We’re under a week away until McDavid Day hockey fans! Well, I’ve thought long and hard and it’s time to release my Beer League Heroes NHL Mock Draft for 2015!
- Edmonton Oilers – Connor McDavid (Erie Otters) – C –
Do I need to go any further as to why the Oilers will take McDavid? The vision of Gretzky, the skills of Lemieux and the speed of Bure… Not only that but he’s a nice guy despite looking like he was going to puke when it was announced the Oilers had won the draft lottery.
- Buffalo Sabres – Jack Eichel (Boston University) – C –
What are the Sabres going to do with Sam Reinhart, Jack Eichel, Zemgus Girgensons and Mikhail Grigorenko next season? Eichel is surely the best out of all of them and they can’t have all of them running the show… Can they? Eichel will be putting up at least 60 points next year. He has all the tools and has been competing against men 3-4 years his senior at BU and dominating…
- Arizona Coyotes – Dylan Strome (Erie Otters) – C –
To me Strome is the next Ron Francis. Some people say he plays like Joe Thornton. Either way the Coyotes are going to have a big bodied center with high-end playmaking skills to pass the puck to the likes of Max Domi, Anthony Duclair, and Brenden Perlini. You’ll hear that his skating needs work but we hear that every year and never really deters the players with heavy boots.
- Toronto Maple Leafs – Noah Hanifin (Boston College) – D –
We’ve heard more or less that the Leafs will be taking Mitch Marner given his close relationship to Mark Hunter and Kyle Dubas but I can’t see how they could pass up on a talent like Hanifin given they don’t have any top pairing dmen in their pipeline. Hanifin is projected to be a massive minute muncher and play in all-situations. Think a bigger version of Duncan Keith or Victor Hedman. Also, would they have enough size in their top 6 if it included William Nylander, Nazim Kadri, and Mitch Marner?
- Carolina Hurricanes – Mitch Marner (London Knights) – C/RW –
I wonder if Marner is the guy that slips due to his size. Jeff Skinner is another small skilled forward that is paying the price because he was rushed into the NHL and he’s a smaller player. Would Ron Francis be deterred from taking another tiny skiller or would he like to add quite possibly the most skilled and creative player in the draft? He’d surely look good flanking the Staal brothers.
- New Jersey Devils – Ivan Provorov (Brandon Wheat Kings) – D –
The Devils are a team that builds from the back up. Goaltender to defence to forward. And Ivan Provorov is shooting up the draft rankings like a bat out of hell. By the 7th pick he’ll be gone gone gone. Is he the Russian Drew Doughty? He very well could be. Some pundits have him competing with Noah Hanifin as the best defenceman in the draft. He’s the best all-round blueliner available and there was once a time when NJ housed a couple of fine Russian defenders named Fetisov and Kasatonov…
- Philadelphia Flyers – Lawson Crouse (Kingston Frontenacs) – LW –
Crouse is exactly the type of player the Flyers draft. Big, fast, skilled and tough. He’ll take them back to the days of Eric Lindros with his style of play and the fans will love him for it. The other thing he’ll do is play a 200-ft game, right away too. He’s ready to go right now and it’d be interesting to see him tag up with Sean Couturier on the PK.
- Columbus Blue Jackets – Zack Werenski (Univ. of Michigan) – D –
Boy oh boy would it be easy to go with the Finnish narrative here. Mikko Rantanen is a tantalizing player at no.8 but the Blue Jackets have an S-tonne of forwards looking to break through to the big team. Sonny Milano, Marko Dano, Alexander Wennberg, Kerby Rychel, Oliver Bjorkstrand, etc. The team is sorely lacking on the back end. Mike Reilly, their top defensive prospect, told the the BJs to hit the road and he would exercise his right to pick his own team. Ryan Murray is STILL an injury case. So they go with a player that has been likened to Phil Housley. Good choice.
- San Jose Sharks – Timo Meier (Halifax Mooseheads) – RW –
I think you could agree with me when I say the San Jose Sharks have a few more years of Marleau and Thornton left in them. Here’s a team with some nice size and skill in their top 6 but lack that true power forward. Well the Swiss Terminator would fit the bill perfectly for San Jose here. Meier picked up 44 goals and 59 PIMs in 61 games this past season. He’ll play the game any way you want to.
- Colorado Avalanche – Mikko Rantanen (TPS Turku) – C/LW/RW –
Ryan O’Reilly is not going to be an Av long, Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay are on their last legs and how is it even possible that John Mitchell is a top 6 forward in Denver? The Avalanche are desperate for skill on the wings and Rantanen has that in spades. He’s got the frame (6’3″ 200lbs) and he’s one of the best in the draft at using his body to create space. Not an amazing skater, actually he has a very upright unorthodox skating style.The Finn is easy to spot on the ice not only because of his skating but also because he demands the puck.
- Florida Panthers – Pavel Zacha (Sarnia Sting) – C/RW –
The 6’3″ 210lb Czech is a power forward in every sense of the word. He was nearly a point-per-game player for the Sting but he was injured quite a bit and was suspended on more than one occasion due to his lack of emotional control. Jaromir Jagr would be the perfect mentor for Zacha in FLA. The Panthers play like pussy cats apart from Gudbranson and Ekblad, adding Zacha to a top line of Huberdeau and Barkov could be something sweet.
- Dallas Stars – Mathew Barzal (Seattle Thunderbirds) – C –
Barzal finally makes an appearance! This is going to be one of those guys that everyone wonders how he slipped so far down the draft. That knee injury is always going to be in the back of scout’s minds. But with that said, Barzal is an electrifying hockey player. Offensive skill out the wazoo. I remember watching something on TSN where Barzal and McDavid were squaring off against each other in some special camp in TO. Barzal was on par with McDavid at that time. He’ll be a perfect no.2 center for the Stars behind Seguin for years to come.
- Los Angeles Kings – Kyle Connor (Youngstown Phantoms) – C/LW –
This University of Michigan commit lead the USHL in scoring this past season with 80pts in 56 games. The USHL is comparable to the OHL in terms of competition. There are shades of Brandon Saad in the way Connor plays. He’s a very determined two-way player with an elite skating package. LA needs a player like Kyle Connor because they’re not getting any younger down the middle (Carter/Stoll) nor on the wing (Gaborik/King). He’s extremely clever on the ice and is always in the right place at the right time.
- Boston Bruins – Colin White (USNDTP U18) – C –
I like this guy for the Bruins as I can’t see Cam Neely and Don Sweeney with the help of Harry Sinden going for an undersized player or a European. They’ll take the extremely hard-working American with this pick. Now, I’ve seen Colin White compared to Brandon Sutter and Patrice Bergeron so far. And the cherry on top… He’s a local boy born and raised in Boston.
- Calgary Flames – Nick Merkley (Kelowna Rockets) – C/RW –Speaking of local boys. Merkley was born in Calgary. So that’s a plus but the reason they’ll draft him here is because he’s got the character that Brian Burke will love. I can’t even begin to think of the Oilers playing against a Flames line that features Sam Bennett and Nick Merkley. The Kelowna Rocket is a playmaker’s playmaker and any player on his line is sure to get his fair share of goals. He racked up 70 assists to go with 20 goals this past season playing with Rourke Chartier (SJ) and Leon Draisaitl (EDM).
Well that is all for now. I hope you enjoyed part one of the 2015 Beer League Heroes NHL Mock Draft. We’ll be back tomorrow with part two where things get interesting! Selections 16-30 and lots of teams with multiple picks in the first round will be selecting again.
Before you go though, can I direct your attention to the Beer League Heroes t-shirt shop? We’re currently featuring 3 designs with many more on the way! So be sure to click on the pic below and pick up your BLH merchandise today! They’re only available for a limited time! Thanks to all who have already bought one! I can assure you my daughter’s post-secondary fund thanks you as do I!