The Hockey Writers boasts a diverse writing staff featuring experienced and up-and-coming writers from throughout the 30 National Hockey League markets and beyond. This approach allows us to explore a lot of different angles throughout the season, and especially when it comes to the annual NHL Entry Draft.
Presented here is the second round of our annual Writers’ Mock Draft, which was expanded this season to two rounds due to the professed depth of this year’s draft class. Our writing staff signed up to represent each of the involved NHL teams in the first round, and aimed to select players and defend their selections here. Some of the writers are representing the teams they cover all year – myself included – while others are merely dipping their toe into the pool.
Our only guideline given to our make-shift general managers? No trades. When your turn came up, you had to make a pick and provide a short justification for your choice.
31st pick: Buffalo Sabres (Mike Straw) – G Daniel Vladar – HC Kladno U20 (Czech Juniors)
The Sabres defensive and offensive prospect pools are pretty deep. The one position they need to add to is goaltending, which is why Vladar is the pick. At 6’5″, 183 lbs, Vladar has excellent size, and knows how to use it to his advantage in the crease. His rebound control is top notch, and he has quick lateral movements. He’s a first-round talent that somehow fell to the start of the second round, making him a no-brainer for the Sabres.
32nd pick: Arizona Coyotes (Bill Grigsby) – F Nicolas Roy – Chicoutimi Sagueneens (QMJHL)
At 32, in the second round, the Arizona Coyotes select right wing Nicolas Roy. He is a good sized (6’4″, 203 lbs) forward who needs to do some work on his skating, but his play around the net displays his good hands and scoring ability. If he can improve his skating to get it to NHL levels, he may be a valuable asset for the Coyotes down the road. He’s about two-three years away from developing enough to be in the NHL. Still, one of the best sized prospects still available, and may be a promising kid.
33rd pick: Edmonton Oilers (Marcy di Michele) – F Jordan Greenway – U.S. National Development Team (USHL)
The Oilers could use some size in their forward group, and at 6’5″ and 222 pounds, left winger Jordan Greenway provides just that. He’s stock has dropped since the mid-season rankings because of concerns about his consistency and compete level. But for a guy that big he’s got good hands, and he’s a quick skater. He’s the kind of player who can impact the game both physically and in a skilled way. With some seasoning, he can be one heck of a power-forward.
34th pick: Columbus Blue Jackets (from Toronto via Los Angeles) (Mark Scheig) – D Noah Juulsen – Everett Silvertips (WHL)
With the first of its three second round picks, Columbus addresses a major defensive need in drafting Noah Juulsen. Juulsen’s stock has shot up since the midterm draft rankings were released. He finished with 9 goals and 52 points for Everett of the WHL. He is both defensively responsible and offensively creative. Juulsen is also a strong, fluid skater, who has elite agility. At 6’1″ and 180 lbs., Juulsen could use some muscle to be an effective defender. But he is a right-handed shot, which is a very valuable commodity in today’s game. As long as Juulsen continues to progress like he did last season for Everett, he has the potential to be a solid top-four defenceman.
35th pick: Carolina Hurricanes (Kyle Morton) – F Jeremy Bracco – U.S. National Development Team (USHL)
Watching the Carolina Hurricanes play, there is one aspect of their game that is clearly lacking. This team does not have much in the way of creative playmakers with above average vision and passing ability up front. After missing out on Marner and Strome in Round 1, Carolina happily grabs Jeremy Bracco here in round two. At 5’9″, Bracco is certainly slight of frame, but his offensive skill makes up for it in spades. In 65 games with the U18 team, Bracco compiled 64 assists. He’ll develop for a while before contributing to Carolina’s forward group as a playmaker.
36th overall: New Jersey Devils (Chris Lizza) – F Alexander Dergachev – SKA-1946 St. Petersburg (MHL)
With their first round pick at sixth overall, even though the Devils organization desperately needs young forwards, I went with defenceman Ivan Provorov because for me he was the best player on the board and has the greatest chance to be elite. Now with my second round selection I am going forward. Dergachev is already 6’0″ and 200 lbs. He is a big body still growing and has vision and soft hands. He has the potential to be a top six core forward for New Jersey for years to come.
37th overall: Boston Bruins (from Philadelphia via NY Islanders) (Cam Kerry) – D Ryan Pilon – Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)
Talk about a steal. The Bruins grab a first round talent in the second round by drafting solid two-way defender Ryan Pilon. Amassing 41 assists and 52 points in 68 games for the Brandon Wheat Kings, Pilon has proven that he can quarterback a successful powerplay. A quick, hard wrist shot compliments his vision and acute passing precision. Defensively, Pilon is a hard-worker and has nice size (6’2″, 206 lbs). Bruins fans should be jumping for joy if Pilon is still available in the second round.
38th overall: Columbus Blue Jackets (Mark Scheig) – D Vince Dunn – Niagara IceDogs (OHL)
Columbus is thrilled to draft Vince Dunn at 38th overall. He has the potential to be both a top pair defenceman and the quarterback of the power play for many years. Dunn is considered one of the best offensive defencemen in the draft. He is an excellent skater, and uses that to join the rush in a variety of ways. He is also very good at puck handling. He can make all the passes, and has a lightning release on his shots. Dunn is a bit of a risk taker given his offensive prowess. This sometimes leaves him vulnerable defensively. He was part of the Niagara Ice Dogs team that held Connor McDavid scoreless in 2 different games this season, so the defensive part is there. All told, Dunn has the chance to become one of the steals of this draft.
39th overall: San Jose Sharks (Drew Weber) – F Michael Spacek – HC Dynamo Pardubice (Czech Extraliga)
The San Jose Sharks are thin on the right wing so snagging Spacek in the second round is a smart move. He finished ranked fifth among European skaters in the upcoming draft and brings in stellar playmaking abilities that can help the team in all three zones. He may take a bit longer to develop into an NHL caliber player than some of the players selected before him, but he has serious potential to be a threat when he reaches his full capabilities.
40th overall: Colorado Avalanche (Harrison Prolic) – F Brock Boeser – Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL)
Keeping with the theme that Colorado’s most pressing draft need is to restock their forward group, Brock Boeser is another big right winger that will go to the front of the net for Colorado. He’s strong and very good at protecting the puck. He’s not the fastest skater, but he has great hockey sense, and he’s strong in his own zone. His size, and ability to track back are two things that Colorado desperately need more of. His arrival into the NHL will not be immediate though as he’s going to be attending the University of North Dakota in the fall.
41th overall: New Jersey Devils (from Florida) (Chris Lizza) – F Yakov Trenin – Gatineau Olympiques (QMJHL)
The Devils organization needs talented young forwards so I am picking another forward with my second 2nd Rd Pick. Trenin is already 6’2″ and 182 lbs. Big strong forward, plays a 200-foot game with skill.
42th overall: Ottawa Senators (from Dallas) (Corey Spina) – D Matthew Spencer – Peterborough Petes (OHL)
After taking Colin White in the first round, taking a defencemen like Matthew Spencer seems like a no-brainer. He’s a tough all-around player, that can not only create offense, but help keep the puck out of his own net. He is very tough in his own end, and it seems the Sens could use another defensive player in their system. The pairing of Methot and Karlsson has been fantastic, but it’s time to bring some more young blood into that Ottawa defense corps.
43th overall: Los Angeles Kings (Jeff Langridge) – D Mitchell Vande Sompel – Oshawa Generals (OHL)
The Kings take a player that is coming off winning the Memorial Cup. He’s also a defenceman. With everything that has been going on with the LA’s defense, it wouldn’t hurt to restock the shelves. He had a goal and an assist in three games with Team Canada at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament.
44th overall: Tampa Bay Lightning (Dan Herrejon) – F Denis Guryanov – Ladia Togliatti (MHL)
There is no doubt there is a risk in selecting Denis Guryanov. He may choose never to play in North America and that is why this very talented prospect falls to the 44th pick in our mock draft. He has the size at 6’2″ and when this 17-year-old prospect fills out, he can be lethal on the right side of any line. Very high upside with this kid, booming shot, drives to the net very well. In the under-18 international competition he has played in, he is a point a game producer. With the success of Nikita Kucherov, Vlad Namestnikov, Nikita Nesterov and Andrei Vasilevskiy in the Lightning organization, Guryanov should fit right in fine.
45th overall: Calgary Flames (Ryan Pike) – F Filip Chlapik – Charlottetown Islanders (QMJHL)
With many more picks available later in the round to stock up on defenders, the Flames go for the best player available. Chlapik plays with another Flames second rounder, goalie Mason McDonald, for the Charlottetown Islanders. He’s a strong offensive player with flashes of greatness, and the hope is his defensive game will come along as he gets better accustomed to the nuances of North American hockey. For the Flames, this talented Czech is a steal at 45th overall.
46th overall: Pittsburgh Penguins (Devin Slawson) – F Anthony Beauvillier – Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL)
The Penguins are deep with defensive prospects, but are lacking in top end wingers. Beauvillier is one of the smartest players in the entire draft, McDavid and Eichel aside. Rated the 33rd best North American prospect, Pittsburgh would be ecstatic to pick him. His only knock is his size, at 5’10” and 173 lbs, but he makes up for that with his elite playmaking abilities. Beauvillier is a very smooth skater who is terrific at finding open slots in the ice. He also packs an quick release on his shot and phenomenal vision. Possesses great leadership abilities, and was ames captain in the Top Prospects Game.
47th overall: Winnipeg Jets (Joseph Aleong) – F Jack Roslovic – U.S. National Development Team (USHL)
Roslovic is a project, for sure. But this is a player who can man centre, has good size, great offensive abilities, and a responsible two-way game. He’s a late first/early second round talent that slipped, but with such a deep prospect pool, Winnipeg can take a chance on the sky-high ceiling of the University of Miami (Ohio) commit, as he could turn into a special player down the road if all goes well in his development.
48th overall: Ottawa Senators (Corey Spina) – G Mackenzie Blackwood – Barrie Colts (OHL)
I have already drafted a forward and a defencemen for the Sens, so now it’s time to take a look at their goaltending with the selection of MacKenzie Blackwood. Now I know what you’re thinking; Ottawa has Lehner, Anderson, and Hammond, which is nice, but there are a couple problems there. Anderson and Lehner are injury prone, while Hammond hasn’t proved himself over the course of a full season. Blackwood offers the Sens crease insurance, and it’s always nice to have a nice goaltending prospect developing in the minors. He’s a very tall and acrobatic goaltender, which is becoming more of a trend in the NHL. Look out for Blackwood.
49th overall: Dallas Stars (from Detroit) (Derek Neumeier) – F Nikita Korostelev – Sarnia Sting (OHL)
Korostelev is a bit of a project pick, but there’s a lot to like about his game. He has a nice frame, but still manages to get around the ice well. He possesses a full toolbox of offensive abilities and is especially lethal on the powerplay. Will get plenty of ice time on a bad Sarnia Sting team. The Stars have an abundance of prospect depth at forward, so they can afford to be patient and take their time to develop Korostelev properly. Should be an excellent complementary player for the organization.
50th overall: Minnesota Wild (Andrew McCormack) – F Zach Senyshyn – Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)
Minnesota selects a dynamic winger that tallied 26 goals and 45 points in 66 games this past season for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Senyshyn was buried as a rookie on a deep Greyhounds squad that many considered a favourite to win the Ontario Hockey League. His 6’2″, 194 lbs frame will be well equipped for the rigours of the NHL especially as he should fill out more. Combine that with good skating ability and great offensive awareness, and the Wild feel they have a good find in the Ottawa native at 50th overall.
51st overall: Buffalo Sabres (from NY Islanders) (Mike Straw) – D Gabriel Carlsson – Linkoping J20 (SuperElit)
Like the second pick of the first round, this selection is more of a luxury for the Sabres. The team’s defensive pipeline is pretty stacked, but it can never hurt to add more to the mix. Carlsson is a large Swedish defenceman (6’3″) with a powerful shot and an uncanny ability to read how a play is developing. His skating needs improvement, but that should come over the next few seasons.
52nd overall: Calgary Flames (from Washington) (Ryan Pike) – D Travis Dermott – Erie Otters (OHL)
Still trying to address their organizational depth on the blueline, the Flames shift to the Ontario Hockey League, taking a strong 200-foot defender in Dermott.
53nd overall: Calgary Flames (from Vancouver) (Ryan Pike) – F Adam Musil – Red Deer Rebels (WHL)
No stranger to the Flames organization, his dad played for the club in the 1990s, Musil plays a tenacious, energetic game in every zone. He’ll make the Flames tougher to play against on a game-to-game basis and adds to their forward depth.
54th overall: Chicago Blackhawks (Dennis Schellenberg) – G Ilya Samsonov – Stalnye Lisy Magnitogorsk (MHL)
Chicago is not having an elite goaltending prospect in their system. Surprisingly Ilya Samsonov is still available and the Hawks pick the most talented European goaltender in this draft. Samsonov is a big goalie who challenges shooters and takes away a lot of the net. He shows good flexibility and is able to make acrobatic saves. His calming nature and confidence is impressive. The Hawks see in him a potential NHL starter and are happy to have him on board.
55th overall: Nashville Predators (Daniel Mount) – F Roope Hintz – Ilves (SM-Liiga)
The Predators make their first selection of the draft and pick Roope Hintz, a winger from Finland. He can either be a playmaker or a scorer. Hintz has decent size at 6’2″, 183 lbs, is fast and can create. Hintz is also blessed with great stickhandling skills and a great hockey IQ. The Preds need offense and he can create it with his energy, skill and a good shot .
56th overall: St. Louis Blues (Mike Poepping) – F Semyon Afonasyevsky – Belye Medvedi Chelyabinsk (MHL)
The Blues select the big-bodied power forward with a scoring touch (6’2″, 196 lbs) because he should fit into their current and future playing style nicely. Afonasyevsky has made a name for himself in the MHL (Russia’s top junior league) for being a leader on and off the ice, and has even led his team to a 3rd place finish this year, where he averaged .84 PPG in the regular season. His best upside is his playoff prowess, where he kicks into another gear and finds the back of the net almost every game (.76 PPG), something that could prove very useful to the Blues in the future.
57th overall: Edmonton Oilers (from Montreal) (Marcy di Michele) – G Callum Booth – Quebec Remparts (QMJHL)
Ranked #2 among North American goalies by Central Scouting, Booth has lived in the shadow of Zach Fucale in Quebec, but has performed well when called upon. Booth is 6’3″, part of the new wave of big goalies. The Oilers need more depth in their system in the goaltending position, and Booth is a good choice to add to that.
58th overall: Columbus Blue Jackets (from Anaheim) (Mark Scheig) – F Thomas Novak – Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL)
59th overall: Arizona Coyotes (from NY Rangers) (Jeff Langridge) – G Samuel Montembeault – Blainsville-Boisbriand Armada (QMJHL)
The Coyotes really don’t know where their goaltending is heading. Mike Smith hasn’t exactly been stellar lately. Their depth chart behind him isn’t exactly inspiring either. Taking the 6’2″ Montembeault at least gives them another option that could work out down the road.
60th overall: Philadelphia Flyers (from Chicago) (Zach Hopkins) – G Matej Tomek – Topeka Roadrunners (NAHL)
The Flyers are well aware of their lack of depth in the goaltending department. With a few off the board already, they will look to select the 6-3 Slovakian who has shown good balance and quickness in the crease while limiting rebounds.
61st overall: New York Rangers (from Tampa Bay) (Jeff Langridge) – D Parker Wotherspoon – Tri-City Americans (WHL)
The New York Rangers rarely pick defencemen early in the draft. Actually, they really don’t pick early in the draft at all as they haven’t had a first round pick since 2012. Getting back to the pick though, the Rangers defense core is getting older and they are going to need back sooner or later. Wotherspoon will require a lot of development, but he is the best defenceman left on the board.