NHL Mock Draft Version 3
It's a little man's game
There's less than two weeks to go until the NHL draft, and so much is still in question after the first couple of no-brainer picks in Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel. The real monkey wrench in this entire first round will be potential trades taking place right before the draft that could really shake up the way the first round is expected to go down.
Here is the 2015 NHL Mock Draft 3.0 during the season when everybody lies about which prospects they like, which ones they don’t like and which ones they might be motivated to move up for a chance at.
1. Edmonton – Connor McDavid (Erie)
The generational prospect compared to Sidney Crosby will be the pick for the Oilers, and even went to Alberta for a special visit last week. It was a good choice to have the 6-foot-2-inch, 195-pounder visit Edmonton in June rather than four or five months ago. All that’s left is for the Oilers to say his name on draft night.
2. Buffalo – Jack Eichel (Boston University)
The 6-2, 194-pound frame is an athletic beast and showed it during fitness testing at the combine. It may take him a bit to get the power game truly effective at the NHL level, but he’s going to be a dominant offensive player for a long, long time. The line of Evander Kane, Eichel and Matt Moulson will be fun to watch.
3. Arizona – Dylan Strome (Erie)
The Coyotes need centers and Strome will fill that need in a big way should they hold onto the pick. The expectation is that the 6-3, 187-pound center fills out and makes good on those Joe Thornton comparisons. There is a good chance, though, that the Coyotes move this first rounder for an established NHL D-man or center, and try to appeal to the fan base now no matter where they’re playing next season.
4. Toronto – Mitch Marner (London)
He looks like he’s about 14 years old and he definitely needs some time to fill out before he’s ready for NHL competition. But he is exactly the kind of speedy, playmaking center that the Leafs don’t currently have, and he’s got a bit of an edge to his game for a small fry as well. He’s also an Ontario kid with a bit of swagger, and they could use a young player like that after they clear out the toxic element from the dressing room. Oh, by the way he scored 44 goals and 126 points for the Knights last season. That’s pretty good.
5. Carolina – Noah Hanifin (Boston College)
The top-ranked defenseman in the draft and the third-ranked North American skater goes to a Hurricanes team that needs to replace Andrej Sekera. It will be interesting to see if the Canes immediately thrust the 6-2, 205-pound Hanifin into the NHL spotlight, or if he gets another year at Boston College to prepare for the NHL jump. The size, strength and skill package is there, but defenseman take time to develop fully. The Hurricanes will be bad enough, though, to allow Hanifin to make plenty of mistakes while learning at the NHL level.
6. New Jersey – Mathew Barzal (Seattle)
The New Jersey Devils need some offensive jump, and it starts with the 5-11 play-making pivot from the Thunderbirds. Barzal had more assists (45) than games played this season, and immediately helps a Jersey team that needs to improve down the middle of the ice. His creativity and offensive instincts are among the best in the draft, but he’s also projected to be a good two-way center.