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With the recent release of our updated midseason draft rankings at McKeen’s Hockey, we are celebrating with everyone’s favourite draft related reading material; a mock draft. For this mock draft, a random generator determined the three lottery winners and the standings utilized were as of Saturday, January 18.

Round 1

  1. Los Angeles Kings - Alexis Lafrenière
  • The Los Angeles Kings win the lottery and the right to select Alexis Lafrenière, scoring star for Rimouski of the QMJHL and the reigning CHL Player of the Year, in addition to the IIHF World Juniors MVP. An already loaded farm system gets that much better. The Kings get an immediate impact player who can help turn the franchise around. The dynamic left winger is one part power, two parts skill. He plays the game hard and is extremely physical in pursuit of the puck. However, he possesses elite hands and is equal parts playmaker and goal scorer. It will be great for the NHL to get a marketable young player back in LA and is sure to bring out the conspiracy theorists should the Kings truly win the lottery.
  1. Ottawa Senators - Quinton Byfield
  • While some are down on his game right now after a poor showing at the World Junior Championships and the CHL Top Prospect’s Game, Byfield remains a near unanimous second overall selection because of his size and skill package from the middle of the ice. He gives the Ottawa Senators a potential game breaker to build around, whose skill set as a playmaker that can dominate down low, should compliment someone like Brady Tkachuk extremely well.
  1. Detroit Red Wings - Tim Stützle
  • What a great story it would be if the Red Wings ended up drafting Tim Stützle, a year after taking countryman Moritz Seider. The German hockey revival would be alive and well in Motown. Stützle has been one of the draft’s biggest risers throughout the first half of the year thanks to his exceptional play in the DEL this year and at the World Junior Championships. He is as creative a player with the puck as you will find in this draft and injects a high level of skill into a Detroit lineup that is badly in need of it.
  1. New Jersey Devils - Lucas Raymond
  • Raymond is a dynamic, quick strike offensive player who would fit in well on the wing of either Jack Hughes or Nico Hischier moving forward. Having drafted in the top five, three of the last four drafts, the Devils hope that their rebuild can finally take some steps forward. While you never draft completely according to need, it is convenient for the Devils that a high quality, skilled winger falls into their lap as it satisfies the organization’s biggest need.
  1. Anaheim Ducks - Jamie Drysdale
  • There is no question that Ducks’ management remembers the Scott Niedermayer led glory years and understands the influence that an outstanding skating defender can have on a lineup. Additionally, Drysdale is a right shot defender who could complement the Ducks’ young left shot defenders in Hampus Lindholm and Jacob Larsson. The Erie Otters blueliner is a potential top pairing defender who can play in all situations and eat up a ton of minutes for Anaheim moving forward.
  1. Ottawa Senators (from San Jose) - Marco Rossi
  • While it does seem slightly odd to see the Senators use both of their top six selections on centers, at the end of the day you have to take the players that you think will have the biggest impact. This draft could go a long way to shoring up Ottawa’s center depth for the next 10 years. Rossi is a terrific playmaker who plays the game a lot bigger than his lack of size would suggest. His compete level is very high, and he excels in traffic, rather than shy away from it. He is also an intelligent two-way player who could really help Ottawa moving forward. Rossi would be the first 67 that the Senators have drafted since Cody Ceci in 2012.
  1. Minnesota Wild - Cole Perfetti
  • Perfetti definitely is not the type of player that the Minnesota Wild have been drafting in recent years. And they could be tempted to jump on one of the centers available (Lundell, Holloway, Mercer), especially if they believe Perfetti to be more of a natural fit on the wing. However, his hockey sense, skill level, and playmaking ability are things that this organization is badly lacking at the current moment. While his skating will need to improve, he projects as an offensive game breaker who could help the Wild in a big way moving forward.
  1. Montreal Canadiens - Alexander Holtz
  • Look, I know that the Canadiens just drafted Cole Caufield last year, a talented goal scorer who has a similar skill set to Holtz. However, most times you just have to take the best player available and, in this situation, most would agree that Holtz is the best player available. The skilled winger gives a strong Montreal farm system even more of a jolt. Would it be so bad to have two dynamic goal scorers spread out across their top two lines in the future? Under Marc Bergevin, this type of scoring depth is what has held Montreal back from being a consistent playoff team.
  1. Nashville Predators - Anton Lundell
  • Let me preface this selection with a fact; the Nashville Predators have never used a first-round selection on a player out of Finland (Eeli Tolvanen was drafted out of the USHL). So, while this pick may seem slightly farfetched, it is logical. Not only is Lundell the best player available at this point in the draft, but he gives the organization a strong center to build around (if Phil Tomasino ends up as a winger at the pro level). The late 2001 born Lundell missed the WJC’s with an injury but has played very well in Liiga action and is a strong two-way playmaker with untapped offensive upside.
  1. Chicago Blackhawks - Yaroslav Askarov
  • Even with a disappointing WJC appearance behind him, Yaroslav Askarov appears to be trending towards becoming the first goalie taken in the Top 10 since Carey Price (5th overall in 2005). Robin Lehner has been a great signing for Chicago, but neither he, nor Corey Crawford are the long-term solutions for the Blackhawks in net. The team has not drafted goaltenders well in recent years and the lack of depth moving forward is concerning. Askarov has the size and athleticism combination that has many calling him a future Vezina winner.
  1. New York Rangers - Dylan Holloway
  • While his freshman year at Wisconsin has not exactly been eye popping from a production standpoint, it is important to remember that Holloway is playing on a young Badgers team, in a strong Conference. He plays a very pro ready kind of game, built around speed, physicality, and his high IQ. With Lias Andersson looking to leave the organization, insert Holloway as the team’s future #2 center (assuming you believe that he is a center and not a winger long term) who can play in all situations and help to open up space for more skilled young players like Kaapo Kaako, Vitali Kravtsov, and Filip Chytil. It also helps that the Rangers will be extremely familiar with Holloway, having kept a close eye on K’Andre Miller this season.
  1. Buffalo Sabres - Dawson Mercer
  • Even if you view Mercer as a winger long term, this would still be a great selection for the Buffalo Sabres as they look to continue to build out around Jack Eichel. Mercer plays a lot bigger than his 6’0 frame, excelling below the hash marks and around the crease. Equal parts playmaker and goal scorer, he looks to have the makings of a strong complementary piece on a scoring line. Buffalo has not drafted a player out of the QMJHL since 2014, but Mercer would be the right choice here.
  1. Winnipeg Jets - Connor Zary
  • A late 2001-born center, Zary is in the midst of a tremendous WHL season that has him competing for the scoring title. The strong two-way center would be an ideal fit in a Winnipeg system that could use a talented playmaking pivot to help offset the aging of Blake Wheeler and Bryan Little. This is not just a selection based on need, however, as Zary is a legitimate candidate to go in this range and represents one of the few players outside of the top 10 who is likely to stick down the middle.
  1. Edmonton Oilers - Noel Gunler
  • Gunler is a goal scoring winger who has a cloud of mystique surrounding him due to the fact that his country (Sweden) continues to leave him off of International rosters (Hlinka, U18, U20). The NHL combine will definitely be important for him to explain his side of the story. However, he remains ranked in this range and seems like a great target for the Oilers because of his ability to find open space. Armed with an elite shot, he could finally be the answer to the question of, “is there someone out there we can pair with Connor McDavid?”
  1. Florida Panthers - Kaiden Guhle
  • Big, physical blueliner who was a standout at the Top Prospect’s Game recently. Florida, having not drafted a defender in the first round since Aaron Eklbad in 2014, could use someone like Guhle in the system. A strong left-handed shot, he could complement the likes of right shot defenders Ekblad and Mackenzie Weegar. He is the complete package who skates well, can play in all situations, and can lead the exit out of his own end.
  1. Vegas Golden Knights - Jack Quinn
  • Quinn has been rocketing up draft lists in recent months because of his scoring surge with one of the top teams in the CHL, the Ottawa 67s. A late 2001-born, Quinn has improved significantly this year thanks to gains in his skating and strength on the puck. While his ticket to the league may be his shot and scoring ability, Quinn is an underrated two-way player who competes hard and would fit in well with the dynamic the Golden Knights have created on the ice.
  1. Philadelphia Flyers - Braden Schneider
  • Another standout at the recent Top Prospect’s Game, Schneider is heavy WHL defender who could have fit in well with several renditions of the Flyers over the years. And while the team has drafted several defenders high in recent years (Cam York, Ivan Provorov, Travis Sanheim), all are left shots. If the Flyers feel that Schneider is the best player available, why not use this selection on him as he represents a slightly different style of defender than what they already have, and his right shot will be valuable to them in the future. Additionally, the last defender the Flyers took out of Brandon (Provorov) turned out alright.
  1. Tampa Bay Lightning (from Vancouver) - Jake Sanderson
  • The son of former NHL forward Geoff Sanderson, Jake is a raw defender who projects as the top selection from the U.S. Development program this year. A solid skater like his father, Jake combines good size with intriguing upside at both ends. After taking more “safe” players in recent drafts, Tampa Bay can afford to take a shot on this University North Dakota commit who may require patience, but who could develop into a topflight defenseman in the future.
  1. Columbus Blue Jackets - Rodion Amirov
  • The Blue Jackets have not shied away from taking Russian players in recent years and Amirov is the top ranked Russian skater for the draft. The strong skating winger projects as a top six forward who is probably not very far from making an impact in North America. A late 2001-born, Amirov has already spent most of this year in the KHL and gives Columbus a higher upside winger to help restock their prospect cupboard.
  1. New Jersey Devils - William Wallinder
  • The selection acquired in the Taylor Hall deal, which the Devils use to take a very raw, but potential impact offensive blueliner in William Wallinder. With a high selection already coming their way via their own pick, the Devils can afford to take a swing for the fences with this second first rounder. At 6’4, his mobility is an asset and his offensive skill set flashes a very high upside. Defensively, he is a work in progress, so patience will be required. However, New Jersey can afford to take a chance like this with more pro ready young defenders such as Ty Smith and Kevin Bahl already in the system.
    21.Calgary Flames - Brendan Brisson
  • The Flames select Brendan Brisson, son of high profiled agent Pat Brisson. The 5’11 center was the leading scorer at the recent World Junior A Challenge and is an impact player every night in the USHL with powerhouse Chicago. A University of Michigan commit, Brisson combines smooth skating with a great IQ, which makes him someone who can play the game at any pace. While he is not yet universally considered a first round selection, he is certainly trending in that direction.
  1. Carolina Hurricanes (from Toronto) - Jacob Perreault
  • With the first of two likely mid/late round first round selections (at this point in the season, they are back to back), the Hurricanes take Sarnia Sting winger Jacob Perreault. While the dynamic 5’11 forward does need to clean up his play with the puck and limit turnovers, he is a top notch facilitator because of his speed and creativity with the puck. The Hurricanes would also be very familiar with Perreault, the son of former NHL’er Yanic, as they continue to monitor the play of high 2019 selection Jamieson Rees.
  1. Carolina Hurricanes - Ryan O’Rourke
  • Second of back to back selections for the Hurricanes sees them taking another OHL player (something that they have not been shying away from lately). This time it is Soo Greyhounds defender Ryan O’Rourke, who is a hardnosed throwback that will remind Hurricanes fans of the Aaron Ward years. He already wears the ‘C’ in Sault Ste. Marie, blocks shots, plays the body, and has improved his skating in recent years. O’Rourke has also improved his play with the puck to allow him to make more of an impact offensively. It is this two-way potential on top of other intangibles that makes him an attractive first round option.
  1. Dallas Stars - Ty Smilanic
  • Smilanic becomes the second USDP player to get selected in the first round, after the Dallas Stars choose him. He is a highly competitive, energy forward who skates very well and shows raw potential as a goal scorer. The Quinnipiac commit will likely need to have a strong U18 performance in order to stay in first round consideration, but is definitely in that mix right now. He could be a future fixture alongside someone like Ty Dellandrea, as part of a hard working scoring or checking line.
  1. Colorado Avalanche - John-Jason Peterka
  • The Colorado Avalanche make John-Jason Peterka the second German to go in the first round. He has been solid in the DEL this year, and like Stutzle, was an impact player as a draft eligible player at the WJC’s. A talented goal scorer, Peterka not only possesses a lot of potential to be a top 6 forward at the NHL level, he also fits in well with the Avalanche’s terrific young forward group, giving them a potential high-end goal scoring forward that they are missing.
  1. New York Islanders - Hendrix Lapierre
  • Lapierre remains one of the draft’s biggest wild cards right now. Coming into the year, he was thought to be a surefire top 10 selection, but injuries and mediocre play have him falling on a lot of lists. His skill level is undeniable. He is one of the more creative playmakers in this draft class. But his skating is a question mark. The New York Islanders have never shied away from taking players who appear to be falling in the draft, and Lapierre gives them another talented playmaking center to compliment the likes of Bellows and Wahlstrom.
  1. Tampa Bay Lightning - Ozzy Wiesblatt
  • After taking a higher risk defender with their higher selection in Jake Sanderson, the Lightning grab a safer WHL forward in Ozzy Wiesblatt with their second. He fits right in with the Foote boys, who were Tampa’s last two first round selections. He is having a terrific draft year with the Prince Albert Raiders and profiles as a strong and physical two-way, middle six forward. With how well Anthony Cirelli is playing right now for the big club, they may see Wiesblatt as a possible winger for him in the future.
  1. Pittsburgh Penguins - Justin Barron
  • Look, if Justin Barron did not have bad luck with a blood clot this year, we likely are not talking about him as a borderline first round selection. He came into the year as potentially the first defender off the board, but some bad luck has him pushed down many lists. He has size, mobility, and the potential to develop into a quality two-way, top 3 defender. He is also a late 2001 and should move quickly through the Penguins weak system. Pittsburgh has a similar young defender in John Marino helping them massively this year and jump at the chance to see if they can add another right handed clone.
  1. Boston Bruins - Jan Mysak
  • Mysak is definitely a player still shrouded with some level of mystery. His recent move to Hamilton of the OHL should help to clarify some questions; specifically how dynamic is his skating and can he play down the middle? However, the Czech forward has shown flashes of a high skill level at the International level and appears to possess a fair amount of upside as a top 6 player. The Bruins could use a player like Mysak in the system; someone with creativity and a high skill level.
  1. St. Louis Blues - Jérémie Poirier
  • While some question Poirier’s ability to defend, few question his ability to generate offense from the back-end. He is a high level skater who can create in transition, or while running the point on the powerplay. He is adequately sized, but scouts do wonder if he’ll be able to defend at the next level. St. Louis does have Scott Perunovich waiting in the wings as an offensive defender, but the high end potential of Poirier is too much to pass up on for the Blues, who are drafting late.
  1. Washington Capitals - Lukas Reichel
  • Three Germans in the first round? As amazing as this concept is, it is actually not far fetched at all. Like Stutzle and Peterka, Reichel is experiencing a lot of success in the DEL and was solid at the WJC’s. The nephew of former NHL’er Robert Reichel, Lukas may not be the flashiest player available, but his combination of hockey sense, skating ability, and finishing ability make him a potential middle six forward. This is a good fit for the Washington Capitals. Plus, who wouldn’t want to see another German following in Olaf Kolzig’s shoes with the Capitals?

BONUS - Round 2 (the first five selections)

  1. Detroit Red Wings - Emil Andrae
  • The Red Wings use the first pick of the second round on Swedish defender Emil Andrae, an undersized offensive blueliner and powerplay QB. He possesses a high upside, something that every rebuilding team should be striving to add to their organization.
  1. Ottawa Senators - Sean Farrell
  • An undersized skilled player, Farrell has had a breakout season after playing more of a depth role with that talented U.S. Under 18 team last year. A late 2001, he has not only starred with Chicago of the USHL (where he is among the league’s leading scorers), but was among the better players at the World Junior A Challenge. The Harvard commit is going to be very alluring to anyone drafting in this range.
  1. Los Angeles Kings - Michael Benning
  • The LA Kings system is stacked, however one thing that they might be missing is an elite offensive defender. Insert them taking a chance on Denver commit Michael Benning, who is destroying the AJHL in a similar way to Cale Makar. This is higher than many scouting agencies have Benning right now (including us), but NHL teams love taking a chance on high upside players like Benning in the first half of the second round
  1. Nashville Predators (from New Jersey) - Carter Savoie
  • While his brother Matthew is drawing all the attention, Carter is a strong prospect himself. Would be great to see Savoie and Benning go back to back as teammates with Sherwood Park of the AJHL. Savoie is a potential high impact winger who could pay big dividends for the Predators after a few years at Denver.
  1. Anaheim Ducks - Kasper Simontaival
  • Kasper Simontaival is an undersized playmaker who was once thought to be a surefire first round pick, but now appears to be trending more toward the second round. Playing out of the Tappara program, he showcases great hands and creativity and would be a nice addition to Anaheim’s already solid group of skilled forwards.