Welcome back! I hope you enjoyed the first half of this Mock Draft. It was a long read and this one will be too, but consider this a small 10 minute crash course to get you up to speed for tonight’s draft!
16. Montreal Canadiens – Jack Quinn, RW, Ottawa 67’s (OHL)
Quinn makes sense for a lot of teams so he may not fall, but if he does, he would address the Habs biggest roster need which is scoring from the wing. Outside of Caufield the Habs lack goal scoring and Quinn finished second in goals in the OHL last season with 52. Quinn is an older player in this draft, and he is riding high off the wave of his breakout season, but it is his overall progression since entering the OHL that is remarkable. This is the reason why I think he may slip as some people still see him as more of a raw prospects that needs to be molded. With the amount of talent in this draft, some of the earlier teams may want to take what they consider a “safer” pick. Montreal benefits from this mindset two years in a row.
Even if Quinn is available, there are additional options here to consider like a Hendrix Lapierre, Dylan Holloway or Jacob Perreault.
17. Chicago Blackhawks – Braden Scheider, D, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)
The Blackhawks have done a great job of refilling their prospect pool over the last couple of season after it ran baron for a few years during their Cup runs. Braden Schneider in a vacuum has enough talent to go higher in this draft, but the run on offensive talent takes over the front half of this draft. Schneider does not have the offensive production that you would hope for from a Defenseman drafted this high, but his overall game has very few flaws. With Boqvist slotted to be their top offensive Right Handed D-man, Schneider would fit in perfectly as a complimentary piece on the right side for the Blackhawks.
18. New Jersey Devils – Kaiden Guhle, D, Prince Albert Raiders (WHL)
With 2 of the next three picks, I believe that the Devils want to get at least one Defenseman after taking Raymond at seventh overall. As a positional need, the Flames could desperately use a defensive prospect so why take a chance? The Devils grab Kaiden Guhle, another big stronger defender from the WHL. Guhle is a pure and simple defenseman, but some Scouts worry about his offensive upside in the NHL. In the Devils case, they already have PK Subban, an incredibly offensively gifted defenseman who has some defensive liabilities. I think that Guhle can partner well with Subban to allow both to flourish and play their game. This is far from the only path to success for Guhle, but the Devils know they are getting a true defenseman and their are taking more of a chance of how can they develop the offensive side of his game.
19. Calgary Flames – Jacob Perreault, RW, Sarnia Sting (OHL)
As I mentioned, the Flames could use defensive help, but I think the organization as a whole is at a crossroad, and they are all in on the present, which is why they draft Perreault. The Flames lack depth of scoring which is why when their top line is shut out they struggle. Perreault has been a consistent goal scorer in the OHL, scoring 30 goals as a 16 year old which would force opposing teams to spread out their top defenders. I also believe that he will pair well with Matthew Tkachuck who has a very different style, but their skill sets should compliment each other. They score in opposite ways which in theory should mean that as a tandem they should be creating opportunity for each other by forcing the opposing team defend from all angles.
20. New Jersey Devils – Hendrix Lapierre, Chicoutimi Saguenéens (QMJHL)
If teams are worried about the injury history than New Jersey makes perfect sense. I do not think there is any chance that they let him drop past this pick. The former First Overall pick in the QMJHL, Lapierre arguable has top ten talent, but injuries have hampered him since joining Les Saguenéens. Just looking at this Mock, the Devils could walk away from the First Round with Raymond, Guhle and Lapierre, just Raymond and Guhle alone would be a haul, why not take a chance at hitting a homerun with Lapierre.
As a player, Lapierre has some of the best vision and hockey IQ in this draft. He is no speedster, nor does he physically impose himself on the opposition, but he beats you with skill in a number of ways. He is a pass first player that creates space for his teammates then drops the puck into an open area for them to create scoring chances. Lapierre has the chance to be a key cog in a young and emerging offense.
Disclaimer, if the Devil have an opportunity to move down in order to accumulate more picks, I think they do.
21. Columbus Blue Jackets – Dylan Holloway, C, Wisconsin Badgers (B10 / NCAA)
It took Dylan Holloway some time to get his game going, but once he was finally put on a line with Caufield, the two of them started taking over games together. Caufield’s draft stock took a hit because he was not given enough credit since he played next to Jack Hughes. Holloway is getting a similar treatment, but he has all the tools to follow in the mold of a Boone Jenner, with a bit more offensive up side. Holloway plays North/South and is not afraid to mix things up in the corner and creates space for his wingers by attacking defenders head on and leaving the puck in the open area he created. He will need to spend another couple of season in Wisconsin, but he will get an additional year to grow and develop by taking the NCAA route but it is likely we see him sooner than that.
22. New York Rangers – Mavrik Bourque, C, Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL)
Another prime Trade Down pick, the Rangers have a lot that they can do with this pick. If they keep it, I believe they double down on offense by taking Bourque. The Rangers are rock solid in nets, and they have more than enough defensive talent which is why the Rangers are thrilled that Bourque is still available. Center is the only real position where they lack depth, and they just picked up Lafrenière, so a pass first center is the perfect fit for this team. Bourque’s path to the NHL will be difficult given who the Rangers have at Center right now, but this will allow his to develop at his own pace as opposed to be thrown into the fire. Bourque’s IQ, his ability to create passing lanes to go along with the soft hands should lock him into a top six role for the Rangers.
23. Philadelphia Flyers – Ridly Greig, C, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)
Just like Perfetti, the connections here are hard to ignore as Greig’s father works for the Flyers. You would have to assume that the team will at least do their homework on this player. Getting past this, Greig is exactly the type of player that the Flyers covet, he is a high skilled pest that you hate to play against, but you love to play with. He is a very creative player, often making plays in unconventional ways and he is never afraid to go the net, attacking the puck head on every single time. An undervalued skill he has, is that he will fight you for the puck and has that refuse to lose attitude, so enjoy battling that in the corners.
24. Washington Capitals – Lukas Reichel, LW, Berlin (DEL)
The Capitals’ needs are basically everything. They have very few prospects in their system after selling the farm for the Stanley Cup in 2018. If you are going to do it at least win so you have to give them their kudos, but for this pick, it leaves the team in a ‘Best Player Available’ scenario and Lukas Reichel is a highly touted prospect that falls a bit more as a result of team needs than his skill set. Reichel was very impressive in the DEL last season, playing regular minutes with the team and producing at an impressive rate. One of his teammates and former Habs player Max Lapierre raves about his teammates, speaking to his intelligence and maturity to go along with his elite skill set.
25. Colorado Avalanche – Tyson Foerster, RW, Barrie Colts (OHL)
Tyson Foerster has been one of my favourite players to watch rise up the charts. Following him a bit here and there this season, he was my top target for the Habs in the Second Round because he has all the tools to be an NHL player except for the skating. His shot is matched by only Holtz in this draft class and he uses the threat of his shot to pull defenders out of position to open up passing lanes to create opportunities for this teammates. His skating is a massive issue which is already an issue at the OHL level, teams are worried about how far behind he will be when he reaches the NHL level.
26. St Louis Blues – Noel Gunler, RW/LW, Lulea (SHL)
The Blue find themselves in a similar situation as the Capitals, so I think they go for Best Available and take a chance on Gunler. He is another Swedish prospect that bounced back and fourth between Lulea’s big club and their Junior one. When playing against player his own age, Gunler put up 27 goals in 31 games. However he spent most of last season with Lulea’s parent club in a limited role which hurt his exposure and draft stock. Gunler is very patient with the puck, allowing the play to develop in front of him and then finding the passing lane as opposed to driving the play and creating space and time for himself. Gunler is 6’2 and still has a lot of room to grow physically that will improve his game.
27. Anaheim Ducks – John-Jason Peterka, LW, Munich (DEL)
Peterka is a big of a risky pick because he did not get the minutes you would have hoped with Munich in his draft year. However, Peterka has the potential to be one of the best offensively skilled players in this draft. GMs and Scouts are impressed by his Hockey IQ, he has quick hands and is a very creative player but he lack size and is a bit of a defensive liability. He is a very fast skater which helps keep him afloat in the draft rankings, but I think Anaheim takes a chance on the speed in the hopes that everything else catches up with time.
28. Ottawa Senators – William Wallinder, D, MODO (Allsvenskan)
Ottawa has no positional need to address here, but the Sens steal a top defender in the back half of this draft due to the run on Forwards in the first half. Ottawa thankfully got their high end talent in the top five and now they get arguably a Top 5 defensive prospect in the draft as well. Wallinder is a 6’4 very smooth skating defenseman that is very sound defensively. He can quickly close the gap on opposing forwards and can defend large portions of the ice at a time with his wingspan and long stick. His offensive skill set is on full display when he plays with players his own age, but he still need time to develop that in the professional ranks.
29. Vegas Golden Knights – Helge Grans, D, Malmo (SHL)
Grans has been quietly climbing the rankings, gaining more and more traction along the way. Just like Wallinder, he is a gigantic Swedish defense first Defenseman. He spent most of last season with in the SHL in a limited role, but his full skill set was on full display against players his own age. A lot of the rise in Grans’ stock was due to his pro-ready skill set that a lot of teams think will translate well in the NHL for a long period of time. He has good offensive skill but lacks and offensive component to his game which would round him out into a the perfect play to compliment the D-core led by Theodore in Vegas.
30. Dallas Stars – Jérémie Poirier, D, Saint John Sea Dogs
In a bit of a late rush on defenseman, the Stars grab the best Offensive Defenseman left in the draft in Valleyfield native Jérémie Poirier. The Sea Dogs prospect finished last season with 20 goal from the back end and has some tools that you typically don’t find in a defenseman. Poirier’s hands are the best of not only any defenseman but of any prospect in this draft and his vision and first pass are both at an elite level. He is a high risk high reward type or player, often turning the puck over when trying to create offense, and he will need to improve the defensive side of his game. He is still a very raw product, but his high ceiling makes him a hard player to pass on at this point in the draft.
31. San Jose Sharks – Jan Mysak, C, Hamilton Bulldogs (OHL)
The Sharks find themselves in the most unenvious of situations. The team went all in on Erik Karlsson before it all came crashing down finishing as a lottery team but with no pick to show for it. To make matters worse, they have been syphoning off talent as they tried to extend the Thornton, Marleau, Pavelski core days. Mysak is a bit of a risk himself here, but he is one of the most complete players in this draft. He made his professional team back home in Czech Republic at 16, holding his own for a season before finally moving to the OHL to play for Hamilton. Mysak does a lot of the little things right, and plays a full two-way game, but the knock against him is that he lacks the high end upside that you want in a first round pick. The NHL as a whole has started to trend towards drafting for games played more than predicting points produced, which bodes very well for a player of Mysak’s talent and playing style. He may not light up the score sheets, but he will be the hidden gem that brings everything you want to the table on a nightly basis.
That wraps up my Mock Draft for the First Round of the NHL Entry Draft. Be sure to check us out tonight as Terry, Alex the Intern and I join forces with The Hockey Expert Marco D’Amico for a live stream during the draft. Be sure to check out Marco’s final Mock Draft as we will compare and track who was right and wrong! You can check us out on Facebook Live starting tonight at 7 pm ET when the NHL get’s the show on the road.