I am going to do this mock as if no trades are going to happen. Standard practice, but hardly realistic. It’s just a lot easier that way, and I’m lazy. So the Oilers are going to start us off.
1. Edmonton Oilers - Nail Yakupov (RW) - Sarnia Sting
A lot of people think the Oilers are going to trade away this pick to get an established NHL defenseman. But remember Edmonton wasn’t that great at scoring either. They were 20th in the league in that regard, and only had 2 players with over 20 goals last season. While acquiring an NHL defenseman should be a priority, I just don’t think a trade gets done.
2. Columbus Blue Jackets - Filip Forsberg (LW/RW) - Leksands IF
Columbus needs help pretty much everywhere. That is why they ended up last in the league. They could go in several directions. I have a feeling that Rick Nash gets traded at the draft so to replace him they need another power forward who could be “the guy” to anchor the first line. Forsberg has the ability to develop into that type of player and should a lot of offense to a beleaguered Blue Jackets team.
3. Montreal Canadiens - Mikhail Grigorenko (C) - Quebec Rampartes
Despite the fact that Patrick Roy was not hired as the Habs coach, Grigorenko fits Montreal’s needs. Talking heads have downgraded him as a Russian version of Randy Moss, a ridiculous talent, but lacking motivation. To me, someone who guts out mono, and a bum ankle and still plays at a high level does not lack motivation.
4. New York Islanders - Ryan Murray (D) - Everett Silvertips
It is not every year that a player comes around and it compared to Scott Neidermayer. That is high praise to be sure. Murray has been the steady captain of the Silvertips for a couple of years now, and contributes on both sides of the puck, and will continue to provide that leadership to an Isles squad that has Mark Streit and not much else.
5. Toronto Maple Leafs - Alex Galchenyuk (C) - Sarnia Sting
Toronto takes the best player available here, and to get him at 5 is a steal. Galchenyuk looks to be fully healed from his ACL injury which kept him out of most of this season. His performance at the combine certainly won’t be overlooked. Galchenyuk has the versatility to play both center and wing so he could be used in a variety of ways, but his superior vision would most likely put him at the pivot.
6. Anaheim Ducks - Matthew Dumba (D) - Red Deer Rebels
Justin Schultz is going to be leaving a gaping hole in the defensemen prospects list for the Ducks. Sure Vatanen looks like he’s going to be a stud, but after that they need to add depth. Dumba is very skilled offensively, and loves to hit. Park him in Red Deer for another season and force him to work in his own zone more, and he’ll sway the naysayers into his camp.
7. Minnesota Wild - Teuvo Tervainen (LW) - Jokerit Helsinki
I might get the Blasphemer epithet with this one, but here’s the deal. There are a ton of quality defensemen in this draft. With CF’s propensity to make a trade during the draft, I bet they trade up in the second or back into the first to pick one of the defensemen who falls. When you’re picking at 7 you can’t take a player for immediate need, you've got to go with the player who will impact your team 2 or 3 years from now. Teravainen ascended Jokerit’s ranks this season and made an impact on their top club, scoring 11 goals. It’ll most likely be another 2 year wait for this Finn, but in the end it will be worth it as we have our first young sniper since a certain Slovakian whose name is making me draw a blank.
8. Carolina Hurricanes - Radek Faksa (C) - Kitchner Rangers
Carolina has good young depth at defense with Joni Pitkanen, Jamie McBain, Ryan Murphy, and Ryan Dumoulin, so I think they’ll take the next best available forward here, and that’s Faksa. He is good all-around. He led all OHL rookies in goals, assists, gwg’s, and +/-. He’s still got room to improve, but it would seem like he’s got the total package.
9. Winnipeg Jets - Morgan Rielly (D) - Moose Jaw Warriors
Getting Rielly here is a huge value. Defense is not really a need for the Jets, but Morgan is arguably the best puck-moving d-man in this draft. That is an asset every team looks for, and can’t get enough of.
10. Tampa Bay Lightning - Cody Ceci (D) - Ottawa 67’s
The Bolts need help on D. Good thing this draft has plenty of them. They have the physical depth that they need, but they’re lacking when it comes to an offensive dynamo. That’s where Ceci comes in. He can lead the powerplay, and be basically an extra forward on the charge. He is also arguably the most NHL ready of the defensemen behind Ryan Murray, so it wouldn’t be too long before he could step in and contribute.
11. Washington Capitals (from Col.) - Jacob Trouba (D) - USA U-18
We all know the story of Trouba, but I think he would fit in rather nicely on the Caps. Beyond Mike Green and John Carlson there isn’t much depth in Caps system at any level, and they need to address this. It was clear in the playoffs that they were relying too much on the talent of Brayden Holtby, and you can’t shoulder all of the responsibility on your goaltender. That’s just asking for trouble.
12. Buffalo Sabres - Zemgus Girgensons (C) - Dubuque Fighting Saints
I think the Sabres need a dose of the Latvian Locomotive. He has been compared to Ryan Kesler, Peter Forsberg, and yes, Mikko Koivu. Not only possessing the best name in this year’s draft, Girgensons also can boast that he has superior two-way ability, and is has one of the best work-ethics in this draft (Sorry Tom).
13. Dallas Stars - Brendan Gaunce (C) - Belleville Bulls
The Stars need to add depth at forward, especially center. Gaunce is the best available here, and looks like he will provide a little of everything, so it wouldn’t be a bad choice to go in this direction.
14. Calgary Flames - Olli Maata (D) - London Knights
Calgary has a couple of solid young talents coming up at the forward position in Sven Baertschi and Max Reinhart, so I see them trying to replace Tim Erixon with another offensive-minded defenseman. Maata played superbly this season and shone in the playoffs, scoring 7 goals and adding 16 assists on top of that.
15. Ottawa Senators - Griffin Reinhart (D) - Edmonton Oil Kings
One of the big name defensemen had to fall and Reinhart just happened to be that guy. Ottawa has several stud forwards coming up the ranks like Zibanejad, Slifverberg, and Da Costa to name a few. Scoring has not been a problem for this team for quite awhile, and it shouldn’t be in the coming years. The Senators finished 24th in goals allowed mostly due to a lack of depth behind Erik Karlsson. Reinhart is exactly what the doctor ordered, and should provide some excellent support on the back end, while still being able to move the puck efficiently.
16. Washington Capitals - Sebastian Collberg (RW) - Frolunda HC
With defense being addressed with their first pick, I see them going forward to address their scoring deficiency from the right side. Semin is leaving and the only other RW with more than 10 goals was Troy Brouwer. For a team that supposed to be a perennial contender they need more of a balanced attack and Collberg will help with that.
17. San Jose Sharks - Tomas Hertl (C) - Slavia Praha
San Jose needs youth plain and simple. After trading away two key cogs in Setoguchi and Coyle, the Sharks need to reload. Hertl provides some flexibility at forward and should produce consistently from an offensive standpoint.
18. Chicago Blackhawks - Andrei Vasilievski (G) - Tolpar UFA
The Blackhawks have some good up-and-coming forwards in Brandon Saad and Mark McNeil, they also have several defensemen locked down, so I believe they should focus on a goaltender. Vasilievski is big and has performed well wherever he’s played. All I’ve gotta say is that when your number 1 is Ray Emery, you need to seek new talent immediately.
19. Tampa Bay Lightning (from Det.) - Malcom Subban (G) - Belleville Bulls
I’m going to stick to my guns on this one. Even though the Lightning have some quality goalies in the AHL, their NHL level talent is abhorrent. Since goalies take longer to develop having a third goalie in the mix doesn’t hurt, especially when that player has the potential to turn into a superstar.
20. Philadelphia Flyers - Hampus Lindholm (D) - Rogle BK
Lindholm is not a flashy player but he is steady on both sides of the puck. The Flyers are going to be losing some depth at defense and they could use another calm influence like Lindholm.
21. Buffalo Sabres (from Nsh.) - Tom Wilson (RW) - Plymouth Whalers
This is a move to purely replace what Zack Kassian brought to the table. Wilson is virtually the exact same type of player. He’s a grinder through and through, and will not hesitate to drop the gloves.
22. Pittsburgh Penguins - Derek Pouliot (D) - Portland Winterhawks
Pouliot is an offense-first defenseman, which would fit well with the Pens, but he needs to get more sound in his own zone before he’ll crack any NHL lineup.
23. Florida Panthers - Brady Skjei (D) - USA U-18
The Panthers could go in a lot of directions here, but I like their forward and goalie situations a lot more than their defense. Skjei will fit in nicely next to Kulikov and Gudbrandson.
24. Boston Bruins - Pontus Aberg (LW) - Djurgarden IF Stockholm
Aberg is an undersized player, but I don’t really care about that. He’s getting compared to Thomas Vanek and has incredible speed and skating ability. He can score and help out on the back end, something every team wants.
25. St. Louis Blues - Matt Finn (D) - Guelph Storm
The Blues have several forwards on the rise like Vladimir Tarasenko, Ty Rattie and Jaden Schwartz. Defense seems to be an area that they can build depth. Finn provides a solid but not over the top game that would fit in nicely with what Ken Hitchcock is trying to accomplish.
26. Vancouver Canucks - Henrik Samuelsson (C) - Edmonton Oil Kings
With a name like his, doesn’t he just sound like he belongs in Vancouver? Samuelsson joined the Oil Kings midway through the season and helped them push to the Memorial Cup tournament. He would provide the Canucks with some needed grit along the boards which has been lacking since Todd Bertuzzi left.
27. Phoenix Coyotes - Colton Sissons (RW) - Kelowna Rockets
It showed during the Kings series that Phoenix needs to add some grit to their lineup. They looked like they were just getting pushed around on the ice, and their only way to respond was with bad penalties. Sissons would bring the Coyotes some nice physical play with some added goal scoring to boot.
28. New York Rangers - Stefan Matteau (C) - USA U-18
The son of former NHL journeyman Stephane Matteau goes to where his father had arguably his greatest career achievement. If the Rangers do make a trade with Columbus for Rick Nash, it is going to cost them some of their very good prospects, and maybe this pick, but it would be a good landing spot for Stefan should the Rangers actually make a selection
29. New Jersey Devils - Slater Koekkoek (D) - Peterborough Petes
Hampered by a bad knee injury, Koekkoek falls almost out of the first round entirely. Before that injury however, he was projected as a top-10 pick, so to get him here is not a bad value. Koekkoek contributes on both ends of the ice at a high level, but is still considered raw. The Devils need to add more defense because one cannot rely on Marek Zidlicky...EVER!
30. Los Angeles Kings - Ludvig Bystrom (D) - MODO
L.A. didn’t look like they had too many holes anywhere during the playoffs. However they have the ability to go in whatever direction they want, as long it’s not a goalie. Jack Johnson was a key contributor from the blue line, but the Jeff Carter trade sent him away, and Willie Mitchell isn’t getting any younger. While Bystrom could eventually replace them on the roster and provide a nice scoring touch, he still needs to work on his defensive game.
Sorry for the Krotz-length post, but that’s how the cookie crumbled. Let me know what you guys and gals think.