Last week, Cory published the results of his very well thought out Mock Draft, but is one mock draft ever enough? As he mentioned at the beginning of his article, we thought it would be interesting if I completed one as well.
There has been a lot of talk about the Canes trading up to acquire the number two pick from Boston, but I would be very surprised if that happened. I think the Bruins and Oilers will keep their respective picks.
I also strongly considered the possibility of the Canes trading up to acquire one of the "big three" defensemen, which is a true need. The problem? The Isles, Jackets, and Panthers each need those defensemen themselves. Trading up with one of those teams would probably be too expensive.
Without further ado, here is Bubba's "Excellent" Mock Draft, Version 2.b.
1. Edmonton Oilers: Taylor Hall, LW. Hall and Jordan Eberle developed a good working chemistry during the WJC's. Look for this "dynamic duo" to continue to produce side by side in the NHL.
2. Boston Bruins: (from Toronto). Tyler Seguin, C. The Bruins will get plenty of offers, but decide to break up their current lineup to make room for this future superstar.
3. Florida Panthers: Cam Fowler, D. The Panthers need some excitement to put more fannies in the seats and this player is exactly what the doctor ordered.
4. Columbus Blue Jackets: Brandon Gormley, D. Gormley has the most complete game of the top defensemen available and possesses the offensive playmaking abilities the Jackets need.
5. New York Islanders: Erik Gundbranson, D. Islander fans will love this player's physical style and leadership on the blueline. A nice complement player for Mark Streit.
6. Tampa Bay Lightning: Brett Connolly, RW. Connolly is the highest player on the board at this point and if Steve Yzerman is assured that the hip injury is a thing of the past, he will not hesitate to grab Connolly with this pick.
7. Carolina Hurricanes: Nino Niederreiter, RW. This player has "star" written all over him, but does he have the skill level to match his charisma? Caniacs will soon find out.
8. Atlanta Thrashers: Alex Burmistrov, C. The Thrashers don't mind drafting Russians and this kid looks like he would be a perfect set up guy for Evander Kane and company.
9. Minnesota Wild: Mikael Granlund, C. If there is any team in the NHL who loves Finns as much if not more than Carolina, it's the Wild. Granlund is rated as one of the best players available out of Europe.
10. New York Rangers: Vladimir Tarasenko, RW. The Rangers always like to make a splash and will do so with this pick. They also have the money to buy Tarasenko's way out of the KHL if they want to.
11. Dallas Stars: Mark Pysyk, D. This versatile defenseman has been rated all over the top 30 by various sources, but the CSS has him in the top 10. The Stars need help on the blueline and will hope that Pysyk will help out sooner rather than later.
12. Anaheim Ducks: Ryan Johansen, C. The Ducks will take the highest rated player on their board at this time and will not be disappointed with this choice.
13. Phoenix Coyotes: (from Calgary) Derek Forbert, D. The Coyotes wanted Pysyk but will settle for Forbert, the next best defenseman.
14. St. Louis Blues: Jeffrey Skinner, RW. Skinner is a deadly sharpshooter who will soon make Blues fans forget about hot prospect Lars Eller, one of the players recently traded to Montreal for Jaroslav Halak.
15. Boston Bruins: Trade this pick to the Carolina Hurricanes for a 2nd rounder, (46th overall from Ottawa) and a 3rd rounder, (67th overall). After rebuffing several advances by Carolina for the second overall pick, the Bruins agree to this trade as the Hurricanes go off the board a little bit and select Dylan McIlrath, the "most feared player" in this draft. The 6'4 bruising defenseman was ranked a few spots lower by several services but fans will love him and the Canes did not want to risk losing him later in the first round.
16. Ottawa Senators: Austin Watson, RW. Watson's scoring exploded after being traded to St. Pete's and the Sens are more than willing to take a chance on him here.
17. Colorado Avalanche: Jack Campbell, G. The American goalie and WJC hero is much too good to slip any further. The Avs are very happy to grab him at this spot.
18. Nashville Predators: Jonathan Merrill, D. The Preds begin the process of replacing Dan Hamhuis with this promising young American prospect who was rated as the11th best North American skater by the ISS.
19. Los Angeles Kings: Emerson Etam, C. The Kings can not resist but draft the hometown talent who grew up playing roller hockey just down the road at Long Beach.
20. Pittsburgh Penguins: Jarred Tinordi, D. You can not teach size, and Tinordi, already at 6'5, could be another Brooks Orpik which would be perfectly fine with everyone in Pittsburgh.
21. Detroit Red Wings: Nick Bjugstad, C. The 6'4 center was dominating in high school, but how will he do at the next level? The Wings will take a chance to find out.
22. Phoenix Coyotes: Quinton Howden, C. The 'Yotes went for defense last pick and will try this responsible, two-way center from Moose Jaw with their next pick.
23. Buffalo Sabres: Jaden Schwartz, C. This smallish center led the USHL in scoring last season with 33 goals and 50 assists in 60 games. His 83 points were the most scored in the league since Thomas Vanek led the league with 91 points in 2001-02.
24. Atlanta Thrashers: Riley Sheahan, C. One scout called him the "most complete player in the draft", but his stock has fallen this season due to a drop off in production. Is it just the system he plays in at Notre Dame?
25. Vancouver Canucks: Trade this pick to the Carolina Hurricanes for a 2nd rounder, (53rd overall acquired from San Jose, originally from Buffalo) and a 3rd rounder, (85th overall acquired from Vancouver.) Vancouver recently went on record saying that they wanted to trade this pick, preferring "quantity over quality" and the Hurricanes are happy to oblige. With the pick, they choose Charlie Coyle, a 6'2, 202 pound power forward who plays center as well as right wing and is known for his physical play and blazing speed. He will follow his cousin's footsteps, (Tony Amonte), and will attend Boston College next season. (Joining Hurricanes' prospect Brian Dumoulin). The way he celebrates goals? "With the team." That statement says everything you need to know about this player.
26. Washington Capitals: Kirill Kabanov, LW. Arguably, the most skilled player in the entire draft, he's known to be a Russian nutcase who left for home from Moncton in mid-season and has been dropped by agent after agent this offseason. But if anyone can keep him in line, it's the brotherhood from "the world's most powerful city" and it's very possible he could fit right in and score a ton of goals, as long as he doesn't have to play defense.
27. Montreal Canadiens: Evgeny Kuznetsov, C. Here is another talented Russian who has dropped down the charts, but Montreal is more than willing to take a chance on him at this stage of the draft. The forward has plenty of skill but can be inconsistent at times. The wildcard? He played in the KHL last year.
28. San Jose Sharks: John McFarland, LW. McFarland is another very gifted player with tons of skill but also with the reputation of having attitude problems. If his head is on right, he could be a real steal here.
29. Anaheim Ducks: (from Philadelphia) Beau Bennett, RW. Another homegrown California boy, this kid scored 120 points in the BC junior league last season. He has committed to attend the University of Denver next year.
30. Chicago Blackhawks: Brock Nelson, C. This youngster can certainly light the lamp as he scored 53 goals and had 95 points in just 31 high school games last year, but he's a project. He'll be attending North Dakota next season.
The Hurricanes made a big splash in the first round of this mock draft by trading up for three picks. They still have their original second round pick, (37th overall) and have five subsequent picks after that, (one in the 4rth, two in the 6th, and two in the 7th).
Some possibilities I like for the second round:
Tyler Toffoli, RW
Ludvig Rensfeldt, LW
Tyler Pitlick, C
Ryan Spooner, C
Teemu Pulkkinen, RW
Patrik Nemeth, D
Alex Petrovic, D
In the later rounds, look for the Canes to draft a goalie, probably someone like Sami Aittokallio or Jonathan IIlahti, both from Finland.