If you’ve payed attention to Too Many Men On The Site the last month, you’ve seen the entire Fansided networks mock draft that the writers of each respected team has make their picks. This was organized and has happened thanks to our Jared Crozier. He deserves a lot of credit for all the hard work he has put into running a league wide mock draft.
For me however, my opinions differ from some of the other writers on this site and I have other picks in mind for other teams. After the first seven or eight picks, the draft become a wide open playing field. This is where everyone’s different opinions come out on different players. So here is part one of me three part mock draft.
6’0 ft – 170lbs – Red Deer Rebels – WHL
Looking at the organizational depth in Edmonton, they are lacking in two major areas, the center position and on defense. While Adam Larsson is an option for first overall, I believe that the Burnaby, BC native, Nugent-Hopkins will go first overall.
His vision is unmatched in this draft, as is his play making ability. A perfect fit with Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle, the 1st overall pick last season who is a pure sniper. Nugent-Hopkins skates fluidly, can get to the dirty parts of the ice easily, allowing himself to get into the perfect place to set up a pass or fire a shot. He has a very underrated wrister that is both hard and accurate.
Nugent-Hopkins also possesses a sound two-way game, making him a very dangerous player at both ends of the ice and is my consensus first overall pick.
6’3 – 220lbs – Skellefteå AIK – SEL
Adam Larsson is far and away the best defensemen in this draft. That is no slight on guys like Dougie Hamilton, Ryan Murphy, or Nathan Beaulieu. All should be very good, capable defenders, yet Larsson has top end skill.
The Avalanche, after acquiring Erik Johnson from the Blues last season filled a very viable hole in their organization yet there is still a pretty large hole in their defensive core.
With plenty of offensive talent up front such as Stastny, Duchene, Mueller, O’Reilly, and Jones their lack is a true shut down defensemen. Larsson could very well fill that gap.
With Adam Foote retiring, their shut-down guys revolve around Wilson and O’Byrne. You can use Johnson as a shut-down pairing guy yet he fits better in the offensive category. Larsson could change the mold of that organization and really fill a need that they have.
6’0 – 207lbs – Kitchener Rangers – OHL
Gabriel Landeskog would be my top pick behind Nugent-Hopkins if I was running an organization, but for organizational needs, I see this the order things shake out.
The Panthers lack a lot in their organization other than defense in my opinion, where they are very strong with the likes of Kulikov, Ellerby, Gudbranson, and Garrison.
With Landeskog, his power-forward style of play is something that the Panthers have really been lacking for a long time. They have smaller skilled guys in Weiss, Booth, and Dadonov yet their only two big power-forward type players, Bernier and Bitz, are said to both be let go this summer.
Landeskog is a skilled power guy who has been compared to the Flyers captain, Mike Richards. He’s a heavy hitter, he can scrap, and put the puck in the back of the net. He could really help lift that organization out of a hole along with rookie goaltender, Jacob Markstrom who I would almost guarantee as the starter of the Panthers this coming season.
Their future is bright and getting a guy like Landeskog could make it even brighter.
6’3 – 185lbs – Niagara Ice Dogs – OHL
Hamilton is a very skilled, two-way defensemen who ate up big minutes for the Ice Dogs this past year. After Niagara shipped off Alex Pietrangelo to the Barrie Colts two seasons ago, the Ice Dogs really lacked that big time defensemen, and while Hamilton is no Pietrangelo, he was more than capable of filling the defensive void left by the St. Louis Blues defensemen.
Hamilton spent most of the season between the 6th-10th spot on most draft rankings but the Devils are a team in need of defense. They have a stacked offensive pool including the types like Jacob Josefson, Mattias Tedenby, and Alexander Vasunov, yet don’t really have a top gun defensive prospect.
Hamilton has what it takes to really lead a teams defensive unit in any aspect of the game, including the powerplay and the penalty killing unit. With Larsson off the list, going second overall, I see Hamilton getting snagged up early by the Devils.
6’3 – 193lbs – Drummondville Voltigeurs – QMJHL
Couturier’s stock has dropped since the start of the season where he started out as the consensus first overall pick. Yet, this is why we play hockey, because stock can rise as well as fall.
Couturier does play a power-forward type game as he uses his size to get to the areas of the ice in which you need to score. That ability, along with a quick, hard, and accurate shot makes Couturier a very valuable player to have in your system.
Couturier would join the Islanders stock pile of centers, including Josh Bailey, Frans Nielsen, and John Tavares. While it’s possible he moves to the wing, I see it more likely that the Islander move Bailey to wing as he has not looked good at center in his time in the NHL.
6’0 – 160lbs – Saint John Sea Dogs – OHL
Huberdeau is a very skilled center who helped lead the Sea Dogs to a QMJHL championship, along with a Memorial Cup championship this past year.
Huberdeau plays a very offensive game, with an incredible set of hands, shiftiness, and good hockey sense, he was able to inflict 105 points in 67 games with the Sea Dogs this season.
The Scouting Report actually compared Huberdeau to the Senators own Jason Spezza. His style of play, that high offensive game could help pull the Sens out of the league dump and back into the post season eventually.
The downfall that Huberdeau has and what keeps him out of the top five for me is his speed. He lacks that big first step that helps develop break-away speed. His foot speed needs worked on heavily as it’s just not up to the others in this draft. He has top three talent but this, along with his lack in stature hold him back from going higher.
6’0 – 183lbs – Niagara Ice Dogs – OHL
Strome will be the second player from Niagara picked up in the top 10 in this years draft behind teammate, Dougie Hamilton.
Strome was acquired by the Ice Dogs in the deal that sent Chris DeSousa and Alex Pietrangelo to Barrie. This turned out decently for Niagara as Strome notched 106 points on the season, team leader for the Ice Dogs this season.
Strome will join the newly formed Winnipeg team and will become a solid fixture down the middle for them. He has an amazing set of hands, probably one of, if not the best stick handler in this entire draft. His shot has a ton of force behind it and he knows exactly when to use it. This right-hander will join the youth movement in Winnipeg, along with Evander Kane, Patrice Cormier, and Alexander Burmistrov.
With the drafting of Strome, the center position for the (Jets?) will be set for a while with both Strome, Little, and Burmistrov patrolling the top three spots.
6’0 – 183lbs – Djurgardens IF – SEL
Zibanejad’s stock has risen quite fast in the last months or two as he spent a lot of time slotted in the 15-20 spot this past season for the draft.
His impressive play with Djurgardens this season has really helped his draft status.
The Swedish Elite League is known for being a tough league to grab points in as a rookie, yet in 26 games this season, Mika notched five goals and four assists. Not bad for a rookie forward.
The Blue Jackets already have a solid group of prospects that include high end guys like Nikita Filatov, Ryan Johansen and Tomas Kubalik. Along with a strong defensive group starting with John Moore, also featuring guys like Cody Goloubef, Brandon Archibald, and Drew Olson.
If the Jackets can develop the kids correctly, and introduce them into the league with their other young guns like Jacob Voracek, Derrick Brassard, and Matt Calvert, they could have a strong core in the next two or three years.
5-11 – 178lbs – Kitchener Rangers – OHL
Murphy is a right-handed defensemen who plays a very offensive style. His 79 points this season in 63 games with Kitchener top for defensemen on the team and even more than teammate and my third overall pick, Gabriel Landeskog.
The Bruins don’t have a lot of NHL talented depth in their system yet Murphy can change that quickly.
I’ve seen Murphy compared to Brian Rafalski, Dennis Wideman, and Dan Boyle. All very good offensive defensemen but to me I see more of Boyle in him than anything. While he isn’t a big guy, he doesn’t shy away from contact and he’s very calm in the defensive zone, as well as the offensive zone.
Murphy will have no problem manning the point on the B’s powerplay, along with big Zdeno Chara for the next however many years.
6’2 – 165lbs – Assat Pori - SM-liiga
Armia will join a Finnish heavy Minnesota team. With Mikko Koivu, Antti Miettinen, Niklas Backstrom and prospects Mikael Granlund and Mikko Lehtonen in the system, if you’re a Fin going in the top 10, you’re probably going to Minnesota.
Armia has every reason to go top ten as well. Putting up 29 points in 48 games with Assat Pori this season, along with his 13 point World Junior Championship performance, Armia has definite NHL skill.
While he really needs to bulk up, you can almost guarantee this kid will have a future in the NHL. He plays smart, uses his shot to his advantage. He’s got good puck movement ability and his vision helps him set up plays to his teammates.
He is criticized for his lack of a two-way game and his competitive drive. If he can work on these two aspects, as well as fill out his big frame, he’ll be a force in the NHL in the next 3-5 years.
Tags: Adam Larsson Alex Pietrangelo Alex Vasunov Alexander Burmistrov Antti Miettinen Assat Pori Barrie Colts Beaulieu Boston Bruins Brandon Archibald Brian Little Brian Rafalski Chris DeSousa Cody Goloubef Colorado Avalanche Columbus Blue Jackets Dan Boyle David Booth David Jones Dennis Wideman Derrick Brassard Djurgardens IF Stockholm Dougie Hamilton Drew Olson Drummondville Voltigeurs Edmonton Oilers Erik Johnson Evander Kane Evgeni Dadonov Florida Panthers Frans Nielsen Gabriel Landeskog Jacob Josefson Jacob Voracek Jared Crozier Jason Spezza Joel Armia John Tavares Jonathan Huberdeau Jordan Eberle Josh Bailey Kitchener Rangers Matt Calvert Matt Duchene Mattias Tedenby Mika Zibanejad Mikael Granlund Mike Richards Mikko Koivu Mikko Lehtonen Minnesota Wild Nathan New Jersey Devils New York Islanders Niagara Ice Dogs Nikita Filatov Niklas Backstrom OHL Ottawa Senators Patrice Cormier Paul Stasty Peter Bueller QMJHL Red Deer Rebels Ryan Johansen Ryan Murphy Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Ryan O'Reilly Ryan Strome Sean Couturier SEL Skelleftea SM-liiga Stephen Weiss Swedish Elite League Taylor Hall Tomas Kubalik Toronto Maple Leafs WHL Winnipeg Zdeno Chara