NHL.com's Adam Kimelman gives his final projections for the 2015 NHL Draft in Sunrise, Florida.
Connor McDavid, C, Erie (OHL)
The unquestioned top talent available in the draft; could he do for the Oilers what Sidney Crosby did for the Pittsburgh Penguins? McDavid’s 120 points were nine less than the Ontario Hockey League leader despite playing 21 fewer games. He also excelled against older top competition playing for Canada at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship, tying for the tournament scoring lead.
Jack Eichel, C, Boston University (H-EAST)
The Sabres lost the Draft Lottery but get to pick a tremendous consolation prize. The best player in college hockey, Eichel has the skill to jump right into an NHL lineup. He led all college players with 71 points, and his NCAA-best 1.77 point-per-game average was the best by a freshman in more than 20 years. Has outstanding playmaking skills but also knows how to put the puck in net.
Noah Hanifin, D, Boston College (H-EAST)
An elite skater, and at 6-foot-2 and 203 pounds already has NHL size. Coyotes have a number of young defensemen, and adding Hanifin would make that group even stronger. He had a solid showing with the United States at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Dylan Strome, C, Erie (OHL)
The addition of the leading scorer in the Ontario Hockey League would give the Maple Leafs two young building-block centers in Strome and William Nylander, their first pick in the 2014 NHL Draft. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound forward centered a line and also played on the wing with McDavid; either way he excelled and led the OHL with 129 points.
Mitchell Marner, C, London (OHL)
A small but dynamic scorer who has earned comparisons to Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks. The Hurricanes need an offensive jolt, and Marner has been lauded for his great vision and passing ability as well as his underrated shot. He’s grown four inches and added 15 pounds since being picked by London in the 2013 OHL draft, so he could hit another growth spurt.
Mikko Rantanen, RW, TPS (FIN)
A giant power forward (6-4, 211) is well-equipped for the North American game. The 18-year-old led all under-20 players in scoring in Liiga, Finland’s top professional league, and was Finland's best player the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship. He skates well for a player his size and wasn’t intimidated playing against older competition.
Pavel Zacha, C, Sarnia (OHL)
The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Czech center adjusted well in his first North American season. A dynamic offensive talent who knows how to use his size and strength to his advantage. He would also fill an organizational need for a second-line center.
Ivan Provorov, D, Brandon (WHL)
The Russian-born defenseman had an outstanding first North American season, leading all Western Hockey League rookies in scoring and finishing fourth among WHL defensemen. The Blue Jackets have stocked up on young, talented forwards in recent seasons; now it's time to find some top-end defensemen.
Zachary Werenski, D, Michigan (BIG10)
An offensive-minded defender, he didn’t look like the youngest player in NCAA hockey this season. Smart and skilled, he showed no panic in his game and has the potential to quarterback a team's top power play and excel in transition. He also earned a spot with the United States at the 2015 WJC and didn’t look out of place.
10. Lawson Crouse, LW, Kingston (OHL)
Any team could use a player with this kind of size (6-4, 215 pounds) and skill set. He protects the puck well and is strong on his skates. Fearless and has the size to skate through anything that gets in his path, he showed versatility by playing a fourth-line energy role for Canada at the 2015 WJC.
Mathew Barzal, C, Seattle (WHL)
Injuries limited the 5-11, 175-pound forward to 44 games but he had 57 points. A dynamic offensive performer when healthy, he has shown an ability to raise his play when surrounded by better players.
Timo Meier, RW, Halifax (QMJHL)
What do Nikolai Ehlers, Kevin Fiala and Connor McDavid all have in common? All were beneficiaries of playing alongside the 6-1, 209-pound forward at some point this season. Meier skates well and doesn’t hesitate to use a strong shot that helped him score 44 goals in 61 games, but also knows how to set up his linemates; he was second on Halifax with 46 assists.
Kyle Connor, LW, Youngstown (USHL)
A smart, skilled forward able to use his speed in all areas of the ice, he can make elite plays at top speed because of his outstanding vision. His 80 points led the United States Hockey League and is 34 goals were one behind the league leaders. He'll continue his development at the University of Michigan next season.
Jakub Zboril, D, Saint John (QMJHL)
The Bruins need young defenseman, and the Czech-born two-way defender is a potential top-unit power-play quarterback. He has a strong point shot that has proven to be hard and accurate. At 6-foot and 184 pounds he won't intimidate with his size but showed a willingness for physical play this season.