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Jack Michaels' 2015 Mock Draft

by Jack Michaels / Edmonton Oilers

Related mock drafts: Tom Gazzola | Bob Stauffer | Jack Michaels | Chris Wescott
1 EDM Connor McDavid, C, Erie (OHL) There’s really no other choice.
2 BUF Jack Eichel, C, Boston University (NCAA) Ditto.
3 PHX Dylan Strome, C, Erie (OHL)
With Scottsdale’s Auston Matthews looming as the likely consensus #1 pick next year after obliterating Patrick Kane’s single-season record for points in the U.S. NTDP, the Coyotes have to find a way to give themselves the best shot at that pick while also finding someone in this year’s draft who could be Matthews’ running mate for years to come. That man is Strome, whose 18 goals in 21 games WITHOUT McDavid in the lineup last year proved he wasn’t just riding his teammate’s coattails.
4 TOR Mitchell Marner, RW, London (OHL) The Leafs have some depth in their system on the blue line and Marner would give them some versatility up front as a player who can slide into the middle as well as create on the wing.  Not that big, but size seems to be less of an issue these days.
5 CAR Ivan Provorov, D, Brandon (WHL) A late push has many believing that Provorov, not Boston College’s Noah Hanifin, is the best defence man in this year’s draft.  He led WHL rookies in scoring and being a left shot would complement Justin Faulk nicely.
6 NJD Kyle Connor, C, Youngstown (USHL)
Ray Shero’s first task is to re-stock his new organization with legitimate scorers. Connor may be a bit of a reach this high and will be going to the Univ. of Michigan in the fall, but what use is drafting a playmaker here if you have no goal-scorers?  Connor presents a first-shot scoring threat and led the improving USHL in scoring last year.
7 PHI Lawson Crouse, LW, Kingston (OHL) The Flyers are well stocked with prospects on the back end, so a 6-4, 215-lb power forward makes sense here, especially as a complement to Sean Couturier down the road.
8 CBJ Mikko Rantanen, RW, (SM Liiga) Size, skill, and perhaps the best European skater in the draft.  GM Jarmo Kekalainen will snap up the only Finnish player to have a decent World Juniors (four goals in five games).
9 SJS Noah Hanifin, D, Boston College (NCAA) I liked Hanifin at the World Juniors but thought he looked a tad ordinary in the NCAA tournament.  He may go as high as #3, but if he lasts this long, you can be sure he won’t get past the Sharks, who desperately need young talent on the back end, as opposed to the plentiful supply of their young forwards who debuted in the NHL last year.
10  Zack Werenski, D, Michigan (NCAA) The Avalanche need defencemen at the NHL level, and while Werenski has yet to fully capitalize on his 6-2, 215-pound frame from a physical standpoint, the University of Michigan standout who excels with the puck should be ready to contribute in a couple of years.
11 FLA Timo Meier, RW, Halifax (QMJHL) Dale Tallon will stay true to what he’s said leading up to the draft--he’s not there to put on a show for the hometown fans, he’s trying to make his team better.  He’s got plenty of young centres, now he needs to add someone who can put the puck in the net.  Meier’s 44 goals last year in the QMJHL (playing alongside Jets prospect Nic Ehlers) is a start.
12 DAL Pavel Zacha, C, Sarnia (OHL) Size, skill, dangerous off the rush or the cycle.  So why is he still available at #12?  Injuries and suspensions, limited him to 37 games for Nail Yakupov’s old team, the Sarnia Sting.
13 Mathew Barzal, C, Seattle (WHL) Strange to see the Kings picking this high….they’ll get a bit of a gift in the sense that this playmaking centre probably would’ve gone earlier had he not been sidelined by a knee injury last year for a Seattle team that lives in Portland’s shadow.
14 Colin White, C, US U-18 (USHL) Again, odd to see the Bruins have a selection this high…and similar to L.A., a pick that could be excellent value since White’s numbers were modest in the US NTDP last year as a result of a bout with mono and wrist injuries.  He’s from nearby Hanover and will attend Boston College.  Two-way centre who Bostonians hope will develop into another Patrice Bergeron.
15 CGY Oliver Kylington, D, Farjestad (Sweden) With former Oiler Ladi Smid’s status uncertain and guys like Rafa Diaz & Deryk Engelland having to play more minutes than they probably should in an ideal situation, you know the Flames want to shore up their depth on the blue line. Kylington’s a great skater (as is Jeremy Roy, who could also go here) but comes off an uneven season with Oscar Klefbom’s old team in Farjestad.
16 EDM
(From PIT)
Evgeny Svechnikov, LW, Cape Breton (QMJHL) Let the record show I feel it’s at least a 50/50 shot that Edmonton trades out of this pick in order to upgrade its existing NHL defence or goaltending, but the Oilers would be fine with Svechnikov, a big body who can play either wing or centre.
17 WPG Jakub Zboril, D, Saint John (QMJHL) With Dustin Byfuglien’s position constantly in flux, I feel like the Jets still need more depth on the blue line. Zboril didn’t even make the World Junior team for the Czech Republic, but had a solid offensive season in Saint John and fits right in with Winnipeg’s team concept of having plenty of jam at every position.
18 Jansen Harkins, C, Prince George (WHL) Buried on a mediocre team in Prince George, Harkins boasts superior playmaking skills at centre and, as the son of a coach, plenty of hockey sense.
19 DET Thomas Chabot, D, Saint John (QMJHL) When teammate Zboril went down with an injury, Chabot raised his game and took over as the leader on the back end for the Sea Dogs, finishing with 41 points in 66 games.  Of course, it’s the Red Wings, so we’ll see him in, oh, about five years.
20 Paul Bittner, LW, Portland (WHL) An established scorer in Portland, he improved steadily, increasing his goal total from 12 to 22 to 34.  The Wild seemingly always need scoring, and drafting one of their own (Bittner hails from Crookston, MN) only makes sense.
21 BUF
(From BUF)
Jeremy Roy, D, Sherbrooke (QMJHL) Like Edmonton, the Sabres have a 2nd pick in the first round, and a right-shot defenceman who can move the puck and eventually be a fixture on the power play can help fans forget the trade of Tyler Myers in the Evander Kane deal.
22 WSH Joel Eriksson Ek, C, Farjestad (Sweden) His star has been on the rise…less offensively gifted than countryman Nicklas Backstrom but blessed with great vision and superior hockey sense (again, son of a coach), the Caps hope Backstrom can groom Eriksson accordingly.
23 VAN Nick Merkley, RW, Kelowna (WHL) The 5-10 winger didn’t knock it out of the park at the combine and is a bit undersized, but along with Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl, played a key role (90 points) in helping the Rockets claim the WHL championship and a berth in the Memorial Cup Final.
24 TOR
(From NSH)
Travis Konecny, C, Ottawa (OHL) Again, a bit undersized, but two splendid years with the Ottawa 67’s support the idea that the #1 overall pick in the 2013 OHL Draft can succeed at the next level.  Plays with an edge, which has led to some concussion and shoulder issues, but if his 5-10 frame can hold up, could be a steal this late in the first round.
25 WPG
(From STL via BUF)
Brock Boeser, RW, Waterloo (USHL) Another scorer out of the USHL (35 goals in ‘15), Boeser hails from Burnsville, Minn., just a few hours south of the ‘Peg.  Changed his mind and now will attend North Dakota instead of his original choice, the University of Wisconsin.
26 MTL Daniel Sprong, RW, Charlottetown (QMJHL) Born in Amsterdam, Sprong moved to Montreal as an adolescent and comes off a pair of 30-goal seasons in Charlottetown. The Habs need someone else who score besides Max Pacioretty.
27 ANA Ilya Samsonov, G, Magnitogorsk (Russia) The relentless pursuit of a franchise goaltender continues for the Ducks.  I know, I know, Andersen was mostly excellent and John Gibson supposedly is a 10-year starter waiting to happen, but something tells me the Ducks will snatch up a goalie before a run on netminders ensues.
(From NYR)
Brandon Carlo, D, Tri-City (WHL) The Bolts have plenty of scoring and a superb goaltending duo for years to come, so expect the Lightning to target their blue line.  At 6-5 and hailing from the home of USA Hockey (Colorado Springs), Carlo has been a stay-at-home rock for Tri-City the last two seasons.
29 PHI
(From TBL)
Noah Juulsen, D, Everett (WHL) With their 2nd 1st-round pick, the Flyers can add to their 2013 & 2014 picks Samuel Morin and Travis Sanheim on the back end.  Juulsen piled up 52 points for goal-challenged Everett last year in the WHL.
30 PHX
(From CHI)
Rasmus Andersson, D, Barrie (OHL) When the Coyotes parted ways with Keith Yandle, it became apparent the team intends to build their blue line around Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who should be able to tutor Andersson quite nicely moving forward.  Plenty of Swedish defencemen to go around at this spot, so don’t be surprised if Eriksson, Jacob Larsson, or Gabriel Carlsson are also on the Coyotes’ radar.
31 BUF Mackenzie Blackwood, G, Barrie (OHL) After last year’s purge, the Sabres need to replenish their prospects between the pipes, and their scouts had a firsthand look at Blackwood’s eye-popping numbers at the combine. On the other hand, everyone already knew he had NHL size (6-4, 205) and athletic ability, now he must improve on stopping the puck (.904 save pct in two years at Barrie).
32 PHX Jordan Greenway, LW, US U-18 (USHL) You know the Coyotes are playing close attention to prospects out of the US NTDP with Scottsdale’s Matthews lighting it up, so it wouldn’t surprise me if they took a flier on this hulking power forward (6-5, 225) who’s heading to Boston University next fall.
33 EDM Jake DeBrusk, LW, Swift Current (WHL) This is a selfish pick on many fronts. 1) Personally, I like Jake and would love to call his games on a regular basis someday.  2) he’s probably too accomplished to last this far (a team like the Ducks, for example, would do well to snag him late in the first round). 3) the Oilers already have quite a few undersized wingers who can score.  But I don’t care--I hope Edmonton drafts him.
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