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2015 NHL Draft Preview


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2015 NHL Draft Preview
« on: October 29, 2014, 11:21:07 AM »
My 2015 NHL Draft will not be on Draft Utopia until Friday.  It will be a live mock at noon.

One thing I do know is that the Carolina Hurricanes and Buffalo Sabres will pick 1 and 2 in that order regardless of what happens leading up to Friday.

Carolina Hurricanes: Connor McDavid, Center, Erie Otters (OHL)

Carolina was rumored to trade Eric Staal to the Toronto Maple Leafs.  Jordan Staal missed 4-6 weeks with an injury and is much better as a line 3 center then he is as a line 2 center.  Elias Lindholm was a reach, and it is pretty evident that the Hurricanes should have drafted Sean Monahan with the fifth pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.

McDavid is a special prospect and this decades version of Sidney Crosby. McDavid leads the OHL with 34 points and is currently captain of the Otters.  Hard to believe he will not be the top pick after being the third OHL player to receive exceptional status by joining the Ontario Hockey League at the mere age of 15.  Carolina needs a face for the franchise with uncertainty at center, no identity on defense, and a controversy over should start at goaltender. 

Connor McDavid is Carolina's first building block for the future.  If Eric Staal sticks around he and Jordan can mentor McDavid during his rookie season as McDavid plays line 3.  In year 2 you would move McDavid up to line 2 before ultimately making him the line 1 center in year 3.

Buffalo Sabres: Jack Eichel, C, Boston University

Tyler Ennis and Cody Hodgson are both two way forwards that can play center or left wing.  Both guys are also line 2 players at best that got overpaid big time.  Ennis has been solid on line 1 so far.  Hodgson was supposed to be the line 1 center, but got demoted to the line 2 left winger role because the Sabres have a lot of depth and youth at center.   Hodgson struggled on the wing and is back at center.

Zemgus Girgensons began the season as the line 2 center and played well, but when Cody Hodgson moved back to center, the Sabres demoted Girgensons to the third line which was foolish.  Girgensons is playing better than Hogdson and enters a contract year next season which is why I expect him to be dealt.

Sam Reinhart has the potential to develop into a line 1 player, but he started out on the third line and got demoted to the fourth line. There is a strong chance that the #2 pick in the 2014 NHL Draft returns to the juniors thanks to the Sabres abysmal start in 2014.

After this season I expect Buffalo to move Hodgson back to left wing where he originally began the season or to trade him to another team despite a hefty contract.  Buffalo can draft Jack Eichel and he can compete with Sam Reinhart to be the line 2 center on Buffalo in 2015 because Eichel is a special player and it is never a good sign when you demote a rookie by moving him down a line, yet at the same time you need to be patient with these guys.

Florida Panthers or Arizona Coyotes

Florida and Arizona both have 7 points and are tied with the third worst record in the NHL.  Both teams play each other on Thursday Night too.  Arizona would probably take the best player available and make their potent defense even better by adding Noah Hanifin as a line 2 defenseman behind Keith Yandle and Oliver-Ekman Larsson.  Florida will bring center Vincent Trocheck up from the San Antonio Rampage after this season and all of their defenseman are going to be under contract until 2016.

I doubt Florida would take an NHL ready defenseman and the best available player in Noah Hanifin.  Oliver Kylington the other NHL ready player is also a defenseman.  Nobody on Florida's main roster has more than 4 points and the defense consists of Brian Campbell, Dimitri Kulikov, Aaron Ekblad, Willie Mitchell, Dylan Olsen, and Erik Gudbranson.  Also the penalty killing is 28th in the NHL.  It is a total failure by Florida.  The defense has not lived up to the hype and Luongo is a bigger joke than Disney's Homeless Man on Ice.  Wait Luongo is Disney's Homeless Man On Ice Nevermind.

That means the Panthers would either take Dylan Strome who is second in the OHL in points behind McDavid and keep him in the juniors to see if he can be a line 1 center after Connor McDavid leaves grooming him for the future by being patient with him when you got Derek McKenzie, Dave Bolland, Aleksander Barkov, and Vincent Trocheck on the main roster in 2015.

Or, Florida will draft left winger Pavel Zacha of the Sarnia Sting.  Zacha has a chance to go to Florida since Jussi Jokinen is the only left winger on the Panthers who does not have an expiring contract at the end of this season.  Thing with Zacha is he is a top 10 pick rather than a top 5 prospect and he will need more time with Sarnia after playing in the Czech Republic for two years.

My write ups in the mock won't be this long on Friday, but I want to get your thoughts on some of the scenarios guys.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2014, 11:31:11 AM by ChrisRansom »
My name is Chris Ransom and I am the creator of Draft Utopia.  I run the podcast, website, and forum for Draft Utopia.


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Re: 2015 NHL Draft Preview
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2014, 11:47:32 AM »
I'll be able to tell more after i see the WJC after Christmas  I'll be able to watch Eichel Friday has his game is televised that day
« Last Edit: October 29, 2014, 11:57:45 AM by BoukenGreen »
There are somethings arrows can't kill.
For everything else, there's Master Sword