1. Buffalo (Ryan Wagman) – Connor McDavid, C, Erie (OHL)
2. Edmonton (Craig Smith) – Jack Eichel, C, Boston University (HE)
3. Arizona (David McKnight) – Noah Hanifin, D, Boston College (HE)
4. Toronto (Benoit Roy) – Dylan Strome, C, Erie (OHL)
Strome is a rangy, creative, offensive machine that plays in a massive shadow cast in Erie. In any other draft, Strome would easily be considered a first or second overall pick. He’ll fit right in with the growing list of elite scoring prospects in Toronto.
5. Carolina (Ryan) – Mitchell Marner, C/RW, London (OHL)
6. Columbus (Craig) – Ivan Provorov, D, Brandon (WHL)
7. New Jersey (David) – Zach Werenski, D, Michigan (Big 10)
8. Philadelphia – Lawson Crouse, LW, Kingston (OHL)
Crouse is a skilled, two-way winger that projects to be a prototypical NHL power forward. He will provide some additional scoring depth on a struggling Philadelphia team in as little as one or two years given his NHL-ready strength and skating ability.
9. Dallas (Ryan) – Mikko Rantanen, RW, TPS (Liiga)
10. Colorado (Craig) – Jakub Zboril, D, Saint John (QMJHL)
11. Florida (David) – Pavel Zacha, C, Sarnia (OHL)
12. San Jose – Mathew Barzal, C, Seattle (WHL)
San Jose’s prospect pool features a ton of big, speedy scoring forwards. Other than Kevin Labanc, the Sharks haven’t drafted with the mindset of nurturing a play-making replacement for Joe Thornton. Although Barzal doesn’t possess the same size, he has similar creativity and execution, and can be considered one of the smartest players in his draft class.
13. Ottawa (Ryan) – Kyle Connor, C, Youngstown (USHL)
14. Los Angeles (pick will go to Carolina if LA makes the playoffs) (Craig) – Travis Konecny, C, Ottawa (OHL)
15. Winnipeg (David) – Timo Meier, RW, Halifax (QMJHL)
16. Calgary – Paul Bittner, LW, Portland (WHL)
Bittner is a skilled big-man who brings a ton of intriguing tools to the table. If he finds his size and uses it to his advantage, he has the potential to be a solid goal-scorer in the NHL along with an incredibly deep Flames prospect pool (who’ve drafted for size in the past, Johnny Hockey excluded).
17. Boston (Ryan) – Oliver Kylington, D, Farjestad (SHL)
18. Vancouver (Craig) – Thomas Chabot, D, Saint John (QMJHL)
19. Minnesota (David) – Yevgeni Svechnikov, LW, Cape Breton (QMJHL)
20. Washington – Joel Ek Eriksson, C, Farjestad JR (Swe-Jr)
Eriksson is the best available Swedish forward this year in my opinion. He’s producing very well in the Swedish Junior league, has played minutes against men in the SHL, and has the raw offensive tools and size to be elite. Working with good coaches and a mentor like Nicklas Backstrom, Eriksson can become productive second or first line center in the NHL. He’s a high-potential sleeper pick.
21. Detroit (Ryan) – Nick Merkley, C, Kelowna (WHL)
22. Edmonton (from Pittsburgh) (Craig) – Jeremy Roy, D, Sherbrooke (QMJHL)
23. Arizona (from Chicago) (David) – Daniel Sprong, RW, Charlottetown (QMJHL)
24. Buffalo (from NY Islanders) – Jansen Harkins, C, Prince George (WHL)
Simply, Harkins is versatile and has high adaptability. He can provide much-needed steadiness at both ends in Buffalo and can be a productive second-line center in a few years (behind McDavid or Eichel) on a team that is in the middle of an identity crisis.
25. Philadelphia (from Tampa Bay) (Ryan) – Jeremy Bracco, C/RW – USNTDP (USHL)
26. Toronto (from Nashville) (Craig) – Anthony Beauvillier, LW/C, Shawinigan (QMJHL)
27. Winnipeg (from St. Louis via Buffalo) (David) – Brandon Carlo, D, Tri City (WHL)
28. Montreal – Colin White, RW, USNDP (USHL)
White’s another versatile, adaptable player who plays a two-way game and has a blue-collar work ethic. He fits very well with Montreal’s current workmanlike playing style. He’ll never be a standout, but he will be recognized as a responsible and consistent producer which is extremely valuable in today’s league.
29. Anaheim (Ryan) – Brock Boeser, RW, Waterloo (USHL)
30. Tampa Bay (from NY Rangers) (Craig) – Jacob Larsson, D, Frolunda Jr (Swe Jr)
31. Buffalo (David) – Filip Chlapik, C, Charlottetown (QMJHL)
32. Edmonton – Jake DeBrusk, LW, Swift Current (WHL)
DeBrusk is a strong offensive player with some tenacity to his game. He plays with a ton of energy, has excellent mobility, produces at a great rate and has natural aggression (not unlike father Louie in his Edmonton days). DeBrusk is a goal-scorer that you hate playing against – not how you’d describe Edmonton’s current roster.
33. Arizona (Ryan) – Matthew Spencer, D, Peterborough (OHL)
34. Columbus (from Toronto via Los Angeles) (Craig) – Thomas Novak, C, Waterloo (USHL)
35. Carolina (David) – Nicholas Meloche, D, Baie-Comeau (QMJHL)
36. Columbus – Jens Looke, RW, Brynas (SHL)
Looke is touted as a playmaker because much of his game revolves around puck possession. Generally, Looke is a high-energy, intelligent, pro-ready player. He’s made an impact at every level including the SHL where he spent most of his time this year. His production is low, but it’s not indicative of his natural abilities. He projects as a middle-six winger with a high ceiling.
37. New Jersey (Ryan) – Dennis Yan, LW, Shawinigan (QMJHL)
38. Boston (from Philadelphia via NY Islanders) (Craig) – Jordan Greenway, LW, USA-U18 (USHL)
39. Ottawa (from Dallas) (David) – Mitchell Vande Sompel, D, Oshawa (OHL)
40. Colorado – Blake Speers, RW, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
Surrounded by a star-studded Sault team, Speers may have fallen through the cracks and is a potential steal. He’s pacing well above a point per game and plays at high-speed consistently. He’ll fit nicely in Colorado’s young lineup in two to three years where he’ll provide scoring support and ultimately find a spot in their top-six. His size and strength, unfortunately, is his biggest threat to success.
41. New Jersey (from Florida) (Ryan) – Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, C, Omaha (USHL)
42. San Jose (Craig) – Andrew Mangiapane, RW/LW, Barrie (OHL)
43. Ottawa (David) – Adam Musil, C, Red Deer (WHL)
44. Los Angeles (from Los Angeles via Buffalo) – Ryan Pilon, D, Brandon (WHL)
Pilon is a responsible puck-moving defenseman. He responds well to all situations and has supreme work ethic. His simple game lends well to Los Angeles’ glamorous blue line – he will quietly provide two-way support and eat big minutes. It’s not unreasonable to think he could have a Marc-Edouard Vlasic-like career.
45. Winnipeg (Ryan) – Jack Roslovic, C, USNTDP (USHL)
46. Calgary (Craig) – Nikita Korostelev, RW, Sarnia (OHL)
47. Tampa Bay (from Boston) (David) – Erik Cernak, D, Kosice (Slovakia)
48. Calgary – Travis Dermott, D, Erie (OHL)
Calgary has some big, defensive defensemen coming through the pipeline (see Keegan Kanzig and Eric Roy) and would benefit from developing a quality puck-mover to match that. Dermott is without question a cerebral passer, but also has a great two-way presence.
49. Minnesota (Ryan) – Mackenzie Blackwood, G, Barrie (OHL)
50. Calgary (from Washington) (Craig) – Filip Ahl, LW, HV71 Jr (Swe Jr)
51. Dallas (from Detroit) (David) – Roope Hintz, LW, Ilves (Liiga)
52. Pittsburgh – Gabriel Gagne, RW, Victoriaville (QMJHL)
Gagne is an interesting player because he has the raw tools to be a solid producer, he just needs time to develop and refine his game. He’s difficult to contain, has an excellent shot and vision, and plays an aggressive defensive game. Given Pittsburgh’s current depth he’s a worthwhile, long-term project.
53. Philadelphia (from Chicago) (Ryan) – Vince Dunn, D, Niagara (OHL)
54. Chicago (compensation for not signing Kevin Hayes) (Craig) – Parker Wotherspoon, D, Tri City (WHL)
55. Buffalo (from NY Islanders) (David) – Guillaume Brisebois, D, Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL)
56. NY Rangers (from Tampa Bay) – Zachary Senyshyn, RW, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
Senyshyn is another player buried under top talent in the Soo. In the handful of games I’ve seen him play, his speed and natural scoring ability are reminiscent of Taylor Hall’s. It’s difficult to place Senyshyn because he’s only played one OHL season but he’s certainly displayed the tools to be a top-six NHLer in time. If he had more experience playing big minutes on a shallower club, he’d be a sure-fire first round pick in my opinion.
57. Nashville (Ryan) – Austin Wagner, LW, Regina (WHL)
58. St. Louis (Craig) – Nicholas Roy, C, Chicoutimi (QMJHL)
59. Edmonton (from Montreal) (David) – Graham Knott, LW, Niagara (OHL)
60. Columbus (from Anaheim) – Ryan Gropp, LW, Seattle (WHL)
Gropp is a strong offensive player who isn’t outwardly physical, but can take a ton of abuse. Scouts are surely impressed by his size and skating ability, but his consistent production is most appealing. If he finds his strength, he could fit as a solid middle-six power forward in Columbus.
61. Arizona (from NY Rangers) (Ryan) – Alexander Dergachyov, C, SKA St. Petersburg2 (Rus 2)