Category Archives: NHL Draft

2016 DRAFT DAY THREAD: 1ST ROUND DRAFT BOARD

IIt’s finally here, folks! Welcome to the 2016 NHL Draft. Today is the day we’ve all been waiting for, where Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine are expected to go first and second overall, respectively, to the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets respectively.

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Sam Duggan – “One of England’s Greatest Talents Ever”

Upon the completion of the 2015-16 NHL season, and Stanley Cup playoffs, we get to look forward to the 2016 Entry Draft, in which a talented young Englishman will be eligible for selection.

17 year old Samuel Duggan, from Reading, will turn 18 in July, qualifying him for next year’s draft.

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2013 NHL Entry Draft Do-Over: MacKinnon is Dropped to 2nd Pick

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The entrants of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft will be entering into their third season this year. Some of these players made an instant impact at their franchise and others are still developing in the minors.

If the NHL teams were to do-over the 2013 draft, knowing the performances that the entrants would put in, and assuming that they wouldn’t budge from their positional needs, this could have been how the 1st round of the 2013 draft turned out.

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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.

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2015 NHL Draft Day Preview

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As the hype for tomorrow’s NHL Draft at BB&T Center increases, let’s look at what to expect and what we could expect.

Drafting

There’s no question, tomorrow, that all eyes will be on highly touted prospects Connor McDavid of the Eerie Otters and Jack Eichel of Boston University. McDavid is expected to go to the Edmonton Oilers at first overall, while Eichel is expected to get picked by the Buffalo Sabres at no. 2; both of these teams are currently in a rebuild mode. The rest of the picks are up for grabs, and I think this is going to be probably one of the deepest drafts we’ve seen in a while. While I’m not at expert level yet in mock drafts, you can check out some others, like TSN Analyst Craig Button’s.

 

Trades

There have been a lot of trade speculation all throughout social media on Twitter. Starting with the Toronto Maple Leafs, a team that has started to undergo some major changes this offseason with the change in coaching staff and management, the next step for them is knowing who to trade and when, and so far Phil Kessel has been the most actively pursued player by other NHL teams, and it’s no surprise.

While Kessel has been questioned, along with captain Dion Phaneuf, for almost everything he’s done in Toronto, you can’t argue against the fact that he can still score lots of goals despite a disappointing 2014-15 campaign. Never Stop Beleafing, a Leafs-based blog managed by @neverstopbeleaf, breaks down the analytics of Kessel’s stats. According to him, Kessel has been a top-20 in all offensive categories in the past four seasons, joining the ranks of superstars Alexander Ovechkin (WSH) and Steven Stamkos (TBL), Corey Perry (ANA), Joe Pavelski (SJS), Max Pacioretty (MTL), John Tavares (NYI), Tyler Seguin (DAL), and Rick Nash (NYR).

Here are the bar charts for how his stats compare to others in goals, assists, and points, courtesy of Never Stop Beleafing.

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Top-20 Goal Scorers in 4 Seasons courtesy of Never Stop Beleafing

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Top-20 Assists in 4 Seasons courtesy of Never Stop Beleafing

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Top-20 Point-Getters in 4 Seasons courtesy of Never Stop Beleafing

As you can see, not bad for a player who’s been constantly scrutinized and tossed around by the Toronto media. You can read more of his analysis on Kessel here.

The goalie situation in Vancouver is another interesting trade rumor. No, it’s not another goalie controversy from the Canucks, but with Ryan Miller staying put in the Vancouver crease teams have inquired about Eddie Lack and Jacob Markstrom, who’s currently with their AHL affiliate, the Utica Comets.

For the San Jose Sharks, a team looking to rebound from last season’s mess and get back into the playoff picture, goal tending and defense is a serious issue. With UFA Antti Niemi possibly hitting the free agency market if general manager Doug Wilson doesn’t sign him to an extension, they’ve been among the teams who’ve been kicking tires on New York Rangers back-up goaltender Cam Talbot as well as back-up Rob Lehner of the Ottawa Senators. Also, there have been rumors that DW could pull a blockbuster trade. Whether it’s somehow getting either former Captain Joe Thornton or Patrick Marleau to waive their NTCs, or moving d-man/forward hybrid Brent Burns, or whoever else, we don’t know yet.

So far, only one trade has happened today, as the Colorado Avalanche acquired pending UFA Carl Sodoberg (29-65–94) from the Boston Bruins for a sixth round 2016 draft pick.

 

Team Needs

Whether it’s restocking on draft picks, acquiring more offensive/defensive depth, or goaltending, every team has their own set of needs for either a rebuild or a retooling for playoff contention. With the help of Never Stop Beleafing, here are the lists of needs for each team.

 

Pacific

Sharks: Goaltending, defensive depth

Kings: Defensive depth

Ducks: Top-six winger, no. 1 defenseman

Coyotes: Centerman, defenseman

Canucks: Defensive depth

 

Central

Blackhawks: Defensive depth

Avalanche: Defenseman

Predators: Offensive production, no. 1 center

Blues: Centerman

Jets: No. 1 center

 

Atlantic

Canadiens: offense, defensive depth

Bruins: Defensive depth, wingers

Senators: Defenseman

Panthers: Defense, wingers

Maple Leafs: Offense, defense, goaltending

Sabres: Offense, defense

 

Metropolitan

Blue Jackets: Defensive depth, wingers

Rangers: Defense

Islanders: Defensive depth

Penguins: 3rd & 4th line forward depth

Flyers: Offense, defensive depth

Devils: Defense

Hurricanes: Defensive depth

 

 

Which team will pick who? Who will win at the draft? Who will lose? All those pressing questions will be answered tomorrow at the draft (except for McDavid and Eichel, I don’t think those should have any questioning at all).

 

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Drafting options – Maple Leafs

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With the NHL Scouting combine well underway in Buffalo this week, what better time to revisit the various options available to the Toronto Maple Leafs on the 26th of June. Whereas most Leafs draft previews this year have been centred around the 4th overall pick, we will look at the options available to the Leafs at both the top and bottom end of the first round, where the Leafs hold the Nashville Predators’ 1st round pick – 24th overall.

It is an almost nailed-on certainty that Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel will be drafted 1st and 2nd respectively, barring a bad case of Noah Hanifin tourettes – a lesser known variation of tourettes where officials from within the Buffalo Sabres organisation call out the name of the 3rd ranked skater, thus overlooking a generational talent in Eichel. However with so many talented prospects available to general managers, the order of the rest of the first round is harder to project.

 

4th OVERALL

 

#3 Noah Hanifin – D – Boston College

Until very recently, it was also taken as word that the Arizona Coyotes would pick the Boston College defenseman Noah Hanifin 3rd overall, however recent chatter from General Manager Don Maloney gives us other indications. Stating that they have several options available to them, Maloney appears to be leaning towards the Brandon Wheat Kings defensemen Ivan Provorov, who could potentially be a more rounded prospect.

Should Hanifin be available at four, it would take a brave man to turn down a potential franchise defenseman. The only drawback for Toronto in picking Hanifin, is that there are bigger concerns and positions to fill within the organisation.

 

 #4 Dylan Strome – C – Erie Otters

The most likely of destinations for Dylan – younger brother of New York Islanders center Ryan Strome – should he be available would be Toronto, who have been a long term admirer of the Mississauga native.

In the shadow of teammate Connor McDavid for the whole season, Strome has relished the opportunity to just get on with his game without the pressure of expectation on his shoulders, which has led him to be the number 2 scorer in the OHL.

Strome has an excellent offensive upside and a distinct talent with the puck at his stick to find the right pass, or set up the team for an offensive breakout.

A lot has been mentioned about his skating ability, which seems the only question mark on whether Strome will ever cement a top 2 center position long term.

 

#7 Mitchell Marner – C – London Knights

Much like Strome, the OHL-leading point scorer in 2015 could fill a void within the rebuilding Maple Leafs at center. A lot of the press coming out of the combine has Kyle Dubas (Leafs Assistant GM) talking highly of Marner.

Yes he is small, much like the Leafs’ first pick in 2014 William Nylander, but Marner is giving up a good 40 pounds on Nylander.

In 2015, Marner was the first Knights player to reach 100 points since New York Islanders center John Tavares, so the calibre is there, but work needs to be done on bulk and giving him the best coaching on how to use his size in the NHL.

He is a very shifty player on the puck, which has led to comparisons with Patrick Kane, again a high praise. I just fear that the size is what may be the deciding factor in Marner dropping out of the top 5 on June 26th.

 

#5 Lawson Crouse – LW – Kingston Frontenacs

Lawson Crouse is a powerful, physically dominant power forward that would offer much of a forechecking presence. Even with this, Crouse has quick hands and a very dangerous shot that could be a very useful weapon.

He’s more of an outside chance, but Crouse is a player that has a lot to like about him.

 

 

24th OVERALL

            #21 Jeremy Roy – D – Sherbrooke Phoenix

Currently ranked number 21 overall, having fallen from his initial ranking of 16, Jeremy Roy is a gifted two-way defenceman that plays a high-percentage brand of hockey which enables him to contribute positively in both offensive and defensive zones.

With his initial stock dropping from the midterm rankings to the final rankings, it is hard to imagine that Roy will be available at 24, but should he be available this would be a steal.

 

#25 Brandan Carlo – D – Tri-City Americans

Following on the theme, another defenceman in the fold is Tri-City’s Brandon Carlo. A very gifted defensive defenceman who is, more times than not, in the right place to make the defensive play for the team.

Carlo had a 25-point season for Tri-City, whilst racking up 90 penalty minutes, due to his power and aggressive nature.

A lot has been said about his lack of offensive prowess, but this is something that can be worked on and should be worked on should the Maple Leafs pick Carlo.

 

#24 Ryan Pilon – D – Brandon Wheat Kings

The strange thing about Ryan Pilon is that he only appears in the top 100 on the NHL rankings, but is emitted from both the Hockey Futures and ISS top 100 rankings.

Pilon played the last year alongside 2015 draft eligible Ivan Provorov. Pilon is less likely a player to step up into the rush and offer something offensively, leaving that to his partner to great effect.

There is a lot to like about Ryan Pilon, even though others have overlooked. He has been playing in the WHL since he was 16 and year upon year he has strived to improve and add something more to his game. He isn’t a flashy player. He is very stable defensively and very rarely makes a mistake in the defensive zone.

With Pilon’s ability to continually improve, it will be hard to project just where he would sit within a franchise, but he will most definitely be a great addition to any set of defensive prospects.

 

PREDICTIONS

The first round is stacked, so no matter who the Maple Leafs pick, they will have two excellent prospects to add to the rebuild. Defence is less of a priority than drafting an excellent top 2 potential center to fill much-needed holes.

It could be an excellent opportunity to pick up a defenceman with the 2nd pick and with 3 pretty good prospects there or thereabouts, it is a toss up between the 3 for who will end up in Toronto.

 

4th overall: Dylan Strome

24th overall: Ryan Pilon

 

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