NHL Mock Draft 2.0
By Joe Haggerty
With the NHL Combine completed and the NHL Draft just a couple of weeks away it is once again time to bust out the always crowd pleasing CSNNE Mock Draft. We are projecting the Blackhawks eventually prevail in the Stanley Cup final, which will determine the final two picks.
1. Connor McDavid (Erie)
The generational prospect compared to Sidney Crosby will be the pick for the Oilers even after a “meh” showing at the NHL scouting combine. It’s about what McDavid can do on the ice, and he’s special when he puts on the skates. The Oil should finally get relevant again after their fourth No. 1 overall pick in the last six years.
2. Jack Eichel (Boston University)
Jack Eichel was the star of the NHL scouting combine in Buffalo with the Sabres media following him around, and a flock of national reporters tracing his every move. The 6-foot-2, 194-pound frame is already athletic freak material and showed it off during the fitness testing at the combine. It may take him a bit to get the power game going at the NHL level, but he’s going to be a productive player for a long, long time.
3. Dylan Strome (Erie)
The Coyotes need centers, and Strome will fill that need in a big way if they hold onto the pick. The hope with the pick here is that the 6'3", 187-pound center fills out and makes good on those Joe Thornton comparisons. A good chance, though, that the Coyotes move this first rounder for an established NHL D-man or center, and that could really shake up these first few picks following the big two.
4. Mitch Marner (London)
He looks like he's about 14 years old and he definitely needs some time to fill out, but he is exactly the kind of speedy, playmaking center that the Leafs don't currently have. He is also and Ontario kid with a bit of swagger, and they could use a young player like that.
5. 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 Hanifin into the NHL spotlight, or if he gets another year at Boston College to get ready for the jump to the NHL. The size, strength and skill package is there, but defenseman take time to develop fully.
6. Mikko Rantanen (Finland)
The New Jersey Devils need plenty of help, and they go for a high ceiling with the 6-foot-4, 209-pound power winger that can do everything offensively. Given the old age of their roster, Ray Shero and the Devils need to hit it right with this pick. They could do much worse than the top European prospect in the draft.
7. Lawson Crouse (Kingston)
The Flyers haven’t exactly been the Broad Street Bullies over the last few seasons, and they can get some of that back by selecting the nastiest power forward in the draft. The 6-foot-4, 212-pound winger said he models his game after a more skilled Milan Lucic, and has the offensive arsenal along with some snarl. He’s a perfect fit for the Flyers.
8. Zach Werenski (University of Michigan)
He was a standout defenseman for the Wolverines, and looked as adept on the power play as he did leading the team in blocked shots. The 6-foot-2, 192-pounder would fit right in with the Blue Jackets as they continue searching for a No. 1 defenseman.
9. Mathew Barzal (Seattle)
The playmaking center made more assists 45 than games played 44 for the Thunderbirds last season, and the Sharks need some young centers given their situation with Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau.
10. Ivan Provorov (Brandon)
A 6', 201 pound left shot defenseman that’s solid at both ends of the ice, and will be a nice complement to the star-studded group up front for the Avs.
11. Pavel Zacha (Sarnia)
Dale Tallon adds the 6-foot-3, 214-pound center to fellow big bodies Nick Bjugstad and Aleksander Barkov, and is beginning to build something pretty impressive in Florida. Zacha was good, not great, in his rookie OHL season with the Sting, but the skills are all there.
12. Kyle Connor (Youngstown)
The speedy, skilled scoring machine is exactly the kind of piece that could fit right in with the offensive powerhouse getting built in Dallas. Talk about the perfect fit, and they’ll get to take their time with him as he heads to the University of Michigan.
13. Thomas Chabot
A slick, offensively gifted defenseman with a 6-foot-2 frame sound exactly like what the Kings need given the understandably uncertain future of Slava Voynov.
14. Timo Meier (Halifax)
This will be a tough choice as overachieving center Travis Konecny, two-way pivot Jansen Harkins, hometown hero Colin White and rugged defenseman Jakub Zboril are all on the board, but the Bruins opt for the big, strong Swiss right wing that’s also a goal-scoring machine. He had 44 goals in 61 games for the Mooseheads last season, and can trade notes with Brad Marchand about Halifax.
15. Travis Konecny (Ottawa)
The 5-foot-9, 173-pounder won’t bowl any scouts over with his size, but he hustles, he produces and he had one of the best scouting combines of any of the 120 plus prospects invited to Buffalo. Calgary isn’t afraid of the smaller, high skill guys and Konecny has it all going on.
16. Colin White (USNTDP)
White will be gone if he gets to the 20th pick with the Minnesota Wild, but there is also plenty of interest in him from the Oilers. He’s got speed, clutch goal-scoring and impressive athleticism, and he wants to play the two-way game. He’ll also going to a great program in Boston College. While White could be the pick if Edmonton holds onto it, the smart money says that his first round pick will get moved in a package for a top tier D-man.
17. Paul Bittner (Portland)
The Winnipeg 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 (Prince George)
Harkins comes from great bloodlines with two uncles and a dad that played in the NHL, and he’s got all of the makings of a strong, skilled two-way center. The scoring is there, the hockey IQ is there and you just get the sense that this kid is going to make it to the NHL as part of the grand Harkins family tradition.
19. Oliver Kylington (Sweden)
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 D-man. He has all the skill, but some question his decision-making on the ice and that may cause him to slide.
20. Nick Merkley (Kelowna)
Merkley isn’t the biggest guy on the ice at 5-foot-10, 188-pounds, but impressed with his skilled and spirited play en route to the Rockets falling in the Memorial Cup final. He may end up going higher than this spot given the way he performed over the course of this season, and the high end creativity and play-making in his bag of tricks.
21. Evgeny Svechnikov (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 that the Sabres have acquired over the last few years.
22. Brandon Carlo (Tri-City)
A 6-foot-4, 198-pound right-handed shot defenseman that is a tad behind some of his D-man peers, but has the size and skill attributes that could look for. He’s also coming off a very good junior season that put him in the first round.
23. Brock Boeser (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.
24. Joel Eriksson Ek (Sweden)
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound center continues the Maple Leafs movement to shore up their center position with a skilled, two-way pivot. Eriksson Ek was another player that did a pretty nice job at the scouting combine when it came to some of his testing.
25. Denis Gurianov (Russia)
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 produced in his draft class if he can continue refining his all-around game.
26. Jeremy Bracco (U.S. NTDP)
He’s a playmaking trigger man for the US National Development Program, and brings the kind of creativity and skill they yearn for at the Bell Centre. He and Colin White have teamed up for some clutch plays for Team USA this season, and needs to only overcome the size stigma at 5-foot-9, 173-pounds.
27. Jordan Greenway (U.S. NTDP)
The production numbers aren’t there, but you can’t teach being 6-foot-5 and 222 pounds as a teen-ager. That’s a project ready for some team to take a chance with, and Anaheim loves big and strong.
28. Daniel Sprong (Charlottetown)
A Dutch-born player that’s lived in Montreal most of his life, he’s got the flashy skill required to be a member of the Lightning organization. He can most definitely hang with their forward group.
29. Jeremy Roy (Sherbrooke)
He’s got average size and 5-foot-9, 189-pounds, but he’s a got a well-rounded game with a maturity and leadership component that’s impressed scouts. The 43 points in 45 QMJHL games also reveal a talented offensive defenseman with plenty of skill.
30. Ilya Samsonov (Russia)
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 Flyers want another crack at a Russian goalie after trading away Sergei Bobrovsky way too soon.