1. Florida D Aaron Ekblad Barrie Colts
The Panthers are ripe with centre prospects, but lack a defender of Ekblads ilk. He is the most NHL ready prospect in the draft and should make an immediate impact from one of the most difficult positions.
2. Buffalo C Sam Reinhart Kootenay Ice
The Sabres need to add offensive firepower, and if Bennett fills out he could be the number one centre they desire. Added to Girgensons and Grigorenko, and the Sabres look deep down the middle for the long haul.
3. Edmonton C Leon Draisaitl Prince Albert Raiders
The Oilers have been chasing this white unicorn since the Jason Bonsignore draft debacle. Add Jesse Niinimaki, Marc-Antoine Pouliot and Boyd Devereaux to the failed big men, and you know the Oilers will continue that chase with Draisaitl. He should be a perfect complement for Nugent-Hopkins.
4. Calgary C Sam Bennett Kingston Frontenacs
Calgary continues to add offensive firepower to its forward corps. With Gaudreau, Baertschi, Jankowski, Monahan, Klimchuk and Poirier the Flames prospect cupboard is starting to fill.
5. NY Islanders LW Michael Dal Colle Oshawa Generals
The Islanders need offensive complements for Tavares, and Dal Colle is a gifted offensive winger who should fit the bill.
6. Vancouver C William Nylander Sodertalje
Nylander is a offensively gifted player and paired with the right players he could be the best offensive player to come out of this draft class. The Sedins could benefit from Nylander as much as he will from them.
7. Carolina - RW Nick Ritchie Peterborough Petes
The Canes are in need of some size with skill in their forward ranks, and Ritchie is probably the best blend of both in this years draft.
8. Toronto LW Nikolaj Ehlers Halifax Mooseheads
The Leafs have a plethora of forward prospects who look like they will fill out the bottom six of their roster(Biggs, Gauthier, Ashton, Ross, DAmigo), but need to add skilled scorers to their lineup. Ehlers is a fantastic offensive talent and the Leafs will be elated to draft him at #8.
9. Winnipeg RW Jake Virtanen Calgary Hitmen
A big strong skater who plays a solid north south game is just the type of pick you would expect the Jets to make. If Byfuglien or Kane are moved, Virtanen would be a perfect replacement.
10. Anaheim(Ott) D Haydn Fleury Red Deer Rebels
The Ducks are one of the elite teams in the league and seem to be re-tooling on the fly with Lindholm, Fowler, Vatanen, Etem, Rakell, Smith-Pelley and Gibson. Another wave of prospects in Kerdiles, Noesen and Theodore are developing, and a two-way defender in Fleury should help continue that trend.
11. Nashville LW Brendan Perlini Niagara Ice Dogs
With Trotz out of the picture will the Predators change their style of play? Regardless, offensive firepower is needed, and the big skilled winger from Niagara is a strong pickup at 11.
12. Phoenix LW Ivan Barbashev Moncton Wildcats
Is there a more perfect fit in this draft for the Coyotes? Barbashev is mature beyond his years in his style of two-way play and should become a prototypical Tippett player.
13. Washington RW Kasperi Kapanen KalPa
The Capitals will try to remake a once promising lineup through the draft and adding responsible two-way forwards with offensive flair is a good strategy.
14. Dallas C Adrian Kempe MoDo
Kempe plays with speed and aggression and that should complement the Stars youth movement.
15. Detroit RW Alex Tuch US NTDP
A big strong winger with skill should be a perfect complement to the skill the Red Wings have assembled up front.
16. Columbus RW Josh Ho-Sang Windsor Spitfires
There are many homerun picks in the later half of the first round this year. Ho-Sang is the biggest in my opinion as he could be a dynamic first line winger if the stars align. That is exactly what the Jackets need, so they will add him on draft day.
17. Philadelphia D Roland McKeown Kingston Frontenacs
So many questions in Philly, but no doubt the biggest is who will succeed Timonen and Streit for me. Add McKeown to Morin, Gostibehere and Hagg and the question starts to find its answer.
18. Minnesota C Dylan Larkin US NTDP
The Wild need to refill its offensive prospect cupboard as half of their forward corps from last year see their contracts expired or expiring after this year. Larkin projects as a two-way centre who who would look good behind Koivu and Granlund.
19. Tampa Bay C Jared McCann Sault Ste.Marie Greyhounds
A big skilled two-way centreman to complement the smallish wingers like Drouin and Kucherov is a good add on draft day for the Lightning.
20. San Jose LW Sonny Milano US NTDP
As the core of the Sharks lineup ages they must continue to add offensive help via the draft. Milano should be a good complement but will need time to develop.
21. St.Louis C Robby Fabbri Guelph Storm
The Blues will love Fabbri as he fits in with their gritty style, but adds offensive prowess as well.
22. Pittsburgh G Thatcher Demko Boston College
Demko is a tremendous goaltender and the Penguins are going to need help. Developing a long-term successor is a must and Demko is the cream of this years crop.
23. Colorado RW David Pastrnak Sodertalje
The Avs have stockpiled centres on the big squad, but its time to find their new Hejduk to complement them. Pastrnak is offensively gifted and should fit in well.
24. Anaheim LW Nikita Scherbak Saskatoon Blades
Another big winger with skill will help the rich get richer.
25. Boston C Kevin Fiala Malmo
The Bruins desperately need some offense in their prospect ranks and Fiala adds that while playing the style of hockey that the Bruins like.
26. Montreal RW Nikolai Goldobin Sarnia Sting
The Canadians could use a dynamic goalscorer and the fact that he was Galchenyuks teammate cant hurt.
27. Chicago D Marcus Pettersson Skelleftea
The Blackhawks are solid on the backend and can afford to let Pettersson grow and develop his game. While certainly not a short term fix, Pettersson could develop into one of the best defenders from this draft class.
28. Tampa Bay(NYR) D Travis Sanheim Calgary Hitmen
The Lightning add the biggest riser in this years draft class. Was Canadas best defender at the U-18s and will be a welcome addition to the Lightnings thin stable of defenders.
29. Los Angeles C Conner Bleackley Red Deer Rebels
A leader, a two-way player, and a hard worker makes Bleackley the perfect fit in LA.
30. New Jersey RW Jakub Vrana Linkoping
The Devils are short on offense, and Vrana could become their heir apparent to Elias/Jagr.
31. Buffalo LW Brendan Lemieux Barrie Colts
The Sabres will need complements for its stable of high end prospects. A future line of Lemieux/Girgensons/Fasching could be a load to handle.
32. Florida RW Nick Schmaltz Green Bay Gamblers
The Panthers need scoring wingers and Schmaltz is the best available. If his work ethic can match his skill he will be a solid scorer at the next level.
33. St.Louis(Edm) D Julius Honka Swift Current Broncos
The slide ends for the diminutive blueliner. He is a first round talent, but as with every other year, someone falls, and this year hes the one. The Blues will hope this helps motivate Honka to another level.
34. Calgary D Johnathon MacLeod US NTDP
A physical defender that is tough to play against. Exactly what youd expect from a Burke-led team.
35. NY Islanders D Jack Dougherty US NTDP
Will certainly be a PP quarterback, but the Islanders hope he can round out his game at the University of Wisconsin.
36. Vancouver D Jack Glover US NTDP
Glover is strong in his own zone and a right handed shot who comes with a high ceiling if his compete level is there.
37. Carolina G Alex Nedeljkovic Plymouth Whalers
A high-end goaltending prospect is a must for the Hurricanes as they continue to see Cam Ward struggle to return to his rookie form.
38. Anaheim(Tor) C Eric Cornel Peterborough Petes
Cornel screams to me as one of those picks that everyone will look back and wonder how he fell to the second round. Two-way pivot with size.
39. Buffalo(Win) G Kaapo Kahkonen Espoo
Needs time to develop, but the big netminder is a tremendous athlete.
40. Ottawa C John Quenneville Brandon Wheat Kings
Short of a first round pick this year, the Senators look to strike gold with the tall, lanky offensive pivot.
41. New Jersey C Ryan MacInnis Kitchener Rangers
Has the size to intrigue and came on late in the year.
42. Nashville C Ryan Donato Dexter HS
Dominated his competition this year, but will be in for more of a test this upcoming season.
43. Phoenix C Brett Pollock Edmonton Oil Kings
Late riser was very good for the Memorial Cup champions and Henrik Samuelssons teammate.
44. Washington C Brayden Point Moose Jaw Warriors
Was fantastic for a bad Moose Jaw team. Could really emerge with more talent around him.
45. Dallas D Anthony DeAngelo Sarnia Sting
Someone will take the risk and draft DeAngelo, and it could be anywhere from 10-60. He is an offensive catalyst with character and size issues, but the Stars will hope he can overcome both.
46. Nashville(Det) D Dominik Masin HC Slavia
An under the radar defender who continued to improve throughout the season seems like a typical Predator pick.
47. Columbus LW Anton Karlsson Frolunda
Karlsson faltered offensively in International competition, but he projects more as a third liner who plays a complete game.
48. Philadelphia C Vladislav Kamenev Magnitigorsk
Talented big Russian pivot adds to an already strong position for the Flyers.
49. Buffalo(Min) D Alexis Vanier Baie Comeau Drakkar
Physical, nasty defender with a big point shot projects much like last years first round Zadorov.
50. Tampa Bay D Brycen Martin Swift Current Broncos
Has the offensive tools and size, but will need to refine the defensive game to make an impact.
51. San Jose D Dysin Mayo Edmonton Oil Kings
Rising up charts after playing a solid complementary role on a talented team. Flew under the radar much of the season, but showed well in the Memorial Cup.
52. St.Louis D Aaron Haydon Niagara Ice Dogs
Plays a simple defensive game and is a nasty player to play against.
53. San Jose(Pit) RW Nick Magyar Kitchener Rangers
Wins battles along the boards and has a great shot.
54. Calgary(Col) D Joshua Jacobs Indiana Ice
A punishing checker with a good shot will add more of the truculence factor to the Flames.
55. Anaheim RW Connor Chatham Plymouth Whalers
Big winger who plays a crash and bang style will need to develop an offensive prescence.
56. Boston LW Warren Foegele St.Andrews
A speedster who is rising up draft charts almost as fast as he is growing.
57. NY Islanders(Mtl) RW- Nicolas Aube-Kubel Val dOr Foreurs
Needs to become stronger and more consistent, but that is a common theme amongst most prospects, especially at this stage of the draft.
58. Phoenix(Chi) C Daniel Audette Sherbrooke Cougars
Small, but the heart of a lion. Willing to do whatever it takes attitude will help him fit in with the Coyotes.
59. NY Rangers RW Austin Poganski Tri-City Americans
The Rangers add even more speed to an already difficult to contain lineup.
60. Columbus(LAK) D Blake Siebenaler Niagara Ice Dogs
Offensively gifted blueliner started getting opportunity to show his defensive game as well.