Ed Note: Have some extra free time today? You're gonna need it to get through this creative 61-pick mock draft complete with plenty of trades. This FanPost has been edited for front page posting.
I figured things were getting a little dull around these parts, so I thought I'd throw a big mock draft into the mix to get folks chatting. Here goes:
So, Dale Tallon is actively shopping the #1 pick, which is different than listening to offers. FLA has suitors: CAL, VAN, TOR and ANA all are looking to make a deal to get a crack at #1. But TOR doesn’t have a lot of young assets CAL wants, nor picks. VAN has picks, but lacks the assets, and they can’t decide if they’re rebuilding or not. ANA has picks and assets, but has other priorities. Burke loves a guy like Ekblad. So he makes a bold move which gives FLA just what they need.
FLA #1 overall, #58 --> CAL Giordano, #4, #34.
Gio, over 30 and injury prone, is still a top-notch offensive D when healthy and a former Captain. He instantly solidifies the FLA D.
#1: CAL (from FLA): Ekblad
BFLO stands pat, despite offers to move up from the NYI, VAN, and WIN. They take the 1A player on the board, and a future Top 6 C.
#2: BFLO: Reinhart
EDM wanted to trade down with the Top 2 players off the board. But a young, mobile D is invaluable. They can’t find a seller. So they go big up the middle, another need.
#3: EDM: Draisaitl
FLA is now up, and they decide to go off the board a bit, adding some scoring, size and some strength on the wing. Tallon wanted a ‘sniper’. Virtanen could be that guy.
#4: FLA (from CAL): Virtanen
NYI need some help on D and in net. The latter can be addressed in UFA, but even with a rich prospect pool on D, they don’t have a ton of options next year. Visnovsky is nearly 40, and not getting any healthier. They make a move. PHX has D they’re willing to part with, and some size, strong D help in the middle. PHX gets the explosive player they haven’t had in their system since they were the original WIN.
NYI #5, Josh Bailey, #108 --> PHX Yandle, Hanzal, #43.
PHX adds some offense and some explosion, they’re deep at D. NYI need some D help, Yandle is offensively gifted. Hanzal is a great addition to a team that is shaky defensively up and down the roster.
#5: PHX (from NYI): Bennett
Crushed that Bennett got snatched away, VAN is looking at the board and realizes the Sedins won’t live forever. They do not have a real playmaker – other than maybe Jensen – in the system. They’re still not sure about rebuilding; the owners seem to think no, the fanbase – and perhaps the newly hired GM, Darcy Regier – think otherwise. They go with the elite playmaker with dazzling puck skills.
#6: VAN: Nylander
With little in the pipeline, and talks of several players on the block, the new GM has a lot of decide. But he appears to be willing to wait a year to see what the Canes can do before he starts dismantling one of the most uninteresting teams in the league. They definitely need help, and size, on the wings. But they go off the board here, with one of the risers coming out of the U-18s.
#7: CAR: Tuch
The Leafs need help on the back-end, but no one available here offers that kind of immediate help. They also need help down the middle; they’ve been plagued by small, soft, defensively liable Cs. Until Dave Bolland, of course, but he’s UFA. They’d like to trade down, but no one is offering big Top 4 D or strong 2-way Cs to get up to #8. So they reach to grab the best 2-way C available that’s still on the board.
#8: TOR: McCann
WIN is a team that is teetering between rebuilding and going for it. They have valuable pieces to move – Byfuglein, Kane – and ripe young talent. But they have no goaltender, and a seriously deficient talent base for their bottom 6 and on the wing.
StL Berglund, Shattenkirk, #33 --> WIN E Kane, Copp, #9
Berglund gives WIN a big, strong, 2-way young C who can play in all situations, swing out to W, and put up 40-50 points and is still only 25. Shatty gives them a puck-mover on what could be an elite D with Trouba, Bogosian, Enstrom, Buff and if he comes up, Josh Morrissey. It also gives them the ability to move Buff. StL gets the sniper they so desperately need if he can get his head on straight, a good young up and comer, and a high pick to replenish their less-than-stellar prospect pool. Plus they have cap room to pick up another scorer if need be.
#9: StL (from WIN): Dal Colle
ANA has oodles of picks – 4 in the Top 60 with an already stacked prospect pool – and are coming off a Stanley Cup Final. They are looking for that one piece of the puzzle to put them over the top. And so they make an offer that one team can’t refuse for the most wanted man at the deadline.
ANA Vatanen, Etem, #10 and #28 --> VAN Kesler
ANA moves two prospects they don’t need, but both are capable of playing in the League full-time today, plus 2 1sts – sweeteners that other teams in the market for Kesler can’t compete with. They get their big, veteran, 2C to fill the role they were missing. ANA suddenly becomes the beast in the West, and the retirement of Koivu and Selanne open up room for some of their young players to make a name for themselves. VAN quickly realizes they’re rebuilding. They net a puck mover, a power forward in the making, and now have 3 first rounders to load up a fairly weak prospect pool. A classic Regier trade.
#10: VAN (from ANA): Fleury
NASH sat patiently, hoping their guy would fall to them. He did. They add more offense to go with their slick pick-up of Calle Jarncrok from DET at the deadline. They run to the podium.
#11: NASH: Ehlers
PHX, who already made a big move earlier with the NYI, gets their 2nd pick in the 1st. They added an explosive playmaker with that pick, now they go with a player closer to their organizational identity, someone who plays a sound D game and is tough, intense, and can play both ways with equal proficiency.
#12: PHX: Barbashev
Looking for a solid D, WAS approaches the NYR about Girardi, but they are not moving their re-signed Top 2 D. So new management begins changing the culture, avoiding players with questionable intensity to reach for a guy who has a high motor, obvious desire, with the some serious skill and 2-way play.
#13: WAS: Larkin
DAL eked into the playoffs on the final day. But if you’re going to compete in the West, you’re going to need more than one line to provide offense. So DAL makes a big move to add O from a guy Ruff is very familiar with. Putting him on a line with Nichushkin could be a huge move.
DAL Chaisson, Nemeth, #14 --> OTT Spezza, #40
OTT then adds a huge forward with serious offensive skill.
#14: OTT (from DAL): Ritchie
DET wanted Nick Ritchie, to add some size to their highly-skilled forward roster. But just missing on the big man, they take a European forward with size, skill, and skating. Another Franzen perhaps?
#15: DET: Kempe
CBJ sees a sniper still on the board, and jumps at the chance. They have a bunch of talented prospects, but no real sniper in the bunch – Rychel can score, but he’s more of a garbage man than a pure goal scorer. And they could use size to boot. Although the pick is a perimeter player, and a bit on the soft side despite his size, that can be coached up.
#16: CBJ: Perlini
PHI has some nice prospects coming up, particularly on the back end and in net, but not a lot in terms of forwards with offensive upside. One player who is a bit on the small side, but is thick and had a great U-18s, plus has been trending upwards all season, catches their eye. They’ve had success with a few slightly under-sized forward before (Giroux?).
#17: PHI: Fiala
If the rumors are true, MINN will throw the bank at Vanek in the off-season. If that comes true, MINN – with the play of guys like Brodin, Coyle, and Niederreiter, have a strong base to build on alongside the superstars in the line-up. Still weak in net with a youngster like Kuemper, this is too high to take a goalie. They lack an explosive scorer on the wing. And there is really one of those players still on the board. He’s a risk, but upside is undeniable.
#18: MINN: Goldobin
To their surprise, a prize prospect has fallen into the lap of the LAK. Graduations left their cupboard a bit empty, and they could reload on the D side, but with Muzzin, Martinez, Voynov, and Doughty still very young, they should be set for a while. Instead, they go with the best player on the board.
#19: LAK: Kapanen
TB needs to make moves to win presently, not just stockpile assets and lose in Round 1. They’re looking for a strong, swift RHD. And guess who has one? BFLO. Salo is old, Brewer is old and slow, and Carle is just not very good defensively. Hedman is excellent, but after that, a couple guys have solid potential but are still learning.
TB Kucherov, #26, conditional #1 in '15 --> Myers, ’15 2nd.
BFLO has a glut of D, and the $10m recapture penalty for Ehrhoff is too scary to have hanging over your head, although the odds of Ehrhoff randomly choosing to retire in that particular season seem unlikely. Myers is better than most of the guys in TB's unit already and could still get better. Kooch is the Top 6 scoring winger BFLO lacks in their prospect pool. With the young kids already up, and Drouin, Namestnikov, Ikonen, and Erne still in the pipeline, they can afford to move a young gun to solidify a weak spot.
BFLO then moves up to MTL’s #20 slot to take a forward they’re very interested in. One who has size, skill, and speed that can mix it up and is a relentless forechecker.
BFLO #26, #50 --> MTL #20
#20: BFLO (from MTL): Scherbak
TB also has tons of assets, many already up in the League, but a good number still in the pipeline. But the loss to MTL exposed their lack of quality D. And with the perpetual injuries of top O-minded D Koekkoek, they elect to boost their prospect pool with a smallish, but heady and highly skilled D-Man.
#21: TB: Julius Honka
PITT made it out of the 1st round, which likely saved Bylsma’s job. But the under-achieving label being affixed to the PIT is starting to affect decision-making. They’ve moved a number of picks over the years, diminishing their prospect pool and relying on rentals and a flawed goalie to make a playoff run. They still have an outrageous amount of talent up front, but just don’t seem to perform when they need it. With a lot of D prospects and bottom 6 guys in the pool, PIT goes for skill.
#22: PIT: Milano
STL has already added Evander Kane and Dal Colle. They would like to make another move for a dynamic C with speed, but they’ve got their sights set on Dave Bolland if he’s willing to leave TOR. So, to replenish the prospect pool on the back end, they go D.
#23: STL: McKeown
SJ has some nice young talent to build around – Couture, Hertl, Wingels, Demers, Stalock – but they need some serious depth on the back-end – Boyle’s gone - and an infusion of talent to go with the old guys who have overseen the dramatic collapses of the previous several years. They need to be active in the FA market, but they also need some talent and youth and they can’t move Marleau and Thornton. So they make a bold move with an eye toward FA.
SJ Pavelski --> NASH Josi, #42, ’15 2nd
SJ then takes the next Pavelski, who is still on the board and is under-sized, but a pure scorer and competitor like Pavs.
#24: SJ: Fabbri
COL needs some defensive reinforcements – and a healthy Duchesne – to take another step next year. They have Top 6 forwards galore and some up and comers on D, but they could really use a veteran presence who can be physical but make the smart play and ignite the break-outs with the stretch pass, allowing the Avs to use their amazing speed. They make a big move.
COL Parenteau, Bourke, #25 --> NYR Staal
The NYR are quietly transitioning to a young team. They've got McDonough, Stepan, Brassard, Hagelin, Kreider, Zook, and possibly Skjei coming up. What they don't have is a future replacement for Lundqvist. This is prime time for teams to target the top goalie prospect in the Draft. NYR jump them.
#25: NYR (from COL): Demko
After nearly upsetting the EC Champs, MTL realizes it needs a bit more size. If they indeed lose Vanek to UFA, they will need even more size, but all of the bigger forwards are off the board, while the system has plenty of young D ready to take the next step. Looking to add some physicality, MTL reaches a bit to beef up their forward ranks.
#26: MTL (from BFLO, from TB): MacInnis
CHI, coming off a disappointing finish, is in the last year before its two big guns can hit free agency. Kane and Toews, the heart and soul of the team, are highly desired, and the ownership group of the Hawks has already publicly staked a claim that they would be Hawks for life. CHI has also needed center depth for years, a spot they've filled with assorted veterans, but never satisfactorily. So CHI makes a surprising move with FLA to clear cap space for the coming year and get younger up front. The Panthers complete that transition to a top-flight D and give their youth – Gudbranson, Kulikov, Petkovic - some more time to develop. Tallon's connection with CHI doesn't hurt either.
CHI Seabrook, #27 --> Bjugstad, #32, # 58, 94.
FLA then adds an explosive, high-risk forward who could turn out to be incredibly dynamic or a bust, adding to their Top 6 forward depth and joining Huberdeau, Howden, Kane and Virtanen as potential huge scorers in the system.
#27: FLA (from CHI): Josh Ho-Sang
VAN is up again, and Regier is wheeling and dealing like no one's business, dismantling their former WCF contender. Now they move their next commodity, D. And they find a willing partner in DET, who wanted Ehrhoff but are now looking elsewhere to bolster their injury-prone D. They find it in VAN.
VAN Edler --> Sproul, Sheehan
Sproul is one of DET's Top 2 D prospects, but they have DeKeyser already up, Oulette on the horizon, and Kronwall to team with Edler and Ericsson. Edler struggled under Tortorella, so his value is down, but he's coming off a couple superb seasons prior to that, he's cheaper than Myers, and if healthy, he should be able to play alongside Ericcson or DeKeyser and provide very solid D and some PP presence. VAN next moves to grab a big player with a lot of offensive upside, who might just now be scratching the surface of his talents.
#28: VAN (from ANA): Eric Cornel
BOS lifts the Cup. But they’re getting older. They’ve got a solid pool of talent coming up, but other than Subban and Koko, they don’t have a lot of elite talent. With minimal difference between #29 and #50, BOS is open to trading down. The aggressive Tim Murray does just that with an eye toward an electric talent who’s swung widely up and down the prospect lists, but was awesome in the U-18s.
BFL0 #31, #121 --> BOS #29
#29: BFLO: Jakub Vrana
NJ has a glut of young D in the system. Unfortunately, they have very little on the forward side, both for the Devils and in the minors – if you're relying on ancient relic Jagr for your offense, you're in trouble. NJ went with scoring forwards on the small side in the past.
#30: NJ: Pastrnak
31. BOS (from BFLO): Bleackley
32. CHI (from FLA): Sanheim
33. WIN (from STL): Dougherty
34. FLA: Karlsson
Methot --> NYI #35, #78
35.OTT (from NYI): Pollock
36. VAN: Schmaltz
37. CAR: Kamenev
38. ANA (from TOR): Vanier
39. BFLO: McDonald
40. DAL (from OTT): Jacobs
41. NJD: Lemieux
42. SJ (from NASH): Quenneville
43. NYI (from PHX): Magyar
44. WAS: Pettersson
45. DAL: Nedjelkovic
46. NASH (from DET): Karabecek
47. CBJ: Irving
48. PHI: DeAngelo
49. TB: MacLeod
50. MTL (from BFLO): Aube-Kubel
51. LAK: Hawyrluk
52. NYI (from MTL): Peters
53. TB: Sadowy
54. PHX: Gardiner
55. SJ: Lammikko
56. StL: Donato
57. SJ: Glover
58. CHI: Gersich
59. ANA: Husso
60. PHI: Watson
61. BFLO: Kirkland
Reinhart, Kucherov, Scherbak, Vrana, McDonald, Kirkland
Murray adds 2, maybe 3 future Top 6'ers, a potential goalie of the future, and some size on the wing with Scherbak and Kirkland (who is, admittedly, a project). And, perhaps most importantly, he doesn't jeopardize the possibility of landing the Top pick in 2015. Realistically, both Kooch and Rino can play either in the AHL or juniors.