It’s go time! I’m almost sad that this will be my final mock draft of the season. I’ve decided to crank it up a notch by tossing in a minor trade.
Without being asked about it on Thursday Oilers POHO Peter Chiarelli discussed moving up in the draft. When I pressed him on the possibility of moving up a little later in the availability he said “The sense that I got, after the first group of names, there is an equal group. We are in that equal group. The moving up and moving down is kind of positional based, based on what I’m hearing from other GMs.”
Chiarelli added that while there has been a lot of talking about moving up or down he’s not necessarily sure it will happen. I see the Oilers more willing to move the pick for immediate help on the blueline than moving up a couple of spots.
1. Buffalo Sabres – Rasmus Dahlin (D)
Let’s just get to this pick already. Everyone in the world knows that Dahlin will land in Buffalo. If you have seen any mock drafts with the Sabres passing on him you should immediately clear your browser history and pretend you never saw it. Dahlin will be on the ice with the Sabres in October, I’m not sure he’s the piece that finally gets them back to the playoffs but he will make them better.
2. Carolina Hurricanes – Andrei Svechnikov (RW)
If the Hurricanes keep this pick they will be taking Andrei Svechnikov. They’ve been looking for a game breaker for years and he fits the bill perfectly. I’d be interested to hear how many teams have made a strong push to move up into the second spot. The Hurricanes are tired of losing and will be active over the next two weeks I’m just not sure moving this pick would be a wise decision.
3. Arizona Coyotes – Brady Tkachuk (C/W)
TRADE ALERT: Arizona trades 5th overall and Arizona’s 3rd rounder to Montreal for the 3rd overall.
We know they are willing to trade with each other so why not do it again. Arizona has two picks in the second round and three in the third so they have the ammo to move up if they want. The Coyotes move up to get the son of a franchise legend. The plan for the Coyotes is to have Galchenyuk play down the middle so why not grab a big winger to ride shotgun.
4. Ottawa Senators – Noah Dobson (D)
Noah Dobson seems like the perfect compliment to Thomas Chabot for the next ten years in Ottawa. Dobson didn’t put up the offensive numbers that Evan Bouchard did but was still over a point-per-game and by all accounts, he’s just starting to come into his own.
5. Montreal Canadians via Arizona – Jesperi Kotkaniemi (C)
There has been a lot of speculation about the Canadiens taking Kotkaniemi at three, so why not snag up an extra pick and take him fifth overall. The Canadiens have been looking for a big centre for the last 25 years. Kotkaniemi’s numbers in Finland are comparable to Alex Barkov, who I still think is one of the most under appreciated players in the league. Thursday afternoon Marc Bergevin said he was leaning towards keeping his pick but this move would make sense for the Habs.
6. Detroit Red Wings – Filip Zadina (RW)
The Red Wings tend to use their first round picks on forwards and put a lot of emphasis on skill so Zadina fits the bill perfectly. I spoke to an agent out of the QMJHL on Wednesday and he said it was near impossible to knock Zadina off the puck. Assuming Zadina ends up back in junior next year he should light up the league.
7. Vancouver Canucks – Quinn Hughes (D)
He’s the best skater in the draft and was controlling NCAA games, as a freshman, by the end of the season in Michigan. Due to his skating and hockey sense, he’s probably only a year away from handling important minutes on the blueline in Vancouver.
8. Chicago Blackhawks – Oliver Wahlstrom (RW)
This is my third mock draft and in all three of them I have the Hawks getting their hands on Wahlstrom. He’s a pure goal scorer with decent size. It’s not fair that the Hawks struggle for one season and their reward is this kid. “Lucky!” – in Napoleon Dynamite voice.
9. New York Rangers – Dominik Bokk (RW)
Boom! Here’s the guy that blows up the top ten. He’s a German kid that spent the season in Sweden. Bokk had 41 points in 35 games for Vaxjo this past season. This pick may not be as far off the board as you think. The Athletic’s Corey Pronman had Bokk 8th on his final rankings. The Rangers did something similar last year when they took Lias Andersson out of Sweden with the 7th overall pick. New York has three first rounders this year so I think they can try to hit a home run at nine.
10. Edmonton Oilers – Evan Bouchard (D)
I’ve been saying all week that one of the consensus top nine prospects will be left on the board for the Oilers. Today it’s Evan Bouchard. Bouchard put up 87 points in 67 games with the London Knights, which are incredible numbers for a draft eligible defenseman. Bob McKenzie described him as the best passer in the draft. Craig Button compares him to John Carlson. The Oilers should run to the podium if Bouchard is still available at ten. When meeting with the media on Thursday Bouchard did not hesitate to say that he thinks he’s NHL ready. His numbers in the OHL would back that up, plus he already has three seasons in the OHL under his belt. I’m not saying pencil him into the line up this year but I am saying he’d probably be ready to play top four minutes in the 2019-20 campaign.
TWO BIRDS WITH ONE STONE
Bouchard would be the best-case scenario for Chiarelli at ten. We’ve talked about how it would a perfect weekend for the Oilers if they come back to Edmonton with a top end prospect and a veteran right-shot d-man who can help immediately. Bouchard is, at a minimum, one year away from being that guy for the Oilers.
There will be an unexpected pick in the top nine that will leave the Oilers with a great player at ten. I have Bokk as the surprise but that could very well end up being Boqvist, Kravstov, Hayton or Farabee.
ENJOY THE DRAFT EVERYONE!
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