LOWDOWN: Calm, cool, and collected. Not the biggest guy in the world, but plays with a little grit to go with his tremendous natural ability. The Oil need a top-flight centreman. He’ll join the core of young talent eventually and grow with them.
LW Gabriel Landeskog - Kitchener (OHL)
LOWDOWN: Grit and determination. Landeskog looks, walks and talks like he’s ready to play. Could be the perfect complement on the wing to the Avs' gifted centremen in Duchene and Stastny.
D Adam Larsson - Skelleftea (SWE)
LOWDOWN: If Larsson is ready to play right now like many say he is, he could provide a boost to a pretty generic Panthers defensive unit. Would join Erik Gudbranson and Alex Petrovic as big, strong, d-men of the future for the club.
New Jersey Devils
C Sean Couturier - Drummondville (QMJHL)
LOWDOWN: Has put up big numbers in the Quebec league the past 2 seasons. Size and skill down the middle that the Devils could definitely use.
New York Islanders
D Dougie Hamilton - Niagara (OHL)
LOWDOWN: The Islanders have built up a solid young core of forwards. As a big, skilled, intelligent defenceman, Hamilton could fill a need on the Island.
C Jonathan Huberdeau - Saint John (QMJHL)
LOWDOWN: Can play both centre and wing. Put up 43 goals and 105 points during the regular season and was clutch for Saint John in the Memorial Cup Final. Could one day add some much needed offensive punch to the Sens' lineup.
C Ryan Strome - Niagara (OHL)
LOWDOWN: He has been described as a sniper, but to go along with his 33 goals this season, Strome racked up 73 helpers along the way. Quick-talking young gun could turn out to be an offensive weapon in the Peg.
Columbus Blue Jackets
D Ryan Murphy - Kitchener (OHL)
LOWDOWN: Mobile d-man who doesn’t have a ton of size. Put up 79 points with Kitchener this season. Reminds me of Dan Boyle, a player who would be welcomed with open arms onto any team in the NHL.
Boston Bruins (via TOR)
D Nathan Beaulieu - Saint John (QMJHL)
LOWDOWN: Boston is stacked at forward and the defence cannot be described as youthful. Beaulieu is a defenceman who could be brought along patiently with the Bruins as a key part of the team’s future wave of talent.
C Mika Zibanejad - Djurgarden (SWE)
LOWDOWN: Worked his way up to the number 2 ranking among European skaters. As a 17 year old, Zibanejad had 5 goals and 4 Assists in 29 games in the Swedish Elite League. In his draft year, Magnus Paajarvi had 7 goals and 10 assists in 50 games. Interesting, no?
Colorado Avalanche (via STL)
D Duncan Siemens - Saskatoon (WHL)
LOWDOWN: Tough Western League d-man who tallied 43 points on a solid Saskatoon team. Also racked up 121 PIM. Could provide some grit to the Avalanche blueline.
D Jonas Brodin - Farjestad (SWE)
LOWDOWN: At 17, played for Swedish Elite League champion Farjestad. Pretty impressive considering he did so at a playing weight of 169lbs. A skilled European defenceman who could help the Canes in a couple of years.
C Mark McNeill - Prince Albert (WHL)
LOWDOWN: The Flames need to stock up on blue chip prospects. McNeill fits the bill. Built like a truck and a balanced scorer, he notched 32 goals and 49 assists in Prince Albert this past season.
LW Sven Baertschi - Portland (WHL)
LOWDOWN: The Swiss prospect has adapted well to the North American game. Racked up 85 points in 66 games with Portland. Without Brad Richards, the Stars offence takes a big hit. Could provide an opportunity for the young Baertschi.
New York Rangers
RW Joel Armia - Assat (FIN)
LOWDOWN: Another 17-year-old playing pro in Europe. Armia is a big Finn who proved he can play against men. The winger could help complement some of the offensive talent the Rangers already have.
C Zack Phillips - Saint John (QMJHL)
LOWDOWN: A high-scoring centreman is something the Sabres don’t have. Phillips put up huge numbers playing with Jonathan Huberdeau in Saint John. Could fit a need with Buffalo.
C Boone Jenner - Oshawa (OHL)
LOWDOWN: The Habs have a highly-skilled set of forwards, but they lack size. Jenner, is a bigger centre who could add a little sandpaper to the Canadiens' lineup down the road.
C Mark Scheifele - Barrie (OHL)
LOWDOWN: The Hawks lost a huge chunk of its secondary scoring after winning the Cup. Scheifele has been described as a solid, two-way player with some offensive punch. Chicago, I’m sure, would love to have another Andrew Ladd-type player in the fold.
Edmonton Oilers (via LAK)
D Joseph Morrow - Portland (WHL)
LOWDOWN: Edmonton boy who has a nice mix of size and skill. The Oil have a few legit defensive prospects in the system, Morrow could add to that pool.
LOWDOWN: This kid is a rock star who doesn’t fit the mold of a typical Swedish blueliner. Big, strong, tough and described as rambunctious. Could be right what the Coyotes need to balance generally skilled d-corps.
Ottawa Senators (via NSH)
D Jamieson Oleksiak - Northeastern (H-EAST)
LOWDOWN: At 6’7’’, this guy is a beast. Sens are in rebuild mode, and know what kind of difference a Zdeno Chara-type provides to the lineup. Might take Oleksiak some time, might not. Look how Tyler Myers has succeeded in Buffalo.
RW Rickard Rakell - Plymouth (OHL)
LOWDOWN: Another European who came over to play Major Junior. The Ducks are an older team, and will need to replenish the offensive talent pool soon. Rakell provided balanced scoring and close to a point-per-game average with Plymouth.
RW Ty Rattie - Portland (WHL)
LOWDOWN: Rattie isn’t big, but can score. 79 points with Portland this past season, the Airdrie, AB native could eventually be a winger in the top-six for the Pens.
Detroit Red Wings
C Vladislav Namestnikov - London (OHL)
LOWDOWN: The Red Wings have a knack with European players. Namestnikov is Russian, but spent a large chunk of his life in the U.S. He has drawn comparisons to Pavel Datsyuk.
Toronto Maple Leafs (via PHI)
LW/RW Nicklas Jensen - Oshawa (OHL)
LOWDOWN: Danish winger had a solid North American debut notching 58 points in 61 games for Oshawa. Has a good head on his shoulders. The Leafs need talent up front, need I say more?
C Rocco Grimaldi - USA U-18 (USHL)
LOWDOWN: He’s small, really small. Listed at 5’6” Griamaldi is the kind of player that needs to bust his butt for everything out there. Heart and determination goes a long way and is an infectious trait on a hockey team.
Tampa Bay Lightning
G John Gibson - USA U-18 (USHL)
LOWDOWN: He’s the top-ranked goalie in the draft. Tampa’s goaltending future, as of now, is fuzzy. Dwayne Roloson is a free agent and can’t play forever, while Mike Smith isn’t the solution.
San Jose Sharks
D Scott Mayfield - Youngstown (USHL)
LOWDOWN: He’s a big defenceman who clearly has an edge to his game. 52 games played. 7 goals, decent. 9 assists, not bad. 159 penalty minutes, what?!
Toronto Maple Leafs (via BOS)
LW Brandon Saad - Saginaw (OHL)
LOWDOWN: Ranked 19th among North American skaters, Saad put up solid numbers in Saginaw this past season. 27 goals and 28 assists in 59 games.
LOWDOWN: His ranking dropped quite a bit this season, but has been highly touted for some time and has good NHL bloodlines. Played for Vancouver in the WHL and the fit with the Canucks seems right, considering he’s right in the team’s back yard. Factor in some uncertainty on the Canucks blueline in the near future.