So the Canes end up picking 8th Overall going into the Draft. I am extremely excited, let me explain why through my Mock Draft:
1) Columbus Blue Jackets - Nail Yakupov
Easiest pick they will ever make. Yakupov is a future superstar of superstars. Deadly sniper, world-class skater, no fear of him bolting to Russia, really Yakupov is the complete package
2) Edmonton Oilers - Ryan Murray
Grigorenko is very tantalizing to them, however in the end Edmonton decides to shore up their defense with an NHL ready D in Murray who is as safe and consistent as they come. He will never be hell of skates or have the flash a D like Matt Dumba will have, but his calming influence is just what the doctor ordered for Edmonton.
3) Montreal Canadiens - Mikael Grigorenko
Montreal takes a franchise Center that they desperately need. They have wingers, D, and goalies set. Grigorenko is the next safest pick for Montreal who need a boost immediately. Some question his work ethic, others say he is bored playing against kids and ready for the next challenge. I believe Montreal will not be dissapointed.
4) New York Islanders - Matt Dumba
The Islanders need both defense and a player that will draw fans and bring people out of their seats. Hello Matt Dumba, this kid lays bone-crushing hits (a New York staple) and provides flashy offense. He is undersized at 6'0, 165 lbs and some question if his game will translate to the NHL, but the Islanders will take that risk.
Note: If anyone trades up, I think it is the Islanders at this spot. If JR really wants Galchenyuk, here is his chance. I think McBain + a 2nd or 3rd would easily do it.
5) Toronto Maple Leafs - Alex Galchenyuk
Easy choice, they need a franchise Center like the desert needs rain. Kessel will be a very happy man. Galchenyuk has great hands and is a pass-first Center with size. Even Nail Yakupov speaks to Galchenyuk's superior playmaking abilities.
I believe there is a chance they go for Filip Forsberg here if they are truly concerned about Galchenyuk's injury, but personally I think Galchenyuk is the better pick.
6) Anaheim Ducks - Morgan Rielly
If Anaheim loses Justin Schultz, I believe they will look to replace him in this Draft. With future 1st line wingers like Emerson Etem and Kyle Palmieri in the prospect bin, D seems like the easy choice. Rielly could have been the #1 D in this Draft had he not been injured early in the year after scoring 18 points in 18 games. He will soon return for Moose-Jaw's CHL Cup run and show off his stuff, further boosting his stock. Anaheim gets a great player here.
7) Minnesota Wild - Jacob Trouba
The Wild are stocked with forward prospects (Mikael Granlund, Charlie Coyle, Zack Phillips) and are never afraid to go against the grain. They need to replace Brent Burns and Trouba is their man. A solid, overall performer with a two-way game and offensive flair, Trouba has been ranked as a top-2 D in this draft by ISS all year. Minnesota hopes they have the next Cam Fowler or John Carlson on their hands with this pick
8) Carolina Hurricanes -
Ah yes, here we are. Canes are picking with a Smorgasbord of talent on the board. Let's look at who is left:
Griffin Reinhart - You want a Shutdown D? Reinhart is your man. 6'4", 200 lbs, this big body kid is all about defensive responsibility and safe plays. Projects as a top-pairing shutdown D with underrated offensive ability, the only knock on Reinhart is that he doesn't use his big body to lay out huge hits. That is ok though, he uses hockey smarts and positioning to take away chances and clear pucks. Very solid pick here and many have said that Reinhart could very well step into the NHL next year depending on the team.
Filip Forsberg - You want a 1st-line Power Forward? Forsberg is your Right Winger. He falls out of the top-5 he was projected to go after a lackluster WJC and the fact that he doesn't play in Sweden's top league. Scouts have raved about the flashes of brilliance he has, Forsberg has the ability to take over a game by himself and leave opponents in the dust. His all-around game is very polished, many consider him one of the most NHL ready prospects in the Draft. All of this out of one of the youngest players in the entire Draft. If Toronto takes him 5th Overall, that means Galchenyuk falls to the Canes (all the better).
Teuvo Teravainen - You want a potential home-run offensive dynamo? Hello Teravainen. This kid is likely the youngest player to hear his name called in June (born 3 days later and he would be a 2013 Draft prospect). He is the first 16/17 year old to make a highly skilled Jokerit team in a long time (top league in Finland) and he is doing it in style. A little undersized at 5'11", 170 lbs, he reportedly plays much bigger than his size indicates and he is thriving in the most physical league outside of the NHL. His development curve has been on a rocket ship, he currently has 5 points in 7 Playoff games and is looking better and better every single game. I have talked with Jokerit and HIFK fans and word is that he is already a better looking prospect that Mikael Granlund and Joel Armia, two of the most highly touted Finnish prospects in a long time. He is a playmaker first, but had a very quick, accurate release on his shot that is NHL caliber. His first-step, speed, and agility have been compared to Patrick Kane (although his hands aren't quite as good), but it is his hockey sense and vision that are his best attribute.
Jokerit is down 0-3 in their Playoff series currently, if they are eliminated next game then Teravainen will go to the U-18 tournament where I am predicting he will set the World on fire. Personally, I hope he doesn't as this could very well push him into the top-5. The only glaring downside to Teravainen, he is at least 2 years out due to his contract.
We are going to get a very, very good player out of this Draft. Better yet, the choices are such that the Canes can draft for need.