NHL Mock Draft 4.0
C | Erie
The consensus best player available in the draft, and the best NHL prospect since Sidney Crosby was taken by the Penguins. Edmonton is counting on him to be a difference-maker right off the bat.
2. Jack Eichel
C | Boston University
There have been comparisons to Mike Modano and Evgeni Malkin based on his style of play, and the 6-foot-2, 195-pound pride of Chelmsford, Mass., will become a star in Buffalo with his strength, skill and beastly athleticism.
3. Dylan Strome
C | Erie
A 6-foot-3, 187-pound center who has drawn favorable comparisons to Jumbo Joe Thornton, he's exactly what the Coyotes need if they keep the pick. If the pick is traded, I'd expect it's to a team that covets Noah Hanifin.
4. Mitch Marner
RW | London
He's generously listed at 5-foot-11 and looks about 14 years old at 160 pounds, but Marner has the skating game and offensive instincts to thrive in today's NHL. You can't discount the Mark Hunter connection, either, since he's out of the Knights program.
5. Noah Hanifin
D | Boston College
Boston College Hanifin will make history along with Eichel as the first two Massachusetts kids to be selected together in the NHL's top 10. He's the total package as a 6-foot-2, 201-pound, 18-year-old prospect.
6. Pavel Zacha
C | Sarnia
The 6-foot-3, 214-pound center is big, strong, skilled and has a little bit of a nasty streak. The New Jersey Devils need some of that down the middle of their lineup, and just need to keep getting younger with players like Zacha. The first pick of the Ray Shero Era in Jersey should turn out to be a very good one.
7. Lawson Crouse
LW | Kingston
Crouse is the preeminent power forward in the draft at 6-foot-4 and 211 pounds, and he also has a nasty, gnarly reputation as a competitor. He calls himself a "more skilled Milan Lucic", so he doesn't seem to lack for confidence. The Flyers are a perfect fit for this type of player.
8. Mikko Rantanen
RW | TPS (Finland)
The Finnish GM takes the best Finnish player available, but he also takes the highest-rated European player off the board. Rantanen is 6-foot-3, 211 pounds and more than held his own in the Finnisn Elite League as an 18-year-old. The Blue Jackets might pick a defensemen here, but it would be tough to pass on Rantanen.
9. Mathew Barzal
C | Seattle
The 5-foot-11, 178-pounder put up 57 assists in 44 games this past season, and personifies the word "playmaker." He lost three months during the season with a knee injury, but dominated in the U18 tournament. San Jose could stand to get a little younger at the center spot.
10. Ivan Provorov
D | Brandon
The 6-foot, 193-pound Provorov is a smooth operator at both ends of the ice, and showed his commitment to the NHL by moving to the U.S. as a 14-year-old. Colorado needs defensive help, and Provorov could help immediately.
11. Kyle Connor
LW | Youngstown
Connor has decent size and a good shot, but it's the blazing skating speed that have scouts excited about him. Florida has some beefy forwards already in the fold, so now they bring a little flash and dash to the equation with a goal-scoring speedster in Connor.
12. Zach Werenski
D | Michigan
Dallas has plenty of firepower at the forward position, but needs some help on defense. Werenski is a gritty, gifted performer who led the Wolverines in blocked shots as a freshman while also quarterbacking their power play with skill, precision and dangerous playmaking ability. The 6-foot-1, 201-pounder will just keep getting better and better.
13. Timo Meier
RW | Halifax
The word is that the Kings are high on Meier, who is becoming a rising star in the draft. One might expect the Kings to go D-man here with Thomas Chabot, but it shouldn’t surprise to see them opt for this big, strong right wing who's also a goal-scoring machine.
14. Jakub Zboril
D | Saint John
Zboril is a 6-foot, 184-pound defenseman who is a smooth-skating puck mover at the offensive end, and a solid, sometimes nasty defender who likes to play on the edge. Sounds like a Bruins player to me.
15. Travis Konecny
RW | Ottawa
The 5-foot-9, 173-pounder probably wouldn't have been a first-rounder even five years ago, but it's becoming a small man's game in the NHL. He's a solid leader, a fiery, fiasty competitor and a solid offensive performer who could be the next Johnny Gaudreau. Konecny crushed it at the combine against bigger, stronger prospects.
16. Colin White
C | USNTDP
One of the best two-way center prospects in the draft, overshadowed by Jack Eichel and Noah Hanifin as a Massachusetts product. White will make some scouting group look awfully smart. He's a clutch scorer and a sound defender, and models his game after Patrice Bergeron.
17. Paul Bittner
LW | Portland
The Jets are starting to stockpile big, heavy bodies up front and in back to deal with the other titans in the Western Conference, and the smooth-skating 6-foot-4 winger knocked home 30-plus goals in junior last season. They could use a big, skilled body to replace Evander Kane, and Bittner might be that guy.
18. Jansen Harkins
C | Prince George
Harkins comes from great bloodlines with an uncle (Brett) and a dad (Todd) whpplayed in the NHL, and he’s got all of the makings of a strong, skilled two-way center who will be a staple for 10 years. The scoring is there, the hockey IQ is there and you just get the sense this kid is going to make it to the NHL as part of the grand Harkins family tradition. Scouts love effort and smarts along with talent, and Harkins has all of the above.
19. Oliver Kylington
D | Farjestad
Some have made comparisons to fellow Swede Erik Karlsson in terms of his skating and skill set, and the Red Wings would seem like a natural landing spot for that kind of slick offensive D-man. He has all the skill, but some talent evaluators question his decision-making on the ice and that may cause him to slide.
20. Nick Merkley
C/RW | Kelowna
Merkley isn’t the biggest guy on the ice at 5-foot-10, 188 pounds, but impressed with his skilled, tough and pugnacious play in leading the Rockets to the Memorial Cup final. The Calgary native may end up going higher than this spot given the way he performed on the big stage over the course of this season, and the high end creativity and play-making in his bag of tricks is something any team could use. His compete level is off the charts.
21. Evgeny Svechnikov
RW | Cape Breton
The big (6-foot-3, 205-pound) right wing has a sizzling shot, and has added quite a bit of muscle to his frame over the last year. He’ll fit right in with the collection of impressive prospects the Sabres have acquired over the last few years.
22. Denis Gurianov
RW | Togilatti
A 6-foot-2, 187-pound left winger has overwhelming speed, ideal size and a great deal of potential in his game. He’s the-seventh ranked European prospect on the NHL Central Scouting list, but has a chance to be the best player in his draft class if he can continue refining his all-around game.
23. Brock Boeser
RW | Waterloo
The North Dakota-commit had 35 goals in 57 games at the USHL level, and has one of the best goal-scoring shots in the entire draft. There are some other areas of his game he’ll need to improve at the NCAA level, but he can put the puck in the net. He has been compared to Patrick Sharp in terms of scoring ability, and that’s a department that the Canucks would like to stock up in. Don’t rule out the Bruins taking him much earlier if guys like Meier and Konecny have already been taken by the 14th pick.
24. Brandon Carlo
D | Tri-City
The 6-foot-5, 199-pound defenseman still has plenty of developing to do, but could be the kind of defensive beast that the Leafs have been searching for all over. He clearly has the size, but he also posted 4 goals and 25 points last season while showing some offensive upside for a stay-at-home type
25. Joel Eriksson Ek
C | Farjestad
He’s a 6-foot-2, 180-pound center that really caught fire at the end of the season, and plays a strong puck possession game. He might not be the fastest skater around, but Winnipeg seems to love oversized, strong forwards. The Jets could use a little more size and strength down the middle of the lineup, and the Swedish pivot could provide the Jets with those qualities.
26. Thomas Chabot
D | Saint John
Chabot could be tapped as early as the 13th pick by the Los Angeles Kings, but will instead go here to a Canadiens team looking for young defensemen. The 6-foot, 180-pounder is consistent and solid, but not flashy. That may be why he slips a bit in a strongdraft class of defensemen.
27. Jordan Greenway
LW | USNTDP
The production numbers aren’t there, but you can’t teach being 6-foot-5 and 222 pounds as a teenager. That’s a project ready for some team to take a chance with, and Anaheim loves big and strong. Greenway is a boom-or-bust venture, but the Ducks could stand to take a risk in the first round at this point.
28. Jake DeBrusk
LW | Swift Current
The son of NHL player Louie DeBrusk, who is considered something of a blue-collar forward willing to play the price around the net. It never hurts to have NHL bloodlines when it comes to draft weekend, and he’s exactly the kind of player Tampa could use more of on its roster.
29. Jeremy Roy
D | Sherbrooke
He’s got average size at only 5-foot-11, 189 pounds, but he’s also got a well-rounded game with a maturity and leadership component that’s impressed many scouts. The 43 points in 45 QMJHL games also reveal a talented offensive defenseman with plenty of skill to spare, and Arizona needs that with Keith Yandle gone.
30. Ilya Samsonov
G | Magnitogorsk
The Russian goaltender is the top-ranked netminder in the draft, and the only one that’s got a shot at being a first-round pick. The size is impressive at 6-foot-3 and 203 pounds, and the Coyotes need to find themselves a young answer at the position after Devan Dubnyk flamed out there. This pick will either be a goalie or a D-man, or will be used to attain a veteran at those positions.