MONTREAL, QC. — Only a few days until the NHL Draft and there are only 10 picks left to show. Last week, I presented my picks from 11 through 20 now it’s time to present the conclusion of this mock draft.
In this last part, we will see the Habs first round pick, at the 26th spot, the second first round pick of the Anaheim Ducks, the second one of the Tampa Bay Lightning (Martin St. Louis trade), and finally, the New Jersey Devils’ pick, the 30th overall, as a penalty in the Kovalchuk case.
Here are the last 10 picks of the draft so far :
11. Nashville Predators – Kasperi Kapanen (RW)
12. Arizona Coyotes – Alex Tuch (C)
13. Washington Capitals – Ivan Barbashev (C)
14. Dallas Stars – Brendan Perlini (LW)
15. Detroit Red Wings – Jared McCann (C)
16. Columbus Blue Jackets – Sonny Milano (LW)
17. Philadlephia Flyers – Dylan Larkin (C)
18. Minnesota Wild – Kevin Fiala (LW)
19. Tampa Bay Lightning – Travis Sanheim (D)
20. San Jose Sharks – David Pastrnak (RW)
Picks 21 to 30
21st pick : ROBBY FABBRI (Guelph Storm (OHL)). Center, shoots left, 5’10’’ 165 pounds. Season stats : 58 GP, 45 goals, 42 assists, 87 points and 55 penalty minutes.
Rankings : 8e overall by the International Scouting Service, 21st North American by the NHL Central Scouting Bureau, 24th overall by Hockey Prospect and 20th overall in my rankings.
Fabbri had a terrific season with the Guelph Storm and had a better playoffs. Despite his small size, he plays a physical game that is very demanding. However, he is not afraid to crash the net and use his lightning speed shot in the slot. He is a very talented forward who should fit well in the Blues’ system. A beautiful blend of talent and intensity.
NHL comparable : Brad Marchand
22nd pick : NIKITA SCHERBAK (Saskatoon Blades (WHL)). Right wing, shoots left, 6’2’’ 174 pounds. Season stats : 65 GP, 28 goals, 50 assists, 78 points and 46 penalty minutes.
Rankings : 27th overall by the ISS, 15th North American by the NHL CSB, 14th overall by Hockey Prospect and 17th overall in my rankings.
I’m pretty sure if the Penguins don’t draft a winger in this first round, their fanbase will riot in Pittsburgh. The future is bright at the blue line, but the centres will need talented players to compliment them. Scherbak had a good game in the Subway Super Series and we saw his amazing offensive qualities. He already has a big league shot, but his vision will allow him to find his teammates if needed. He may be a bit of a one-dimensional player, but he’s the right fit for the Pens top 6.
NHL comparable : James Neal
23rd pick : ROLAND MCKEOWN (Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)). Defenseman, shoots right, 6’1’’ 195 pounds. Season stats : 62 GP, 11 goals, 32 assists, 43 points and 61 penalty minutes.
Rankings : 23rd overall by the ISS, 27th North American by the NHL CSB, 83rd overall by Hockey Prospect and 18th overall in my rankings.
Since the beginning of the season, McKeown has dropped in the rankings, but I’ve always liked his game. He is a versatile defenseman who can do the job offensively and defensively. He moves the puck well and he’s a very good skater. On the powerplay, he will surely help thanks to a booming shot from the point. Colorado will need a defenseman like him in the future.
NHL comparable : Kevin Shattenkirk
24th pick : ADRIAN KEMPE (MODO (Sweden)). Left wing, shoots left, 6’2’’ 187 pounds. Season stats : 45 GP, 5 goals, 6 assists, 11 points and 12 penalty minutes.
Rankings : 22nd overall by the ISS, 6th European by the NHL CSB, 21st overall by Hockey Prospect and 26th overall in my rankings.
If I have chosen and electrifying player as the Ducks’ first pick, I’m going with a safer player here. Kempe is a good all-around player. With his big body, he doesn’t back off from a good hit and will apply pressure on other teams defensemen. As it’s often the case with Swedish players, his work ethic is not in question.
NHL comparable : Gabriel Landeskog
25th pick : NICK SCHMALTZ (Green Bay Gamblers (USHL)). Center, shoots right, 6’0’’ 174 pounds. Season stats : 55 GP, 18 goals, 45 assists, 63 points and 16 penalty minutes.
Rankings : 24th overall by the ISS, 19th North American by the NHL CSB, 28th overall by Hockey Prospect and 24th overall in my rankings.
The Bruins have a very balanced team, but they could benefit from the offensive talent of Schmaltz. He is a very smart player with the puck and he is able to keep it through his good hands and hockey IQ. He is more of a playmaker than a scorer, but he will be able to fill the net. Defensemen will have to keep an eye on him because of his agility in the offensive zone.
NHL comparable : Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
CANADIENS DE MONTREAL
Rankings : 21st overall by the ISS, 4th European by the NHL CSB, 30th overall by Hockey Prospect and 23rd overall in my rankings.
I don’t think the Habs will draft at this spot. Bergevin might want to trade up, but if they do pick someone at this spot, I like Jakub Vrana even though I hesitate between him, Goldobin, Bleackley and Lemieux. The Czech forward fell a bit in the rankings, but I always liked him because of his speed, his spirit and his enormous offensive talent. He’s intense and he will use his dangerous shot if the defenders give him too much space. He’s the type of dynamic player Montreal needs on the wings.
NHL comparable : Jeff Skinner
27th pick : THATCHER DEMKO (Boston College (NCAA)). Goalie, catches left, 6’3’’ 192 pounds. Season stats : 24 GP, 16 wins, 8 losses (3 in overtime), 2 shutouts, 91,9 save percentage and 2.24 goals against average.
Rankings : 1st goalie by the ISS, 1st North american goalie by the NHL CSB, 32th overall by Hockey Prospect and 34th overall in my rankings.
I must say that I’m not sure which direction the Blackhawks head office will go here. They have a lot of talent in offense and in defense and nearly every impact player has a long-term deal. That’s why I think they will pick a goaltender. Demko had a great season, which allowed him to climb in the rankings. He is very agile for his size and has good reflexes. His butterfly style serves him well and he moves quickly from post to post.
NHL comparable : Tuukka Rask
NEW YORK RANGERS
28th pick : CONNER BLEACKLEY (Red Deer Rebels (WHL)). Centrer, shoots right, 6’1’’ 195 pounds. Season stats : 71 GP, 29 goals, 39 assists, 68 points and 48 penalty minutes.
Rankings : 26th overall by the ISS, 35th North American by the NHL CSB, 22nd overall by Hockey Prospect and 27th overall in my rankings.
I love Conner Bleackley because he is an extremely versatile player. He can play center or on the wings and can virtually do everything on the ice. He has some tools in offense, he’s aware defensively and can play on the special teams. He has potential but I don’t know if he will be able to crack the top 6 of most teams. I think it could be a possibility with the Rangers.
NHL comparable : Ryan O’Reilly
LOS ANGELES KINGS
29th pick : BRENDAN LEMIEUX (Barrie Colts (OHL)). Left wing, shoots left, 6’1’’ 210 pounds. Season stats : 65 GP, 27 goals, 26 assists, 53 points and 145 penalty minutes.
Rankings : 34th overall by the ISS, 28th North American by the NHL CSB, 26th overall by Hockey Prospect and 31st overall in my rankings.
The Kings are known to pick big players in the early rounds and we saw how it paid off in the playoffs. It is in this perspective that I think Brendan Lemieux could be their pick. The son of former NHLer Claude plays the same sand-paper style of game that made his father an important player in the NHL. He’s involved physically, disturbs other teams defensemen and will go in the dirty areas. He’s not the most gifted forward but he’ll somehow find a way to score.
NHL comparable : Dustin Brown
NEW JERSEY DEVILS
30th pick : NIKOLAY GOLDOBIN (Sarnia Sting (OHL)). Right wing, shoots left, 6’0’’ 185 pounds. Season stats : 67 GP, 38 goals, 56 assists, 94 points and 21 penalty minutes.
Rankings : 28th overall by the ISS, 24th North American by the NHL CSB, 29th overall by Hockey Prospect and 30th overall in my rankings.
Having some problems in their lineup, the Devils would’ve loved that higher pick. However, with the 30th pick, I think a player like Nikolay Goldobin could add some punch in offense. There will be room on the wings for the young Russian forward and he will be able to show how talented he is. Goldobin is really skilled with the puck and has an excellent wrist shot. He had good outings at the Subway Super Series and prospect games, mostly because of his patience and creativity.
NHL comparable : T.J. Oshie