be able to fill that need.

Possible fits: Mitchell Marner, C, London (OHL); Pavel Zacha, C, Sarnia (OHL); Lawson Crouse, LW, Kingston (OHL)


Top priority: Planning for the future

The situation: Trades the past two seasons have left the Islanders without a pick in the first two rounds. When their turn comes at No. 72 in the third round, the focus will be on best player available. If one area is going to be a priority, however, it's likely to be forward as the Islanders have done a nice job stockpiling young defensemen during the past few seasons.

Possible fits: AJ Greer, LW, Boston University (H-EAST); Michael Spacek, RW, Pardubice (CZREP); Matthew Spencer, D, Peterborough (OHL)


Top priority: Defensive depth

The situation: Defenseman Dan Girardi is 31 and Kevin Klein is 30; while neither is old, it's never too soon to start planning for the future. Brady Skjei, their 2012 first-round pick (No. 28) will be a full-time pro next season, but they could use a few more prospects that won't have their development rushed. A deep draft means they should get a quality prospect with their first pick, which will be No. 59 in the second round; their first-round pick belongs to the Tampa Bay Lightning from last season's trade for forward Martin St. Louis.

Possible fits: Sebastian Aho, D, Skelleftea (SWE); Jonas Siegenthaler, D, Zurich (SUI); Adam Marsh, LW, Saint John (QMJHL)


Top priority: Top-six forward

The situation: The Flyers' top-four prospects are defensemen, while their No. 1 forward in the development pipeline, center Scott Laughton, projects most likely as a third-line player. A big center to play behind Claude Giroux would be ideal, but a forward who can develop into a top-flight scorer is what's needed at No. 7. The focus will be best player available with their second first-round pick, acquired from the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Braydon Coburn trade.

Possible fits: Pavel Zacha, C, Sarnia (OHL); Lawson Crouse, LW, Kingston (OHL); Joel Eriksson Ek, C, Farjestad (SWE)


Top priority: Forward depth

The situation: Former general manager Ray Shero made it a priority to draft defensemen high in his final few years, and with Olli Maatta and Derrick Pouliot becoming NHL regulars, the Penguins are reaping the benefits. Current GM Jim Rutherford has to find some young forwards. Without a first-round pick, which was traded to the Edmonton Oilers for forward David Perron at midseason, they'll likely take the best forward available when their turn comes up at No. 46 in the second round.

Possible fits: Jack Roslovic, C, USA U-18 (USHL); Nicholas Roy, C, Chicoutimi (QMJHL); Denis Guryanov, RW, Togliatti 2 (RUS-JR)


Top priority: Depth on the wings

The situation: With Nicklas Backstrom and rookie Evgeny Kuznetsov, the Capitals are set down the middle for the foreseeable future; they also have discussed moving Andre Burakovsky to center. Finding wings to play with those talented centers comes next. The Capitals, who have the 22nd pick in the first round, also could look to add depth on defense that eventually could replace Brooks Orpik, 34, and Matt Niskanen, 28.

Possible fits: Brandon Carlo, D, Tri-City (WHL); Paul Bittner, LW, Portland (WHL); Brock Boeser, RW, Waterloo (USHL)


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