Mock drafts: they're all the rage in the weeks leading up to the 2015 NHL Draft.
Not to be left behind, Defending Big D is going to do not just one, but TWO, mock drafts this year! Mine can be found below, while Huw Wales' mock draft will be posted later this week.
This isn't a ranking of prospects based off of their NHL potential, but rather a prediction of what all of the teams will be looking for with each pick.
You all know the rest, so let's not waste any more time and get right to the picks:
1) Edmonton Oilers - Connor McDavid
Do I even need to write anything here? McDavid going to the Oilers is pretty much a foregone conclusion at this point.
2) Buffalo Sabres - Jack Eichel
Much like the first pick, this one is also a foregone conclusion. The Sabres will draft Eichel, and adding him to the likes of Sam Reinhart, Zemgus Girgensons and Mikhail Grigorenko gives them a deep, talented group of centers that is going to terrify the NHL for years to come.
3) Arizona Coyotes - Dylan Strome
The Coyotes need the most help at center and on defense, but decide to go for a center here knowing that they will have a lot of solid defensive options to choose from when they pick 30th overall.
4) Toronto Maple Leafs - Mitch Marner
The Leafs seem to now be fully embracing advanced metrics in hockey, and taking this into consideration, they select one of the best puck possession players in the entire draft with Marner. The fact that he plays in the OHL is icing on the cake.
5) Carolina Hurricanes - Noah Hanifin
Hanifin is easily the best player available at this point, and Carolina will pretty much sprint to the podium to select him, knowing that they'll be getting their No. 1 defenseman of the future.
6) New Jersey Devils - Mathew Barzal
Not only could New Jersey not score this season, they have almost no help coming in their prospect pipeline. Although players like Rantanen, Zacha and Crouse are temping for them, Barzal is capable of making everyone around him better, a trait that is too important to pass up.
7) Philadelphia Flyers - Mikko Rantanen
Rantanen doesn't play the classic "Broadstreet Bully" style of hockey, but the Flyers will still be too enticed by his combination of size and skill to pass him up.
8) Columbus Blue Jackets - Ivan Provorov
It's no secret at this point that the Blue Jackets want more talented young defensemen in their system, so they take one here. This pick could easily be Werenski, but my gut says that they'll go for Provorov.
9) San Jose Sharks - Zach Werenski
The Sharks need all sorts of help with their prospect system so they'll take the player that seems like he'll have the best chance to make an individual impact each game, which is Werenski, a potential No. 1 defenseman.
10) Colorado Avalanche - Timo Meier
Colorado would probably love to draft a blueliner here, but with Provorov and Werenski off the board they elect to take Meier, a big body and a pure finisher that will nicely complement the rest of their young forwards.
11) Florida Panthers - Lawson Crouse
With Nick Bjugstad and Aleksander Barkov on the team the Panthers will add Crouse to the group, giving them a huge forward corps that will wreak cycle havoc on opposing teams for years.
12) Dallas Stars - Pavel Zacha
After striking gold by drafting a big, mobile forward in Valeri Nichushkin two years ago, the Stars will jump at the chance to get the same type of player again here with Zacha. Arguably the best player available at this point, which the Stars have the luxury of pursuing.
13) Los Angeles Kings - Kyle Connor
The Kings need to add some young centers into their prospect pool so they'll take a highly skilled one in Connor, despite the fact that he doesn't fit their usual desire for bigger, stronger players.
14) Boston Bruins - Evgeny Svechnikov
Speaking of a desire for size...the Bruins still have theirs, and since Svechnikov has that as well as a great scoring touch, which the team needs, they'll gladly reach a bit and take him here.
15) Calgary Flames - Jeremy Roy
Calgary has stockpiled plenty of talented young forwards over the past few drafts so they shift their focus to defense this time around. Roy has the potential to be the team's PP QB of the future.
16) Edmonton Oilers (from Pittsburgh Penguins) - Oliver Kylington
Everyone knows that the Oilers need defenders, but they'll shock everyone here by going for Kylington, a raw offensive blueliner that can keep pace with their explosive forwards. Edmonton has the luxury of gambling a bit with this pick, and they swing for the fences with Kylington.
17) Winnipeg Jets - Travis Konecny
The Jets seem to put a lot of value into players with high character, so the fact that Konecny was his team's captain at 17 years old speaks volumes to them. A duo of Konecny alongside star prospect Nikolaj Ehlers could be lethal.
18) Ottawa Senators - Thomas Chabot
A number of young forwards had great years in Ottawa this season so the organization balances things out by taking a defender here. Chabot is a smart two-way player that should fit in very nicely with the team.
19) Detroit Red Wings - Jakub Zboril
Detroit has barely taken any defenders over the past few drafts so they'll take the best one still available. Luckily for them, at this point Zboril is also one of the best players on the board at any position so it's not a reach.
20) Minnesota Wild - Nick Merkley
Minnesota has a lack of game-breaking forward prospects, which they rectify by taking the high-risk, high-reward Merkley.
21) Buffalo Sabres - (from New York Islanders) - Ilya Samsonov
Buffalo is so loaded with prospects that they could do almost anything here, but one thing that they don't have is a star young goalie. Samsonov might be a reach at 21, but the Sabres need help at the position.
22) Washington Capitals - Joel Eriksson Ek
While Denis Guryanov, another talented young Russian, is tempting for them, the Caps have a bigger organizational need for a two-way center with size. Eriksson Ek joins fellow Swedes Nicklas Backstrom and Marcus Johansson.
23) Vancouver Canucks - Noah Juulsen
The Canucks will be targeting defense with their first round pick, and Juulsen has the versatility to fit almost any sort of role for the position. The fact that he's from British Columbia puts him higher on their list.
24) Toronto Maple Leafs (from Nashville Predators) - Jansen Harkins
Toronto helps alleviate some of the organization's problems at center, while also still sticking to their new philosophy on puck possession, by drafting Harkins here.
25) Winnipeg Jets (from St. Louis Blues) - Colin White
The Jets have a lot of flexibility with this pick, but White, a speedy two-way center, should fit into their system perfectly.
26) Montreal Canadiens - Daniel Sprong
Montreal badly needs to add some elite offensive ability into their team's forward group so they'll take Sprong, an electrifying player that can put up a ton of points, regardless of the other weaknesses in his game.
27) Anaheim Ducks - Jack Roslovic
Ryan Kesler won't be around for forever, and knowing this, the Ducks select Roslovic, a similar type of player with the potential to be his successor one day.
28) Tampa Bay Lightning (from New York Rangers) - Denis Guryanov
Tampa Bay might be looking for a reliable two-way forward here, but there aren't many good options. They've had a ton of luck with drafting Russian players over the past few years so they aren't afraid to take Guryanov instead.
29) Philadelphia Flyers (from Tampa Bay Lightning) - Paul Bittner
The Flyers took Rantanen, a huge right wing, at 8th overall, and they'll take Bittner, a huge left wing, with this pick to give them two-thirds of a future line.
30) Arizona Coyotes (from Chicago Blackhawks) - Brandon Carlo
One thing that the Coyotes prospect pool lacks is a big, physical, shutdown defenseman with Top 4 upside. That's Carlo in a nutshell.