With the 2015 NHL Draft in sight, Sportsnet’s Sam Cosentino predicts where he thinks this year’s top prospects will go.
1. Edmonton Oilers
Connor McDavid, C, Erie Otters (OHL): He’s not just a franchise changing player, he’s a league changer.
2. Buffalo Sabres
Jack Eichel, C, Boston University (NCAA): It’s weird to consider this guy a consolation prize.
3. Arizona Coyotes
Dylan Strome, C, Erie Otters (OHL): Size and skill down the middle always coveted. His skating will improve the way his brother’s has. Has poise and patience with the puck.
4. Toronto Maple Leafs
Mitch Marner, C, London Knights (OHL): Nobody has better knowledge on this prospect than Mark Hunter.
5. Carolina Hurricanes
Ivan Provorov, D, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL): His game screams pro — there are no holes. And of all the skill he possesses, hockey sense might be his best asset.
6. New Jersey Devils
Noah Hanifin, D, Boston College (NCAA): They’ll run as fast to the podium as Nashville did when it selected Seth Jones with the no. 4 pick in 2013.
7. Philadelphia Flyers
Pavel Zacha, C, Sarnia (OHL): In typical Flyers fashion, Zacha is big, skilled and difficult to play against.
8. Columbus Blue Jackets
Zack Werenski, D, Michigan (NCAA): In terms of the overall package, he is Jacob Trouba without the nastiness.
9. San Jose Sharks
Lawson Crouse, LW, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL): For a franchise that has had leadership issues, Crouse will make a perfect captain down the road.
10. Colorado Avalanche
Mikko Rantanen, RW, TPS (Finland): Will transition easily to the NHL because of size, skating ability and the fact he fared well playing against men last season.
11. Florida Panthers
Kyle Connor, LW, Youngstown (USHL): Has amazing skill, and even at this point may be a steal.
12. Dallas Stars
Timo Meier, LW, Halifax (QMJHL): Nathan MacKinnon, Jonathan Drouin, Nik Ehlers and now it’s Timo-time.
13. Los Angeles Kings
Travis Konecny, RW, Ottawa (OHL): Has everything but the size — and that may be an issue since he’s at his best when playing physically.
14. Boston Bruins
Mathew Barzal, C, Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL): Returned from injury and played well with Seattle. Was at his best with Canada during U18s.
15. Calgary Flames
Nick Merkley, RW, Kelowna (WHL): Was consistent all the way through the grind of a long WHL season, a deep playoff run and the Mastercard Memorial Cup final.
16. Edmonton Oilers (from Pittsburgh)
Evgeny Svechnikov, RW, Cape Breton (QMJHL): Interviewed well. Has good size. Leg issues held him back from showing his true skating ability for a good chunk of the season.
17. Winnipeg Jets
Jakub Zboril, D, Saint John (QMJHL): Has star potential and works hard at his craft — that’s a deadly combination.
18. Ottawa Senators
Joel Eriksson Ek, C, Karlstad (Sweden): Steady improvement from the start of the season, plus fewer teams have better intel on Swedes.
19. Detroit Red Wings
Jacob Larsson, D, Frölunda HC (Sweden): Has a good two-way game from the back end.
20. Minnesota Wild
Colin White, C, U.S. NTDP (USHL): Once past the injuries, he was deadly in the final two months of the season. He’s got a knack for scoring big goals.
21. Buffalo Sabres (from NY Islanders)
Jake DeBrusk, LW, Swift Current (WHL): Hard to go wrong with NHL bloodlines. He’s deadly below the dots.
22. Washington Capitals
Gabriel Carlsson, D, Linköping J20, SuperElit (Sweden): Already defends well, and will need time to hone his offensive game although the offensive ceiling has limitations.
23. Vancouver Canucks
Denis Guryanov, LW/RW, Lada Togliatti (KHL/MHL): Showed maturity as the year progressed. Massive toolbox packaged in a big frame.
24. Toronto Maple Leafs (from Nashville)
Thomas Chabot, D, Saint John (QMJHL): Rode the rollercoaster this season. Some question his hockey sense but size, skating and work ethic are all intact.
25. Winnipeg Jets (From Buffalo, from St. Louis)
Brock Boeser, RW, Waterloo (USHL): Needs some work with the boots, but has high-end goal scoring potential mixed with a solid work ethic.
26. Montreal Canadiens
Jack Roslovic, C/RW, U.S. NTDP (USHL): Montreal has a way of finding guys seemingly out of range that don’t seem to fit until two to three years down the road.
27. Anaheim Ducks
Brandon Carlo, D, Tri-City (WHL): Slotted and played well at the world junior championships. Fatigued with Tri-City in the second half of the season, but has great skating ability for a man his size.
28. Tampa Bay Lightning (from NY Rangers)
Oliver Kylington, D, Farjestad Junior (Sweden): Think of enigmas such as Anthony DeAngelo, Adam Erne and Brett Connolly.
29. Philadelphia Flyers (from Tampa Bay)
Ilya Samsonov, G, Magnitogorsk 2 (Russian junior): A risky venture, but like Vasilevskiy, once he arrives, he’ll be in the league for a long time.
30. Arizona Coyotes (from Chicago)
Jeremy Roy, D, Sherbrooke (QMJHL): Some question his size but when he’s on his game has great puck retrieval and movement skills thanks to his skating ability.