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2015 NHL Re-Draft

August 15, 2019, 5:15 PM ET [34 Comments]
Trevor Shackles
Ottawa Senators Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
You can follow me on Twitter @ShackTS

What better time is there to do a re-draft than in the middle of the summer with not much to talk about? The 2015 draft is still relatively recent, although most of the high-end prospects from that year have already established themselves. It’s almost up there with the 2003 draft class in terms of talent and it will look even better over time. With that being said, I wanted to do a re-draft of the 1st round and see where players ended up.

BUT FIRST...a disclaimer: I genuinely like discussions getting to talk about which players are better, but only if it is good-natured. So let's just have fun with this, because this doesn't even matter.

It’s a difficult task because the players are only 22 and most of them who are outside of the top-20 are still one step away from hitting their primes. So it’s not easy to compare someone like Pavel Zacha (who has been an NHLer but not that great) to Troy Terry (who hasn’t played very much but is a very highly-rated prospect). Nevertheless, I did my best to balance between NHL-readiness and future value, because there’s value to being in the NHL already, but some prospects who will be in the league shortly will be much better players down the road.

Certainly in five years this list will look even more different because of those players who are just breaking into the league. Let’s see how the top-30 rounds out:

1. Connor McDavid, EDM
2. Mitch Marner, BUF
3. Jack Eichel, ARI
4. Mathew Barzal, TOR
5. Sebastian Aho, CAR

First is obvious. 2-6 was extremely close though, and I think you could make a decent case for moving any of these players around. Eichel is still an elite player and would be first in most other years, but Marner looks slightly better offensively. Barzal and Aho are both phenomenal as well, with Aho still being a bit underappreciated despite scoring 83 points. I find it funny that even in this re-draft, the Hurricanes would still get Aho (instead of Noah Hanifin).

6. Mikko Rantanen, NJ
7. Zach Werenski, PHI
8. Brock Boeser, CBJ
9. Dylan Strome, SJ
10. Thomas Chabot, COL

Boeser is the big climber here as he goes up from 23rd, although Chabot moves up from 18th as well. Strome drops six spots due to the slow beginning to his career, although after his 51 points in 58 games with the Blackhawks, I’m extremely confident that he will be at least a 60-point player moving forward because the skill was always there. I think people will be upset at having Rantanen only 6th, but just look at the names ahead of him---it’s an incredible list. Plus, he benefits a ton from playing with Nathan MacKinnon, so I’m not as high on him as most people would be.

11. Kyle Connor, FLA
12. Timo Meier, DAL
13. Ivan Provorov, BOS
14. Noah Hanifin, BOS
15. Jake DeBrusk, BOS

This was probably the easiest cohort for me, as these five all fit in the same category: not star players, but very good ones. They have all had quite successful beginnings to their careers, and they will be solid pieces for their teams for years to come. Even with the true top players going at the top at the draft, Boston would still be better off in this scenario as they would have DeBrusk again but would also have Provorov and Hanifin, which would’ve made up for the loss of Dougie Hamilton.

16. Travis Konecny, NYI
17. Markus Nutivaara, WPG
18. Vince Dunn, OTT
19. Anthony Cirelli, DET
20. Erik Cernak, MIN

Nutivaara is one of the most underrated defensemen in the league, and I comfortably put him this high on the list. Konecny was seen as a potential steal at 24th at the time, and he is certainly a good player, but with how deep this draft is, he can only crack 16th in the re-draft. Ottawa would not have gotten someone as good as Chabot at 18th, but Dunn is a capable defender as well as he put up 35 points this past season. No surprise here, but Tampa Bay then has back-to-back players at 19th and 20th, although they didn’t initially draft Cernak. You can probably tell, but after 18th, things open up a ton and it was incredibly difficult to decide who to pick.

21. Troy Terry, OTT
22. Colin White, WSH
23. Roope Hintz, VAN
24. Anthony Beauvillier, PHI
25. Christian Fischer, WPG

Terry ahead of White? I like White and he is an established NHLer, but Terry has more upside (41 points in 41 games in the AHL) that I think he will reach. The funny thing is that in this world, Ottawa getting Vince Dunn and Troy Terry wouldn’t have even been that bad. Hintz is a fast-riser who I would not have had there under a year ago, but he was impressive for Dallas. Beauvillier and Fischer are capable of more, and they deserve a spot in the top-30 due to their existing floor as well as their potential to break out.

26. Brandon Carlo, MTL
27. Christian Wolanin, ANA
28. Travis Dermott, NYI
29. Pavel Zacha, CBJ
30. Mathieu Joseph, ARI

I’m assuming non-Senators writers would not have Wolanin in their first round, but that’s just because he hasn’t been given a full-time opportunity just yet. In the 40 games he played, he has shown he is already a top-4 defenseman, and if all goes well, he could even move into the bottom-end of the top-20 in this re-draft. Three Senators draft picks in the top-30 is incredibly solid. The final few spots could’ve looked different if I wrote this article an hour later---that just shows how many times I went back and forth deciding who to put in at the end.

There were so many honourable mentions such as Dominik Simon, Jack Roslovic, Jordan Greenway, Daniel Sprong, Lawson Crouse, Denis Malgin, etc., and I didn’t realize beforehand that there were over 40 worthy players of going in the first round. I think it will be fun to look back in five years time and get more concrete answers with firmer opinions from myself, but it was still an interesting exercise to do.

As with all of these rankings articles, have at it with the criticism in the comments, because I’m sure there will be some disagreements.
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