The Mock Draft 2.0

I posted version 1.0 of my Mock Draft
shortly after the NHL Draft Lottery (link), and there have been some
changes in version 2.0. Drafts are extremely tough to mock,
especially ones like this one with tons of varying opinions on
players, but they’re fun nonetheless.

1. Florida Panthers:
D
Aaron
Ekblad – 6’4, 215lbs, 58GP 23G 53P

The Top 5 remains the same from my
original mock. Ekblad is the far and away the best player available
right now, and in combination with the abundance of centerman on the
Panthers depth chart, the move makes sense.
Scouting Report via Future
Considerations:
An exceptional talent, Ekblad has an
impressive blend of size and strength for his age. He’s mature,
confident and poised in all three zones, skates well and is strong in
transition.

Potential: Cornerstone
Defenseman

NHL Arrival Time: Next
Season

2. Buffalo Sabres: F
Sam Reinhart – 6’1, 183lbs, 60GP 36G
105P


The Sabres will be drowning in draft
picks over the next few years, and with an already solidified
blueline in their prospect base, the Sabres kick off their frenzy of
selections with the hawk eyed pivot from Kootenay. Best mind in the
draft, will be a key asset for the Sabres moving forward.

Scouting Report via Future
Considerations:
Reinhart is a nice blend of poise, maturity
and a high hockey IQ. He’s got creative hands, excellent vision and
superb instinct in the offensive end. He’s able to slow things down
and dissect the play. He battles hard and is a true team leader.

Potential: Number 1
Center (although I see him as a very good second line pivot)

NHL Arrival Time:
2015/16

3. Edmonton Oilers: F
Leon Draisaitl – 6’2, 210lbs, 64GP 38G
105P

The chatter regarding Draisaitl and the
Oilers only get louder as the draft approaches and should the Oilers
leave the big German on the board when they make their pick, it’ll
definitely be something of a shock. With the next available
defenseman on the board after Ekblad considered to be well behind the
pack of centers at the top – that defenseman being Haydn Fleury – it
makes sense the Oilers choose to go the Draisaitl route. He also
fills a need at center the Oilers have developed.

Scouting Report via Future
Considerations:
Draisaitl is a playmaking center who isn’t
overly physical but uses his size effectively to shield himself and
the puck. He has excellent vision and knows where his options are. He
has soft hands and a steady stride, but his smarts are his most
important asset.
Potential: Number 1
Center (I’m not personally convinced he’ll fulfill that, however)

NHL Arrival Time:
2015/16

4. Calgary Flames: F
Sam Bennett – 6’0, 180lbs, 57GP 36G 91P
At this point, Flames fans appear to be
hoping and praying the pull-up incapable pivot is still hanging
around when new GM Brad Treliving spits out the Flames’ selection
early in the draft. Bennett plays a similar energetic, no quit style
Bob Hartley employed on the big club last year and on the surface, it
appears the skilled marksman would slide right in. He won’t be NHL
ready immediately like was the case with Sean Monahan, but the wait
won’t be too long, and it appears he’ll well worth it.

Scouting Report via Future
Considerations:
Bennett is an energetic, skilled winger who
is quick on his feet and has deceptive speed. He generates chances
with his quickness, awareness and constant effort. He’s not flashy,
but energetic and does possess an excellent release.
Potential: Number 1
Center (although I see him as a very good second line pivot)

NHL Arrival Time:
2015/16

5. New York Islanders:
F
Michael Dal Colle – 6’2, 180lbs, 67GP
39G 95P

Nothing seems to go right on the
Island, but maybe this is the beginning of an antithetical trend. The
big skater piles nothing but points and would look real good
alongside John Tavares in a few years… if Tavares is still there.

Scouting Report via Future
Considerations:
Dal Colle is a bull who uses his natural
talents well. He’s got an imposing frame and already shows great
balance and strength on his skates. He plays a two-way game, battles
hard and displays quick hands for his size.
Potential: Top Line
Forward

NHL Arrival Time:
2015/16 or 2016/17

6. Vancouver Canucks –
F Jake Virtanen – 6’1, 210lbs, 71GP
45G 71P

In April, I said the Canucks would take
slick Swede William Nylander to complete the Swedish trio with the
Sedins, but after further thought and analysis of the Canucks’ needs,
I chose to reevaluate my position.

The Canucks will likely trade Ryan
Kesler, a sizeable piece of their line-up, but adding a potential
dynamo like Jake Virtanen may lessen the blow for Canuck fans. If it
weren’t for a less than great Hockey IQ and some consistency issues,
Virtanen would be considered the undisputed number one prospect in
this draft. He has massive potential, in fact, I would go as far as
to say he has the highest ceiling of anybody in this draft class.

Scouting Report via Future
Considerations:
Virtanen is a heads-up player who thinks the game
well and is willing to get his nose dirty. He has slick hands, a
dynamic shot and a strong stride that makes him dangerous. He can be
outright dominant at times offensively with his blend of size, skill
and speed.
Potential: All-Star
Winger

NHL Arrival Time:
2015/16 or 2016/17

7. Carolina Hurricanes
– D
Haydn Fleury – 6’3, 200lbs,
70GP 8G 46P

Opting to go with size and defensive skill, the
Hurricanes pick up the second-best defensive defender available in Fleury.
Scouting Report via Future
Considerations:
Fleury is a big, physical blueliner who shows
good offensive ability. He’s strong and balanced on his skates, keeps
his head up and understands developing plays. He rulbs opposing
forwards out and isn’t shy to make a solid hit.
Potential: Top 4
Defenseman

NHL Arrival Time:
2015/16 or 2016/17

8. Toronto Maple Leafs
F William Nylander – 5’11,
170lbs, 35GP 15G 27P

The Leafs add a skilled forward to their ranks in Willam Nylander, son of former NHLer Michael Nylander.
Scouting Report via Future
Considerations:
Nylander is an extremely skilled, dynamic player
who has quick hands and feet that make him dangerous offensively. He
has great top-end speed, a strong burst and elite vision. He can
distribute the puck like few other his age. An intelligent player, he
out-thinks opponents regularly.
Potential: Top 6 skill
forward

NHL Arrival Time:
2015/16 or 2016/17

9. Winnipeg Jets – F
Nick Ritchie – 6’2, 230lbs, 61GP 39G 74P

The Jets may or may not trade Evander
Kane, but in any case, adding a player similar to Kane never hurts.
The tank, born “Nick Ritchie”, is a massively built and
insanely strong power forward who will greatly compliment the young
core of up-and-comers in Winnipeg.

Scouting Report via Future
Considerations:
Ritchie is a prototypical power forward with an
impressive blend of size, skill and strength. He skates well for a
big player and has agile feet. He bulls his way around the ice and
has an impressive, erratic shot.
Potential: Top 6
Powerforward

NHL Arrival Time:
2015/16, but more likely 2016/17 or beyond

10. Anaheim Ducks (via
Ottawa) –
F Brendan Perlini – 6’2,
205lbs, 58GP 34G 71P

The already incredibly stacked Ducks
prospect pool will get another injection of talent with the big,
skilled forward. Perlini will add a similar dynamic to the Ducks as
Devante Smith-Pelly has, although isn’t known to be as physical as
his frame would suggest.
Scouting Report via Future
Considerations:
Perlini is a lethal combination of speed, puck
skills, and hockey sense which allow him to make dynamic plays in all
three zones. He plays a high puck possession game and thrives when
the puck in on his stick.
Potential: Top 6 Forward

NHL Arrival Time:
2015/16, but more likely 2016/17 or beyond.

11. Nashville
Predators–
F Nikolaj Ehlers –
5’11, 165lbs, 63GP 49G 104P

Desperate for offensive talent, David
Poile is gifted another steal with Ehlers available outside the Top
10, after snagging Seth Jones at 4 last year. Having said that, the
Preds are heavily shopping the pick and may not be in possession of
it come the time for it to be used.

Scouting
Report via Future Considerations:
Ehlers
is an explosive player who can beat even the quickest defensemen wide
with his speed. He plays on his off wing and creates chances with
sharp cuts to the middle comple- mented by an explosive wrister. He’s
equally good with the puck and can handle it both at top speed and in
traffic.
Potential: Top Line
Forward, although Top 6 forward is a more realistic projection.
NHL Arrival Time:
2015/16 or 2016/17

12. Arizona Coyotes –
F Kasperi Kapanen – 6’0, 181lbs,
47GP 7G 14P

Speaking of a team thirsting for
offensive talent, the Coyotes goal scoring improved this season but
still isn’t high echelon. They also haven’t really had an elite
offensive prospect in a while. That could very well change this
Friday if the ‘Yotes opt to take the dynamic son of Sami Kapanen, a
former NHLer. A good comparison for Kapanen would be Tuevo
Teravainen, but the former has grown like a weed. Came into the year
at 5’11, 170, and now sits at 6’0 and 181. That’s quite the jump
and must be a big positive for teams worried about his size or
strength.
Scouting Report via Future
Considerations:
Kapanen is a small and slippery with very
creative hands and impressive 1-on-1 arsenal. He has a decent shot
with good release but needs added velocity. He has quick feet and
impressive lateral agility and is a dangerous goal scorer who can
make skilled passes and offensive zone reads.
Potential: Top 6 forward,
first team powerplay
NHL Arrival Time:
2015/16 or 2016/17

13. Washington Capitals
F Jared McCann – 6’0, 180lbs,
64GP 27G 62P

A solid all-around two-way forward,
Jared McCann’s a player built in the mould of a Brandon Saad. NHL
teams aren’t letting that type of player slip to the second round
again and from a Caps perspective, this is the type of player they
need to remedy the “offense only” approach the team has
adopted since Ovechkin touched down in town.

Scouting Report via Future
Considerations:
McCann is a hard-working, two-way forward who
displays strong agility and mobility. He’s effective at both ends of
the ice and has the ability to produce strong numbers due to his
hands, patience, shot and sense.
Potential: Top 6 forward,
can play both powerplay and penalty kill
NHL Arrival Time:
2015/16 at the earliest

14. Dallas Stars – F
Alex Tuch – 6’3, 215lbs, 51GP 28G 57P

Smart both on and off the ice, Tuch was
the Scholastic Player of the Year in the USHL and piled up big
numbers.
Scouting Report via Future
Considerations:
Tuch is a big power winger who skates well with
strong balance. He typically is called upon to be the meat and
potatoes guy on a skilled line and does so very effectively.
Impressive fore-checker. Uses his frame to protect the puck and
physically supporting his linemates.
Potential: Top 6 forward
NHL Arrival Time:
2015/16, but much later if chooses NCAA route

15. Detroit Red Wings –
F Ivan Barbashev – 6’0, 181lbs,
62GP 11G 43P

The prototypical Red Wings hockey
player, Barbashev plays both ends of the ice effectively and breaks
the “lazy Russian offensive forward” stereotype with his
efforts. Not the next Fedorov, but will be a quality skater no less.

Scouting Report via Future
Considerations:
Barbashev is a skilled playmaking winger with
impressive vision and passing ability. He thrives in a high-paced
offense. Has a good, hard shot and isn’t transparent about making a
pass or firing it on net. Has dynamic talent but inconsistent in his
efforts.
Potential: Top 6 forward
NHL Arrival Time:
2015/16, 2016/17

16. Columbus Blue
Jackets –
F Robby Fabbri – 5’10,
165lbs, 58GP 45G 87P

The Jackets, like most teams, are in
need of some offensive infusion and the dynamic speedster fits the
bill.

Scouting Report via Future
Considerations:
Fabbri is a below average sized buzz saw who
works hard and has some of the best feet in the entire draft. He uses
his speed and mobility to be shifty and elusive but is also willing
to play physical. His hands are skilled; he shows some creativity on
the ice and has a quick shot release.
Potential: Top 6 skill
forward
NHL Arrival Time:
2016/17, will need AHL seasoning

17. Philadelphia Flyers
F Julius
Honka
– 5’11, 174lbs, 62GP 38G 56P

A team starved for a puck moving
presence on the backend will welcome in the slick Fin who does just
that. It’ll be between him and Anthony DeAngelo for the Flyers at 17
in my opinion, but I think the Orange will try and stay away from the
off-ice problems associated with DeAngelo and go the soft spoken
Fin’s route.

Scouting Report via Future
Considerations:
Honka is a small offensive-minded blueliner who
skates very well with strong lateral movements and agility. He’s
extremely elusive and hard to contain or catch. He possesses good
recovery speed and quick on the transition from defense to offense.
Potential: Top 4
defenseman, powerplay quarterback
NHL Arrival Time:
2016/17, will need some AHL seasoning

18. Minnesota Wild –
F Kevin Fiala– 5’11, 194lbs, 17GP
3G 11P

Had a tremendous end of the season,
capping things off with a solid performance at the World
Championships for Switzerland. The Wild’s young core of stars gets
better.
Scouting Report via Elite Prospects:
Kevin Fiala is an offensive forward with game-breaking potential.
Fiala is not very big or strong yet, but his quickness and agility
lets him avoid getting hit or held back along the boards. Has a
wealthy arsenal of shooting tools which, combined with his creativity
and finishing abilities, makes him the player you turn to if you need
a goal.
Potential: Top 9 forward
NHL Arrival Time:
2015/16, 2016/17

19. Tampa Bay
Lightning–
F Nikolay
Goldobin
– 6’0, 185lbs, 67GP 38G
94P


A Russian being chosen by Tampa? Get
out of here! Besides the track record, which is made in heaven,
Goldobin is a skilled forward that fits right into the system the
Bolts play. One of my personal favourite prospects.
Scouting Report via Future
Considerations:
Goldobin is a dangerous shooter with a wicked
release on his wrist shot. He is quick and creative and can make
defenders look foolish. He’s weak against bigger opponents and can
look lost in his own zone but is extremely dangerous and can quietly
slide into prime scoring areas.
Potential: Top 6 skilled
forward
NHL Arrival Time:
2016/17, 2017/18

20. San Jose Sharks–
F Nick Schmaltz – 6’0, 172lbs, 55GP
18G 63P

Some may consider Schmaltz a reach at
20, but the kid is dynamic and has tons of potential. Exactly the
kind of prospect the Sharks need.

Scouting Report via Future
Considerations:
Schmaltz possesses good vision, shows good
quickness and a strong ability to read the play in the offensive end.
While he can also play in his own zone, Schmaltz’s quick hands and
ability to move in tight make him an attractive package.
Potential: Top 6 skilled
forward
NHL Arrival Time:
2015/16, later depending on NCAA decisions

21. St. Louis Blues–
F Connor Bleackley – 6’1, 195lbs,
71GP 29G 68P

The Blues will welcome in Bleackley who
plays the same game the big club already employs. Hard on the puck,
hard hitting and can score too. The rich get richer.

Scouting Report via Future
Considerations:
Bleackley is a nice blend of size, skill and
speed. He’s strong and balanced on his skates, uses his size to his
advantage and has a very good shot with his quick release. He finds
lanes and soft zones well and has quick hands in tight spaces.
Potential: Top 9 forward
NHL Arrival Time:
2015/16, 2016/17

22. Pittsburgh
Penguins–
F Brendan Lemieux – 6’1,
209lbs, 65GP 27G 53P

The
2014 NHL Draft will see a ton of reaches and off the board
selections, and I’m of the belief Brendan Lemieux will be involved in
one of those. The son of Claude is an exact replica of his old man
and many teams will take him earlier than they should to ensure they
land him.

Scouting
Report via Elite Prospects:
Perfectly
fits the cliche as a player you hate to play against but love to have
on your team. Like his father Claude, Brendan will drive the opposing
team crazy as he is the perfect agitator. Lemieux also has the
ability to burn you offensively as he is a top 5 scorer on Barrie. He
showed the ability to both agitate and score in the CHL top prospects
game.
Potential: Bottom 6
agitator

NHL Arrival Time:
2015/16, 2016/17

23. Colorado Avalanche–
D Jack Dougherty – 6’2, 185lbs,
47GP 5G 17P


The
Avs have a pretty damn solid young core of forwards but need help on
the backend. The rock solid Dougherty is that help.
Scouting
Report via Future Considerations:
Dougherty
is an intelligent defenseman who tries to blend strong positioning
while trying to inflict a physical dimension on his opponent. He
isn’t the fleetest of foot, but does get where he needs to go. He
also makes a strong first pass and has solid offensive instincts.
Potential: Top 4 shutdown
D
NHL Arrival Time:
2015/16, but could be much later depending on his decisions in
college

24. Anaheim Ducks– F
Josh Ho-Sang – 5’11, 165lbs, 67GP 32G 85P

The Ducks will need to replenish some
of their prospect base after the moves they’re expected to make
(Kesler, Spezza) and Ho-Sang is the “sexy pick” at 24.
Scouting Report via Future
Considerations:
Ho-Sang is a small but skilled forward with some
incredible hands. He’s shown impressive skating ability and agility
with the puck on his stick. He’s a crafty player that has the
excitement factor in his favor. He can rely too heavily on himself at
times, but has great offensive instincts and pounces on chances.
Potential: Top 6 skill
forward

NHL Arrival Time:
2016/17, will need some AHL seasoning

25. Boston Bruins – F
David Pastrnak – 5’11, 170lbs, 36GP 8G 16A 24P

Pastrnak is a prospect unlike anything
else in the Bruins organization outside maybe Alex Khoklachev. He can
turn into a very nice complimentary point producer.
Scouting Report via Future
Considerations:
A skilled offensive forward, Pastrnak can be
flashy and dynamic at times. He handles the puck well and has a good
release on his shot. He’s very fast and has tremendous vision.
Passing ability and shooting ability are also above average. Problem
with Pastrnak is he doesn’t do much on defence and leaves the zone
early to gain an upper hand on things.

Potential: Top 6 skill
forward

NHL Arrival Time:
2016/17, 2017/18

26. Montreal Canadiens
F Dylan Larkin – 6’1, 190lbs,
51GP 28G 48P


The
Canadiens need big forwards and have begun to address the issue in
recent drafts. Larkin is another piece of that puzzle.
Scouting
Report via Future Considerations:
Larkin
has shown he can be an elite-level power forward in addition to
showing a high level of offensive ability. His ability to take the
puck hard to the net allows for unique scoring chances most players
would not be able get because of a lack of size and strength.
Potential: Middle 6
forward

NHL Arrival Time:
2016/17, later depending on NCAA decisions

27. Chicago Blackhawks–
D Roland McKeown – 6’1, 200lbs,
62GP 11G 43P

A two-way defenseman with good upside
at both ends of the ice. A good complimentary piece in the future for
this juggernaut roster.

Scouting Report via Future
Considerations:
McKeown is a strong, do-it-all defensemen whose
biggest asset is his ability to think the game and know his position.
He makes strong, simple plays, has a good shot and distributes the
puck effectively.
Potential: Top 4 forward

NHL Arrival Time:
2016/17, 2017/18

28. Tampa Bay Lightning
(from NYR) –
F Jakub Vrana – 6’0,
170lbs, 24GP 2G 3P

Another dynamic forward prospect for
the Lightning who take the best player available at 28.
Scouting Report via
Future Considerations:
Vrana is an elite offensive talent who
thrives in the offensive zone. He loves to dangle and has great
speed. His mitts are also equipped with solid passing ability and a
dart of a shot. Vrana also doesn’t shy away from the dirty areas of
the ice, getting involved physically. Problem is, he doesn’t bring it
100% every night.
Potential: Top 6 skilled
forward
NHL Arrival Time:
2015/16, 2016/17

29. LA Kings – F
Sonny Milano – 5’11, 185lbs, 48GP 21G 67P

The Kings called up two of their best
forward prospects this year in Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson and
they both established themselves during the Cup run. The Kings now
need to refuel that area of their prospect arsenal and do so with the
dynamic Mafia kingpin (his name is straight out of the Godfather).
Scouting Report via Future
Considerations:
Milano is a skilled winger with good hands who
likes to carry the puck and have it on his stick. He has a quick
first step as well as good straight line speed and able to use his
edges well to elude and evade. He uses finesse puck skills and change
of direction to beat defenders.
Potential: Top 6 forward
NHL Arrival Time:
2015/16, but could be much later depending on his decisions in
college

30. New Jersey Devils –
F Nikita Scherbak – 6’2, 174lbs,
54GP 26G 69P

Picking
up the confident, sniper is a perfect fruit to Lou Lamoriello’s efforts in the League office pestering them to reimburse the Devils their 1st rounder. He’s also exactly the type of prospect the Devils system is crying out for.

Scouting
Report via Future Considerations:
Scherbak
is a skilled but gritty forward who has a strong shot and offensive
senses plus the ability to evade would be checkers by using his quick
agility and slick hands. He puts pressure on opposing defenses every
game. Has some work to do with regards to rounding out his defensive
game and effort levels.
Potential: Top 6 forward

NHL Arrival Time:
2016/17, will need some AHL seasoning