The draft lottery is complete and we now know which teams will make the top 14 selections in the 2015 NHL Draft. So without fail, we're already into NHL Mock Draft season ... and we kick off today with this entry from theScore.
They have the Boston College defenseman Noah Hanifin falling all the way to the Philadelphia Flyers at No. 7.
|Pk||NHL Team||Player||Pos||Current Team|
|1||Oilers||Connor McDavid||C||Erie (OHL)|
|2||Sabres||Jack Eichel||C||Boston University (NCAA)|
|3||Coyotes||Mitch Marner||F||London (OHL)|
|4||Maple Leafs||Dylan Strome||C||Erie (OHL)|
|5||Hurricanes||Lawson Crouse||LW||Kingston (OHL)|
|6||Devils||Mikko Rantanen||RW||TPS (Finland)|
|7||Flyers||Noah Hanifin||D||Boston College (NCAA)|
|8||Blue Jackets||Mathew Barzal||C||Seattle (WHL)|
|9||Sharks||Ivan Provorov||D||Brandon (WHL)|
|10||Avalanche||Zach Werenski||D||Univ. of Michigan (NCAA)|
|11||Panthers||Pavel Zacha||F||Sarnia (OHL)|
|12||Stars||Timo Meier||F||Halifax (QMJHL)|
|13||Kings||Travis Konecny||F||Ottawa (OHL)|
|14||Bruins||Oliver Kylington||D||Farjestad (Sweden)|
Hanifin is the top-ranked North American defenseman according to NHL Central Scouting. Many have considered him a top three pick throughout the early draft prediction season, but theScore has him falling basically due to the draft lottery.
The thought is that Edmonton would have otherwise taken Hanifin, but that other teams in the top six need offense before they need defense. That certainly rings true for the Arizona Coyotes, who have a bunch of defense in their system, but this is the sort of thing that's pretty impossible to predict until draft day.
Hanifin joined Boston College early as a 17-year-old, and the combination of his big frame (he's already 6'3, 205 at at 17) and unreal hockey sense made him a stud freshman. He's a two-way guy with a great eye on the breakout, and his transition game might be his best quality. He can also do stuff like this:
Despite sitting as the No. 3 North American skater in both the midterm and final rankings, it wouldn't be totally shocking to see Brandon Wheat Kings defenseman Ivan Prohorov or Michigan Wolverines defenseman Zach Werenski picked before Hanifin -- and given the Flyers scouting roots in Western Canada, Prohorov could be high on their board.
But Hanifin would be a wonderful pick at No. 7 if he's available. That's just a big if.