|Team/Writer ||Player ||Pick |
|Seth Jones, D |
Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
Newly-hired bench boss Patrick Roy may be tempted to go with QMJHL prospects Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin, but Colorado needs a cornerstone defenseman to complement the talent they already have at forward. Defenseman Seth Jones, viewed as the draft’s top overall prospect, fits the bill.
|Jonathan Drouin, LW |
Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
For a team that finished with the worst record in the NHL, the Panthers cannot lose in this draft. The franchise has a lot of young defensemen already on the NHL roster and another young forward could help put some much needed points on the board. In keeping trend with the team's investment in the future, banking on a truly star player and goal scorer would not be in vain. Move him around on the wing and he could easily complement Calder nominee Jonathan Huberdeau.
|Nathan MacKinnon, C |
Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
Tampa Bay already hit the jackpot five years ago with Steven Stamkos and they're getting ready to strike gold yet again. Even though the Lightning need help defensively, with Nathan MacKinnon they would acquire a player that comes along only once-in-a-generation. By far the most talented scorer in the entire draft, MacKinnon's speed and offensive prowess will give Tampa Bay another deadly weapon to their already potent arsenal.
|Valeri Nichushkin, RW |
|The Predators have long struggled for impact power forwards that can score consistently, and Nuchushkin certainly fills that role. He is an explosive skater with great hands and good size. He is not afraid to go to the hard areas to score, but also has exceptional skill with the puck and a scorer's mentality. |
|Aleksander barkov, C |
Former Kitchener Rangers captain Ryan Murphy is already in the fold and, therefore, the future of the Carolina blueline is in good hands. With their top forward prospect being Victor Rask (projected as a two-way player with some offensive upside), the Hurricanes need a stud they can build around up front. Eric Staal, their top line center and team captain, is one of the league's best players and is still in the prime of his career at 28 years old. However, he was the victim of that ugly knee-on-knee during the World Championships and you have to wonder if he'll be able to return to his 70-point ways. Best case scenario, Barkov (a huge 6-2, 205-pound center at just 17 years old), gives the Canes a possible-second line pivot for years to come. Worst case, he gives them an insurance policy if Staal never fully recovers.
|Sean monahan, C |
Ottawa 67's (ohl)
Calgary selects Sean Monahan in an effort to fill the gigantic hole created by Jarome Iginla's departure. The captain of an absolutely terrible Ottawa 67's team, Monahan still managed to rack up 78 points (31 G - 47 A) in a season shortened by injury and a 10-game suspension for a head hit. In addition to providing an elite scoring touch, Monahan is also an adept penalty killer and is noted for his strong play everywhere on the ice. With Monahan possessing the tools to become an elite two-way forward, Calgary could end up setting the tone for their franchise's future with a player that, per one scout, "exudes leadership qualities that scream future NHL captain."
|Darnell Nurse, D |
Sault ste. marie greyhounds (ohl)
A major problem for the Edmonton Oilers has been complimentary players to play alongside their top draft picks over the past few seasons. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall, Jordin Eberle... all great young forwards, all the best players available at their draft time... but teams need defense to win and this is the Oil's chance to get a stud that I am surprised is still available at this point in the first round. Often compared with players like Chris Pronger and Shea Weber, this physical, driven player knows what it's like to be a pro, learning from his uncle, former Eagles QB Donovan McNabb. Nurse is the prototypical defensive defenseman and will be one of the missing pieces to success for new Edmonton coach Dallas Eakins.
|Nikita Zadorov, D |
London Knights (OHL)
The Buffalo Sabres need a little bit of everything. Having traded defensemen Robyn Regehr and Jordan Leopold at the deadline, the Sabres need defense maybe a touch more than anything else. At 6'5 and 230 pounds, the Russian blueliner is expected to develop into a top defensive pairing for the NHL club that takes him. In his rookie season with the OHL's best team, Zadorov scored six goals, added 19 assists and was a plus-33; he also had 54 penalty minutes in 63 regular season games. He is projected as a stay-at-home defenseman with a physical edge to him. With two first-round draft picks as well as two second-round picks this year, Buffalo has an opportunity to restock the shelves a little this offseason.
|Hunter Shinkaruk, C |
Medicine Hat (WHL)
the New Jersey Devils select Hunter Shinkaruk of the WHL's Medicine Hat Tigers. General Manager Lou Lamoriello has been forthright about the Devils' need to add a scoring forward in this draft, and Shinkaruk fits that description admirably. Over his three seasons with Medicine Hat Shinkaruk has developed an all-around game while growing into a leadership role, but his calling card is offensive production, with demonstrated ability to create scoring chances for both himself and his teammates. While many might discount his value due to his 5'11" 180 lb. frame, the Devils have proven they know how to make the most out of sub-6' forwards such as Brian Gionta and Zach Parise.
|Elias lindholm, C |
The Dallas Stars select centerman Elias Lindholm. The Stars need help defensively as well, but Lindholm is just too good to pass up at the number 10 spot. Some scouts have Lindholm as the best available player in the entire draft. He can potentially provide the Stars with the first legitimate face of the franchise since Mike Modano.