|1 || ||Nathan MacKinnon, C, |
|If Greg Sherman was still running the show in Denver Seth Jones would have been a slam dunk as the #1 overall pick. But Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy have a different cachet in the Mile High City…and Roy has first-hand experience with how dynamic MacKinnon is. MacKinnon scored five goals in one game vs. Roy’s Quebec Remparts as a 16-year-old during the 2011-12 regular season, and also rallied Halifax from 3-0 down in a series last year against the Remparts. All MacKinnon did this season was lead the Mooseheads to the Memorial Cup with a pair of hat-tricks against Jones’s Portland Winterhawks in Saskatoon. The numbers also overwhelmingly support taking a forward over a defenceman in the top three picks of the NHL Draft over the last 15 years. |
|2 || ||Seth Jones, D, |
Panthers GM Dale Tallon, himself a #2 overall pick way back in the 1970 draft, won’t be disappointed with Jones as a consolation prize. Combined with Erik Gudbranson, Jones will give Florida a pair of big right shot D for the next 15 years or so.
|3 || ||Jonathan Drouin, LW, |
The highly-skilled Drouin will have a mentor in Lightning glue guy Martin St. Louis and add even more offensive flare to a team that features Steven Stamkos. It wouldn’t surprise me if Valeri Nichuskin gets a long look here.
|4 || ||Aleksander Barkov, C, Tappara (FIN) || |
The Predators have only had one top five pick in team history (David Legwand, 2nd overall in 1998) and Barkov has a chance to be a stud for David Poile and company. In another draft we might be talking about a player in the mix to go #1 overall.
|5 || ||Darnell Nurse, D, |
Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
The Hurricanes could move down a few spots in the draft. Nurse is the second best D-man available and is a stone cold lock to be a top 4 left shot D, something the ‘Canes are dying for.
|6 || ||Elias Lindholm, C, |
The advanced stats guys will tell that Lindholm’s numbers in the SEL match-up quite favorably to other top end offensive draft-eligible Swedish forwards off the past. Lindholm will be a ‘riser at the draft. The Flames need a center and Flames Assistant GM John Weisbrod has an appreciation for “fancy stats”.
|7 || ||Sean Monahan, C, |
With Barkov, Nurse and Lindholm gone the Oilers will have a debate between Monahan and Nichuskin. The Oiers need the big center over the big winger. Had Monahan, who was a late birthday been available last year he might have gone in the top three.
|8 || ||Valeri Nichushkin, RW, |
After watching Mikhail Grigorenko fall to them at #12 at last year’s draft the Sabres benefit for the second consecutive year due to the Russian factor. Factor in 2012, #14 overall Zemgus Girgensons and 2011 first round pick Joel Armia and the Sabres are loaded up front with big, skilled forwards.
|9 || ||Curtis Lazar, C/RW, Edmonton (WHL) || |
There will be oohs and aahs when this pick is made as this will seem a reach, but the Devils need to add skill and scoring up front and choose Lazar over Hunter Shinkaruk. Lazar had 30 goals in his final 45 regular season games for the Oil Kings, is strong defensively and isn’t afraid to show a pugnacious side
|10 || ||Bo Horvat, C, |
The Stars need to build down the middle and Horvat has all the intangibles to be an excellent 2nd line center. Horvat should be the London Knights captain next season when they host the Memorial Cup.
|11 || ||Hunter Shinkaruk, C/LW, Medicine Hat (WHL) || |
The Flyers have a history of successfully drafting forwards and while struggling in drafting and developing defencemen. Shinkaruk can flat out score and has already played three seasons in Medicine Hat and could make the jump right away
|12 || ||Alexander Wennberg, C, Djurgarden (Sweden) || |
Coyotes need skilled forwards and some teams have the center ranked higher, could be a great fit in the Desert
|13 || ||Ryan Pulock, D, Brandon (WHL) || |
Pulock possesses an absolute bomb and will be a PP right shot D down the road. The Brandon captain would be a good fit in the ‘Peg
|14 || ||Max Domi, C, London (OHL) || |
Far more talented than his father the Blue Jackets use their first of three picks to address their lack of long term scoring depth.
|15 || ||Rasmus Ristolainen, D, TPS (Finland) || |
I think this pick could be moved for some immediate help as the team gears up to compete in the New York market place.
|16 || |
|Zach Fucale, G, |
|The third member of the Halifax Mooseheads to go in the first round, Fucale has all of the potential to make Sabres fans forget Ryan Miller down the road. |
|17 || ||Nikita Zadorov, D, |
|The hulking (6’5”, 230) defenceman from the London Knights helps balance out a Senators organization that is deep with forward prospects. |
|18 || ||Robert Hagg, D, |
Modo Jr. (Sweden)
|The Red Wings know Sweden about as well as anyone and Hagg is the type of defender that the Wings allow to over-ripen in Europe and then the AHL before he is ready for prime time. |
|19 || |
|Frederik Gauthier, C, Rimouski (QMJHL) ||The Blue Jackets add a project center who translates to big 2nd/3rd liner playing behind Ryan Johansen down the road. |
|20 || ||Josh Morrissey, D, Prince Albert (WHL) ||The Sharks added a skilled PP QB to ultimately replace Dan Boyle down the road. |
|21 || ||Kerby Rychel, LW, |
|Back-to-back 40 goal seasons with Windsor are too much to ignore as the Leafs draft a gamer. |
|22 || |
|Michael McCarron, RW, USNDT (USHL) ||At 6’5”, 228 pounds McCarron has a chance to be a prototypical power-forward. |
|23 || ||Anthony Mantha, RW, Val-d'Or (QMJHL) || |
Big man scored 50 in the Q this past season.
|24 || ||Samuel Morin, D, |
A mammoth left shot D (6’7”, 200) is a project that the win now Canucks can wait on.
|25 || ||Mirco Mueller, D, |
|The Canadiens seem to have a lot of time for Swiss born D, and Mueller took off in Everett this past season. |
|26 || ||Ryan Hartman, RW, Plymouth (OHL) ||The Ducks as an organization like highly competitive hard-nosed players. Hartman is a tough winger who can score, fits the bill. |
|27 || |
|Andre Burakovsky, LW, |
|Born in Klagenfurt, Austria which is a hockey hotbed, Burakowsky under-performed in Sweden but he won’t be a sleeper for new Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen. Burakowsky should be at minimum a third line NHL winger. |
|28 || |
|Nic Petan, C, |
|Dimunitive Portland center put up 120 points this season and showed up at combine. Flames could take a swing here to hit a home run. |
|29 || |
|Ian McCoshen, D, |
|McCoshen has a chance to be a solid top 4 NHL defenceman who will spend a couple of years at Boston College. |
|30 || ||Adam Erne, LW, |
Raw, thicker forward has a chance to be a bit of a sleeper.