(Photo Courtesy of Sportsnet)
This is part two of my mock draft (You can find part one, which is picks 1-10, here). This section will include all teams that pick 11-20. I will complete the mock draft after the Conference and Cup finals when picks 20-30 are set in place officially. So, Nashville, you’re on the clock.
11. Nashville Predators- Nick Ritchie (Winger)
The best adjective to describe Nick Ritchie is big. Ritchie possesses a prototypical power forward frame at 6’2 230. Along with his punishing size, Ritchie is deceivingly fast and possesses above average offensive skills. Nashville, who is coming off a disappointing season, has had complete turnover in their front office this offseason. A pick like Ritchie can begin to right this ship on this habitually over-performing franchise. However, despite falling out of the top 10 this year, I believe that Nashville and their fans are in for rough years ahead. Ritchie will be joining an offense that had a defenseman lead them in goals. Ritchie will be a great fit on the Nashville power play, screening the net for Jones and Weber.
NHL Player Comparison: Bryan Bickell
12. Phoenix Coyotes- Brendan Perlini (Winger)
A local product from Niagara, Perlini had a great 2013-2014 season, which has helped his draft stock immensely. Perlini has great size for a winger at 6’3 205, but his speed at this size is a surprising factor for what makes Perlini such a promising prospect. His skill in the offensive zone is excellent and he is considered by many to be the complete package of offensive talent. His passing game has always been strong, however the offensive game that is created due to his physical play needs to be more consistent, especially if he’s to thrive at the NHL level. Phoenix is getting a great offensive weapon and a steal at 12. I wouldn’t be surprised if Perlini is selected by Winnipeg at 9, and if so, expect Barbashev to land in Phoenix.
NHL Player Comparison: Jeff Carter
13. Washington Capitals- Haydn Fleury (Defense)
Washington may have just had the most disappointing season in the entire NHL this year. With a roster as loaded offensively as Washington, there should be no reason for the struggles Washington experienced this season. However, one position Washington has routinely struggled with is defense. While Washington has a future defensive anchor in Olympian Jon Carlson, adding in a promising young defensive prospect like Fleury could be just what the doctor ordered. Fleury has good size for a defensemen and he is adept at joining the offensive rush. However his best offensive skill is his vision and outlet passing ability.
NHL Player Comparison: Ryan Suter
14. Dallas Stars- Kevin Fiala (Winger)
Dallas, who made a huge splash last offseason, was rewarded with a playoff spot. Despite being eliminated in the first round, Dallas made huge strides forward last season especially offensively. Fiala will fit perfectly into this revamped team especially with the system installed by coach Lindy Ruff. Fiala is an undersized winger but his elusiveness while skating allows him to attack through the neutral zone, which creates room for his exceptional puck skills. Fiala is a gritty player that makes him a nuisance to play against. Fiala could be a great top-six forward in the league and could mesh nicely in Dallas.
NHL Player Comparison: Chris Krieder
15. Detroit Red Wings- Jared McCann (Center)
Detroit, who squeaked into the playoffs, were eliminated with haste by Boston and some harsh realities came to the surface this year. The once perennial powerhouse in the West is now an aging veteran-squad in the East. Sad as it is to see Datsyuk reach retirement age, Detroit needs new players down the middle. McCann is a perfect pick for Detroit because he is a textbook two-way center. McCann’s defensive game is stronger at the moment and he excels in the faceoff circle. If Detroit is patient with his offensive game, and allows him proper time to develop, McCann can be part of the next core in Detroit’s future.
NHL Player Comparison: Dustin Brown
16. Columbus Blue Jackets- Adrian Kempe (Winger)
Columbus, who surprised just about everyone in the league this season, took a talented Penguins team to the brink before being eliminated. Columbus has redefined their team offensively after trading away talents like Rich Nash and Marian Gaborik. Kempe has great size for a winger and fits what Columbus has been doing well. His size and skill makes him tough to push around. Kempe will win many battles along the boards and he overwhelms even the best defenders with his relentless pursuit of the puck. Kempe is not the flashiest player on the ice, but his abilities in the dirty areas make him perfect for the blue collar team spirit in Columbus.
NHL Player Comparison: Nick Foligno
17. Philadelphia Flyers- Dylan Larkin (Winger)
Philadelphia, who surprised the NHL with their start last season, also surprised the league with how well they finished the season. Despite largely being written off after firing Peter Laviolette, the Flyers, under new coach Craig Berube, made a strong push that resulted in a postseason birth. Larkin, who is a natural power forward, has good size and wheels. He routinely manages the flow of the game with his intelligence and leadership skills, which certainly came to the forefront at the U18 Tournament. Larkin may not have the best offensive upside, which may keep him out of a team’s top-six forwards. But Philadelphia loves large forwards that can punish other teams, and Larkin could fit that billing.
NHL Player Comparison: Scott Hartnell
18. Minnesota Wild- Robby Fabbri (Winger)
Minnesota, since making the big splash with Parise and Suter, has not met their own expectations in regards to playoff success. Following a long series with Chicago, two things were clear about Minnesota, they needed helped offensively and in net. Since this year draft class lacks goalie depth, Minnesota’s safe pick in Fabbri will grant them something that they desperately need, offensive talent. Fabbri is undersized at 5’10, but his speed and hockey sense has left him off the radar of many teams. His speed allows him to burn past defensemen and his hands are smooth when around the net. Fabbri has great potential and should not have slipped out of the top 10. However, Minnesota gets a steal if their willing to take a chance with his size.
NHL Player Comparison: Martin St. Louis
19. Tampa Bay Lightning- Alex Tuch (Winger)
Tampa, who is coming off a disappointing and quick first round exit at the hands of the Montreal Canadians, made the biggest splash at the trade deadline sending Martin St. Louis to the Stanley Cup-bound Rangers for Ryan Callahan. This trade seemingly shifted the culture of both teams involved. As the offseason approaches, Callahan is still unsigned and has given no indication to where his plans will take him. This creates a great opportunity for a player like Tuch. Tuch possess great size at 6’3 213. Tuch has one of the highest hockey IQ’s in the draft and his skating is respectable for his size. Tuch is heading to Boston College this fall which will give him even more time to develop his already strong game. This allows flexibility for Tampa when dealing with their offense this offseason.
NHL Player Comparison: Ryan Callahan
20. San Jose Sharks- David Pastrnak (Winger)
San Jose, who has to be the most respectable mess in the NHL, has only one nemesis in the league: the month of April. Playoffs are the trickiest thing for this almost unfairly stocked team. However for whatever reasons, the core of Marleau and Thornton may be due for a shakeup despite just signing long-term extensions. Pastrnak is a perfect pick at 20 to provide flexibility to this roster that may be headed for huge turnover. Pastrnak, who is 17, led his men’s team in Sweden in scoring this season and his offensive skills are developing nicely. He still needs time to develop both physically and mentally and there is no better situation for a player who needs time than San Jose.
NHL Player Comparison: Brian Gionta