The best thing about doing mock drafts is how confident you are when you write them, and then how wrong you end up being.
That’s exactly why the mock draft you are reading right now has been deleted and started again several times.
I’ve always struggled outside the top three when it comes to my mock drafts, the only year I didn’t nail the top three was in 2016 when the Columbus Blue Jackets selected Pierre Luc Dubois with the third pick despite most predicting they’d take Jesse Puljujarvi.
After that, my track record isn’t great. So have a look at who I’ve projected to go where but after the first round is completed on June 22nd, please don’t point out my mistakes, I’ll be aware of them already.
1. Buffalo Sabres – Rasmus Dahlin – D – Frolunda (SWE)
No doubt in the mind of anyone, this is the Rasmus Dahlin draft. The best blueliner in the draft since Denis Potvin in 1973, he’ll be in an NHL uniform next season and a future star in defence.
2. Carolina Hurricanes – Andrei Svechnikov, RW – Barrie Colts (OHL)
A great player in all areas of the ice, he has such a high ceiling. 72 points in just 44 games for Barrie Colts last year he’ll help take the Hurricanes to that next level.
3. Montreal Canadiens – Filip Zadina – RW – Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
The most interesting pick depending on if the Canadiens stick to the script or trade the pick, Zadina is the best goalscorer in the draft, if Montreal stick to the script he could turn their fortunes around.
4. Ottawa Senators – Brady Tkachuk – LW – Boston University (Hockey East)
He’s big, he’s physical and he’s mean, he can become a star in this league as a dominant power forward once he develops further in BU for another season.
5. Arizona Coyotes – Noah Dobson – D – Acadie-Bathurst Titan (QMJHL)
The best blueliner not called Dahlin, Dobson really raised his stock this year and the Coyotes could add him to their already impressive blueline. With so many high-end prospects as forward in the organisation, Dobson becomes their best prospect not in the NHL.
6. Detroit Red Wings – Oliver Wahlstrom – LW – USA NDTP
It’s going to be a tough few years but a good few drafts for Detroit. Wahlstrom is one of the best scorers in the draft and will be worth the wait as he’s committed to Harvard next year. He’s a big forward with an elite shot, he could be right at home in Detroit soon.
7. Vancouver Canucks – Evan Bouchard – D – London Knights (OHL)
If he’s still available the Canucks have to take him to pair with Olli Juolevi as two of the best prospect defensemen in the league. He’s great at finding the net but also can quarterback the rush just as well, 87 points from the blueline says all you need to know.
8. Chicago Blackhawks – Quinn Hughes – D – Michigan (Big 10)
The best player still on the board, Quinn Hughes could go higher than 8, but the Hawks would be better of with him to help replace some of their aging blueliners. He’s cool and calm under pressure and he (and his younger brothers) will become stars soon.
9. New York Rangers – Adam Boqvist – D – Brynas (SWE)
Back to Sweden and Adam Boqvist who projects to be a high-end top 4 blueliner in the future, like most of the defenceman in this draft he could go higher. Leaving him in Sweden for a year or two will be the best for him, but he could help out a struggling franchise after.
10. Edmonton Oilers – Ty Smith – D – Spokane Chiefs
While he isn’t the most technically gifted on offense as a blueliner he’s still a great point producer with 73 points in 69 games. Edmonton need to sort themselves out and Ty Smith could help them down the line.
11. New York Islanders – Jesperi Kotkaniemi – C – Assat (FIN)
The first Finn in the draft, he could go higher but the Islanders would have themselves a stud in Kotkaniemi if he was there at 11. A year or two of development and he’s good to god, and if they lose Tavares they need this guy. But in all seriousness, they may need to trade up for him (And don’t be surprised to see him creep top 5)
12. New York Islanders (from Calgary) – Barrett Hayton – C – Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)
The Islanders would be reaching to take a defenceman after their first pick, so why not load up on centres in a draft that has limited centre potential with Barrett Hayton (who is probably the more likely of the two to be their 11th pick). Solid two-way guy who projects to be a great top 9 guy.
13. Dallas Stars – Joe Veleno – C – Drummondville Voltiguers (QMJHL)
Opinion on Veleno is split, some have him going around here, others have him sliding way down. 79 points in 64 games for Drummondville last year, he’s progressing well to be a great two-way centreman for the Stars.
14. Philadelphia Flyers (from St. Louis) – Joel Farabee – LW – USA U18
He reads the game exceptionally well and has a great pair of hands that will be useful for the Flyers as they look to finally start making good on some of their promise over the years (Carter Hart’s arrival can’t come soon enough)
15. Florida Panthers – Ryan Merkley – D – Guelph Storm (OHL)
Attitude and temper are the only things holding him back, any team who takes a chance on him could get a high reward, but he’s risky at 15, talented enough though.
16. Colorado Avalanche – Vitali Kravtsov – RW – Belye Medvedi (RUS)
Undersized but still high potential, he’s dynamic and hard to keep up with, using speed and skill to create plays. Only downside is he’s got little experience at a high level, but he’ll be in the KHL as of next year so expect him to start growing then.
17. New Jersey Devils – Bode Wilde – D – US U18
He’ll punish you physically, and also good for point production. He’s still got some work to do to round out his game, but once he does he’ll log minutes in the NHL and hold his own in no time.
18.Columbus Blue Jackets – Rasmus Kupari – C – Karpat (FIN)
He mixed time with Karpat and their U20 team and held his own in the mens league with 14 points in 39 games. Columbus are in a position where they can wait on guys, and he’s worth waiting on.
19. Philadelphia Flyers – Grigori Denisenko – LW – Yaroslavl (RUS)
Stacks of raw talent but a smaller frame that will see him slide down in this draft. Once he bulks up he’s a future playmaking winger in the draft on a scoring line in a few years.
20. Los Angeles Kings – Serron Noel – RW – Oshawa (OHL)
Big bruising powerforward out of Oshawa, he hits with all his 6’5″ frame but has the skating ability of a smaller guy. He’s a dark horse in the draft and could end up with one hell of a career.
21. San Jose Sharks – Calen Addison – D – Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL)
He’s had a solid year for the Hurricanes and was just south of a point-per-game in his second full year in the WHL. He’s got smarts, and moves the puck just about as well as anyone in the draft, he’s got a chance to be something great.
22. Ottawa Senators (from Pittsburgh) – Isac Lundestrom – C – Lulea (SWE)
He’s growing game by game and could even see himself slide up in the draft if anything. Great at both ends of the ice he could be a solid second line guy at the prime of his career.
23. Anaheim Ducks – Ryan McLeod – C – Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)
A naturally gifted centreman, he’s not going to be as good as his older brother with the Devils, but he’s got great puck movement and can become a dynamic second liner.
24. Minnesota Wild – Rasmus Sandin – D – Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)
He’s not flashy, and you won’t see him on many highlight reels. The best thing is you’ll hardly find him on anyone else’s, he’s reliable and calm with or without the puck, he just get’s it done as a two-way defenseman.
25. Toronto Maple Leafs – Mattias Samuelsson – D – USA U18
Most guys have Samuelsson going here and so do I. He’s big and reliable you can’t get past him easily. He’s still developing and the Leafs can afford to wait right now, but once he makes the jump he’ll fit right in and fit a need in the future in Toronto.
26.New York Rangers (from Boston) – Alexander Alexeyev – D – Red Deer Rebels (WHL)
At 6’3″ and 196lbs, he’s big and hard to move. He’s got a great shot that’s accurate and he fires it low which would be perfect for the powerplay. He’s going to be an intimidating force on the bluehshirts blueline.
27.Chicago Blackhawks (from Nashville) – Martin Kaut – RW – Dynamo Pardubice (CZE)
Great skater and elite hands, he’s got to work on his work in his own end but once he gets it all together he’ll be useful to the Hawks rebuild (just admit it, they’re going to go through one)
28.New York Rangers (from Tampa Bay) – Ty Dallandrea – C – Flint Firebirds (OHL)
This late in the round it’s easy to get one wrong (I’m getting my excuses in early), he needs to work on his defenseive work but going forward he’s got stacks of skill that makes other teams weary.
29. St. Louis Blues (from Winnipeg) – Jett Woo – D – Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)
If you want a flashy offensive defenseman, then don’t take this guy. He’s a big bodied blueliner who’s a truly gifted defender. He could work on his offence but he’ll hope at the Combine he did enough to ‘Woo’ a GM into taking him in the first round.
30. Detroit Red Wings (from Vegas) – Akil Thomas – RW – Dynamo Pardubice (CZE)
81 points in 68 games this year, Thomas could go a lot higher. He’s got bags of speed and can burn past you on the wing, he needs to add muscle before he’s NHL ready and that could take some time, but he’s got a good future
31. Washington Capitals – Dominik Bokk – RW – Vaxjo (SWE)
He’ll be late first early second for sure, Dominik Bokk will play in the SHL next year which isn’t a bad place for him to grow his game. He could develop into something great, but he’s guaranteed to be a top 9 winger with great vision and offensive upside.
So that’s it, all 31 first round picks predicted incorrectly by me.
Luckily I don’t have long to wait until I see just how wrong I was.