The Stanley Cup playoffs are over, and the Los Angeles Kings have claimed their second Stanley Cup championship in three years.
With the playoffs now over, the buyout period has begun and is in full swing. Also, many teams will begin to talk up trades and other moves before the NHL Draft and the beginning of the free agency period.
These moves made before the NHL Draft could have a huge impact on some team’s decisions on who to draft. With that being said, here is my fourth installment of my NHL Mock Draft.
(Please remember, THIS IS FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY)
1.) Florida Panthers
D - Aaron Ekblad - Barrie (OHL)
Seems as though Dale Tallon is not going to trade the pick, and the consensus pick is Ekblad. Ekblad will improve the Panthers' defense by a mile, and could help make the Panthers contenders again.
2.) Buffalo Sabres
C - Sam Reinhart - Kootenay (WHL)
Toss up between the Sams, but Reinhart is favored here. His hockey IQ is what will sell general manager Tim Murray with the second pick. Reinhart is one of the key players to begin the rebuild in Buffalo.
3.) Edmonton Oilers
LW - Leon Draisaitl - Prince Albert (WHL)
Edmonton needs defense, but probably will not move up to get Ekblad. Could trade down and take Haydn Fleury later in the top ten, but if not, Draisaitl is the popular choice here. Draisaitl could develop into a top six forward on the Oilers' offense.
4.) Calgary Flames
C - Sam Bennett – Kingston (OHL)
No way Bennett falls past the Calgary Flames at four. Calgary would love to have Bennett and his competitive edge. The possibility of a Monahan-Bennett 1-2 punch at center is going to be dangerous years down the road.
5.) New York Islanders
C - Michael Dal Colle - Oshawa (OHL)
Dal Colle rounds out the top five by being picked by the Islanders. Dal Colle's big size and speed could make the Islanders a faster team down the road. Another year in Oshawa would help Dal Colle in his development.
6.) Vancouver Canucks
LW - Nikolaj Ehlers - Halifax (QMJHL)
The Danish sensation had a stellar debut year in the QMJHL which earned him a high ranking amongst North American prospects. Ehlers' speed and quick hands will make him a possible offensive threat in the future. Vancouver would love to add Ehlers to the mix.
7.) Carolina Hurricanes
RW – Kasperi Kapanen – KalPa (Sm-liiga)
Carolina has a liking for Kapanen, but Kapanen has had some issues with consistency. Kapanen has the offensive talent and could be a good addition to the Hurricanes.
8.) Toronto Maple Leafs
LW – Nick Ritchie - Peterborough (OHL)
Toronto needs more grit and big bodies up front. Nick Ritchie would be what the Leafs are looking for. Not only is Ritchie a big, nasty forward but he has some really good offensive skill that makes him a valuable player in the draft.
9.) Winnipeg Jets
D - Hadyn Fleury - Red Deer (WHL)
Winnipeg could go anywhere with this pick at nine. To add another defenseman to go along with jacob Trouba, Tobias Enstrom and Dustin Byfuglien would greatly help. Fleury is no Ekblad, but his solid two-way game would help Winnipeg greatly.
10.) Anaheim Ducks (from the Ottawa Senators)
RW – Jake Virtanen - Calgary (WHL)
Virtanen is explosive player that Anaheim would be extremely fortunate to grab at ten. A lethal wrist shot and blazing speed makes Virtanen one of the best offensive threats in the NHL Draft.
11.) Nashville Predators
C – William Nylander- Sodertalje (Sweden-2)
Nashville would be handed a gift at eleven if Nylander was available. Some say that Nylander is one of the most offensively talented forwards in the entire draft. Pair Nylander and Filip Forsberg together and you could have a deadly pairing on a line together.
12.) Arizona Coyotes
LW - Brendan Perlini - Niagara (OHL)
Perlini is an undercooked forward, and could be a huge steal for the Coyotes at 12. The 6' 3", 205 pound forward has got all the skills needed for a guy his size: acceleration, power, length, quickness, finesse. Perlini is another underrated forward in the 2014 NHL Draft.
13.) Washington Capitals
RW – Alex Tuch – USNDT (USHL)
Big kid who know how to score. At nearly 6' 4", Tuch would be an excellent offensive addition for new general manager Brian MacLellan and the Capitals.
14.) Dallas Stars
C – Dylan Larkin - USNDT (USHL)
Larkin is a hard-working, scrappy forward that earns his chances. Larkin plays a solid two-way game, and will be an excellent addition for the Dallas Stars.
15.) Detroit Red Wings
LW – Kevin Fiala – HV71 Jr. (Sweden Jr.)
Fiala is small at only 5' 10", but he is electric. His fast-paced game and quick hands make him dangerous all over the offensive zone. Fiala's stock has risen fast since January, and could be a good fit for the Red Wings.
16.) Columbus Blue Jackets
C - Robby Fabbri - Guelph (OHL)
Fabbri's performance in the OHL playoffs and the CHL Memorial Cup has risen his stock in the draft. Even with Fabbri's size, his quickness and elusiveness makes him dangerous. Many people have Columbus picking up Fabbri at 16 if he is available there.
17.) Philadelphia Flyers
D – Roland McKeown – Kingston (OHL)
McKeown has the all-around package on defense, and would be a good fit in Philadelphia. McKeown can play both ends of the ice very well, and could give a boost for the Flyers' defense down the road.
18.) Minnesota Wild
C – Jared McCann – Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
McCann's stock has dropped a bit, but is not expected to fall out of the first round. McCann has got a good two-way game, and can be very dangerous with the puck.
19.) Tampa Bay Lightning
LW – Sonny Milano – USNDT (USHL)
Very skilled player with the puck. Milano is also a slick and elusive forward who will be a great offensive weapon down the road. He's committed to Boston College next year, but will be available for the Lightning in a couple years.
20.) San Jose Sharks
D – Julius Honka – Swift Current (WHL)
The Sharks will be stacked at defense for years to come after they draft Julius Honka. Honka is a strong, shut down defender that can help control the pace of a game. Honka will utilize another year in Swift Current to further develop his game.
21.) St. Louis Blues
RW – David Pasternak - Sodertalje (Sweden-2)
Pasternak is a fast paced player who loves to get after the puck. His stock has risen in the past months, and could definitely go higher than 21. The Blues would love to have Pasternak in their system.
22.) Pittsburgh Penguins
C – Adrian Kempe – Modo Jr. (Sweden Jr.)
Kempe has a knack for getting dirty and engaging in tough battles for the puck. Kempe did just sign a deal that would keep him in Modo for two more seasons. The Penguins would be willing to wait and have him develop more in Sweden.
23.) Colorado Avalanche
C – Ivan Barbashev - Mocton (QMJHL)
Barbashev is fast, and can make plays happen in a flash. Colorado could use his versatility too, as Barbashev could play as a winger as well. Barbashev is going to take another year in mouton to further develop his game and be a better player.
24.) Anaheim Ducks
RW - Joshua Ho-Sang - Windsor (OHL)
Ho-Sang is fast, and is very offensively gifted. Ho-Sang would be higher in the draft if it was not for his small stature. But either way, Ho-Sang could develop into something special in the NHL.
25.) Boston Bruins
C – Jakub Vrana – Linkoping (Sweden-2)
Vrana is an interesting player due to in lack of consistency, but his performance in the World Juniors was a boost in his rankings. Vrana has a lethal wrist shot, and his knack for cashing in loose pucks could improve his stock even more.
26.) Montréal Canadiens
LW - Nikita Scherbak - Saskatoon (WHL)
Scherbak is a big playmaking forward who has made some waves throughout the scouts in the NHL. Scherbak is expected to be a late first round pick-up, but he will take another year to develop with Saskatoon in the WHL. Montréal could take a flyer on Scherbak.
27.) Chicago Blackhawks
LW – Brendan Lemieux - Barrie (OHL)
The son of Claude, Brendan's stock has risen as well over the past months leading up to the draft. He plays a very similar game to his dad, but has a strong offensive flair to his game. The Blackhawks would love to have a guy like Lemieux on the roster.
28.) Tampa Bay Lightning (from the New York Rangers)
D – Travis Sanheim - Calgary (WHL)
Another player who's stock has risen in the past few months. Sanheim is a set-up player who would be a great fit to play alongside Victor Hedman in Tampa Bay. Sanheim will play as a top defender for Calgary next season, and probably will play another year with Team Canada at the World Junior Championships.
29.) Los Angeles Kings
C - John Quenneville - Brandon (WHL)
Fast, high paced forward with a gift for making plays and scoring. Quenneville will be a late first round pick or early second round pick, but the Kings would love to add Quenneville to the system.
30.) New Jersey Devils
C – Connor Bleackley – Red Deer (WHL)
A great two-way forward with good size and strength. Bleackley is going to gain the attention he deserves, and will have a great chance to be drafted in the late first round.
31.) Buffalo Sabres
C - Nick Schmaltz - USNDT (USHL)
Schmaltz has been watched for quite some time, but is expected to fall out of the first round. The Sabres would love Schmaltz for his offensive skill set, and his intelligence on the ice. Schmaltz is only 5' 11", but he could develop into a decent winger in the future for the Sabres.
32.) Florida Panthers
LW - Nikolay Goldobin - Sarnia (OHL)
33.) St. Louis Blues (from the Edmonton Oilers)
LW - Ryan MacInnis - Kitchner (OHL)
34.) Calgary Flames
G - Thatcher Demko - Boston College (NCAA)
35.) New York Islanders
D - Anthony DeAngelo - Sarnia (OHL)
36.) Vancouver Canucks
C - Eric Cornel - Peterborough (OHL)
37.) Carolina Hurricanes
LW - Vladislav Kamenev - Magnitogorsk (KHL)
38.) Anaheim Ducks (from the Toronto Maple Leafs)
D - Markus Pettersson - Skelleftea Jr. (Sweden Jr.)
39.) Buffalo Sabres (from the Minnesota Wild originally from the Winnipeg Jets)
D - Jack Glover - USNDT (USHL)
Big, physical 6' 3" defenseman that is good in the defensive end. Can keep the other team away from the front of the net and can skate and move very smoothly.
40.) Ottawa Senators
D - Aaron Irving - Edmonton (WHL)
41.) New Jersery Devils
LW - Anton Karlsson - Frolunda Jr. (Sweden Jr.)
42.) Nashville Predators
C - Brett Pollock - Edmonton (WHL)
43.) Arizona Coyotes
D - Jack Dougherty - USNDT (USHL)
44.) Washington Capitals
G - Alex Nedeljkovic - Plymouth (OHL)
45.) Dallas Stars
D - Brycen Martin - Swift Current (WHL)
46.) Nashville Predators (from the Detroit Red Wings)
D - Joshua Jacobs - Indiana (USHL)
47.) Columbus Blue Jackets
C - Jayce Hawryluk - Brandon (WHL)
48.) Philadelphia Flyers
G - Mason McDonald - Charlottetown (QMJHL)
49.) Buffalo Sabres (from the Minnesota Wild)
LW - Justin Kirkland - Kelowna (WHL)
A big, powerful forward who can do some damage on both sides of the puck. The 6' 3" forward was projected as a third round pick, but could anywhere in the mid to early second round of the draft.
What do you think? Did I leave anyone out? Who do you think should be drafted by YOUR team?
Be sure to follow me on Twitter @BJWilsonSHC
My final mock draft will be on Thursday June 26 on Sabres Hockey Central.
As always, thanks for reading!