2015 NHL Draft Preview: Mock Draft

Tonight is the night. It is draft night for 30 young players waiting for the call to join an NHL franchise.

The preparation and anticipation has been endless. This is one of the most highly-profiled draft classes in recent memory, and a historic night is in store.

As part of Flyerdelphia's extensive coverage, we've put together a mock draft for tonight's first round. This is based on the top prospects in the draft as well our series on the prospects eligible for this year's draft.

Our series began on April 23 and featured 26 players. It's time to see how we think the picks play out. [Note: This is assuming no trades occur in the first round and all teams retain their scheduled picks.]

  1. Edmonton  – Connor McDavid – Even before we knew who held the top draft pick, we knew who was going first. He's been the most-watched player all season and delivered astounding numbers for a season cut short by injury. He's going to be a star for sure.
  2. Buffalo – Jack Eichel – Buffalo had the best odds in the McDavid sweepstakes, but they get a pretty nice consolation prize. In just about any previous draft over the last five years, Eichel would have been a sure-fire first overall pick. He just happens to be in the same class as McDavid. Either way, Buffalo is getting a cornerstone player as they try to build back into a contender.
  3. Arizona – Noah Hanifin – Arizona is high on defenseman and this is, by all standards, the best one available. Hanifin garnered a lot of attention and handled it well. He should fit right into the Coyotes blue line.
  4. Toronto – Dylan Strome – Toronto's getting McDavid's partner in crime. Due to his teammate's injury, Strome won the OHL's scoring title with an impressive 129 points. McDavid may get all of the spotlight, but Strome's a dangerous player in his own right. 
  5. Carolina – Mitch Marner – Marner could have gone anywhere between 4 and 10 honestly, but he's impressed so many teams, he's got Top 5 written all over him. Carolina's getting a great prospect and it wouldn't be shocking if he cracked the lineup this season.
  6. New Jersey – Mikko Rantanen – I'm convinced New Jersey wants Marner to fall to them at six. This wouldn't be a horrible plan B.
  7. Philadelphia – Ivan Provorov - This is probably the guy the Flyers really want. It may be another defensemen, but that second first-round pick will be help fill that need later. Provorov's talent is too good to pass up here.
  8. Columbus – Pavel Zacha - Columbus might be left scrambling after two players that they could use – Rantanen and Provorov – go just ahead of their pick at eight. They settle for Zacha, who is no slouch.
  9. San Jose – Mathew Barzal – San Jose's aging group of forwards get a burst of energy with Barzal, who will begin the next wave of talent to come through the Sharks organization.
  10. Colorado – Zach Werenski – Werenski will fit right in with some of Colorado's offensive-minded defensemen while bringing a strong defensive game to the table. 
  11. Florida – Lawson Crouse – This will be a steal for the Panthers, who get a player with Crouse's upside at 11 when many thought he'd go in the Top 10.
  12. Dallas – Timo Meier – This is right around the projection for Meier, but again, consider it a steal. Any Top 10 team could easily desire the scoring abilities of Meier, so for Dallas to grab him at 12 is huge.
  13. Los Angeles – Travis Konecny – Konecny seems to fit the mold of hard-working players that Los Angeles has. Think Dustin Brown type here. He'd be Darryl Sutter's type of player.
  14. Boston – Nick Merkley – Boston's had their share of good centermen in the past, and Merkley seems to be right on track to join that group. Merkley brings a balanced scoring attack and I think he's what the Bruins have been looking for since trading Tyler Seguin. He's a good leader and the Bruins could use a good young leader with top-line potential to join the host of other up-and-coming prospects.
  15. Calgary – Jakub Zboril – Imagine Zboril joining a defensive group with Mark Giordano, T.J. Brodie and Kris Russell. Talk about a stacked blue line.
  16. Edmonton (from Pittsburgh) – Kyle Connor – From Connor McDavid to Kyle Connor, this is Edmonton's future at center. And Connor has first-line potential, meaning he'll be headlining a second line that could help bring Edmonton back from the dead.
  17. Winnipeg – Joel Eriksson Ek – It's an interesting pick but I can see a team like Winnipeg that loves the physical style and energy to take Eriksson Ek this early.
  18. Ottawa – Colin White – White's really flown under the radar in this draft, but I think he could be a good fit along with the rest of Ottawa's youth movement of late.
  19. Detroit – Evgeny Svechnikov – Detroit has always liked foreign players, but Svechnikov's play in the QMJHL will help with his development moving forward. 
  20. Minnesota – Jeremy Roy – Minnesota has a good base of defensemen already and can add to it with this selection. Roy brings added offense to the blue line on a team that focused so much on defense in the last year and really needed a scorer in the playoffs. Even as a defenseman, Roy could help.
  21. Buffalo (from NY Islanders) – Daniel Sprong – His projections vary from mid-to-late first round to as low as the early second round. I see a team taking a chance on his shifty play and looking for a power play fixture. Buffalo has needs across the board. They would definitely be in the market to take a flyer.
  22. Washington – Paul Bittner – A little bit of a slip here for Bittner, but he goes to a team that features a lot of scorers as it is and he proved he could fit right in after scoring 34 goals last season.
  23. Vancouver – Denis Guryanov – This winger was starting to prove his worth by becoming a point per game player in the Russian leagues. Vancouver is going to have to start looking toward the future as many fixtures from a team that made many bids at reaching the Stanley Cup Final start to get older.
  24. Toronto (from Nashville) – Jansen Harkins – Harkins would be a nice compliment to Strome from earlier in the round and bring a nice balance of skill to Toronto. Strome's going to be the leader, but Harkins could be the defensive forward that really helps Toronto's penalty kill.
  25. Winnipeg (from Buffalo via St. Louis) – Ilya Samsonov – The only goalie in the first round goes to Winnipeg. Yes, they already have a goalie platoon going at the NHL level, but it's hard to say how long they'll hold onto that or how long either goalie will last before feeling he's worth more starting time. Samsonov is the best available in the draft at the position.
  26. Montreal – Thomas Chabot – Montreal gets a very nice piece on defense who could work his way through the ranks and continue to grow as he did in juniors last season.
  27. Anaheim – Brock Boeser – Anaheim's got a strong first line already, but consider that they are in danger of losing Matt Beleskey, a key role player to their success. This could be his replacement. He'd fit right in with Bruce Boudreau's style.
  28. Tampa Bay (from NY Rangers) – Brandon Carlo - He fits right in with Tampa's defensive style and in that regard, the rich will only get richer. Tampa's currently starting Braydon Coburn, Matt Carle and Jason Garrison, all age 30 and all longtime NHL veterans. The next wave will be coming between Nikita Nesterov, already in the lineup, and Tampa's first round pick last year, Anthony DeAngelo
  29. Philadelphia (from Tampa Bay) – Jake DeBrusk – This is quite the talent for the 29th overall pick. The Flyers need a scoring winger on the left side. They'll swipe one late in the first round here with this WHL star.
  30. Arizona (from Chicago) – Oliver Kylington – Arizona is a going to be a prime target for defensemen. Getting a player like Kylington this late in the first round is certainly a big win for the Coyotes.

Kevin Durso is managing editor for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.

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