NHL Mock Draft 1.0
1. New Jersey Devils - Jack Hughes, C, USNTDP - This is pretty clear cut. Hughes is the best player in the draft and that is easy to see. He’s an elite skater who has elite vision. He’s one of those players that by just being on the floor, makes the players around him better. He’s already drawing comparisons to Patrick Kane.
2. New York Rangers - Kaapo Kakko, RW, TPS (FIN) - Kakko simply scores goals. He wins the one-on-one battles due to his ideal size and is extremely skillful for that size. He’s already shinned against NHL players at the World Championships.
3. Chicago Blackhawks - Alex Turcotte, C, USNTDP - Turcotte grew up in the outskirts of Chicago and has been a fan of the team his entire life. He’s relentless on both ends of the ice. He also possesses a great touch. The Blackhawks have a good slew of defender prospects, so adding the likes of Turcotte makes a lot of sense.
4. Colorado Avalanche from Ottawa Senators - Bowen Byram, D, Vancouver Giants (WHL) - Byram is the draft’s best defender prospect by a large margin. Not only is he an elite defender, he has great offensive skills, as he scored 26 goals last season in the WHL, leading all defensemen.
5. Los Angeles Kings - Kirby Dach, C, Saskatoon Blades (WHL) - Dach is the complete package. He’s big, fast and skillful. He’s a very talented skater and has excellent vision. The Kings have two first round picks so going best player available at five is the right move.
6. Detroit Red Wings - Vasili Podkolzin, RW, SKA-Neva St. Petersburg (VHL) - If there’s a word to describe Podkolzin’s playing style, it would be intense. Along with his high motor, he plays a mature game. He’s smooth yet aggressive and always makes the right decision. He also has an extremely high hockey IQ.
7. Buffalo Sabres - Trevor Zegras, C, USNTDP - Zegras is an above average play-maker who seems to always set up his teammates in the right areas. He’s a very confident hockey player, which works to his advantage, and he has a sense of swagger about him as he plays.
8. Edmonton Oilers - Dylan Cozens, C, Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL) - Cozens has slipped a bit in my mock as he could very well be a top-five name taken off the board. His best asset is simply his blazing speed on the ice. He’s the type of player that if he gets through, there’s no catching up.
9. Anaheim Ducks - Philip Broberg, D, AIK (Allsvenskan) - Broberg is a very graceful defenseman. His upside is defenseman #1 minutes in the NHL. He could very well end up being the best defenseman in this draft when it’s all said and done. He also entered the Hlinka-Gretzky Tournament a no-name and came out the other end a top 10 prospect.
10. Vancouver Canucks - Cole Caufield, C/RW, USNTDP - When it comes to scoring goals, that’s what Caufield does best. He’s the best pure sniper in the entire draft. He’s also the type of player who absolutely loves the game. You’ll be hard pressed to not find a smile on his face when he enters the arena.
11. Philadelphia Flyers - Matthew Boldy, LW, USNTDP - Not only can Boldy score goals, he’s just as good as preventing them on the defensive end of the ice. He is a skillful package that comes in a big size.
12. Minnesota Wild - Peyton Krebs, C, Kootenay Ice (WHL) - Two of Krebs more impressive assets are his quickness and speed on the ice. He’s an elite two-way player who can both score goals and play great defense. He’s a player with a higher grade than where he will be taken as he’s recovering from a partially torn Achilles' tendon. Most predict that the injury will have not have long lasting effects.
13. Florida Panthers - Spencer Knight, G, USNTDP - This pick is pretty cut-and-dry. The Panthers are a team that are in desperate need of a goalie and have the chance to select the draft’s best at thirteen. It makes too much sense.
14. Arizona Coyotes - Alex Newhook, C, Victoria Grizzlies (BCHL) - The Coyotes are a team looking to improve it’s offense via the draft. Newhook lead the British Columbia Hockey League last season with 102 points. He’ll be a welcome addition to the dessert based team.
15. Montreal Canadiens - Victor Soderstrom, D, Brynas IF (SHL) - Soderstrom is a guy who plays with both calmness and maturity. He has very high hockey IQ to go along with those two traits. He carries the puck and skates very well for a defenseman as well.
16. Colorado Avalanche - Ryan Suzuki, C, Barrie (OHL) - Suzuki had an underwhelming season a year ago with Barrie in the Ontario Hockey League. However, part of that could be attributed to the rebuilding going on with the team. Besides the struggles, he is still an extremely skillful hockey player with a high hockey IQ, something you can’t teach.
17. Vegas Golden Knights - Cam York, D, USNTDP - Erik Brannstrom has left the team and what better way to replace him than with a player who is very similar, such as Cam York. York can break the puck out the back and carry it forward. He also has the ability to play first-team power-play minutes.
18. Dallas Stars - Philip Tomasino, C, Niagra IceDogs (OHL) - One of Tomaino’s best attributes is his fast decision making as the play develops. He plays the game at a high pace but has the ability to make the right decision doing so. He’s also a very quick skater.
19. Ottawa Senators from Columbus Blue Jackets - Moritz Seider, D, Mannheim (GER) - Seider shined last season with Mannheim as he was named the German League’s Rookie-of-the-Year. He also played a major role in the team winning the championship. He’s a player with a major up-side.
20. Winnipeg Jets - Thomas Harley, D, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL) - Harley is a big guy who is still graceful on the ice. He skates well for his size. Beyond his role on the defensive end of the ice, he has a lot of promise on the offensive half.
21. Pittsburgh Penguins - Raphael Lavoie, C/RW, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL) - Lavoie is a guy who can play both center and on the wings. He’s a very versatile player, a great asset for a team picking in the later part of the first round. He’s a very good decision maker as well.
22. Los Angeles Kings from Toronto Maple Leafs - Ville Heinola, D, Lukko (Liiga) - Heinola can be defined as an all-around defender. He simply does it all. He processes the game quickly yet he plays with patience and poise. He’ll be a very good second first round selection by the Kings.
23. New York Islanders - Connor McMichael, C, London Knights (OHL) - McMichael is one of, if not the smartest player in the entire draft. He’s a very solid two-way player. I feel like he’s a bit underrated and could very well out-play his draft position in the long run.
24. Nashville Predators - Matthew Robertson, D, Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL) - Historically, Nashville has a trend of taking defensemen in the draft. Roberston is one who has a lot of skill, yet lacks a true identity. If there’s a team to help him do that and get the most out of him, it would be the Predators.
25. Washington Capitals - Jakob Pelletier, LW, Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL) - Pelletier was the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s most productive prospect a year ago. He’s also just 18 years old. He’s a high ceiling type of player to take in the back-end of the first round.
26. Calgary Flames - Samuel Poulin, LW, Sherbrooke Phoenix (QMJHL) - Poulin is a tireless worker on the ice. He’s a high motor type of guy. He has what most scouts describe as a “NHL motor.”
27. Tampa Bay Lightning - Simon Holmstrom, RW, HV71 J20 (SuperElit) - Holmstrom is a player who has been plagued by injuries during the early years of his professional career. If he can stay healthy at the NHL level, the Lightning could be getting a steal here at 27.
28. Carolina Hurricane - Brett Leason, RW, Prince Albert Raiders (OHL) - Although Leason has great skills for the NHL, this would still be tagged as a risky pick as he has a lot of question marks around him. Despite that, he has a high upside and this could be a shot-in-the-dark that pays off big time in the future.
29. Anaheim Ducks from San Jose Sharks - Lassi Thomson, D, Kelowna Rockets (WHL) - The Ducks double down on defensemen in the first round of the draft. Thomson possess blazing speed on the ice. He has an extremely powerful shot as well. He is also best from behind the net.
30. Boston Bruins - John Beecher, C, USNTDP - Beecher can best be described as a “speed-burner.” He’s especially effective in the penalty kill. He may not put up a ton of goals in a season, but what he brings in terms of quickness and athleticism will make up for that in a hurry.
31. Buffalo Sabres from St. Louis Blues - Pavel Dorofeyev, LW/RW, Stalnye Lisy Magnitogorsk (MHL) - In going with Trevor Zegras earlier in the first round, the Sabres look to stay on the offensive end of the ice. Dorofeyev cuts and dribbles very well. He also has high-end hands and excellent vision.