By Brian Monzo
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This is my third year with a mock draft on WFAN.com. I love doing them. Two years ago, I got very lucky and hit every pick the Rangers, Devils and Islanders made. Last year, I was only right about the first two and our programming director here at WFAN, Eric Spitz, got a huge kick out of that.
This year, I can only get better (you’d think). So here we go:
1. Edmonton Oilers – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, C, WHL
Edmonton gets a top tier center to play with Taylor Hall, picked first overall last season. Nugent-Hopkins put up 105 points in 69 games in the WHL last season, and can play both ends of the ice.
2. Colorado Avalanche – Gabriel Landeskog, LW, OHL
Some people think Landeskog is the best player in the draft. He can score, he can check and do everything in between. With two first round picks, the Avs get a premier forward who is ready to play in the league next season.
3. Florida Panthers – Adam Larsson, D, Sweden
A 6’3 shutdown defenseman who can pass the puck with the best of them. Larsson is NHL ready and will help solidify the Panthers’ defense for the next decade.
4. New Jersey Devils – Jonathan Huberdeau, C, QMJHL
The Devils get a prolific center to either play with or behind Ilya Kovalchuk. Huberdeau and Jacob Josefson would be a solid pair of young centers for the Devils to build around.
5. New York Islanders – Dougie Hamilton, D, OHL
A 6’4 defenseman that can make plays is just what the Isles need. They are loaded with offensive depth and Hamilton will give them a heck of a defenseman to build around, along with Calvin De Haan.
6. Ottawa Senators – Sean Couturier, C, QMJHL
The Senators get a top tier offensive center who has scored 96 points in back-to-back seasons.
7. Winnipeg (Unnamed) – Ryan Strome, C, OHL
The former Atlanta Thrashers have a weak group of young players. Strome immediately gives them a center who can score and make plays. He has gotten better as he has gotten older and has become a highlight reel again and again.
8. Philadelphia Flyers (From Columbus) – Mark McNeill, C, WHL
In one hour, the Flyers traded their core of Jeff Carter and Mike Richards. One of the draft picks they acquired was this one. McNeill, at 6’1 and 204 pounds, gives them a hard working center and plays with power. Something teams in the East need.
9. Boston Bruins (From Toronto) – Duncan Siemens, D, WHL
After winning the Cup, the Bruins get the 9th pick from the Leafs in the Tomas Kaberle trade. They get a puck moving who throws his body around. Siemens is a great skater and can fight.
10. Minnesota Wild – Ryan Murphy, D, OHL
The Wild get a smaller defenseman that can score goals. Murphy scored 26 goals in 63 games last season, and while he needs to improve defensively, could be compared to Mike Green.
11. Colorado Avalanche (From St.Louis) – Brandon Saad, LW, OHL
The Avs add a power forward with offensive skill. Could be a solid second line player. Scored 27 goals in 59 games last season.
12. Carolina Hurricanes – Nicklas Jensen, RW, OHL
Hurricanes get a forward who likes to shoot the puck. Has a lot of skill, scoring 29 goals and adding 29 assists in 61 OHL games last season.
13. Calgary Flames – Mike Zibanejad, C, Sweden
Calgary gets a do-it-all forward that is powerful and shoots the puck. Has a nose for the net, and can play wing or center.
14. Dallas Stars – Sven Bartschi, LW, WHL
Scored 34 goals last season, but it’s his vision that impresses everyone. Assisted on 51 goals last season and added 74 PIM’s.
15. NY Rangers – Tyler Biggs, RW, U18
Biggs fits the Ryan Callahan/Brandon Dubinsky bill the Rangers love. He is 6’2 and 210 pounds and could hit 220 pounds. Will drop the gloves and scored 17 goals in 48 games last season.
16. Buffalo Sabres – Joel Armia, RW, Finland
The Sabres land a pure goal scorer to compliment their young defense. Scored 18 goals in Finland’s best league last season.
17. Montreal Canadians – Daniel Catenacci, C, OHL
Perhaps the fastest skater available. Scored 26 goals last season and create plays just on his speed alone.
18. Chicago Blackhawks – Alexander Khokhlachev, C, OHL
The Hawks get a forward that plays both ends of the ice, and scored 34 goals in 67 games last season. Can forecheck very well.
19. Edmonton Oilers (From Los Angeles) – Christoper Gibson, G, QMJHL
The Oilers use their second 1st round pick to solidify their goaltending. Gibson had a GAA of 2.42 last season and at 6’1 is also very athletic.
20. Phoenix Coyotes – Rocco Grimaldi, C, U18
The Coyotes struggle scoring. Even though he is 5’6, Grimaldi doesn’t, scoring 34 goals in 50 games last season. Despite his size, he is strong on the puck
21. Ottawa Senators (From Nashville) – Zack Phillips, C, QMJHL
The Sens land their second center of the draft. Phillips scored 95 points in 67 games last season but needs to improve his skating. If he does, he could be a top liner.
22. Anaheim Ducks – David Musil, D, WHL
Cannot do too much offensively, but Musil could be a shutdown, penalty kill defenseman. Can block shots and clear the puck.
23. Pittsburgh – Jamie Oleksiak, D, HE
The beast of the draft. He stands at 6’7 and 244 pounds. With the dynamic offense, Oleksiak will brutalize opponents scoring chances.
24. Detroit Red Wings – Oscar Klefbom, D, Sweden
A little bit of a wild card, but Klefbom could be a solid fourth defenseman. He is big and bulky, and Detroit always lets their prospects grow for a few years, which is exactly what Klefbom will need.
25. Toronto Maples Leafs (From Philadelphia) – Nathan Beaulieu, D, QMJHL
A solid two-way defenseman that could start the Leafs post-Kaberle movement on the blueline. Scored 45 points in 65 games last season.
26. Washington Capitals – Matt Puempel, LW, OHL
With this likely being Alex Semin’s last season in Washington, the Caps draft a potential replacement. Puempel scored 34 goals last season and has been a consistent junior player.
27. Tampa Bay Lightning – John Gibson, G, U18
The Lightning get the goalie they have been craving for years. After loading up on everything else the passed few seasons, Gibson will fortify the net in a few seasons. Went 17-10-3 for USA last season.
28. San Jose Sharks – Ty Rattie, LW, WHL
The Sharks get a feisty little forward that scored 28 goals and added 51 assists in 67 games last season. Isn’t flashy, but gets the job done.
29. Vancouver Canucks – Jonas Brodin, D, Sweden
The Canucks’ defense is slim. Brodin can play on both ends of the ice and is smart with and without the puck. He will make an impact sooner then later.
30. Toronto Maple Leafs (From Boston) – Mark Scheifele, C, OHL
Perhaps the steal of the draft. If Scheifele slips this far, the Leafs will get a 75 point player who can pass the puck. He is 6’2 and 177 pounds but could hit 190 when it is all said and done.
So there it is.
Follow me on Twitter throughout the first round: BMonzoNHL660
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