With the first overall pick, the Colorado Avalanche select…
1st: Colorado Avalanche – Nathan MacKinnon – I was calling ‘smokescreen’ when I first heard that the Avalanche management team was publicly stating they wanted to nab one of the big three forwards but I no longer feel that way, as Patrik Roy is typically a straight shooter and if he said he wants MacKinnon at No. 1 that is who they take.
2nd: Florida Panthers – Seth Jones – Florida management is overjoyed to get this stud defender and who many scouts think is going to end up the top player out of this crop with the second pick. He will be a stabilizing figure on the young Panthers roster for the next two decades.
3rd: Tampa Bay Lightning – Jonathan Drouin – Tampa Bay gets the skilled playmaker they were targeting as someone who can play the wing and set-up ‘One-timer king’ Steven Stamkos. While Drouin might not be ready to make the jump to the NHL level as of yet he will be a dominant point producer once he does arrive.
4th: Nashville Predators – Valeri Nichushkin – Nashville takes the chance that they will not be making the same mistake or getting into a similar situation as Alexander Radulov. They take solace in the fact that Nichushkin is not Radulov and has demonstrated a desire to win a Cup in the world’s best hockey league not just looking to collect a paycheque.
5th: Carolina Hurricanes – Aleksander Barkov – The Hurricanes love the size and skill that Barkov possesses and use their top 5 selection on a guy whom some like enough to grab second overall. He is also one of the most NHL ready guys and should suit up for the Hurricanes next season.
6th: Calgary Flames – Sean Monahan – Calgary is more than ecstatic to find their top line centre fall right into their lap. Monahan has the size and skill Feaster is looking for as a top line centre for the re-building Flames.
7th: Edmonton Oilers – Elias Lindholm – TLindholm has the ability to play at a highly skilled level incorporating grit and effort and then raise his game even higher when needed. Edmonton has a need for t top six centre to play with their highly skilled wingers.
8th: Buffalo Sabres – Darnell Nurse – The Sabres are ecstatic to get Nurse at this spot (cliché). Buffalo finally has another tower to pair with Tyler Myer’s as one of the hardest tandems to get through with their mobility and reach.
9th: New Jersey Devils – Max Domi – NJ has a need for some talent coming up front and David Conte starts off by taking another son of a former NHLer in Max Domi. Domi brings a potential top line centre to the mix.
10th: Dallas Stars – Alexander Wennberg – With new Stars GM Jim Nill coming over from the Red Wings where he ran their draft just this past April, expect Dallas and Detroit to be mirroring each other’s opinions. Nill starts by grabbing up the talented Swede.
11th: Philadelphia Flyers – Bo Horvat – A hard-nosed player who is solid in both ends of the ice? Sounds like a Philly pick to me. Horvat’s style fits in well with the organization and his excellent post-season and Memorial cup did not hurt his stock either.
12th: Phoenix Coyotes – Josh Morrissey – Phoenix could have grabbed up a bigger, more punishing defenseman here but love the offensive capabilities Morrissey brings to the table.
13th: Winnipeg Jets – Hunter Shinkaruk – The Jets like the Jordan Eberle type winger they see available at this spot and scoop him up to help boost a struggling offense for years to come.
14th: Columbus Blue Jackets – Samuel Morin – The Blue Jackets make the first of three first round selections by taking a shot at a potential home run pick here. The size, mobility, physicality and offensive upside are very impressive.
15th: New York Islanders – Rasmus Ristolainen – The Islanders add a strong and potentially NHL ready two-way defender with their first round pick in what has been a long re-build process for the Islanders fan base.
16th: Buffalo Sabres (from MIN) – Nikita Zadorov – Buffalo must want to scare the rest of the league into not venturing into their zone as they add another big physical blue liner with their second first round selection.
17th: Ottawa Senators – Andre Burakovsky – Ottawa loves those skilled Swedes and goes back to the well in what could be a grand slam. Burkovsky has some ties to the Sens and they see a first line talent here.
18th: Detroit Red Wings – Anthony Mantha – Detroit, right or wrong, are committed to adding size over the skill that they had based their previous drafts on for so many year and take the big goal scorer with intensity/consistency concerns.
19th: Columbus Blue Jackets (from NYR) – Frederik Gauthier – Columbus goes back to the Quebec based town of Rimouski with its second first round selection and pick up this big, strapping future two-way NHL centre.
20th: San Jose Sharks – Valentin Zykov – Zykov for a multitude of reasons just screams San Jose pick but none greater than his strong boards play and high upside.
21st: Toronto Maple Leafs – Curtis Lazar – Toronto picking lower in the first round than they have in years takes one of the drafts safer bets in Lazar. The pickup either a strong second liner or a highly impressive third line centre.
22nd: Calgary Flames (from STL) – Zach Fucale – After nabbing their top line centre for the next decade plus they scoop up who they hope will be their tender of the future.
23rd: Washington Capitals – Robert Hagg – Washington loves the size, two-way skill and physical ability Hagg (sometimes) brings to the table and things he can develop into a solid top four two-way contributor.
24th: Vancouver Canucks – Mirco Mueller– Vancouver scoops up a riser this season as many think Mueller will become an effective (but soft) two-way rearguard who can distribute the puck and close off attacking forwards equally well.
25th: Montreal Canadiens – Emile Poirier – Montreal goes off the board and takes another late riser and boy are they glad he is a Quebecer. His blend of skill and grit will make him a fan favorite especially if he keeps improving.
26th: Anaheim Ducks – JT Compher – The Ducks take another American kid with grit. Sounds like a repeat of past years doesn’t it? Well they are taking a chance with this kid whose upside is a hot debate in the industry.
27th: Columbus Blue Jackets (from LAK): Madison Bowey – The Blue Jackets brass love the puck moving ability and multi-directional mobility that the latest Kelowna Rockets blueliner to go in the first round will bring.
28th: Calgary Flames (from PIT) – Ryan Pulock – Calgary gets the trifecta here with an offensive blue liner after nabbing their stopper and centre earlier. “We could not be happier with our draft” is the quote Jay Feaster keeps spewing.
29th. Dallas Stars (from BOS) – Ryan Hartman – Nill goes back to the draft podium and picks up a hard working gritty pest to compliment his skill he picked up earlier. Hartman was on many wish list for the top of round two.
30th: Chicago Blackhawks – Morgan Klimchuk – The last pick of the first round is a ‘select him and store him away’ pick for the Blackhawks who are in the best spot to be selecting in as Cup Champs. Klimchuk will look good on their second line in three or four years.