We here at Hockey Wilderness love us some Canada. Well, most of Canada. We sometimes need to turn to our French-Canadian Connection, JS, to get a lesson from a real hockey fan. After all, while Minnesota is as close to being Canadian you can get without saying "eh" all the time, we sometimes need a little maple syrup, moose tracks, and... [insert other Canadian stereotype here] to straighten us out.
Right now, enjoy the romantic stylings of the man, the myth, the legend... the one and only... Hypotamoose. If you have complaints, please address them to the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC.
1. Edmonton Oilers: Nail Yakupov: Since there are no trades in a mock draft, Yakupov is a no-brainer at #1. A lot of people think the Oilers will pick Yakupov anyway, which would suggest the Oilers will just try to mindlessly outscore everyone instead of trying to build a balanced team.
2. Columbus Blue Jackets : Ryan Murray: The Blue Jackets could use some defensemen who can actually play defense. Murray's their best bet.
3. Montreal Canadiens: Filip Forsberg: Not too sure they want more players with knee problems and they've had more than their share of floaters who all ended up leaving (Grabovski, the Kostitsyns, Perezoghin) so Forsberg trumps Grigorenko and Galchenyuk.
4. New York Islanders: Alex Galchenyuk: They would have loved Murray, but they'll ''settle'' for Galchenyuk
5. Toronto Maple Leafs: Mikhail Grigorenko: It would make very little sense for them to draft a defenseman and goalies in this draft aren't worth picking at 5th. Will they risk Grigorenko? They could. His talent level is hard to pass up. Maybe he'll mesh well with Grabovski?
6. Anaheim Ducks : Matthew Dumba: I had initially picked Teravainen for Anaheim. People disagreed. I still think guys like Holland and Devante Smith-Pelly won't be top 6 guys and the departures of Koivu and Selanne will hurt someday. However, it's true that their prospect pool is rather thin on defense (especially if Justin Schultz leaves) and guys like Beauchemin, Visnovsky and Lydman aren't getting any younger. Dumba is arguably the best choice after Murray, but it's a really tight race.
7. Minnesota Wild: Griffin Reinhart: The next Brent Burns? There sure are a lot of similarities.
8. Carolina Hurricanes: Tuevo Teravainen: Their defense is fine, so I'm thinking they're going offense. Teravainen is the way to go at this point.
9. Winnipeg Jets : Jacob Trouba: It's not that they need defense, but it's hard to see them skip on Trouba or Rielly.
10. Tampa Bay Lightning: Morgan Rielly: While trading Carter Ashton kind of hurt their forward depth, Rielly is hard to pass up on. Plus, more defense couldn't possibly hurt the Bolts right now.
11. Washington Capitals (from Colorado): Cody Ceci : I know I picked Radek Faksa in this spot in our staff mock draft, but right now, I'm scratching my head as to why I made that choice. Sure, he's arguably the best player available, but the Caps are more than fine at center. I still maintain that they'll draft a winger with their other1st round pick, but for now, Cody Ceci looks like the better non-center choice.
12. Buffalo Sabres: Radek Faksa: Best player available, happy coincidence that it's a center.
13. Dallas Stars: Brenden Gaunce: The Stars are quite thin at center and it couldn't hurt to have one with as much heart as Gaunce.
14. Calgary Flames: Hampus Lindholm : They have holes everywhere, but they at least have Granlund and Baertschi. Lindholm is one of the best defensemen still on the board.
15. Ottawa Senators: Pontus Aberg: I can't really envision them picking a defenseman here, so Aberg it is.
16. Washington Capitals: Sebastian Collberg: With Aberg gone, Collberg will be the winger I said the Caps would pick.
17. San Jose Sharks: Olli Maatta: While Bryan's gut tells him the Sharks pick offense, my tells me the Sharks would go for a defensive defenseman. I think their offense is fine, even though they had their hiccups this season. Plus, Murray, Demers and Vlasic are coming off the books after next season, so Maatta would be nice insurance in case they lose one or more of them.
18. Chicago Blackhawks: Malcolm Subban: I agree with most here: The Hawks need goaltending depth. They don't really need anything elsewhere, and even so, second rounders and third rounders could cut it.
19. Tampa Lightning: Zemgus Girgensons: With their second 1st round pick, I couldn't see the Bolts pass up center Girgensons. He'd make a fine 3rd liner behind Stamkos and Lecavalier, and could potentially take Vinny's place when he's done.
20. Philadelphia Flyers: Derrick Pouliot: Losing Pronger and potentially Carle will have the Flyers looking for D. Pouliot is their man. His offensive upside will help ease the pain of losing two big producers.
21. Buffalo Sabres: Colton Sissons: Versatility's the word here.
22. Pittsburgh: Cristoval Nieves: High risk, high reward is what I've been reading about this guy. I think the Pens can afford to take that risk. Plus, he can play center and left wing, so if Staal actually does get traded for some reason, Nieves could fill the void.
23. Florida Panthers: Slater Koekkoek: They have good depth at forward and decent depth at defense, but I'm thinking defense is the way the Panthers' balance will tip.
24. Boston Bruins: Tomas Hertl: Probably the best player still on the board.
25. St. Louis Blues: Brady Skjei: I know what some of you are thinking: ''But the Blues have a great defensive corps!''. Sure they do, but not on the prospect front. Plus, with Shattenkirk and Pietrangelo's contracts ending after next season, insurance in case they lose one of them would probably be nice (although they're both RFA, so not too much risk of losing them...never know though).
26. Vancouver Canucks: Dalton Thrower: Can't help but be reminded of Stoner when I read about Thrower. The Nucks don't really have that kind of defenseman, so Thrower it is.
27. Phoenix Coyotes: Tom Wilson: Big, physical winger that could help a team like the Coyotes forget they ever had Raffi Torres.
28. New York Rangers: Mark Jankowski: Kind of a tough one. They have Tim Erixon and Dylan McIllrath waiting on D, they're in no hurry to replace Lundqvist and they have oodles of young talent of front. I'm thinking they go with Jankowski because of his long term potential. The Rangers can afford to let him grow a few years.
29. New Jersey Devils: Andrei Vasilevski: The only reason I can see for the Devils to take this pick and not forfeit it is to pick a goalie or make a trade, but the pick is very likely to have had a better value next year.
30. Los Angeles Kings: Matthew Finn: Pretty much one of the better d-men remaining in the draft. They have good forward and goaltending depth and Thomas Hickey hasn't panned out. Might as well try Finn.