note: You don’t pick players in the NHL draft with the intent of having them play in the NHL the very next season. This is about taking the best possible player with a focus on needs that will exist 3-5 years into the future. Most prominent 3/5 year needs: 2nd line LW, 2nd line C, 1st pair D, right-shooting D
Dallas is slated to pick at #14. It’s very unlikely they will trade up, and probably won’t trade down either. There’s some talk they could trade the pick to acquire a #2 center (such as Spezza or Kesler), but for now I’m going to assume they keep their first rounder. Dallas has lots of prospect depth, so I believe they’ll be looking for the highest potential prospect they can find with their top pick. Since the top half of draft eligible prospects this year is unbelievably thin at defense, Nill will likely go after a forward. Perhaps the most glaring future need at forward is the 2nd line center and left wing positions. Anything past the first round becomes almost impossible to predict.
Dallas Mock Draft
1st round (14th): Kevin Fiala (LW/RW) – HV71 (SHL) – Fiala is an undersized, highly skilled forward. He definitely fits the high risk, high reward mold.
Other possibilities more likely to be available: Ivan Barbashev (C/LW) of Moncton (QMJHL), Robby Fabbri (C/LW) of the Guelph Storm (OHL), Sonny Milano (LW), (USHL).
2nd round (44th): Ryan Collins (D) – Collins is a big (6’5"), right-shooting defenseman, something Dallas does not have at any level in the organization.
Other possibilities: Really anyone who’s falling down the draft list due to concerns about risk. The best players who could fall well into the second might be Vladislav Kamanev (C), Nikolay Goldobin (LW), and Josh Ho-Sang (RW). I could keep going, but the list of potentials at this pick is probably at least thirty players long.
3rd-7th rounds: Not stupid enough to even try making predictions here. However, I’d love to pick up Ville Husso (HIFK) later in the draft. If you’re going to pick a goaltender, might as well make it a Finn.