|Team/Writer ||Player ||Pick |
|Seth Jones, D |
Portland winterhawks (WHL)
|While Joe Sakic may be leaning more towards one of the top-rated forwards in this year's draft pool, what the Avalanche may not want, but really need is a defensemen. With Erik Johnson being the only young, reliable blue liner under contract beyond 2015, Colorado is not going to lose the draft by adding the top North American skater on most rankings to their system (especially after passing on all d-men in last year's draft). The Avs can get the best of both worlds by drafting a big, complete player like Jones who can protect the net on one end and tickle the twine at the other end of the ice as well. |
|Nathan mackinnon, c |
halifax mooseheads (qmjhl)
MacKinnon lit it up in the Memorial Cup, lifting his draft stock dramatically, but this player is no one tournament wonder. The youngster appears NHL ready and could step into the Panther lineup this season. Speedy with good ice sense and a nasty streak that will serve him well as he learns the NHL game. Tough choice here as MacKinnon's Halifax teammate would also be a nice addition to the Panther lineup.
|jonathan drouin, lw |
halifax mooseheads (qmjhl)
With the third pick, the Tampa Bay Lightning select Jonathan Drouin, winger from the Halifax Mooseheads. Drouin is perhaps the most electrifying offensive player in the draft and will provide another offensive threat for the Lightning. Drouin's ability to deke and dangle will allow him to be a playmaker offensively with the ability to change a game at any given moment. With Drouin in the fold, the Lightning are poised to have an absolutely lethal offense.
|Aleksander barkov, c |
It's not often that a team gets a chance to draft a player that already has professional experience and it's even more rare when that player is just 17-years-old. However, that's the case with Aleksander Barkov. The big Finnish center made his debut in the SM-liiga (aka the Finnish Elite League) at the bright young age of 16 and has played like a grown man, scoring 64 points in 85 career games. Since the Predators first arrived in the league, they have been seeking that elusive scoring threat who could push them to the next level. With two professional seasons already under his belt, Aleksander Barkov should immediately provide that explosive quality that the Predators have never truly had.
|Valeri Nichushkin, LW |
With the fifth pick, the Carolina Hurricanes will take Valeri Nichushkin from the KHL. With Alexander Semin already prospering in the Canes lineup, he should make an excellent mentor for the NHL's next great Russian sniper.
|elias Lindholm, C |
Brynas if (SEL)
It would be ideal if the Flames left New Jersey with a forward they can potentially build around for the next decade-plus. They haven't had one of those since, well, Jarome Iginla. Lindholm is considered to be on the cusp of the upper-echelon prospects in this draft class and is regarded by some as a "complete package" center. Selecting Lindholm would be a successful first step in the Flames' rebuilding process.
|Darnell Nurse, d |
Sault ste. marie greyhounds (ohl)
the Edmonton Oilers select from the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds defenseman Darnell Nurse. The Oilers had added offense to their roster over the past several drafts and this team needs help on the blue line. The addition of Justin Schultz as a free agent this past season was a step in the right direction, and Nurse can move them further toward that goal. At 6’4” and 190 lbs, Nurse has room to grow. He has great hockey sense, skates well, and is rarely out of position. He will not add much in the way of offensive production, but, with the young forwards the Oilers have on the roster, this is not critical in the decision to draft him in the first round.
|sean monahan, c |
ottawa 67's (OHL)
Monahan is considered a strong two-way center. There is no question that Buffalo lacks depth at center when Steve Ott is probably the best option you have at the position. The 6'2" forward is a leader, being the captain of his junior team that finished last in the OHL this season. Despite the record, Monahan led the team with 31 goals and added 47 assists in 58 games - he was suspended for 10 games due to an illegal hit. He is considered one of the better North American skaters in the draft and could be NHL ready from the get-go, something that Buffalo really needs.
|Hunter Shinkaruk, C |
Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL)
I entertained a goaltender here because, let's face it, Martin Brodeur isn't getting any younger. But goalies take a few years to develop and they don't have that long. As a result, they address their other need: scoring. Shinkaruk can put up some serious numbers and he'll get to learn from one of the best in Ilya Kovalchuk. He's played both center and wing so there's versatility there and he's strong in both ends if the ice which will fit the Devils system to a "T."
|Rasmus Ristolainen, D |
TPS TURKU (SM-liiga)
Dallas needs defense, plain and simple. With the addition of Ristolainen, the Stars will be getting a player that has already played the past two seasons at the top competition level in Finland (SM-liiga, playing for HC TPS) and is very similar in size and skill to top prospects Seth Jones and Darnell Nurse. Tabbed as possibly one of the most complete defenseman in the entire draft, Ristolainen provides Dallas with a two-way defenseman that has the ability to control the play in his own zone. He's touted for his incredible hockey intelligence and his 6'3", 207-pound frame makes Ristolainen a no-brainer for Jim Nill and the Dallas Stars organization.