Part three of my mock draft series takes us from the end of the first round to our 41st overall pick. I’ll detail a handful of prospects that we could take at 41 as well. I’m not going to re-list the picks, you can find part one of my series here, and part two here. The only correction from part two is my pick for Toronto. I think they’ll pass on the American JT Compher, in favor of Canadian Jason Dickinson. This would leave Compher still on the board going into pick 27 to Colombus:
27. Colombus: Morgan Klimchuk, LW, WHL: With this being Colombus’ third pick in the first round, and them going with the big Zadorov on the back end and then the two-way center Alexander Wennberg, it wouldn’t surprise me if Colombus looked to add a scoring threat. I have Klimchuk as the fourth best winger in this draft, to snag him at 27th could leave the Jackets with a steal. Morgan’s a natural sniper with an outstanding release. He’s got a good motor and a great skating ability, which should both help him overcome his slight 5-11, 180 pound stature.
28. Calgary: Zach Fucale, G, QMJHL: It’s very rare for an 18 year old goalie to lead a team to a Memorial Cup championship, and that’s exactly what Fucale’s done. With Calgary having a huge hole in net, Calgary would be very pleased with the top goalie in the draft falling to their third pick---although it’s unlikely he’ll last.
29. Dallas: JT Compher, C, USHL- The gritty American was profiled in round two of my series, but I’ve since changed that pick to Jason Dickinson. I’ll profile Dickenson here to make up for that. Corey Pronman says that Dickson can physically take over a game and he’s an advanced defensive thinker. His junior coach says he’ll play at a weight of 200-210, although he’s only 6-0, 174 lbs right now. The coach adds that Jason hasn’t really started shaving yet. Dickinson’s got above average offensive skills across the board in addition to his two-way approach. Both Dickinson and Compher play a similar game, and both the Stars and the Leafs will be getting very good, comparable prospects. Dickinson may have the upside, while Compher is the safer pick.
30. Chicago: Madison Bowey, D, WHL- Led by two way center Mark McNeil and skilled European forward Teuvo Tervainen, the Hawks are very solid up front as far as prospects go. Bowey’s a great skating defender who’s game is very similar to fellow prospect Robert Hagg. Madison’s got the size (6-1, 200 lbs) to go with the speed as well. Bowey projects as a top-4 two way blue liner with a better shot of being a top pair guy than a bottom pair guy. He’s a safe pick and will be a mainstay on an NHL blue line for years.
31. Florida: Ryan Hartman, C, Plymouth- Played alongside of JT Compher on the USA World Junior Championship shutdown line in Ufa this past holiday season. Hartman is described by Bill Metzler as a “ball of hate powerforward,” and compares himself to Mike Richards. Florida would be joyus to add someone who will be able to add to the teams young defensive core including newly added Seth Jones and goalie of the future Jacob Markstrom. Hartman’s got good skating and offensive abilities, but it’s his plus physicality (at only 5-11, 185 pounds) and IQ that should have him off the board by the start of the second round.
32. Colorado: Shea Theodore, D, WHL- If Colorado is going to pass on the top defender the first time around, they certainly won’t do it the second time around. Colorado needs defensive help, and while I’m not totally confident on Theodore, I’m very confident that Colorado wont go forward/forward. Theodore is a 6-2, 175 pound offensive defender that is a dynamic skater. Aside from his wheels, Theodore has above average skills, including a heavy shot, to go along with slightly above average IQ. He will need to improve his defense and physicality, but those things should come with experience and strength.
33. Tampa bay: Dillon Heatherington, D, WHL- I don’t think that there is any way to replace Vinny Lecavelair outside of the top five picks, so I don’t think reaching for a center here is the right move. Dillon’s 6-3, 200lb frame will add size and toughness to the Tampa Bay blue line. He’s an above average skater and has an above average level of physicality. He’s average to slightly above average everywhere else, but he doesn’t have any deficiencies. Unless Tampa Bay goes with Barkov (which is a possibility, now that Vinny’s gone), I expect them to address their second line center need in free agency.
34. Montreal: William Carrier, LW, QMJHL- In continuance with the Canadien’s attempt to replicte what the Bruins have done, they select the brusing power forward with the Lucic comparisons. Metzler says Carrier’s defensively responsible and could still put on 15 pounds---on top of his already intimidating 6-2, 205 pound frame. Carrier’s got a good shot and by multiple accounts is very good in the cycle game. The most intriguing part of Carriers game is his great skating, as he’s one of the best skating power forwards in the draft.
35. Carolina: Chris Bigras, D, OHL- Carolina’s been vocal about it’s search of a top-4 defender this year. They can’t pass up on the elite forward they’ll get in the first round, but they’ve got a shot at one here in Bigras. Bigras has modest size, at only six feet tall, but his 187 lbs gives him a nice strong frame. Bigras reminds me a lot of Matt Carle from a size/capability standpoint as Bigras projects as a second power play unit guy in addition to someone who could play some difficult defensive minutes. He’s a very heady player, as his high end thinking drives his effective and efficient play.
36. Montreal: Laurent Dauphin, C, QMJHL- While he’s slender at only 166 pounds, he’s got decent height at 6-0; but Laurent’s size doesn’t hold him back from being a complete 200 foot player with some serious offensive upside. He’s got outstanding puck skills, in addition to a great skating ability and hockey IQ. He projects as someone who will fit in on a top nine, with the ceiling of a quality second line center. The “Q” connection doesn’t hurt as well, as the Habs love taking local players.
37. Edmonton: Adam Erne, LW, QMJHL- While it’s no secret the Oilers could use defensive help, if the draft plays out this way, they’ll go with a forward. I think there’s a good chance of one of the recent defenders selected to still be on the board come Edmonton’s pick, but if those guys are gone, Erne fits the bill. They’ve compiled a ton of skill over the past few years on the wings, but they lack an imposing physical forward. Erne, unlike Hall, Eberle, or Yakupov, is a power forward. At 6-1, 195 pounds, he’s got a lot of bulk left to be put on. Pronman describes Erne as a horse. At this point in the draft Erne’s got the best combination of size, skating ability, and physicality. If he blossoms offensively, he could put up a ton of points playing along side of all the talent Edmonton has up front.
38. Buffalo: Mike McCarron, RW, USHL- I keep going back to the Sabre’s general theme of the past few years and that is getting more physical. Earlier in my mock series I have them with 6’4” Darnell Nurse (defender) and 6’5” Frederik Gauthier. If you’re into trends, you could have predicted my selection of the 6’5.5” power forward. McCarron is the premier power forward in this years draft if you value physicality the most. He’s extremely strong on the puck, and is able to protect it very well. He also gets off his quality shot using his slightly above average speed on the rush. This pick could also be a goalie.
39. New Jersey: Goaltender. I don’t focus as much on the goalies, so I don’t really have a way to go about picking the second best goalie behind Fucale. If they want to go with a position player, I think two-way centers Nicolas Petan and Connor Hurley could be quality options.
40. Dallas: Will Butcher, D, USHL- Last year, the Stars took the 6’7” defender Jamie Oleksiak, which should plenty compensate for the 5’10” Butcher. Will’s play is driven by his high-end skating, and his above average puck skills. He projects to be a second pair player, probably lacking the upside of a top pair guy, but has a nice floor and should be an NHL player down the road. He should be able to play on a second power play unit and could face other teams best players.
41. Flyers: There are a handful of guys the Flyers could look at if this is how the draft goes. I don’t think that many defenders will go by this point, so if I were a betting man, I’d guess at 41 we’d go with a defender that I already named. Here are some bios of a handful of forwards and defenders that we could be interested at 41st:
Jordan Subban, QMJHL (5-9, 176)- He’s basically a smaller PK Subban. Scouts rave about his skating and his puck skills, both of which are high end. He adds a great shot to the mix, which rounds out the profile of one of the top offensive defenders in the draft. He’s got that elite level upside of a PP QB on the top unit, but the question marks that surround 5-9 defenders. He wont be a first rounder, and I doubt he’ll make it to the third. If we don’t acquire any other second rounder’s, this could be our only shot at the last dominant offensive defender in the draft.
Brett Pesce, Hockey East (6’3”, 170)- Brett just finished up his freshmen season at the University of New Hampshire. He’s described as an advanced defensive defender for his age. He skates well and has an above average physical game. He makes good outlets from the back end. Not too many people think he’s got offensive upside, but at least one scout (G Morin, ESPN) praises his puck movement and thinks he does have that offensive upside.
Linus Arnesson, Allsv (6’2”, 185)- The top defender from the U20 tournament this year hails from Sweden. Playing in the tier-2 pro league, he plays a very solid defensive game, showing maturity beyond his years. Showing no glairing weaknesses, Linus is an above average skater with a great physical game and great IQ. He’s got puck moving potential, but his value as a two-way guy comes from his great breakouts and calm demeanor with the puck. One scout said he’s got “tremendous upside based on toughness, skill, smarts, and feet.”
Tommy Vannelli, USHS (6’2”, 165)- The top US high schooler in the draft, Tommy Vannelli is personally, my highest rated defender in this group. He’s an offensive defender that lit up the score sheet at the U18 tourney a few months ago. Two goals and an assist in seven games may not seem that much, but scouts raved about his ability to get shots to the net. He’s got great offensive skills and is an above average thinker. He’s not very physical but that could have to do more with his lack of strength at this time.
Jonathan Ismael-Diaby, QMJHL (6’5”, 230)- Pronman describes him as a “big, tough, defender, good in own zone." If Coburn is truly sent out for second round picks, this kid could be a potential replacement. He moves well for a massive guy and uses that massive reach as well. Metzler says he will gladly fight or lay a big hit. The scouting services are all over the board on him, the ISS has him at 98th but McKenn’s hockey has him at 45th.
Nicolas Petan, C, WHL (5’8.5”, 163)- He was the co scoring leader in the WHL last season, and as Eric pointed out in his recent prospect article that he did it against opposing teams’ top players. He’s got great offensive skills across the board, headlined by his high end IQ. 120 points in 71 games is a serious point total for a draft eligible player.
Arrturi Lehkonen, LW, SM-L (5’11”, 160)- This sniper hails from Finland, playing in the top pro league in the country. He’s got no holes in his offensive game, hilighted by his plus shot, with great skating ability. He’s got a great snipers IQ, excelling in finding ways to get off his shot. He’s not a gritty player, due to his size, but reportedly works hard.
Valentin Zykov, RW, QMJHL (6’, 210)- The Russian powerforward played in the Q this year and showed not only great offensive ability, but also showed some “intriguing” physicality, according to Corey Pronman. Led by his high end shot, he’s got great tools across the board. He throws his weight around and thinks the game well. He lacks above average speed, but the well-roundedness of his game should leave his skating to be not that much of an issue.
Kerby Rychel, RW, OHL (6’, 205)- The Flyers would love to add this big, physical, power forward to the mix, and would be delighted if Rychel fell to 41. His skills are headlined by a great shot and a high end physicality. He’s only an average skater and slightly above average thinker, but he’s got all the tools to be an NHL top-6 winger down the line.
***All of the information in the series of articles I’ve posted has come from free online websites such as: hockeyprospectus.com (written by Corey Pronman), lastwordonsports.com, thehockeyguys.com, thehockeywriters.com, ESPN.com, thehockeynews.com, prospectreport.com, hockeysfuture.com, capgeek.com.