Mock drafts are always fun, so I figured I’d do one. I decided to limit this to the first round for now, and obviously the order of the final two picks is yet to be decided but I assumed the Bruins will win the Stanley Cup for the purpose of this exercise. Without further ado, let’s get to it.
- New Jersey Devils – Jack Hughes, LC
Best player in the draft by a slim margin. A franchise center with huge offensive upside.
- New York Rangers – Kaapo Kakko, RW
Hughes and Kakko are 1A/1B, so this is an easy choice. NHL ready winger with franchise player potential.
- Chicago Blackhawks – Alex Turcotte, LC
Number one center upside. Competes hard and plays a great all-around game. Eventual Toews replacement.
- Colorado Avalanche (from the Senators) – Dylan Cozens, RC
The Avalanche need scoring depth beyond their top line, and they can build a great second line around Cozens. He has top-line upside but not in Colorado.
- Los Angeles Kings – Bowen Byram, LD
Best defenseman in the draft by a wide margin. The Kings could use some help on their blue line. Great offensive tools but needs to improve some things in the defensive side of things.
- Detroit Red Wings – Vasili Podkolzin, RW
Top-line winger who can be used in all situations. Competes hard and never gives up. Will be a great playoff warrior.
- Buffalo Sabres – Trevor Zegras, LC
A very talented offensive forward who may end up being a winger. Would be a great fit alongside Eichel.
- Edmonton Oilers – Cole Caufield, RW
He’s tiny and not a great skater but boy can he score goals. Could be a nice fit alongside McDavid.
- Anaheim Ducks – Kirby Dach, RC
Big playmaking center with massive upside but some red flags as well. The Ducks are hoping they can find the eventual replacement for Getzlaf.
- Vancouver Canucks – Matthew Boldy, LW
Top-six winger who can play in all situations. Would be a great fit alongside Pettersson.
- Philadelphia Flyers – Peyton Krebs, LC
Great two-way center with top-six upside. Isn’t flashy but gets the job done at both ends of the ice.
- Minnesota Wild – Alex Newhook, LC
Speedy and very talented top-six center. The Wild aren’t scared by the fact he played in the BCHL. I believe Newhook is the final player on tier two which started at pick three.
- Florida Panthers – Victor Söderström, RD
Best right-handed shot defenseman in the draft, and the Panthers could definitely use one in their top-four. A very reliable two-way player who isn’t far off from playing in the NHL.
- Arizona Coyotes – Philip Broberg, LD
A big defenseman with great speed, the Coyotes are hoping he learns everything possible from OEL and becomes a similar player as he is. There are some concerns, though.
- Montreal Canadiens – Ville Heinola, LD
A very smart offensive defenseman who can run Montreal’s power play in the future but probably needs a couple of years before he can play in the NHL.
- Colorado Avalanche – Cam York, LD
The Avs took a forward with their first pick, so they take the best defenseman available at this spot. York is an offensive guy who can put up points.
- Vegas Golden Knights – Moritz Seider, RD
A big two-way defenseman with top-four upside and pro experience from Germany. Seider’s offensive game is a bit underrated but it shouldn’t be.
- Dallas Stars – Arthur Kaliyev, LW
A one-dimensional goal-scorer – the Stars are hoping they can develop him into an NHL player. A lot of boom or bust potential.
- Ottawa Senators (from the Blue Jackets) – Ryan Suzuki, LC
A playmaking center with top-six upside is exactly what the rebuilding Sens need.
- New York Rangers (from the Jets) – Thomas Harley, LD
Adding a risky offensive defenseman seems like a good choice after making the safe selection at No. 2.
- Pittsburgh Penguins – Bobby Brink, RW
The Penguins hope Brink can eventually play with Sid or Geno – and it could work well for them.
- Los Angeles Kings (from the Maple Leafs) – Raphaël Lavoie, RW
Has played center but projects to be a winger. Great size and goal-scoring abilities.
- New York Islanders – Matthew Robertson, LD
The Isles add some depth to the left side of their blue line. A big two-way defenseman is always a good choice.
- Nashville Predators – Phillip Tomasino, RC
A talented top-six center who could eventually replace Turris.
- Washington Capitals – Pavel Dorofeyev, LW
A very talented offensive winger with high upside but some red flags as well. The Capitals aren’t afraid to draft Russians, and for a good reason.
- Calgary Flames – Spencer Knight, G
The Flames get their goaltender of the future – and they desperately needed one.
- Tampa Bay Lightning – Nicholas Robertson, LW
Small but very talented offensive winger – seems like a good fit in Tampa.
- Carolina Hurricanes – Patrik Puistola, LW
A goal-scoring winger with top-six upside – and the Canes love Finns. Puistola can also make plays and be reliable defensively as well.
- Buffalo Sabres (from the Sharks) – Nils Höglander, LW
Small but sturdy. Loves to engage physically. Great puck-skills. A fan favorite wherever he plays.
- Anaheim Ducks (from the Blues) – John Beecher, LC
The Ducks add another big center – Beecher is a sure-fire NHL player, the only question is how high is his offensive upside.
- Boston Bruins – Alex Vlasic, LD
A massive defenseman who skates really well and earns the trust of his coaches.
And that’s all for now, thanks for reading. Feel free to add comments below. Remember to follow me on Twitter @JokkeNevalainen.
Images used in the main picture courtesy of NHL.com