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Pacific Division team needs entering 2015 NHL Draft

by Mike G. Morreale

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 NHL teams.

Though 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 Pacific Division teams could be looking to do when they arrive in Florida.

The first round of the draft is 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: Depth at center

The situation: Left wing Nick Ritchie (2014, No. 10) became the first forward chosen by the Ducks in the first round since 2011, when center Rickard Rakell went No. 30. Despite that, they should begin stocking up on centers since the 2015 draft class would appear to be deep in that area. Anaheim has five picks over seven rounds, though none in the second round. The Ducks averaged 2.78 goals per game during the regular season, ranking 11th in the League. The organization may have uncovered a diamond in the rough in center Miro Aaltonen (2013, No. 177), who continues to impress in Liiga, Finland's top professional league. Prospect Shea Theodore (2013, No. 26) was named the 2015 Western Hockey League Defenseman of the Year and has a great chance to make the team out of training camp in September.

Possible fits: Filip Chlapik, C, Charlottetown (QMJHL); Joel Eriksson Ek, C, Farjestad (Sweden); Colin White, C, USA U-18 (USHL)


Top priority: Depth on defense

The situation: The Coyotes have acquired depth up front and in goal with some solid drafting in recent years. Centers Max Domi (2013, No. 12), Christian Dvorak (2014, No. 58) and Henrik Samuelsson (2012, No. 27), left wing Brendan Perlini (2014, No. 12) and right wing Tobias Rieder (Trade with Edmonton, 2013) have plenty of promise. The Coyotes acquired a huge offensive piece in left wing Anthony Duclair in a trade with the Rangers on March 1. The Coyotes parted with offensive defenseman Keith Yandle in that trade but have an opportunity to reload at that position with the No. 3 pick in this draft. Goaltenders Louis Domingue (2010, No. 138) and Mark Visentin (2010, No. 27) are working their way up the development ladder; Mike Smith is signed through 2018-19. Arizona has two picks in the first round and four picks over the first two rounds.

Possible fits: Noah Hanifin, D, Boston College (H-East); Ivan Provorov, D, Brandon (WHL); Dylan Strome, C, Erie (OHL).


Top priority: Offensive defensemen

The situation: The Flames have hit the jackpot in the previous two drafts with their top selections of forwards Sean Monahan (2013, No. 6) and Sam Bennett (2014, No. 4). They appear well-stocked at the position with right wing Emile Poirier (2013, No. 22) and center Markus Granlund (2011, No. 45) making major strides and left wing Micheal Ferland (2010, No. 133) already making an impact. The organization has drafted just one defenseman in the first round the past 10 years, so that may be an area to target. Still, president of hockey operations Brian Burke, general manager Brad Treliving and director of amateur scouting Tod Button will likely choose the best available player.

Possible fits: Zachary Werenski, D, University of Michigan (Big 10); Thomas Chabot, D, Saint John (QMJHL); Jakub Zboril, D, Saint John (QMJHL).


Top priority: Game-changing center

The situation: The Oilers continued their build down the middle with the selection of Leon Draisaitl (2014, No. 3) last year and everyone expects them to target Erie Otters center Connor McDavid with the No. 1 pick. Edmonton needs more offensive firepower and pop in the lineup and general manager Peter Chiarelli has a pretty good history of building championship-caliber teams. He'll have two picks in the first round. After selecting McDavid, would Chiarelli consider trading his second first-rounder for a more established top-two defenseman or goalie? Defenseman Darnell Nurse (2013, No. 7) is closing in on a regular role and goaltender Laurent Brossoit (trade with Calgary, 2013) is still a few years away, but the Oilers need depth in those areas. New coach Todd McLellan inherits a team that has not played in the postseason since losing Game 7 of the 2006 Stanley Cup Final to the Carolina Hurricanes.

Possible fits: Connor McDavid, C, Erie (OHL); Jack Eichel, C, Boston University (H-East); Noah Hanifin, D, Boston College (H-East).


Top priority: Depth at center and defense

The situation: The Kings have a nice stable of wings but may need to consider their depth on defense and at center. The one promising center within the system, Nick Shore (2011, No. 82), played 34 games with the Kings this season and finished with seven points. Defenseman Derek Forbort (2010, No. 15) is beginning to come into his own, and left wings Adrian Kempe (2014, No. 29) and Valentin Zykov (2013, No. 37) look to be future producers for coach Darryl Sutter. The Kings have their highest draft pick in six years; they chose Brayden Schenn No. 5 in 2009.

Possible fits: Zachary Werenski, D, University of Michigan (Big 10); Jakub Zboril, D, Saint John (QMJHL); Travis Konecny, C, Ottawa (OHL).


Top priority: Depth at left wing

The situation: The Sharks have some solid up-and-coming talent on defense in Taylor Doherty (2009, No. 57), Matt Tennyson (free agent, 2012) and Konrad Abeltshauser (2010, No. 163), and at center in Chris Tierney (2012, No. 55). Right wing Nikolay Goldobin (2014, No. 27) may challenge for a roster spot out of training camp in September. The Sharks, who haven't selected in the top 15 since picking Logan Couture (2007, No. 9), will no doubt choose the best available player on their draft list with the No. 9 choice. They should consider a goalie in the later rounds.

Possible fits: Lawson Crouse, LW, Kingston (OHL); Timo Meier, RW, Halifax (QMJHL); Kyle Connor, LW, Youngstown (USHL).


Top priority: Offensive defenseman

The situation: It's hard to believe, but the Canucks have selected a defenseman in the first round just once in the past 16 drafts, the late Luc Bourdon (2005, No. 10). They opted for forwards Jake Virtanen (No. 6) and Jared McCann (No. 24) with their two first-round selections at the 2014 draft. There may be some solid choices along the back end by the time the Canucks get to choose in the first round, and the managerial team needs to take a serious look at those options since it's the Canucks' only pick in the first three rounds. In addition to Virtanen and McCann, forward prospects Hunter Shinkaruk (2013, No. 24), Cole Cassels (2013, No. 85) and Nicklas Jensen (2011, No. 29) are progressing. Goaltender Thatcher Demko (2014, No. 36) may be one year away from challenging for a role.

Possible fits: Jacob Larsson, D, Frolunda Jr. (SWE-JR.); Oliver Kylington, D, Farjestad (Sweden); Paul Bittner, LW, Portland (WHL)


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