After watching the NHL Draft Lottery this past weekend, we now now the order of all teams that did not make the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Toronto Maple Leafs draft first, the Winnipeg Jets moved up to pick second, and the Columbus Blue Jackets have the first three picks.
Here is the mock draft for the top three picks.
C Auston Matthews
The two way forward from Arizona has spent the year abroad in Switzerland. He has been the consensus number one pick for his play style and skills all year. Matthews chose a quicker route to the NHL by playing abroad. This will allow Toronto to send him to their AHL affiliate, the Marlies, next year if he needs time to adjust. He won’t. Matthews is the most complete player in the draft, and it would take a super-sized ransom of picks and roster players to get this pick from the Leafs.
A high-scoring high-skilled Finnish winger going to the Jets.Where have we seen this one before? Laine has a fantastic shot, and can dominate shift after shit at times. The new Finnish flash will be given every chance to make the opening-night roster for the Jets. If he does he will end up on the third line as a scoring winger. This being early May, it is hard to project his line mates, as the Jets will look to make a series of moves to avoid lottery participation next year. If the Jets could pair Laine with a seasoned winger like Drew Stafford, look for Laine to get plenty of scoring chances next year.
F. Jesse Puljujarvi
Puljujarvi played outstanding during his time at both the World Juniors, and the U18 Championship for the Finns. Every shift he played, he was the center of attention. People have compared Laine to Ovechkin, but seeing Jesse’s shot also gave me those thoughts regarding Puljujarvi.
All three of these teams will draft game-changing players that will have a massive impact on the next decade of the NHL.This draft will be fun to watch. Look for more thoughts on each team’s first round selection as the summer goes on.