The Draft Lottery has come and gone. Your dreams of the Oilers landing Rasmus Dahlin have been smashed. The fantasy of adding Svechnikov or Zadina to McDavid’s wing is no more. It’s not all doom and gloom though. Ladies, gentlemen and all my fellow draft nerds out there it’s officially mock draft season!
The Oilers fell from ninth to 10th, which isn’t near as bad as the year they fell down from second to fourth and missed out on Patrik Laine. TSN 1260 Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie joined my show on Friday and said there is a clear top nine in this year’s draft. At first, that doesn’t sound like good news for the Oilers but there is always at least one off the board pick in the top ten so I’m guessing Peter Chiarelli will have a chance to get his hands on one of Bob’s top nine.
Ok, enough with the chit chat, here is my first Mock Draft of the season. Enjoy, or feel no joy at all.
1. Buffalo Sabres – Rasmus Dahlin (D)
The Sabres won’t hesitate to select Dahlin so I didn’t bother taking the time to come up with some creative reason for them to pass on the Swedish sensation. It would make sense to have Dahlin join Rasmus Ristolainen on the Sabres top pair for the next decade or so. Is Dahlin the piece that finally brings the Sabres back to respectability? I’m not sure I will go that far but worse case scenario we have the first ever Rasmus-Rasmus d-pair in the history of the NHL….I think.
2. Carolina Hurricanes – Andrei Svechnikov (RW)
Why have the Hurricanes basically been a tweener for the last ten years? The common answer seems to be the fact that they don’t have a game breaker. That’s about to change. I spoke with two OHL scouts while putting this piece together and they both told me that he has solidified himself as the clear-cut number two prospect in this draft. Teravainen-Aho-Svechnikov could eventually become the significant offensive trio the Hurricanes have been desperately lacking. On the other hand Svechnikov could realize the owner appears to be a control freak and simply request a trade to avoid the madness.
3. Montreal Canadians – Filip Zadina (RW)
The Habs are desperate for offence, Zadina provides that at an elite level. Marc Bergevin, as a desperate GM, may be willing to listen to all options for this pick so he might be a target to move down. Trading out of a top-three spot in this draft would be a major mistake in my opinion. One more thing to think about here. The Canadiens do have a history of using first round picks on players from the United States. If there was one surprising off the board pick I could see the Habs pulling the trigger on Oliver Wahlstrom at three.
4. Ottawa Senators – Brady Tkachuk (LW)
The Senators actually already have a pretty solid group of prospects up front. Logan Brown, Colin White, Drake Batherson, Alex Formenton and Filip Chlapik headline an intriguing prospect pool for the Sens. What I’m saying is the Senators have a greater need on the blue line long term but Tkachuk is likely too solid of a prospect to pass up at four. The Senators may be able to trade down a couple of spots, pick up an extra pick and land a d-man anywhere from five to ten.
5. Arizona Coyotes – Quinn Hughes (D)
If the Coyotes plan on moving Oliver Ekman-Larsson at some point over the next 12 months they may want to stock up the blue line. Hughes already has a year of NCAA hockey under his belt. He skates well enough and thinks the game at a level that could lead to him making his NHL debut before the age of 20.
6. Detroit Red Wings – Jesperi Kotkaniemi (C)
There are so many defensemen still on the board here but the Red Wings have only used one first rounder on a d-man in the last ten years. Kotkaniemi’s stock has been rising thanks to a solid U-18 tournament. He is drawing comparisons to both Alexander Barkov and Mikko Rantanen in their draft years. The way I see it the Wings only have one centre among their top ten prospects so I could see them being the team that pulls the trigger on Kotkaniemi a little earlier than some expect.
7. Vancouver Canucks – Evan Bouchard (D)
Evan Bouchard is thought by many to be the second-best defenseman in this draft so at this point it’s a no-brainer for the Canucks. Bouchard has been an absolute workhorse in London and scouts believe his offensive game will translate well into the National Hockey league.
8. Chicago Blackhawks – Oliver Wahlstrom (RW)
This is my mock draft and even I am surprised that I let him slide this far. I could see Wahlstrom going as high as three and would be shocked if he falls below eight. It also seems like things always fall the way of the Hawks, cough, cough, DeBrincat, cough cough. Wahlstrom simply scores goals and last time I checked you still need goals to be successful in the NHL.
9. New York Rangers – Adam Boqvist (D)
Boqvist is an all-world talent offensively but has dealt with concussions issues this season. I honestly believe concussion concerns would be the only reason he’s still on the board at nine. He isn’t a big guy but has a booming shot, which helps him as a weapon on the PP. He may have the most upside among defensemen not named Rasmus.
10. Edmonton Oilers – Noah Dobson (D)
The Oilers are in a prime spot waiting for one of the so-called top nine in this draft to slide down to them in the ten hole. In this first version of my mock that player is Noah Dobson. He is a defenseman that checks off a lot of boxes for the Oilers. He’s 6’3, shoots right, is an incredible skater and was a point-per-game player in the QMJHL this season. In the end, I believe the Oilers will end up taking whichever one of the top five d-men is still on the board at ten and as of today, I think it could be Dobson.
And The Award Goes To……
Defenseman Most Likely To Join Dahlin In The Top Three – Adam Boqvist
Player Most Likely To Fall Out Of The Top Ten – Jesperi Kotkaniemi
Player I’d Like To See On The Board At Ten For the Oilers – Adam Boqvist
Team Most Likely To Move Down – Ottawa Senators
Team Most Likely To Move Up – New York Rangers