This is my first and only mock draft for the NHL. This year will be more fun, as after Auston Matthews goes to the Maple Leafs, the draft will be a mystery at pick number two, which is where the draft will officially start. My favorite player in this draft is between Alexander Nylander and Logan Brown. There are many gambles in this mock, which is just like the draft when it starts on June 24th. Best of luck to the players and the teams selecting. Happy hunting.
1. Toronto Maple Leafs – Auston Matthews – C – Zurich (NLA)
Matthews is the obvious pick here. He is the next big star in the making. Do not be shocked if he cracks the Maple Leafs roster.
2. Winnipeg Jets – Matthew Tkachuk – LW – London (OHL)
Jets continue to add young talent to a young roster. Tkachuk is a physical forward that brings the heat every time. Knows how to score in many ways and is faster than he looks. Pro-Style mentality.
3. Columbus Blue Jackets – Patrik Laine – LW – Tappara Tampere (SM-liiga)
Powerful forward that is very versatile and gifted offensively. They say he has a Ovechkin like shot. Quick slap shot, but does not mind picking up the assist. Team player, which the Blue Jackets need, plus he could be their number one scorer in the future. Not a speedy skater, but can move for a big fellow.
4. Edmonton Oilers – Jesse Puljujarvi – RW – Karpat (SM-liiga)
Oilers continue to draft early in the draft, but Puljujarvi will end this trend, as he will be Robin to McDavid, who is Batman. This kid can skate past anybody with his flash like speed. Two-way forward. Will score 15 to 20 goals a year, but is the playmaker the Oilers need.
5. Vancouver Canucks – Logan Brown – C – Windsor (OHL)
He is climbing up boards like crazy and his size helps too. Could be a winger if a team is deep at the center area. Dominant in both the offensive and defensive zone with a lot of grit to protect the puck and turn quickly to release a deadly shot. Will be asked to screen the goalie with his height (6’7”).
6. Calgary Flames – Jacob Chychrun – D – Sarnia (OHL)
Most ready d-man in this draft and will crack the Flames roster. Very good offensively and defensively. Loves to hit people, which I like. Composed player that knows what to do when the puck is in his possession.
7. Arizona Coyotes – Alexander Nylander – LW – AIK (Allsvenskan)
Alex is a real playmaker at the wing spot. Coyotes need to add some serious talent and they do so here. Alex is a great north and south player. His Brother Will is a playmaker as well, but Alex beats him in that category. Will is more of an west and east player.
8. Buffalo Sabres – Olli Juolevi – D – London (OHL)
Very good defender, but is more known as an offensive d-man. More potential than Chychrun, but will take a year in the AHL to learn. Could be the next Victor Olli Maatta with the way they play.
9. Montreal Canadiens – Pierre-Luc Dubois – C – Cape Breton (QMJHL)
The Canadiens just fell off the phase of the Earth after starting the season hotter than hell. Dubois plays a 200 foot game, which could help this team. Quick and gritty forward that is a center, but is versatile to play the left wing spot. The most complete player in this year’s draft.
10. Colorado Avalanche – Jake Bean – D – Calgary Hitmen (WHL)
The Avalanche have prized forwards in their organization, but let’s give them a young d-man. Shifty and smart player that plays a complete defensive game. Will have to work on this offensive game.
11. New Jersey Devils – Mikhail Sergachyov – D – Windsor (OHL)
Devils add youth to an up and down defense group. The Windsor product is a solid two-way d-man that plays at a high level and loves to compete on an everyday basis. Will standout to the fans by making great defensive plays.
12. Ottawa Senators – Keiffer Bellows – C – Sioux Falls (USHL)
Bellows will be loved by his fellows, as everyone did prior to the draft. He is a skilled and powerful forward that will dominate games like he did in at Sioux Falls. Crisp shot and uses excellent puck handling skills to get a good release on that crispy shot. You will see lots of hits on his stat sheet.
13. Carolina Hurricanes – Tyson Jost – C – Penticton (BCHL)
He was a man playing among boys in the BCHL. Big body that will have him stay in the league for a while and that he could be the face of the Hurricanes’ franchise. The new era starts with Jost. Crafty goal scorer that brings tons of energy in a quick time frame.
14. Boston Bruins – Clayton Keller – C – US-Under-18 (USAH-NTDP)
Worth the draft pick here, but he is committed to going to Boston University. He is the next Zach Parise with similar size, heart, and skill set. Skilled small player that won’t wow you, but gets the job done.
15. Minnesota Wild – Dante Fabbro – D – Penticton (BCHL)
Dependable two-way d-man that has a bucketful of potential to be an excellent offensive d-man. Mature for his age and shows lots of poise. Makes smart decisions in tough situations. Will hit people. Mobile enough to skate with anyone.
16. Detroit Red Wings – Max Jones – LW – London (OHL)
Brings a nasty edge, which the Red Wings play. Offensively talented player, but will he be able to control his nastiness? That is the concern. Hard working player that can get separation with ease. Will be in front of the net in the offensive zone.
17. Nashville Predators – Luke Kunin – C – Wisconsin
Highly intelligent kid that possesses a key skill in putting the puck in the back of the net. Will be an elite finisher. Needs to be more explosive. If he works hard, he will be a highlight reel player.
18. Philadelphia Flyers – Julien Gauthier – RW – Val-d’Or (QMJHL)
Great size, but the team did not play well in their tournament. Will need time to develop. Great vision to place the puck. Does not mind to hit. Skates to perfection. A prolific scorer. Could be the next Rick Nash.
19. New York Islanders – Charles McAvoy – D – US-Under-18 (USAH-NTDP)
Pro-Style d-man that is a classic like player. Stock is rising and the Islanders can use all the d-man they can get their hands on. McAvoy played this past season at Boston University.
20. Arizona Coyotes – Markus Niemelainen – D – Saginaw (OHL)
The Saginaw product is projected to go either in the first round or second, but I have him in going in the first round. Why? Well he is a tall and rangy d-man. Brings an active long stick to the rink and makes all the passes in the book, but makes an incredible long stretch pass down the ice. Working heavily on his offensive game, which is not far behind, but his defense is the same. Great gamble here for a team that will be developing for the next four to five seasons.
21. Carolina Hurricanes – Logan Stanley – D – Windsor (OHL)
The Hurricanes strike back in the draft and take a big d-man. Stanley loves to hit people and moves well for a kid his size (6’7”, 216 pounds). Two-way d-man that is more sound defensively, but could develop a slap shot like Brent Burns and could become an All-Star. Other teams get scared when he decides to hit people.
22. Winnipeg Jets – German Rubstov – C – Vityaz Podolsk HC (Rus Jr)
The doping scandal scares teams, but I think the Jets gamble on him, as they rebuild or retool. First round talent that is a two-way skilled player. Does not need the puck to be successful. Smart kid that uses his hockey instincts to make the right plays. Checks deep and well.
23. Florida Panthers – Michael McLeod – C – Mississauga (OHL)
Highly skilled player that is going to a young, but amazing team that is set to be around for the next 10 years. You can’t contain this kid as he uses his size and skating to evade defenders. Lastly, he has great puck handling skills that standout.
24. Anaheim Ducks – Boris Katchouk – LW – Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
Hard-nosed kid that drives to the net with force. Really good IQ. Physical player like the Ducks, which the Western Conference is not, but only a few teams are. Generates good offense, but let’s see if his offensive potential breaks out.
25. Dallas Stars – Riley Tufte – LW – Fargo (USHL)
Committed to attending the University of Minnesota-Duluth. He is a big boy, but his frame definitely need to fill out. Soft hands for a kid his size. Stars add a player for the future.
26. Washington Capitals – Tage Thompson – RW – Connecticut
Huskies product has quick and soft hands. Good size, but does not hit. Has the tools to skate pass defenders, but does not do it at a consistent level. Not a slow skater, but needs to work on footwork. Great shot.
27. Tampa Bay Lightning – Kale Clague – D – Brandon (OHL)
Great run in the Memorial Cup. Strong skater that makes great passes with his excellent vision. Good at joining the rush, which the Lightning love if their d-man joins the attack. Strips opponents cleanly. Offensive d-man that has a beautiful shot, but needs to be more consistent. His defense is not that far behind.
28. St. Louis Blues – Pascal Laberge – C – Victoriaville (QMJHL)
He is a hunter. Hunts for turnovers and is great in the counter attack. Shields puck nicely. Will need to develop into a scorer, but is a great facilitator. Tough kid, which is the way the Blues play. He has sneaked into the first round, as he has been good all year.
29. Boston Bruins – Carl Grundstrom – LW – Modo Hockey (SHL)
Gritty player that fits the Boston way. Pitbull like presence. Not fancy, but gets the job done like current Bruin, Brad Marchand. Perfect in the checking role. Screens goalies well and will continue to do so. Sneaks into the end of the first round due to his style and the way the Bruins play.
30. Anaheim Ducks – Filip Gustavsson – G – Lulea HF (SHL)
The star of the most recent Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament was this goalie (2.11 goals-against and .930 save percentage in five games). The Ducks get their future goalie here, as they got a great roster that can make plenty of runs in the NHL. He saves everything coming his way, but struggled like most goalies when their defenses do not help them out, but if you put decent players that make the basic plays, he will shine.