2015 DRAFT DAY THREAD: 1st Round Draft Board

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The biggest day of the off-season is here at long last!  For fans of teams not in the playoffs (and particularly so for us Edmonton Oiler fans), we have been waiting for two months to reach this point: the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.

This year’s draft, taking place in Florida, has been touted since before even last season’s draft as potentially the deepest since 2003, and the first in possibly even longer where there have been two players tagged with the “generational” label.  The depth, the high-end talent, the fact that 8 teams own 47.5% of draft picks in the first two rounds, combined with numerous teams facing serious cap-issues, means the next two days have the potential to be wild, in relative hockey terms of course.

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 – EDM Connor McDavid (C, Erie Otters, OHL) Quite simply one of the most highly regarded draft prospects ever seen, up there with Crosby, Lindros and Lemieux. Unbelievable skating ability, beyond-elite skill, Gretzky-like vision and smarts and a non-stop motor, Oilers fans are hoping that he can finally save their franchise from their suffering. Scored 120 points in just 47 games.
2 – BUF Jack Eichel (C, Boston University, NCAA) If McDavid wasn’t around, Eichel would without a doubt be the first pick off the board. In fact, scouts have said he likely would have been in most past years too. Blessed with elite level skill, speed, power and vision, along with a strong 6-2 frame (~196lbs). Won the NCAA’s Hobey Baker award as a pre-draft Freshman at Boston University after scoring 71 points in just 40 games. Buffalo may have wanted McDavid, but they are getting the next American superstar – this may suit them even better.
3 – ARI  Dylan Strome (C, Erie Otters, OHL)  An excellent consolation prize for those that missed out on the McDavid/Eichel sweepstakes, Strome was the former’s running mate for the Erie Otters this year and finished atop the OHL point standings with 128 in 68 games. Many believed he relied too much on McDavid, but when McDavid went down with a hand injury followed by playing at the WJCs, Strome stepped up and carried the Otters in the absence of their superstar. At 6-3, 190lbs and with an excellent skill level, strong skating and agility, he has the talent to be a first line center on many NHL teams.
4 – TOR  Mitch Marner (F, London Knights, OHL) Often overlooked in many mock drafts, Marner is undeniably one of the most highly skilled forwards in the draft. Undersized at 5-10 (164lbs), he nonetheless dominated the OHL for the London Knights to the tune of 126 points in 63 games. Has drawn comparisons to Patrick Kane and Sam Bennett, possessing elite skill and a deadly shot, top skating ability, along with a developing defensive awareness. Could end up making teams who passed him look very silly.
5 – CAR  Noah Hanifan (D, Boston College, NCAA) Has drawn comparisons to Jay Bouwmeester (at the low end) and Drew Doughty (at the other), as well as to last year’s first overall pick Aaron Ekblad who just this week was awarded the NHL’s Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year. Many say Hanifan has the talent to be better than Ekblad. He has the size (6-3, 203lbs) and is a fantastic skater, along with brilliant defensive capability and a developing offensive game. Some are concerned about his “lack” of offence, but he still posted a highly respectable 23 points in 35 games as a pre-draft freshman for Boston College.
6 – NJD  Pavel Zacha (C, Sarnia Sting, OHL) A talented Czech who possesses all the tools scouts salivate over – size, speed and skill – Zacha has many people intrigued. Add to that a good physical game, and you have a potentially dominating skater. However, for all his talent, Zacha only scored 34 points in 37 games for the Sarnia Sting of the OHL this season, leading many to question his ultimate offensive ceiling in the NHL. He nonetheless remains an excellent prospect, even if he doesn’t develop into a first-line talent.
7 – PHI  Ivan Provorov (D, Brandon Wheat Kings, WHL)  6-0 Russian defender had an outstanding season for Brandon of the WHL, scoring 61 points in just 60 games. He’s not big by NHL standards, but is an excellent skater, patient and poised with the puck and really drives play. Described as strong in the corners and has excellent hockey sense, he is viewed by several draft-enthusiasts as being potentially better than Hanifan.
8 – CBJ Zach Werenski (D, U. of Michigan, NCAA)  An excellent all-round defender with great hockey-smarts and ability to play in all situations, he has good size at 6-2 (207lbs) and excellent skating.  Put up 25 points in 35 games as the youngest player in the NCAA this season with University of Michigan.
9 – SJS  Timo Meier (RW, Halifax Mooseheads, QMJHL) A physically dominant forward despite being “only” 6-1, Meier was outstanding for Halifax this year scoring 90 points in 61 games and 21 in 14 playoff games. Has an excellent shot, good defensive awareness and is all in all a very dangerous player.
10 – COL Mikko Rantanen (C/W, TPS, SM-Liiga) A highly talented playmaker with elite hockey-sense and skating. There are concerns that he doesn’t use his size (6-4, 210lbs) enough, but his size and skill package is enticing. Scored 28 points in 56 games in the top Finnish pro league.
11 – FLA  Lawson Crouse (LW, Kingston Frontenacs, OHL) Touted as the “next Milan Lucic”, Crouse has been one of the most divisive figures of this year’s draft. He made the WJC team for Canada in his draft year, quite a feat for a non-1st Overall Pick, and showed pretty well – scouts raved over his potentially elite defensive game, along with his excellent size (6-4, 200lbs) and physical play. He paced the Kingston Frontenacs with 51 points in 56 games – numbers which may scare off some teams, who feel he doesn’t possess the offensive ceiling of other top prospects, but nevertheless he should be a quality NHLer.
12 – DAL Denis Guryanov (W, Lada Togliatti, KHL/MHL) The first KHLer selected in this year’s draft, Guryanov is an intriguing package. He has good size at 6-2, and possesses good speed and excellent skill. Protects the puck well and drives the net before unleashing his heavy shot. Inconsistent defensively, but has potential there. Scored 1 point in 8 KHL games (a notoriously difficult league for youngsters to get TOI), and 25 points in 23 MHL games.
13 – BOS (from LAK) Jakub Zboril (D, Saint John Sea Dogs, QMJHL) A swift-skating two-way defender from the Czech Republic, at 6-1 Zboril isn’t big by NHL standards but is highly talented. Smart positionally, plays with an edge and has good skills and a hard shot. Scored 33 points in 44 games with Saint John of the QMJHL.
14 – BOS  Jake DeBrusk (LW, Swift Current Broncos, WHL) The son of former NHL tough guy Louie DeBrusk, Jake possesses his father’s competitiveness but that’s where the comparisons end. A two-way talent and good goalscorer, DeBrusk battles hard and smart. Scored 42 goals and 81 points in 72 games.
15 – BOS (from CGY) Zach Senyshyn (RW, Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds, OHL) An off-the-board pick by Boston, Senyshyn was ranked as a borderline 1st rounder heading into the draft.  He scored 45 points in 66 games with the Soo, and was a big riser from the beginning of the season to the end. An excellent skater who is fearless in attacking the net. Compared to Chris Kreider by some.
16 – NYI (from EDM and PIT) Mathew Barzal (C, Seattle Thunderbirds, WHL) Thought to have the talent level to compete with the best in this draft, Barzal likely dropped this year due to suffering a knee injury and missing significant time. Nonetheless he put up 57 points in 44 games, and was outstanding for Canada at the WJC-18s, scoring 12 points in 7 games. A good skater with outstanding puck-handling, he is primarily a playmaker who usually looks for the pass with his excellent vision. Also plays a reliable two-way game.
17 – WPG Kyle Connor (C/LW, Youngstown, USHL) An excellent two-way player, he has good skating ability, smarts and skill. At 6-1 177lbs, he’ll need to get stronger, which he’ll have plenty of time to do at the University of Michigan next year. Strong all-round talent.
18 – OTT Thomas Chabot (D, Saint John Sea Dogs, QMJHL) Described as quick-thinking and with two-way ability, Chabot is an excellent skater and eats up minutes for the Sea Dogs. At 6-1 181lbs, could stand to get bigger before hitting the NHL, and also needs to work on shot, but is an excellent passer. Scored 41 points in 66 games.
19 – DET Evgeni Svechnikov (LW, Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, QMJHL) Viewed as potentially NHL-ready, Svechnikov oozes offensive talent. Combined with a big 6-2 frame and explosive skating (hampered by a leg injury this year), his elite skill and deadly shot mean he could be an excellent NHL scorer sooner rather than later. Scored 32 goals, 78 points in 55 games as a rookie in the Q.
20 – MIN  Joel Eriksson Ek (C, Farjestad, SHL) A competitive center from Sweden whose best asset is likely his deadly shot. Has good size at 6’2″ and powerful skating. Combine that with slick skills and a responsible defensive game, and you have a fine package that with more seasoning could be a very good NHLer. Scored 6 points in 34 SHL games, and 32 points in 25 J20 games.
21 – OTT (from BUF and NYI) Colin White (C/RW, USNTDP, USHL/USDP)  Two-way center who scored 71 points in 74 USHL/USDP games this year, White is an all-round player who excels in no particular area but is deficient in very few areas. Has a powerful shot, physical edge and good skating.
22 – WAS  Ilya Samsonov (G, Stalnye Lisy Magnitogorsk, MHL) 6-3 Russian goalie played mostly in the Russian junior league this year, but was strong with a 2.66 GAA and .918 SV% in 18 games. He was outstanding for Russia at the WJC-18s with a .934 SV% in 3 games. Has good size and athletic ability, while reading the play well and is very competitive. Very highly rated by scouts.
23 – VAN  Brock Boeser (RW, Waterloo, USHL) Described as a dynamic offensive player with one of the best shots of recent years, he has excellent scoring instincts. Is also agile and a strong passer, and his puck possession skill is said to be elite. Needs to work on defensive game and board work. At 6’1 and nearly 200lbs he has good size. Had 68 points (35 goals) in 57 games in the USHL, and is headed to North Dakota of the NCAA next year.
24 – PHI (from TOR and NSH)  Travis Konecny (C/RW, Ottawa 67s, OHL) Described by some as a “little ball of hate”, Konecny is a versatile forward with dynamic skating and elite hockey sense, a heavy shot and incredible puck skills. Plays with intensity and edge, a very high-character guy. Is undersized at 5-10, but oozes talent. Scored 68 points in 60 games this year, and 10 points in 5 playoff games.
25 – WPG  Jack Roslovic (C/RW, USNTDP, USHL/USDP) Scored 117 points in 90 games for the US Development Program this year, proof enough that the young prospect from Columbus has great offensive talent. Plays with high energy, is an agile skater and protects the puck well. More a playmaker than a shooter, he also has a solid defensive game.
26 – MTL Noah Juulsen (D, Everett Silvertips, WHL) Two-way defender scored 52 points in 68 games this season. A solid skater and fairly mobile, Juulsen sees the ice well and can play with a physical edge. Controls the play with the puck but can try to do too much at times. A hard worker and smart, Juulsen is a project but has excellent talent.
27 – ANA  Jacob Larsson (D, Frolunda, SHL) A smart and mobile defender with two-way ability, can pass the puck very well and has a good shot. Needs to work on defensive game and bulk up (6-2, 190lbs), but is very dynamic as it is. Scored 3 points in 20 SHL games and 19 points in 30 J20 games.
28 – NYI (from TBL and NYR)  Anthony Beauvillier (LW/C, Shawinigan Cataractes, QMJHL) Described as a dynamic scoring center, Beauvillier is only 5-10 and 170lbs but has excellent hockey sense, speed, skill and intelligence. An offensive force, but must get stronger. Scored 42 goals and 94 points in 67 games.
29 – CBJ (from TOR and PHI and TBL)  Gabriel Carlsson (D, Linkoping, SHL) Big defensive defender has good reach and hockey sense. At 6-4 but only 183lbs must get stronger, has the frame to do so. Has a good first pass and is mobile, but will not be an offensive player. Scored 2 points in 7 SHL games and 7 points in 39 J20 games.
30 – ARI (from CHI)  Nick Merkley (C, Kelowna Rockets, WHL) A playmaking center with excellent vision and work ethic, isn’t a big player at 5-11 but is fearless against larger players. Is not a dynamic skater, which may hold him back from being elite at next level, but his offensive talents are through the roof. Scored 90 points in 72 games and 27 points in 19 playoff games.

HOW THE DRAFT WENT DOWN:

  • Pre-draft action: the day kicked off with a trade between Ottawa and Buffalo, the latter trading their 21st Overall Pick in 2015 for oft-injured and inconsistent (yet talented) goalie Robin Lehner, and aging center David Legwand. Many consider this an overpay by Buffalo, but what it does do is make the goalie market interesting by (a) setting a price and (b) reducing the number of available assets for other teams.

    The Boston Bruins, with some mild surprise (understatement?), kickstarted a rebuild of sorts – firstly they traded talented young blueliner (previously touted as the Bruins’ future Chara replacement) Dougie Hamilton to the Calgary Flames for the 15th Overall Pick in 2015, plus the 45th and 52nd picks in 2015. Many view this as a steal for Calgary, a move that adds major talent to their top-4 D which already includes Mark Giordano and TJ Brodie, while being a baffling move for the Bruins (GM Don Sweeney reportedly justifies this move by stating that he felt Hamilton would feel uncomfortable remaining in Boston following a seemingly inevitable offer sheet).

    Not long after, the Bruins then traded power forward Milan Lucic to the LA Kings for the 13th Overall Pick in 2015, backup goalie Martin Jones, and prospect Colin Miller. The Bruins also retain ~$2.7m in salary for next season. This is viewed as a better trade for the Bruins, who rid themselves of a declining and expensive asset – no matter how much he embodies the Bruins’ style – and much of his cap hit, while gaining yet another first rounder, a quality backup for Tuukka Rask, and a solid prospect who has enjoyed some early success as a pro in the AHL.

    The Bruins also announced the re-signing of tough bottom-pair defender Adam McQuaid to a 4-year deal worth $2.75m per season.

 

  • 7:27pm ET – the Colorado Avalanche trade center Ryan O’Reilly and Jamie McGinn to the Buffalo Sabres for Mikhail Grigorenko, Nikita Zadorov,  JT Compher and the 31st Overall Pick in 2015. Sabres center depth just went supernova, while the Avs get some quality prospects/players in return.
  • 8:53pm ET – the Edmonton Oilers make an… interesting trade, shipping the 16th and 33rd picks in 2015 to the Islanders for defense prospect Griffin Reinhart. There was a lot of talent left on the board, and while Griffin should be a decent NHLer, his ceiling is not perhaps as high as initially thought when he was he was drafted 4th overall in 2012.
  • 9:44pm ET – the Toronto Maple Leafs trade the 24th Overall Pick in 2015 for the 29th and 61st Overall Picks in 2015 from Philadelphia.
  • 10:09pm ET – the New York Islanders acquire the 28th Overall Pick in 2015 for the 33rd and 72nd Overall Picks from Tampa Bay.
  • 10:15pm ET – the Toronto Maple Leafs trade the 29th Overall Pick in 2015 to Columbus for the 34th and 68th Overall Picks.
  • 10:23pm ET – Anaheim Ducks trade Kyle Palmieri to the New Jersey Devils for the 41st Overall Pick in 2015 and a 2016 draft pick.

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