(Disclaimer: Here is my annual attempt at a mock draft. I will try to use some reasoning behind these picks, but of course anything can happen come draft day. This is difficult enough, so I am not going to attempt any trades this time around. Sit back, enjoy, and feel free to pick them apart!)
1. Colorado: Nathan MacKinnon - As it turns out, Joe Sakic was not bluffing. The Avs cannot resist but select the consensus number one rated player. They will worry about their over-crowded center ice later.
2. Florida: Aleksander Barkov - The Panthers need to find a replacement for Stephen Weiss and Barkov will fill the bill. Offense is more of an issue than defense, at the moment. Barkov's superior size gives him the nod over Drouin.
4. Nashville: Jonathan Drouin - The Preds need offense and Drouin brings it in spades.
5. Carolina: Sean Monahan - My gut says that the Canes will stay in their comfort zone and select the OHL standout. Monahan is about as complete a player as there is in the draft and can contribute on the powerplay, penalty kill, in the faceoff circle, and at both ends of the ice. It's no secret that the Canes like OHL draft picks so I look for them to continue their tradition and attempt to fill the third line center position with this selection.
6. Calgary: Elias Lindholm - The Flames wanted Monahan but won't be too disappointed in settling for the Swede.
8. Buffalo: Max Domi - The Sabres need some high end offense and reach a bit here to get a smallish guy, but someone with 100% hustle and who has the ability to score.
9. New Jersey: Darnell Nurse - The home crowd should cheer this pick as the Devils choose one of the most physical defensemen in the draft.
10. Dallas: Hunter Shinkaruk - Here is another kid that can light the lamp, so the Stars grab him up.
11. Philadelphia: Rasmus Ristolainen - Some scouts have him as the best overall blueliner in the draft not named Jones.
12. Phoenix: Bo Horvat - The Yotes are also looking for scoring and pick up a highly regarded center at this spot.
13. Winnipeg: Frederik Gauthier - This huge 6'5 forward is ranked all over the place but the Jets will take a chance on him.
14. Columbus: Anthony Mantha - Not often you can select a 50 goal scorer at number 14, but the Jackets will do so here.
16. Buffalo: Adam Erne - The Sabres select another feisty forward, this one with a little more size than Domi.
17. Ottawa: Nikita Zadorov - The Sens are loaded with prospects but hope this giant of a blueliner will turn into another Zdeno Chara.
18. Detroit: Alexander Wennberg - Since when are the Wings shy about drafting a Swedish center?
19. Columbus: Valentin Zykov - This guy has been moving up and is ranked higher on some charts.
20. San Jose: Samuel Morin - At 6'6, he's a project worth waiting a year or two for.
21. Toronto: Andre Burokowsky - The Swedish winger could turn out to be a real value at this spot.
22. Calgary: Josh Morrissey - In time, this kid could add the offense that the Flames need from the blueline.
23. Washington: Steve Santini - Steady USA product could fit in well with Caps.
24. Vancouver: Mirco Mueller - The Canucks are happy this defenseman is still available and take him here.
25. Montreal: Robert Hagg - Smooth Swedish blueliner might play for Habs sooner than later.
26. Anaheim: Curtis Lazar - The Ducks go with the best on their chart and he is rated much higher on some.
27. Columbus: Kerby Rychel - Gritty forward could be just what Jackets need.
28. Calgary: Zach Fucale - Top rated goalie in draft might go here.
29. Dallas: JT Compher - This USA product can skate and score.
30. Chicago: Morgan Klimchuk - On the small side but he can light the lamp.
(Tomorrow, I will give some second and third round possibilities for Carolina.)