MOCK!

I don’t do mock drafts, but with this year’s edition of the draft full of more plot twists than a Whodunit, I thought it might be fun. Hope you enjoy it!

TOP 5

  • Colorado at #1: L Jonathan Drouin. Drouin’s outstanding season is too difficult to ignore. Does more than anyone else to contribute to goals, the most difficult thing to do in the game. I think he is a special offensive player.
  • Florida at #2: C Nathan MacKinnon. Absolutely a plug and play, he should step in immediately and should be an early Calder favorite.Could certainly go number one overall. 
  • Tampa Bay at #3: D Seth Jones. Incredible that he could fall this far, and the Lightning would have to consider themselves extremely fortunate to land a franchise defenseman at this number. If the two Q players do go off the board as I’ve described, suspect the Lightning will receive a lot of offers for this selection.
  • Nashville at #4: C Sasha Barkov: This is the selection I’m most comfortable with in the top 5. Nashville needs a franchise C and Barkov is a plug and play.
  • Carolina at #5: L Valeri Nichushkin. The big Russian had an enormous impact on the draft at this year’s NHL combine. I think he has a huge impact on the Oilers selection at #7.

FIVE THROUGH TEN

  • Calgary at #6: C Elias Lindholm. Lindholm has an impressive resume and could come to the NHL next season. Among the best offensive players available in this year’s draft.
  • Edmonton at #7: C Sean Monahan. Outstanding 2-way center with enough offense to be considered a strong 2line C candidate when he arrives in the NHL. This is a ‘perfect fit’ for Edmonton.
  • Buffalo at #8: D Darnell Nurse: If Monahan isn’t there, I expect the Oilers to take Nurse or deal down. Buffalo takes Nurse and he could come quickly to the NHL.
  • New Jersey at #9 D Rasmus Ristolainen:  A nice range of skills, could play sooner than later. NJD will like the fact that he has played in a league against men and flourished. 
  • Dallas at #10: C Curtis Lazar: Another perfect match for team and player. Lazar impresses with spirited play and attention to defensive detail, and is tough to play against. The offense helps too.

ELEVEN THROUGH TWENTY

  • Philadelphia at #11: C Fred Gauthier. Perfect Flyer selection. Don’t worry, Oilers will have their chance to get him when Holmgren decides to trade good players again.
  • Phoenix at #12: C Hunter Shinkaruk: Phoenix takes the best pure offensive player remaining in the draft. They’ll have to wait a couple of years (probably) but he should impact the offense on arrival.
  • Winnipeg at #13: C Bo Horvat. Winnipeg stays where they are and get an outstanding center who probably has enough offense to play on the second line when he arrives as an NHL player. Great value.
  • Columbus at #14: C Max Domi. Solid offense and a determined player, I do think his draft number suffered a little because of his Memorial Cup performance.
  • New York Islanders at #15: L Anthony Mantha. Scored 50 goals in the QMJHL this past season, and there is some talk he is NHL ready. The Islanders have to like the combination.
  • Buffalo at #16: C Alex Wennberg. Taking a defenseman in the top 10 allows the Sabres to reach a little for this lanky Swede who has a nice range of skills.
  • Ottawa at #17: L Kerby Rychel. A trending prospect, skilled and with a mean streak. Ottawa passes on some nice defensive options to take him, reaching a little.
  • Detroit at #18: D Ryan Pulock. A nice selection at this number, Pulock can do it all and has a plus shot. Best of all, the Red Wings will be very patient with him.
  • Columbus at #19: D Josh Morrissey. Fast, skilled and a player who impressed everyone with his season.
  • San Jose at #20: C Nicolas Petan. Small but very skilled. His offensive potential gets him here.

TWENTY-ONE THROUGH THIRTY

  • Toronto at #21: D Nikita Zadorov. Big Russian defender falls with the other blue in this draft, but represents solid value for the Leafs at this number.
  • Calgary Flames at #22: G Zachary Fucale. The Flames start the march of masked men in this draft by taking the highest ranked G on Craig Button’s board.
  • Washington Capitals at #23: L Adam Erne. Skill winger has some toughness, should cover this bet.
  • Vancouver Canucks at #24: C JT Compher. Skill C is also an agitator.
  • Montreal at #25: C Laurent Daupin. Impressive skill, maybe a slight reach.
  • Anaheim at #26: L Artturi Lehkonen. Undersized skill winger with terrific potential.
  • Columbus at #27: D Mirco Mueller. Smart defender with plenty of skill.
  • Calgary at #28: D Madison Bowey. Terrific skater, good value at this number.
  • Dallas at #29: R Valentin Zykov. Physical skill player, he’s the return for Jaromir Jagr. Quality NHL prosect.
  • Chicago at #30: C Ryan Hartman: Physical player, tough to play against.

As for the Oilers, I think they could pick 4th, 7th, 10th, 13th or trade out of the first round altogether. Completely unpredictable. What a week!

  • G Money

    My laughter has gone from an outright belly laugh to the nervous chuckle that happens when someone says something really dumb.

    “Barkov will be …”.
    “Barkov is …”
    “Barkov is better than …”

    Please. Barkov hasn’t proven sh*t. He hasn’t played a game in the NHL.

    Players with more glowing scouting reports than his have turned into duds when they hit the NHL.

    Players with better stats on a better team in a better league (Cervenka anyone?) have turned into duds when they hit the NHL. Two-way players especially have a tough time adapting, because the style of play, player speed, and the coverage angles are completely different than the Euro leagues.

    Barkov may indeed turn into an elite 1st line C. He may also turn into no better than a capable 2C or 3C. Or his game may simply not translate and he’ll be a flash in the pan and a trivia question a few years from now.

    Young Sammy, on the other hand, flaws and all, managed to put up an ACTUAL .79 ppg in the ACTUAL NHL.

    That puts him into legitimately borderline elite territory – he’s 55th in scoring in a league that ices 90 first line players. (For the record, just a few of the more notable players he finished ahead of: Hossa, Eberle, Couture, J. Carter, P. Bergeron, Krejci, P. Marleau).

    As we all know, Sammy does have some serious flaws to his game. That’s what makes him a solid 2C as opposed to a legit 1C.

    Will Barkov be better than him someday? Maybe. Way too many question marks around any prospect to say for sure.

    Will Barkov be better than Sammy in Year 1? Not a f*cking chance in hell.

      • The Soup Fascist

        I am totally basing this on highlights and clips as I am not a big follower of the professional leagues in Finland. However Barkov does appear to be a very awkward skater.

        I know it is only important that he gets there, not how he gets there, and big guys can look awkward sometimes (see Henrik Samuelsson) but the NHL is a different league than Barkov recently played in.

        “Better” is a subjective word, but I would be shocked if Barkov put up more points than Gagner. The kid is still 17 years old and will be when rookie camp opens.

        Certainly the kid is a man-child and a great piece of clay to work with, but to expect a 17 year old to light it up in a new league, in a new country, on smaller ice is a touch presumptuous. No?