Every season I try a mock draft and every season I make a different pick than the Hurricanes do. Of course, I don't travel over two continents, watch hundreds of hockey games live, and evaluate every aspect of a player's expertise for a living. I just watch video and read scouting reports.
But that has never stopped me from making bold predictions before and won't stop me this year!
Before we get to my selections for Friday night's first round, I thought it might be interesting to see who I picked in previous seasons compared to the Canes.
Last year, I had William Nylander going in the top five and had Michael Dal Colle falling to Carolina. Of course that did not happen but given how things went I probably would have gone for Nylander with my pick. Obviously, the Canes took Haydn Fleury.
In 2013, I thought that I made the definitive, no-brainer pick with Sean Monahan, but again the Canes crossed me up and picked Elias Lindholm.
Of course in 2012, Carolina traded their pick in a package for Jordan Staal. I selected defenseman, Matt Dumba.
2011 was not my best year as I selected Rocco Grimaldi at number 12, although I did have Carolina's choice Ryan Murphy going earlier, in the ninth position.
I chose Nino Niederreiter in 2010 as the Canes took future Calder winner, Jeff Skinner.
Okay, no more stalling. Coming up next, this year's mock draft:
1. Edmonton Oilers: After firing their entire scouting staff, they end up making the pick everyone knows they will make, Connor McDavid.
2. Buffalo Sabres: With sad puppy dog eyes still looking to be the victim, Tim Murray chooses Jack Eichal, who claims to be the best player in this draft anyway. We will see.
3. Arizona Coyotes: Once you look past Oliver Ekman-Larsson, the Arizona blueline seems like it needs help so I have the Coyotes choosing Noah Hanifin, who is ranked at number three by many services.
4. Toronto Maple Leafs: This is a tough choice here but I believe the Leafs go with size and a center to set up Kessel, Dylan Strome.
5. Carolina Hurricanes: If the draft ends up going this way, it wouldn't surprise me if the Canes tried to trade back a bit, but if they can't I'm going a little outside the box and taking Ivan Provorov. It's going to upset the Marner fans but I love everything I read about this kid and he could be ready to play in the NHL this coming season. He's been described as another Justin Faulk, so what more needs to be said?
6. New Jersey Devils: The Devils need offense and don't hesitate to take Mitch Marner.
7. Philadelphia Flyers: Pavel Zacha has size and skill and the Flyers like it.
8. Columbus Blue Jackets: The Jackets take a chance on Mikko Rantanen.
9. San Jose Sharks: The Sharks take the best of the remaining defensemen, Zach Werenski.
10. Colorado Avalanche: The Avs try to trade the pick but end up taking Mathew Barzal.
11. Florida Panthers: Lawson Crouse (big bruising forward)
12. Dallas Stars: Kyle Connor (underrated two way player)
13. Los Angeles Kings: Brandon Carlo (huge 6'5 defenseman)
14. Boston Bruins: Travis Konecny (skilled aggressive forward)
15. Calgary Flames: Timo Meier (super-skilled winger)
16. Edmonton Oilers: Jeremy Roy (next best defenseman on the board?)
17. Winnipeg Jets: Nick Merkley (WHL assist machine)
18. Ottawa Senators: Joel ErikssonEk (hard working Swede with potential)
19. Detroit Red Wings: Jacob Larsson (another big defenseman)
20. Minnesota Wild: Yevgeni Svechnikov (Russian with size and skill)
21. Buffalo Sabres: Brock Boeser (Sabres get another American scorer)
22. Washington Capitals: Jakub Zboril (high scoring defenseman)
23. Vancouver Canucks: Anthony Beauvillier (high scorer in the "Q")
24. Toronto Maple Leafs: Daniel Sprong (lots of offense, not much defense)
25. Winnipeg Jets: Ilya Samsonov (best goalie in the draft)
26. Montreal Canadiens: Colin White (some drafts have him higher)
27. Anaheim Ducks: Thomas Cabot (two-way defenseman good value here)
28. Tampa Bay Lightning: Paul Bittner (big strong forward who can score)
29. Philadelphia Flyers: Oliver Kylington (stock has been dropping but has lots of skill)
30. Arizona Coyotes: Jansen Harkins (high end passing skills)
A couple of these guys could slip to the Hurricanes in the second round and they would be great pick ups.
Paul Bittner is a 6'4 power forward who scored 34 goals and 37 assists in the WHL.
Brock Boeser is a natural goal scorer who notched 35 goals in 53 games in the USHL.
Jake Debrusk scored 42 goals in 72 games and is ranked in the late 20's by most.
A couple of others to look at in the second.
Filip Chlapik is a Czech born player who scored 33 goals and 71 points in the "Q".
Denis Guryanov is a Russian who is ranked by many in the top 30.
It will be interesting to see where Filip Ahl goes. He's ranked as late as in the third round by some but at 6'4 and with 20 goals and 42 points in 32 games in the Swedish Under 20 SuperElit, he could be a worthwhile project.