2015 NHL DRAFT ARTICLES


The intrigue for the 2015 NHL Entry Draft reached its crescendo on April 18 when the Edmonton Oilers cashed out as the Draft Lottery winner for the fourth time in the last six years – thus anointing themselves as the winners in the Connor McDavid Sweepstakes.

“He’s not only the most productive junior player, but also the most dynamic,” then-Oilers GM Craig MacTavish admitted to Mike Brophy of NHL.com
“I can’t tell you how exciting it is for us to win this lottery. Any team would have been just over the moon about winning the lottery, and we’re the same. It’s a game-changer.”

While the Buffalo Sabres lost, they are also winners of a not-too-shabby consolation prize – Jack Eichel.

“We don’t have the first pick, but we have the second pick and we have said all along there are two top-end, impact players, if not franchise players in this draft and they both play the right position (center) for rebuilding,” Buffalo GM Tim Murray explained to Brophy. “So as disappointed as we are in not having the No. 1 pick, we’re extremely happy to be picking No. 2.”

With the first two picks about as set in stone as any first two draft picks can be, the 2015 NHL Draft really begins once the Arizona Coyotes are on the clock with the third overall pick – the first of three the Coyotes own in the first round.

Arizona will shape the Draft depending on what GM Don Maloney does with the third pick. Do they look to continue to add to a young reserve of blueliners and select Noah Hanifin? If they decide on a forward, is it winger Lawson Crouse of centers Dylan Strome or Mitchell Marner? Given the intrigue and machinations swirling around the Coyotes, does Maloney entertain the possibility of dealing the third overall pick for immediate help and look to build the future late in the first round?

While there is a drop off in talent once you get by McDavid and Eichel, there is no lack of talent as there is depth throughout the draft – a point made by Red Line report’s Kyle Woodlief.

“Given the strength and depth of this year’s draft class, there appear to be a lot of teams highly motivated to get something done, so the inclination is to think we will see an active trade market at the draft,” Woodlief predicted in a column for USA Today.

In addition to Woodliefs’ depth proclamation, I expect trades to be the name of the game in the first round of Draft Weekend at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida because of the number of teams that have multiple picks in the first round. The same also holds true for other rounds in the 2015 NHL Draft.

The Coyotes (Nos. 3 and 30) lead the charge of six teams with multiple first round draft picks. The other teams include the Oilers (Nos. 1 and 16), the Sabres (Nos. 2 and 21), the Toronto Maple Leafs (Nos. 4 and 24), the Philadelphia Flyers (Nos. 7 and 29), and the Winnipeg Jets (Nos. 17 and 25).

The Sabres and Oilers will be the most active teams early with Buffalo set to make three picks within the first 31 selections and with Edmonton scheduled to make three picks in the Top 33.

Conversely, barring a trade, the New York Islanders will not make their first selection until Round 3 (72nd).

You can expect a lot maneuvering as teams look to move up and down in the first round, as well teams who will be looking to replace lost first round selections.

For example, the New York Rangers have been discussing deals involving backup goalie Cam Talbot who whined during Henrik Lundqvist’s absence. You can bet President/GM Glen Sather covets the Oilers second 1st round pick (formerly Pittsburgh’s) as well as keeping his eyes on Edmonton’s two second round draft picks (Nos. 33 and 57) as a fallback.

However, Sather and the Rangers will draw competition from the Ottawa Senators who can offer up prospect Robin Lehner or veteran Craig Anderson. Even the Dallas Stars have floated Kari Lehtonen’s name.

Time will only tell to see which team blinks first. In a perfect world, Edmonton would keep the second of their 1st round picks and draft a goalie for the future and possibly use their 2nd round picks and/or prospects to secure their goalie of the present.

In this Mock Draft, each player has ratings for the following scouting “services”: NHL’s Central Scouting (CS), The Hockey News (THN), International Scouting Service (ISS), and Bob McKenzie of TSN. CS breaks down their ratings by North American skaters (NAS), European skaters (ES), North American goaltenders (NAG) and European goaltenders (EG). THN lists each prospect’s NHL Translation while ranking skaters and goaltenders together. ISS provides a prospects’ comparable NHL player (for their Top 30 rated players) and has separate rankings for skaters and goaltenders. McKenzie and TSN rank the Top 75 prospects along with 10 Honourable Mentions and rank skaters and goaltenders together.

The First Round Draft positions utilized are those as of 12p.m. on Thursday, June 25, 2015.

1. EDMONTON OILERS – CONNOR MCDAVID – C
CS: # 1 NAS —– THN: # 1 (Franchise Center)
ISS: # 1 (Sidney Crosby) —– TSN: # 1 (Gilbert Perreault)
If new Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli plays his card properly in terms of draft selections and draft dealings, Edmonton might be able to bid a fond farewell to the NHL Lottery for some time because McDavid is that good. He is the ultimate franchise player who is so good that ISS scout Phil Myre said McDavid’s “acceleration and execution with the puck at high speed is the best I’ve seen since Bobby Orr.”

2. BUFFALO SABRES – JACK EICHEL – C
CS: # 2 NAS —– THN: # 2 (Franchise Center)
ISS: # 2 (Mike Modano) —– TSN: # 2 (Ryan Getzlaf)
Eichel is no slouch in terms of the franchise player label and is in good company with comparisons to Modano, Getzlaf and Joe Sakic (according to ISS). One concern is that Eichel is not sure where he wants to play next season. It is possible he returns to Boston University, which sets the Sabres up for another round of Draft Lottery bingo and the chance to select Auston Matthews first overall in 2016.

3. ARIZONA COYOTES – DYLAN STROME – C
CS: # 4 NAS —– THN: # 4 (Top Line Center)
ISS: # 3 (Anze Kopitar) —– TSN: # 5 (Ron Francis)
The third overall pick is really where the 2015 Draft starts because it has been McDavid and Eichel one-two for a long time. Once again dark clouds rise over the Arizona sky in terms of where the Coyotes will play. If the Coyotes stay the course, Strome will help give Arizona a strong one-two punch down the middle when he teams up with Max Domi.

4. TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS – MITCH MARNER – RW
CS: # 6 NAS —– THN: # 5 (Scoring Winger)
ISS: # 6 (Patrick Kane) —– TSN: # 4 (Patrick Kane)
With no GM in place, Director of Player Personnel Mark Hunter is expected to run the Leafs draft. With rumors swirling over possible deals (i.e. salary dumps) for Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf, T.O. could go forward or defense. If decide to go for offense then the Leafs will have a fine one in Marner.

5. CAROLINA HURRICANES – NOAH HANIFIN – D
CS: # 3 NAS —– THN: # 3 (Two-Way Defender)
ISS: # 5 (Erik Johnson) —– TSN: # 3 (Jay Bouwmeester)
Another team that is looking to move some salary (Eric Staal or Jeffrey Skinner), Carolina could forward or defense. If Toronto goes defense, it is possible the Hurricanes would snap up Marner. If not, Carolina goes for the best d-man prospect in Hanifin. The youngster still has room for growth and maturity and will not turn 19 until the middle of the season.

6. NEW JERSEY DEVILS – LAWSON CROUSE – LW
CS: # 5 NAS —– THN: # 8 (Power Forward)
ISS: # 4 (Ryan Kesler) —– TSN: # 7 (Andrew Ladd)
A new era is dawning in New Jersey with Ray Shero taking over from Lou Lamoriello as GM. Look for Shero to change the culture of the club and to open up the offense as he is able to reload the cupboard. He is a power forward with what ISS calls “elite” level size and strength (6-4/215). He also has a mean streak as evidenced by his eight game suspension in his Junior’s teams final playoff contest.

7. PHILADELPHIA FLYERS – IVAN PROVOROV – D
CS: # 7 NAS —– THN: # 6 (Two-Way Defender)
ISS: # 7 (Andrei Markov) —– TSN: # 8 (Mark Giordano)
Another team with a new sheriff in town as Ron Hextall returns to Philly as the newest “Flyer Du Jour” as the Broad Street Bullies look to return to prominence. Hextall learned his craft well while with the Kings and should look to Provorov. The youngster is playing in the WHL and might not be as quick as Hanifin to join the rush; Provorov is a much heavier hitter.

8. COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS – MIKKO RANTANEN – RW
CS: # 1 ES —– THN: # 12 (Two-Way Winger)
ISS: # 9 (Jeff Carter) —– TSN: # 10 (Jakub Voracek)
The Jackets led the NHL is games lost to injury so they might want to consider drafting help in the training staff. The failure to sign Mike Reilly might have Columbus look to Zach Werenski with this pick, but Rantanan is a solid top-six forward with size (6-4/209) and ability to play in the Finnish Elite League at the age of 18.

9. SAN JOSE SHARKS – TIMO MEIER – RW
CS: # 10 NAS —– THN: # 13 (Scoring Winger)
ISS: # 14 (Chris Kunitz) —– TSN: # 12 (Marian Hossa)
The Sharks might be joining the Oilers as one of those teams on the prowl for goaltending help; therefore, it is possible that this pick ends up somewhere else. If San Jose keeps it, Meier brings a European background to a player who is hard on the puck and managed 44 goals in the QMJHL last season.

10. COLORADO AVALANCHE – ZACH WERENSKI – D
CS: # 9 NAS —– THN: # 9 (Two-Way Defender)
ISS: # 11 (Rob Blake) —– TSN: # 11 (Brent Seabrook)
For me, it was a tough decision as to which way I would go if I were the Avalanche. After looking at the later parts of the draft, it seems there is more value in Werenski at 10 and help in other areas later in the draft. While he is the third d-man taken in the draft, he has the ability and skills to be the best of the bunch.

11. FLORIDA PANTHERS – MATTHEW BARZAL – C
CS: # 11 NAS —– THN: # 10 (Playmaking Center)
ISS: # 8 (Claude Giroux) —– TSN: # 9 (Justin Williams)
Florida needs to find ways to improve an offense that was 25th in goals and 24th on the PP. Barzal brings playmaking skills to the table based on his hockey sense and skating. Played in only 44 games due to, what THN calls, a freak off-ice knee injury. He came back to lead Canada in scoring and to a Bronze medal in the U-18 championships in April.

12. DALLAS STARS – JAKUB ZBORIL – D
CS: # 12 NAS —– THN: # 22 (Physical Defender)
ISS: # 22 (Niklas Kronwall) —– TSN: # 14 (Niklas Hjalmarsson)
The Stars have a good corps of puck-moving d-men, but their physical defensive blueliners are projects. At 6-2/185, Zboril is still maturing as a player but he has a jump on other European-born players as he made the jump to the QMJHL last season.

13. LOS ANGELES KINGS – PAVEL ZACHA – C
CS: # 8 NAS —– THN: # 7 (Power Forward)
ISS: # 10 (James Neal) —– TSN: # 6 (Eric Staal)
While the Kings have concerns on defense, L.A.’s path to repeating as Cup winners was stalled by an inconsistent offense. At 6-3/214, Zacha gives the Kings the option of a solid power forward that might stay at center or shift to the wing.

14. BOSTON BRUINS – KYLE CONNOR – C
CS: # 13 NAS —– THN: # 11 (Scoring Center)
ISS: # 13 (Kyle Turris) —– TSN: # 13 (Brandon Saad)
Boston is another perennial playoff team that will look to 2015 as a bump in the road and treat it as a year to reload. Like most teams, the Bruins are looking for ways to add scoring and speed. Connor used his speed, fast hands and goal scorer’s know-how to snipe 34 goals in 60 USHL games with Youngstown – helping them to league record 17-game winning streak.

15. CALGARY FLAMES – NICK MERKLEY – RW
CS: # 23 NAS —– THN: # 15 (Scoring Winger)
ISS: # 19 (Brayden Schenn) —– TSN: # 17 (Nicklas Backstrom)
The Calgary native might not be the fastest or most elegant skater in the draft, but he is a playmaker who is stronger on the puck than you might expect from someone his size (5-10/187). While his goal dropped from 25 to 20, his assists numbers skyrocketed to 70 from 33.

16. EDMONTON OILERS – ILYA SAMSONOV – G
CS: # 1 E-G —– THN: # 38 (Starting Goaltender)
ISS: # 1 G (Not Available —– TSN: # 19 (Andrei Vasilevskiy)
I still have to believe this pick could be in motion in the right deal for the right goaltender. Even if they moved later picks and/or prospects for a veteran-type goalie, Samsonov still makes sense moving forward. While first round goaltenders that succeed are few and far between, the Oilers can’t take the chance that another team won’t snap up Samsonov later in the first round. Besides, why have some nay draft picks if you are not going to gamble every now and then.

17. WINNIPEG JETS – EVGENY SVECHNIKOV – C/RW
CS: # 17 NAS —– THN: # 16 (Scoring Winger)
ISS: # 18 (Jakub Voracek) —– TSN: # 18 (Max Pacioretty)
While he is listed as a RW, Cape Breton used him at center toward the end of the regular season and the playoffs. He ended up winning 52% of his faceoffs in a seven-game losing effort against the Memorial Cup host Quebec Remparts.

18. OTTAWA SENATORS – TRAVIS KONECNY – C
CS: # 14 NAS —– THN: # 24 (Scoring Center)
ISS: # 12 (Zach Parise) —– TSN: # 15 (Pat Verbeek)
Konecny and a few other players of his size (5-10/172) will all owe Tyler Johnson a few adult beverages because the Lightning’s play in the playoffs will have opened some eyes. Travis has had a history of concussions and shoulder problems so he will hate to adjust his game slightly, but his hockey sense and compete level should win the day.

19. DETROIT RED WINGS – THOMAS CHABOT – D
CS: # 16 NAS —– THN: # 23 (Offensive Defender)
ISS: # 16 (John Klingberg) —– TSN: # 25 (Alex Edler)
The Red Wings are a team whose star players are beginning to see the end of superb careers, so Detroit has to start replenishing their system. With Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha on the horizon, the Wings could look to the blueline and draft Jakub Zboril’s Saint John teammate. Chabot stepped up his play when Zboril was injured and parlayed his season into a spot with Canada’s U-18 team.

20. MINNESOTA WILD – PAUL BITTNER – LW
CS: # 26 NAS —– THN: # 17 (Scoring Winger)
ISS: # 17 (James van Riemsdyk) —– TSN: # 20 (James van Riemsdyk)
Bittner (6-4/204) has the size that NHL scouts drool over. The Crookston, MN native has drawn some criticism for not using his size more and for not producing more despite being on a line with NHL draftees Nic Petan and Oliver Bjorkstrand. Bittner is solid in terms on 5-on-5; PPP and PK play and is willing to drive to the net for goals.

21. BUFFALO SABRES – OLIVER KYLINGTON – D
CS: # 6 ES —– THN: # 20 (Offensive Defender)
ISS: # 32 (Not Available) —– TSN: # 24 (Keith Yandle)
Kyle Woodlief of Red Line Report reminded everyone that current Sabres GM Tim Murray drafted Erik Karlsson when he was in Ottawa. Woodlief refers to Kylington as “Karlsson-lite” so it isn’t too much of a stretch for Buffalo to use one of their many picks on a player that one scout told THN reminded him of a cross between Niklas Kronwall and Trevor Daley.

22. WASHINGTON CAPITALS – JEREMY ROY – D
CS: # 21 NAS —– THN: # 26 (Two-Way Defender)
ISS: # 23 (Marc-Edouard Vlasic) —– TSN: # 29 (Dan Boyle)
With three veteran UFA d-men (including Mike Green), looking to bring in first round depth is not a bad thing. Roy’s size (6-0.183) isn’t ideal, but his sense for the game more than makes up for it. He is good at moving the puck, especially on that first breakout pass – and he has the ability to QB the PP as a right-handed shot from the point.

23. VANCOUVER CANUCKS – FILIP CHLAPIK – C
CS: # 18 NAS —– THN: # 30 (Scoring Center)
ISS: # 40 (Not Available) —– TSN: # 38 (Sean Couturier)
Chlapik is never going to win any awards for his skating style, but his hockey sense and natural abilities more than make up for it. Born in the Czech Republic, Chlapik joined Charlottetown of the QMJHL and did not miss a beat, scoring 33 and 42 assists in 64 games.

24. TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS – COLIN WHITE – C
CS: # 29 NAS —– THN: # 19 (Two-Way Center)
ISS: # 15 (Patrice Bergeron) —– TSN: # 16 (Brandon Sutter)
A wrist injury and a bout with mono wreaked havoc with White’s USHL season with Team USA. However, the Boston College recruit responded in the U-18 with six goals and three assists in seven games. THN joined ISS in making Patrice Bergeron comparisons with White.

25. WINNIPEG JETS – NICHOLAS ROY – C
CS: # 45 NAS —– THN: # 18 (Two-Way Center)
ISS: # 47 (Not Available) —– TSN: # 73 (Joe Colbourne)
Roy might be a bit of a reach at #25, but for a team that is seeking to add size at center then Nicholas is worth the gamble. At 6-4/203, Roy is already an NHL center. The problem is that his skating is not. Roy needs to step up his development and production this season after a pair of 16-goal season with Chicoutimi. He did score three goals and three assists in seven games with Canada’s U-18 team.

26. MONTREAL CANADIENS – JAKE DEBRUSK – LW
CS: # 19 NAS —– THN: # 28 (Two-Way Winger)
ISS: # 27 (Kyle Okposo) —– TSN: # 28 (Ondrej Palat)
While Jake (6-0/176) is a bit smaller than his father Louie (6-1/225), the younger DeBrusk far outshines his father in terms of offensive ability. After posting 39 points in 72 games in his rookie season with Swift Current, Jake erupted for 42 goals and 39 assists in 72 games. The offensive improvement was keyed by his strong skating and solid hockey IQ.

27. ANAHEIM DUCKS – BROCK BOESER – RW
CS: # 27 NAS —– THN: # 14 (Scoring Winger)
ISS: # 35 (Not Available) —– TSN: # 26 (Kyle Okposo)
While the Ducks have some youth among their secondary scorers, their big guns (Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf) are turning 30. Boeser affords the Ducks a solid opportunity to bring in a potential big-time scorer. Originally committed to attend Wisconsin, Boeser reopened his recruitment and chose North Dakota.

28. TAMPA BAY LIGHNTING– JOEL ERIKSSON EK – C
CS: # 4 ES —– THN: # 27 (Two-Way Center)
ISS: # 20 (Lars Eller) —– TSN: # 23 (Derick Brassard)
Ek is the solid two-way performer that the Detroit Red Wings won Stanley Cups with, so it shouldn’t be a stretch for GM Steve Yzerman to select the Swedish center. He split time playing in the Swedish Elite League and the Swedish Junior League. He held his own against the older players and averaged a point a game against his age level.

29. PHILADELPHIA FLYERS – BRANDON CARLO – D
CS: # 25 NAS —– THN: # 31 (Shutdown Defender)
ISS: # 21 (Marc Staal) —– TSN: # 22 (Brayden Coburn)
While the Flyers are carrying Chris Pronger for salary cap purposes, they could use a physical d-man as part of their rebuild. Carlo (6-5/185) fits that need to a “T”. His reach is even bigger than what you might expect from someone 6-5. His skating ability is also better than one would expect from such a big player.

30. ARIZONA COYOTES – NOAH JUULSEN – D
CS: # 22 NAS —– THN: # 33 (Two-Way Defender)
ISS: # 29 (Ryan McDonagh) —– TSN: # 37 (Kevin Bieksa)
Two-way d-man who has spent the last two years refining his game in North America with Everett of the WHL. While he is a little smaller than you would like (6-1/181), THN pointed out that scouts say he plays bigger than he really is – muck like Kevin Bieksa and Rhett Warrener. He played the PP in Juniors and his ability to do so in the NHL will signify the difference between a top four d-man and a third-pair defenseman.

FIRST ROUND DRAFT PICK TRANSACTIONS
1. The Pittsburgh Penguins’ first-round pick will go to the Edmonton Oilers as the result of a trade on January 2, 2015 that sent David Perron to Pittsburgh in exchange for Rob Klinkhammer and this pick.
2. The New York Islanders’ first-round pick will go to the Buffalo Sabres as the result of a trade on October 27, 2013 that sent Thomas Vanek to New York in exchange for Matt Moulson, a second-round pick in 2015 and this pick (being conditional at the time of the trade). The condition – Buffalo will receive a first-round pick in 2014 or 2015 at New York’s choice – was converted on May 22, 2014 when the Islanders elected to keep their 2014 first-round pick.
3. The Nashville Predators’ first-round pick will go to the Toronto Maple Leafs as the result of a trade on February 15, 2015 that sent Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli to Nashville in exchange for Olli Jokinen, Brendan Leipsic and this pick.
4. The St. Louis Blues’ first-round pick will go to the Winnipeg Jets as the result of a trade on February 11, 2015 that sent Evander Kane, Zach Bogosian and Jason Kasdorf to Buffalo in exchange for Tyler Myers, Drew Stafford, Joel Armia, Brendan Lemieux, and this pick (being conditional at the time of the trade). The condition – Winnipeg will receive the lowest of Buffalo’s first-round picks in 2015 – was converted on April 27, 2015 when the Islanders were eliminated from the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs, ensuring that the Blues’ first-round pick would be lower.
Buffalo previously acquired this pick as the result of a trade on February 28, 2014 that sent Ryan Miller, Steve Ott and conditional second and third-round picks in 2014 to St. Louis in exchange for Jaroslav Halak, Chris Stewart, William Carrier, a conditional first-round pick in 2014 and this pick.
5. The New York Rangers’ first-round pick will go to the Tampa Bay Lightning as the result of trade on March 5, 2014 that sent Martin St. Louis and a conditional second-round pick in 2015 to New York in exchange for Ryan Callahan, a conditional first-round pick in 2014, a conditional seventh-round pick in 2015 and this pick.
6. The Tampa Bay Lightning’s first-round pick will go to the Philadelphia Flyers as the result of a trade on March 2, 2015 that sent Braydon Coburn to Tampa Bay in exchange for Radko Gudas, a third-round pick in 2015 and this pick (being conditional at the time of the trade). The condition – Philadelphia will receive the Lightning’s first-round draft pick in 2015 if it is not the first overall selection – was converted on March 30, 2015 when Tampa Bay qualified for the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs ensuring that this pick could not be a lottery selection.
7. The Chicago Blackhawks’ first-round pick will go the Arizona Coyotes as the result of a trade on February 28, 2015 that sent Antoine Vermette to Chicago in exchange for Klas Dahlbeck and this pick.

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In this Second Round Mock Draft, each player has ratings for the following scouting “services”: NHL’s Central Scouting (CS), The Hockey News (THN), International Scouting Service (ISS), and Bob McKenzie of TSN. CS breaks down their ratings by North American skaters (NAS), European skaters (ES), North American goaltenders (NAG) and European goaltenders (EG). THN lists each prospect’s NHL Translation while ranking skaters and goaltenders together. ISS provides a prospects’ comparable NHL player (for their Top 30 rated players) and has separate rankings for skaters and goaltenders. McKenzie and TSN rank the Top 75 prospects along with 10 Honourable Mentions and rank skaters and goaltenders together.

The Second Round Draft positions utilized are those as of 12p.m. on Thursday, June 25, 2015.

31. BUFFALO SABRES – MACKENZIE BLACKWOOD – G
CS: # 1 NA-G —– THN: # 39 (Starting Goalie)
ISS: # 5 G (Not Available) —– TSN: # 35 (Braden Holtby)
The Sabres emptied out their goaltending cupboard as part of their strategy to make an eventual run at Connor McDavid. While they will need to bring in someone for the present (e.g. Cam Talbot?), Blackwood sets them up for the not-too-distant future. The big netminder (6-4/215) has played two full seasons with Barrie (OHL).

32. ARZIONA COYOTES – JORDAN GREENWAY – LW
CS: # 47 NAS —– THN: # 50 (Power Forward)
ISS: # 31 (Not Available) —– TSN: # 62 (Benoit Pouliot)
Don’t be too surprised if Greenway’s physical makeup (6-5/223) and potential as a power forward doesn’t push him into the first round. He still has some maturing to do hockey-wise, but once he develops his game he has a chance to be a steal of the draft.

33. EDMONTON OILERS – GABRIEL CARLSSON – D
CS: # 2 ES —– THN: # 29 (Shutdown Defender)
ISS: # 30 (Braydon Coburn) —– TSN: # 27 (Jonathan Ericsson)
A disappointing U-18 tournament might have cost Carlsson a shot at the first round. While is most likely this pick is involved in whatever deal Edmonton makes for a goaltender, we will presume they keep the pick for Mock Draft’s sake. It makes sense for the Oilers to draft a defensive d-man with solid hockey sense and size – a nice addition for whomever is in goal in Edmonton.

34. COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS – VINCE DUNN – D
CS: # 32 NAS —– THN: # 34 (Offensive Defender)
ISS: # 51 (Not Available) —– TSN: # 36 (Trevor Daley)
Dunn’s game is built on being an offensive d-man. One scout told THN that Dunn not only joins the rush, but is just as adept at leading the rush. A bit on the smallish side (6-0/185), Dunn overcomes it thanks to a high compete level and solid skating.

35. CAROLINA HURRICANES – JANSEN HARKINS – C
CS: # 15 NAS —– THN: # 21 (Scoring Winger)
ISS: # 25 (Jordan Staal) —– TSN: # 30 (Ryan O’Reilly)
Todd Harkins, Jansen’s Dad, was the younger Harkins’ GM in Prince Albert. He uses his hockey sense to be more playmaker than goal scorer. Jansen needs to work on his skating if he wants to see top six forward minutes on a consistent basis.

36. NEW JERSEY DEVILS – DENIS GURYANOV – RW
CS: # 7 ES —– THN: # 66 (Not Available)
ISS: # 24 (Chris Stewart) —– TSN: # 21 (Chris Kreider)
New GM Ray Shero continues his effort to revitalize the Devils offense. Guryanov (6-3/183) is still filling out and learning to play to his size. Once he does that, he will easily be a top six forward because of a wide arsenal of offensive moves who has a nose for the net.

37. BOSTON BRUINS – DANIEL SPRONG – RW
CS: # 20 NAS —– THN: # 25 (Scoring Winger)
ISS: # 26 (Marian Gaborik) —– TSN: # 33 (Alex Semin)
The Amsterdam, Holland native is the next step in new GM Don Sweeney’s attempt to increase scoring and skating to the Bruins organization. Sprong has tallied back-to-back 30 goal seasons (30 and 39) with Charlottetown (QMJHL). Sprong is equal parts sniper and playmaker.

38. COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS – JACK ROSLOVIC – RW
CS: # 39 NAS —– THN: # 37 (Scoring Winger)
ISS: # 36 (Not Available) —– TSN: # 34 (Chris Kunitz)
The Columbus native allows the Blue Jackets to continue to stockpile talent. Roslovic has shown an ability to survive and thrive with 2016 Draft wunderkinds Auston Matthews and Matthew Tkachuk. Roslovic, who will be attending the University of Miami-Ohio, made a big splash at the U-18 by scoring five goals and 4 assists in five games.

39. SAN JOSE SHARKS – DANIEL VLADAR – G
CS: # 2 E-G —– THN: # 40 (Starting Goalie)
ISS: # 2 G (Not Available) —– TSN: # 47 (Martin Jones)
The Sharks are no strangers at drafting, developing and winning with European-born goaltenders. Vladar played poorly and was pulled against Team USA in the U-18. However, he did how the ability to split time with Kladno’s Men’s Team and its U-20 Team in the Czech Republic. He uses his size (6-5/185) in the butterfly. Vladar just needs to refine his game and technique before making the transition to the NHL.

40. COLORADO AVALANCHE – NICOLAS MELOCHE – D
CS: # 40 NAS —– THN: # 54 (Physical Defender)
ISS: # 37 (Not Available) —– TSN: # 44 (Francois Beauchemin)
At 6-2/198, Meloche is what you expect him to be a – defensive d-man who plays a physical (and sometimes nasty) game. Rather than stand out in one part of the game, Meloche does a little bit of everything well.

41. NEW JERSEY DEVILS – JEREMY BRACCO – C
CS: # 60 NAS —– THN: # 74 (Not Available)
ISS: # 28 (Tyler Johnson) —– TSN: # 53 (Mats Zuccarello)
It is very possible that the Devils might, and should, look to draft a defenseman at this point. However, Bracco’s talent and ability is too much to pass up. The only thing standing between Bracco and a definite first round selection is his size (5-9/173). Bracco makes up for his lack size with very strong skating skills and outstanding puck skills. While he is more of a playmaker, Bracco has a goal scorer’s shot and should thrive in the NHL as a PP specialist – at the very least.

42. OTTAWA SENATORS – ZACH SENYSHYN – RW
CS: # 38 NAS —– THN: # 47 (Scoring Winger)
ISS: # 39 (Not Available) —– TSN: # 40 (Joel Ward)
The Ottawa native spent most of the season playing on the fourth line for a loaded Sault Ste. Marie team. Despite the lack of top line ice time, Senyshyn score 26 goals and 19 assists in 66 games in OHL rookie season.

43. LOS ANGELES KINGS – JONAS SIEGENTHALER – D
CS: # 12 ES —– THN: # 79 (Not Available)
ISS: # 56 (Not Available) —– TSN: # 32 (Simon Despres)
At 6-3/220, Siegenthaler already has an NHL body. In addition, he is also a mobile defenseman and a good skater for someone his size. Jonas will not be a big point producer, but he is able to play smart game and keep the puck moving.

44. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING – ROOPE HINTZ – C/LW
CS: # 14 ES —– THN: # 56 (Two-Way Winger)
ISS: # 52 (Not Available) —– TSN: # 58 (Lars Eller)
Hintz has proven to be a jack-of-all trades with his ability to play the wing or the pivot. While he needs to develop a consistency to his game, Hintz has shown that he can elevate his game by spending last season in the Finnish Elite League. Hintz also has a familiarity with North American hockey after playing Junior A hockey in Tampa Bay and Bismarck in 2012/13.

45. CALGARY FLAMES – MITCH VANDE SOMPEL – D
CS: # 34 NAS —– THN: # 36 (Offensive Defender)
ISS: # 74 (Not Available) —– TSN: # 63 (Kimmo Timonen)
After utilizing just one pick on their last 10 first rounders, the Flames will look to a unique player. One would have a hard time finding another d-man who runs the point on the PP and then moves up to forward to kill penalties like Vande Sompel. It is that hockey IQ and compete level that have allowed him to overcome his lack of size (5-10/181),

46. PITTSBURGH PENGUINS – ALEXANDER DERGACHEV – RW
CS: # 17 ES —– THN: # 58 (Power Forward)
ISS: # 45 (Not Available) —– TSN: # 54 (Devante Smith-Pelly)
In the salary cap era, the Penguins have done a great job of keeping Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin happy contract-wise. However, that same salary cap has hampered their ability to find permanent linemates for them. At 6-4/201, Dergachev presents an imposing target for either star center. He has all the tools to be a bona fide NHL power forward – now he just needs to bring all of his components together. Missed being eligible for last year’s draft by 12 days.

47. WINNIPEG JETS – RYAN GROPP – RW
CS: # 71 NAS —– THN: # 55 (Scoring Winger)
ISS: # 50 (Not Available) —– TSN: # 56 (Michael Raffl)
Originally committed to North Dakota, Gropp switch plans and signed with Seattle two years ago. He has an NHL body (6-3/192) and features strong skating [and] a good shot. Gropp needs to harness and develop his size and use it more to his advantage – like driving to the net more. Gropp saw some time on the same line with first rounder Matthew Barzal.

48. OTTAWA SENATORS – ERIC CERNAK – D
CS: # 16 ES —– THN: # 99 (Not Available)
ISS: # 42 (Not Available) —– TSN: # 41 (Michal Rozsival)
At 6-3/202, Cernak already brings an NHL-ready body to the table. He uses his size and hockey IQ to win battles down low and he has the ability to get into proper position to get into the shooting lanes. Cernak has a good enough shot to be used on the PP and is a must on the PK.

49. DALLAS STARS – CALLUM BOOTH – G
CS: # 2 NA-G —– THN: # 86 (Not Available)
ISS: # 8 G (Not Available) —– TSN: # 51 (Brian Elliott)
While the Stars have Jack Campbell, there has been some talk that they might move Kari Lehtonen. The 6-3/200 Booth plays his angles well and has the ability to square up to the shooter. While he does a lot of the little things well, he does need to work on his rebound control. Booth has plenty of time to fill in the holes because he doesn’t turn 19 until late May 2016.

50. MINNESOTA WILD – TOM NOVAK – C
CS: # 28 NA —– THN: # 25 (Scoring Center)
ISS: # 44 (Not Available) —– TSN: # 57 (Derek Stepan)
Novak already has a majority of the Wild fans won over. The Wisconsin native committed to the U. of Minnesota. The 6-0/181 Novak needs to work on his skating and bulk up a bit more, but his playmaking abilities can’t be questioned.

51. BUFFALO SABRES – ANTHONY BEAUVILLIER – C
CS: # 33 NAS —– THN: # 48 (Scoring Center)
ISS: # 41 (Not Available) —– TSN: # 43 (Jaden Schwartz)
Beauvillier was one of the two captains at the CHL Top Prospects game (Connor McDavid was the other) – which shows how scouts are willing to overlook a lack of size (5-10/181) when they see talent. His leadership ability and talent level are seen at both ends of the ice. His development from his rookie season to his sophomore season with Shawinigan was remarkable as he went from 33 points (9-24) to 94 points (42-52) in just three more games last season.

52. CALGARY FLAMES – NIKITA KOROSTELEV – RW
CS: # 50 NAS —– THN: # 46 (Scoring Winger)
ISS: # 60 (Not Available) —– TSN: # 69 (P.A. Parenteau)
There is no fear of losing Korostelev to the KHL because the 6-1/196 RW has spent the last two seasons with Sarnia (OHL) – giving him a nice head start against other Euro-born prospects. His skating is the one thing that probably kept him out of the first round. Despite that, his size and offensive game will make him a PP specialist.

53. CALGARY FLAMES – PARKER WOTHERSPOON – D
CS: # 43 NAS —– THN: # 49 (Two-Way Defender)
ISS: # 54 (Not Available) —– TSN: # HM (Mark Stuart)
Wotherspoon is a two-way defenseman who seems to fall between the cracks because he does not have the size (6-0/170) of a big physical d-man and he does not have the complete offensive game to be an offensive d-man. What he does do well is compete every shift and look to make plays.

54. CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS – YAKOV TRENIN – LW
CS: # 48 NAS —– THN: # 43 (Two-Way Winger)
ISS: # 59 (Not Available) —– TSN: # 64 (Mickael Backlund)
The 6-2/179 Trenin is another Euro-born prospect who decided his best path to the NHL was through Major Junior. Trenin seemed to improve game-by-game with Gatineau (QMJHL). While he does need to work on his skating, he has shown a willingness to work on his game. A poor defender at the start of the season, Trenin was seeing time on the PK.

55. NASHVILLE PREDATORS – MITCHELL STEPHENS – C
CS: # 112 NAS —– THN: # 65 (Not Available)
ISS: # 33 (Not Available) —– TSN: # 46 (Andrew Shaw)
The sentimental pick would be d-man Caleb Jones, brother of star blueliner Seth Jones. Predators need for more help offensively has to swing the day at this point of the draft. Stephens is a playmaker who bases his game on hockey sense and a strong competitive spirit – both of which were on display for Canada at the U-18.

56. ST. LOUIS BLUES – DENIS YAN – LW
CS: # 30 NAS —– THN: # 45 (Scoring Winger)
ISS: # 48 (Not Available) —– TSN: # 38 (J.T. Miller)
The 6-1/187 Yan is an interesting story. He is an American-born player who was raised in Russia. He started with the U.S. National Team Development Program before joining Shawinigan (QMJHL) last season 33 goals and 31 assists in 59 games and seven goals in seven playoff games.

57. EDMONTON OILERS – GUILLAUME BRISEBOIS – D
CS: # 41 NAS —– THN: # 74 (Not Available)
ISS: # 46 (Not Available) —– TSN: # 48 (Marc-Edouard Vlasic)
The Oilers have more than enough offensive prospects in the cupboard. Brisebois is a two-way d-man who served as Bathurst’s captain at the age of 17 (in his second year of Juniors). At 6-2/175, Brisebois has time to develop his game from both a physical and maturity level. Despite his youth, he is a strong competitor with a solid hockey IQ.

58. COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS – JAKOB FROSBACKA-KARLSSON – C
CS: # 31 NAS —– THN: # 57 (Two-Way Center)
ISS: # 55 (Not Available) —– TSN: # 52 (Daniel Winnik)
The Swedish center is taking an unusual route to the NHL. He has spent the last two seasons with Omaha (USHL) and has committed to play at Boston University. It will be interesting to see of “JFK” teams with Jack Eichel in a Boston-area school next season. The Blue Jackets are developing an organization where they can afford a 2ns round pick on a player who, at the very least, be a solid two-way third-line center who is strong on faceoffs and kills penalties.

59. NEW YORK RANGERS – AUSTIN WAGNER – LW
CS: # 35 NAS —– THN: # 67 (Not Available)
ISS: # 43 (Not Available) —– TSN: # 64 (Dwight King)
Wagner will continue the Rangers quest to add stronger and stronger skaters to the lineup. The 6-1/178 Wagner uses that speed to be dangerous on the rush and when he kills penalties. Of most interest to Rangers fans, Wagner uses his speed to be defenders wide and then funnel everything to the slot and to the net. He could turn out to be a bigger Ryan Callahan-type of player.

60. ARIZONA COYOTES – CHRISTIAN FISCHER – RW
CS: # 37 NAS —– THN: # 59 (Power Forward)
ISS: # 38 (Not Available) —– TSN: # 45 (Alex Killorn)
For a team that seems to have perennial ownership issues, it isn’t the worst thing in the world to draft a player who is committed to Notre Dame as they can stash him there for three or so years. Meanwhile, the Coyotes add a power forward (6-1/21) who has drawn some interest at the end of the first round.

61. PHILADELPHIA FLYERS – GRAHAM KNOTT – LW
CS: # 57 NAS —– THN: # 53 (Scoring Winger)
ISS: # 73 (Not Available) —– TSN: # Not Available (Not in Top 85)
The 6-3/192 Knott has drawn varied scouting reports. Some see him merely as a third-line forward who will hit and pop the occasional goal. Others see him as a top-six forward. While he almost doubled his point totals with Niagara (23 to 44), there are those scouts who believe he should be productive. The feeling is that if he can’t get stronger and work on raising his compete level, Knott will live up to the latter scouting report.

SECOND ROUND DRAFT PICKS TRANSACTIONS
1. The Toronto Maple Leafs’ second-round pick will go to the Columbus Blue Jackets as the result of a trade on March 5, 2014 that sent Marian Gaborik to Los Angeles in exchange for Matt Frattin, a conditional third-round pick in 2014 and this pick. Los Angeles previously acquired this pick as the result of a trade on June 23, 2013 that sent Jonathan Bernier to Toronto in exchange for Ben Scrivens, Matt Frattin, and this pick (being conditional at the time of the trade). The condition – Los Angeles will receive a second-round pick in 2014 or 2015 at Toronto’s choice – was converted on January 18, 2014 when Toronto’s second-round pick in 2014 was traded to the Anaheim Ducks.
2. The Philadelphia Flyers’ second-round pick will go to the Boston Bruins as the result of a trade on October 4, 2014 that sent Johnny Boychuk to New York in exchange for a second-round pick in 2016, a conditional third-round pick in 2015 and this pick. The Islanders previously acquired this pick as the result of a trade March 4, 2014 that sent Andrew MacDonald to Philadelphia in exchange for Matt Mangene, a third-round pick in 2014 and this pick.
3. The Florida Panthers’ second-round pick goes to the New Jersey Devils as the result of a trade on February 26, 2015 that sent Jaromir Jagr to Florida in exchange for a conditional third-round pick in 2016 and this pick.[25]
4. The Dallas Stars’ second-round pick will go to the Ottawa Senators as the result of a trade on July 1, 2014 that sent Jason Spezza and Ludwig Karlsson to the Stars in exchange for Alex Chiasson, Nick Paul, Alex Guptill and this pick.
5. The Los Angeles Kings’ second-round pick was re-acquired as the result of a trade on March 5, 2014 that sent Hudson Fasching and Nicolas Deslauriers to Buffalo in exchange for Brayden McNabb, Jonathan Parkers, LA’s second-round pick in 2014 and this pick. Buffalo previously acquired this pick as the result of a trade on April 1, 2013 that sent Robyn Regehr to the Kings in exchange for a second-round pick in 2014 and this pick.
6. The Boston Bruins’ second-round pick will go to the Tampa Bay Lightning as the result of a trade on March 2, 2015 that sent Brett Connolly to Boston in exchange for a second-round pick in 2016 and this pick.
7. The Detroit Red Wings’ second-round pick will go to the Dallas Stars as the result of a trade on March 1, 2015 that sent Erik Cole and a conditional third-round pick in 2015 to Detroit in exchange for Mattias Janmark, Mattias Backman and this pick.
8. The New York Islanders’ second-round pick will go to the Buffalo Sabres as the result of a trade on October 27, 2013 that sent Thomas Vanek to New York in exchange for Matt Moulson, a conditional first-round pick in 2014 and this pick.
9. The Washington Capitals’ second-round pick will go to the Calgary Flames as the result of a trade on March 1, 2015 that sent Curtis Glencross to Washington in exchange for a third-round pick in 2015 and this pick.
10. The Vancouver Canucks’ second-round pick will go to the Calgary Flames as the result of a trade on March 2, 2015 that sent Sven Baertschi to Vancouver in exchange for this pick.
11. The Chicago Blackhawks will receive the 24th pick of this round (54th overall) as compensation for not signing 2010 first0-round draft pick Kevin Hayes.
12. The Montreal Canadiens’ second-round pick will go to the Edmonton Oilers as the result of a trade on March 2, 2015 that sent Jeff Petry to Montreal in exchange for a conditional fifth-round pick in 2015 and this pick.
13. The Anaheim Ducks’ second-round pick will go to the Columbus Blue Jackets as the result of a trade on March 2, 2015 that sent James Wisniewski and Detroit’s third-round pick in 2015 to Anaheim in exchange for Rene Bourque, William Karlsson and this pick.
14. The New York Rangers’ second-round pick will go to the Arizona Coyotes as the result of a trade on March 1, 2015 that sent Keith Yandle, Chris Summers and a fourth-round pick in 2016 to New York in exchange for John Moore, Anthony Duclair, a conditional first-round pick in 2016 and this pick.
15. The Tampa Bay Lightning’s second-round pick will go to the New York Rangers as the result of a trade March 5, 2014 that sent Ryan Callahan, a conditional first-round pick in 2014, a first-round pick in 2015, and a conditional seventh-round pick in 2015 to Tampa Bay in exchange for Martin St. Louis and this pick (being conditional at the time of the trade). The condition – the Rangers will receive a second-round pick in 2015 if Callahan is re-signed by Tampa Bay for 2014/15 – was converted on June 25, 2014 when Tampa Bay signed Callahan to a six-year contract.
16. The Chicago Blackhawks’ second-round pick will go to the Philadelphia Flyers as the result of a trade on February 27, 2015 that sent Kimmo Timonen to Chicago in exchange for a conditional fourth-round pick in 2016 and this pick.

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The 2015 NHL Draft represents the third consecutive year that the New York Rangers will go without a 1st round draft pick. Barring any trades, this year or next, it will be four years and counting come the 2016 NHL Draft as the Rangers moved that 1st rounder to the Arizona Coyotes in the Keith Yandle deal.

As a result of the Martin St. Louis-Ryan Callahan trade, the Rangers first selection in 2015 will be the Second Round with the 59th pick.

The Rangers have made the 59th overall selection four times in the history of the NHL Draft. The last time the Rangers made the 59th pick was last year when they selected goaltender Brandon Halverson.

Prior to the Halverson pick, you have to go back to the 1999 NHL Draft to find the next time the Blueshirts made the 59th overall pick. They drafted Center David Inman in the second round. Inman played four years at Notre Dame and then played a couple of years in the minors – splitting 71 AHL games with Hartford and Lowell and 69 ECHL games with Charlotte.

You have to jump 12 years to the 1978 Draft to find the Rangers exercising the 59th pick – a selection who would make history two years later as a member of the 1980 Miracle on Ice team. Fourth round pick Dave Silk made his bones in the Olympics, but he did play 249 NHL games.

The first time the Rangers made the 59th overall pick was 1969 when they spent a fifth round pick on defenseman Gord Smith – a veteran of 299 NHL games with Washington and Winnipeg.

Unless the Rangers are busy on draft day, they will make five draft picks during their time in Sunrise, Florida. The Rangers own the following picks in the Second Round (59th overall) and Third Round (89th overall).

Odds are the Rangers will be adding to that above-listed total as President/GM Glen Sather is actively shopping goaltender Cam Talbot. While the team would love to swap Talbot for Edmonton’s second 1st round pick (#16), that is highly unlikely to happen unless the Blueshirts are able to play the Oilers off the Sabres, Sharks and Flames.

Further complicating the matter is that Ottawa is making Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner available and there are talks that Dallas could be persuaded to deal Kari Lehtonen.

Talbot’s one-year deal at $1.45 million is very enticing to any team looking to acquire a goalie. It would cost at least two to three times that much if a team wanted to sign an UFA. The problem is that any team acquiring Talbot is prohibited by the CBA of extending him until after January 1, 2016.

On Thursday morning, the NY Post’s Larry Brooks reported that the Rangers have given teams permission to speak to Talbot’s representatives to judge Cam’s opinions on an eventual contract extension.

Darren Dreger of TSN reported on Tuesday that the Rangers were offered two 2nd round picks for Talbot, but the Blueshirts turned down the deal. Dreger confirmed the offer was not from Edmonton but he could not confirm if the draft picks were in the same year or not.

There was some talk that the Oilers were offering their 2nd round pick (#33) and defenseman Martin Marincin, but the Rangers were cool to the deal – and rightly so. Marincin, much like Dylan McIlrath, will need to clear waivers to be assigned to the AHL so there is no reason to bring him and run the risk of losing him on waivers.

For the purpose of my Rangers Mock Drafts, we are going to work under the presumption that Talbot remains with the Rangers – at least through the Draft. To take any other stance would be to open up too many variables. Also, the Rangers could decide to keep Talbot and look to move him prior to the 2016 Draft. The Blueshirts would not get as much at that point, but a team would probably make a deal in order to get a jump start on signing Talbot.

However, if the Rangers were able to secure the 16th overall pick from the Oilers (or another 1st round pick) I would not hesitate to use it on any of the following four players: Paul Bittner, Jake DeBrusk, Brock Boeser, and Colin White. If the Rangers were really daring, they could try and move down a couple of spots in the first round and look to add some additional picks.

As we move ahead to the Second Round and Third Round previews, I have selected three players of interest per round and they are listed in order of preference.

SECOND ROUND

NIKITA KOROSTELEV – RW
CS: # 50 NAS —– THN: # 46 (Scoring Winger)
ISS: # 60 (Not Available) —– TSN: # 69 (P.A. Parenteau)

The 6-1/196 Korostelev spent the last two seasons preparing himself for the NHL and North American style of hockey by playing for Sarnia (OHL). He did show some incremental offensive improvement between his first year in Sarnia (60-17-21-38) and his second year (54-24-29-53).

There is a concern that skating will hold him back, but that his skill set still points to him being a solid PP specialist.

ISS Scout: “Exceptional shot, quick release. Can score and make plays, although sometimes makes blind passes [See, he already sounds like a Ranger]. Speed is not great, but he has good sense and not afraid to play in traffic.”

AUSTIN WAGNER – LW
CS: # 35 NAS —– THN: # 67 (Not Available)
ISS: # 43 (Not Available) —– TSN: # 64 (Dwight King)

The 6-1/178 Wagner works equally as hard in all three zones on the ice. He continues the Rangers plan of adding speed and strong skaters to the lineup. In 61 games with Regina (WHL), Wagner scored 20 goals and 19 assists – not too bad for a youngster who just turned 18. He could turn out to be a little bigger and quicker version of Ryan Callahan.

ISS: “Funnels everything to the net and skates to the slot with ease. Works hard 200 feet and shows strong discipline to take care of one zone at a time, doesn’t force the game. Expect his level of play and production to rise next year as he takes on a bigger role in the offense.”

SEBASTIAN AHO – LW
CS: # 18 ES —– TSN: # HM (Patrik Elias)
ISS: # 61 (Not Available) —– THN: # Not Rated (Not Available)

It should be interesting come draft day because there are two prospects named Sebastian Aho who are draft-eligible. This Aho is born in Finland and is a winger while the other Aho is a Swedish defenseman who, interestingly enough, is rated as the 13th best European skater.

Aho is one of those players in this year’s draft who will owe Tyler Johnson some props for opening up scouts eyes to players who are six-feet tall. Of course, the Rangers have experience with such players (Martin St. Louis and Mats Zuccarello).

While it won’t make sense to play Aho on one wing and Zucc on the other, it would be equally as foolish to pass on the 5-11/172 based just on his size. With limited draft picks available, the Rangers have to take the best players they can and sort out the rest.

ISS Skill: “Creative, intelligent winger who reads the game extremely well and has strong offensive tools.

ISS NHL Potential: “Second line offensive winger who can bring a high-tempo, creative game.”

THIRD ROUND

A.J. GREER – LW
CS: # 57 —– THN: # 60 (Power Forward)
ISS: # 57 (Not Available) —– TSN: # Not Rated (Not Available)

Truth be told, I am very high on the 6-3/203 Greer that I would give every consideration of drafting him the second round – which is why I would like to see the Rangers add some extra draft picks.

The Quebec native spent his freshman year as a teammate of Jack Eichel at Boston University. It was a rollercoaster ride of a season as Greer battled early season benching, to a “promotion” to the fourth line before seeing action on the Terriers second line during the Frozen Four’s final two games.

While he tallied just three goals and four assists in 37 games, much is expected of Greer. His game is based on his size and strength and a solid skating game for someone of his size.

Could you imagine the havoc the Beantown Line of Greer, Chris Kreider and Kevin Hayes could wreak on the NHL?

CHRISTIAN JAROS – D
CS: # 40 ES (Not Available) —- THN: Not Rated (Not Available)
ISS: 69 (Not Available) —– TSN: # Not Rated (Not Available)

The 6-3/201 right-handed shooting defenseman has extra motivation during the 2014/15 season as he went undrafted during the 2014 NHL Draft. While known for being a physical defensive d-man, Jaros has good skating and puck-handling skills and might merit some PP in the future because he has a pretty good shot from the point.

ISS: “A strong two-way figure on the backend [who] brings it on both sides of the puck, defensively intelligent, attention to detail and active, while offensively showing good vision and good decisions on the first pass and ability to generate from the point on the PP.”

KEEGAN KOLESAR – RW
CS: # 65 NAS —– THN: # Not Rated (Not Available)
ISS: 65 (Not Available) — TSN: # HM (Matt Martin)

ISS sees the 6-1/217 Kolesar as a “3rd line, two-way, power forward” who can play on the PK. He is the type of player who is going to bring a physical presence to whatever line he is on. He can add valuable defensive play to a scoring second line and much-needed offensive spark to the checking third line.

ISS: “Big winger with above average hands and puck control, heads up and carries the puck with confidence. North-south type but has good upside [potential].”

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Trying to map together a draft strategy for the New York Rangers in the Fourth Round (#119), Sixth Round (#179), and Seventh Round (#209) is a lot like trying to find that proverbial needle in the proverbial haystack. However, that hasn’t stopped me before and it isn’t going to stop me now.

The game plan has to be to try and get the biggest bang out of the buck as possible. It does not matter if it seems that the team is over-stockpiling talent at one position – that is what trades are for. It is also why I have a goaltender on my list in the sixth round – although he could be gone by the time the Rangers draft.

Once again I list three players in my preferred order of selection in each round.

FOURTH ROUND

VEETI VAINIO – D
CS: # 25 ES —– THN: # Not Rated (Not Available)
ISS: # 89 (Not Available) —– TSN: #: Not Rated (Not Available)

Skating and the ability to join the rush are the calling cards of the 6-2/169 right-handed shooting d-man. ISS says that his so adept at joining the rush that he acts more as a fourth forward than the first blueliner in on the rush. He is going to need to work on maturing and getting stronger so that he can add a physical component to his game.

ISS: “offensively gifted defenceman who possesses an elite skill-set and skating ability. Quality offensive defenseman who can QB the breakout and the PP.”

ADAM MUSIL – C/RW
CS: # 61 NAS — THN: # 71 (Not Available)
ISS: # 104 (Not Available) — TSN: #65 (Andrew Desjardins)

NHL bloodlines run very deep for the 6-3/202 forward. His father Frantisek was a veteran of 797 NHL games as a d-man. Brother David made his NHL debut on defense for Edmonton playing four games and his uncle is Bobby Holik.

Musil has room to develop his game, especially in terms of improving his skating. While ISS projects him out as a potential top-six forward candidate, he might fit nicely in the niche his Uncle Bobby had as a force as one of the NHL’s best checking/third line centers.

KEVIN STENLUND – C
CS: # 21 ES — THN: # Not Rated (Not Available)
ISS: 90 (Not Available) —– TSN: # Not Rated (Not Available)

At 6-3/205, Stenlund already has an NHL body – and he doesn’t turn 19 until September. On the down side, he has had two knee injuries and only time will tell as to if/how they play a role in his development. Stenlund served as the captain for his HV71 U-20 team.

ISS: “A big center who plays with maturity and great leadership. Utilizes his big frame well in protecting the puck … needs significant development time.”

SIXTH ROUND

RYAN BEDNARD – G
CS: # 22 NA-G —– THN: # Not Rated (Not Available)
ISS: # 19 G (Not Available) —– TSN: # Not Rated (Not Available)

Many of you are wondering why I have a goaltender listed given the depth in the organization. The answer is simple, you can never have enough goaltending and in a draft with such few selections it is best to get the best you can.

The 6-4/180 Bednard has committed to Bowling Green University after posting a 2.86 GAA and a .913 SV% for Johnstown of the NAHL. Factor in four years of college and another two years honing his craft in the minors, it will be at least six years before Bednard could logically state his case for a shot as the number one in New York – and a lot of things can happen during that time.

Bednard uses the butterfly style and pays attention to playing his angles. One benefit that he would bring is his ability to control the puck with his stick and distribute it to his teammates.

DRYDEN HUNT – C
CS: # 111 NAS —– THN: # Not Rated (Not Available)
ISS: 144 (Not Available) —– TSN: # Not Rated (Not Available)

Hunt is another one of those players who spent last season with a chip on his shoulder as he went undrafted in the 2014 Draft. Much like Christian Jaros, there might be a couple of teams regretting that they didn’t take a late round flyer on either player.

Hunt (6-0/199) projects out as a two-way center who exploded between his second WHL season (62-21-19-40) and his third season that was split between Regina and Medicine Hat (71-33-50-83).

ISS: “An effective two-way center who shows strong strength, balance and protection skating up ice. Third line ceiling. Secondary offensive contributor who can play special teams well.

GRANT GABRIELE – D
CS: # 90 NAS —– THN: # Not Rated (Not Available)
ISS: # 141 (Not Available) —– TSN: # Not Rated (Not Available)

The 6-1/167 d-man is a product of the U.S. National Team Development Program. Gabriele does a little bit everything well. His game should develop as he starts to mature on the ice and off the ice – and adds some bulk to his frame. He has committed to play at Western Michigan University.

ISS: “Steady simple two-way defenseman showing good mobility and awareness in all zones. Depth defender who will show up every day and give you his all.”

SEVENTH ROUND

CHASE PEARSON – C/LW
CS: # 123 NAS —– THN: # 83 (Not Available)
ISS: # 193 (Not Available) —– TSN: # Not Rated (Not Available)

The 6-2/190 Pearson is another 2015 draft prospect who has NHL bloodlines as his father Scott Pearson played in 292 NHL games. Pearson is expected to return to Youngstown of the USHL before heading to the University of Maine in 2016. I wouldn’t be adverse to the Rangers taking Pearson prior to the 7th round – even as high as the 4th round.

“He’s a big, strong two-way centerman,” Youngstown coach Anthony Noreen told the Bangor Daily News. “He has elite hockey sense, and he’s great on faceoffs.”

Pearson scored 12 goals and 14 assists in 57 games with Youngstown, but eight of his goals came on the PP.

ISS: “A strong and big winger who skates well and displays aggressive puck pressure. Good offensive positioning. Bottom six defensive shutdown role.”

SAM MILETIC – LW
CS: # Not Rated (Not Available) —– THN: # Not Rated (Not Available)
ISS: # 178 (Not Available) —– TSN: # Not Rated (Not Available)

The 6-0/182 Miletic is a future University of Michigan commitment so you know that he is going to learn how to play the game under legendary coach Red Berenson. While he projects out as a two-way forward, his offensive game is still developing. His hockey IQ, skating and compete level do leave room open for developing offensively. If he turned to be Carl Hagelin-lite, he still would be a useful NHL player.

ISS: “A two-way versatile forward who brings strong work ethic and intangibles on both sides of the puck. A depth forward who can PK and provide secondary offense.”

CHAZ REDDEKOPP – D
CS: # 82 NAS (Not Available) —– THN # Not Rated (Not Available)
ISS: # 176 (Not Available) —– TSN: # Not Rated (Not Available)

The 6-3/200 blueliner already features NHL size and pretty good skating ability for someone his size. He is the prototypical shutdown, physical d-man teams crave. He uses his size to battle in front to clear the net and to deliver big hits. The left-handed shooting defenseman’s shot is better than his offensive game – scored five goals (with 16 assists) in 72 games with Victoria (WHL).

ISS: “Solid stay at home defender with a strong thick build and responsible instincts and work ethic. Depth defender who will thrive in playoff style hockey.”

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