Mockable Mock Draft : It's Back (Picks 1-3)
It’s June and hockey is still being played. What a time to be alive. However soon our attentions will inevitably be drawn to my favourite hockey event of the year. The NHL Entry Draft. This year’s Mockable Mock Draft will be a fun one for me and return since the last time I did one in 2015. I believe we can all agree that this is a highly anticipated and welcome return! Right? Well…it’s happening anyway. So enjoy the show.
I will be combining three picks per blog to help space things out. With the draft being on June 22nd, that’s the most effective way in my opinion.
1. The Buffalo Sabres
Rasmus Dahlin, Left Defenseman, 18 Years Old, 6’2 188lbs, Frölunda HC in the Elitserien
41gp 7g 13a 20p
Shocker I know. The most highly touted defense prospect in a decade going first overall to a team that leaks goals like few others. To put it mildly, this is a match made in hockey heaven™. Not only do the Sabres already have a Rasmus to help Rasmus feel comfortable around having such a distinctive name…they have a third Rasmus in Asplund. They’ll be swimming in them soon enough. There is no doubt that Dahlin is the best prospect (at the moment) in this draft. He has been dominant on both the domestic and international stage. His 20 points is not only the best offensive performance by an U18 defenseman in Elitserien history, it’s the second best U18 performance of ALL TIME (Granted that Markus Naslund and Peter Forsberg played fewer games). Think of all the great Swedish scorers we’ve had and then figure that one out. He’s simply on another level.
Dahlin became the first draft eligible defenseman to win the U20 Best Defenseman award since Drew Doughty. A very difficult feat. He was amazing for the Silver Winning Swedes and deserved the award. Dahlin also played 2 games in the Olympics as a 17 year old. Which is simply amazing.
What sets Dahlin apart from his peers are two things. His skating ability and his awareness on the ice. He skates like a defense version of McDavid and thinks the game at such a high level. You add high-end offensive ability, his natural size and solid ability in his own zone against peers far more mature; and you have a recipe for an elite puck moving defenseman. Honestly, watching him play and he looks like the perfect blend of Doughty and Karlsson.
Dahlin should be the answer to the Sabres prayers going forward as a potential franchise defenseman. He dominates every level he plays, he plays like a pro and he’s only turned 18 two months ago.
Potential : Franchise Defenseman
Comparable : Drew Karlsson
2. The Carolina Hurricanes
Andrei Svechnikov, Right Winger, 18 Years Old, 6’3 191lbs, Barrie Colts in the OHL
44gp 40g 32a 72p
Unfourtunately for Svechnikov, he had to be in the Dahlin draft. Though teams looking down the barrel of a potential star goal scoring winger are pretty none too miffed at their predicament. I’ve had a little bit of fun with some Hurricanes fans around having Don Waddell as their GM, but even he couldn’t mess this up. I mean, you have to give him some credit. He drafted Kovalchuk, Heatley and was never shy of taking the players he wanted. That didn’t always go well, but he did stick to his gut. This is why I have the Hurricanes taking the no brainer in Svechnikov. That and this little gem
"If we're picking 2nd, we're picking Andrei and it's not even close." -Tom Dundon
Svechnikov’s numbers might look similar to Zadina who is his closest competition, but upon further inspection it becomes more apparent that Svechnikov simply controls the ice more effectively. His 5vs5 Goals Per Game is higher than any draft eligible player to come out of the OHL since 2003. Higher than McDavid, Stamkos and Kane. He absolutely lethal from anywhere on the ice and in any situation. He was a dominant force for Barrie during the regular season and the playoffs. It’s also important to note that his point production in the USHL last year mirrors that of Eichel and Matthews moments in their careers. However he played on Muskegon instead of the star studded “super team” that is the USNDP.
If you happened to have not watched the U20’s and are simply going by the point totals. You might reasonably wonder why Svechnikov is being given so much more love over Zadina or Tkachuk. Both of whom outscored him in the tournament. The reason is simple. Zadina and Tkachuk played on their nation’s top lines while Svechnikov played on the fourth. Russia has not historically given their young players ice time unless you’re named Ovechkin or Malkin. They tend to ice as close to a 20 year old team as possible. “Excuses” aside, Svechnikov was still very good in his limited role during the tournament. He ended up with 5 assists in 5 games (4 ES). He has dominated every other international tournament he has been a part of and I’m sure if he were to find himself at the U20’s this upcoming season he would dominate there as well.
Size, speed, power and an elite shot. Everything you need from a goal scorer in the NHL. What impressed me the most is that after he scored 10 goals in the first 10 games, he broke his hand. That kept him out for some time. Yet when he came back, he was still scoring goals every which way.
Potential : First Line Sniper
Comparable : Ilya Kovalchuk
3. The Montreal Canadiens
Noah Dobson, Right Defenseman, 18 Years Old, 6’3 190lbs, Acadie-Bathurst Titan in the QMJHL
67gp 17g 52a 69p
Along with Kotkaniemi, Dobson is the fastest rising prospect in this draft. This on the back of a legendary performance at the Memorial Cup. He helped lead the Titan to their first Memorial Cup victory. Being named to the All-Star Team with his tournament leading 7 points by a defenseman. What sets Dobson apart is that he is the complete package. He’s large, he’s a fantastic skater, he has amazing gap control, he dominates the puck and drives the play up the ice, he’s a threat on the Power Play, he’s a threat at Even Strength, he’s considered one of the best defenders in his own zone in the draft, and he’s just all around fantastic.
Dobson ended up finishing second on his team in scoring during the regular season. He ended up finishing third in draft eligible scoring in the QMJHL behind only Zadina (82p) and Veleno (79p). He took the most shots of any defenseman in the league. He’s just that good.
Montreal needs centremen and defensemen. Especially after the Drouin debacle and the Sergachyov deal. Their prospect pool is fairly bare outside of Mete (D), Poehling (C), Juulsen (D) and Scherbak (W). None of whom are “A” level prospects. Unless they make a reach for Kotkaniemi at 3, I think they would do well to get the second best defenseman available. A defenseman that may not have the “sexy” appeal as Bouchard, Quinn or Boqvist, yet continues to impress in every facet of the game. This is my pick as the first surprise in the draft and it goes to
Potential : Top-Pairing Two-Way Defenseman
Comparable : Alex Pietrangelo
Thanks for reading. 4-6 up next.