Sorry, this month's edition is a little later than usual. I wanted to wait until the Conference Finals took place so I had a more precise Draft Order.
As always, I don't factor in possible Draft Day Trades into my mock drafts; I just stick to the current order and adjust accordingly as deals happen.
Each pick is based on both my rankings and individual team needs (not looking at rosters, but at team prospect pools). The number in parentheses is that player's rise/fall since my April Mock Draft. These are my own opinions that I base on the extensive draft research I do each year so I ask you respect them as I would yours (as is stated in the DieByTheBlade rules).
1.) Florida Panthers - Aaron Ekblad, D, Barrie (OHL)
Florida drafts arguably the best player in the draft, and one that fills a need on a team thin at D.
2.) Buffalo Sabres - Sam Reinhart, C, Kootenay (WHL)
I have an internal Sam vs Sam debate every time I write a mock. It usually comes out to this Sam. The one with amazing hands and an advanced Hockey IQ.
3.) Edmonton Oilers - Leon Draisaitl, C, Prince Albert (WHL)
While I would put Sam Bennett here under normal circumstances, I have heard multiple reports that if Edmonton can't get Ekblad, they will select Draisaitl. They need a big Center, and Leon provides just that.
4.) Calgary Flames - Sam Bennett, C, Kingston (OHL)
Sam Bennett may very well go 1st overall. Or he could drop to Calgary here. The Flames are ecstatic as they Draft the #2 player on my board (behind Reinhart).
5.) New York Islanders - Michael Dal Colle, LW, Oshawa (OHL)
I have seen a few publications have Dal Colle ranked 3rd overall. I think that's fair, as I think he's as good if not better than Leon Draitsaitl. Based on team needs, and how the board fell, Dal Colle stays at 5 to the Isles.
6.) Vancouver Canucks - Nick Ritchie, LW, Peterborough (OHL) (+1)
Vancouver is a mess right now. I think they'll end up acquiring at least one more first rounder for Kesler, and maybe another for Edler. Drafting Ritchie will help them, as I feel he can step in to any NHL roster and be effective immediately.
7.) Carolina Hurricanes - William Nylander, RW, Sodertalje (Sweden) (+3)
People may look back 5 years from now and say "How did Nylander fall to 7th?" as some view him as the most talented player in the draft. He had an off year this season, and his stock fell. He's improved his status a bit in my book, and Carolina will be thrilled to be able to put him on Lindholm's wing.
8.) Toronto Maple Leafs - Haydn Fleury, D, Red Deer (WHL) (-2)
Not many people share my opinion of Haydn Fleury, but I view him as an Elite D-man going forward. Toronto, like Vancouver, is a mess. A Defenseman is in their long list of needs, and while there are several good forwards available, I feel Toronto takes Fleury.
9.) Winnipeg Jets - Nikolaj Ehlers, LW, Halifax (QMJHL) (-1)
Ehlers could very go 6th to Vancouver. I think his size (5' 11", 162 lbs) effects his value a bit; add that to the fact that the QMJHL is a very offensively-driven League. Either way, Winnipeg is more than happy to draft Ehlers.
I found it very surprising to see Virtanen available at 10. His playoffs and U18 Tournament bolstered his Value, but the cards fell into place for Anaheim and they get to draft yet another Gem.
11.) Nashville Predators - Kasperi Kapanen, RW, KalPa (Finland) (+1)
12.) Arizona Coyotes - Brendan Perlini, LW, Niagara (OHL) (-3)
13.) Washington Capitals - Jared McCann, C, Sault Ste Marie (OHL)
14.) Dallas Stars - Alex Tuch, RW, USA NTDP (USHL)
15.) Detroit Red Wings - Robby Fabbri, C, Guelph (OHL) (+11)
16.) Columbus Blue Jackets - Julius Honka, D, Swift Current (WHL)
17.) Philadelphia Flyers - Kevin Fiala, LW, HV71 (Seeden) (+12)
18.) Minnesota Wild - Ivan Barbashev, LW, Moncton (QMJHL) (-4)
19.) Tampa Bay Lightning - Josh Ho-Sang, C, Windsor (OHL) (-2)
20.) San Jose Sharks - Dylan Larkin, C, USA NTDP (USHL) (-2)
21.) St Louis Blues - Adrian Kempe, LW, Modo (Sweden) (-2)
22.) Colorado Avalanche - Nikita Scherbak, LW, Saskatoon (WHL) (-2)
23.) Pittsburgh Penguins - Sonny Milano, LW, USA NTDP (USHL) (-2)
24.) Anaheim Ducks - Nikolay Goldobin, RW, Sarnia (OHL) (+1)
25.) Boston Bruins - David Pastrnak, RW, Sodertalje (Sweden) (-1)
26.) Tampa Bay Lightning (from New York Rangers) - Roland McKeown, D, Kingston (OHL) (-4)
27.) Los Angeles Kings - Jakub Vrana, LW, Linkoping (Sweden) (+5)
28.) Montreal Canadiens - Conner Bleackley, C, Red Deer (WHL) (-5)
29.) Chicago Blackhawks - Nick Schmaltz, C, Green Bay (USHL) (-1)
30.) New Jersey Devils - Brendan Lemieux, LW, Barrie (OHL) (-3)
Honorable Mentions: Anthony DeAngelo, Eric Cornel, Jack Dougherty, John Quenneville, Chase De Leo
31.) Buffalo Sabres - Anton Karlsson, RW, Frolunda (Sweden) (-1)
39.) Buffalo Sabres - Alex Peters, D, Plymouth (OHL)
50.) Buffalo Sabres - Jayce Hawryluk, C, Brandon (WHL)
61.) Buffalo Sabres - Mason MacDonald, G, Charlottetown (QMJHL)
121.) Buffalo Sabres - Dominic Turgeon, C, Portland (WHL)
151.) Buffalo Sabres - August Gunnarsson, RW, Farjestad (Sweden)
181.) Buffalo Sabres - William Lagesson, D, Frolunda (Sweden)