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Chris Wescott's 2014 Mock Draft

by Chris Wescott / Edmonton Oilers

Related mock drafts: Tom Gazzola | Bob Stauffer | Jack Michaels | Chris Wescott
1 FLA Aaron Ekblad, D,
Barrie (OHL)
It looks as though the Florida Panthers could very well trade out of this spot. But if they stay put, Aaron Ekblad is the pick here. The Panthers have a solid group of defensive prospects coming up like Mike Matheson (23rd overall in 2012) and Alex Petrovic (36th overall in 2010). However, they do not have Aaron Ekblad. At over 6-foot-3 and 216 pounds, Ekblad has the size and ability to contribute in the NHL now. It was clear that he was a man amongst boys playing in the OHL, where he tallied 53 points this season (23-30-53). The OHL defenceman of the year won’t be waiting long to hear his name called.
2 BUF Sam Reinhart, C,
Kootenay (WHL)
You have three very talented centres just waiting to be selected here and each bring different traits to the conversation. Sam Reinhart is highly skilled, cerebral and makes the players around him better. Buffalo has some young defensive talent in their system but could use more scoring talent on the forward front. Reinhart posted 105 points this season, has off-the-charts hockey intelligence and looks bigger in person than his listed size of just under 6-foot-1.
3 EDM Sam Bennett, C,
Kingston (OHL)
The big German centre Leon Draisaitl is tempting here. I chose to go with NHL Central Scouting’s top-ranked North American skater Sam Bennett instead because of what Head Coach Dallas Eakins said at the NHL Scouting Combine about wanting ‘drivers’. Bennett plays with a competitive edge and puts an emphasis on being a defence-first player. The vision Eakins and General Manager Craig MacTavish have for this team seems to fall in line with this type of player. A Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Sam Bennett one-two punch is something fans can salivate over.
4 CGY Nick Ritchie, LW, Peterborough (OHL) A big theme of the NHL Scouting Combine was that anything could happen at the top of the draft. Flames President of Hockey Operations Brian Burke has grouped Ritchie in with the top four guys before. He has also said Ritchie is, “A six-four, 230-pound mean winger with skill. A (Milan) Lucic-type winger. Which I think we can use, last I looked.” Ritchie projects to be a power forward in the NHL and he models his game after Lucic and Jamie Benn.
5 NYI Michael Dal Colle, LW,
Oshawa (OHL)
Michael Dal Colle plays on the wing but could potentially play centre as well. That provides versatility along with his offensive skills and upside. NHL Central Scouting’s fifth-ranked North American skater scored 95 points (39-56-95) this season for Oshawa in the OHL.
6 VAN Leon Draisaitl, C,
Prince Albert (WHL)
Draisaitl has been the best player available for the last couple of picks and his very brief slide ends in Vancouver. With uncertainty about the future of Ryan Kesler, getting this big and highly talented centre would be a great pick up for Jim Benning.
7 CAR Haydn Fleury, D, Red Deer (WHL) Fleury is definitely the second best defenceman on the board. He has NHL size at 6-foot-3 and over 200 pounds. He scored 46 points (8-38-46) in an increased role with Red Deer this season.
8 TOR William Nylander, LW,
Modo (SWE)
Nylander is one of the more skilled and dynamic offensive players in the draft. The Leafs are reportedly looking to move up but if the draft stays the same, I have them choosing the son of former NHL-er Michael Nylander.
9 WPG Jake Virtanen, RW, Calgary (WHL) This is a talented winger who models his game after NY Rangers Rick Nash. Virtanen is an excellent skater who had the highest overall grade from the on-ice testing at the CHL Top Prospects game. He had 71 points, including 45 goals, this season with the Calgary Hitmen in the WHL.
10 ANA
(From OTT)
Nikolaj Ehlers, LW,
Halifax (QMJHL)
If you’re the Ducks, you’re happy to see Ehlers’ name still on the board. Anaheim has depth and talent and adding a left winger like Ehlers to the mix is just gravy. He lit up the QMJHL with 104 points (49-55-104) in 63 games this season.
11 NSH Kasperi Kapanen, RW, Kalpa (FIN) If you're the Preds, why not add this gifted and smart offensive player? He is the son of former NHLer Sami Kapanen and the top-ranked European skater by NHL Central Scouting.
12 PHX Brendan Perlini, LW,
Niagara (OHL)
He could very well be gone by this point, maybe joining Toronto where his father once played. The newly named ‘Arizona’ Coyotes get the best player available in my book and a natural goal scorer with good size.
13 WSH Ivan Barbashev, C/LW, Moncton (QMJHL) If Haydn Fleury is still around the Capitals would be elated. Instead of addressing the defence, I have Washington going for help up front with a Russian forward who posted 68 points (25-43-68) in 48 games with Moncton in the QMJHL this season.
14 DAL Kevin Fiala, RW, HV-71 (SWE) The Stars have good depth in the minors and have a talented and youthful top line in the NHL. That depth gets better with Fiala, who is a player that is small in stature but creative offensively. He played well for Switzerland at the World Junior Championship and under-18s.
15 DET Alex Tuch, RW, USNTDP (USHL) How do you get bigger up front? Adding a monster forward like the 6-foot-4, 213 pound Alex Tuch is a start.
16 CBJ Julius Honka, D,
Swift Current (WHL)
Time to re-stock the defensive cupboards. Honka is a smaller defenceman at just 5-foot-11 and 178 pounds. He was a member of Finland’s gold medal World Junior Championship team and finished his year in Swift Current with 56 points (16-40-56) in 62 games.
17 PHI Joshua Ho-Sang, C/RW,
Windsor (OHL)
Ho-Sang is a very talented player, but he said he came under fire with questions at the Scouting Combine and sometimes it was heated. The Hockey News provided insight into what those issues might be, stating that some believe he is “too much of an individualist on the ice and lacks discipline off of it.” Even still, his talent lands him in Philly in this mock.
18 Jared McCann, C,
Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
He’s a solid, two-way centre who’s ranked as the 10th North American skater by NHL Central Scouting. I flirted with the idea of top goaltender Thatcher Demko of Boston College here as well.
19 Travis Sanheim, D,
Calgary (WHL)
This once might have been seen as a reach but Sanheim is reportedly rocketing up draft boards. He has a tall frame at 6-foot-3 and increased confidence and his performance at the under-18s for Canada really helped him.
20 SJS Adrian Kempe, LW, Modo Jr. (SWE) Scored seven points (1-6-7) in seven games for Sweden at the under-18s. The scouting report on him says he throws his body around and finishes his checks. Could be a good fit for the Sharks and provide added depth.
21 Dylan Larkin, C,
Kempe would have been a great fit here but I have him off the board one pick ahead. Dylan Larkin adds to the Blues depth. The University of Michigan commit has a bright collegiate career ahead of him.
22 Nikita Scherbak, LW,
Saskatoon (WHL)
6-foot-1 Russian winger who is ranked as the 15th North American skater by NHL Central Scouting. He had a 78-point season in his first year with the Blades. He was by far and away their go-to guy offensively.
23 Sonny Milano, LW, USNTDP (USHL) The Boston College commit and USNTDP product had 39 points (14-25-39)  in 25 games in the USHL this season. He has high-end speed and great offensive skills.
24 ANA Anthony DeAngelo, D,
Sarnia (OHL)
They got a great player earlier in this mock and they follow it up with a value pick here taking the best defenceman available and 14th-ranked North American skater.
25 David Pastrnak, RW,
Sodertalje (SWE)
Bruins add some depth on the wing with Central Scouting’s fifth-ranked European skater.
26 MTL Brendan Lemieux, LW, Barrie (OHL) Montreal selects the son of four-time Stanley Cup champion and Canadiens forward Claude Lemieux.
27 CHI Nick Schmaltz, C,
Green Bay (USHL)
This American forward has been linked to the Blackhawks a few times by draft prognosticators. He was one of the top scorers in the USHL (63 points in 55 games this season).
(From NYR)
Brett Pollock, LW,
Edmonton (WHL)
Pollock adds a little more size to the Lightning organization. He became a welcomed offensive weapon for the Edmonton Oil Kings and will continue to get better.
29 Robert Fabbri, C,
Guelph (OHL)
You can make a case that the best player available here is Fabbri. The small centre finished the Memorial Cup tied for third in scoring with six points (2-4-6) in four games. He’s a competitor who posted 87 points (45-42-87) in 58 regular season games this year.
30 NJD Jakub Vrana, RW,
Linkoping  (SWE)
Depth on the wing comes in the form of the fourth-ranked European skater. At under-18s, he sniped eight goals for the Czech Republic.
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