Home > Uncategorized > 2013 Mock Draft: 2 Rounds of (Slightly) Educated Guessing

2013 Mock Draft: 2 Rounds of (Slightly) Educated Guessing

Seth Jones, Jonathan Drouin, Nathan MacKinnon

Top prospects for this Sunday’s NHL Entry Draft, from left, Nathan MacKinnon, Seth Jones and Jonathan Drouin pose together at the 2013 Memorial Cup in Saskatoon last month. MacKinnon and Drouin teamed up to lead the Halifax Mooseheads over Jones and the Portland Winterhawks in the tournament’s championship game.

It’s that time of the year again — mock draft time.

With less than a week until the 2013 NHL Entry Draft in Newark, N.J., on June 30th, prospect junkies from around the world are taking their best shot at predicting which teams will pick which players. It’s never an easy process and there are always surprises on draft day, whether it’s the highly ranked prospect falling to the middle of the first round or the relatively unheralded prospect getting selected much sooner than expected.

Last year’s draft, for example, had an early run of defencemen that caused European forwards Filip Forsberg and Mikhail Grigorenko to drop out of the top 10, though both still wound up making their NHL debuts this past winter.

In my annual mock draft, I had them going second and third, respectively, behind first overall selection Nail Yakupov, when in reality they went 11th and 12th, respectively.

Overall, I correctly predicted 25 of the 30 players picked in the 2012 first round — missing Scott Laughton, Mike Matheson, Jordan Schmaltz, Henrik Samuelsson and Tanner Pearson. That sounds pretty good, but — and it’s a big BUT — Yakupov was the only player among those 25 that I matched with the right team. So, mixed results at best.

This year promises to be no different, with the 2013 draft class exceptionally deep and categorized by some as the best in a decade — since the stacked 2003 draft.

For a change, the Edmonton Oilers won’t have the No. 1 pick — barring a blockbuster trade — after three straight years of picking first and landing Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and the aforementioned Yakupov.

The Colorado Avalanche currently have that honour and assuming the order stays the same — which it never does — here is how I see the opening two rounds playing out. For the record, I went two rounds deep instead of one this year due to the amount of quality prospects past the top 30.

First Round

MacKinnon

Nathan MacKinnon

1) Colorado Avalanche: Nathan MacKinnon (C, QMJHL, Halifax) = Joe Sakic is in a win-win situation with his first trip to the draft podium, having the choice between a high-scoring Canadian forward in Nathan MacKinnon or a big American defenceman with a diverse skill-set in Seth Jones. Both are proven winners — MacKinnon recently hoisting the Memorial Cup and Jones previously capturing world-junior gold — and both appear primed to make immediate impacts in the NHL next season. If Sakic was to simply flip a coin, he probably couldn’t go wrong here, but Sakic, new head coach Patrick Roy and some of the team’s scouting staff have instead gone on the record to indicate they are “leaning towards MacKinnon” and “the forward(s) is too good to pass up.” So despite the fact Jones has Denver roots (his dad Popeye played for the NBA’s Nuggets) and he grew up as family friends with Roy, it seems MacKinnon is Colorado’s target and I’m not about to call their bluff. That said, I believe taking Jones would address a bigger organizational need for the Avs than MacKinnon, who projects to be a better version of Gabriel Landeskog, who Colorado selected second overall in 2011.

Seth Jones

Seth Jones

2) Florida Panthers: Seth Jones (D, WHL, Portland) = This pick becomes a no-brainer, in my opinion, for Dale Tallon. While MacKinnon might have been the perfect complement to Jonathan Huberdeau, the third overall pick in 2011, Jones is the best player available at No. 2 (and arguably at No. 1), and he’ll be a cornerstone on the blue-line in South Florida for the next decade. Unless, of course, Tallon trades up to select MacKinnon, who I assume was his No. 1 choice as well.

Jonathan Drouin

Jonathan Drouin

3) Tampa Bay Lightning: Jonathan Drouin (LW, QMJHL, Halifax) = After those potential franchise players are off the board at 1-2, things get a little dicey. Steve Yzerman and his staff could go a few different directions at No. 3 and reports indicate they are mulling several options — namely, MacKinnon’s wingman with the Halifax Mooseheads, Jonathan Drouin, plus two European power forwards in Russia’s Valeri Nichushkin and Finland’s Sasha Barkov. In the end, I can’t see the Lightning passing on Drouin, who has drawn comparisons to Patrick Kane and could be an ideal replacement for the aging Martin St. Louis.

Sasha Barkov

Sasha Barkov

4) Nashville Predators: Sasha Barkov (C, Finland, Tappara) = That brings us to the Predators, who have a need for size and scoring ability among their forward group, with Barkov surely fitting the bill. David Poile dealt for Filip Forsberg at the trade deadline, sending Martin Erat to Washington, and Barkov should gel well with Forsberg as a 1-2 punch in Music City for years to come.

Darnell Nurse

Darnell Nurse

5) Carolina Hurricanes: Darnell Nurse (D, OHL, Sault Ste. Marie) = I could see Jim Rutherford trading this pick, perhaps to the New York Rangers to complete the Staal family tree by acquiring Marc Staal, a steady shutdown defenceman to anchor the blue-line alongside more offensive talents such as Justin Faulk (second rounder in 2010) and Ryan Murphy (first rounder in 2011). Failing that, I could see the ’Canes picking a Staal-type defender in Darnell Nurse over a handful of forward options at No. 5.

Elias Lindholm

Elias Lindholm

6) Calgary Flames: Elias Lindholm (C, Sweden, Brynas) = This pick will be especially important for the future of the Flames and general manager Jay Feaster needs to make the most of it to kick-start Calgary’s rebuild. I fully expect him to take a forward here and I think he’ll opt for Lindholm as a future linemate for Sven Baertschi (first rounder in 2011).

Sean Monahan

Sean Monahan

7) Edmonton Oilers: Sean Monahan (C, OHL, Ottawa) = The Oilers are apparently entertaining trade options — to move up or down — but if they stand pat, I expect new general manager Craig MacTavish to announce Monahan’s name if he’s available at No. 7. He is a bigger, grittier version of Sam Gagner (sixth overall in 2007), who may be better suited to playing wing going forward anyway.

Valeri Nichushkin

Valeri Nichushkin

8) Buffalo Sabres: Valeri Nichushkin (LW, Russia, Chelijabinsk) = Buffalo benefitted from Grigorenko’s fall last year and I don’t think Darcy Regier will shy away from picking another Russian in Nichushkin, who is likely the best talent left on the board here. Buffalo’s offence needs replenishing with Jason Pominville traded to Minnesota and Thomas Vanek also rumoured to be on the block, so I see Nichushkin fitting in well with the likes of Cody Hodgson, Grigorenko and Joel Armia (first rounder in 2011) in the future.

Bo Horvat

Bo Horvat

9) New Jersey Devils: Bo Horvat (C/LW, OHL, London) = I wouldn’t necessarily say there’s a drop-off in talent after the top 8, but I think this is where the draft really starts to get intriguing as individual team’s scouting lists could have 20 different players ranked at No. 9. In other words, there’s no consensus next-best prospect here, but I think Horvat’s performance at the Memorial Cup and throughout the OHL playoffs could elevate him into the top 10. Horvat is close to NHL-ready and the Devils could use a player capable of stepping into the lineup and contributing next season, considering Lou Lamoriello must forfeit the franchise’s 2014 first-round pick as penalty for Ilya Kovalchuk’s contract.

Hunter Shinkaruk

Hunter Shinkaruk

10) Dallas Stars: Hunter Shinkaruk (C/RW, WHL, Medicine Hat) = The Stars could use another coveted defence prospect and there’s a couple still available in this mock, but new owner Tom Gaglardi is a Western Canadian boy and I think he’ll push for that type of team make-up, with Shinkaruk perhaps the first step in that direction. Shinkaruk is blazing fast and has some sniping ability, not unlike former Medicine Hat teammate Emerson Etem, an Anaheim first-rounder in 2010.

Nikita Zadorov

Nikita Zadorov

11) Philadelphia Flyers: Nikita Zadorov (D, OHL, London) = Speaking of teams in need of defence prospects, the Flyers will likely be thrilled to see Zadorov still available, along with Finland’s Rasmus Ristolainen. I think Paul Holmgren will pick one of those two, with the edge to Zadorov.

Curtis Lazar

Curtis Lazar

12) Phoenix Coyotes: Curtis Lazar (C, WHL, Edmonton) = The Coyotes are pretty set on the back end but could use more depth up front. I think Don Maloney will opt for Lazar over Max Domi, given Lazar’s already established chemistry with Phoenix’s 2012 first-rounder, Henrik Samuelsson. The Edmonton linemates will try to translate their junior success to the NHL in the desert or elsewhere should the franchise relocate before they make the jump.

Max Domi

Max Domi

13) Winnipeg Jets: Max Domi (C/LW, OHL, London) = This seems like another natural fit, with Domi’s dad Tie having played for the old Jets and Winnipeg in need of future offensive catalysts to pair with Mark Scheifele (first rounder in 2011). Alexander Burmistrov (first rounder in 2010) has asked to be traded and the addition of Domi could offset that eventual loss should the request be granted.

Frederick Gauthier

Frederick Gauthier

14) Columbus Blue Jackets: Frederik Gauthier (C, QMJHL, Rimouski) = This pick is the opposite from the last two in that nobody really jumps out at me here. New Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen obviously has Finnish roots and is likely quite familiar with Ristolainen, who is a very viable option at No. 14, but the Blue Jackets are already strong on defence — or stronger than they are at forward. I’m not convinced Kekalainen will go with a European, but it wouldn’t surprise me, either. That said, I could see Columbus picking Gauthier, a late bloomer with size and skill who reminds some of Benoit Pouliot (fourth overall in 2005).

Rasmus Ristolainen

Rasmus Ristolainen

15) New York Islanders: Rasmus Ristolainen (D, Finland, Turku) = The Islanders have good prospect depth and will likely go with the best player available approach here. In my estimation, that would be Ristolainen, a good complement to last year’s first rounder, Griffin Reinhart (fourth overall). They are both big and blonde and could be quite the tower of power on Long Island. Another option here that might make sense is the top-rated goaltender, Zachary Fucale, with Evgeni Nabokov and-or Tim Thomas on the downside of their careers and Kevin Poulin and-or Anders Nilsson not necessarily looking like heir apparents. But the Islanders are still sporting that Rick DiPietro noose, so they may opt against picking another netminder in the first round for the sake of their fan base’s sanity.

Zachary Fucale

Zachary Fucale

16) Buffalo Sabres (from Minnesota): Zachary Fucale (G, QMJHL, Halifax) = With their second pick of the first round, I can see the Sabres gambling on Fucale, although I don’t think it’s that much of a gamble. I think he’ll be a poor man’s Marc-Andre Fleury — not the Fleury that sieved out in the last two playoffs, but the usually stellar, incredibly athletic version. Buffalo is rumoured to be shopping longtime netminder Ryan Miller, which would leave Jhonas Enroth (second rounder in 2006) and Matt Hackett (third rounder in 2009) as the future between the pipes. A little extra competition certainly wouldn’t hurt in my estimation.

Alexander Wennberg

Alexander Wennberg

17) Ottawa Senators: Alexander Wennberg (C, Sweden, Djurgardens) = The Senators have always had success with Swedish prospects and players, so I could see them going back to that well again at this year’s draft. According to my mock thus far, there will be a few good Swedes left on the board here, but I think Wennberg is the best of the bunch and a nice addition to Ottawa’s forward ranks.

Valentin Zykov

Valentin Zykov

18) Detroit Red Wings: Valentin Zykov (RW, QMJHL, Baie-Comeau) = Of course, the Red Wings would get another steal of a European forward in this year’s draft — why wouldn’t they? Zykov burst onto the Canadian scene, scoring 40 goals and earning CHL rookie of the year honours. He’s no longer under the radar, but I can totally see Detroit taking him here and turning him into a top-10 talent from this draft class in hindsight.

Ryan Pulock

Ryan Pulock

19) Columbus Blue Jackets (from N.Y. Rangers): Ryan Pulock (D, WHL, Brandon) = Again, Columbus is in a strange spot here, with a couple European talents left that might catch Kekalainen’s eye, but at this point, and after already selecting a forward, I think Pulock is the best player available. He has arguably the best (or hardest) shot of anybody in this draft class and could make a great future partner for 2012 first-rounder, Ryan Murray (second overall).

Andre Burakowsky

Andre Burakowsky

20) San Jose Sharks: Andre Burakowsky (LW, Sweden, Malmo) = I have no clue what the Sharks will do with this pick, but Burakowsky’s name leapt out at me for some reason, so call this selection a gut feeling. If San Jose wanted defence instead, don’t be surprised if they go with the hulking Samuel Morin here.

Anthony Mantha

Anthony Mantha

21) Toronto Maple Leafs: Anthony Mantha (LW, QMJHL, Val d’Or) = The Leafs have long been attracted to big forwards and Dave Nonis is still an understudy to Brian Burke, so I could totally see him taking Mantha here. Especially considering how well James van Riemsdyk played this season, perhaps Toronto’s scouting staff projects Mantha to have a somewhat similar trajectory.

Josh Morrissey

Josh Morrissey

22) Calgary Flames (from St. Louis): Josh Morrissey (D, WHL, Prince Albert) = With their second pick of the first round and after going overseas for their first selection, the Flames take the hometown kid at No. 22. Morrissey is a Calgary product and one of several puck-moving defencemen from the WHL expected to be selected in this range, along with Shea Theodore, Mirco Mueller and Madison Bowey. I full expect Calgary to take one of those four blue-liners but most likely the local if he’s available.

Samuel Morin

Samuel Morin

23) Washington Capitals: Samuel Morin (D, QMJHL, Rimouski) = Washington went with size up front in last year’s first-round pick of Tom Wilson and I can see the Capitals going with size on the back end this time around by taking the 6-foot-7 Morin. Then again, Washington might go in a different direction with another former first-rounder cut from the same cloth, 6-foot-6 Jeff Schultz (27th overall in 2004), requesting a trade this spring after struggling to secure a roster spot.

Shea Theodore

Shea Theodore

24) Vancouver Canucks: Shea Theodore (D, WHL, Seattle) = I have a feeling the Canucks will also tap into that WHL defence group with their pick and Theodore boasts good size and skating ability with offensive upside. Mueller and Bowey are also options here.

Michael McCarron

Michael McCarron

25) Montreal Canadiens: Michael McCarron (RW, USA U-18) = The Canadiens could use some more size up front to complement Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher, and McCarron certainly offers that at 6-foot-5, 228 pounds. Despite his stature, he’s likely a few years away from making an impact in the NHL, so perhaps a long-term replacement for another former first-rounder in Max Pacioretty (22nd in 2007).

Kerby Rychel

Kerby Rychel

26) Anaheim Ducks: Kerby Rychel (LW, OHL, Windsor) = Rychel is one of those wild-cards who could go as high as 15 or as low as 45, but I think he’s a good fit for the Ducks. He might never be a big scorer at the next level, but you have to think he’d look right at home on an energy line with Devante Smith-Pelly.

Robert Hagg

Robert Hagg

27) Columbus Blue Jackets (from Los Angeles): Robert Hagg (D, Sweden, Modo) = My mind is made up that Columbus will be to blame for throwing my mock draft to the wolves as once again I’m stumped as to what the Blue Jackets do here. I can’t see Kekalainen making three first-round picks without a single European, but my research also tells me it is unlikely Columbus will take two defencemen in the first round with that position being an organizational strength. Still, for some reason, I see Hagg to the Blue Jackets, so I guess we will all have to wait and see.

Morgan Klimchuk

Morgan Klimchuk

28) Calgary Flames (from Pittsburgh): Morgan Klimchuk (C/LW, WHL, Regina) = Meanwhile, the Flames come across as more predictable to me (maybe that’s just me), and I think Klimchuk would round out an awfully good first round for Calgary following the selections of Lindholm and Morrissey. Klimchuk is no Jarome Iginla — for whom this pick was acquired — but he is a shoot-first scorer with a skill-set that should work well at the next level, potentially alongside Lindholm and Baertschi.

Mirco Mueller

Mirco Mueller

29) Dallas Stars (from Boston): Mirco Mueller (D, WHL, Everett) = Mueller made a lot of strides in Everett this season in the absence of last year’s second overall selection, Ryan Murray (shoulder injury). Lots of teams have apparently taken a liking to Mueller and I expect Dallas to be among them, with Gaglardi again paying extra close attention to the Dub.

Steve Santini

Steve Santini

30) Chicago Blackhawks: Steve Santini (D, USA U-18) = More than happy to pick last, Stan Bowman is still going to announce a quality prospect’s name at No. 30. It could any number of players at any position, but I have a feeling the Blackhawks will go with a defenceman here and Santini offers a pretty complete package.

Second Round

Nicolas Petan

Nicolas Petan

31) Florida Panthers: Nicolas Petan (C, WHL, Portland) = With Jones already sitting at their draft table, Tallon returns to the podium with the goal of adding another key piece to Florida’s puzzle. He finds that in Petan, who put up a lot of points as part of Portland’s potent offence alongside Jones. Petan is on the small side, but he’s a competitor that could, in time, replace the presence of now unrestricted free agent and former first-round pick Stephen Weiss (4th overall in 2001).

Madison Bowey

Madison Bowey

32) Colorado Avalanche: Madison Bowey (D, WHL, Kelowna) = The Avs go the opposite route, getting in on the run of defencemen and possibly getting the best of the bunch. Bowey is a potential steal at this point and could be off the board much sooner after an impressive showing at the under-18 tournament, including a goal in the championship game to help Canada capture gold. Not to mention the Avs already landed a pretty promising defenceman out of Kelowna’s program in 2009 third-rounder Tyson Barrie. Further, the Rockets recently drafted the bantam-aged son of Avs defence coach/consultant Adam Foote, so add it all up and Bowey seems like a perfect fit here. However, another option could be Adam Erne, who played for Roy’s Quebec Remparts last season.

Adam Erne

Adam Erne

33) Tampa Bay Lightning: Adam Erne (LW, QMJHL, Quebec) = The Lightning already have a small forward in Drouin, but although Erne is only 6-foot, he is solidly built at 210 pounds. Erne is a bit of a faller at this point, so Yzerman considers him the best player available.

Laurent Dauphin

Laurent Dauphin

34) Montreal Canadiens (from Nashville): Laurent Dauphin (C, QMJHL, Chicoutimi) = A francophone point-producer seems like the perfect fit here for Montreal, especially a versatile one like Dauphin who earned a lot of praise for his efforts in winning U-18 gold. Montreal is still waiting on former first-rounder Louis Leblanc (18th in 2009), but I don’t think Marc Bergevin will overlook Dauphin with this pick.

Jacob De La Rose

Jacob De La Rose

35) Carolina Hurricanes: Jacob De La Rose (C, Sweden, Leksand) = The Hurricanes went with a big defenceman in the first round and follow up with a big forward in the second round. Although De La Rose may be somewhat similar to another recent Carolina second-rounder in Victor Rask (42nd in 2011), that pick seems to be panning out, so I could see Rutherford looking for a repeat.

Jordan Subban

Jordan Subban

36) Montreal Canadiens (from Calgary): Jordan Subban (D, OHL, Belleville) = Speaking of natural fits for the Canadiens, with this already their third pick of the draft, the Habs can afford to use it on Norris Trophy winner P.K. Subban’s little brother, a fellow defenceman. It makes sense and although Subban is considered one of the draft’s biggest risers, he should still be on the board at this spot.

Ryan Hartman

Ryan Hartman

37) Edmonton Oilers: Ryan Hartman (RW, OHL, Plymouth) = Hartman plays much bigger than he is (5-foot-11, 185 pounds), and he possesses the jam that Edmonton is coveting to complement all of its skilled forwards. If the Oilers can come away with Monahan and Hartman, they could have two-thirds of a future checking line, something they sorely lacked in recent years. Monahan will likely play a scoring-shutdown role better than Shawn Horcoff in his prime and Hartman could develop into a more physical, less offensive Ryan Smyth.

Ian McCoshen

Ian McCoshen

38) Buffalo Sabres: Ian McCoshen (D, USHL, Waterloo) = The Sabres are having a good draft already at this point with a forward in Nichushkin and a goaltender in Fucale, so they opt for a defenceman here. At 6-foot-2, 207 pounds, McCoshen offers a lot to like and is perhaps overshadowed or lost in the shuffle among a strong crop of blue-liners this year.

Chris Bigras

Chris Bigras

39) New Jersey Devils: Chris Bigras (D, OHL, Owen Sound) = Speaking of lost in that defence shuffle, Bigras is a steady blue-liner that does almost everything good but nothing great. The Devils took a similar defender in last year’s second round, selecting Damon Severson at No. 60, but Bigras may be too good to pass up here.

William Carrier

William Carrier

40) Dallas Stars: William Carrier (LW, QMJHL, Cape Breton) = The Stars might have wanted to go defence with this pick, but most the top tier blue-liners are now off the board, so they gladly select a 6-foot-2 potential power forward as a consolation prize.

Justin Bailey

Justin Bailey

41) Philadelphia Flyers: Justin Bailey (RW, OHL, Kitchener) = The Flyers have always had a thing for big forwards and Bailey is 6-foot-3, so I can’t imagine Holmgren not liking his potential here. Wayne Simmonds is a 6-foot-2 former second-rounder (61st in 2007), so that could be a decent comparable and not just because both are African-American.

Eric Comrie

Eric Comrie

42) Phoenix Coyotes: Eric Comrie (G, WHL, Tri-City) = The Coyotes could be losing Mike Smith to free agency this summer and their goaltending pipeline isn’t exactly stocked with prospects, though Phoenix did use a recent first-rounder on Mark Visentin (27th in 2010). He could use some competition and Comrie is as competitive as they come, so a homegrown netminder would certainly bode well for the Coyotes.

Eric Roy

Eric Roy

43) Winnipeg Jets: Eric Roy (D, WHL, Brandon) = The Jets seem to like character kids in the second round, selecting gritty forward Lukas Sutter at No. 39 last year, so I could see that trend continuing with Roy. Winnipeg’s scouts likely saw plenty of Roy this winter and he scored 17 goals — three more than Pulock — so this could be a solid addition in terms of defensive depth.

Bogdan Yakimov

Bogdan Yakimov

44) Columbus Blue Jackets: Bogdan Yakimov (C, Russia, Nizhnekamsk) = Ughh, Columbus again. After picking two defencemen and a big forward in the first round, Kekalainen could very well target a boom-or-bust project with this pick. Yakimov would fit that bill as a 6-foot-5 centre who could develop into a Nik Antropov type.

J.T. Compher

J.T. Compher

45) Anaheim Ducks (from N.Y. Islanders): J.T. Compher (LW, USA U-18) = Call it a gut feeling, but I think Compher is destined to be a Duck with this pick. Anaheim went with a similar player in last year’s second round, selecting Nicolas Kerdiles at No. 36, and I think that tandem could work well together going forward.

Juuse Saros

Juuse Saros

46) Minnesota Wild: Juuse Saros (G, Finland, HPK) = The Wild have been backstopped by a Finnish goaltender for the last seven seasons in Niklas Backstrom, who was set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer before signing a three-year extension earlier this week. Backstrom could serve as a quality mentor for Saros, who could, in turn, be a long-term solution and give Minnesota more options between the pipes beyond Josh Harding and Darcy Kuemper.

John Hayden

John Hayden

47) St. Louis Blues (from Ottawa): John Hayden (C, USA U-18) = Kind of like Compher in Anaheim, I just see Hayden in St. Louis for some reason. He reminds some of current Blues forward T.J. Oshie and others of Ryan Kesler, but Hayden has the physical toolbox to work with at 6-foot-2, 200 pounds. The Blues have good forward depth for the time being, so they could afford to wait and allow Hayden to properly develop.

Pavel Buchnevich

Pavel Buchnevich

48) Detroit Red Wings: Pavel Buchnevich (LW, Russia, Cherepovets) = This is another pick that almost seems too obvious, given Detroit’s success with another Russian named Pavel (Datsyuk). Not to make that comparison as Buchnevich is a totally different player, but I could see the Red Wings trying to catch lightning in a bottle again here.

Emile Poirier

Emile Poirier

49) San Jose Sharks (from N.Y. Rangers): Emile Poirier (LW, QMJHL, Gatineau) = With three of the next 10 picks, I think the Sharks can afford to take a couple chances in the second round. That said, Poirier isn’t a huge risk as he’s decent-sized and put up a good number of points (32 goals, 70 points) this season, so he might more so fit the label of best player available here.

Oliver Bjorkstrand

Oliver Bjorkstrand

50) San Jose Sharks: Oliver Bjorkstrand (LW, WHL, Portland) = Bjorkstrand, on the other hand, is a bit more of an enigma despite a stellar North American debut for the Winterhawks. Originally from Denmark, it’s difficult to decipher what Bjorkstrand will become, but the Sharks are intrigued by his potential.

Jason Dickinson

Jason Dickinson

51) Toronto Maple Leafs: Jason Dickinson (C, OHL, Guelph) = This could be deemed a slightly safer pick for Toronto, with Nonis simply picking his best player available in Dickinson. It doesn’t hurt that he’s an Ontario boy, either.

Zach Nastasiuk

Zach Nastasiuk

52) Buffalo Sabres (from St. Louis): Zach Nastasiuk (RW, OHL, Owen Sound) = The Sabres almost took an Owen Sound player with their last pick but settled on Ian McCoshen over Chris Bigras. This time, the Owen Sound prospect wins out, with Buffalo opting for an all-around forward in Nastasiuk.

Marko Dano

Marko Dano

53) Washington Capitals: Marko Dano (C, Slovakia, Trencin) = As much as the Capitals like their size, they also like their skill and some flash. Dano represents the latter and could become an electrifying player if he pans out.

JC Lipon

JC Lipon

54) Dallas Stars (from Vancouver): JC Lipon (C, WHL, Kamloops) = This might be a bit high for Lipon based on some scouting lists, but I think the Stars will roll the dice on the over-ager here. The Los Angeles Kings took Tanner Pearson to end last year’s first round and he didn’t disappoint in his first pro season, though he’s a bit bigger than Lipon. But again I think Dallas will begin to target WHL talents and Lipon is one of the better WHL forwards available this year.

Artturi Lehkonen

Artturi Lehkonen

55) Montreal Canadiens: Artturi Lehkonen (LW, Finland, TPS) = I’d say the Canadiens are having a good draft at this point, getting most of their targets, so they decide to take a bit of a flyer here on a falling European in Lehkonen. His skill-set could be first-round calibre, but it’s hard to predict where Lehkonen will go, so I expect a team with multiple picks to take a chance on him if he starts sliding.

Tristan Jarry

Tristan Jarry

56) Edmonton Oilers (from Anaheim): Tristan Jarry (G, WHL, Edmonton) = This seems to be a popular pick amongst Oilers fans and Edmonton has shown a tendency to pick Oil Kings in the past. The Oilers have a couple goaltending prospects in the pipeline (Olivier Roy and Tyler Bunz), but another couldn’t hurt, especially one developing in their own backyard.

Jimmy Lodge

Jimmy Lodge

57) Los Angeles Kings: Jimmy Lodge (C, OHL, Saginaw) = This is likely another case of best player available, with the Kings having above average prospect depth at all positions. Perhaps they would go with a goaltender here, having decided against signing former second-rounder Christopher Gibson (49th in 2011), but the best option left is likely Philippe Desrosiers.

Jan Kostalek

Jan Kostalek

58) San Jose Sharks (from Pittsburgh): Jan Kostalek (D, QMJHL, Rimouski) = After adding three forwards, the Sharks go defence here and take who they see as the best blue-liner left in Kostalek. A product of the Czech Republic, Kostalek made the move to North America this past season and still has some developing to do, but the upside is worth this pick.

Adam Tambellini

Adam Tambellini

59) Winnipeg Jets (compensatory): Adam Tambellini (LW, BCHL, Surrey) = Tambellini is a bit of a high-risk, high-reward project, but the Jets can afford that type of prospect here. He has good bloodlines, which Winnipeg will like, so I see this as another good fit, though Tambellini could be a surprise draft riser and be off the board well before this pick.

Dillon Heatherington

Dillon Heatherington

60) Boston Bruins: Dillon Heatherington (D, WHL, Swift Current) = The Bruins know all about the importance of a big, mean defenceman having been captained to a Stanley Cup championship by Zdeno Chara and coming within two wins of repeating that feat this spring. Not to compare Heatherington to Chara because there’s really no comparison there, other than the fact Heatherington has decent size at 6-foot-3 and plays a physical, defence-first style. This wouldn’t be a sexy pick, but it’s the kind of pick that helps put teams over the top when the going gets tough.

Philippe Desrosiers

Philippe Desrosiers

61) Winnipeg Jets (from Chicago): Philippe Desrosiers (G, QMJHL, Rimouski) = Winnipeg is another franchise that could use a goaltending prospect and I fully expect the Jets to use one of their four picks in the opening two rounds to address that need. With two forwards (Domi, Tambellini) and a defenceman (Roy) already in their stable from this draft, the Jets can roll the dice on Desrosiers, who backstopped Canada to under-18 gold this spring. Then again, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Winnipeg use an earlier pick on one of Fucale, Comrie or Jarry, perhaps even Saros or Spencer Martin (OHL, Mississauga).

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  1. June 16, 2015 at 7:20 pm
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