- 2016 NHL Mock Draft: Round 1
- 2016 NHL Mock Draft: Round 2
- 2016 NHL Mock Draft: Round 3
- 2016 NHL Mock Draft: Rounds 4 to 7
- 2016 NHL Mock Draft: Team Results
- 2015 NHL Mock Draft: Round 1
- 2015 NHL Mock Draft: Round 2
- 2015 NHL Mock Draft: Round 3
- 2015 NHL Mock Draft: Team Results
So how did your favourite team make out in my sixth annual mock entry draft?
Here’s a closer look at the results for all 31 teams, listed in order of their first selection, from highest to lowest.
New Jersey Devils (9 = 3 RHD, 2 C, 1 LW, 1 G, 1 RW, 1 LHD)
1) Nolan Patrick (C, Brandon, WHL)
36) Isaac Ratcliffe (LW, Guelph, OHL)
63) Dayton Rasmussen (G, Chicago, USHL)
98) Artyom Minulin (RHD, Swift Current, WHL)
129) Jack Badini (C, Chicago, USHL)
143) Logan Cockerill (RW, U.S. U18, NTDP)
160) Malte Setkov (LHD, Malmo J20, Sweden)
185) Adam Thilander (RHD, North Bay, OHL)
191) Brady Lyle (RHD, North Bay, OHL)
ANALYSIS: Nolan or Nico . . . I’m still a Nolan guy for New Jersey, partially because the Devils drafted his former junior linemate, John Quenneville, in the first round in 2014 and he had a very strong rookie pro season, so there is plenty of promise with that potential reunion. Ratcliffe was simply the best player available in that spot — many mocks have him going in the first round — and I fully expect the Devils to use one of their top-three picks on a goaltender, with Rasmussen a solid candidate after an impressive showing in the physical testing at the draft combine. Minulin plays on the same junior team as New Jersey free-agent signing Colby Sissons, so the Devils would be quite familiar with the Russian import. Badini and Cockerill are high-skill American forwards, Setkov is a big Danish defender developing in Sweden and, lastly, two more teammates in Thilander and Lyle. No, that wasn’t a coincidence. Ray Shero, the Devils’ GM, likes his defencemen and might even surprise by going that route with the first overall pick, but expect New Jersey to use upwards of half its selections on that position of weakness within the organization.
Philadelphia Flyers (11 = 4 C, 3 LW, 2 RHD, 1 RW, 1 LHD)
2) Nico Hischier (C/LW, Halifax, QMJHL)
44) Mackenzie Entwistle (C/RW, Hamilton, OHL)
75) Reilly Walsh (RHD, Chicago, USHL)
80) Jordy Bellerive (C/LW, Lethbridge, WHL)
106) Lane Zablocki (RW, Red Deer, WHL)
107) Tyler Steenbergen (C, Swift Current, WHL)
108) Jayden Halbgewachs (LW, Moose Jaw, WHL)
137) Vladimir Kuznetsov (LW/RW, Acadie-Bathurst, QMJHL)
168) Isaac Johnson (LW, Des Moines, USHL)
199) Scooter Brickey (RHD, Des Moines, USHL)
200) Nicky Leivermann (LHD, Bloomington, USHL)
ANALYSIS: Unlike the Devils, the Flyers are well stocked on defence and also in goal, so Ron Hextall can target forwards for the most part in this year’s draft. Hischier is the obvious consolation prize if he’s available at second overall. Entwistle’s stock seems to be on the rise and he could prove to be a good value pick in the 40s even if some still see that as a reach. Philadelphia has never been afraid to reach, especially on WHL forwards — see past third-round picks, Tyrell Goulbourne (72nd in 2013) and Carsen Twarynski (82nd last year) — so Bellerive, a personal favourite, would fit that trend. Most have Bellerive outside the top 100, but if a team takes him earlier, I’d bet on it being the Flyers. With three straight picks in the fourth round, I could see Philly targeting more WHLers — maybe not three straight, but any combination of those three. Steenbergen and Halbgewachs are over-agers who lit it up for rival teams this season, while Zablocki came on strong after getting traded from Regina to Red Deer. Kuznetsov is another over-ager who should have been drafted last year and could go even higher than I have him this year. Johnson just strikes me as a Flyer-type pick. As for the defencemen, Walsh would be too good to pass up at 75 — some have him in the top 50 — while Brickey and Leivermann seemed like worthwhile gambles with consecutive picks again in the seventh round.
Dallas Stars (8 = 2 G, 2 C, 1 LHD, 1 LW, 1 RW, 1 RHD)
3) Miro Heiskanen (LHD, HIFK, Finland)
29) Jake Oettinger (G, Boston University, NCAA)
39) Nikita Popugaev (LW, Prince George, WHL)
70) Jonas Ronbjerg (RW, Vaxjo J20, Sweden)
101) Patrick Khodorenko (C, Michigan State, NCAA)
132) Emil Bemstrom (C/RW, Leksand J20, Sweden)
163) Gustav Lindstrom (RHD, Almtuna, Sweden)
194) Dereck Baribeau (G, Quebec, QMJHL)
ANALYSIS: Stars GM Jim Nill and his scouting staff would probably be doing backflips and cartwheels if the draft played out according to my mock. Dallas wants to get back into win-now mode under Ken Hitchcock and is entertaining offers for the third overall pick — Vancouver is apparently dangling Chris Tanev in exchange — but Heiskanen is the best two-way defender in this draft and the Stars love their Scandinavian prospects, so he’d be the likely choice there. Part of me thinks Oettinger could be long gone by 29 — especially with Vegas now having three picks in the top 15 and Arizona’s second selection at 23 — but Dallas certainly wouldn’t let the top-ranked goalie slide into the second round. The Stars also have a thing for Russian power forwards, for better or worse — with Valeri Nichushkin (10th in 2013) and Denis Gurianov (12th in 2015) — so Popugaev would be following that trend. With eight picks, I just assume half of them will, in fact, be Scandinavians, so Ronbjerg, Bemstrom and Lindstrom rounded out that quota. Khodorenko was a BPA (best player available) and Baribeau is another big goalie out of the Q — a well the Stars may go back to with Philippe Desrosiers developing nicely.
Colorado Avalanche (7 = 2 LHD, 2 RW, 1 RHD, 1 C, 1 G)
4) Cale Makar (RHD, Brooks, AJHL)
32) Pierre-Olivier Joseph (LHD, Charlottetown, QMJHL)
94) Nate Schnarr (C, Guelph, OHL)
114) Stuart Skinner (G, Lethbridge, WHL)
125) Ben Mirageas (LHD, Bloomington, USHL)
156) Maksim Sushko (RW, Owen Sound, OHL)
187) D’Artagnan Joly (RW, Baie-Comeau, QMJHL)
ANALYSIS: The Avs will likely target defencemen with their early picks, and coming away with both Makar and Joseph would be quite the coup. Makar is another personal favourite from this draft class, reminding me a lot of Tyson Barrie but with even more upside. I’m still a Barrie believer, but Makar’s potential is extremely high as an offensive blueliner. Schnarr was BPA at 94, though a case could be made for Skinner in that spot as well. Colorado lost Calvin Pickard to Vegas in the expansion draft, so the Avs are once again looking for their goaltender of the future and may not wait until 114 to select a netminder. Heck, they might not wait until 94 — and Colorado could draft more than one this year too. However, I went BPA the rest of the way with Mirageas, Sushko and Joly.
Vancouver Canucks (7 = 3 C, 2 LHD, 1 LW, 1 RW)
5) Cody Glass (C, Portland, WHL)
33) Jaret Anderson-Dolan (C/LW, Spokane, WHL)
55) Jesper Boqvist (LW/C, Brynas, Sweden)
64) Marcus Davidsson (C, Djugardens, Sweden)
95) Noel Hoefenmayer (LHD, Ottawa, OHL)
112) Scott Walford (LHD, Victoria, WHL)
188) Patrick Bajkov (RW, Everett, WHL)
ANALYSIS: In my sneak peek mock, I had the Canucks selecting Elias Pettersson at 5, with Glass falling out of the top 10. But more than one source reached out to me, convinced the Canucks would target Glass at 5 — especially if Makar is gone. Strangely, for a draft considered to be so “wide open,” there is something of a consensus “top six” taking shape. We’ll find out soon enough if that holds true later today. Anderson-Dolan has an interesting off-ice story — he has two moms, lesbian parents . . . and there is nothing wrong with that — but his on-ice skills deserve all the attention. I originally had Anderson-Dolan going in the first round, to St. Louis at 27, and that still wouldn’t surprise me, but he’d be a nice get for the Canucks at 33. Speaking of nice gets, I still see the Canucks drafting a couple Swedish forwards this year — even if they pass on Pettersson at 5 — and both Boqvist and Davidsson could be steals at those spots. Through four picks in my mock, Vancouver would be putting a precedent on skill over size for a change — presumably learning from past mistakes, such as selecting Jake Virtanen over William Nylander and Nik Ehlers in 2014. The latter three picks aren’t as “sexy” in Hoefenmayer, Walford and Bajkov, but the Canucks could use a couple more defence prospects, while Bajkov is an over-ager who took a big step this season and could take an even bigger one next season now that Everett has a more offensive-minded coach.
Vegas Golden Knights (13 = 3 RW, 3 RHD, 3 G, 2 C, 2 LW)
6) Gabe Vilardi (C, Windsor, OHL)
13) Klim Kostin (RW, Dynamo Moscow, Russia)
15) Cal Foote (RHD, Kelowna, WHL)
34) Mike DiPietro (G, Windsor, OHL)
45) Maxime Comtois (LW/C, Victoriaville, QMJHL)
62) Cale Fleury (RHD, Kootenay, WHL)
65) Stelio Mattheos (RW, Brandon, WHL)
96) Jake Leschyshyn (C, Regina, WHL)
127) Ty Lewis (LW, Brandon, WHL)
142) Marian Studenic (RW, Hamilton, OHL)
158) John St. Ivany (RHD, Sioux Falls, USHL)
161) Daniil Tarasov (G, Ufa, Russia)
189) Dylan St. Cyr (G, U.S. U18, NTDP)
ANALYSIS: The Golden Knights suddenly have the most picks of any team in this year’s draft — and will probably accumulate more before the draft begins or certainly before it is over — so expect the expansion franchise to harvest a good haul. A couple trends to note here, with Vegas selecting two key members of the Memorial Cup champion Windsor Spitfires in Vilardi and DiPietro after hiring their head coach Rocky Thompson to man the bench for AHL Chicago, the Golden Knights’ farm team. Also, two members of the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings in Mattheos and Lewis, who were coached by Golden Knights assistant general manager Kelly McCrimmon during their run to last year’s Memorial Cup.
Don’t rule out Vegas going all-in for the most coveted Wheat King in Patrick — perhaps packaging picks 6, 13 and 15 to New Jersey for No. 1. Quantity may be the best approach for this expansion club, but Patrick would immediately become the face of the franchise (along with Marc-Andre Fleury). Patrick would also step right in and play for the Golden Knights next season whereas Vilardi may be better served by another year in junior.
That said, Vilardi would be given every opportunity to crack the opening-night roster — as would fellow first-rounders Foote and Kostin. Foote is going to be a minute-munching, all-situations defender — he reminds me of Brent Seabrook, having watched both develop on a daily basis in junior — and I believe Foote (son of former NHLer Adam) may be the most NHL-ready blueliner in this draft. Again, I might be a bit biased there.
Kostin is one of the wild-cards of the first round — along with Swedish defenceman Timothy Liljegren and the aforementioned Oettinger, this year’s top-ranked goalie — but Vegas GM George McPhee had success with Russian players in Washington and won’t likely be scared off by Kostin’s injury-plagued draft year that was further hurt by limiting playing time when he was healthy. At the combine, Kostin announced he plans to play in North America next season, but not with the WHL’s Kootenay Ice, who selected him first overall in last year’s CHL import draft. That suggests his rights will be traded sooner than later and I’ve heard rumours that he could become teammates with Foote in Kelowna.
Like Kostin, Comtois was considered a top-five talent for the 2017 draft prior to the season, but his stock has plummeted even more over the calendar year. If Vegas was to roll the dice on both Kostin and Comtois, and if either of them returned to form next season, the Golden Knights’ gamble could pay huge dividends for their future. Fleury (no relation to Marc-Andre) and Leschyshyn (the son of former NHLer Curtis) were both BPA but two more WHL products that McCrimmon would have the book on.
I was throwing darts with the final four picks, though St. Cyr is a terrific story worth telling. First off, he’s the son of Manon Rhéaume — the first and only woman to play in the NHL, also a goalie who had a preseason stint with the Tampa Bay Lightning back in 1992-93. Secondly, St. Cyr’s birthplace is listed as Las Vegas — the only notable Vegas native I could find as a draft eligible, so talk about a sentimental pick for the Golden Knights. The kid does have game, though — he played for the U.S. national team development program this season and is off to NCAA Notre Dame in the fall, with an invite to the world-junior summer camp too. The downside? He’s only 5-foot-8 . . . and it appears he’s been living in Detroit for the last five or more years. His mom, Rhéaume, did play for the Las Vegas Thunder before he was born (1994-95) — thus the connection to Sin City.
Arizona Coyotes (7 = 2 LHD, 1 RHD, 1 LW, 1 RW, 1 C, 1 G)
7) Timothy Liljegren (RHD, Rogle, Sweden)
23) Urho Vaakanainen (LHD, JYP, Finland)
35) Jason Robertson (LW, Kingston, OHL)
69) Linus Nyman (RW, Kingston, OHL)
78) Dmitri Samorukov (LHD, Guelph, OHL)
128) Noah Cates (C/LW, Omaha, USHL)
190) Jeremy Swayman (G, Sioux Falls, USHL)
ANALYSIS: The Coyotes are shaking things up right now, parting ways with the faces of the franchise in captain Shane Doan and coach Dave Tippett, but the draft is a chance to focus on the present and future rather than the past. Arizona’s next captain is expected to be supremely talented Swedish defender Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Liljegren was thought to be cut from the same cloth at this time last year. Liljegren has since been labelled this year’s Oliver Kylington, another smooth-skating Swede who went from consensus top-five pick to 60th overall in 2015. Liljegren’s fall shouldn’t be that far, but more and more mocks have him outside the top 10, with some dropping him out of the top 20. He almost certainly won’t go in the top five at this point, but I could still see Arizona or Detroit taking Liljegren at 7 or 9. As mentioned, Oettinger could be the Coyotes’ second pick at 23, but Vaakanainen could be a steadying force on the back end and a future complement to Liljegren — Vaakanainen has drawn favourable comparisons to Chicago’s Niklas Hjalmarsson. Robertson and Nyman are linemates in Kingston, a dynamic duo with undeniable chemistry — Nyman the playmaker and Robertson the scorer. Samorukov is a hard-shooting, hard-hitting Russian import — somewhat similar to Washington’s Dmitry Orlov. Cates and Swayman could both be steals out of the USHL, but chances are the Coyotes won’t wait until their final pick of the draft to take a goalie. If not Oettinger at 23, look for Arizona to possibly select a netminder with one of those next three picks in the top 100.
Buffalo Sabres (6 = 3 LHD, 1 RW, 1 G, 1 LW)
8) Owen Tippett (RW, Mississauga, OHL)
37) Max Gildon (LHD, U.S. U18, NTDP)
54) David Farrance (LHD, U.S. U18, NTDP)
89) Cayden Primeau (G, Lincoln, USHL)
99) Nate Knoepke (LHD, U.S. U18, NTDP)
192) Shaw Boomhower (LW, Mississauga, OHL)
ANALYSIS: This is Jason Botterill’s first draft as a GM, so it’s hard to say what approach the Sabres will be taking. Botterill was hired late and didn’t have time to overhaul the amateur scouting staff, so I tried to make some educated guesses. Buffalo watched Mississauga very closely last year — selecting Alex Nylander from the Steelheads at eighth overall in 2016. Tippett was on that team in a depth role as an OHL rookie, but he was turning heads already back then. Could the Sabres take another scoring winger from Mississauga, again at eighth overall, this year? I wouldn’t rule it out. Worth noting, Boomhower was new to Mississauga’s roster as a rookie this season, but he has one of the better names in this draft class and still got lots of exposure on a heavily scouted team. Buffalo’s defence remains a work in progress — both present and future — and with Phil Housley hired as coach, that should be a priority for the Sabres in this year’s draft. Farrance plays with a little bit of Housley’s flair, while Gildon reminds me somewhat of Zach Bogosian when he was a top prospect. Knoepke is solid in his own right and all three played together this season with the U.S. national team development program, which could be notable since Housley is well connected within USA Hockey — he coached the Americans to world-junior gold in 2013. Even though Buffalo avoided losing Linus Ullmark in the expansion draft, I foresee the Sabres selecting a goalie at some point and Primeau (son of former NHLer Keith) could be a good one at 89.
Detroit Red Wings (11 = 4 C, 2 LW, 2 RHD, 1 LHD, 1 RW, 1 G)
9) Elias Pettersson (C/LW, Timra IK, Sweden)
38) Ostap Safin (LW, Sparta Prague, Czech Republic)
71) Fabian Zetterlund (C/RW, Farjestad J20, Sweden)
79) Morgan Geekie (C, Tri-City, WHL)
83) Mason Shaw (C, Medicine Hat, WHL)
88) Filip Westerlund (RHD, Frolunda, Sweden)
100) Emil Westerlund (LW/RW, Linkoping J20, Sweden)
131) Sebastian Walfridsson (LHD, Modo, Sweden)
162) Finn Evans (RW, St. Michael’s, OJHL)
164) Dmitry Rodionychev (RHD, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia)
193) Jiri Patera (G, Budejovice, Czech Republic)
ANALYSIS: Ken Holland has built championship teams with a core of Swedes, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Red Wings select as many as five with their 11 picks in this year’s draft. Pettersson has really grown on me — the more I read about him and watch his highlight-reels, the more I like him and the higher I want to take him (thus to Vancouver at 5 in the sneak peek) — but he seems like the perfect fit for Detroit at 9. Safin, like Pettersson, is another riser and part of a strong Czech draft class in 2017. Safin reminds me a bit of Tampa Bay’s Ondrej Palat. Fabian Zetterlund, could there be a better name for a new Detroit prospect? That sounds like the love-child of Henrik Zetterberg, the Red Wings’ captain, and Fabian Brunnstrom, who finished his disappointing North American career in Detroit’s system. All kidding aside, Zetterlund strikes me as a Detroit pick. I also have the Red Wings drafting two Swedes with the same last name in Westerlund, though they aren’t twins and don’t even appear to be related. It is somewhat debatable as to which Westerlund is the better prospect, but Filip, the defenceman, edged out Emil, the winger, on my draft board. Walfridsson ends the run of Swedes, while Geekie and Shaw were selected before him as creative centres. Evans is a sizeable project, Rodionychev an intriguing Russian and Patera a Czech goaltender, though the Red Wings were apparently trying to give away one of those by strangely exposing Petr Mrazek in the expansion draft. But that’s neither here nor there, and onward we go.
Florida Panthers (5 = 3 C, 1 RHD, 1 G)
10) Casey Mittelstadt (C, Green Bay, USHL)
40) Joni Ikonen (C, Frolunda J20, Finland)
66) Luke Martin (RHD, Michigan, NCAA)
133) Alex D’Orio (G, Saint John, QMJHL)
184) Pius Suter (C/LW, ZSC Lions, Switzerland)
ANALYSIS: Mittelstadt might be a top-five talent and it remains to be seen how much his combine struggles — failing to do a single pull-up and managing only one rep on the bench press — will impact his draft position. It didn’t hurt Sam Bennett on draft day in 2014 (fourth overall), though he hasn’t lived up to expectations in Calgary thus far. It certainly shows room for growth — physically, from a strength perspective — for Mittelstadt and maybe indicates he’s further away from being NHL-ready than some of his peers at the top end of this draft class. I can’t see Mittelstadt falling out of the top 10, but he could be there for Florida at 10. To the contrary, Ikonen might not be there for Florida at 40 since he’s seen as a draft riser and has been showing up in the first round of some mocks lately. Florida already has one talented Finnish centre in Aleksander Barkov and Ikonen could be another for the Panthers. Martin was both BPA and the right fit for Florida at 66. I do expect the Panthers to draft a goalie and they may look to the Q where they nabbed Samuel Montembeault in 2015. Obviously Roberto Luongo is the perfect mentor for these young French-Canadian netminders like D’Orio. Lastly, I took a flyer on Suter, a small but super skilled Swiss forward who is one of the older prospects still eligible for this year’s draft (turned 21 in May). Suter is actually older than a similar player who surprisingly cracked Florida’s roster this season — his compatriot Denis Malgin (now 20, drafted in 2015). Malgin’s success might put Suter on the Panthers’ radar.
Los Angeles Kings (8 = 4 LHD, 2 C, 1 RHD, 1 G)
11) Lias Andersson (C/LW, HV71, Sweden)
41) Robin Salo (LHD, Vassan Sport, Finland)
72) Eemeli Rasanen (LHD, Kingston, OHL)
103) Jack Studnicka (C, Oshawa, OHL)
118) Mark Rubinchik (LHD, Saskatoon, WHL)
134) Jack Ahcan (LHD, St. Cloud State, NCAA)
138) Brennan Menell (RHD, Lethbridge, WHL)
165) Zach Sawchenko (G, Moose Jaw, WHL)
ANALYSIS: Rob Blake was a big, physical defender and L.A.’s new GM puts his stamp on this draft class by going defence-heavy with the likes of Salo, Rasanen and Rubinchik being defence-first types, while Ahcan and Menell are undersized offensive catalysts. Andersson isn’t as flashy as the aforementioned Pettersson, but he’s no slouch and has some similarities to fellow Swedish forward Adrian Kempe, who could be on the verge of a breakout season for the Kings. Studnicka was BPA and Sawchenko is an over-age goalie who is going the U Sports (CIS) route — committed to the University of Alberta Golden Bears for next season — but still has NHL upside in my opinion.
Carolina Hurricanes (8 = 3 C, 2 LW, 1 G, 1 LHD, 1 RW)
12) Kristian Vesalainen (LW, Frolunda J20, Finland)
42) Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (G, HPK U20, Finland)
52) Aleksi Heponiemi (C/LW, Swift Current, WHL)
67) Jonah Gadjovich (LW, Owen Sound, OHL)
73) Markus Phillips (LHD, Owen Sound, OHL)
104) Eetu Luostarinen (C, KalPa, Finland)
166) Sami Moilanen (RW, Seattle, WHL)
197) Santeri Virtanen (C, TPS J20, Finland)
ANALYSIS: All Finns, all the time — that’s the Carolina way, right? It’s the way it worked out in my mock — six of eight picks hail from Finland — and it has been working out well for the Hurricanes, who most see as a team on the rise thanks to their many Finnish talents already on the roster and in the system. That would be high in most eyes for Vesalainen at 12 — the majority of mocks have him in the 20s or later teens — but I’m a big fan and I’m thinking Ron Francis and his Finn-loving scouting staff will be too. Luukkonen might be my favourite goalie in this draft class (yes, I may like him more than Oettinger), Heponiemi exceeded the lofty expectations in his North American debut, Luostarinen held his own against men back home and cracked Bob McKenzie’s top 100 prospects (to my surprise), Moilanen impressed me in the WHL playoffs by being both gritty and skilled for the eventual league champions (he plays with a “high motor” . . . scout speak), and Virtanen was simply the highest-ranking Finn left on my list at that spot in the seventh round (BFA as opposed to BPA when it comes to Carolina). I do think Moilanen could go higher than 166, possibly in the top 120. The Hurricanes also managed to snag two OHL teammates in my mock, making good value picks on Gadjovich and Phillips — the latter of whom could be a steal in the third round and was too good to pass up at 73 despite Carolina already being loaded with defence prospects.
Tampa Bay Lightning (6 = 2 C, 1 G, 1 LHD, 1 RHD, 1 RW)
14) Martin Necas (C/RW, Kometa Brno, Czech Republic)
48) Alexei Lipanov (C, MVD Balashikha, Russia)
76) Maksim Zhukov (G, Green Bay, USHL)
169) Jonatan Asplund (LHD, Djurgardens J20, Sweden)
180) Robbie Stucker (RHD, St. Thomas Academy, U.S. High School)
196) Maxime Fortier (RW/C, Halifax, QMJHL)
ANALYSIS: It’s no secret that Steve Yzerman and the Lightning like their Russians — Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Namestnikov and Andrei Vasilevskiy are key players on the NHL roster, plus the recent acquisition of Mikhail Sergachev from Montreal — so it wouldn’t be surprising to see Tampa Bay pick a couple more in Lipanov, a highly skilled pivot, and Zhukov, a potential partner for Vasilevskiy down the road (though Connor Ingram might be the next Braden Holtby, you heard it here first!). I wonder whether the Lightning would take Kostin at 14 if he’s available? I was contemplating that possibility, before the Golden Knights gambled on Kostin at 13 in my mock. Necas could crack the top 10 and could be a steal at 14. Yet, even with Sergachev now in the fold and Slater Koekkoek and Jake Dotchin shielded from the Golden Knights in the expansion draft, part of me thinks the Lightning may prefer a defenceman like Foote at 14 (yes, over Necas). That will be an interesting pick to say the least. Nothing too interesting about the latter three picks for Tampa Bay in this mock — I went best defencemen available with Asplund and Stucker, then took a chance on Fortier, a skilled over-ager.
Calgary Flames (5 = 2 C, 1 LW, 1 LHD, 1 RHD)
16) Eeli Tolvanen (LW, Sioux City, USHL)
109) Mario Ferraro (LHD, Des Moines, USHL)
140) Jack Dugan (C, Northwood, U.S. High School)
171) Matteo Gennaro (C/LW, Calgary, WHL)
202) Vladislav Yeryomenko (RHD, Calgary, WHL)
ANALYSIS: The Flames get a shoot-first winger in Tolvanen — one of the better pure snipers in this draft class — followed by a couple under-the-radar American prospects in Ferraro and Dugan (remember, Johnny Gaudreau was once an under-the-radar American prospect), before taking two players from their own backyard in Gennaro, a re-entry who wasn’t signed by Winnipeg despite excelling once he got to Calgary (traded from Prince Albert), and Yeryomenko, a Belarussian who showed flashes of serious upside while adapting to the North American game. Tolvanen is the real prize here, touted as a top-10 pick at times this season, but seemingly falling as the draft approached.
Toronto Maple Leafs (7 = 3 C, 1 LW, 1 RW, 1 RHD, 1 G)
17) Nick Suzuki (C, Owen Sound, OHL)
59) Alex Formenton (LW, London, OHL)
110) Lukas Elvenes (RW, Rogle, Sweden)
124) Dylan Coghlan (RHD, Tri-City, WHL)
141) Georgi Ivanov (C, Loko Yaroslavl, Russia)
172) Giorgio Estephan (C/RW, Lethbridge, WHL)
203) Joseph Raaymakers (G, Sault Ste. Marie, OHL)
ANALYSIS: The Leafs surprisingly selected a few over-agers last year — despite a stronger 2016 draft class in general — so I’m anticipating Toronto to do the same in 2017, given the “weaker” talent pool. Coghlan and Raaymakers were passed over in 2016 but still warrant consideration the second time around in 2017, while Estephan is another re-entry (not signed by Buffalo). Coghlan is one of my favourite over-agers this year and he got tons of exposure in Tri-City, playing alongside a handful of first-time draft eligibles and top prospects. Scouts have been raving about the strides Coghlan took this season, so I’d be shocked if he doesn’t crack the top 150. Meanwhile, at the top of Toronto’s draft haul is Suzuki, whose name kind of rhymes with Nazem Kadri — first names both start with “N” and last names end with “i.” Suzuki has the skill-set of tomorrow’s NHL player, possessing the speed and finesse for which the sport is trending. Some might say Suzuki is redundant with Mitch Marner and William Nylander already in Toronto, but I’m more of the mindset that you can never have too much of a good thing and Suzuki sure looks, to me, like he’s going to be another good one. Formenton comes from that London talent factory that Leafs assistant GM Mark Hunter is largely responsible for and permanently tapped into. Toronto’s management, with Kyle Dubas coming from Sault Ste. Marie, knows the OHL better than anybody. The Leafs also tend to pick a Swede almost every year (Elvenes this year) and have taken two Russians in each of the last two drafts (Ivanov this year). Elvenes and Ivanov both have steal potential. Toronto fans will be quick to point out that the Leafs need defence, not offence, and perhaps Lou Lamoriello will heed that advice — drafting by positional need rather than BPA this year, which could make Erik Brannstrom, Juuso Valimaki or Nic Hague a more attractive target in the first round (instead of Suzuki at 17).
Boston Bruins (6 = 3 C, 1 LW, 1 RHD, 1 LHD)
18) Michael Rasmussen (C, Tri-City, WHL)
53) Antoine Morand (C/LW, Acadie-Bathurst, QMJHL)
111) Zach Gallant (C, Peterborough, OHL)
173) Samuel Bucek (LW, Shawinigan, QMJHL)
195) Thomas Gregoire (RHD, Sherbrooke, QMJHL)
204) Matt Kiersted (LHD, Chicago, USHL)
ANALYSIS: Rasmussen is a 6-foot-5 centre who can skate, score and set up his teammates. If not for an injury setback that cut short his season, Rasmussen may very well have cracked the top 10 — and some mocks still have him in that range. If Los Angeles isn’t enamoured with Andersson at 11, I could see Rasmussen going to the Kings there, but I could also see him falling out of the top 10, possibly even the top 20. I’m not huge on Rasmussen personally, but perhaps I just haven’t seen him at his best in my live viewings. Some see a lot of Ryan Johansen in Rasmussen and that makes him sound like a total steal for the Bruins at 18. Morand kind of sounds like Marchand (as in Brad), so when I was debating between a few closely ranked prospects at 53, I decided to go with that similarity for Boston. Gallant was BPA, Bucek has a lot of intriguing tools, and I closed out Boston’s draft by picking a couple over-age defence prospects in Gregoire and Kiersted even though the Bruins are in good shape on the back end going forward. I just thought those two were too good to pass up since they were still lingering in the seventh round.
San Jose Sharks (9 = 2 RW, 2 G, 2 RHD, 1 C, 1 LW, 1 LHD)
19) Ryan Poehling (C, St. Cloud State, NCAA)
49) Grant Mismash (RW, U.S. U18, NTDP)
81) Ian Scott (G, Prince Albert, WHL)
123) Tommy Miller (RHD, U.S. U18, NTDP)
159) Daniil Skorikov (RW, Ufa, Russia)
174) Stephen Dhillon (G, Niagara, OHL)
205) Ryan Peckford (LW, Victoria, WHL)
212) Jake Christiansen (LHD, Everett, WHL)
214) Nolan Kneen (RHD, Kamloops, WHL)
ANALYSIS: I largely went BPA for Doug Wilson’s Sharks — Poehling, Mismash and Miller certainly fit that bill at their spots — but I made sure to get San Jose two goalies, a position of obvious need within the organization. Scott and Dhillon both have nice upside between the pipes and Dhillon is an over-ager, so he’s a year closer to being ready for AHL duty. Granted, the NHL jobs appear to be in good hands with Martin Jones and Aaron Dell for the foreseeable future, but the Sharks need to stock that cupboard in this year’s draft. Mission accomplished, though San Jose could opt to use a higher pick — 19 or 49 — on a more highly touted goaltender. Skorikov is another contender for the best name in this year’s draft class (and he has scoring ability, which is a bonus). Peckford had an up-and-down season but showed enough upside to get drafted. Christiansen was a kid who caught my eye in live viewings despite being overshadowed by bigger names on Everett’s blue line. Kneen is a kid that I have long liked and the Sharks would have got a good look at him in his draft year while watching one of their budding prospects, Latvian import Rudolfs Balcers, light it up as Kneen’s teammate in Kamloops.
St. Louis Blues (7 = 2 RW, 2 LW, 1 LHD, 1 C, 1 RHD)
20) Erik Brannstrom (LHD, HV71, Sweden)
27) Filip Chytil (C, ZPS Zlin, Czech Republic)
51) Matthew Strome (LW, Hamilton, OHL)
113) Ivan Chekhovich (LW, Baie-Comeau, QMJHL)
130) Kyle Olson (RW, Tri-City, WHL)
175) Daniel Bukac (RHD, Brandon, WHL)
206) Kyle Maksimovich (RW, Erie, OHL)
ANALYSIS: Doug Armstrong always seems to do well at the draft, and this year would be no exception if the Blues came away with that collection of talent. Brannstrom has been called a poor man’s Erik Karlsson and more closely compared to Kevin Shattenkirk. Chytil is skyrocketing up the rankings — I had him at 47 in my sneak peek mock and now I’m not sure if 27 is even high enough. Strome, the younger brother of Ryan and Dylan, has been ranked as high as 29 by Future Considerations and as low as 76 by HockeyProspect.com — I had him at 75 in my sneak peek but decided to split the difference for my revised mock (I’m not a huge fan). In fact, I might be a bigger fan of Chekhovich, who seems to do a lot of things well despite being a bit undersized. Olson is on the smaller side too but seems to have untapped potential (a breakout candidate for next season in the WHL). Bukac is big and could remind the Blues a bit of Colton Parayko — both are 6-foot-5, right-shooting and smooth skating for their size. Maksimovich is an over-ager who could go much higher than the seventh round — possibly closer to 100 than 200 — but that’s where he fell to in my mock.
New York Rangers (5 = 2 C, 1 LHD, 1 RHD, 1 G)
21) Josh Norris (C, U.S. U18, NTDP)
102) Tyler Inamoto (LHD, U.S. U18, NTDP)
145) Phil Kemp (RHD, U.S. U18, NTDP)
157) Kirill Ustimenko (G, MHK Dynamo St. Petersburg, Russia)
207) Sean Dhooghe (C, U.S. U18, NTDP)
ANALYSIS: The Rangers already have a core group of American college alums and could load up on four more, with 2017 being another strong draft year for the U.S. national team development program. Norris was a combine standout — displaying tremendous athleticism in the physical testing — and probably leaped over some of his peers as a result, to not only land in the first round but possibly push towards the teens. Inamoto and Kemp were truthfully BPA in those spots, while Dhooghe is another one of those kids you can’t help but root for. For those who don’t know, Dhooghe stands 5-foot-3. No, that is not a typo. If he were even, say, 5-foot-7, Dhooghe would likely crack the top 100, but he’s so small that he’s no lock to get selected at all. I hope some team takes a chance on him, perhaps the Rangers with their final pick at 207. The Rangers have some good goaltending prospects in the pipeline — including another Russian by the name of Igor Shesterkin (fourth-rounder from 2014) — but Ustimenko could be a steal in the sixth round.
Edmonton Oilers (8 = 4 C, 2 RW, 1 G, 1 LW)
22) Kailer Yamamoto (RW, Spokane, WHL)
82) Sasha Chmelevski (C, Ottawa, OHL)
84) Kirill Slepets (RW/LW, Loko Yaroslavl, Russia)
115) Dylan Ferguson (G, Kamloops, WHL)
126) Zach Solow (C/RW, Dubuque, USHL)
146) Cole Guttman (C/RW, Dubuque, USHL)
177) Brannon McManus (C/RW, Chicago, USHL)
208) Parker Foo (LW, Brooks, AJHL)
ANALYSIS: Peter Chiarelli’s Oilers have plenty of size on their NHL roster and may be more inclined to pick smaller, faster prospects this year — prioritizing skill first and foremost. Yamamoto being the perfect example, just 5-foot-8, yet dynamic and dominant at the junior level. He could potentially lead the WHL in scoring next season, especially with offensive-minded coach Dan Lambert taking over in Spokane. Edmonton may also be looking to draft by need, with right-shooting centres topping that list — Chmelevski and the trio of USHLers all check that box while still possessing high-end skill and significant upside. The Oilers have been hit-and-miss in their drafting of Russian forwards in recent years — albeit, pre-dating Chiarelli’s tenure — but they got some good playoff miles out of Anton Slepyshev and he’s looking like a keeper now. Slepets could follow a similar path to the NHL. Ferguson showcased himself while Ingram was away representing Canada at the world juniors and scouts took notice — Ferguson will now be the go-to goalie in Kamloops next season, with Ingram going pro. Lastly, Foo is the younger brother of coveted NCAA free-agent winger Spencer Foo, who is debating between four teams (Edmonton, Calgary, Detroit and Vegas) with plans to sign early next week. Could Spencer be waiting to see who, if anybody, drafts Parker? It’s possible. The brothers hail from Edmonton, so the Oilers should be considered frontrunners in those sweepstakes. Parker played on the same team as top defence prospect Makar (for tier-two Brooks), so scouts from every NHL club would have watched him on several occasions and his stat-line and accolades suggest he’s worthy of a late-round pick.
Winnipeg Jets (8 = 3 LHD, 2 RHD, 2 LW, 1 C)
24) Juuso Valimaki (LHD, Tri-City, WHL)
43) Josh Brook (RHD, Moose Jaw, WHL)
74) Ian Mitchell (RHD, Spruce Grove, AJHL)
105) Skyler McKenzie (LW, Portland, WHL)
136) Jan Kern (LW/C, Sparta Praha J20, Czech Republic)
167) Jakub Galvas (LHD, HC Olomouc, Czech Republic)
198) Drake Rymsha (C, Sarnia, OHL)
211) Brinson Pasichnuk (LHD, Arizona State, NCAA)
ANALYSIS: Kevin Cheveldayoff and the Jets have a penchant for picking WHL prospects, so expect that trend to continue this year. Winnipeg traded down in the first round, allowing Vegas to move up in order to retain Toby Enstrom and Adam Lowry through the expansion draft, but Valimaki might be off the board before 24. A lot of mocks have Valimaki going ahead of Foote, somewhere in the mid-teens. I prefer Foote by the slightest of margins, but there is a ton to like about Valimaki too and the Jets would be jumping for joy if he falls to 24. Brook has emerged as a personal favourite in this draft class and he’s been steadily rising up my rankings — I had him at 66, a third-rounder in my sneak peek mock, and now he’s nearly knocking on the door of the first round at 43. In moving Brook up my rankings, I dropped Mitchell down from 43 to 74. That wasn’t meant to be a negative reflection on Mitchell, a prospect I’m still fond of and who I could see cracking the top 50 as something of a surprise pick. I just felt their revised draft positions were more in line with the consensus. The Jets already have two smaller forwards from WHL Portland pushing for NHL playing time in Nic Petan and Chase De Leo, and they could add a third by drafting McKenzie as an over-ager this year. What he lacks in size, McKenzie makes up for in skill. Winnipeg’s final four picks were BPA, with Pasichnuk coming off a quality freshman season in the NCAA ranks after getting passed over out of tier-two junior last year.
Montreal Canadiens (6 = 3 C, 3 LHD)
25) Nic Hague (LHD, Mississauga, OHL)
56) Morgan Frost (C, Sault Ste. Marie, OHL)
58) Adam Ruzicka (C, Sarnia, OHL)
68) Mikey Anderson (LHD, Waterloo, USHL)
87) Alexandre Texier (C, Grenoble, France)
149) Clayton Phillips (LHD, Fargo, USHL)
ANALYSIS: All of the sudden, Marc Bergevin needs to draft some defencemen again after trading away Nathan Beaulieu (Buffalo) and the aforementioned Sergachev (Tampa Bay). Hague is a good start at 25 — he’s got some Shea Weber in his game — and both Anderson and Phillips would be value picks for the Canadiens in their respective spots. To be honest, I like all of Montreal’s picks in my mock but, in saying that, I realize all of these prospects have the potential to go higher than where I have the Habs selecting them. Frost could rise into the first round — I had him going at 25 in my sneak peek (Montreal apparently covets him) — and Ruzicka might not be far off either since he has the size and a lot of the same skills as another Czech import who came over to play for Sarnia in Pavel Zacha (sixth in 2015). Even Texier is talented enough to crack the top 50, certainly the top 75. The more I look at that group, the more I think it might be too good to be true for Montreal.
Chicago Blackhawks (10 = 4 RW, 2 RHD, 2 C, 1 G, 1 LHD)
26) Henri Jokiharju (RHD, Portland, WHL)
57) Ivan Lodnia (RW, Erie, OHL)
90) Kirill Maksimov (RW, Niagara, OHL)
119) Pavel Shen (C, Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia)
135) Igor Shvyryov (C, Stalnye Lisi, Russia)
144) Ivan Kosorenkov (RW, Victoriaville, QMJHL)
150) Alexander Polunin (RW, Lokomotiv, Russia)
170) Tomas Vomacka (G, Corpus Christi, NAHL)
181) Brendan De Jong (LHD, Portland, WHL)
215) Otto Latvala (RHD, HPK J20, Finland)
ANALYSIS: The Russians are coming! Stan Bowman and the Blackhawks won’t shy away from Russian prospects or any underappreciated talents, that’s for sure. Selecting five Russians in a row — including three straight over-agers — seems like a stretch, but it might not be a bad strategy for Chicago. If even a couple of them boom instead of bust as mid-round picks, the Blackhawks could steal another Artemi Panarin (I know he was signed as a free agent, never drafted, but you get my drift). I’m a big fan of Jokiharju’s game and the strides he made under former Pittsburgh coach Mike Johnston, who has returned to WHL Portland and got the most out of his junior-aged players this past season. De Jong’s development took a big step in the right direction there too, perhaps big enough to get drafted as an over-ager this year. Lodnia enjoyed an impressive draft year despite being overshadowed by Erie’s bigger names, including Chicago draft pick and CHL player of the year Alex DeBrincat. Sensing the need to draft a goalie, Vomacka was topping my list in that spot, while Latvala made sense with that final pick. It was either him or another Russian, but I decided to take a Finnish friend for Jokiharju. All in all, Chicago’s draft haul is one of my favourites from my mock. Yes, I like all those Russians.
Ottawa Senators (4 = 3 C, 1 G)
28) Robert Thomas (C, London, OHL)
47) Scott Reedy (C/LW, U.S. U18, NTDP)
121) Adam Ahman (G, HV71 J20, Sweden)
183) Kevin Hancock (C, Owen Sound, OHL)
ANALYSIS: We can keep this one short and sweet since I had Pierre Dorion and the Senators going BPA for three of their four picks — the trio of centres, led by Thomas, who is a fun player to watch and may have ‘wowed’ some team into taking him higher than this, perhaps even in the teens. The other pick being Ahman — a goalie from Sweden, where Ottawa tends to go looking for netminders (Robin Lehner and Marcus Hogberg). The Senators could use another young goaltender in the system since they won’t be extending Matt O’Connor, who struggled as a pro coming off a stellar college career.
Nashville Predators (6 = 2 C, 1 RW, 1 LW, 1 LHD, 1 G)
30) Kole Lind (RW, Kelowna, WHL)
61) Evan Barratt (C/RW, U.S. U18, NTDP)
92) Tim Soderlund (LW/C, Skelleftea, Sweden)
154) Kalle Miketinac (C, Frolunda HC J20, Sweden)
176) Griffin Mendel (LHD, Penticton, BCHL)
216) Veini Vehvilainen (G, JYP, Finland)
ANALYSIS: David Poile and the Predators have done well drafting from WHL Kelowna over the years — Shea Weber was their captain and face of the franchise before getting traded to Montreal last summer, Colton Sissons enjoyed a coming-out party in this year’s playoffs with his heroics helping Nashville advance to the Stanley Cup Final, and even Justin Kirkland came on strong as a first-year pro for AHL Milwaukee this past season. Most the recent mocks have Lind in the second round, but Poile might reach a little based on his confidence in Kelowna’s ability to develop NHL-calibre prospects. Barratt was BPA, while the Preds have always been successful in drafting out of Sweden as well and would hope to add Soderlund and Miketinac to that long list of overachievers based on their draft position. Mendel was teammates with Nashville’s first-round pick from last year, Dante Fabbro (first round, 17th overall), so the Preds’ scouts would be familiar with Mendel and probably kept tabs on him again this season. Vehvilainen was passed over last year, mainly because he underwhelmed at the world juniors, but he redeemed himself this year and might have impressed enough to get drafted the second time around. Nashville is deploying a Finnish tandem in goal with Pekka Rinne and Juuse Saros, so if any team is going to take a chance on Vehvilainen, it could very well be the Predators.
Pittsburgh Penguins (6 = 3 LW, 1 RHD, 1 RW, 1 C)
31) Connor Timmins (RHD, Sault Ste. Marie, OHL)
93) Pavel Koltygin (LW, Drummondville, QMJHL)
152) Linus Weissbach (LW, Tri-City, USHL)
155) Denis Smirnov (LW, Penn State, NCAA)
186) Carson Meyer (RW, Miami University, NCAA)
217) Skyler Brind’Amour (C, Selects Academy, U.S. High School)
ANALYSIS: The Penguins might see shades of Justin Schultz in Timmins, while Smirnov and Meyer may be reminiscent of Conor Sheary and Bryan Rust. Weissbach is an over-ager as well, yet another small skilled forward who is going the college route — attending the University of Wisconsin starting this fall. With the final pick of this year’s draft, Pittsburgh GM Jim Rutherford might go sentimental and select Brind’Amour, the son of former NHLer Rod who won a Stanley Cup with Rutherford in Carolina in 2006 — just prior to Skyler’s seventh birthday.
New York Islanders (4 = 1 C, 1 RHD, 1 LHD, 1 RW)
46) Shane Bowers (C, Waterloo, USHL)
77) Jarret Tyszka (RHD, Seattle, WHL)
139) Jack Rathbone (LHD, Dexter, U.S. High School)
201) Andrei Altybarmakyan (RW, LVY St. Petersburg, Russia)
ANALYSIS: The Islanders traded away their first-rounder to keep their current roster intact through the expansion draft, but Garth Snow would be thrilled to see Bowers still on the board at 46. He’s another one of those prospects who could go anywhere from 20-50 and the mocks seem pretty split on whether Bowers is going to be a first-round pick or a second-rounder. Tyszka was a teammate of Islanders top prospect Matt Barzal with WHL champion Seattle, so their scouts would have watched Tyszka a ton and there is a lot to like from what I’ve seen in my live viewings. Rathbone has a cool name and decent upside, while Altybarmakyan is more of an announcer’s nightmare.
Anaheim Ducks (5 = 1 G, 1 RW, 1 RHD, 1 C, 1 LHD)
50) Keith Petruzzelli (G, Muskegon, USHL)
60) Nick Henry (RW, Regina, WHL)
91) Cameron Crotty (RHD, Brockville, CJHL)
122) Rickard Hugg (C, Leksand J20, Sweden)
153) Jonathan Smart (LHD, Regina, WHL)
ANALYSIS: The Ducks don’t necessarily need a top goalie prospect as bad as some other teams — not with John Gibson patrolling the crease for potentially another decade — but Petruzzelli gives Anaheim a long-term option and a contingency plan. The Ducks would be very familiar with both Henry and Smart from WHL Regina since Anaheim has two drafted prospects on the same team in Sam Steel and Josh Mahura. Worth noting, that team, coached by former NHL bench boss John Paddock, is also hosting next year’s Memorial Cup championship tournament, with an automatic berth. Crotty could be another Brandon Montour type, while Hugg has pretty good upside too — though he won’t likely be the next Rickard Rakell.
Minnesota Wild (6 = 2 LHD, 2 RW, 1 LW, 1 G)
85) Dylan Samberg (LHD, Hermantown, U.S. High School)
97) Alexei Toropchenko (LW, HK MVD, Russia)
116) Michael Pastujov (RW, U.S. U18, NTDP)
147) Olle Eriksson Ek (G, Farjestad J20, Sweden)
178) Austin Pratt (RW, Red Deer, WHL)
209) Jesse Bjugstad (LHD, Stillwater, U.S. High School)
ANALYSIS: For a team that doesn’t pick until 85 as of now, the Wild would be fortunate to bag this much talent. Samberg, Pratt and Bjugstad all hail from the state of Minnesota — or, rather, the State of Hockey — with Samberg having the potential to be something special in a few years. He’s another prospect that could be long gone by 85, possibly in the top 50 if another team has taken a liking to his upside. Toropchenko is a power forward who could perhaps flank fellow Russian Kirill Kaprizov in the future. Pastujov could easily crack the top 100 as well, but he seems like the kind of player Minnesota would target in the middle rounds — almost like a Jason Zucker type. Eriksson Ek, the goalie, is the younger brother of Joel Eriksson Ek, one of Minnesota’s top forward prospects who will likely be tasked with plugging the hole left by Erik Haula’s signing with Vegas. Top to bottom, there isn’t a prospect that I don’t like in Minnesota’s group but, as was the case with Montreal, these players might not be available in those draft spots.
Columbus Blue Jackets (5 = 2 LW, 2 LHD, 1 C)
86) Joel Teasdale (LW, Blainville-Boisbriand, QMJHL)
117) Kasper Kotkansalo (LHD, Sioux Falls, USHL)
148) Antoine Crete-Belzile (LHD, Blainville-Boisbriand, QMJHL)
179) Greg Meireles (C, Kitchener, OHL)
210) Mick Messner (LW, Madison, USHL)
ANALYSIS: The Blue Jackets would be drafting two teammates of last year’s third overall pick, Pierre-Luc Dubois, in Teasdale and Crete-Belzile. Dubois got traded to Blainville-Boisbriand midseason and helped take that team on a deep playoff run, developing some chemistry with Teasdale in the process. Kotkansalo is a Finnish defender developing in North America, a player with upside that Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen would have the book on. Meireles and Messner were both BPA, though Messner grew up only about a seven-hour drive from Columbus — yet Chicago would have been his home team, less than three hours away.
Washington Capitals (4 = 1 LW, 1 LHD, 1 RW, 1 G)
120) Yaroslav Alexeyev (LW, Sherbrooke, QMJHL)
151) Tobias Geisser (LHD, EV Zug, Switzerland)
182) Jan Drozg (RW/LW, Leksand J20, Sweden)
213) Vladislav Sukhachyov (G, Chelmet Chelyabinsk, Russia)
ANALYSIS: Brian MacLellan hasn’t been drafting as many Russians for Washington as George McPhee before him, but that could change this year — with a seemingly strong and deep group of Russian prospects in the 2017 class. MacLellan did select goalie Ilya Samsonov in the first round in 2015 and Sukhachyov served as his partner at this year’s world juniors after getting passed over in last year’s draft. Sukhachyov isn’t the biggest goalie, but he’s very athletic and competitive. I like him and actually had Washington drafting Sukhachyov at 207 in my 2016 mock and now at 213 in 2017. Make it happen! Alexeyev is a high-skill forward, Geisser is a steady Swiss defender — he’d join Jonas Siegenthaler, also of Switzerland, in the Capitals’ stable of defence prospects — and Drozg is a crafty winger of Slovenian descent who has been developing at a steady rate in Sweden.
If you have further questions about a particular prospect or pick, just ask in the comments section below and I’d be happy to elaborate or debate.
Larry Fisher is a senior writer and head scout for The Hockey Writers, having been an at-large contributor for THW since August 2014. Fisher covers both the NHL and the WHL, specializing in prospects and NHL draft content, including his annual mock drafts that date back to 2012. Fisher has also been a beat writer for the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets since 2008, formerly working as a sports reporter/editor for The Daily Courier in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada from 2008-2019. Follow him on Twitter: @LarryFisher_KDC.