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Mock Draft

Published on April 18th 2014

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Photo Credit Terry Wilson/OHL Images

Follow me @IanEsplen for fun, Flames and the NHL Draft

Now that the lottery is over and we know the order of the first 13 picks I figured I'd take a stab at another mock draft.

Let me know what you think via twitter or the message board.

 

1- FLORIDA- Aaron Ekblad, D

The Panthers have taken a couple high-end forwards the past few years, now it's time to add a leader to the talented defencemen they have. Ekblad will be the pick as this team is always near the top of the NHL in goals against.

 

2- BUFFALO- Sam Bennett, C

Ted Nolan likes gritty guys and that is Bennett to a tee. He gives them a No. 1 centre to lead their rebuild.

 

3- EDMONTON- Michael Dal Colle, C/LW

I'm not sure if he projects better as an NHL centre or winger, but the Oilers will take a shot that he's the big centre they need. His play in the playoffs will see him leapfrogging a few of the other guys in that top tier of players.

 

4- CALGARY- Leo Draisaitl, C

He's the perfect 1A to play behind/with Monahan down the middle. This kid could very well be the best player in the draft and he has more "truculence then Reinhart.

 

5- NY ISLANDERS- Sam Reinhart, C

There is no telling if the Isles use this pick, trade this pick or send it to the Sabres but someone gets a gift here by landing the guy I feel is the No. 1 player in the draft. I think team's obsession with size results in his slide.

 

6- VANCOUVER- Nick Ritchie, LW

Vancouver is on the record as saying they want the "Boston model and a 63, 230 pound winger is a perfect match for that model. Ritchie also has outstanding hands and is more advanced at this stage of his career then the likes of Benn, Backes, Lucic or Bertuzzi.

 

7- CAROLINA- Jake Virtanen, LW

He's the best player left on the board and the Cane's have a history of taking good young forwards over defenceman. Look for him to push for an NHL spot next season.

 

8- TORONTO- William Nylander, RW/C

The leafs have a lot of good bottom 6 guys in the system, but they are missing that real good top-6 guy in the system. At one point Nylander was right there with Reinhart and Ekblad.

 

9- WINNIPEG- Nikolaj Ehlers, LW

He's an electric skater and he has the skill set to be a major game-breaker. The Jets could use a pure skill sniper to go with the big, strong players they have in the ranks.

 

10- ANAHEIM (VIA OTT)- Robby Fabbri, C

In the drafts first off the board pick (kind of), the Ducks take a shot on a guy that had 45 goals in only 58 games. Fabbri also has the same type of compete level and skills that Bennett does.

 

11- NASHVILLE- Haydn Fleury, D

The Preds need scoring, but they have a long history of taking the best player - even if it is a defenceman. Fleury is the best player on the board and may very well be the best defencman in the draft in five years.

 

12- PHOENIX- Kasperi Kapanen, RW

The Yotes love former players kids - see the last three drafts. Kapanen also has the all around game that will fit well with the Yotes system.

 

13- WASHINGTON- David Pastrnak, LW

The Caps like skill and Pastrnak has maybe the best hands in the draft. Watch for him to become a quality second line scorer.

 

14- DALLAS- Josh Ho-Sang, RW/C

Following the Red Wings model, Jim Nill takes a player that has one of the highest skill levels in the draft. Ho-Sang could be a steal or a bust at the No. 14 pick.

 

15- DETROIT- Thatcher Demko, G

The Wings don't typically draft goalies in the first round, but they are going to need someone to take over from Howard in four-to-five years. Demko looks to have the tools to be the type of goalies teams can build around.

 

16- COLUMBUS- Adrian Kempe, RW/C

He's a safe pick, who's rugged, hard working style is a perfect fit for the Jackets. I see him rounding into sort of a poor mans, "Swedish David Backes down the road.

 

17- PHILADELPHIA- Brendan Perlini, LW

He had a rough playoffs, but he's been a top-10 prospect for most of the season. The Flyers can't pass on the big forward that can score.

 

18- NY RANGERS- Jared McCann, C

When he's good, he's right there with the top players in the draft. But the issue with McCann is consistency. The Rangers take the best player left on the draft board - a player that some have in the top-10.

 

19- MINNESOTA- Nikolay Goldobin, LW

The Wild are slowly becoming more offensive minded and scoring goals is Goldobin to a tee. He'll upgrades the skill level of the Wild and gives them a natural goal scorer.

 

20- LOS ANGELES- Alex Tuch, C/RW

Right now the Kings are the biggest team in the NHL and they add to that by taking a kid that will likely play in the NHL at around the 230 pound mark. Tuch also has good hands, decent skill and is a good skater.

 

21- MONTRÉAL- Ivan Barbashev, LW

The Canadiens have had good luck with European players and they take a pretty good, well-rounded one here. Barbashev plays very well in all three zones, and has excellent character and work ethic.

 

22- TAMPA BAY- Julius Honka, D

I really like Honka a lot, but I think the size thing will scare off some teams and he'll fall to anywhere from 20-to-40. The Bolts get player that very well could be Karlsson 2.0.

 

23- CHICAGO- Brendan Lemieux, LW

The one criticism people seem to have of the Blackhawks is that they are a tad soft. On the ice Lemieux is a splitting image of his dad and will be a guy that players will hate playing against for the next 15 or so years.

 

24- PITTSBURGH-Roland McKeown, D

I think the Pens would like a forward, but they can't let McKeown slide past them. McKeown should be a very good, 22-25 minute a night defenceman.

 

25- SAN JOSE- Conner Bleakley, C

The Sharks get a steal here by snagging one of the best leaders in the NHL draft. Bleakley plays a very good all around game and leaves everything he has on the ice. Think sort of a poor man's Couture.

 

26- ST. LOUIS- Ryan MacInnis, C

The Blues take the hometown boy that has a lot of the skills they value. MacInnis is a big centre, that plays well in his own end and he can grind teams down.

 

27- COLORADO- Brayden Point, C

The Avs get maybe the steal of the first round. While Point is undersized, he has a good motor, a high compete level and out of this world skill. He was also the youngest player in the WHL's top 30 scorers with 91 points.

 

28- ANAHEIM- Nikita Scherbak, LW

The Ducks took a chance on Fabbri early on and now they take a faller in Scherbak. The Russian had a very good year on a bad Saskatoon team and has a very high skill level. He should round into a quality second-line NHL player.

 

29- BOSTON- Anthony DeAngelo, D

The big bad Bruins can't pass on one of the more skilled, rover-type defenceman in the draft. Along with his offensive upside, DeAngelo also has a bit of a nasty streak that will fit in well with the Bruins.

 

30- NEW JERSEY- Jakub Vrana, C

Rounding out the first round the Devils go to Europe and take a very good skill player in Vrana. Vrana also suited up for 38 games with Linkoping of the SEL, so he's likely closer to NHL ready then a number of prospects.

 

That's a wrap

 

Ian

 

 

 

 

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Ian EsplenPuckrant Contributor

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