NHL Lottery Mock Draft 1.0

Photo Credit: Dennis Pajot/Getty Images

Last Monday evening, during action between the Oilers and Golden Knights, the NHL’s draft lottery quietly took place. This draft has one clear-cut #1 prospect in Connor Bedard, who leads the rest of the pack here by a bit. With the order now officially set, it’s time for the first NHL mock draft of the season.

#1 Chicago Blackhawks: Connor Bedard, C, Regina

We kick off our NHL mock draft with an easy one. This is the easiest pick in maybe the last five years. Bedard is one of the most exciting prospects in recent memory, and any other selection here should be considered a mistake.

#2 Anaheim Ducks: Adam Fantilli, C, Michigan

Next up in our NHL mock draft is a pick our founder and CEO, Ronnie Harter, is sure to love. In any other season, Adam Fantilli has a pretty solid shot at going first overall in any draft without Bedard. Fantilli won the Hobey Baker Award last year, and has the potential to be a franchise player. Even though Anaheim missed out on the first pick, they can land a great prospect in Fantilli.

#3 Columbus Blue Jackets: Will Smith, C, USNTDP

Continuing the theme of centers going in the top part of this NHL mock draft, next is Will Smith going to Columbus. Smith had 51 goals and 127 points during his time at the development program, and should be an instant difference-maker at the next level.

#4: San Jose Sharks: Leo Carlsson, C, Orebo

Leo Carlsson has a knack for making highlight-reel plays, and should have no problem doing that at the next level. He’s big and physical in front of the net, yet his speed makes him a threat in transition.

#5: Montreal Canadiens: Ryan Leonard, LW, USNTDP

Finally, we’ve got someone who isn’t a center. Ryan Leonard is another developmental program player in the top five here, and is one of the most well-rounded players in the entire class. Leonard does everything well, and will bring a ton of versatility to Montréal if they select him.

#6: Arizona Coyotes: Zach Benson, C, Winnepeg

If the Coyotes landed Zach Benson, they’d be getting their potential franchise player. Benson was one of the better players in the entire WHL last year. Even though he stands just under six feet tall, Benson’s speed and skill makes him an instant scoring threat at the next level.

#7: Philadelphia Flyers: David Reinbacher, D, Kloten

At number seven, we have the first defenseman coming off the board in our NHL mock draft — to one of the teams that needs defense the most. Before last season, David Reinbacher wasn’t considered to go in the top half of the first round. Some scouts didn’t value him as a first round talent at all. He had an excellent year in Switzerland, and now figures to be the first defensemen off the board.

#8: Washington Capitals: Matvei Mitchkov, C, Sochi

Matvei Mitchkov is one of the most interesting, yet volatile, players in this draft. He’s one of the most talented players, maybe even the second behind Bedard. However, he is on a deal in Russia until 2026. Will a GM be brave enough to select him this year and wait out the rest of his deal?

#9: Detroit Red Wings: Oliver Moore, C, USNTDP

With the third development program player going in the top 10, here we have Oliver Moore, yet another center. Moore had to compete for the spotlight with a vast majority of elite players at the program. However, he has to potential to come out of this draft as one of the best in his class with his elite skating ability.

#10: St. Louis Blues: Dalibor Dvorsky, C, AIK

Dalibor Dvorsky is a high-value and high-potential pick for the Blues here with the 10th pick. He’s coming off a sensation U-18 World Championship performance, where he almost knocked off Canada as a member of the Slovakian team. Dvorsky is still 17, so it would take a while for him to develop. Still, his potential cannot be measured, and he should only progress at the NHL level.

#11: Vancouver Canucks: Axel Sandin Pellikka, D, Skelleftea

Nearing the middle half of the first round, the talent pool begins to get a lot more diverse in terms of positions. Especially at defensemen, where the Canucks are badly lacking a high-potential player. Axel Pellikka fills that need at the 11th pick.

#12: Arizona Coyotes: Eduard Sale, RW, BRNE

The Coyotes will be receiving this pick from Ottawa, and will be making their second pick in the top 12. Here, they select one of the best U-18 players in the world, Eduard Sale. Sale was a standout on the Czech team, especially in the medal round. He responded well to being benched, and played electric afterward, which is a very good sign to see from such a young player.

#13: Buffalo Sabres: Gabe Perreault, RW, USNTDP

Here, yet another player from the United States Developmental Program comes off the board. Gabe Perreault had some doubters coming into last season, but quickly shut them up after breaking the team’s single-season points record, with an incredible 118. His biggest thing to work on will be skating, but his floor figures to still be a top-six forward.

#14: Pittsburgh Penguins: Colby Barlow, LW, Owen Sound

For the first time in what feels like forever, the Penguins find themselves back in the lottery. Barlow is one of the best shooters in the entire draft, and had 46 goals last year in the OHL, with 76 in the past two years combined. He shouldn’t have too much of an issue continuing that track record in the NHL.

#15: Nashville Predators: Andrew Cristall, LW, Kewlona

Continuing the string of wingers going off the board here, we have Andrew Cristall heading to Nashville. His skating needs some work, but when it comes to skill, there might not be a more skillful player in the entire draft. If he can master his skating, he’ll be a force in the NHL.

#16: Calgary Flames: Riley Hiedt, C, Prince George

Riley Hiedt is the final lottery pick in this NHL mock draft. He had a rather slow U-18 tournament, but he’s still very young with potential that is through the roof. He needs to get better off the puck, but his skill with it can’t be minimized, and should translate well to the NHL.

St. Louis Blues Draft Recap

The NHL entry draft is officially over, and the that means that all the players drafted are now onto bigger and better things. The Blues were without a second-round pick, fourth-round pick, and a sixth-round pick, but were still able to come away with four new players in their affiliate league. When it comes to the players the Blues drafted their seemed to be a rather one-sided approach, goal-scorers.

1.17: Zachary Bolduc, LW, Rimouski Oceanic

The St. Louis Blues had a lot of attention on them throughout the draft, but one of the more surprising picks in the draft would be their first overall selection, Zachary Bolduc. The Blues had been tied to defenseman, Carson Lambos, prior to the draft and have also had reports of Matthew Coronato. After Coronato had been taken, if they had any interest at all, they settled on Bolduc.

Zachary Bolduc was ranked on most big boards as a top 28-35 player, so getting taken at 17 was probably quite the shock. I was surprised by the reach given some of the names still available however, after reading up on Bolduc, he is exactly what I want in a player.

After being drafted by the St. Louis Blues there were a lot of people calling for interviews and asking questions, but after the draft pick was made and listening to what the insiders had to say about him, he was already one of my favorites in the draft. The reporters were saying that he used to spend so many hours on the rink that in order to get him to stop, they had to reprimand him. On top of being a ice rink junkie, he is also a smooth playmaker, very good goal scorer, and shows a high ceiling.

When it comes to creating a team, and building a team, having guys like Bolduc are the risks you need to take. You can find a player who can come into the league and be good, but take a risk on a player with developmental traits then you may find a superstar.

Bolduc played in 27 games in the QMJHL this past season, in those games he was able to score 10 goals, and 19 assists for 29 points. Looking at where he is coming from and who he was able to learn from is another big upside to his game. Last season Bolduc was able to play with the first overall pick, and future superstar, Alexis Lafreniere. Learning and developing alongside a talent like Alexis could be a big part to how he translates as a player through the AHL.

3.71: Simon Robertsson, RW, Skelleftea

The St. Louis Blues had a pretty good first selection with a lot of upside, after reading up on Simon Robertsson and watching film, this has the potential to be the best selection by the Blues this season. Robertsson was quoted as a top 20-40 player in this draft, as you can see above they were able to grab him with the 71st pick.

Simon played in both the Swedish junior level and in the worlds which he was able to put on display his talent against bigger and better competition. The biggest question mark for Robertsson is simply consistency and ability to make an impact every-time he steps on the ice. As far as his skillset goes, he has the a lot of things working for him. He has incredible puck handling that is commonly seen in situations that would cause for a deke instead of being checked. Although not much of a fancy puck handler, he still has the ability to keep the puck on his stick through traffic. He was able to create a lot of chances of his ability to get through traffic and find the open pass. With that being said, he is an incredibly fundamental and smart player when it comes to his playmaking ability. With the ability to be creative when it comes to making plays on the perimeter or taking the puck to the net and hit the backdoor pass, he’s always looking to make an impact.

There were multiple things that he said he can do well, but perhaps the best part of his game is his electric shot. His ability to get the wrist shot off is something that reminds me of Vladimir Tarasenko. Watching his wrist shot is like watching a bullet getting shot out of a gun. His upside and potential to be a top tier goal scorer in the future is what makes his game so fun and exciting.

5.145: Tyson Galloway, D, Calgary

The St. Louis Blues have drafted a right wing and a C/LW prior to this pick however, with their third pick in the draft they selected: Tyson Galloway, D, Calgary. Their was a lot of people who said that he plays a lot like former Blues defenseman and current Montreal Canadiens defenseman, Joel Edmundson. The Blues have a lot of holes towards the end of last season, but perhaps the player that was most missed was Edmundson. Not having a stay at home defenseman was a big part to a bigger problem that they had, but having a guy who has drown multiple comparisons to him could be a huge get. He was fairly unproductive from a statistical point of view, but if he can become a stay-at-home defenseman capable to playing at the NHL level, he could be a huge get for the Blues.

7.198: Ivan Vorobyov, RW, Khanty-Mansiysk

The St. Louis Blues are in a win now position, that means that they need to find upside players in the later rounds. Ivan Vorobyov is a incredible talent, and was extremely productive in his time with Khanty-Mansisyk. While there isn’t much film on him to break down his film, off the highlights I was able to find, he appears to have a incredible skill-set that reminds me of a player similar to Mathew Barzal. He’s incredibly smooth with the puck on his stick, and is a very good goal scorer and playmaker. As far as upside goes, he is going to be a name to watch out for.

Michigan Prospects Breakdown

Daryl Marshke/Michigan Photography

There is a point in time where every kid out there realizes they may have a chance to live out their childhood fantasy’s and make them reality. For so may kids out there they never even get looked at, but for the kids that end up in a spot where they can have a commissioner say their name upon the podium. Looking at the big boards and mock draft’s that have been compiled prior to the NHL entry draft, there is one thing that I felt the deserves to be talked about – Michigan Hockey.

The Michigan Wolverines hockey program has three potential first round picks, and more than that, has three top 10 players on most big boards. Even with the fact that they have three top 10 players in the entire NHL draft class, they also have the two players that are arguably the first and second overall ranked players. Looking at what makes the players so special is what I’m going to be covering today.

Owen Power, LHD, University of Michigan

My Big Board Rank: 1st Overall

The Bad: Power is a incredible player, that much is undeniable, but he lacks some traits that are considered extremely important for a NHL hockey player. He is not a great with puck control when asked to take the puck up from the defensive zone. As a defender, puck control isn’t a huge breaking point, and it is something that can be taught and developed. As a potential rookie, he has time to develop his talents and become more well-rounded. With that being said, he is not a explosive skater. As a defensive skater who actually plays well in the offensive zone, he has no level of acceleration which could present a problem although not more so than the lack on puck control. He is a very smooth skater, but doesn’t show much explosiveness in his skating, but I doubt it would be much of a problem.

The Good: With the bad stuff being minimal, you can probably assume that he is an incredible talent with a lot of good in his game. He is an incredible skater with his edgework, has very good strides, and does well with evading oncoming pressure. With above-average hockey IQ, he is able to be a great offensive defenseman with his ability to find the pass and set up certain plays. He always seems to find an breakout pass to set-up a play or even to clear the puck out of the defensive zone. He’s one of the few players that I’ve seen with the sixth-sense to just see how a certain pass will play out in the future. He always seems to play each and every possession with a purpose. Now, the most important part to a defender’s game is defending, and in that aspect, Power is excellent. Power could be a little more physical, but he plays with excellent defensive positioning, and has great instincts on the puck that allows him to be a excellent defenseman. Power is a can’t-miss prospect in this draft, I expect him to go first overall to the Sabers in this year’s draft.

Matthew Beniers, C, University of Michigan

My Big Board Rank: 2nd Overall

The Bad: So I could go and give another explanation on what I’ll be talking about, but I just did right above this article. I’d also assume that your not here for all the extra commentary, So what that being said, lets just jump right in on what he needs to improve. So just like I stated with Power, he is a below-average puck handler, which effects Beniers a lot more than Power, but he is able to make it work for the most part. He doesn’t show great puck control while moving up the ice and in-between defenders. He keeps the puck way out in front of him that keeps it out of his reach and has to play catch-up.

The Good: So I know what you’re thinking, that was only one thing I listed above, my response, there is a reason he is my second overall ranked player in this draft. Beniers has one of the best motors in this draft class, and is one of the hardest workers I’ve seen. Although his puck control is questionable, it doesn’t seem to matter because he will take all the contact someone want’s to put on him, and he’ll out-skate anyone who want’s to test him. He is an extremely competitive player with a extremely high motor that defines his game. Corey Pronman of The Athletic said that he had watched over 100 games of Matthew Beniers, and not once was he not an impactful player. Any time he is on the ice, you are getting a player who is going to give his all. He is an incredible player due to his hustle and his booming shot, and is thee best two-way player in this draft.

Kent Johnson, C, University of Michigan

My Big Board Rank: 4th

The Bad: Kent Johnson has been referred to as “The guy you need to know about in this draft class”, but he has a lot that will make his ceiling limited. With that being said, he is an incredibly skilled player and has a lot to offer a team, but is going to be limited as far as who will be able to take him. Kent Johnson has a lot of skill, but as far as skating goes, he doesn’t have the ideal traits in the current day NHL. Looking at how the NHL has developed and altered, you see guys like MacKinnon, and McDavid and see that it’s like watching a video game, Johnson doesn’t offer any of that. He shows a lack of pace, it appears as if he just doesn’t have energy getting up and down the ice. It’s not that he doesn’t perform when on the ice, but he doesn’t play with pace unless the puck is on his stick.

The Good: Kent Johnson, although he doesn’t necessarily play with pace which makes me think he’s lazy, is perhaps the most skilled player in the draft. When you first sit down and watch Johnson on the ice, he immediately will pop out at you due to his elite skillset. He has incredible puck control that allows him to make behind-the-back passes and between-the-leg passes look routine. Watching him play with a change of pace to create space and openings to make plays or create shots is something that shouldn’t go unnoticed. Watching one of his highlight reels I noticed a change of pace through the neutral zone in which he was able to hook around the defender change directions in front of the goal and hit a backhanded shot over the goalies shoulder. He’s got very good instincts with the puck in setting up plays and sensing pressure with great offensive awareness. He has the ability to become a great hockey player due to his phenomenal puck handling, and his ability to play smart and understands his strengths and weaknesses. He has the ability to be one of the best prospects in the draft given the right situation.

NHL Draft: Players to Target

The NHL Draft Lottery is officially over, and with the Blues eliminated from Stanley Cup contention, they have secured pick number 17. There is a lot of uncertainty in this year’s draft. With the Buffalo Sabres getting the first overall pick, the world is wondering who they will select. Post-lottery, there has been speculation that Owen Powers could become the second overall pick after being considered the number one overall pick for most of the season. Owen’s teammate, Matthew Beniers, has been rising as of late to potentially be the number one overall pick to Buffalo. However, I’m not here to talk about the first pick, I’m here to talk about players the Blues should potentially target at 17.

The NHL draft is much different than most sports, but every year 30 teams will get to select a player that they hope can become a new star player for their team. When you look around the league, there are not many superstars like Nathan MacKinnon, Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews, and Leon Draisaitl. With those names mentioned, you can see that many teams miss more often than they care to admit, but I’m here to talk about some players that can benefit the Blues moving forward.

Daniil Chayka, D, Moskva(KHL)

Daniil Chayka is a first round talent, and shouldn’t be underestimated. Chayka has an elite level of mobility, calmness, and poise with the puck and loves to play a fast paced game. Chayka has a great deal of speed for someone of his size, but what he offers along with his speed enhances his draft stock. He has great instincts when defending the transition from to the defensive zone. Although some may consider him a “raw prospect”, he shows a great deal of reliability and can be a valuable piece on a team like the Blues.

Isak Rosen, LW, Leksands IF J20(SuperElit)

When it comes to skill, there are not many better than left wing, Isak Rosen. Rosen has phenomenal puck control, speed, and a deadly shot. In the multiple mock drafts I have read through, they had him as a back-end first round level player, but when you have a player with his elite skill-set, take the chance on him. Rosen is one of the fastest skaters in this draft class, and has incredible puck control that allows him to find his way between defenders, and become a playmaker, or find a shot and let it rip. In the current day NHL, when you can have a player with a all-around great talent, it can totally transform a team, and Rosen could end up being one of the best players in this draft class for that reason.

Xavier Bourgault, C, Shawinigan(QMJHL)

Xavier Bourgault is one of the flashiest players in this years draft, and one of the best goal scorer’s in the draft as well. Bourgault, at only 17 years old, finished with 20 goals and 20 assists in only 29 games this past season. Looking at the statistics, you can just see how incredible he is with the puck on his stick. He is a underrated playmaker due to his elite puck control, and deadly shot. With the Blues having lacked in offensive production this past season, they could use a guy who can put up statistics like Bourgault.