Happy Draft Lottery day, ladies and gents! Whether you’re a Detroit Red Wings fan hoping for what’s rightfully yours, or a diehard Team G fan hoping for a stroke of luck, the small team here at Riding Pine thought it prudent to put together a Mock Draft as a primer for tonight’s events. Ash Glover (@AshGloverHockey) and I have put together a full two-round mock, but with a small twist and rules we have to abide by. In order to give this mock some character, we will be making our picks in each round based on these categories:
Best Player Available (15 in 1st Round, 10 in 2nd Round)
Positional/Team Need (10 in 1st Round, 15 in 2nd Round)
Reaches (6 per Round)
The reaches and best players available will be based on our own lists to give our own personal flavor to this mock draft, while also offering what may be a realistic glimpse into what happens on draft day.
So, without further ado, let’s get started.
1. Ottawa Senators
Brandon’s Pick: Alexis Lafrenière, LW (BPA)
Brandon Holmes: Ottawa claims the biggest prize in the draft after landing the top pick in the Draft Lottery. Only two players have ever achieved back-to-back Top CHL Player of the Year honors: Sidney Crosby and Alexis Lafrenière. This kid is in rare and elite company and will be a star for a long time in the NHL.
Ash’s Pick: Alexis Lafrenière, LW (BPA)
Ash Glover: Absolute no brainer. Franchise type player that Ottawa will rush to the podium to snag.
2. Ottawa Senators (vía SJ)
Brandon’s Pick: Quinton Byfield, C (BPA)
Brandon Holmes: Ottawa makes out like bandits in the lottery and comes away with picks 1 and 2, and the Sens make no mistake in selecting Quinton Byfield at this slot. A young, raw, and complete 6’4” centerman with elite 1st line upside. Byfield and Lafrenière would be special together for a long time.
Ash’s Pick: Quinton Byfield, C (BPA)
Ash Glover: Snagging Byfield at #2 is just a godsend. They get the true 1C they desperately need, and the heavens are the ceiling for Byfield. Freakish athleticism and skill, he has the highest upside of anyone in the draft.
3. Buffalo Sabres
Brandon’s Pick: Lucas Raymond, RW (BPA)
Brandon Holmes: Buffalo is simply in need of talent, and Lucas Raymond has no shortage of just that. The young Swede played predominantly a depth role for Frölunda this year in the SHL, but make no mistake that Raymond is a quick, skilled, and highly refined young winger with the potential to be a star winger alongside Jack Eichel in Buffalo’s lineup.
Ash’s Pick: Tim Stützle, LW (BPA)
Ash Glover: Buffalo needs playmakers and fast. Stützle gives them a high-paced, skill forward who can slot into just about any position on a line. Building behind Eichel with Cozens and Stützle must be exciting.
4. Detroit Red Wings
Brandon’s Pick: Tim Stützle, LW (BPA)
Brandon Holmes: Detroit had no reservations taking Moritz Seider in the Top 10 of the 2019 Draft, and here they add another top German talent to their pool. Stützle is a dynamic forward who plays the game with tons of pace and quickness and should complement Detroit’s shooters with his playmaking ability and vision very nicely.
Ash’s Pick: Lucas Raymond, RW (BPA)
Ash Glover: Adding Raymond would be a huge deal for Yzerman. Depth wise, the Wings aren’t deep anywhere, let alone at forward. Raymond gives them a solid play-driver, something desperately needed. Plays a high energy game with some nastiness thrown in; fun, fun player.
5. Los Angeles Kings
Brandon’s Pick: Jamie Drysdale, D (Positional)
Brandon Holmes: At #5, the Kings pick up the Draft’s top defenseman in Jamie Drysdale, and in turn, patch up the lone remaining hole in their prospect pool at right-handed defense. Drysdale is defined by elite mobility and transitional ability and should help Los Angeles’ desire to play an up-tempo brand of hockey moving forward.
Ash’s Pick: Jamie Drysdale, D (Positional)
Ash Glover: LA has just about the best prospect pool in the league, and adding Drysdale would only solidify that. With a core of Turcotte, Kupari, Fagemo, Kaliyev, Björnfot, and Vilardi moving forward, adding a premier defenseman is a no brainer.
6. Anaheim Ducks
Brandon’s Pick: Marco Rossi, C (BPA)
Brandon Holmes: The Ducks pick up the CHL’s points leader this past season in Marco Rossi – a quick and gifted playmaker who plays the game with sky-high intelligence. Rossi only stands at around 5’9”, but his lower body strength more than makes up for it as he’s able to play well above his size.
Ash’s Pick: Marco Rossi, C (BPA)
Ash Glover: Anaheim is in need of a new franchise face, a guy to hand the keys over to. Rossi, in addition to Zegras and Lundestrom, gives the Ducks real options and stability in regard to having skilled forwards. Rossi gives them something they desperately need – a true star prospect to build with and around.
7. New Jersey Devils
Brandon’s Pick: Jake Sanderson, D (Positional)
Brandon Holmes: New Jersey picks up some much-needed blue line help in Jake Sanderson, who would begin to build up a strong left side for the Devils along with Ty Smith. Sanderson is a mobile and very well-refined two-way player for his age and also made massive strides on the offensive side of the puck as the season went along.
Ash’s Pick: Alexander Holtz, RW (BPA)
Ash Glover: Hughes and Hischier need talent to flank them, here is where they get it. The Devils snag who I believe is the best natural goal-scorer in the draft in Holtz at #7.
8. Montreal Canadiens
Brandon’s Pick: Cole Perfetti, LW (BPA)
Brandon Holmes: In back-to-back years, the Canadiens select a Cole in the 1st Round; Perfetti is a gifted offensive catalyst who can shoot the puck with the best of ‘em among his peers, while also being a gifted playmaker with fantastic puck skills and vision.
Ash’s Pick: Cole Perfetti, LW (BPA)
Ash Glover: Montreal needs a true goal-scoring game breaker and they get that here in Perfetti. They have solid complementary pieces to surround Perfetti, which should see him succeed in the system.
9. Chicago Blackhawks
Brandon’s Pick: Yaroslav Askarov, G (Positional)
Brandon Holmes: As the Crawford Era looks to be coming to a close in the near future in goal for Chicago, the Blackhawks pick up their successor in Askarov. The Russian is a big and fluid netminder who has dominated international competition for years and will look to do the same at the pro level in Russia next.
Ash’s Pick: Jake Sanderson, D (Positional)
Ash Glover: As much as the trendy pick seems to be Askarov, the Hawks D’ is absolutely cavernous. The Hawks also will want to add pieces that can help sooner than later, so for me, Sanderson is their guy. He is a very smart, but raw defender with great upside, no brainer.
10. New Jersey Devils (vía ARI)
Brandon’s Pick: Alexander Holtz, RW (BPA)
Brandon Holmes: Jack Hughes was able to wreak havoc with Cole Caufield on his wing at the USNTDP, and here the Devils select a player whose attributes as a pure shooter are arguably just as good. Holtz is arguably the best pure goal scorer available in this draft and would be an excellent complement to New Jersey’s center depth.
Ash’s Pick: Noel Gunler, RW (Positional)
Ash Glover: Yep, a second Swedish winger to Jersey. Hopefully, in Gunler they find their true second ‘1B’ piece on a line to compliment their up and coming stellar centre depth.
11. Minnesota Wild
Brandon’s Pick: Anton Lundell, C (BPA)
Brandon Holmes: The Wild pick up a player at #11 who very well could be a Top 5 selection in other years; Lundell has seen fantastic success at a young age in Finland’s top professional league and has the makings of a top two-way playmaking center who could be in the Selke conversation for much of his NHL career.
Ash’s Pick: Anton Lundell, C (BPA)
Ash Glover: Still in need of a future 1C, the Wild would be silly not to nab Lundell if given the chance. The best two-way centre available, Lundell is a solid but polished centre who has a very translatable skill-set. Koivu 2.0?
12. Winnipeg Jets
Brandon’s Pick: Braden Schneider, D (Reach)
Brandon Holmes: After suffering casualties to the right side of their defense in Trouba and Byfuglien, Winnipeg replenishes with the selection of Schneider. Schneider may be considered a reach by some at this spot, but he’s very well refined defensive player for his age and plays a hard-nosed, physical style that Winnipeg’s brass seems to love in their blueliners.
Ash’s Pick: Connor Zary, C (Positional)
Ash Glover: As much as the defense is a mess, they really have to find a way to provide for what they already have. Zary gives them a guy with a high 2C ceiling that fills a void that Bryan Little once filled. Filling out that top-six long term is key to building on their strength, the defense will come later on.
13. New York Rangers
Brandon’s Pick: Connor Zary, C (Positional)
Brandon Holmes: With plenty of talent on the wings, the Rangers pick up an intelligent playmaking center in Zary that could be a great fit as their future 2C behind Mika Zibanejad. Vision, smarts, and two-way ability are all boxes that Zary easily checks
Ash’s Pick: Rodion Amirov, LW (BPA)
Ash Glover: The Rangers get a good one here in Amirov. A solid goal-scoring two-way winger, Amirov has a very good vibe around him. I think he’s got a really solid pro-level style and gives the Rangers a forward piece they don’t really have, a legitimate two-way forward with high upside.
14. Florida Panthers
Brandon’s Pick: Kaiden Guhle, D (Reach)
Brandon Holmes: With a potent offense and help on the way up front, the Panthers add to their blue line with the selection of Kaiden Guhle. Guhle is a divisive prospect among some, but there’s no denying the blend of size, mobility, and physicality that Guhle possesses that’s sure to have NHL clubs swooning on draft day.
Ash’s Pick: Kaiden Guhle, D (Reach)
Ash Glover: The Panthers defense only just exists. It’s horrid. Guhle will help them get tougher, smarter, and can provide minutes on either special teams. He has a high floor and should be able to contribute to the team in some capacity sooner than later. He is a reach here at 14, but the shoe fits.
15. Columbus Blue Jackets
Brandon’s Pick: Dawson Mercer, RW/C (Positional)
Brandon Holmes: Mercer is a player coaches love for his blend of work ethic, pace, two-way ability, and skill, and for those reasons, Mercer would be an excellent fit for the Jackets forward group. Mercer put together an excellent junior campaign split between Drummondville and Chicoutimi while also making Canada’s World Junior team, which has surely caught the NHL’s attention as a Top 15 selection.
Ash’s Pick: Seth Jarvis, RW (Positional)
Ash Glover: The Jackets steal one here in Jarvis. Whilst they have some good young pieces, they have somewhat an aging forward group. Jarvis could provide a great boost to a core of Dubois, Texier, Werenski, Jones, and Foudy going forward. He’s an elite talent who the Jackets can hope can follow the path of someone like Cam Atkinson and be a true top-six/first-line stud.
16. Calgary Flames
Brandon’s Pick: Jan Myšak, C/LW (Positional)
Brandon Holmes: The Flames pick up a talented and well-rounded forward in Myšak to complement their forward group behind the likes of Gaudreau, Tkachuk, and Monahan. Myšak showed he needed no adjustment period in North America after coming over to Hamilton, as he used his blend of intelligence, skill, and speed to put up 15 goals in 22 games for the Bulldogs.
Ash’s Pick: Emil Andrae, D (Reach)
Ash Glover: The Flames reach a bit here, but I feel it’s a must. The Flames have question marks in terms of long term impact players on the blue-line and they really struggled in Transition. Andrae gives them an avenue to push the pace and feed the likes of Tkachuk, Gaudreau, and so on.
17. New Jersey Devils (vía VAN)
Brandon’s Pick: Noel Gunler, RW (BPA)
Brandon Holmes: New Jersey shores up their wing depth around Hughes and Hischier with the selection of Noel Gunler, who’s another talented goal-scoring Swede. Gunler has been a top player in Sweden’s junior ranks for a long time and has no shortage of tools with a fantastic shot, good straight-line speed, and two-way acumen.
Ash’s Pick: Helge Grans, D (Reach)
Ash Glover: Jersey caps off the first round with 3 Swedes. Ty Smith is legit, but they (also like Calgary) need more help long term. Grans is a physically mature defenseman who can push the tempo in transition as good as anyone. Fitzgerald wants size and speed: enter Grans.
18. Nashville Predators
Brandon’s Pick: Seth Jarvis, RW (BPA)
Brandon Holmes: Nashville picks up one of the draft’s biggest risers in Seth Jarvis, who’s a gifted offensive catalyst with two-way ability and quickness to match. Jarvis can drive offense for his line, create plays with vision and skill, and can rip it as well; the Preds get a good one here.
Ash’s Pick: Dawson Mercer, RW/C (BPA)
Ash Glover: The Preds go BPA here and add talented Mercer to the prospect stables. Mercer always seems to be in the right areas, one has to question if he has the puck on a string. Mercer is a patient playmaker who has a great vision and great hands in tight.
19. Carolina Hurricanes (via TOR)
Brandon’s Pick: Jack Quinn, RW (BPA)
Brandon Holmes: The Hurricanes pick up one of the draft’s top goal scorers in Jack Quinn, who used his skill, quickness, and shot to put up 52 goals for the 67’s, all while playing away from Marco Rossi at 5-on-5. In addition to his offensive output, scouts love his all-around game and see a player that can contribute in all situations.
Ash’s Pick: Jan Myšak, C/LW (BPA)
Ash Glover: Carolina likes their skilled, crafty forwards and they nab another here in Myšak. He has great poise in the offensive zone, solid puck retention skills, and a great nose for driving inside and finishing. He’s terrific with the puck and has all the traits to be a versatile playmaker.
20. Edmonton Oilers
Brandon’s Pick: Jacob Perreault, RW/C (Positional)
Brandon Holmes: In search for more help along the wings, the Oilers pick up a good one in Jacob Perreault. Perreault is a gifted shooter with good puck skills, while also possessing sneaky good speed that put him top of the charts at the CHL’s top prospect testing. If you think this sounds like an excellent complement to Connor McDavid, this writer would tend to agree.
Ash’s Pick: Yaroslav Askarov, G (BPA)
Ash Glover: Yes he fell to 20. And yes I think the Oilers nab him if available. They have a chance to add a stud goalie prospect and with McDavid, Draisaitl, Yamamoto, RNH, and co still with years of high-end play left, Askarov can be the guy to back-end them for years and years to come.
21. Ottawa Senators (vía NYI)
Brandon’s Pick: Helge Grans, D (Positional)
Brandon Holmes: After nabbing the draft’s top prizes at 1 and 2, the Senators pick up help on the blue line in Helge Grans. Grans is a big right-shot defenseman, which is already a combo of traits that NHL teams covet, while also being a quick and mobile blueliner who loves to transition the puck. Grans is still quite raw in his decision making, but there’s sky-high long-term upside here.
Ash’s Pick: Jack Quinn, RW (Positional)
Ash Glover: Ottawa gets a chance to add a great goal scorer here in 67’s forward Jack Quinn. They need scoring talent badly, and whilst I still question his long term upside and projection, he could just be a steal at 21. Time will tell.
22. Dallas Stars
Brandon’s Pick: Rodion Amirov, LW (BPA)
Brandon Holmes: The Stars pick up what could end up being one of the steals of the draft with Rodion Amirov at 22. Amirov is a very well-refined player who facilitates play in the offensive zone well and can contribute on the scoresheet as both a goal scorer and a playmaker. He’s a smooth skater and puck handler that also has a lot of versatility in how he can fit into an NHL lineup.
Ash’s Pick: Mavrik Bourque, C/LW (BPA)
Ash Glover: Dallas is in serious danger of aging fast and falling behind in the west, Bourque can revitalize the Stars. Bourque is a gifted athlete who has a non-stop attitude. He plays and thinks at high speed, making him fun to watch. He’s super aggressive with the puck and is constantly looking for passing and shooting lanes.
23. New York Rangers (vía CAR)
Brandon’s Pick: Dylan Holloway, C/LW (BPA)
Brandon Holmes: Adding more talent up front, the Rangers pick up another Wisconsin Badger in Dylan Holloway. Holloway is a two-way forward who plays the game with a strong blend of power and speed, and while there’s room to get more creative in his offensive game, Holloway projects very nicely as a versatile NHL center.
Ash’s Pick: Ryan O’Rourke, D (Reach)
Ash Glover: The Rangers have a slew of talent on the right side of their defense, the left still has some work to do. Robertson is a nice piece, as is Miller and Jones, but none have yet to stamp their mark as a legitimate first-pairing guy. O’Rourke is young, oozes leadership and I think can bring a bit of what they lost in Ryan McDonough. Worth a shot later in the first.
24. Minnesota Wild (vía PIT)
Brandon’s Pick: Tyler Kleven, D (Reach)
Brandon Holmes: NHL teams drool over big blueliners who can defend, hit, and move reasonably well, which is exactly what Kleven is. He’s never going to top the NHL’s scoring charts, but quality NHLers in the mold of Brandon Carlo and Josh Manson are hard to come by; don’t be surprised to see Kleven go in this range of the draft.
Ash’s Pick: Braden Schneider, D (Positional)
Ash Glover: Schneider very much fits the bill in terms of what the Wild want on defense. With Suter and Spurgeon aging and Brodin a soon to be UFA, Schneider gives them a high-floor, middle pairing guy who is very well rounded and is very dependable.
25. Philadelphia Flyers
Brandon’s Pick: Brendan Brisson, C/RW (BPA)
Brandon Holmes: The Flyers pick up one of the top collegiate bound players in this year’s draft in Brendan Brisson, who’s a dangerous offensive weapon with no shortage of tools. Brisson can shoot the puck with the best of them, dish with excellent vision, and possesses great lateral agility, which makes him an elusive player while carrying the puck.
Ash’s Pick: Dylan Holloway, C (BPA)
Ash Glover: The Flyers love their big physical centres and they find another here in Holloway. They have an aging top-six and spots in the future will be up for grabs. Centre wise, Frost is a nice piece and Patrick is still a work in progress. Holloway gives them yet another chance to find a top-six pivot.
26. San Jose Sharks (vía TB)
Brandon’s Pick: Ryan O’Rourke, D (Reach)
Brandon Holmes: With an aging defense core at the NHL level, the Sharks add to the future of their blue line with O’Rourke. O’Rourke’s offensive upside isn’t as sky-high as some of his contemporaries, but he’s a mature and physical blueliner who appears destined to play NHL games.
Ash’s Pick: Zion Nybeck, RW (Positional)
Ash Glover: The Sharks need talent and asap. Nybeck is rough around the edges, but given some time will be a gem. With the uncertainty of the status of the franchise and its stars, Nybeck would be a good block to start building on (yet again).
27. Colorado Avalanche
Brandon’s Pick: Mavrik Bourque, C/LW (Positional)
Brandon Holmes: At 27 the Avalanche pick up a forward who may be considered a steal by some at this spot in Mavrik Bourque. Bourque is an intelligent and competitive forward who torched the QMJHL this season with 71 points in 49 games for Shawinigan; his speed is a slight concern for me, but his offensive smarts and puck skills more than make up for it.
Ash’s Pick: Jacob Perreault, RW/C (BPA)
Ash Glover: The Avs walk away with Perreault who could be a long term piece to the puzzle within the top-six. His heavy shot and offensive prowess would add to an already strong Colorado outfit.
28. Vegas Golden Knights
Brandon’s Pick: Emil Andrae, D (BPA)
Brandon Holmes: The Knights pick up a player who reminds some of another former Vegas selection: Erik Brännström. Andrae is an undersized defenseman who makes up for his size deficit with freakish mobility and edge work while also showing willingness to play above his size and engage physically.
Ash’s Pick: William Wallinder, D (Positional)
Ash Glover: They need an A-grade defensive prospect in the system and Wallinder would be the closest thing that they can get to it. Given the Knights have a deep roster as is, they can afford to be patient with Wallinder, something that would be needed with him.
29. Washington Capitals
Brandon’s Pick: William Wallinder, D (Positional)
Brandon Holmes: At 29th, the Capitals pick up Wallinder to help replenish their blue line for the future. In Wallinder, the Capitals are getting a big left shot Swedish defenseman whose mobility and transitional play are among the best at his position. His puck skills and offensive upside are a touch behind some of his peers, but his transitional ability leaves more than enough upside in the young Swede.
Ash’s Pick: Tyson Foerster, RW/C (Positional)
Ash Glover: With the success of drafting McMichael, the Caps will go again to the OHL, this time taking Foerster. They’ve built this team around the top-six and goaltending, finding the newest wave of offensive talent to replenish aging and regressing stars seems to be in the cards here.
30. St. Louis Blues
Brandon’s Pick: Vasily Ponomarev, C/LW (Reach)
Brandon Holmes: The offensive output wasn’t quite there for Ponomarev in the QMJHL, but the Blues make a bet here on Ponomarev’s skill set and impressive international resumé. Ponomarev boasts an impressive all-around skill set that should translate into a quality NHL center, with good skill, vision, smarts, and two-way ability as well.
Ash’s Pick: Topi Niemelä, D (Reach)
Ash Glover: St. Louis is getting older on the blue-line and potentially will see their best defensive prospect Perunovich graduate shortly to either the AHL or the big club. Niemelä is a clean, mistake-free defender who has a very translatable game.
31. Anaheim Ducks (vía BOS)
Brandon’s Pick: Justin Barron, D (Reach)
Brandon Holmes: To close out the 1st Round, the Ducks pick up help on the backend with Justin Barron, who has fallen from his preseason projection for a variety of reasons, some of which were out of his control. There’s reason to question just how high the upside is on Barron’s offensive game, but there’s enough there in his two-way ability, defensive play, and all-around smarts that could make him a 1st Round selection on draft day.
Ash’s Pick: Lukas Cormier, D (Reach)
Ash Glover: The Ducks defense lacks any real dash or carry and they get punished due to it. They struggle in exiting the zone and in transition, Cormier can help in that regard. He pushes the pace from the back and is very shifty in space, very much a team need.
32. Detroit Red Wings
Brandon’s Pick: Lukas Cormier, D (Positional)
Brandon Holmes: At the top of the 2nd Round, the Wings add to the left side of their defense with Lukas Cormier. In Cormier, the Wings get a player that can transition the puck and control gaps as good as anybody with his elite 4-way mobility and quickness.
Ash’s Pick: Marat Khusnutdinov, C (BPA)
Ash Glover: The Wings still don’t have a true 2C in the system, so they’ll chance their hand and take the high-octane, weaponized Russian. Besides his offense, he’s great at the faceoff dot and isn’t shy to engage the body.
33. Ottawa Senators
Brandon’s Pick: Lukas Reichel, C (Positional)
Brandon Holmes: The Senators add to their center depth with Lukas Reichel, who becomes the second German to be selected in this draft. Reichel is an excellent generator of high-danger chances who could develop into a good 2C behind Byfield in this scenario.
Ash’s Pick: Justin Barron, D (Reach)
Ash Glover: Ottawa has a hoard of picks, so they’ll take a chance on the once top-20 rated Barron. He’s smart, agile and has a good physical edge to his game. A very responsible defender who plays with confidence, solid upside pick.
34. San Jose Sharks
Brandon’s Pick: Marat Khusnutdinov, C (BPA)
Brandon Holmes: The Sharks pick up the best player remaining on the board in Marat Khusnutdinov – a young Russian center who plays the game with quickness and skill. Khusnutdinov has the upside of a future top 6 NHL center and could be a good fill-in behind Logan Couture in the future.
Ash’s Pick: Jérémie Poirier, D, (Positional)
Ash Glover: The Sharks need defense, although they seemingly get more so offensive again on the blue-line here. They showed the willingness to roll the dice on Merkley, I think they can do the same here.
35. Los Angeles Kings
Brandon’s Pick: Anton Johannesson, D (Positional)
Brandon Holmes: The Kings go with more mobility and skill from the backend with the selection of Johannesson, who’s a skilled offensive weapon who plays with shiftiness and flair. A bit undersized at only around 5’9”, but the young left-shot Swede can turn on a dime and create space with ease.
Ash’s Pick: Roni Hirvonen, C/W (Positional)
Ash Glover: The Kings have a hoard of centres in the system, but in Hirvonen, you get a guy who is versed at playing wing (a position of need) and plays a ferocious pace. The Kings are somewhat a slower, aging team. Adding speed and direct attackers is a MUST for the future.
36. Anaheim Ducks
Brandon’s Pick: John-Jason Peterka, RW/LW (BPA)
Brandon Holmes: The Ducks pick up the final high-powered German in this draft in Peterka, who’s a gifted goal scorer with good straight-line speed and puck skills to match. Pairing this player with one of their high-octane playmakers in Zegras or Steel would be a match made in heaven.
Ash’s Pick: Lukas Reichel, C/LW (BPA)
Ash Glover: Reichel is a stud and the Ducks are lucky to have him fall to them at #36. A scoring winger to accompany the likes of Zegras and Rossi? Delicious.
37. Nashville Predators (vía NJD)
Brandon’s Pick: Zion Nybeck, LW/RW (Positional)
Brandon Holmes: The Predators add offensive punch into their system with the player who led the Swedish SuperElit in scoring this past season with 66 points in 42 games. Nybeck is a creative and shifty player who’s capable as both a scorer and a playmaker and might remind some Preds fans of Kevin Fiala.
Ash’s Pick: Hendrix Lapierre, C/LW (Positional)
Ash Glover: Injuries aside, what a talent. I think some may be gun shy, but Nashville has nothing to lose here. They need creativity and skill, Lapierre has that in spades. He may not be a 1C in the NHL, but he may just be the best centre prospect they have if he stays healthy and develops.
38. Buffalo Sabres
Brandon’s Pick: Hendrix Lapierre, C/LW (BPA)
Brandon Holmes: Concussions derailed Lapierre’s season in the QMJHL, but make no mistake the Sabres are picking up one of the draft’s best pure playmakers at the top of the 2nd Round here. Lapierre torched the Hlinka Gretzky last summer with a combination of elite vision, crisp passing ability, and smooth puck handling skills.
Ash’s Pick: Brendan Brisson, C (Positional)
Ash Glover: Game breaking shot. Brisson adds some x-factor to the Sabres, something they need badly. They probably should go defense here, but it’s simply about gathering as much talent as possible for me.
39. Montreal Canadiens
Brandon’s Pick: Joni Jurmo, D (Reach)
Brandon Holmes: In Jurmo, the Habs get a player who has flown under the radar in some circles, but shares a lot of the attributes that people like in the blueliners ahead of him. Jurmo is a big, left-shot defenseman at 6’4” who owns excellent mobility and transitional play for a player his size.
Ash’s Pick: William Villeneuve, D (BPA)
Ash Glover: Quebec native Villeneuve gets to roll with home town crew after the Habs take him at #40. He logs heavy minutes and is one of the smarter defensemen in the class. Great passer with a sound sense for skating into dangerous areas.
40. Montreal Canadiens (vía CHI)
Brandon’s Pick: Ridley Greig, C/LW (Reach)
Brandon Holmes: After adding skill and scoring at the top of the draft for a couple of years, the Habs add some sandpaper in Greig, who’s a player that may remind some fans of Brendan Gallagher. Greig is a pesky, hard-nosed player with offensive upside and skill in tight to match.
Ash’s Pick: Thomas Bordeleau, C (Positional)
Ash Glover: The search for centres continues with Bordeleau. A wicked wrister, nimble and clean on his skates, Bordeleau fits with what the Habs want, seems like a good fit.
41. Arizona Coyotes
Brandon’s Pick: Tyson Foerster, RW (BPA)
Brandon Holmes: In the quest to add more scoring punch upfront, the Coyotes land a really good one here in Tyson Foerster. Foerster is a gifted shooter whose one-timer can rival anybody’s in this draft and is a smart and intelligent two-way player to boot.
Ash’s Pick: Sam Colangelo, RW (Positional)
Ash Glover: The Yotes need goals, Colangelo just potted 28 for the Steel. He has size too, something the Yotes middle-six needs. That blend of skill and size makes for a really solid pick.
42. Minnesota Wild
Brandon’s Pick: Sam Colangelo, RW (Positional)
Brandon Holmes: After grabbing talent at center and defense in the 1st Round, the Wild pick up help on the wing here with Colangelo. The Northeastern bound American put up 28 goals this year in the USHL, while also playing a strong and physical brand of hockey with a fair bit of skill mixed in as well.
Ash’s Pick: Veeti Miettinen, RW (BPA)
Ash Glover: The Wild still need playmakers (don’t they ever). Adding Miettinen to the fold gives them a real 200-foot threat down the road. He’s a fantastic reader of the play and often skates himself into positions that will see him be able to either impact plays or find a soft spot in order to score.
43. Winnipeg Jets
Brandon’s Pick: Roni Hirvonen, C (Positional)
Brandon Holmes: The Jets add some much-needed depth at center with the addition of Roni Hirvonen, a playmaking center who already has a full season of pro hockey under his belt in the Finnish Liiga. Hirvonen is a bit undersized at around 5’9”, but his vision and smarts project him optimistically as a future 2nd line center.
Ash’s Pick: Michael Benning, D (Reach)
Ash Glover: The Jets need D, Benning has good hockey sense and in all three zones is rarely out of position and tracks the puck well. He’s a technically sound skater with great posture. He could be the kind of game-changer they need.
44. Carolina Hurricanes (via NYR)
Brandon’s Pick: Jérémie Poirier, D (Positional)
Brandon Holmes: The Hurricanes add some pure offensive punch to their blue line with the addition of Poirier. Poirier has his warts on the defensive side of the puck, but his offensive upside is sky high with nearly unmatched skill and offensive instincts at his position.
Ash’s Pick: Joni Jurmo, D (Reach)
Ash Glover: Jurmo is a big mobile defenseman who excels in pushing the puck up ice. He’s 6’4″ and skates effortlessly through all three zones. He’s most effective when he is in possession of the puck exiting his zone looking to create. Carolina wants to push the pace, Jurmo is that kinda guy.
45. Florida Panthers
Brandon’s Pick: Ozzy Wiesblatt, RW/C (BPA)
Brandon Holmes: The Panthers replenish center depth with the addition of Ozzy Wiesblatt in Round 2. Wiesblatt is an agile and shifty play facilitator who is also entirely unafraid of engaging physically and fighting his own battles; surely a player that Tallon, Quenneville, and Co. would fall in love with.
Ash’s Pick: Vasily Ponomarev, C (Positional)
Ash Glover: They can’t seem to hit on a centre to save themselves of late, Ponomarev is the next guy they’ll hope can be ‘the guy’. Love his relentless attitude, skill, and strength, just want to see some more consistency.
46. Ottawa Senators (vía CBJ)
Brandon’s Pick: Kasper Simontaival, RW (BPA)
Brandon Holmes: The Senators add to their pool of skilled, offensive-minded forwards with the selection of Simontaival. The foot speed is a general concern for a player his size, but Simontaival was able to have a massive season in Finland’s junior ranks with his puck skills and whippy shot leading the way to 57 points in 48 games for Tappara U20.
Ash’s Pick: Jake Neighbours, LW (BPA)
Ash Glover: Very balanced and complete, Neighbours is a hybrid type forward who can play a multitude of roles and is a total puck hound. Ottawa like high energy forwards who compete, chalk this one up.
47. Calgary Flames
Brandon’s Pick: Topi Niemelä, D (BPA)
Brandon Holmes: The Flames grab help on the right side of their blue line with Niemelä, who may lack massive upside in his offensive ability but is well-refined for his age on the defensive side of the puck and is able to control his gaps well with his smooth skating ability.
Ash’s Pick: John-Jason Peterka, LW (BPA)
Ash Glover: Fast and feisty, Peterka held his own in the DEL this season. The winger showcased several times the pure flash that gives him the ability to push a defense back and create off the rush. When streaming down the wings with space, he’s lethal. Calgary lacks real potent depth, Peterka is a good fit for my liking.
48. Los Angeles Kings (vía VAN)
Brandon’s Pick: Alexander Nikishin, D (BPA)
Brandon Holmes: The Kings add yet another piece to their blueline in the raw but exciting Alexander Nikishin. Nikishin is an unpolished defender who will require time and patience but brings a very exciting tool kit with tons of physicality, puck skills, and above-average skating ability.
Ash’s Pick: Anton Johannesson, D (Reach)
Ash Glover: LA gets some more speed here on the back-end adding nifty d-man Johannesson. He’s a fantastic skater with lovely edgework and has no problems carrying the puck end-to-end and has a good shot. The work needed is in his own end and in the gym. Very much 2020’s Anttoni Honka.
49. Nashville Predators
Brandon’s Pick: William Villeneuve, D (Positional)
Brandon Holmes: The Predators add a piece for the right side of their blue with William Villeneuve, who’s a puck-moving defenseman who plays the game with good efficiency on the offensive side of the puck and often shows strong edgework on his skates.
Ash’s Pick: Emil Viro, D (Reach)
Ash Glover: Dependable two-way defenseman who is Jack of all trades, master of none. But that’s very much in an Ekholm type mold no? Fantastic defensive anticipation skills and an underrated passer. Safe(ish) bet to be an NHLer at some point.
50. Toronto Maple Leafs
Brandon’s Pick: Michael Benning, D (Positional)
Brandon Holmes: The Leafs pick up a much-needed right-shot defenseman in their pool in Michael Benning, the player who led all Junior A defensemen in scoring with 75 points in 54 games. Benning is an efficient and intelligent defenseman with the puck on his stick and is able to make an offensive impact by making the right and smart plays in the offensive zone.
Ash’s Pick: Martin Chromiak, LW (Positional)
Ash Glover: Seems almost too good to be true here. Chromiak for me is a very sound player who has yet to reveal his true upside. The Leafs have a raft of good wingers in the farm, Chromiak, if all pans out, could be a great one.
51. Detroit Red Wings (vía EDM)
Brandon’s Pick: Tristen Robins, C/RW (Positional)
Brandon Holmes: The Red Wings add more forward talent with the selection of Tristen Robins, an intelligent two-way centerman who shouldered the offensive load this season for Saskatoon with 33 goals and 73 points in 62 games. His straight-line speed and snappy shot should complement Detroit’s growing forward group very nicely.
Ash’s Pick: Joel Blomqvist, G (Positional)
Ash Glover: Real chance here to find a future #1 goalie. He’s technically sound and tracks the puck well. Has solid lateral movements and has good rebound control. Can be prone to some mental errors, but makes up for it with the odd spectacular highlight-reel save.
52. Ottawa Senators (vía NYI)
Brandon’s Pick: Nico Daws, G (Reach)
Brandon Holmes: The Senators pick up the OHL’s top goaltender in search of their next long term starter with the selection Nico Daws. The double overage netminder posted a stingy .924 save percentage in 38 appearances and has pro size at 6’4”.
Ash’s Pick: Brock Faber, D (Reach)
Ash Glover: One of the smoothest skating defenders in the class, Faber blends great senses with athleticism. Has the potential to be a transition monster. Ottawa reaches and grabs a guy I think might be a great upside pick.
53. Ottawa Senators (vía DAL)
Brandon’s Pick: Mitchell Miller (Positional)
Brandon Holmes: The Sens add another bullet into the chamber of their blueline with the addition of Miller, who’s a strong puck rushing defenseman bound to play at the University of North Dakota with fellow Senators Jacob Bernard-Docker and Shane Pinto.
Ash’s Pick: Drew Commesso, G (Positional)
Ash Glover: Super athletic and confident, Commesso doesn’t get enough credit. He’s the best puck-handler of all the netminders and I believe the most composed. Could easily be the second goalie taken.
54. Carolina Hurricanes
Brandon’s Pick: Sean Farrell, C/LW (Positional)
Brandon Holmes: The Hurricanes add a talented and productive playmaking forward in Sean Farrell, who’s a slippery and skilled player capable of manning both the left wing and center positions. His vision and agility are top-notch, allowing him to create space and set up chances for his linemates.
Ash’s Pick: Daniil Gushchin, RW (BPA)
Ash Glover: Gushchin has been an elite scorer in every league he’s played in at all ages (including international level). Gushchin is a constant worker who isn’t selfish and is always looking to make the right play, either by shooting or finding the correct passing option; great motor on this kid.
55. Chicago Blackhawks (via PIT)
Brandon’s Pick: Brock Faber, D (Reach)
Brandon Holmes: Faber became one of the USNTDP’s top puck-moving defensemen throughout the course of the season, and in turn, has earned some consideration as a potential Top 62 pick. The offensive skill and upside aren’t as high as some of his peers, but Faber is fantastic at transitioning the puck out of his zone and into the opponent’s zone, which is something the Blackhawks sorely need on their defense.
Ash’s Pick: Carter Savoie, LW (Positional)
Ash Glover: Savoie has great offensive awareness and finds good scoring areas with regularity. He’s more suited and plays better when he’s entering the zone in possession. The concerns with Savoie are severe. He can be totally at sea without the puck and gets totally disinterested if the play doesn’t go his way. If the Hawks can be patient, he may become a valuable game-changer down the track.
56. Philadelphia Flyers
Brandon’s Pick: Eamon Powell, D (Reach)
Brandon Holmes: The Flyers add Eamon Powell to their blueline, who’s a capable and efficient two-way defenseman who plays a mistake-free brand of hockey. Some may refer to him as a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none type player, but Powell owns all-situations upside with the intelligent and efficient style of play he has.
Ash’s Pick: Ozzy Wiesblatt, RW/C (BPA)
Ash Glover: Whilst he may not boast major hockey IQ, he’s a pest on the ice and always around the puck looking to generate offense. He’s fantastic in transition and uses deft direction and speed changes in order to navigate through the neutral zone in order to create. Tiny vibes of Travis Konecny in him.
57. Tampa Bay Lightning
Brandon’s Pick: Martin Chromiak, LW (Positional)
Brandon Holmes: Near the end of the 2nd Round, the Bolts add a Slovak winger who imported to the CHL after being a top international player for a number of years – sound familiar? Chromiak is a gifted all-around player who can impact the game in a number of ways, primarily using his offensive smarts, straight-line speed, and strong shot to contribute offensively.
Ash’s Pick: Tristen Robins, C (Positional)
Ash Glover: They hit pay-dirt with Point from the W, can they do it again with Robins? Offensively Robins is an aggressive attacker with good vision and skates into holes well with or without the puck. He’s got great stickhandling skills and his short but whippy release catches you out. Could very well be the new Tyler Johnson gadget guy.
58. San Jose Sharks (vía COL)
Brandon’s Pick: Jake Neighbours, LW (Positional)
Brandon Holmes: The Sharks pick up Jake Neighbours with their final 2nd Round pick, adding a workmanlike, blue-collar forward with excellent foot speed and mobility. Neighbours is unafraid to engage on the forecheck and pressure defenders to create turnovers and has the high-end speed and mobility to create on the rush.
Ash’s Pick: Kasper Simontaival, RW (Positional)
Ash Glover: A fast-offense first winger, Simontaival boasts a great shot and deft touch in attack. He’s always aiming to skate into holes, with or without the puck. Not the biggest player, but makes up for it by getting involved by displaying an active stick and digging for pucks.
59. Los Angeles Kings (vía VGK)
Brandon’s Pick: Daniil Gushchin, RW (BPA)
Brandon Holmes: The Kings take the best player remaining on the board with Daniil Gushchin, a shifty and elusive Russian play driver who is able to create offensive opportunities with his skill and vision. In addition to strong playmaking ability, Gushchin also owns a quick and whippy shot and is more than capable as a goal scorer.
Ash’s Pick: Theodor Niederbach, C (BPA)
Ash Glover: He’s brilliant passing off the shot and uses fakes and deceptive body movements well to disguise so. He isn’t overly fast or boasts high-end puck skills, Niederbach just does things very well. He has a high IQ and his poise shows a young man with a cool, no-panic approach to his craft. The Kings simply keep adding talent, Niederbach is a beauty.
60. Detroit Red Wings (vía WSH)
Brandon’s Pick: Jean-Luc Foudy, C (Positional)
Brandon Holmes: The Red Wings add arguably the best skater in the draft class in Jean-Luc Foudy. Foudy possesses blazing speed and can turn defenders with regularity; some question the smarts and creativity, but Foudy is also a good passer who filters pucks to high-danger areas on the ice.
Ash’s Pick: Ty Tullio, C/RW (Positional)
Ash Glover: Has got a very quick release with deceptive weight behind his shot. Tullio has solid play-making abilities and shows poise on the puck and makes good decisions. He blends good shooting, play-making ability and compete into a solid two-way package. Detroit could use a guy like Tullio.
61. Montreal Canadiens (vía STL)
Brandon’s Pick: Thomas Bordeleau, C/LW (BPA)
Brandon Holmes: The Habs bag the best player available at this spot and go with the elusive American in Thomas Bordeleau, who led the USNTDP in scoring this past season with 46 points in 47 games. He’s a quick and creative player who loves to generate offensive opportunities for his linemates.
Ash’s Pick: Roby Järventie, LW (Positional)
Ash Glover: Järventie can either drive you to the net with his big 6’2″ frame or cut inside and dangle his way into the slot and score. Järventie has solid puck control and is extremely balanced on his skates. The Habs search for goals continues here with pick #61.
62. Boston Bruins
Brandon’s Pick: Thimo Nickl, D (Reach)
Brandon Holmes: Bruins GM Don Sweeney has said before, “You can never have too many defensemen,” and though Nickl may be considered a reach by some, this writer thinks the B’s get a good one here at the end of Round 2. Nickl is a coveted 6’3”, right-shot defenseman whose best asset is his 4-way mobility and strong transitional ability from the backend.
Ash’s Pick: Eamon Powell, D (Positional)
Ash Glover: Offensively, Powell has a niche at being able to jump into holes when trailing the play and finding space in which to get a shot off. He’s poised running the point and is good at finding both open passing and shooting lanes. In his own end, Powell is confident in jumping passes and closing gaps in order to create turnovers. He is calm under pressure in his own zone and rarely makes a panicked decision. A lesser man’s Charlie McAvoy.