After drafting high end forwards the past four years who already make contributions with the team Murray addresses their backend as he plays a solid two-way game who oozes character and leadership and has the maturity to step in immediately and contribute.
Read Gus Katsaros' full NHL Mock draft here
Burned twice with Zherdev and Filatov Blue Jackets pass on Russian players. Forsberg gives them a franchise power forward to build around whose only pressing need is to physically mature.
Tough decision for new GM Bergevin made easy scooping up the most offensively ready player who can step in immediately and produce on the second line. Yakupov is a game breaker that would lift Habs fans out of their seats.
Not the sexiest pick but the safest one. Already physically mature and plays a staunch two-way game with good offensive upside. Carried WHL team to a Championship with strong bloodlines - father was an accomplished pro of 11 seasons.
Leafs need character players with skill and Galchenyuk brings both of those qualities! A bit of a gamble as he missed almost the entire regular season with a knee injury but responded well in return during the playoffs. A competitor who will get a hard look at training camp.
Ducks need an offensively gifted blue liner who can man the point with a blistering slapshot. Dumba plays with toughness that bevies his size making him capable of surviving in the West.
GM Fletcher continues to build from the backend, as defence corps will look solid once Brodin and Trouba mature, each bringing their own dynamic. Trouba is a physical specimen who already has two World U18 gold medals.
Pleasantly surprised he is still available, the 6'2" Russian oozes skill and can take over games, when he wants too. Will need to overcome consistency issues and work on game without the puck but he gives the Canes an option either up the middle or on the wing. Has potential to turn pro as early as next season.
Virtually unknown to start the season, Lindholm established himself as the best defenseman in Europe. A promotion to the Elitserien will give him plenty of time to develop next season. Has size, is a strong skater, possesses maturing puck skills and shows a penchant to want to be a difference maker in games. Development curve continues to improve.
Returned to the third round of the playoffs and did not miss a beat after missing 54 regular season games and first two rounds of the playoffs to a knee injury. Gives the Lightning a puck moving defenseman who can gain the zone all by himself. Lacks size, however, Kris Letang and Erik Karlsson have been successful, Rielly offers a similar dynamic.
Possesses one of the best natural offensive skill sets in the draft. His mix of offensive hockey sense, coupled with his play making and passing ability are too good for Caps to over look. Will need to play with more jam, however, he survived in the top Finnish men's league and produced.
Gives the Sabres instant size and can play on the wing or up the middle. Sabres will gravitate towards his defensive play and his still maturing body which could see him tip the scales at 6'3, 235 when he is ready to turn pro, making him almost unmovable in front of the goal a la Johan Franzen.
Helped the expansion Dubuque Fighting Saints win a USHL Clark Cup. Doesn't go around the opposition - he goes through them, even his own team mates loathe playing against him in practice due to his compete level and bull in a china shop approach. Tough and extremely difficult to play against.
Former 1st overall pick in 2009 WHL bantam draft has represented Team Canada in every International tournament to this point. A swift and agile skater with healthy offensive upside, and layers to his game despite some size concerns. Adds depth to the Flames backend.
Offered up a spellbinding playoff performance, en route to winning an OHL Championship with the Knights. Maatta is a safe pick who can do many little things well. He needs to fill out and work on his pivots but he has great range and can make a calculated first pass.
Adds to the depth on the backend as the Capitals, who are in no need to rush him, allow plenty of time to development. Size, skating ability and is equipped with an absolute rocket of a point shot. Adding some grit and physicality would help overall, with a need to play his man tougher in down low and one-on-one situations.
Helped Sweden end a 30+ year drought by capturing a gold at the WJC, finishing second in team scoring. An energetic player who can create and gets surprising torque on his shots considering his short stick. Appears small on the ice but he has a contagious work ethic and is not afraid to sacrifice his body to make a play.
No player was more important to their junior team than Gaunce. Named assistant captain to start the year he played in all 68 games in various situations. Character game is off the charts and a decent stick, backchecks to defend with enthusiasm. Needs to work on skating and overall fluidity. Sharks have had a good track record of players coming out of the OHL.
"Russian Factor" may scare Hawks however the addition of Vasilevski gives them a legitimate starter as he has optimum size, sensational athleticism and strong rebound control. Will have to work on his feet and mental resolve.
Lack of goaltending depth makes the selection of Subban logical. A handful of nagging injuries robbed him of 30+ games, yet he led the OHL in many statistical categories. Subban didn't pick up the position of net minder till he was 12 and has been developing at a rapid rate. Last time the Devils picked a goalie at 20th overall, he helped the franchise win three Stanley Cups, just saying!
With a surplus of defenseman available in this year's draft, GM Yzerman and Head Scout Al Murray take full advantage and nab Koekkoek. Yet another player to be affected by the injury bug, Koekkoek was a force in the 2011-12 World U18 Championships as an under-ager and played over 30 minutes a game for the Petes (OHL). Possesses all the tools to be a regular NHL'er with his blend of size, puck skills and skating ability.
A throwback player whose style will make him a fan favourite. Physical and brings the crash, boom-bang, while skilled enough to keep up and play alongside talented players, Wilson has ok hands but even better fists.
Hertl was an absolute stand-out in the top Czech men's league and absolutely dominant at the WJC nearly upsetting Team Russia in a QF OT loss. Signed to play two more years with Slavia Praha of the Czech Extraliga, offers the Sabres time to properly develop. Plays a pugilistic game and with an upgrade to his skating he has a chance to play within the top six.
Injuries took away from a very productive start to the season where he was easily one of the top rookies in the Elitserien. Plays a spirited game and marries it with a handsome offensive skill set. Will need to be more selective in his physical confrontations for self preservation purposes at the NHL level.
With an abundance of prospects in the cupboard, Skjei is a safe choice that offers the Panthers a healthy transitional puck moving defenseman. Got progressively better as the season wore on culminating with a stand-out performance at the World U18 Championships as he helped Team USA capture its fourth consecutive gold medal.
Took his game to another level in the playoffs as he plays a polished and mature game. Can mesh with any system and his effortless skating style makes him a threat to join the rush however his skills would be used more in a defensive shut-down capacity as he closes the gap on forwards better than any defenseman available in the draft.
Bruins are elated he is available as he brings a burgeoning offensive game backed by a laser beam of a point shot. Played significant minutes for Guelph (OHL) and was instrumental in a surprising post-season appearance for the Storm. Needs to play the body more as he can be a stick checker but brings many intangibles to the table.
One of the smarter two-way players available in the draft, Laughton is small in terms of physical proportions but plays hard and is not afraid to drop the gloves. His skating needs explosiveness however his anticipation and game reading ability are at a premium as is his character as he plays a complete 200 foot game.
Like father, like son, Rangers are happy to add a player of Matteau's physical dimensions. Skating continues to improve and he has a pro snap shot which explodes off his stick. Up and down winger plays an honest game and won't back down, a utility/role player who approaches the game similar to his father, Stephane Cup winner in '94.
GM Gillis goes slightly off the board, with his pick of Samuelsson. In an attempt to get bigger and intimidate the opposition none are better equipped to do so than Henrik. The son of former aggravating defenseman Ulf. Henrik plays a good down low game and shows a soft touch with the puck in the corners, coupled with his aggressive style of play thus adding to his versatility.