- Toronto Maple Leafs-Austin Matthews, C, Zurich (SUI)
The big American centre has the ability to play a strong two-way game with few flaws. He should step into the line-up from day one and have an impact at both ends of the ice. This foundational piece for the Leafs won’t amaze you offensively, but has the speed, shot, and playmaking skills to be a productive player for a long time.
2. Winnipeg Jets- Patrik Laine, LW/RW, Tappara (FIN)
The youth movement is finally taking shape in the ‘Peg. Laine has an elite shot and is always in scoring position. Put him with a group of Scheifele, Connor , Little, Ehlers, Wheeler and the Jets will have one of the scariest top six for years to come.
3. Columbus Blue Jackets- Jesse Puljujarvi, RW, Karpat (FIN)
There have been mumblings about the Jackets not wanting this pick, but if they stay at three they will surely be taking Puljujarvi. Having performed at every major tournament, he brings a dynamic all-around game capped with elite skating. The hockey sense and size are there, definitely the potential that this kid has outweighs the concerns of Columbus needing a centre.
4. Edmonton Oilers- Matthew Tkachuk, LW, London Knights
Everything the Oilers don’t have at forward, screams out Tkachuk. A gritty, energetic player that brings unreal net presence. He has the meanness in his game that allows for his teammates to have more time and space. Can you imagine Connor McDavid with an extra second or two? Downright scary.
5. Vancouver Canucks- Pierre-Luc Dubois, C/LW, Cape Breton Screaming Eagles
PuckStuff favourite, G.M Jim Benning loves going with his old school mentality. Don’t be surprised if you see Sergachyov or Brown picked here. Anyways, Dubois has the size, skill, and will to be a impact player.
6. Calgary Flames- Alex Nylander, LW/RW, Mississauga Steelheads
Loaded at the backend, Calgary will be looking to add scoring and goaltending this offseason. Nylander is the perfect fit, he’s a sniper with a great shot and fine-tuned skating. When he physically matures, will be a tremendous player that could slide in with Monahan and Gaudreau to create one of the top scoring threat lines in the league.
7. Arizona Coyotes- Mikhail Sergachyov, D, Windsor Spitfires
Many have Juolevi penciled in here, but Sergachyov simply is a more complete player with a higher ceiling. Equipped with NHL-ready physical traits, he has the size, positioning, and shot to be a fantastic defender in the NHL. If he improves on his skating, he will be a top pairing defenseman.
8.Buffalo Sabres- Olli Juolevi, D, London Knights
A smooth-skating defender with a great amount of hockey sense. He has the ability to be patient and not rush plays, makes the first pass, and won’t physically overpower you, but it strong defensively.
9. Montreal Canadians- Logan Brown, C, Windsor Spitfires
Montreal have way more holes throughout their roster then you can see at the surface. The gigantic 6’6″ Brown has tremendous reach and power which allows himself to bully his way to the net. Didn’t have a great start to the OHL season, but turned it on after the World Juniors and finished red-hot. Once he adds to his frame and improves his skating, he has shown the skill-set to become a big-time 1st line centre.
10. Colorado Avalanche- Jacob Chychrun, D, Sarnia Sting
The Avalance brass have been pretty vocal about improving their defense this offseason. Chychrun won’t be the saviour for that putrid defense Colorado has had in the past, but he is a great start. Chychrun has the size, speed, and agility to transition the puck from his end. Sometimes, he is caught out of position trying to do too much and that can burn him. Once, Chychrun begins comfortable with the high-paced game that Roy likes to run his team, he can be a solid second-pairing defenseman.
11. New Jersey Devils- Clayton Keller, C, USHL
An ultra-talented player with a skill-set that demands the puck on his stick in all situations. Keller makes up for his size with elusiveness and tremendous hockey IQ.
12. Ottawa Senators- Tyson Jost, C, Penticton Vees
Jost is an awesome leader with the speed and vision to make plays happen fast. Will probably end up as a second-line centre due to his smaller size and incredible energy that he brings to the table.
13. Carolina Hurricanes- Kieffer Bellows, C/LW, USHL
Bellows has a pure talent to score goals. He has a nose for the net and brings a hard forechecking game with the drive to win every battle. Great stick-handling and a fine-tuned skater.
14.Boston Bruins- Jake Bean, D, Calgary Hitmen
Bean has a offensive gift from the backend who skates the puck up with confidence and smarts. He has a heavy, accurate shot from the point and will lead a power play one day. He controls the play when he’s on the ice and brings a shiftiness element to his game that can be hard to gauge. Has a good stick and is generally well-posistioned to defend. Is awhile away from suiting up in the NHL, but is exactly what the Bruins desire.
15. Minnesota Wild- Michael McLeod, C, Mississauga Steelheads
A player that hards to defend, has top-notch speed and skill to match his size. Don’t question his hands or playmaking abilities, his competitiveness is bar-none.
16. Detroit Red Wings- German Rubtsov, C, Team Russia U18
Out with one Russian, in with another. The uber talented centre brings another set of crafty hands to a bare roster. Very skilled and true power which makes him a matchup nightmare.
17.Nashville Predators- Dante Fabbro, D, Penticton Vees
In all situations, at both ends of the ice, Fabbro is the man for the job. He’s calm and reliable, always making the right plays with the puck. Has the mobility that teams love, and his intelligence is the best of any defensemen in this draft class.
18. Philadelphia Flyers- Max Jones, LW, London Knights
A fierce power-forward that plays a big game and is hard to play against. He’s strong on the puck and don’t try to take it away from him. With a wide array of skills he will help out defensively, while adding points her and there.
19. New York Islanders- Charlie McAvoy, D, Boston University
Strong two-way defender that has a swift skating ability which gives him the opportunity to jump up into the rush or get back into position.
20. Arizona Coyotes- Luke Kunin, C, Wisconsin (NCAA)
A smart, edgy player that beholds a quick release and sharp hands that allow him to finish around the net. Not a great skater, but fast.
21. Carolina Hurricanes- Julien Gauthier, RW, Val-d’Or
A great work-ethic with a large frame. He has a knack for scoring goals and brings a physical presence that the Hurricanes crave. Great hockey sense and elite speed which is uncommon for a power-forward of this build.
22. Winnipeg Jets- Logan Stanley, D, Windsor Spitfires
A huge defender standing at 6’7″ plays a mean, rugged game. Incredible reach that is hard to beat, not super fast, but is not a weak point. His offensive game needs work, his shot could be a strong point in his game.
23. Florida Panthers- Brett Howden, C, Moose Jaw Warriors
Howden is big and plays the 200 foot game that you like to see from not so overly skilled centres. Plays smart and uses his creativity to make the correct decisions.
24. Anaheim Ducks- Riley Tufte, LW, Blaine High School (Minnesota)
Unproven? Sure. Talent? Undeniable. He may be a bit of a risk-reward project, no doubt. He’s worth the gamble. With an athletic 6’5″ power-forward frame he plays with a competitive nature and tons of skill.
25. Dallas Stars- Pascal Laberge, C/RW, Victoriaville
Laberge is a quick, stealthy playmaker who has the ability to pot goals with ease.
26. Washington Capitals- Dennis Cholowski, D, Chilliwack Bruins
Cholowski has risen up draft boards since the World Junior A challenge. Having watched him from an early age, I can tell you he has unbelievable speed and the ability to read plays at a high speed. Dennis has great IQ and puck skills, a bit raw and will enjoy a few successful years at St. Cloud State before making the jump to the pros.
27. Tampa Bay Lightning- Tage Thompson, C, UConn (NCAA)
Large, skilled player with a nice two-way style. Questions around his scoring all coming from the power play are valid. He’s going to help you on special teams and bring some grit.
28. St. Louis Blues- Vitali Abramov, RW, Gatineau
Small in stature, big in skill. Enough said.
29. Boston Bruins- Lucas Johansen, D, Kelowna Rockets
Another slick defender who makes timely passes and contributes in both ends.He sees the game very well and can skate like the wind. Bruins need defense, Johansen and Bean would be a vital start to revamp the aging defensive group.
30. Anaheim Ducks- Alex Debrincat, RW, Erie Otters
If he’s 6 feet tall, he’s going to be a lottery pick. All he does is score goals, no matter who he is playing with. He makes others around him better and can skate with the best of them. He plays nasty for his size and is hard to handle for any defenseman.