2015 NHL Mock Draft: Final Mock 7 Rounds
Round 1 Picks 1-15
Posted By: Chris Ransom Last Updated: June, 26, 2015
Edmonton Oilers: Connor McDavid, C, Erie Otters (OHL)
- Edmonton wins the NHL Lottery for the fourth time in six years. McDavid was going to be the top pick, but why the Oilers. They didn't even show the lottery balls being drawn on NBC which would have been far more exciting than listening to a meaningless pregame show for the Pittsburgh Penguins heading into Game 2 of the Penguins VS Rangers game. Luckily, I was able to find the actual lottery from NHL.com which you can watch here.
- How can this be considered fair? Sure the Sabres had more combinations than any other team, but the lottery is determined strictly by which team has the 4 digit combination that the league draws.
- A better more effective solution would be to have each lottery ball drawn one by one and the team with the last ball in the cesspool of NHL lottery balls wins the lottery. It's that simple. If Buffalo is not that team then they move down to number 2 instead of picking first and everyone else moves down a spot depending on who wins the lottery. I'm glad the NHL took the time to show that their league isn't fixed and it's going to get even more fucked up next year when the league draws for the top 3 picks in the NHL Draft.
- My problem with this system is that it's strictly based on combinations and complicated procedures rather than it being so simple that an audience can relate to it. Still, the NHL Lottery has 1 million times the credibility that the NBA Draft Lottery has.
- While McDavid reminds me of Sidney Crosby, Eichel is very similar to Jonathan Toews who played at North Dakota for a year before making the jump to the NHL. I'm not the only person to compare McDavid to Crosby. Nearly every scouting service in the entire country feels this way. Peter King did a piece on McDavid back in 2012 when he first entered the OHL and Barry Melrose said he's the best CHL player since Crosby.
- Leading up to the 2014 NHL Draft, someone with ties to the Edmonton Oilers front office at the Edmonton Sun Journal told me last year that Leon Draisaitl was the top player on the Oilers board after Aaron Ekblad. Edmonton took Draisaitl in 2014 with the third pick and that same source told us the Oilers have Connor McDavid at 1, Jack Eichel at 2, Dylan Strome at 3, Noah Hanifin at 4, and Lawson Crouse at 5 on their draft board in 2015 saying that Edmonton has narrowed this pick down to either McDavid or Eichel about a month ago, but is trying to be very quiet about it. This writer is our top source for Edmonton Oilers Draft coverage.
- "The Oilers want to give other teams the impression that they have a slight interest in both Dylan Strome and Noah Hanifin by interviewing those 2 candidates as well as McDavid and Eichel so the pick doesn't appear to be so obvious mainly due to the fact that Strome had more points than any other OHL player including his teammate McDavid along with the fact that Hanifin is the top ranked defenseman in this draft with defense being the Oilers biggest need. The bottom line is that the Oilers will most likely take either Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel, most likely McDavid with the top pick, but want to do their homework on Strome and Hanifin as well."
- Our Source at Edmonton Sun Journal. What that person told me earlier on Saturday Night makes complete sense because I found this on the Oilers Twitter Page.
- What the guy said about the Oilers is 100 percent true. One guy from Buffalo told us that the Sabres offered the 2nd overall pick, their 2nd 2015 first round pick, a 2016 first round pick, and a 2017 first round pick to move up one spot. If the Sabres threw in Tyler Myers or a 2018 first round pick, they may have considered making this trade, but felt like that wasn't enough to move up one spot for Connor McDavid and that Buffalo thought they were already giving up enough to move up one spot. If Edmonton feels that strongly about McDavid and if Buffalo is pushing that hard to move up for him even after losing the lottery, then he's practically a lock for the Oilers.
- The same individual at the Edmonton Sun Journal that wished to remain anonymous confirmed to us that the Oilers will take Connor McDavid with the top pick, but are waiting until June 26th to make the announcement at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft in Florida. This should come as no surprise since McDavid is the top prospect in the 2015 NHL Draft.
- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers felt the same way about Jameis Winston when scouting quarterbacks leading up to the 2015 NFL Draft. Winston got graded higher than Cam Newton and Matthew Stafford while other quarterbacks like Marcus Mariota, Brett Hundley, and Bryce Petty were labeled 2-year projects in the eyes of some scouts on Tampa Bay as early as March 24, 2015, one week before Winston's Pro Day.
- Nine teams picking in the top 10 have McDavid as the slam dunk #1 pick. One team has Connor McDavid excluded from the top 5 completely on their draft board. We will reveal who that team is later in this draft.
- Connor McDavid will be awesome. Connor McDavid had 99 points in 56 games in 2013-2014 with 19 more points during the 2014 OHL Playoffs in 14 playoff games. After being named captain the following season, McDavid posted 120 points during the regular season and followed that up with a mind boggling 21 goals, 28 assists, and 49 points in 19 OHL Playoff Games. McDavid is the best OHL prospect to enter the NHL since Steven Stamkos and the best overall prospect since Sidney Crosby.
- Adding McDavid does so much for Edmonton after getting former Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiareli to be the new Oilers general manager while hiring Todd McLellan the former San Jose Sharks HC to be the new Oilers head coach.
- The Oilers' forward lines will look like this after they take McDavid assuming Chiareli keeps all of his current forwards. Line 1 Hall LW, McDavid C, Eberle RW, Line 2 Benoit Puliot LW, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins C, Teddy Purcell RW, Line 3 Leon Draisaitl LW, Derek Roy C, Nail Yakupov RW, Line 4 Matt Hendricks LW, Anton Lander C, and Matt Fraser RW. That's a lot of depth with the Oilers' top 4 lines of forwards. McLellan can create all different kinds of line combinations for the Oilers with those 12 forwards.
- Buffalo Sabres: Jack Eichel, C, Boston University
- Buffalo wanted McDavid before losing the NHL Draft lottery to Edmonton and even offered to move up one spot to get the top pick before Edmonton turned them down. With the Oilers taking McDavid, that narrows it down to Jack Eichel and Mitch Marner. Buffalo's scouting department is sold on Jack Eichel being the second pick. Dan Bylsma came to Buffalo mainly because he believes Eichel can be another star in the making. The idea of coaching Eichel and Sam Reinhart is similar to him coaching Crosby and Malkin in Pittsburgh. I also expect the Sabres new GM in Buffalo to interview McDavid, Eichel, and Marner hoping to send a smokescreen to Arizona who is picking behind them. In the end Buffalo will go with Eichel.
- Jack Eichel helped Boston University win the Beanpot and gets bonus points for defeating my mom's Alma Matter in the Beanpot Championship Game against Northeastern to win a tournament that makes you the best College Hockey Team in the state of Massachusetts. Boston University got by Yale and North Dakota only to lose to Providence in the 2015 NCAA College Hockey Mens Championship Game while winning the Hobey Baker Award which is like the Heisman Trophy in College Hockey.
- You cannot blame Eichel for the Terriers third period meltdown against the Friars. Eichel led the entire NCAA with 70 points in the 2014-2015 NCAA Division 1 Mens Hockey League at the mere age of 17 which is simply phenomenal. Not only that, Eichel was also team captain for Team USA in the World Junior Championships. Buffalo will take Eichel second after the Oilers won the 2015 NHL Draft Lottery.
- Arizona Coyotes: Noah Hanifin, D, Boston College
- Arizona had Mitch Marner as the top player on their draft board for a long time. After watching the Erie Otters serve the London Knights in the 2015 OHL Playoffs, Arizona moved Marner down to #6 on their board with Noah Hanifin at #3, Dylan Strome at #4, and Lawson Crouse at #5. You also cannot rule out the possibility of a trade where Arizona moves down so they can get both a center and a defenseman.
- The Coyotes' adjusted their draft board once again after their scouting department got in touch with General Manager Don Maloney. Noah Hanifin remains the top prospect on their board after McDavid and Eichel. Marner is the Coyotes fourth best overall prospect and second best player available. Michigan Wolverine's defenseman Zach Werenski has entered the discussion as the fifth best player on Arizona's draft board.
- Dylan Strome did better at the 2015 NHL Combine than Noah Hanifin. Hanifin only had 7 pull ups even though he thought he had 11. I don't think you can read too much into that though. I still believe the Coyotes are going to take Hanifin when all is said and done.
- The Coyotes could trade down to get more picks and Werenski if they really wanted him because Werenski is considered the third best defenseman in the 2015 NHL Draft after Noah Hanifin and Ivan Provorov. Columbus has contacted Arizona and the Blue Jackets have Noah Hanifin ranked ahead of both McDavid and Eichel on their board. Noah Hanifin will be the pick here. It really comes down to whether Arizona keeps this pick or moves down with Columbus to get more picks assuming Arizona thinks Werenski can be just as successful as Hanifin. The Coyotes will pick again in the first round at either 29 or 30 and the Blue Jackets hold the 34th and 38th pick, so a trade may occur, but I doubt Columbus ends up with this pick because the Coyotes already have two first round picks.
- In the end, I think Noah Hanifin will go third. Hanifin has to be the favorite to be drafted by Arizona. Oliver Ekman-Larsson led the Coyotes with 43 points in 2014-2015 and the Coyotes still allowed more goals than any team in the NHL which tells you how terrible this team is. I'm pretty certain Arizona will take Noah Hanifin third overall.
- Arizona is on a 5-year plan when it comes to rebuilding. Getting either Hanifin or Strome would be awesome. I'd take Strome because I see a line 1 center in Strome and a line 2 defenseman in Hanifin at best even though he's NHL ready. Nearly every scouting service has Hanifin going third so it is safe to say that will likely happen.
- Arizona got rid of Keith Yandle. They need a #1 defenseman to take his place, and Noah Hanifin who weighs 6-2 205 lbs is the consensus third best player available on most scouting services. The Coyotes are more likely to get a defenseman here then they are with their second first round pick from the Chicago Blackhawks in the Antoine Vermette trade which they can use to grab a center who will replace Vermette once he finishes developing in the juniors.
- One more reason why the Coyotes go Hanifin is because two of their forwards from the 2013 NHL Draft will be up next season. Left winger Anthony Duclair, the Rangers 2013 third round pick that the Coyotes received and center Max Domi the Coyotes 2013 first round pick may be line mates on the Arizona Coyotes top line next to Shane Doan this upcoming season. That's how thin the Coyotes are on offense.
- Toronto Maple Leafs: Dylan Strome, C, Erie Otters (OHL)
- Toronto could use another center. Dylan Strome is the top center available. Entering March he has 109 total points and is the alternate captain of the Erie Otters right behind Connor McDavid. Strome got 20 more points in the final month of the season to edge out Mitch Marner for most points in the 2014-2015 OHL Regular Season. Strome ended the regular season with 129 points while Mitch Marner ended the year with 126 points in the regular season. Like Connor McDavid you can make a strong case for Strome being a top 5 pick. Dylan could get drafted higher than his older brother Ryan Strome who went fifth overall to the New York Islanders in 2011 after playing for the Niagara IceDogs in the OHL.
- Worst case scenario, Strome returns as captain of the Otters in the juniors for another season after McDavid goes to the NHL. Best case scenario, Toronto finds their line 1 center who can get the puck to James Van Riemsdyk and Phil Kessel on the top line.
- Toronto believes Dylan Strome is the best player in the draft after Connor McDavid. You cannot blame Toronto for thinking that way because Dylan Strome is the Malkin to Connor McDavid's Sidney Crosby on the Erie Otters in the OHL. The Maple Leafs will either get Strome. Toronto has also scouted Noah Hanifin, Mitch Marner, Ivan Provorov, and Pavel Zacha in the event that Strome fell to this pick.
- It's safe to say that Marner would likely be the pick if Strome went third to Arizona since the Maple Leafs have a greater need at center compared to defense. Not just that, the Maple Leafs scouts rarely speak with players on NCAA teams. Marner would probably return to the juniors for another season, but I still think he would be the pick if Strome went to Arizona. Since I got Noah Hanifin going to Arizona, Toronto ends up with Dylan Strome at four.
- Carolina Hurricanes: Mitch Marner, RW, London Knights (OHL)
- Carolina expects McDavid, Eichel, Hanifin, and Strome to be the top 4. At the same time, someone at the Charlotte Observer told us that Carolina originally scouted 11 players to be picked fifth, but narrowed it down to 7 which I buy.
- What I initially sold, was that person also told us that four of those seven players are Noah Hanifin, Dylan Strome, Lawson Crouse, and Mitch Marner with the Hurricanes ranking those prospects in that order. I thought this was a smokescreen originally, but Hurricanes' director of Amateur Scouting Tony MacDonald spoke highly of Crouse calling him a prototypical power winger. Yet he also said that once you get past McDavid and Eichel and are looking for a top scoring forward, that Marner is your man. After taking what Tony MacDonald said into consideration with a grain of salt, it is safe to say that Marner goes to Carolina.
- Marner is clearly the better player based off the production. One thing that was worth pointing out was that MacDonald gave Crouse a vote of confidence by saying he played for a mediocre team despite the fact that the Kingston Frontenacs made the 2015 OHL Playoffs. I get that he led the team with 29 goals and 51 points. Still, I feel like Marner would be the better option because he had 126 points in the regular season along with the fact that the Hurricanes only have 3 right wingers on their NHL roster.
- In the end, Carolina will go with Marner since he fills a need at right wing and is the best player available.
- New Jersey Devils: Matthew Barzal, C, Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL)
- Ray Shero built Pittsburgh into a Stanley Cup winner by loading up at center in the NHL Draft. Mitch Marner has the versatility to play anywhere at forward at left wing, center, or right wing. Right wing would be his best position, but Marner is capable of playing left wing or center as well.
- If McDavid, Eichel, Hanifin, Strome, and Marner all go top 5 as expected then Ray Shero will have a tough choice. Take a center like Matthew Barzal to build around this roster like Shero did with the Penguins. Add a left winger like Pavel Zacha. Or get an international forward like Mikko Rantanen. I don't see Shero taking Lawson Crouse here at 6 even if he is the best player available on some draft boards.
- Matthew Barzal looked like a very complete line 1 center on tape despite missing nearly 3 months with an injury. Barzal put his durability concerns to rest with an awesome NHL Combine. Look for the Devils to take Barzal here.
- Philadelphia Flyers: Lawson Crouse, LW, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)
- Philadelphia Flyers GM Ron Hextall is looking for a forward from the CHL. I thought left wing and defense were the best routes for the Flyers. Philadelphia doesn't need defense. Travis Sanheim their 2014 first round pick had an awesome season with the Calgary Hitmen and Samuel Morin their 2013 first round pick is even better. Robert Hagg was a 2013 second round pick. I feel like such a dumb ass because I forgot about these guys, but that's probably why Flyers fans were pissed about me mocking them so many defensemen.
- The Flyers were 4 deep at center heading into the 2014-2015 regular season with Claude Giroux as the line 1 center, Brayden Schenn as the line 2 center, Sean Couturier as the line 3 center, and Vincent LeCavalier as the line 4 center. Schenn moved over to a line 2 left winger role with Couturier finally getting promoted to the second line. Couturier only had 37 points in 82 games on the second line compared to 39 points on the third line as a line 3 center in 82 games in 2013-2014. Also there's talk that Ron Hextal may terminate LeCavalier's contract in the offseason to save cap space.
- When you digest all of that information on the Flyers situation at center with a grain of salt, it's safe to say that center is a need that the Flyers have to address in the draft. Still, Lawson Crouse is the best player on the board. I cannot see the Flyers passing on Lawson Crouse with the seventh pick.
- Columbus Blue Jackets: Mikko Rantanen, RW, TPS (SM Liiga)
- Spoiler alert! The team with Connor McDavid out of their top 5 draft board is the Columbus Blue Jackets. For some reason McDavid is sixth on the Blue Jackets board. I assumed McDavid was the #1 player on practically every mock draft and the top player on the draft board for all 29 of the remaining NHL teams in the league. I've been hearing rumors that both the Colorado Avalanche and Florida Panthers moved Jack Eichel ahead of Connor McDavid on their board and that the Winnipeg Jets also have Noah Hanifin ahead of McDavid and Eichel. I'm not buying these hot stove rumors because I think these are smokescreens that teams are setting up hoping Edmonton will take the bait and move Eichel ahead of McDavid and that simply won't happen.
- The Blue Jackets have Noah Hanifin at 1, Jack Eichel at 2, Dylan Strome at 3, Mikko Rantanen at 4, and Lawson Crouse at 5 on their draft board. Someone at the Columbus Dispatch last week told us last week that Columbus Blue Jackets General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen who holds the eighth pick in the 2015 NHL Draft has contacted Arizona Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney about moving up for the third pick since the 6-2 205 lb Hanifin is the top player on the Blue Jackets draft board.
- I doubt that either Arizona or Toronto trades their picks as both teams have multiple first rounders. I think this is just a smokescreen to excite Blue Jackets fans.
- Columbus just takes the top player on their draft board. In this mock that player is Mikko Rantanen who is the top international prospect in the entire NHL Draft.
- Mikko Rantanen has the versatility to play left wing, center, or right wing. Rantanen makes a lot of sense here since Columbus likes European skaters if they cannot get their hands on a CHL player they want.
- Regardless of who Columbus drafts, the guy they pick won't be up for at least another two seasons. Columbus could go with Ivan Provorov who only has one season of experience in the WHL. They could also look to add Zach Werenski out of Michigan who weighs 6-2 207 lbs. In the end the 6-4 209 lb Rantanen goes here because he may very well be Finland's version of Rick Nash.
- San Jose Sharks: Ivan Provorov, D, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)
- The San Jose Sharks hired Peter DeBoer to be their new head coach after he previously served with the New Jersey Devils. When the New Jersey Devils first hired Peter DeBoer, they drafted defense by getting Adam Larsson fourth overall from Skelleftea AIK from the Elitserien league in Sweden in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft before taking Damon Severson of the Kelowna Rockets with the sixtieth pick in the second round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Expect San Jose to follow a similar blueprint by either taking Ivan Provorov or Zach Werenski at nine depending on who is available.
- Ivan Provorov would fill a big need on defense which is a position the Sharks need to address. I think Provorov has more long term potential than Hanifin, but he's also raw, lacks experience with only one season in the WHL, and had some durability issues this season.
- Provorov has the upside to be the better of the two defenseman and I honestly believe he gives you more than Hanifin as an offensive defenseman. After watching the Wheat Kings get swept by the Kelowna Rockets, you can make a case that Provorov needs to return to the WHL and refine his defense with Brandon next season before joining the NHL in 2016-2017.
- Colorado Avalanche: Zach Werenski, D, Michigan
- The Colorado Avalanche have Zach Werenski graded out as their tenth best available player. Werenski is 6-2 207 lbs, Michigan's blue liner excels at executing vicious hits, has good checking, and possesses precise shot blocking. Did we mention his 25 points at Michigan are superior to Noah Hanifin's 23 points?
- Werenski is a top 10 talent. There's no reason why Colorado should pass on him here.
Previous Pick: Pavel Zacha, C, Sarnia Sting
- Florida Panthers: Pavel Zacha, LW, Sarnia Sting (OHL)
- Florida interviewed Daniel Sprong last week. The Panthers liked Sprong, but they also interviewed Pavel Zacha and Timo Meier as well.
- Both of those young men stood out in the interview portion. It's safe to say that the Panthers take the top European skater on the board at 11 if either player slips out of the top 10. The only thing left to determine is whether Zacha or the Czech Repbulic or Meier of Switzerland ends up being the first European drafted.
- Mikko Rantanen is from Finland so he'd be the first Scandinavian skater drafted since Scandinavians are from either Sweden or Finland. Rantanen is a native of Finland which makes him Scandinavian not European.
Previous Pick: Daniel Sprong, RW, Charlottetown Islanders
- Dallas Stars: Timo Meier, RW, Halifax Mooseheads
- All of the top 11 players on the Dallas Stars board are gone. Timo Meier is the top player on their board at 12.
- Meier is 6-1 209 lbs. He has the versatility to play anywhere at forward with ability to play left wing, center, or right wing. Right wing may be his strongest position, but his versatility to play anywhere at forward gets him selected 12th here.
- Dallas could take Kyle Connor here. At the same time, I think they are more likely to take Timo Meier if he's the 12th best player on their draft board. Meier had 90 points in 2014-2015 which is 10 more points than Connor. Both forwards have the versatility to play left wing, center, or right wing.
- When you look past the versatility you have to look at the production that both players bring to the table. Meier is more productive then Connor which is why he goes to Dallas at 12 with Noah Hanifin, Ivan Provorov, and Zach Werenski all gone.
Previous Pick: Zach Werenski, D, Michigan
- Los Angeles Kings: Kyle Connor, LW, Youngstown Phantoms (USHL)
- Los Angeles could use another winger for depth. Kyle Connor has the versatility to play left wing, center, or right wing.
- Connor had 74 and 80 points the last two seasons with the Youngstown Phantoms. He's a very consistent and complete center. He's going to Michigan and will spend one season as a line 2 center behind Dylan Larkin before being a line 1 center on the Michigan Wolverines. Connor could also be a line 1 left winger next to Larkin as well.
- Expect Connor to play two seasons in college like Jonathan Toews. Sure he's NHL ready now because he's that complete on tape. At the same time, the Kings have an abundance of forwards and I don't think they would call up Kyle Connor anytime soon.
Previous Pick: Timo Meier, RW, Halifax Mooseheads
- Boston Bruins: Travis Konecny, C, Ottawa 67's (OHL)
- This pick will be either Kyle Connor or Travis Konecny. With Connor gone I expect Konecny to be the pick.
- Travis Konecny posted 68 points as a rookie. This season he was voted team captain of the Ottawa 67's. He got off to a rough start with the 67's starting 0-4, but he ended up getting 70 points and leading the 67's to the 2015 OHL Playoffs.
- Evgeni Svechnikov and Daniel Sprong could also be options if the Bruins want a left winger in Svechnikov or a right winger in Sprong. Konecny seemed like a lock for Ottawa, but the Calgary Flames have Konecny ranked higher on their board than Evgeni Svechnikov. If Calgary feels that strongly about Konecny despite their abundance of centers, it would make total sense for the Bruins to add Konecny who also has the versatility to play left wing, center, or right wing at the next level in the NHL.
Previous Pick: Kyle Connor, LW, Youngstown Phantoms
- Calgary Flames: Evgeni Svechnikov, LW, Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (QMJHL)
- Calgary is in a rare position where they go winger or take the best player available. I think a sniper left winger in Evgeni Svechnikov is the best player available because he reminds me of Alex Ovechkin. You traded Sven Bartschi to Vancouver so why not add another left winger here?
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