This is the last of three mock drafts I'll be doing here at The Cannon. As is always the case, the order is based off of current standings, and will change between now and draft day in June. This draft assumes a few things- that there are no trades made, and that the Jackets elect to keep the Kings' first round pick. The pick is conditional, with the Jackets having the option to take the Kings' first rounder this year or next.
The overall group of players remains similar to Mock Draft 2.0, with only three players from last time not in the draft, and consequently three new additions. There has been some shuffling since the first draft I did in January, but my methodology remains the same- I based the picks on recent draft trends, team needs, and player ranking.
1) OILERS: RW Nail Yakupov, Sarnia Sting (OHL)
Similar to my second mock draft, until the Oilers trade this pick Yakupov is the clear-cut number one. I highly doubt they'll have a hard time finding suitors for the first pick, but if they can't, they must take Yakupov.
2) BLUE JACKETS: LW Filip Forsberg, Leksand (Sweden)
In the last mock draft, I had the Jackets taking defenseman Ryan Murray. Since then, I have changed my tune a bit, and have the Jackets taking Filip Forsberg. He's the offensive forward the team needs, and
3) CANADIENS: RW Mikhail Grigorenko, Quebec Remparts (QMJHL)
The Habs have a handful of solid defensive prospects, but are a bit thin up front. Grigorenko plays in Quebec already, and would bring offense tot he Montreal lineup down the road.
4) ISLANDERS: D Ryan Murray, Everett Silvertips (WHL)
The Isles have a handful of excellent young forwards in the system, and the most NHL-ready defender falls into their lap. He won't score a ton of points, but he'll wear a letter before too long and will solidify the Long Island defense.
5) MAPLE LEAFS: C Alex Galchenyuk, Sarnia Sting (OHL)
6) DUCKS: D Morgan Rielly, Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)
The Ducks are in a position where they have great skill up front, but need to upgrade the skill on the back end. Rielly is generally considered to be the top offensive blueliner available, and he will compliment Cam Fowler very nicely down the road in Anaheim.
7) WILD: D Cody Ceci, Ottawa 67's (OHL)
Like the Ducks, the Wild need a dose of skill on the back end. Ceci doesn't have the raw offensive talent that Rielly has, but he is a close second. He can quarterback a powerplay, and would look just fine feeding the Wild's skilled young forwards the puck.
8 ) HURRICANES: D Jacob Trouba, USNTDP
Trouba is the kind of player that a coach can rely on to make the right play, and is great when paired with an offensively-minded partner. Justin Faulk is a player who likes to pinch up on the play, and Trouba would make a great ying to his yang.
9) JETS: D Matt Dumba, Red Deer Rebels (WHL)
The Jets need talent both up front and on the blueline, but the Jets go with the hard-hitting and high-scoring blueliner with their 2012 first rounder. He's like a Phaneuf.
10) LIGHTNING: D Griffin Reinhart, Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)
The Lightning are paper-thin on the future blueline outside of Victor Hedman, and Reinhart would give them a Shea Weber-type player to compliment the big Swede. In my humble opinion, a steal for the Bolts.
11) CAPITALS (AVALANCHE): D Olli Maatta, London Knights (OHL)
Though he didn't supply the offense many expected in the Memorial Cup, Maatta was steady and will give the Caps a defensive stud to add to the stable.
12) SABRES: C Radek Faksa, Kitchener Rangers (OHL)
The Sabres get a solid offensive contributor in Faksa, a player that could replace Derk Roy down the line as Thomas Vanek's setup man.
13) STARS: D Derrick Pouliot, Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
The Stars are a team that is close to contending, but need to improve the skill on the blueline. Pouliot is a boom or bust pick, but if he pans out he'll quarterback the Dallas powerplay in the near future.
14) FLAMES: LW Teuvo Teravainen, Jokerit (Finland)
Olli Jokinen's status is still up in the air with the Flames, but if he is in Calgary's plans, one of his duties could be to mentor the young Finn. This pick remains the same as my second mock draft, because I believe that Teravainen could be a steal for the Flames, giving them an offensive star for the future.
15) SENATORS: C Brendan Gaunce, Belleville Bulls (OHL)
The Sens seem set up the middle in the top six with Jason Spezza and Kyle Turris, but Gaunce would compliment them greatly as the checking center of the future. Gaunce is responsible in his own end, but can also contribute to the offense.
16) CAPITALS: RW Colton Sissons, Kelowna Rockets (WHL)
The Caps showed this year that they don't have a lot of scoring depth, and Sissons gives them a pure goal scorer to help offset the likely departure of Alexander Semin.
17) SHARKS: C Stefan Matteau, USNTDP
Matteau steps into his father's shoes as a member of the Sharks. He's a great fit for San Jose- he's a power forward who can make his own space and contribute greatly to the offense.
18) BLACKHAWKS: D Matt Finn, Guelph Storm (OHL)
The 'Hawks are tempted by the goaltender here, but Finn gives them a solid blueline option who in a few years will compliment Keith and Seabrook.
19) LIGHTNING (WINGS): G Malcolm Subban, Belleville Bulls (OHL)
GM Steve Yzerman has publically stated that he intends to improve his goaltending situation through the draft and free agency. The first step is to draft a potential franchise 'tender in Subban.
20) FLYERS: D Brady Skjei, USNTDP
The Flyers have an aging blueline, and Skjei gives them a dose of talent and stability in the near future. He's not the sexy pick, but he'll be dependable down the line, especially on a shutdown pair.
21) SABRES (PREDATORS): D Dalton Thrower, Saskatoon Blades (WHL)
After grabbing Radek Faksa earlier in the first round, the Sabres go after arguably the most physical blueliner in the draft. Thrower has been steadily rising up the ranks and would add some snarl to the Buffalo blueline.
22) PENGUINS: C Zemgus Girgensons, Dubuque (USHL)
The Penguins are seemingly always looking for wingers for their stud centermen, and though Girgensons plays center himself, a conversion to wing would be great for both parties. He would look fantastic on Geno Malkin's wing.
23) PANTHERS: D Slater Koekkoek, Peterborough Petes (OHL)
Another prospect who's season was cut short by an injury, Koekkoek would be another great piece for the future Florida blueline.
24) BRUINS: RW Thomas Wilson, Plymouth Whalers (OHL)
Wilson is perfect for the Bruins. He's a hard-nosed, physical player who can put up some points.
25) BLUES: C Mike Winther, Prince Albert Raiders (WHL)
This kid just seems like a Blue. St.Louis is a bit short on offensive types, Winther helps in that department.
26) CANUCKS: RW Sebastien Collberg, Frolunda (SEL)
The Canucks add another highly skilled Swedish forward- will Collberg be the long-awaited permanent fixture on the Sedin line?
27) COYOTES: C Tomas Hertl, Slavia (Czech Republic)
The Coyotes have a mix of veterans and young players up front, Hertl gives them a future top-six player to help replace aging veterans like Ray Whitney.
28) RANGERS: LW Tanner Pearson, Barrie Colts (OHL)
If the Rangers showed us one thing in their conference final defeat, it was that they lacked pure snipers. Pearson would give them just that- a guy who just scores friggin' goals, man.
29) BLUE JACKETS (KINGS): RW Martin Frk, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
I have the Jackets again taking Frk, a power forward with an absolutely lethal wrist shot. He would be a fantastic complimentary scorer, and would have the perfect mentor in countryman Vinny Prospal.
30) DEVILS: LW Danil Zharkov, Belleville Bulls (OHL)
Zharkov is the kind of player I think of when New Jersey is brought up in conversation. He's defensively responsible, with skill to burn. He would be a great linemate for Ilya Kovalchuk- covering his butt defensively while feeding him pucks in the offensive zone.