The spectacle that is the NHL draft garners so much intrigue because of the unknown that surrounds it. Thirty-one general managers and hundreds of scouts flood the draft floor each year with the hope of bettering their franchise. But in a sport where subjectivity is so deeply ingrained in decision-making, it is truly impossible to predict who will end up where perfectly. Philosophies change year-to-year, trades occur, and teams are hard pressed to reveal their hand.
For as much of a slam dunk as teenage phenom Rasmus Dahlin to Buffalo was, who saw Arizona taking Sault Ste. Marie center Barrett Hayton coming? Hell, there isn’t even much consensus on who will go first this year.
Nevertheless, going through the process of a mock draft is still worth while. Being prepared for any possible outcome is vital if you want to walk away feeling good about yourself. It mimics just how unpredictable, yet entertaining the draft can be.
Our panel of general managers partaking in this mock draft:
We will be going though the first two rounds of the draft. How picks were assigned: A random order was generated to determine a rotation. The order came out as:
This is the order we will be selecting in for each rotation. For example, Alex will be picking first, fifth, ninth, etc. However, we are also picking for the same teams. So if a repeat team breaks up the rotation in the first round, that GM would make the selection, but then be skipped over the next rotation. For the second round we will be selecting for the same teams with the only exception being Detroit. With this being a Detroit based site, and four draft picks to go along with four GMs, we’ll each be making a selection for the Red Wings, based on the random order. For teams that did not have a first round pick, their GM was decided by using the inverse order that was generated, just to make things a little more fair.
Lastly, we will be drafting based on who WE would pick. This is not guess-work on who we believe the team will take, because, like I said before, that is near impossible.
With that said, New Jersey is on the clock…
Note: Due to time we will be conducting this mock draft before the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Final. We are assuming the Bruins will win the Stanley Cup based on regular season standings for the sake of this practice. Sorry Blues fans.
1. New Jersey Devils: Jack Hughes
Alex: While some fans might push for the more physically developed Kakko, Hughes offers the highest upside and is the obvious pick for NJ.
2. New York Rangers: Kaapo Kakko
John: The Rangers can’t go wrong here, Kakko is NHL ready and will produce right away.
3. Chicago Blackhawks: Alex Newhook
Cameron: Chicago adds an electrifying talent down the middle with an insanely high ceiling. He may seem controversial, but Newhook’s consistency over the last two seasons leaves great confidence that his dominance in the BCHL was for real.
4. Colorado Avalanche: Alex Turcotte
Nick: The Avalanche need a second centerman and Alex Turcotte is one of the best available in this draft. He can slot into the top-6 behind Nathan MacKinnon early in his career and take over for him later on. Colorado will need the speed, smarts, and scoring that he can offer.
5. Los Angeles Kings: Bowen Byram
Alex: The Kings need a lot of help, which puts them in position to take the best player available: Bowen Byram.
6. Detroit Red Wings: Dylan Cozens
John: Cozens is a complete player with a versatile toolkit and could slot right in as a 2nd line center after another year in the WHL.
7. Buffalo Sabres: Matthew Boldy
Cameron: Buffalo picks up the immensely talented Boldy. He can be the cherry on top of what has been a very long rebuilding process for the Sabres.
8. Edmonton Oilers: Cole Caufield
Nick: Edmonton’s got an elite scorer in Connor McDavid, but not a lot to support him with. Cole Caufield could pan out to be the most dynamic goal scorer in this draft class. Having McDavid feed him every night will bolster what will already be huge numbers for him in the NHL.
9. Anaheim Ducks: Trevor Zegras
Alex: Anaheim scored the least amount of goals of any team in the NHL and doesn’t have a ton help in the pipeline. Zegras offers great playmaking ability.
10. Vancouver Canucks: Peyton Krebs
John: Krebs is underrated because of the bad Winnipeg Ice team he’s on, but he’s a jack of all trades and plays in all situations.
11. Philadelphia Flyers: Jamieson Rees
Cameron: The most underrated player in this years draft. Rees brings a plethora of uber skill to the table and can get you out of your seat in a hurry. But he is not just a one-trick pony, playing with high-intensity and a lot of moxie. He screams Philly draft pick.
12. Minnesota Wild: Kirby Dach
Nick: Minnesota needs help at literally every position, so best player available it is!
13. Florida Panthers: Cam York
Alex: Florida hasn’t spent a first or a second rounder on a defenseman since Aaron Ekblad in 2014. That changes with the USNTDP’s top D-man.
14. Arizona Coyotes: Philip Broberg
John: Arizona chooses upside here. Broberg has a real high ceiling if he can put it all together and Arizona isn’t afraid to take someone deemed a risky pick.
15. Montreal Canadians: Philip Tomasino
Cameron: Speed, speed, and more speed. Tomasino plays an exciting game and is just too good to pass up here. With the ability to play center or wing, he provides flexibility to a future center core that also features Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Ryan Poehling.
16. Colorado Avalanche: Vasili Podkolzin
Nick: It’s amazing how Podkolzin’s status has fallen from being the #3 ranked prospect in this draft to a mid-round pick. Maybe some teams are scared off by his KHL commitments, but Colorado doesn’t need his services immediately. He’ll be a great NHL player when he does come over and Colorado will be in the middle of their Cup window when he’s ready in 2-3 years.
17. Vegas Golden Knights: Arthur Kaliyev
Alex: Vegas has some good centers in the system (Cody Glass) but they can always use a winger. Kaliyev did a lot of scoring in the OHL.
18. Dallas Stars: Victor Soderstrom
John: Soderstrom gives Dallas a well-rounded defenseman who could round out their top 4 within a couple of years.
19. Ottawa Senators: Thomas Harley
Cameron: Ottawa has built up one of the best prospect pools in the league after shipping off many of their star players. They add to their bright future with Harley who is the best available player on the board. A blue-line of Thomas Chabot, Erik Brannstrom, and Harley has the making of being a top unit in the NHL one day.
20. New York Rangers: Nils Hoglander
John: Hoglander is a highly skilled forward who’s game has held up against men. You should always be looking to draft skill and he has that in spades.
21. Pittsburgh Penguins: Ryan Suzuki
Nick: Pittsburgh is going to rapidly hit the decline in the coming years and they will need a dynamic young center to keep them competitive. Suzuki isn’t a pure goal scorer, so he’ll be able to learn the speedy playmaking game from the best in the world in Sidney Crosby. Just as Crosby did from Mario Lemieux.
22. Los Angeles Kings: Patrik Puistola
Alex: Once again, LA needs help everywhere and Puistola is a high skill Finnish winger who will be a valued asset out west.
23. New York Islanders: Egor Afanasyev
Cameron: The Islanders nab the big Russian winger who made a name for himself in the USHL. Afanasyev has potential to be a consistent 20 plus goal scorer in the NHL — that is too much value to pass up.
24. Nashville Predators: Raphael Lavoie
Nick: Nashville needs to go big if they want to keep up with size in the Central Division. Lavoie is a power forward with the skill-set to be a great NHL player. He’s got his work cut out for him, but he’s a project Nashville would be happy to take on.
25: Washington Capitals: Bobby Brink
Alex: The Caps have been in win-now mode for a while and haven’t had a ton of picks at all the last few years, meaning they take the BPA here.
26. Calgary Flames: Moritz Seider
John: The Flames leave Spencer Knight on the board and choose Seider, a riser, and continue to rebuild the look of their future defense.
27. Tampa Bay Lightning: Spencer Knight
Cameron: For a roster as loaded as Tampa Bay they have no roster holes to fill. With that they take the clear best player available in goaltender Spencer Knight, despite having Andrei Vasilevskiy in the fold. With cap hell on the horizon and Vasilevskiy in need of a raise soon, they get either a much cheaper replacement in a few years or a very valuable trading chip.
28. Carolina Hurricanes: Nicholas Robertson
Nick: Robertson’s flashy style fits in beautifully with Carolina’s offense. He may still be a couple of years away from the NHL, but when he’s ready he’ll slide nicely onto the 1st power play unit with his big shot.
29. Anaheim Ducks: Jakob Pelletier
Alex: Anaheim continues to load up on offensive talent after taking Zegras with their first pick of this round.
30. Buffalo Sabres: Pavel Dorofeyev
Cameron: Buffalo grabs another talented winger to bolster their future roster depth. Dorofeyev is an intelligent playmaker who can make other players better.
31. Boston Bruins: Samuel Poulin
John: Poulin plays the type of game that would fit perfectly with the way Boston plays. He’s a strong two-way player and isn’t afraid to fight in the corners for the puck.
|1.||Alex||New Jersey Devils||Jack Hughes|
|2.||John||New York Rangers||Kaapo Kakko|
|3.||Cameron||Chicago Blackhawks||Alex Newhook|
|4.||Nick||Colorado Avalanche (From Ottawa)||Alex Turcotte|
|5.||Alex||Los Angeles Kings||Bowen Byram|
|6.||John||Detroit Red Wings||Dylan Cozens|
|7.||Cameron||Buffalo Sabres||Matthew Boldy|
|8.||Nick||Edmonton Oilers||Cole Caufield|
|9.||Alex||Anaheim Ducks||Trevor Zegras|
|10.||John||Vancouver Canucks||Peyton Krebs|
|11.||Cameron||Philadelphia Flyers||Jamieson Rees|
|12.||Nick||Minnesota Wild||Kirby Dach|
|13.||Alex||Florida Panthers||Cam York|
|14.||John||Arizona Coyotes||Philip Broberg|
|15.||Cameron||Montreal Canadians||Philip Tomasino|
|16.||Nick||Colorado Avalanche||Vasili Podkolzin|
|17.||Alex||Vegas Golden Knights||Arthur Kaliyev|
|18.||John||Dallas Stars||Victor Soderstrom|
|19.||Cameron||Ottawa Senators (From Columbus)||Thomas Harley|
|20.||John||New York Rangers (From Winnipeg)||Nils Hoglander|
|21.||Nick||Pittsburgh Penguins||Ryan Suzuki|
|22.||Alex||Los Angeles Kings (From Toronto)||Patrik Puistola|
|23.||Cameron||New York Islanders||Egor Afanasyev|
|24.||Nick||Nashville Predators||Raphael Lavoie|
|25.||Alex||Washington Capitals||Bobby Brink|
|26.||John||Calgary Flames||Moritz Seider|
|27.||Cameron||Tampa Bay Lightning||Spencer Knight|
|28.||Nick||Carolina Hurricanes||Nicholas Robertson|
|29.||Alex||Anaheim Ducks (From San Jose via Buffalo)||Jakob Pelletier|
|30.||Cameron||Buffalo Sabres (From St. Louis)||Pavel Dorofeyev|
|31.||John||Boston Bruins||Samuel Poulin|
|32.||Cameron||Ottawa Senators||Ville Heinola|
|33.||Alex||Los Angeles Kings||Nathan Legare|
|34.||Alex||New Jersey Devils||Matthew Robertson|
|35.||Alex||Detroit Red Wings||Tobias Bjornfot|
|36.||Nick||Carolina Hurricanes (From Buffalo)||Alex Vlasic|
|37.||Nick||Carolina Hurricanes (From Rangers)||Robert Mastrosimone|
|38.||Nick||Edmonton Oilers||Ryan Johnson|
|39.||Alex||Anaheim Ducks||Brett Leason|
|40.||John||Vancouver Canucks||Samuel Fagemo|
|41.||Cameron||Philadelphia Flyers||Connor McMichael|
|42.||Nick||Minnesota Wild||Lassi Thomson|
|43.||Cameron||Chicago Blackhawks||Cameron Rowe|
|44.||Cameron||Ottawa Senators (From Florida via San Jose)||Egor Serdyuk|
|45.||John||Arizona Coyotes||Vladislav Kolyachonok|
|46.||Cameron||Montreal Canadians||William Constantinou|
|47.||Nick||Colorado Avalanche||Ilya Nikolayev|
|48.||Alex||Vegas Golden Knights||Anttoni Honka|
|49.||John||New York Rangers (From Dallas)||Graeme Clarke|
|50.||Cameron||Montreal Canadians (From Columbus)||Trevor Janicke|
|51.||Nick||Winnipeg Jets||Brayden Tracey|
|52.||Alex||Florida Panthers (From Pittsburgh)||Nikita Alexandrov|
|53.||Cameron||Toronto Maple Leafs||Karl Henriksson|
|54.||Cameron||Detroit Red Wings (From Islanders via Vegas)||Case McCarthy|
|55.||Alex||New Jersey Devils (From Nashville)||Mikko Kokkonen|
|56.||Alex||Washington Capitals||Artemi Knyazev|
|57.||Cameron||New York Islanders (From Calgary)||Michal Teply|
|58.||John||New York Rangers (From Tampa Bay)||Semyon Chistyakov|
|59.||Nick||Carolina Hurricanes||Dillon Hamaliuk|
|60.||Nick||Detroit Red Wings (From San Jose)||Domenick Fensore|
|61.||John||St. Louis Blues||Simon Holmstrom|
|62.||Alex||New Jersey (From Boston)||Pyotr Kochetkov|