After a dominating performance by so many draft elligible players, I will be doing a mock draft on the first 14 picks of this year’s draft.
NOTE: These are standings from the NHL Lottery Simulator.
#1 Columbus Blue Jackets: Auston Matthews, C, Zurich
After trading Ryan Johansen, the Jackets will be looking for a franchise centre to lead them for the next 10 or so years. Though, Jackets GM Jarmo Kekkolainen is finnish, and may be interested in Jesse or Laine, Matthews is way to good to pass up.
#2 Edmonton Oilers: Jesse Puljujarvi, RW, Karpat
It was him or Jakob Chychrun, but here we go again, another forward. Jesse is way to good to pass up, and with Leon Draisaitl coming on to the scene, you could see Ryan Nugent-Hopkins get shipped out for a defensemen.
#3 Buffalo Sabres: Patrik Laine, RW, Tappara
Again you couldn’t go wrong with either Laine or Chychrun, but finding an elite scorer to play with Jack Eichel or Ryan O’Reilly is way too good to pass up.
#4: Toronto Maple Leafs: Matthew Tkachuk, LW, London Knights
Mark Hunter is still very much in touch, with London after moving on to the Leafs, and it’s pretty predictable that if Tkachuk is still available, Hunter will vouch to take this big left winger that his brother Dale Hunter coaches.
#5 Winnipeg Jets: Jakob Chychrun, D, Sarnia Sting
With Dustin Byfuglien set to become an unrestricted free agent, the Jets will be looking for someone to play with Jacob Trouba for the next decade, and who better than Jakob.
#6 Carolina Hurricanes: Michael McLeod, C, Mississauga Steelheads
As a Mississauga native, as much as i’d love to see Mikey with the Leafs, and since Mark Hunter loves London Knight players, I don’t see that happening. I don’t see Eric Staal coming back, so the Canes will be looking for someone to play alongside players such as Elias Lindholm and Jeff Skinner.
#7 Calgary Flames: Olli Juolevi, D, London Knights
Calgary’s offense such be set for a while, but the smooth skating of Juolevi should be something the Flames should look at to round out their top 4 with Mark Giordano, TJ Brodie, Dougie Hamilton and now Olli.
#8 Anaheim Ducks: Alex Nylander, RW, Mississauga Steelheads
Finally, someone to finally play with Getzlaf and Perry. The Ducks do have trouble putting the puck in the net, and Nylander can solve that no problem.
#9 San Jose Sharks: Dante Fabbro, D, Penticton
The Sharks don’t really have a defensemen of the future, and after drafting Timo Meier last season, to possibly fill the void for Patrick Marleau when he leaves, Fabbro will be their D-Man of the future.
#10 Nashville Predators: Clayton Keller, C, USA NTDP
Even after the Johansen trade, the Preds should still look at their offense, as their defense is very strong. David Poile loves his Americans, and that’s why I see Keller taken instead of Julien Gauthier.
#11 New Jersey Devils: Julien Gauthier, RW, Val D’Or
New Jersey needs all the help they can get, and already with a young defensive core, the Devils should look for someone to possibly play with Pavel Zacha for a very long time.
#12 Philadelphia Flyers: Tyler Jost, C, Penticton
Philly have drafted defensemen for the last 2 drafts, and the Flyers should look for more offensive punch, as they are having a lot of trouble doing that. This pick is more of a stocking the shelves type of pick.
#13 Ottawa Senators: Pierre-Luc Dubois, LW, Cape Breton
Thomas Chabot and Colin White were excellent pickups last season, and the Sens are looking pretty good with the Chabot draft pick, so Ottawa should look for that skilled winger.
#14 Tampa Bay Lightning: Kiefer Bellows, LW, USA NTDP
With Steven Stamkos prepared to leave, and Johnathon Drouin requesting a trade Tampa has to find a way to try to replace those guys.