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  • Mock Draft

    The key to a good mock draft, and the thing that most everyone - even the so-called experts - seems to miss, is that there are two parties to every draft pick: the player being picked, and the personnel doing the picking. Not team; personnel. Team needs play very little into draft picks in real life, contrary to what fans tend to believe. But what is worth looking at is general managers and their draft histories.

    I made this mock draft about 75% based on my prospect rankings, and about 25% based on GM draft records. This was fairly difficult this year in particular, since there are so many new first-time GMs; in those cases I assumed that these GMs had a significant enough say in their previous jobs as assistant GMs that their draft records can be referenced efficaciously, albeit with a grain of salt.

    1. Edmonton - Connor McDavid, C

    2. Buffalo - Jack Eichel, C

    3. Arizona - Dylan Strome, C - Already loaded with talent up front, but Arizona's prospect pool is largely lacking an elite Western Conference top line center. And Maloney rarely picks from anywhere but CHL in the first round.

    4. Toronto - Mitch Marner, RW - Talk about draft history; Mark Hunter already drafted Marner once before, and it has paid off for the Knights in spades, although Hunter wasn't around long enough to see the dividends.

    5. Carolina - Noah Hanifin, D - Hard to believe a player with Hanifin's upside could fall this far, but draft eligible 120 point scorers in the OHL usually go first or second overall. There is simply an absurd abundance of elite skilled forwards in this draft.

    6. New Jersey - Zach Werenski, D - I had Crouse ranked ahead of Werenski, but Lamiorello loves to pick from college and USDP, and it's close enough that draft history takes the edge.

    7. Philadelphia - Lawson Crouse, LW - A perfect fit for the Broadstreet Bullies should he actually fall this far.

    8. Columbus - Pavel Zacha - C

    9. San Jose - Ivan Provorov, D - I had him ranked sixth on my prospect list, but he falls slightly due to Russian factor. San Jose picks from all over the place in the first round.

    10. Colorado - Matt Barzal, C - A lot of scouts think he could have been in Strome/Marner category had he been healthy all year. Joe Sakic might see a bit of himself in Barzal.

    11. Florida - Mikko Rantanen, RW - Tallon picks from all over the place, but likely goes back to SM Liiga for the second time in three years for the skilled, rangy winger.

    12. Dallas - Timo Meier, RW

    13. L.A. - Thomas Chabot, D - We know Lombardi doesn't care much for conventional draft wisdom (see Wayne Simmonds, Kyle Clifford, Thomas Hickey). Chabot is a little off the.board here but he fits the direction LA is going; Doughty, Martinez, Muzzin: big, mobile, two-way defensemen.

    14. Boston - Kyle Connor, LW/C

    15. Calgary - Paul Bittner, LW - A big 6'5 American out of the Dub. Sounds like Burke's kind of player. Technically Treliving's call, but I suspect Burke is still pulling a lot of strings behind the scenes.

    16. Edmonton - Ilya Samsonov, G - In one draft, Edmonton finally gets both their franchise player, and their franchise goalie. I would have worried they'd try to rush him and ruin him, but Chiarelli won't let that happen.

    17. Winnipeg - Brock Boeser, RW - The Jets are loaded with potentially elite playmakers in Scheifele, Petan and Ehlers, now they need a pure goal-scorer to act as triggerman. Boeser is about as pure a goal scorer as there is in this draft.

    18. Ottawa - Travis Konecny, C/RW - Our prospect pool is deep enough with top nine forwards, and we had some late picks pay off, so we can afford to swing for the park at least once. Konecny has elite gamebreaker potential, something we don't have much of at forward.

    19. Detroit - Joel Eriksson Ek, C

    20. Minnesota - Colin White, C

    21. Buffalo - Jansen Harkins, C - They're pretty set for top line and top six forward prospects, now Tim Murray starts going for top nine forwards with versatility and winning pedigrees. Regardless what league, tournament or team, all this kid does is win championships. See: Curtis Lazar.

    22. Washington - Oliver Kylington, D - Big drop for Kylington, but Washington loves to pick out of Europe in the first round, so I expect this is as far as he falls.

    23. Vancouver - Nick Merkley, C/RW

    24. Toronto - Jeremy Roy, D

    25. Winnipeg - Brendan Carlo, D - Size is still the word of the day in Winnipeg. Add yet another 6'5 D to the blueline.

    26. Montreal - Evgeni Svechnikov, RW

    27. Anaheim - Jacob Larsson, D

    28. Tampa Bay - Jakob Zboril, D

    29. Philadelphia - Jake Debrusk, LW

    30. Arizona - Daniel Sprong, RW
    Last edited by matchesmalone; 06-10-2015, 01:00 AM.

  • #2
    Matches! Great to see you back bud :) And back in style I see, with what looks like a well-thought out and detailed post. I don't have the time to go over it properly now, but I will comment more soon.

    Comment


    • #3
      Ryan Strome left the Islanders to re-enter the draft? :p I don't have a full mock, but I have my top-10:

      1. Connor McDavid
      2. Jack Eichel
      3. Noah Hanifin
      4. Mitch Marner
      5. Dylan Strome
      6. Matt Barzal
      7. Ivan Provorov
      8. Zach Werenski
      9. Pavel Zacha
      10. Mikko Rantanen

      Lawson Crouse and Timo Meier are guys I can see just slipping into the top-10, but I highly doubt it. It sounds like scouts have gone cold on Crouse as a top-10 pick, which is the right call, imo. I never got the top-10 hype. Top-15 is better. I also don't see anyway Barzal drops out of the top-10, and if he does, it's a huge steal for whoever grabs him. Next up, since the Devils are drafting 6th, that's why I have Provorov at 7 instead of 6. I can't see the Devils taking another defenseman -- they need to start getting young forwards.

      Comment


      • #4
        I could definitely see Hanifin falling as far as 6th overall. He'll likely fall to at least 5th.

        Comment


        • #5
          OK so first of all, I have to say I really like your methodology here Matches; I'm definitely guilty of going by rankings and team needs in the past, and had never really considered looking at the draft history of specific GMs, except when it came to Bryan Murray and Ottawa. I'll also agree with Hanifin likely falling to 5th, and what a steal he will be there!

          There's only one player not on your list who I could see cracking the top-30 - Robin Kovacs. He seems to have fallen off the radar since his midterm ranking, so maybe there's something that happened that I'm ignorant of, but I think this guy will be a huge steal if he falls outside the first round. I would be very happy if Ottawa picked him up. He's a speedy, scoring winger and an agitator to boot. He led his team in scoring (a team with a mean age of 25) as a 17 year-old. His PPG numbers were better than Oliver Kylington's while they played for the same team. I'll agree that Konecny would be the best bet for Ottawa at 18, but if Kovacs is still available when Ottawa picks at 42, I hope they take him.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Dean Ambrose View Post
            Ryan Strome left the Islanders to re-enter the draft? :p I don't have a full mock, but I have my top-10:

            1. Connor McDavid
            2. Jack Eichel
            3. Noah Hanifin
            4. Mitch Marner
            5. Dylan Strome
            6. Matt Barzal
            7. Ivan Provorov
            8. Zach Werenski
            9. Pavel Zacha
            10. Mikko Rantanen

            Lawson Crouse and Timo Meier are guys I can see just slipping into the top-10, but I highly doubt it. It sounds like scouts have gone cold on Crouse as a top-10 pick, which is the right call, imo. I never got the top-10 hype. Top-15 is better. I also don't see anyway Barzal drops out of the top-10, and if he does, it's a huge steal for whoever grabs him. Next up, since the Devils are drafting 6th, that's why I have Provorov at 7 instead of 6. I can't see the Devils taking another defenseman -- they need to start getting young forwards.
            Whoops. Fixed.

            On the New Jersey issue, I completely forgot Ray Shero is the GM now. So much GM turnover around the league lately. But Shero mostly picks D in the early rounds, and then trades excess for help at other positions. Other teams are always looking for good D. E.g. Ryan Whitney, Goligoski, Joe Morrow.

            He usually picks from the CHL though, so Werenski seems less likely. But Lamiorello is still the boss, so maybe the USDP emphasis will continue to be pushed.

            As for Crouse, I think fans put too much emphasis on stats; obviously, because in so many cases it's all we have to go off. But scouts see so much more than we do. Aside from just the quantity of games, the quality of their assessment is a lot better at detecting things like hockey IQ, on-ice vision and awareness, and particularly, pro potential.

            Now mostly all the scouting reports have him top ten, but much more importantly Hockey Canada, brainchild of many hockey minds with decades of NHL playing and front-office experience, and they deemed Crouse worthy of a spot on Canada's WJC team at 17.

            I've talked about this before, but lets look more closely at the list of draft-aged players who've made this team in the past 10 years and where they were drafted:

            2014: Connor McDavid, Aaron Ekblad (1st), Sam Reinhart (2nd)
            2013: Nathan MacKinnon (1st), Jonathan Drouin (3rd)
            2012: Ryan Murray (2nd)
            2011: Sean Couturier (8th)
            2010: Taylor Hall (1st)
            2009: John Tavares (1st), Evander Kane (4th), Ryan Ellis (11th)
            2008: Steven Stamkos (1st), Drew Doughty (2nd), Luke Schenn (5th), Zach Boychuk (14th)
            2007: Karl Alzner (5th), Sam Gagner (6th)
            2006: Jonathan Toews (3rd)
            2005: Sidney Crosby (1st)

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Josh View Post
              OK so first of all, I have to say I really like your methodology here Matches; I'm definitely guilty of going by rankings and team needs in the past, and had never really considered looking at the draft history of specific GMs, except when it came to Bryan Murray and Ottawa. I'll also agree with Hanifin likely falling to 5th, and what a steal he will be there!

              There's only one player not on your list who I could see cracking the top-30 - Robin Kovacs. He seems to have fallen off the radar since his midterm ranking, so maybe there's something that happened that I'm ignorant of, but I think this guy will be a huge steal if he falls outside the first round. I would be very happy if Ottawa picked him up. He's a speedy, scoring winger and an agitator to boot. He led his team in scoring (a team with a mean age of 25) as a 17 year-old. His PPG numbers were better than Oliver Kylington's while they played for the same team. I'll agree that Konecny would be the best bet for Ottawa at 18, but if Kovacs is still available when Ottawa picks at 42, I hope they take him.
              Hm, yeah Kovacs seems like he could be a steal for sure. I wonder why the drop in the rankings. Worth noting that his resume is lacking IIHF tournament appearances compared to some of his countrymen peers.

              Most of the players I'd be looking at in the second round are defensemen. This draft is top heavy with elite forwards, meaning a handful of defensemen who would generally be first rounders are going to fall to the second round. Take your pick from offensive defensemen Mitch Vande Sompel, Vincent Dunn or Rasmus Anderson, two-way D Ryan Pilon or Noah Juulsen, or shutdown D Jonas Siegenthaler or Matt Spencer.

              Comment


              • #8

                Originally posted by matchesmalone

                Hm, yeah Kovacs seems like he could be a steal for sure. I wonder why the drop in the rankings. Worth noting that his resume is lacking IIHF tournament appearances compared to some of his countrymen peers.

                Most of the players I'd be looking at in the second round are defensemen. This draft is top heavy with elite forwards, meaning a handful of defensemen who would generally be first rounders are going to fall to the second round. Take your pick from offensive defensemen Mitch Vande Sompel, Vincent Dunn or Rasmus Anderson, two-way D Ryan Pilon or Noah Juulsen, or shutdown D Jonas Siegenthaler or Matt Spencer.
                I also really like Vincent Dunn. We've actually already got another prospect with the same name. If Ottawa could come out of Round 2 like this, I'd be a very happy fan:

                18 - Konecny
                42 - Kovacs
                48 - Dunn

                Comment


                • #9
                  It's interesting that you have Evgeni Svechnikov falling to 26th. A lot of people are saying the Russians might not really fall this year because of the KHL crumbling and Tampa Bay's success with getting top tier Russian talent with only alright picks.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Alfie11 View Post
                    It's interesting that you have Evgeni Svechnikov falling to 26th. A lot of people are saying the Russians might not really fall this year because of the KHL crumbling and Tampa Bay's success with getting top tier Russian talent with only alright picks.
                    I've heard this kind of talk too, and yeah it might have some merrit, in which case Provorov could go as high as sixth, Svechnikov is 15-25 range and even Guryanov is a likely first rounder.

                    But I'm not so sure man. I mean the options are either the KHL does fall apart, and another Russian league will spring up to replace it; it might not have all the glamor and high powered budgets, but Russian players will still like to play at home and contracts will still be tax free. Or the alternate (and even worse) scenario is that the KHL survives, backed by Russian investors, meaning boards of governors are further obliged to keep players at home and improve the product, which could do further harm to future transfer agreement negotiations.

                    That said, you're probably right, and Svechnikov might be a perfect fit in Detroit at 19.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Shero said the goal is to bring in young, fast, talented forwards in Jersey. I don't think he drafts a D in the first round.

                      Also, I don't see Hanifin dropping to 5. Nope. He's going to go 4th at the lowest, but probably 3rd. If he drops to 5, it's an absolute steal.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Dean Ambrose View Post
                        Shero said the goal is to bring in young, fast, talented forwards in Jersey. I don't think he drafts a D in the first round.
                        "Bring in," not draft. There are a myriad reasons team needs are practically irrelevant at the draft, just one is what Shero constantly reminded everyone of in Pittsburgh: if you take the best player available, regardless of position, you can then use that player as trade bait to acquire a more valuable player at your position of need than you would have if you drafted a less valuable player based on position.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Dean Ambrose View Post
                          Also, I don't see Hanifin dropping to 5. Nope. He's going to go 4th at the lowest, but probably 3rd. If he drops to 5, it's an absolute steal.
                          2010: Gormley, Fowler. I win.

                          Remember the Scott Niedermayer comparisons? Almost every scouting report had them both top five. Bob McKenzie had them four and five. They both fell, all the way to twelve and thirteen.

                          Also, Sidney Crosby, John Tavares and Patrick Kane: The last three under-aged prospects to break 120 points in the CHL. All three went first overall.

                          I see this year's draft as basically 2013++. Forget Eichel and McDavid for a moment. You have three elite level prospects in Strome, Marner and Hanifin, (MacKinnon, Drouin, Jones) who in any ordinary draft would be in competion for the top pick. In 2013 a lot of people thought Jones would go first, and nobody expected him to fall as far as fourth. With three prospects at the level of Strome, Hanifin and Marner, nobody would be surprised if any one went first or fell to third. Now back to reality; mix in Eichel and McDavid, and nobody should be surprised if any of the three fall to fifth.

                          But if, like in 2013 with Barkov, a Zacha, Crouse or Provorov slips into that three to five slot, and one of the big three falls out of the top five, then you are allowed to be surprised, but not unless.
                          Last edited by matchesmalone; 06-10-2015, 11:05 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by matchesmalone View Post

                            I've heard this kind of talk too, and yeah it might have some merrit, in which case Provorov could go as high as sixth, Svechnikov is 15-25 range and even Guryanov is a likely first rounder.

                            But I'm not so sure man. I mean the options are either the KHL does fall apart, and another Russian league will spring up to replace it; it might not have all the glamor and high powered budgets, but Russian players will still like to play at home and contracts will still be tax free. Or the alternate (and even worse) scenario is that the KHL survives, backed by Russian investors, meaning boards of governors are further obliged to keep players at home and improve the product, which could do further harm to future transfer agreement negotiations.

                            That said, you're probably right, and Svechnikov might be a perfect fit in Detroit at 19.
                            You make good points.

                            If I'm a playoff team, I'm thinking Russian. Especially if you're a perennial playoff team/contender. The fact is, unless you have superb drafting or you're really lucky, you likely aren't walking away from the draft with top line talent if you're drafting later. I think it's becoming more appealing to select Russian's because it's a risky move that can land you a top line talent.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by matchesmalone View Post

                              2010: Gormley, Fowler. I win.

                              Remember the Scott Niedermayer comparisons? Almost every scouting report had them both top five. Bob McKenzie had them four and five. They both fell, all the way to twelve and thirteen.

                              Also, Sidney Crosby, John Tavares and Patrick Kane: The last three under-aged prospects to break 120 points in the CHL. All three went first overall.

                              I see this year's draft as basically 2013++. Forget Eichel and McDavid for a moment. You have three elite level prospects in Strome, Marner and Hanifin, (MacKinnon, Drouin, Jones) who in any ordinary draft would be in competion for the top pick. In 2013 a lot of people thought Jones would go first, and nobody expected him to fall as far as fourth. With three prospects at the level of Strome, Hanifin and Marner, nobody would be surprised if any one went first or fell to third. Now back to reality; mix in Eichel and McDavid, and nobody should be surprised if any of the three fall to fifth.

                              But if, like in 2013 with Barkov, a Zacha, Crouse or Provorov slips into that three to five slot, and one of the big three falls out of the top five, then you are allowed to be surprised, but not unless.
                              This, pretty much. We've seen, more than once, a highly touted defenseman fall in the draft. While this isn't always the case, defensemen are much more of a question mark than forwards. Add in generational talents (McDavid + Eichel) and elite talent (Strome + Marner) and the writing is on the wall. And all it takes is one or two teams after that to have another player ranked above Hannifin for him to fall even further.

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