1. Edmonton Oilers - Noah Hanifin - Left Handed Defenceman - Boston University
Without McEichel, Hanifin becomes the BPA and though the Oilers do have a fair amount of depth on the left side, it would be impossible to pass on this future top pairing stud.
2. Buffalo Sabres - Mitchell Marner - Center/Right Wing - London Knights
After drafting Reinhart in last years draft, adding Marner to the mix would mean the Sabres future up front could be very scary. Many believe Marner is "small" despite the fact he's nearly 6 feet. He's as dynamic offensively as they come.
3. Arizona Coyotes - Dylan Strome - Center - Erie Otters
The Coyotes will have the chance to draft Strome come June 26th, though I do believe they go with Hanifin. Strome hasn't looked great as of late but has still put up good numbers. Could be a 1st line center, and has shown similarities to Eric Staal.
4. Toronto Maple Leafs - Mikko Rantanen - Center/Right Wing - TPS
Though he may not be the fans first choice, Rantanen would be a key player in the Leafs organization. After playing against men for a while now, some suggest he's ready to step into the NHL next season. Needs to work on using his big frame, but the tools are there.
5. Carolina Hurricanes - Ivan Provorov - Left Handed Defenceman - Brandon Wheat Kings
Trading for help in the back end may be a smart move for the Canes brass, but waiting a year (maybe less) for Provorov may be the best course of action. He's one of the smartest players I've watched and is solid in all three zones. Closes on offensive attackers like none other. Will be a top 2 defenceman.
6. New Jersey Devils - Mathew Barzal - Center - Seattle Thunderbirds
With the regime change in New Jersey, you'd have to think there will be a change in terms of the Devils and the draft. Barzal would be the first step in a much needed rebuild, as he has the potential to be a first line NHL'er. If they build through the middle, Barzal is the best choice.
7. Philadelphia Flyers - Lawson Crouse - Left Wing - Kingston Frontenacs
Crouse is the BPA at this point and possibly a steal at 7 (time will tell). Philly will love him and his hard nosed style. Next to Giroux, Crouse could be the next great power forward in the NHL, the only downside to that is the fact that everyone knows power forwards don't necessarily last too long at the top of their game.
8. Columbus Blue Jackets - Zach Werenski - Left Handed Defenceman - U of Michigan
After drafting primarily forwards over the past few years, as well as the current uncertainty around Murray, this pick makes a ton of sense. The Jackets are loaded up front, and in my opinion a team that will dominate the east, however their back end needs to add some bulk. Werenski brings a smart, two way style that should pan out in 'Lumbus.
9. San Jose Sharks - Kyle Connor - Center - Youngstown Phantoms
The Sharks aren't in a great position in regards to their prospects. Other than Couture, they don't have any real blue chip forwards under 25. Connor will be a guy who will play on the second line and contribute at both ends of the ice. As good as he is offensively, he can play some solid defence and shutdown his opposition. Lots of options for the Sharks at 9.
10. Colorado Avalanche - Timo Meier - Right Wing - Halifax Mooseheads
Timo is an exciting player to watch. He's extremely dynamic in the offensive zone and has shown he can throw the body around a bit. He's energetic and competes hard and would slot in nicely next to one of Duchene or Mackinnon. If Timo keeps trending on the right path, he could be a top 10 right wing in the National Hockey League.
Who does that leave out? A ton of great prospects. This draft is DEEP, and it will be worthwhile to hold on to your first, second, and even third round pick. Notable players whom I believe will have very successful NHL careers include:
- Jansen Harkins, a player who I believe goes to either Boston or LA at 13 or 14. He hasn't got the credit he deserves this year but it's obvious he will be an impact player at the next level.
- Travis Konecny. Despite his small stature the kid gives it 110% every shift. He's an elusive offensive center with the ability to rally his teammates around him. Might go late, but he is worth using a top 20 pick on.
- Denis Guryanov is a player who has gotten a lot of attention following his play at the U18's. Some scouts have said he's a top 10 talent, and when you look at his stat line it's hard to argue. Could be the Jakub Vrana of this years draft.
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