(EDITOR’S NOTE: The following mock draft comes from Red Line Report’s staff. Note that this mock draft has a number of significant differences from Red Line’s own value board. The purpose of Red Line Report is to be a pure scouting service, and ultimately rank prospects in the order we would select the available players if we lived in a vacuum where “needs” and other outside forces never entered the equation. The purpose of a mock draft, on the other hand, is vastly different. This mock draft merely represents a fun exercise of our best “guess-timate” of what we think might actually play out on Draft Day.)
1. Edmonton — Nail Yakupov. We don’t think the Oilers will end up making this pick, so our mock draft is in trouble right away. Ideally they trade down two or three spots and still pick up Rielly or Murray. But if they get “stuck” with the #1 pick, Yakupov should be the guy.
2. Columbus — Ryan Murray. The Jackets can’t wait through 2-3 years of development – they need immediate help that can step right into the lineup and a workhorse puck mover on the blue line. Voila! Two birds, one stone.
3. Montreal — Alex Galchenyuk. Expect them to make a play for the #1 pick to grab Yakupov. Barring that, this will be a really tough choice for them with Forsberg still on the board, but they’ve been hunting for size down the middle since… Jean Beliveau? Peter Mahovlich? Bobby Smith?
4. NY Islanders — Morgan Rielly. They would love to have a dynamic triggerman to juice up their power play and transition game, so Rielly’s the perfect choice.
5. Toronto — Filip Forsberg. Colour them thrilled to get the ultra-competitive shooter down at No. 5. He instantly raises the intensity level in Toronto.
6. Anaheim — Matt Dumba. Hopefully this helps ease the sting of losing Justin Schultz. He’ll bring a much-needed jolt of passion to the franchise.
7. Minnesota — Teuvo Teräväinen. They need a third dynamic Finn to round out the Granlund/Koivu troika! Seriously, they may have reservations about his fire/intensity, but they absolutely love his skills and home run potential.
8. Carolina — Jacob Trouba. He’s exactly the type of solid citizen and leader the Hurricanes look for, and would thrive under Kirk Muller’s hands-on approach.
9. Winnipeg — Griffin Reinhart. They’ve got some bangers on the blue line, but could use a rangy 6’-4” defender with soft hands back there to add some finesse.
10. Tampa Bay — Hampus Lindholm. Tampa could use a bookend Swedish twin-tower to pair up with Victor Hedman and form a great one-two punch from the back end.
11. Washington (from Colorado) — Mikhail Grigorenko. They need to replace Alexander Semin’s skill and goals, and Washington has been a great place for Russians to play. The Caps might be scared off due to their experience with Yevgeny Kuznetsov, but we think Grigorenko will jump at the chance to pair up with Ovechkin.
12. Buffalo — Scott Laughton. Derek Roy may be on his way out of town soon, and the Sabres see an opportunity to draft and develop his ultimate replacement.
13. Dallas — Zemgus Girgensons. Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk would like to add a Joe Nieuwendyk-type player to his lineup. Girgensons might be that guy with his great size, shot, and aggressive nature.
14. Calgary — Olli Määttä. The Flames could really use a steady, dependable presence on the blue line to add to their prospect stable, and this feels too good to be true.
15. Ottawa — Mark Jankowski. Has the feel of a Tim Murray shoot-for-the-homerun upside type of pick.
16. Washington — Radek Faksa. As long as they’re adding size down the middle, might as well take Faksa too. It’s a Yin-Yang sort of thing: Grigorenko has never seen his defensive zone, while Faksa is the most responsible defensive centre in the draft.
17. San Jose — Derrick Pouliot. Adding another element of speed and puckhandling to the blue line and grooming him to replace Dan Boyle in a couple of years might be the smartest move the Sharks could make.
18. Chicago — Andrei Vasilevski. The Hawks don’t trust their goaltending and take a shot on a potential game-changer. It’s a great gamble for them at this point in the draft.
19. Tampa Bay (from Detroit) — Pontus Åberg. They happily take their second Swede and replenish the coffers up front. Several of their key forwards are beginning to show signs of age, and Stevie Y. came to appreciate the Holmstrom/Franzen type of hard-driving Swedish wingers who get to the net. That’s Åberg to a T.
20. Philadelphia — Matt Finn. With age on the blue line and Chris Pronger’s career likely at an end, it makes sense for the Flyers to go after one of the smartest two-way defencemen in the draft.
21. Buffalo (from Nashville) — Cody Ceci. They have some nice depth on the blue line, but could really use a power play quarterback and puck mover to take some of the load off Tyler Myers. Ceci is a horse with a lot of stamina.
22. Pittsburgh — Tom Wilson. The Pens would love to get their hands on this massive, nasty specimen to ride herd for the Crosbys and Malkins of the world. Pittsburgh’s skilled players have been taking far too much abuse — that would stop with Wilson in the lineup.
23. Florida — Oscar Dansk. They’ll make due with bargain basement veterans for the time being, but nobody needs to inject young netminding blood into their system more urgently than the Panthers.
24. Boston — Stefan Matteau. Nobody fits the dirty, gooning style Boston presently plays better than Matteau. He’ll fit right in in Beantown, and makes the Bruins an even more menacing presence.
25. St. Louis — Henrik Samuelsson. As if the Blues needed more size and grit up front. Samuelsson plays a style Ken Hitchcock will really appreciate.
26. Vancouver — Slater Koekkoek. He had a chance to be drafted much higher before the injury, and Vancouver is deep enough to take a chance on finding a premium talent late. They need to increase the youth and skill factor on the back end, anyway.
27. Phoenix — Sebastian Collberg. The ‘Yotes have a lot of age creeping in up front and would like to add a skilled playmaker. Collberg is the best available at this point in the proceedings, and he also fits the gritty identity they carved out during their playoff run this Spring.
28. NY Rangers — Tim Bozon. Call this one a hunch. He seems like the type of speed and skills winger with upside that Gordie Clark likes, and the Rangers are certainly on the prowl to find some secondary scoring.
29. New Jersey — Malcolm Subban. Hey, what Brodeur just did at the age of 40 is phenomenal, but he can’t keep this up forever. Can he?
30. Los Angeles — Scott Kosmachuk. The Cup champs have the luxury of taking whoever they deem the best player left on the board, regardless of position. That being the case, we think Kosmachuk is just the style of player co-chief scout Mike Futa likes.