Originally written on Around The Rink  |  Last updated 11/20/14

1. Colorado Avalanche- Seth Jones, Defenseman (United States) -Colorado needs just about everything, but they’d be best served taking hometown kid Seth Jones to bolster their blueline. Nate MacKinnon is also a possibility, but they’ve already got Ryan O’Reilly and Matt Duchene centering their top two lines, and Jones would fill a much bigger needs, given how bad Colorado’s defensive corps is. 2. Florida Panthers- Nate MacKinnon, Center (Canada) - The Panthers already have one of the most dynamic young wingers in the game (Jonathan Huberdeau), and now they can pair him with the prospect many have considered to be the next Sidney Crosby. A Huberdeau-MacKinnon pairing on Florida’s top line is going to be one scary combination for many years to come. 3. Tampa Bay Lightning- Jonathan Drouin, Left Wing (Canada) - Martin St. Louis is still going strong, but at age 37, one has to figure the tank is getting close to empty. Lucky for Tampa Bay, they can take a player like Jonathan Drouin, whose playmaking style from the wing has often been compared to St. Louis. 4. Nashville Predators- Aleksander Barkov, Center (Finland) - Nashville gets what it sorely needs here: a dynamic young center to lead the makeover of a dismal Predators offense. Barkov, along with Filip Forsberg, should provide plenty of offense and hope for the future in Nashville. 5. Carolina Panthers- Valeri Nichushkin, Right Wing (Russia) -If Carolina stays put, its more than likely they’ll take Valeri Nichushkin, the big, playmaking Russian winger. However, there’s a strong chance they trade down to grab a defenseman like Rasmus Ristolainen or Nikita Zadorov. Dallas and Columbus are likely trade partners. 6. Calgary Flames- Elias Lindholm, Center (Sweden) -Calgary is in full-on rebuilding mode- good thing they’ve got three first round picks this year. With the first of those three choices, Calgary can begin to reconstruct its top-six with a center like Elias Lindholm, who often draws comparisons to elite Swedish centerman Nicklas Backstrom of the Washington Capitals. 7. Edmonton Oilers- Rasmus Ristolainen, Defenseman (Finland) -Perhaps this year will be the time Edmonton uses its top-ten pick on the defenseman they so sorely need. After all, they’ve had five picks in the top ten of the last six drafts, and have used all of them to fill out their forward lines (Sam Gagner, Magnus Pajaarvi, Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Nail Yakupov). Time to add a shutdown defenseman to the group, and that’s just what they can get if they use the No. 7 pick on Finnish blueliner Rasmus Ristolainen, who’s a big body at 6’3″, 200 pounds who also has plenty of two-way ability. 8. Buffalo Sabres- Sean Monahan, Center (Canada) -It never hurts to add a talented center to your prospect pool. Given that Buffalo’s pretty weak up the middle both at the NHL level and in their pipeline (cupboard gets pretty bare after Cody Hodgson and Mikhail Grigorenko), someone like Monahan would be a good pick for the Sabres. 9. New Jersey Devils- Zach Fucale, Goaltender (Canada) - How long can New Jersey rely on Martin Brodeur? Better yet, how long do the Devils think they can keep starting Brodeur without an heir apparent waiting in the wings? It’s high time New Jersey added their next franchise goaltender. Fucale can develop for another year or two, and take over from Brodeur then. 10. Dallas Stars- Hunter Shinkaruk, Left Wing (Canada) - Dallas has plenty of solid talent at just about every position in their prospect pool, now they just need to add a player with “gamebreaker” potential. They can stay put at No. 10 and grab someone like Hunter Shinkaruk, a playmaking winger who has been compared to Patrick Kane, or they can use their bounty of high picks (two first rounders, two second rounders) to trade up and grab Nichushkin, Barkov or Lindholm. 11. Philadelphia Flyers- Darnell Nurse, Defenseman (Canada) - This pick just makes too much sense. Philadelphia’s blueline is quite weak, both at the NHL and developmental level, and Darnell Nurse is the nephew of former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb. Nurse can step in and be the physical, dominating presence along the back end that the Flyers have missed since Chris Pronger got hurt. 12. Phoenix Coyotes- Valentin Zykov, Left Wing (Russia) -Time for Phoenix (or Seattle, Kansas City, Oklahoma City, or Quebec) to add some offensive firepower. Zykov has classic Russian traits (good hands and speed) to go along with solid size (6’0″, 200) and scoring prowess- Zykov is coming off a 40-goal season in the juniors. 13. Winnipeg Jets- Nikita Zadorov, Defenseman (Russia) -Winnipeg’s defensive prospect pool gets pretty shallow after last year’s first round pick, Jacob Trouba. Adding someone like Nikita Zadarov, who at age 18 is already beastly 6’5″, 230, would go along way towards improving the Jets’ back end. 14. Columbus Blue Jackets- Anthony Mantha, Left Wing (Canada) -Columbus has three picks in the first round of this year’s draft, and can pretty much do whatever it wants. Since no trades will be projected in this mock, Columbus can add a healty dose of size and scoring talent at No. 14 with Anthony Mantha, a 6’4″, 190 lb. winger who racked up 50 goals last year with QMJHL’s Val-d’Or. 15. New York Islanders- Adam Erne, Right Wing (Canada) - The Islanders have plenty of talent up the middle, now it’s time for them to add a few difference-makers on the wing. Erne, who has drawn comparisons to Dustin Brown, would be a good fit for New York. He’s got a strong three-zone game, and will be ready to jump into the NHL sooner rather than later. 16. Buffalo Sabres- Andre Burakovsky, Left Wing (Sweden) - After adding a center with their first pick, the Sabres can shore up the wing with their second first-round choice. Burakowsky is someone who possesses a great scoring touch, and has the potential to be Buffalo’s next Thomas Vanek. 17. Ottawa Senators- Ryan Pulock, Defenseman (Canada) -Pulock may end up going higher than this, but if not, it’s just because he’s one of the eventual casualties of what some are considering the deepest draft since 2003. Pulock has a great shot and is responsible in all zones, and should easily find himself in Ottawa’s top-four in a few years. 18. Detroit Red Wings- Alexander Wennberg, Center (Sweden) -Detroit does love its Swedish players. So, why not give them the best Svensk available? Wennberg is very talented, and will be allowed to develop his game for the next several years, when he’ll be in line to replace Henrik Zetterberg. 19. Columbus Blue Jackets (via New York Rangers)- Mirco Mueller, Defenseman (Switzerland) -Last year they took Ryan Murray. This year, with one of their three first round picks, they could do worse things than grab Murray’s old blueline partner from Everett, Mirco Mueller. Sometime down the line, the Blue Jackets can reunite the two at the NHL level. 20. San Jose Sharks- Curtis Lazar, Center (Canada) -An heir apparent for Patrick Marleau. Lazar is highly skilled, and will raise the level of play of those around him. He’s another player who could go much higher, but falls only due to the incredible depth of this year’s class. 21. Toronto Maple Leafs- Max Domi, Center (Canada) -Like the Darnell-Nurse-to-Philadelphia pick, this one is again all too perfect. Toronto gets to take the son of one of their most memorable players from the past 25 years. The best part? Max might turn out to be even better than his father, Tie. The younger Domi has offensive potential that his father never did, and could end up as Toronto’s second or third line center sooner rather than later. 22. Calgary Flames (via St. Louis Blues)- Frederik Gauthier, Center (Canada) - Another key piece for Calgary’s rebuild. Gauthier can play any forward position, and has a  great, well-rounded game to go along with great size at 6’5″, 211 lbs. Gauthier has the makings of a great power forward, and should be ready to help Calgary get back on track in a few years. 23. Washington Capitals- Bo Horvat, Center (Canada) - Will Washington ever be able to find a long-term solution at second-line center behind Nicklas Backstrom? We may never know, but that’s no reason for them to stop trying. Couldn’t hurt for the Capitals to grab someone like Bo Horvat at No. 23 overall. Horvat isn’t a great scorer, but has solid passing skills to and a good two-way game. 24. Vancouver Canucks- Madison Bowey, Defenseman (Canada) - After dealing away Kevin Connauton, the Canucks would do well to add some talent to their defensive prospect pool. Madison Bowey is one of the best left available, and would be a good fit for Vancouver at this juncture. 25. Montreal Canadiens- Kirby Rychel, Center (Canada) - A solid two-way player with a good scoring touch. He’s still developing, and will likely end up as a winger at the pro level. Has good genes, as he’s the son of former Warren Rychel, who played for ten seasons in the NHL. 26. Anaheim Ducks- Josh Morrissey, Defenseman (Canada) -A talented, offensive-minded defenseman for Anaheim to add to a prospect pool that features little after their pair of high-end Europeans (Sami Vatanen and Hampus Lindholm). 27. Columbus Blue Jackets (via Los Angeles Kings)- Ryan Hartman, Right Wing (Canada) - Hartman is a high-effort player who can take the ice in any situation. He won’t be a top-line goal scorer, but he’ll fit well as a middle-six forward who can chip in wherever needed, much like Steve Ott. 28. Dallas Stars (via Boston Bruins)- Morgan Klimchuk, Left Wing (Canada) -Another scoring winger for a team that needs one. Dallas has very little in its prospect pool at left wing; Klimchuk and Shinkaruk will go a long ways towards changing that. Like Shinkaruk, Klimchuk isn’t a big player, but has plenty of skill. He notched 36 goals last year with Regina of the WHL. 29. Calgary Flames (via Pittsburgh Penguins)- Robert Hagg, Defenseman (Sweden) - The Flames get a major boost to their defensive prospect pool with the selection of Robert Hagg. He’s a well-rounded player who has been likened to Detroit’s Niklas Kronwall. He plays strong in all three zones, and can quarterback the power play. 30. Chicago Blackhawks- Samuel Morin, Defenseman (Canada) -There isn’t much Chicago needs, but it never hurts to add someone with Morin’s size to your developmental pipeline. He’s considered to still be quite raw, but the one thing he doesn’t need to improve is his size. Morin is a towering 6’7″, and has the potential to develop into a dominant, Zdeno Chara-type blueliner.

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