Any thoughts/criticism is welcome! 1. Edmonton Oilers - C Ryan Nugent Hopkins (Red Deer - WHL) Don't agree with the pick, but it's the worst kept secret in the league. RNH is the worst #1 overall picks since Erik Johnson, and Oilers are drafting him because of need (which is wrong) and because of hype and marketability. RNH and Taylor Hall will make a very good combo, and even if RNH isn’t going to be a great even-strength forward, they will make a deadly PP with Eberle and Whitney and Paajarvi. 2. Colorado Avalanche – D Adam Larsson (Skelleftea - SEL) Colorado could use a winger, but getting the BPA is what they should do. A pairing of Adam Larsson and Erik Johnson will be both mobile and intimidating for the opposition. Adam Larsson should go 1st overall, but alas the Avs will be glad to take him here. They can get a good forward with their next pick at #11, so get the franchise D right now. 3. Florida Panthers – LW Jonathan Huberdeau (Saint John – QMJHL) They may trade this pick, but assuming they don’t, Florida really just needs skill, plain and simple. Huberdeau might not fit the Tallon philosophy of big and strong players, but he has skill up the arse and that’s what the pathetic Panthers need. They have plenty of two-way prospect s in the system, now they get a game-breaker. Biggest riser in the draft, he won’t get past the Panthers IMO. Although he is a silled player, he isn’t too bad in his own zone either, and he’s a future leader. 4. New Jersey Devils – D Ryan Murphy (Kitchener – OHL) This pick was very tough. On the one hand, it’s hard to pass on Couturier or Landeskog, but the Devils aren’t your typical bottom feeder as they do have a lot of good assets on the team. They have a glaring need at D, particularly an offensive, puck-moving d-man, so I think they take Murphy, let him develop properly, and hope he can become their 2010’s version of Scotty Niedermayer. They can afford to wait as their forward group is already pretty solid and will surely allow them to make the playoffs next year. 5. New York Islanders – C Sean Couturier ( Drummondvile – QMJHL) This pick is simple for me. Couturier, even though he scores at a ridiculous pace, does not project as an offensive superstar. But on the Isles, he doesn’t need to, as they already have one in John Tavares. A Tavares-Couturier 1-2 punch will be great for the Isles, comparable to a Crosby-Jordan Staal type combo. One line will have the superstar, and one line will have the defensively aware, Toews type player. The opposition will have to decide who to cover the most, and this will give Couturier more offensive chances. I’m not sure if he can be a true #1 centre in the NHL, so this situation would be ideal for him. I didn’t pic Landeskog for the Isles simply because they have good wingers already, and because I do not remember the last time they picked a Swede, or even had a Swede on their roster. 6. Ottawa Senators – LW Gabriel Landeskog (Kitchener – OHL) The Senators will probably try to trade up to get him as they will be afraid they won’t get him here ,but in this mock, the Sens get their man. Landeskog will step right in next year and is the perfect banger-winger for Jason Spezza. A future captain once Alfie retires, Landeskog defines the term “perfect fit” for the Sens. He has character, toughness, skill, size, and strength. A fan favourite for sure. He falls to 6 simply because others ahead of him have more offensive potential (in the eyes of the teams ahead of Ottawa). 7. Winnipeg Walleye – C Ryan Strome (Niagara – OHL) Winnipeg currently has no GM or management in place, so they just take the BPA based on his stats and because he is Canadian. I think it is a great pick though, he could one day be Winnipeg’s #1 centre. They should have kept Dudley around because they have actually been scouting players unlike the supposed new GM coming in. They may screw Strome up by rushing him into the league next year since he is their first ever pick in the franchise’s history. 8. Columbus Blue Jackets – D Oscar Klefbom (Farjestads – SEL) Columbus can use Klefbom’s skill from the back-end, which may be the most elite in this draft after Ryan Murphy. Dougie Hamilton is another option, but I feel he is more defensively aware then he is offensive minded. Klefbom would be a great on a future PP with the forwards Columbus has, and he has a rocket of a shot. This may be a slight reach, but Columbus doesn’t shy away from Swedes and they have a glaring need (both for now and in the future) on their back-end. I think Klefbom is also a good fit for Columbus because of his personality. That team really needs a fan favourite other than Nash, and he would become one, in my opinion. The team needs some flash and some personality. 9. Boston Bruins (from Toronto Maple Leafs) – C/LW Mika Zibanejad (Djurgarden –SEL) The Bruins can go either way with this pick. They obviously don’t need a guy to come in right away, but I think they lack a true “elite” prospect (Seguin excluded) at centre, and I think Zibanejad fits the mold of the team’s current philosophy. He can score, he can hit, and he has smarts and patience with the puck. If not Zibby, they can go with Duncan Siemens or Dougie Hamilton. 10. Minnesota Wild – LW Joel Armia (Assat - SM-liiga) The Wild need skill, skill, and more skill. They have nothing after Koivu, Havlat, and Granlund. Armia will come into the league in a year or two and play with fellow countrymen Koivu and Granlund, forming a Finnesse line if you will. He is a very talented player and based on the Wild’s previous Finnish picks, I can’t see them passing on him 11. Colorado Avalanche – LW Sven Bartschi (Portland – WHL) The Avs grab Larsson with their first pick, and now they add a little flair to their forward corps with Sven Bartschi. One of the most skilled forwards in the WHL, Bartschi should make a good linemate for Matt Duchene or Paul Statsny in the near future. I really don’t see any other option for the Avs at this pick, as Bartschi is the best winger available, and they have a pretty big need for skill on the wings, even though I am not always a proponent of drafting based on need. 12. Carolina Hurricanes – D Dougie Hamilton (Niagara – OHL) Even though Jim Rutherford doesn’t take d-men (last d-man picked in first round was Jack Johnson back in ’05), I think the Canes bite the bullet and take Dougie Hamilton here, who has fallen (silimar to Cam Fowler last year). Hamilton is a safe pick and he can become a steady presence in the Canes’ Top 4 of the future. He would look good playing with a more offense Jamie McBain – they would make a Keith-Seabrook type tandem. 13. Calgary Flames – D Duncan Siemens (Saskatoon – WHL) The Flames really need help at all positions (in terms of prospects) now that their #1 prospect Tim Erixon was traded to the Rangers. I was going to pick Mark McNeill for them, but we will go with a fellow WHL player, the imposing figure Duncan Siemens. The Flames will hope Duncan can become a Dion Phaneuf –lite, hitting everything that moves and proving some nice poise and decision making with the puck. He could be their next franchise defenceman. 14. Dallas Stars – C Zack Phillips (Saint John – QMJHL) The Stars could use a defensive minded D-man to play with Goligoski down the road ( to allow Gogo to be a rover and play to his skillset) but they could also use a playmaking centre to replace the loss of Brad Richards. Phillips fits the mold of a Richards, as he is a playmaking centre from the Q who played with a top 5 pick (Huberdeau) just like Richards played with Lecavalier in Rimouski. Phillips will be a nice addition to a forward corps with Loui Eriksson, Jamie Benn, and Scott Glennie. 15. New York Rangers – D Nathan Beaulieu (Saint John – QMJHL) The Rangers might not want to grab a d-man since they have Staal, Girardi, Gilroy, Michael Del Zotto, and now Tim Erixon, but I feel they would grab Beaulieu simply because they lack a true great puck-mover from the back end. MDZ is a PMD, don’t get me wrong, but he is in Torts’ doghouse more often than not and he appears to be a defensive liability. With Beaulieu, they would be getting a very good puck-mover who is also a winner and pretty decent defensively. If MDZ improves and becomes a good PMD, well then the Rangers will have two options to move the puck from the back end. 16. Buffalo Sabres – D Jamieson Oleksiak (Northwestern – NCAA) The Sabres have pretty decent forward prospects and pretty damn good current forwards, so I think they go D with their first round pick. Oleksiak is a beast, plain and simple. He would really help out a team who has such small forwards up front. Oleksiak and Myers will form a Two Towers pairing in the near future, which will cause any opposing forward to gulp when they are coming over the red line. 17. Montreal Canadiens – C Mark McNeill (Prince Albert – WHL) The Montreal Canadiens lack a pretty big element to having success in the playoffs – SIZE/TOUGHNESS. Enter Mark McNeill. The 6”2 210+ pound forward will add a great deal of size and strength to the smurfs up front, and he is pretty decent offensively as well, improving a lot this year with the Raiders. He would be a huge improvement over the diminutive Scott Gomez once Gomez is bought out or traded. McNeill would do the dirty work while Cammalleri and Gionta score the goals. Add in Louis Leblanc and Pacioretty and the Habs will have a decent looking forward corps. 18. Chicago Blackhawks – LW Tyler Biggs (US NTDP) The Blackhwaks lost a lot of grit and size once they blew up their roster via trades last summer. Biggs would come in and be a Lad replacement, if you will. He has the size to play in the NHL almost immediately, and he fared well at the combine. Who knows, maybe one day he could line up with Toews and Kane to form Chicago’s first line? That would be a pretty balanced line if you ask me. 19. Edmonton Oilers – D Joe Morrow (Portland – WHL) The Oilers will look at a defenceman since they drafted RNH #1. The best one available is Joe Morrow. His skating is elite and he is a good decision maker with the puck. Probably not the best hitter, nor the best puck mover, but he is good at everything and will make a nice #2-3 d-man for the Oilers down the road. Another option is Jonas Brodin since the Oilers are very familiar with Swedish prospects, but you would have to think they have seen a lot of Morrow since he plays in the Dub. 20. Phoenix Coyotes – RW Nicklas Jensen (Oshawa – OHL) Already having Dane Mikkel Boedker in their system, the Yotes grab another in winger Nicklas Jensen. Jensen has nice size and is an adept scorer. He is a pretty good skater and would just add some more punch to a team who is extremely devoid of offence. Adding Jensen to Turris, Boedker, MacLean will be a big plus for the future of the franchise. They have their d-men already so I don’t think they will go that route. 21. Ottawa Senators – C Rocco Grimaldi (US NTDP) The Sens need skill up front, no matter what the size. If Grimaldi truly has one of the highest ceilings in the draft, this is a no-brainer pick for Bryan Murray. With their first pick, they pick a bigger, NHL-ready player in Landeskog, and with their second pick, they get the opposite – a small (SMALL) player with elite offense. Grimaldi has a high work ethic, high character, and he LOVES to shoot the puck. He would be a perfect player for the Sens down the road, and would good on a line with Spezza as his playmaker, or on a second line with big wingers. Murray might want to stick in the CHL or Sweden for his pick, but I love the upside here. 22. Anaheim Ducks – C Boone Jenner (Oshawa – OHL) The Ducks love players who are big, gritty, and skilled. This is Boone Jenner in a nutshell. While h probably will never be a huge scorer, he would be great on the second line behind the Big Three in Anaheim. The Ducks could also split up the Big 3 and have one of Perry or Ryan on Jenner’s wing, making a pretty tough 1-2 punch up front. 23. Pittsburgh Penguins – LW Alexander Khokhlachev (Windsor – OHL) The Penguins are in need of skilled wingers. Crosby got his linemate in James Neal, now Malkin gets his in Alexander Khokhlachev . The Penguins shouldn’t be concerned about his Russian factor, as he wants to play in the NHL and is already in North America. He may be considered a steal at this point due to his high offensive skills, but he is often inconsistent. I think playing with Malkin will motivate him and they would make a pretty formidable duo if all goes right for Khoklachev. 24. Detroit Red Wings – D Jonas Brodin (Farjestad – SEL) The Wings are no strangers to Swedes, and with the recent retirement of Brian Rafalski, they will look to improve their future D corps with the cerebral Jonas Brodin. A player who excels at almost everything, the Wings are getting a very nice semi-steal at this point in the draft. With other D such as Brendan Smith and Jakub Kindl, the Wings can take their time with young Brodin and hope he develops into a Kronwall type player. 25. Toronto Maple Leafs – C Mark Scheifele (Barrie – OHL) The Leafs stick in the CHL and draft one of the best players on the board, center Mark Scheifele. The Leafs could use some help at pivot, and Scheifele is one player who will definitely help out there. A future Ryan Getzlaf type player, Scheifele brings scoring, defensive awareness, and very nice size to the table. He will be a perfect fit on the Leafs in the near future. 26. Washington Capitals – D David Musil (Vancouver – WHL) The Caps can go anywhere with this pick, but I think they should opt for a steady D-man. They have their future offensive d-men in Dmitri Orlov and John Carlson (already have Mike Green) so I think Musil would be a good choice to bring a steady presence to their back-end, to possibly play with Orlov if Green were to be traded or signed elsewhere. Musil was once considered a top prospect for this draft. George McPhee will have no problem drafting a d-man with a late pick, as he did the same with Carlson and Karl Alzner. 27. Tampa Bay Lightning – G John Gibson (US NTDP) The Lightning have a glaring need for a future #1 goalie, and they will get their man in John Gibson. The best goalie prospect available, the Lightning can afford to wait on him as their team is already in good shape to at least make the playoffs every year until he is ready. If they opt for somebody else, I would think they would be looking at an offensive d-man like Adam Clendening. 28. San Jose Sharks – C/W Shane Prince (Ottawa – OHL) The Sharks have a need for an offensive d-man, so I could easily see them going for Adam Clendening, but Doug Wilson loves his 67’s. Shane Prince will bring even more offense to the table for the Sharks, and will be a solid replacement for Heatley or Marleau once the time comes. Prince would look very good alongside former 67 Logan Couture, and he can play centre or wing, making him a versatile player. He is a very crafty playmaker who will make shooters like Clowe and Pavelski even better. 29. Toronto Maple Leafs (from Boston Bruins) – LW Brandon Saad (Saginaw – OHL) Burke takes American winger Brandon Saad with his second selection in the first round. Saad has the size, skill, and speed that will make the Toronto Maple Leafs very dangerous in the future. Not too much truculence, but he has a very good shot and is very strong on the puck. He is a hard guy to take off the puck if he is committed to keeping it. Saad would look good with playmaker Mark Scheifele on a line for the Buds in the future. 30. Vancouver Canucks – Adam Clendening (Boston – NCAA) The Canucks will look to add offense on their back end as it is up in the air whether or not they will be able to sign Christian Ehrhoff in the summer. Clendenin will be a great second PMD option behind Edler in the future for the Canucks, and with a plethora of D at the NHL level, they can develop him properly and can afford to wait on him. The Canucks could use a very good offensive defenseman even though they are an extremely deep team and even though Alex Edler is no slouch.