The Dallas Stars were able to select defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen with the No. 10 pick in the SB Nation Mock Draft, picking up an elite two-way defenseman already playing at a high level in Finland. With the second pick in the second round, we turned our eyes towards addressing the organizational need of acquiring a high-level offensive forward -- with hopefully a center becoming available.
With no trades allowed in this draft, we were forced to stick with No. 29 and see how the first round played itself out and hope that one of the players at the top of our draft board would fall to the back end of the first round.
1. Colorado: Nathan MacKinnon
2. Florida: Jonathan Drouin
3. Tampa Bay: Seth Jones
4. Nashville: Aleksander Barkov
5. Carolina: Valeri Nichushkin
6. Calgary: Sean Monahan
7. Edmonton: Elias Lindholm
8. Buffalo: Darnell Nurse
9. New Jersey: Hunter Shinkaruk
10. Dallas: Rasmus Ristolainen
11. Philadelphia: Mirco Mueller
12. Phoenix: Bo Horvat
13. Winnipeg: Kerby Rychel
14. Columbus: Max Domi
15. NY Islanders: Alexander Wennberg
16. Buffalo: Frederik Gauthier
17. Ottawa: Ryan Pulock
18: Detroit: Anthony Mantha
19. Columbus: Valentin Zykov
20. San Jose: Andre Burakowsky
21. Toronto: Nikita Zadorov
22. Calgary: Shea Theodore
23. Washington: JT Compher
24. Vancouver: Adam Erne
25. Montreal: Josh Morrissey
26. Anaheim: Robert Hagg
27. Columbus: Ryan Hartman
28. Calgary: Artturi Lehkonen
If this had been the real draft, and had trades been allowed, I would have done everything possible to move up to grab Adam Erne, who I had No. 15 on my draft board and somehow fell to the mid-20s. As the mock draft continued to play itself out, I had hope that Artturi Lehkonen would fall -- incredibly -- to the Stars. Alas, the Calgary Flames snagged him just ahead of our pick at No. 28.
As such, we jumped at the chance to draft another player we had high on our draft board:
29. Dallas Stars select center Nicolas Petan
The center for the Portland Winterhawks had a hell of season as the co-leader in scoring in the WHL, and comes with some incredible offensive and puck possession skills -- only his size will keep him from getting drafted higher in the first round.
Petan is currently a center but will likely have to move to the wing to compete in the NHL because of his size (5-9, 165), but there's no doubting his incredible offensive skills. He continues to be doubted, again and again, yet continues to overcome expectations with his high-level offensive output, vision and incredible speed.
Here is what Corey Pronman has to say about Petan:
Petan was a co-leader in WHL scoring, contributing to Portland's league championship and berth in the Memorial Cup. He is a highly skilled individual, bleeding puck possession tools. He can make high level plays with the puck, be it in terms of controlling it, outmaneuvering opponents, or making top-end passes. He is a very creative, instinctive offensive player, showing a knack for turning normal plays into scoring chances. He has the pace to play in tight spaces. Petan is certainly a small player, but that helps him with shiftiness, as he is difficult to check in open ice. He possesses a nice first step, and he can move at an above-average level. He has a quality shot, and despite his size, he shows decent defensive ability. His diminutive stature (between 5'8" and 5'9") is his only glaring weakness, and overcoming it will be a challenge. Scouts have described him as feisty in terms of the effort and battle he displays.
Petan's best offensive attribute is his vision and playmaking abilities. He is so patient and poised with the puck, and waits for the perfect moment to make a quick pass for an easy goal. He seems to have a pair of eyes on the back of his head, because he made some unbelievable no look passes from behind the goal line to a teammate or passes off the half wall. His confidence with the puck has really made the difference in his game this season. Petan was also very impressive at finding open areas in the slot to score some timely goals. He also displayed very good stick handling skills and showed some nice elusiveness. Simply put, he could not be stopped this season.
The focus of the day is on combinations of skill and size, with the emphasis on size, but there are times where it's impossible to just ignore flat out skill. Put four more inches and 20 pounds on Petan, and he's be a consensus top three pick in the draft.