DRAFT DAY THREAD: 1st Round Draft Board

Who will go first? Image courtesy of theprovince.com.

The biggest day of the off-season is here at long last!  For fans of teams not in the playoffs, we have been waiting for two months to reach this point: the NHL Entry Draft.

This year’s draft, taking place in New Jersey, promises to be filled with excitement, but will take on a slightly different format to years gone by.  The draft is all taking place on one day, as opposed to the first round taking place the evening before the rest of rounds 2 to 7.  This means that the league will have to keep things moving quickly, and reportedly the NHL has mandated that (a) all trades must be submitted by 5 minutes before the draft is due to begin (12 noon PT, 1pm MST, 3pm EST, 8pm GMT) and (b) there will only be a 3 minute gap between picks.  This should keep things running along nice and quickly, rather than the usual faffing around that takes place – though it remains to be seen if this strict schedule will be adhered to.

So, with the admin out of the way, let’s get to it.

This thread will be updated as and when the latest news appears, as opposed to new articles for each newsworthy piece.  All you need to do is refresh this page to see the updates.  All times given in GMT.

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POSITION / TEAM PLAYER LOWDOWN
1 – COLORADO  Nathan MacKinnon (C) An absolute franchise center, fantastic skater, elite shooter and passer and a developing two-way game.  A 1-2-3-4 punch of MacKinnon, Duchene, Stastny and O’Reilly gives Colorado all kinds of options, but make no mistake this guy will be front and center for the next 2 decades.
2 – FLORIDA Aleksander Barkov (C) In the conversation for much of the year for 1st overall, he’s a big strong center with elite offensive AND defensive ability.  Only question is skating ability, but that shouldn’t hold him back.
3 – TAMPA BAY Jonathan Drouin (LW) A wizard with the puck, possesses an incredible core strength and hockey sense, and is a pure offensive dominator.  Lacks defensive acumen, but when his offence is this good it might not matter.
4 – NASHVILLE Seth Jones (D) This gives Nashville and incredible opportunity, what with Suter leaving last year and Weber’s status uncertain.  Jones is a huge, relatively physical, highly skilled and elite two-way defender.
5 – CAROLINA Elias Lindholm (C) Highly skilled Swede with great offensive numbers and a well-developed defensive game.  Slightly on the small side but is apparently extremely strong, and skates well.
6 – CALGARY Sean Monahan (C) Yet another young center with great two-way skills, and put up good offensive numbers on a terrible team in the OHL.  Good size, physicality and smarts, though an average skater at best.
7 – EDMONTON Darnell Nurse (D) A huge physical specimen who is as mean a player as there is in the draft.  However he doesn’t lack for hockey sense and skill, and as such has top pairing potential.
8 – BUFFALO  Rasmus Ristolainen (D) Long considered to be in the top tier of D-men for this draft, Ristolainen has good size, speed and all-around skills that were on full display in Finland’s SM-Liiga.
9 – VANCOUVER (from NJD) Bo Horvat (C) Yet another two-way center, though this time the player leans more towards defence. Can score, no doubt, but it is his “intangibles” – character, grit, physicality – that made him such a sought-after player.  Not sure how much he’ll score in the NHL.
10 – DALLAS  Valeri Nichushkin (RW) Described as King Kong on skates, Nichushkin possesses immense talent and if it weren’t for his KHL connections he would have been drafted a lot higher.  Great shot and great skills as well as great speed, if his talent translates to the NHL (not guaranteed, it never is) then other teams better watch out for this budding power forward.
11 – PHILADELPHIA  Samuel Morin (D) At 6’6″ Morin is one of the biggest players in the draft, and developed at a lightning rate this year.  Can play physical, fight, move the puck and defend well.  Will likely need a couple of years minimum before he’s NHL ready, but don’t count this guy out.
12 – PHOENIX Max Domi (C/LW) Highly skilled forward gives the Coyotes some offensive talent in the system.  Is tiny by NHL standards, and of course is related to legendary pugilist Tie Domi, but has proven so far that both of those facts are not important when he plays hockey. Defensive issues and streaky scoring at times, but undeniable talent.
13 – WINNIPEG Josh Morrissey (D) Another off-the-board pick at 13, Morrissey nonetheless has first round talent, with great offensive skills and elite level skating, and a good defensive game most of the time.  Lack of physicality a concern for some, although when he hits he can really hit.
14 – COLUMBUS  Alex Wennberg (C) One of the most versatile players in the draft, due to his ability to play all 3 forward positions, Wennberg can also play in situations thanks to his high-end skill, great skating and hockey sense.
15 – NEW YORK ISLANDERS Ryan Pulock (D) Probably possesses the hardest shot in this year’s draft, is not a great skater or defensive player but brilliant offensive talent should override that.
16 – BUFFALO  Nikita Zadorov (D) Great skater and huge body, Zadorov is a dominant defensive presence in the OHL.  His offensive numbers are underwhelming for a first rounder, but he’s not without talent there.
17 – OTTAWA  Curtis Lazar (C/W) A versatile forward with high-end skills on offence and defence, as well as quality skating, physicality and those intangibles that teams love like grit.  Streaky scorer, and it may not translate to NHL, but considered one of safest picks in the draft in terms of likelihood of making the NHL.
18 – SAN JOSE (from DET)  Mirco Mueller (D) The San Jose Sharks take a big two-way defender with good skating ability and a developing offensive game, but is already a great defensive player.
19 – COLUMBUS Kerby Rychel (LW) Big, nasty two-way player with offensive potential, gives the Blue Jackets some edge on the wings.
20 – DETROIT (from SJS) Anthony Mantha (LW) Hulking winger from the QMJHL gives the Wings’ system a quick-skating sniper who is damn near impossible to knock off the puck.  At 6’4″, he has the size that all NHL team’s drool over and I’m surprised he fell this far.
21 – TORONTO Frederik Gauthier (C) Another huge forward, Toronto gets a highly talented 2-way center with good skating and high hockey sense.  Offensive ceiling is uncertain, and not as physical as some would like, but a worthy pick at this position.
22 – CALGARY  Emile Poirier (LW) One of the best skaters in the draft, Poirier wasn’t expected to be a first rounder but his mix of decent height, speed and scoring after putting up 70 points in 65 games.  Needs to put on some muscle to cope with NHL rigors.
23 – WASHINGTON  Andre Burakovsky (LW) Fast skating and highly skilled, sounding like the perfect Swede.  Underwhelming offensive stats, but combination of speed and skill makes him a very good two-way player, similar to Magnus Paajarvi.
24 – VANCOUVER  Hunter Shinkaruk (LW) Vancouver get’s an excellent prospect in Shinkaruk, previously rated by many as a top-10 pick.  One of the purest scorers in the draft, has great goal scoring ability though lacks on the defensive side and is slightly undersized.
25 – MONTREAL Michael McCarron (RW) Product of the US-NDTP, McCarron was expected to be a mid-second rounder by most.  Still, he brings massive size and a tempting power-forward game, basically a more talented version of his brother John, drafted last year by Edmonton.
26 – ANAHEIM  Shea Theodore (D) As projected, Anaheim selects a defender, this one a very talented offensive guy who could stand to put on some muscle.  A great skater, but needs some serious work defensively – though he has improved somewhat year over year.
27 – COLUMBUS Marko Dano (C) Another surprise pick, but with 2 other picks CBJ could afford a risk.  Dano is an agile, offensively talented player who is slightly undersized but who’s hockey sense makes up for it.
28 – CALGARY Morgan Klimchuk (LW) A slightly undersized forward, but received near-universal acclaim from scouts.  Defensively responsible, gritty and determined, hasn’t scored a lot so far but has definite potential there.
29 – DALLAS Jason Dickinson (RW) Great skater with a decent frame if lacking in muscle at this point, has good offensive instincts but has yet to see good results in that are – inconsistent is the word bandied around.  Good potential, but a lot of work.
30 – CHICAGO  Ryan Hartman (C/RW) An undersized player, but is described as one of the more notable agitators in this year’s draft.  Average offensive skills, but great defensive ability.

HOW THE DRAFT WENT DOWN:

  • 16:44 – MIN trades Justin Falk’s rights to NYR for a 6th Rd Pick (2014) and the rights to Benn Ferriero.  Defender Falk, 24, appeared in 108 games for the Wild, tallying 15 points.  Ferriero, 26, played 4 games for the Rangers last year and put up one assist, as well as 30 points in 57 AHL games.  As per wild.nhl.com.
  • 16:47 – Reports emerge that Kris Letang has agreed to a new contract with Pittsburgh.  Following immense trade speculation, Pierre LeBrun of TSN states that the Norris-nominated defender has signed an 8-year, $58m contract which carries an AAV of $7.25m per season.  Letang is an extremely highly skilled offensive defenceman, with great skating ability and has tallied 209 points in 385 career games, including 38 in 35 games this past season.  Originally a 3rd round pick in 2005, the same draft that brought the Pens Sidney Crosby, he’s also underrated defensively, taking on relatively tough competition with less than 50% offensive zonestarts and excelling in shot differential.
  • 17:13 – Rumours abound that Sergei Bobrovsky is on the trading block, despite Vezina-winning season.
  • 17:21 – Aaron Portzline, Columbus beat-writer, states that Bobrovsky only asking for a 2 year deal. That would be far more palatable than a long-term deal for $6m per year for a goalie with a short-track record, but Columbus evidently not convinced.
  • 19: 57 – As per TSN, the Pittsburgh Penguins have traded Tyler Kennedy to San Jose for a 2nd Rd Pick (2013).
  • 20:13 – As expected, the Colorado Avalanche step up and select Halifax phenom Nathan MacKinnon.  Seth Jones will be disappointed, but MacKinnon is a worthy pick who gives the Avalanche an enviable young core of elite centers, and could make Paul Stastny expendable.
  • 20:17 – Passing on potential franchise defender Seth Jones, Florida opt for all-around center from Finland Sasha Barkov.  This will ruin everyone’s draft board, but this will give Florida a great 1-2 punch of Huberdeau and Barkov up the middle.
  • 20:22 – Tampa Bay comes to the podium and takes puck wizard Jonathan Drouin, the best offensive player in the draft.  A Martin St Louis replacement?  Seth Jones falls even further – surely he won’t make it past Nashville.
  • 20:26 – Missed this earlier, but Mike Smith has signed a 6 year deal with Phoenix for $5.7m per season.
  • 20:27 – Nashville is the team that finally takes a chance on the young defender, as they select phenom Seth Jones. It’s incredible that Jones fell this far, but it’s also understandable on the part of other teams – defenders are generally risky prospects, more so than forwards anyway, and the top 3 picks are all top-end talents.  Not to suggest Jones is not, he is, but defenders are something of a risky proposition when it comes to drafting.
  • 20:34 – Carolina steps up, despite rumours they’d trade the pick, and takes Swedish center Elias Lindholm.  Lindholm could have gone anywhere from 4th to 10th, there wasn’t a lot of chatter about him pre-draft, but he is hugely talented and a great pick by Carolina.
  • 20:40 – Calgary takes Sean Monahan of the OHL, as many expected.  Edmonton wanted him too, but as it is Calgary snap up a great young talent.
  • 20:46 – Edmonton snap up talented physical beast Darnell Nurse from the OHL.  Whilst the Oilers would have liked a center, Nurse is one hell of a talent; the Oilers just have to be patient for him to develop.
  • 20:50 – Arthur Staple reports that the Minnesota Wild have traded Cal Clutterbuck to the NY Islanders for Nino Niederreiter.
  • 20:52 – The Buffalo Sabres arrive at the podium and quickly select the second Finn of the day, Rasmus Ristolainen.  He slid a bit in the rankings, but team’s obviously didn’t feel that way.  Great talent for Buffalo.
  • 20:59 – New Jersey rocks the building by trading the 9th overall pick to Vancouver for Cory Schneider, who has been in rumours for days now.  Vancouver gets a high pick to restock their system, NJ gets it’s goalie of the future.
  • 21:03 – the first major surprise of the day, though not really as his stock had risen following a strong Memorial Cup, but Vancouver selects two-way center Bo Horvat.
  • 21:09 – the Dallas Stars select Valeri Nichushkin, who was expected to go a lot higher but no-one is surprised to see drop due to KHL worries.
  • 21:15 – The Flyers select huge defenceman Samuel Morin of the QMJHL, a surprise at 11th overall but a player with rapidly rising stock this year.  Won’t solve the team’s defensive woes for a few years yet, but certainly has high potential.
  • 21:21 – Phoenix takes highly skilled forward Max Domi of the OHL’s London Knights.  The Coyotes finally get a guy who is pure skill as opposed to their usual two-way types, and whilst he’s a few years away from NHL action, it’ll be exciting to see him give the Yotes some much needed scoring.
  • 21:25 – the Niederreiter/Clutterbuck trade is officially announced, with the addition of a 3rd round pick going NYI’s way.
  • 21:29 – The Jets select Josh Morrissey of the WHL, a slightly off the board pick but undeniable offensive skill.  The Jets are building a pretty nice d-corps, with him, Trouba, Big Buff, Enstrom and Bogosian.
  • 21:36 – Columbus steps up with the first of it’s three 1st round picks this year, and takes Swede Alex Wennberg, a versatile speedy forward.  This is who I had CBJ taking in my mock draft, and it’s a perfect fit due to his strong two-way play and speed, giving the Jackets something they don’t have a lot of.
  • 21:40 – the Islanders select offensive dynamo Ryan Pulock of the WHL.  As predicted, the Islanders continue to stock up on top defensive prospects, and Pulock is the perfect compliment to a more defensive presence like Hamonic and Reinhart.
  • 21:47 – Buffalo steps up for the second time, and somewhat surprisingly takes another defender, this time big defensive defender Nikita Zadorov from the OHL.
  • 21:52 – Ottawa selects Curtis Lazar of the WHL.  Lazar could have gone anywhere from 7th to 25th, but no-one questions this guys passion and drive to be a good player and team-mate.  Great pickup for Ottawa.
  • 21:55 – Bettman announces that Detroit has traded the 18th overall pick to San Jose for the 20th and 58th picks.
  • 21:58 – San Jose trades up to get it’s man, the same guy I predicted them to take at 20, the Swiss defenceman Mirco Mueller from the WHL. 
  • 22:03 – the Columbus Blue Jackets come up for the second time, this time taking gritty forward Kerby Rychel of the OHL.
  • 22:06 – Detroit selects huge winger Anthony Mantha out of the QMJHL. A 50-goal scorer this year, Mantha is that rare blend of size, skill and skating that NHL teams simply adore.  It’s Detroit, so watch him disappear into the minors for about 8 years and then appear as the 2021 Rocket Richard winner.
  • 22:13 – Toronto takes Frederik Gauthier, another large forward out of the Q.  I wouldn’t have pegged him as a Toronto-type pick, but then again this is no longer the Burke era.
  • 22:16 – Calgary steps up again and this time selects completely off the board with Emile Poirier out of the QMJHL.  This one sends non-Scouts scrambling for their draft guides, or Google in my case.  Still, like Jankowski last year he doesn’t sound like a bad player at all, just unexpected at this point.
  • 22:23 – Washington’s Adam Oates causes a chuckle when he simply announces “Andre Burakovsky” at the podium.
  • 22:30 – Vancouver steps up and gladly takes slider Hunter Shinkaruk.  Projected before this season to be a top-10 pick but thanks to a slight slip in scoring numbers plus many great performances from others finds himself a Canuck.
  • 22:34 – Montreal’s Marc Bergevin takes Mike McCarron at 25.  A surprise this early, but certainly a well-known prospect thanks to his power-forward type game.
  • 22:41 – Anaheim selects Shea Theodore of the WHL.  Great offensive ability will really add to Anaheim’s defensive corps down the line.
  • 22:47 – Columbus steps up for the 3rd and final time this round, and takes center Marko Dano of the KHL.  Off-the-board by the CBJ’s but one gets the feeling that Kekalainen and Davidson know what they’re doing. 
  • 22:52 – Calgary to the podium one last time this round, and selects Morgan Klimchuk out of the WHL.  Not a reach at all this time, Klimchuk is an underrated two-way player.
  • 22:56 – Dallas steps up once again and takes Jason Dickinson out of the OHL.
  • 23:02 – Chicago, Stanley Cup Champions, finally make it to the podium for this round’s last pick, and take the OHL’s Ryan Hartman.
  • 23:05 – That’s it for the Live Draft Board folks!  I hope you’ve found it fun and informative, it’s been a blast and an experience doing it.  Stay tuned for news updates, but thanks to it being well-past my bedtime I won’t be writing about each and every draft pick.
  • 23:13 – still a load of great players remain on the board – Nic Petan, Zach Fucale and Robert Hagg were all projected to be first rounders by many scouts.
  • 23:22 – Carolina has traded pick no.35 and Jamie McBain to Buffalo for Andrej Sekera.  An interesting move by both teams, with the Canes giving up a talented young blueliner and a relatively high pick for a more established defender who is quite underrated.
  • 23:30 – Edmonton trades their pick No. 37 to LA for No’s 57, 88 & 96.  A heavy price for LA to pay for one pick, but they didn’t have a first rounder and there is still a lot of quality on the board so probably wanted to get in on the action, whilst Edmonton still have 2 2nd rounders and now restock on their mid-round picks after surrendering them earlier in the year for Mark Fistric & Jared Smithson.
  • 23:35 – New Jersey have yet to make a pick, and will be waiting a bit longer having just traded #38 to Phoenix for #42 and #73.  Curious moves by New Jersey, obviously felt strongly they needed a goalie and now evidently feel they can get a good player further down.
  • 23:42 – Another trade, and a pretty significant one: forward Dave Bolland of Chicago has been traded to Toronto for a 2nd and a 4th rd pick this year and a 4th rd pick next year. A great trade for Toronto, as they get a very good NHLer (who had an admittedly poor year) for nothing more than some mid-round picks.
  • 23:50 – Columbus has traded #44 to Pittsburgh for #50 & #89.  This is more of the usual wheeling-and-dealing for picks that we tend to see, this one clearly because the Pens didn’t have a pick so far due to various trades (Iginla, for example).
  • 00:17 – Edmonton continues to stockpile mid-round picks, trading #57 to St Louis for #83, #94 and #113.
  • 00:28 – Winnipeg acquires Michael Frolik from Chicago for a 3rd rd pick and a 5th rd pick.  Winnipeg gets a quality defensive player for some depth picks, whilst Chicago is once again seeing it’s depth players ripped away from them due to cap restrictions.  Sounds odd, but must be tough to be a Hawks fan in spite of those Cup wins – depth players tend to be the most likeable and easy to get attached to.
  • 01:07 – Chicago has announced the re-signing of forward Bryan Bickell to a 4 year deal, financial terms not yet available.

And with that ladies and gentleman I’m afraid I will have to bid you all adieu, it’s been great fun – if a little underwhelming trade-wise save for the Schneider deal – but nonetheless I hope you’ve all been able to glean some information from this post throughout the evening.  It is 10 past 1 in the morning here in the UK, so I’m off to bed!  Enjoy the rest of the draft those of you who are able to watch the rest of it.

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