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Now that the order of 28 of the first 30 picks have been determined, I will be releasing my 2015 NHL mock draft.
For those who haven’t read the LWOS mock before here are the rules.
1) No trades except for those that have already been made by NHL teams.
2) A two-round Mock draft will be done in four parts. The first two parts (ie the first round) will be done today. The next two parts (ie the second round) will be done tomorrow.
3) Clicking the Player’s name will bring you to a full scouting report.
So with that out of the way, I present.
The LWOS 2015 NHL Mock Draft
Part 1 (Picks 1-15)
1. Edmonton Oilers: Connor McDavid, Centre, Erie Otters, OHL
The easiest pick I’ve ever had to make in a mock draft. McDavid is a generational talent and is worth every bit of hype he’s gotten. He will be the Oilers #1 centre for the next decade (or more) and things should finally turn around for the team.
2. Buffalo Sabres: Jack Eichel, Centre, Boston University Terriers, NCAA Hockey East
The second easiest pick I’ve ever had to make in a mock draft. While Eichel doesn’t quite reach McDavid’s level, he’d be a first overall pick in almost any other draft. He is also close to a sure thing as a franchise centre, and the Sabres should be happy to have him.
3. Arizona Coyotes: Dylan Strome, Centre, Erie Otters, OHL
Things get a little more interesting at third overall, where I feel that the Arizona Coyotes will draft the big centre that every team covets. They do have some other options here, but the fact remains that finding high scoring forwards later in the draft is much harder than finding high scoring defencemen later in the draft. If we look at the Coyotes’ prospect pool they also have plenty of defencemen and wingers, but could use an injection of talent down the middle.
4. Toronto Maple Leafs: Mitch Marner, Right Wing/Centre, London Knights, OHL
Mark Hunter will be running his first draft for the Toronto Maple Leafs, and with this pick he goes for a player that he previously drafted when he was the general manager of the OHL’s London Knights. Hunter is very familiar with the high end offensive skill that Marner has, and knows that he is getting a very versatile prospect who could be one of the cornerstones of a Leafs rebuild.
5. Carolina Hurricanes: Noah Hanifin, Defence, Boston College Eagles, NCAA Hockey East
Last year the Hurricanes addressed a need for Defence by taking Haydn Fleury with their first round pick. Still needing to load up with more defencemen, Ron Francis is ecstatic to see Noah Hanifin on the board and makes the Boston College defenceman his 2015 first round pick setting up a solid 1/2 on the blueline for years to come.
6. New Jersey Devils: Mathew Barzal, Centre, Seattle Thunderbirds, WHL
New general manager Ray Shero drafted a lot of defencemen for the Pittsburgh Penguins in recent years, and with some of the defenders on the board here, the Devils could very well be tempted to add one. However, its clear that the Devils biggest need at this point is for some scoring talent, especially down the middle, and Shero goes off the board a little taking Barzal, who was dominant at the Under 18s.
7. Philadelphia Flyers: Lawson Crouse, Left Wing, Kingston Frontenacs, OHL
The Flyers have a log jam of defensive prospects coming up, and so Ron Hextall is looking for a forward at this spot. They go for a winger who can play that power forward type of game and gets them back to playing the kind of smash-mouth hockey that the Broad Street Bullies are known for.
8. Columbus Blue Jackets: Zach Werenski, Defence, Michigan Wolverines, NCAA Big Ten
A Michigan defenceman playing his pro hockey in Columbus, Ohio. It may seem like a nightmare to Wolverines fans and Buckeyes fans alike, but as the best player available, and bringing strong two-way play to a Columbus blue line that needs some more depth in its prospect pool, Werenski will still be loved in the home of Buckeye Nation.
9. San Jose Sharks: Ivan Provorov, Defence, Brandon Wheat Kings, WHL
The Sharks prospect pipeline was recently amongst the worst in the NHL, but has started to improve. This team has no choice but to go for the best player available as they still could use depth at every position as they look to reload an aging NHL roster. Provorov can quarterback the Sharks powerplay for years to come.
10. Colorado Avalanche: Mikko Rantanen, Right Wing/Centre, TPS, SM-Liiga
The Avalanche have built an impressive stable of young forwards in recent years, and while they would love to be able to add to their blueline here, there just isn’t a defender available who would be worth it for them at this pick. Colorado must be hoping that Werenski or Provorov fall into their laps, but when that doesn’t happen they add another powerful winger who will eventually replace Jarome Iginla in their top 6.
11. Florida Panthers: Pavel Zacha, Centre, Sarnia Sting, OHL
Dale Tallon knows the importance of having strong centre ice play and what it means in building a championship contender. The Panthers have a young and improving defence corps, and now add another centre to the mix to form a solid 1-2-3 combination with Aleksander Barkov and Nick Bjustad in the coming years.
12. Dallas Stars: Timo Meier, Right Wing, Halifax Mooseheads, QMJHL
The Stars made it priority #1 to add defensive prospects last year, drafting six defencemen with their nine picks. They’d love to add another high end defenceman this year, but adding the speed and power of Timo Meier is too much to pass up, as he’s clearly ahead of the defenders available at this point in the draft.
13. Los Angeles Kings: Kyle Connor, Centre, Youngstown Phantoms, USHL
The Kings have done a really solid job at the draft table under Dean Lombardi. He’s focused on a certain type of player with his forwards, and that is an emphasis on skating ability and two-way play. In Kyle Connor those two elements are present in spades, and he just looks like a Los Angeles Kings kind of forward.
14. Boston Bruins: Paul Bittner, Left Wing, Portland Winterhawks, WHL
Its Don Sweeney’s first draft in charge at the Boston Bruins table, but he’s been in the organization and had a voice for so long, I don’t see their philosophy changing an awful lot. The Bruins go for size and two-way play in Paul Bittner. He fits in well with the Bruins brand of hockey.
15. Calgary Flames: Jakub Zboril, Defence, Saint John Sea Dogs, QMJHL
The Flames have done an excellent job at acquiring young and talented forwards in their rebuild, but there are real gaps in their development system when it comes to the blueline. They address that need with Jakub Zboril, a very talented two way defenceman. He is part of an emerging group of Czech hockey players, and has had great success in the QMJHL and at the international level.