I covered the bulk of this material a few weeks ago with this post… but so much changes as you near the Draft that it was time to update the mock draft. I usually research upwards of 100 or 150 guys, but this year scaled it back a touch. I never get the order right, but I’m usually good for 24-29 of the 30 first rounders, and the bulk of the second rounders, too.
The following mock is presuming no trades (obviously) and — in many cases — taking a “best player available” instead of what each team NEEDS. Have at it.
1. Colorado — Nathan MacKinnon (F)
It’s possible that it’s all nonsense and they’re going to take the best available (absolutely, 100% Seth Jones), but you can’t ignore their propaganda. Either way, it’s MacKinnon and Jones 1-2, so who cares.
2. Florida — Seth Jones (D)
If the Panthers sit tight and the best player in the Draft falls into their lap, they’ll be happy campers.
3. Tampa — Jonathan Drouin (F)
In a similar situation to 1 and 2, I actually like Sasha Barkov better than Drouin. It seems pretty clear that Jones, MacKinnon, Drouin, and Barkov will be 1-4 in some order.
4. Nashville — Sasha Barkov (F)
They’ll do a backflip if he’s still available.
5. Carolina — Darnell Nurse (D)
I think they’ll go D here… but the best player still available will be Valeri Nichushkin, even with his red (or, at least, pink) flags. Nichushkin could make a lot of NHL rosters right away, but teams have been wary of players like him for the last few years.
6. Calgary — Sean Monahan (F)
A few guys available at this spot: Lindholm, Ristolainen, Horvat — all good fits for the Flames, who need everything.
7. Edmonton — Rasmus Ristolainen (D)
If they don’t take a D with this pick, I give up on the Oilers.
8. Buffalo — Elias Lindholm (F)
Heck of a pick at #8.
9. New Jersey — Max Domi (F)
He’s bounced up and down the list for the last few weeks, but that’s a big name to unveil to the home crowd.
10. Dallas — Bo Horvat (F)
Jim Nill’s first pick is a big riser.
11. Philadelphia — Nikita Zadorov (D)
Also will consider Hunter Shinkaruk since they have a habit of drafting dudes who used to be no-brainer top five picks (Couturier).
12. Phoenix — Hunter Shinkaruk (F)
Great snag at #12.
13. Winnipeg — Josh Morrissey (D)
Even more than some of the forwards, I really like Morrissey and would consider picking him at 18 if he’s still available, even though the Wings have made it clear a big forward is their preference.
14. Columbus — Valeri Nichushkin (F)
Okay, bear with me… he’s a top five player, no doubt. A lot of teams will be wary of him because of his KHL contract. Columbus has three picks in the first 27, so they can afford to take a bit of a gamble. He may very well be selected before this point, but nothing will surprise me anymore.
15. Islanders — Anthony Mantha (F)
A lot of Wings fans covet Mantha, but I can’t imagine he’s available at 18.
16. Buffalo (from Minnesota) — Ryan Pulock (D)
Pretty kick-ass pick if he lasts this long. After taking Monahan at #8, adding Pulock at #16 would be an unbelievable coup.
17. Ottawa — Adam Erne (F)
Now we’re getting close to Red Wings territory so a few guys will be available for them. Erne is a guy I like very much, which means he’ll be picked directly before Detroit.
18. Detroit — Alexander Wennberg (F)
He’s not as big as the Wings want to draft, but you can’t really pass him up at 18. If there are guys that they like better than Wennberg (Gauthier, for example), they might slide down a few slots and pick up an additional mid-round pick. If Mantha’s available, they take him, but I can’t imagine he is. If they have a gap between Mantha and — say — Erne/Wennberg/Lazar/Gauthier, they may very well scoot back.
19. Columbus (from Rangers) — Robert Hagg (D)
After taking a flyer on Nichushkin, they’re go with a sure-thing.
20. San Jose — Curtis Lazar (F)
A great pick at #20 and San Jose almost always takes the best guy still around.
21. Toronto — Frederik Gauthier (F)
Huge dude, great pick. He may very well be off the board by this point.
22. Calgary (from St. Louis) — Samuel Morin (D)
Quick-rising defenseman to go with their forward pick from earlier.
23. Washington — Mirco Mueller (D)
Pretty awesome value for a pick this low.
24. Vancouver — Zach Fucale (G)
What a mess the net is in Vancouver. The top goaltender goes in the bottom portion of the first round no matter what.
25. Montreal — Jacob De La Rose (F)
If the Wings can slide back a few picks and get De La Rose, I’d be thrilled.
26. Anaheim — Valentin Zykov (F)
Another great value for her.
27. Columbus (from Los Angeles) — Andre Burakowsky (F)
With their third pick in the first round, they can afford to take a guy that some mocks have in the second round.
28. Calgary (from Pittsburgh) — Chris Bigras (D)
29. Boston — Steve Santini (D)
Love this kid, but almost everyone has him in the second round. I think he goes late in the first.
30. Chicago — Nicolas Petan (F)
Classic sleeper, and would be a top 15 pick in almost any other Draft in recent memory.
31. Florida — Dillon Heatherington (D)
32. Colorado — Anthony Duclair (F) — Roy coached him in junior
33. Tampa — Kerby Rychel (F)
34. Montreal (from Nashville) — Ryan Hartman (F)
35. Carolina — Jason Dickinson (F)
36. Montreal (from Calgary) — Tristan Jarry (G) — they were coy about picking a G
37. Edmonton — Morgan Klimchuk (F)
38. Buffalo — JT Compher (F)
39. New Jersey — Eric Comrie (G)
40. Dallas — Keaton Thompson (D)
41. Philadelphia — Zach Nastasiuk (F)
42. Phoenix — Nick Sorensen (F)
43. Winnipeg — Lauren Dauphin (F)
44. Columbus — Madison Bowey (D)
45. Anaheim (from Islanders) — Connor Rankin (F)
46. Minnesota — Artturi Lehkonen (F)
47. St. Louis (from Ottawa) — Ian McCoshen (D)
48. Detroit — Mike McCarron (F) — massive, massive kid from Metro Detroit and headed to Western Michigan.
49. San Jose (from Rangers) — Nick Baptiste (F)
50. San Jose — Shea Theodore (D)
51. Toronto — Alex Forsberg (F)
52. Buffalo (from St. Louis) — Adam Tambellini (F)
53. Washington — Emile Poirier (F)
54. Dallas (from Vancouver) — Pavel Buchnevich (F)
55. Montreal — Jordan Subban (D) — why not?
56. Edmonton — Eric Roy (D)
57. Los Angeles — Taylor Cammarata (F)
58. San Jose (from Pittsburgh) — Will Butcher (D)
59. Winnipeg — Hudson Fasching (F)
60. Boston — Stephen Harper (F)
61. Winnipeg (from Chicago) — Marko Dano (F)
GUYS I HAVE MY EYE ON FOR THE THIRD ROUND AND BEYOND
Sven Andrighetto (F) — Returning to the Draft, he may very well get passed over because every team knows that he’ll be able to attend their training camp on an invitation basis. At the same time, some team may very well select him to keep OTHER TEAMS from allowing him to accept that invitation. He’s a hell of a hockey player, so I think someone takes him. I’d love if it was the Red Wings.
Jean-Sebastien Dea (F) — If he’s still on the board when the Wings pick at 79, they had damn well better take him. He won’t last much longer than that, if he lasts even that long.
Tyler Bertuzzi (F) — Imagine the Wings taking Todd’s nephew. He’s probably not a third round guy, and maybe even isn’t a fourth round guy, but if he’s on the board in the 5th or 6th, I bet the Wings take a chance on him.
Kurt Etchegary (F) — He was injured for a good portion of the season, so his stock dropped a bit. He’s probably off the board in the third round.
Tyler Motte (F) — Another Michigander, played for USNDTP, and headed to the University of Michigan. He’ll get drafted somewhere, but it’ll be between the 3rd and 5th rounds.
Pulock is going to be the steal of the 1st round.