Heading into the draft with 4th overall and a lot of other picks throughout the other rounds had us looking at our current prospect situation and what needs we may need to address. It might be a bit of an issue that our first defenseman doesn't rank until 9th and that our first goalie doesn't rank until 17th. With 4th overall we would be looking at BPA, or potentially moving down and acquiring some decent assets in the process. Our 2nd rounders may be used for need and throwing some goalie hail mary's in the later rounds might be part of the strategy as well. We probably don't need to be looking at power-forwards for some time.
Anyhow, here's how we see our current top 20 prospects:
1 . Mikko Rantanen - F - A talented forward with great size, Rantanen played 9 games for the Avs before being sent down to the AHL and dominating as a 19 year old rookie. All the makings for a high end first line forward for us in the future.
2 . Tom Wilson - RW - Although this massive forward has yet to play in the NEFHL, he's just finished his 3rd NHL season, with his best play to date, evolving as a two-way power forward. He's a beast that will intimidate the opponent and has 20 goal potential.
3 . Michael McCarron - RW - An even bigger power-forward! McCarron was having a steller rookie season for the IceCaps of the AHL before the Canadiens called him up to give him some NHL seasoning as chances are they're desperate for his size in the lineup and the sky's the limit for this kid. Who can stop him?
4 . Sebastian Aho - RW - Dominating season in the SEL, leading his team in the regular season and the playoffs. Only a year older than Puljujarvi and proved he's a significantly better player at this time.
5 . Nick Schmaltz - C - Schmaltz was the key to my Datsyuk trade, and he just had a great breakout season with the University of North Dakota. Looks like has top line potential - will keep an eye on his development.
6 . Julius Nattinen - C - Came over to the OHL and had an excellent rookie season, with 71 points in 52 games and a +32. He's an excellent two-way player that we see developing similarly to Silfverberg.
7 . Jordan Greenway - LW - Another hulking power-forward with great upside. We'll have until 2019 to sign him which is a nice bonus. He's probably more Greening than Bertuzzi but you never know with these guys.
8 . Dennis Yan - LW - Talented, quick goal scorer that's got good size and a bit of a mean streak. We like his battle level.
9 . Jack Dougherty - D - The first defenseman on our list, Dougherty moved to the WHL for last season and showed up in a big way for the Winterhawks, before getting eliminated and getting a taste of the AHL. The Nashville Predators know how to pick and develop their defensemen so I am optimistic that will see similar success here as Ekholm.
10 . Ethan Bear - D - Also from the WHL, having his best season to date, Bear is looking like a potential steal of a pick. He isn't the biggest guy, which always makes things more difficult in the pro leagues, but he seems to have the tenacity and overall strength to be able to compete with the big guys.
11 . Kyle Capobianco - D
12 . Hunter Smith - RW
13 . Anthony Cirelli - C
14 . Brendan Warren - LW
15 . Mitch Moroz - LW
16 . Nicklas Jensen - RW
17 . Callum Booth - G
18 . Jens Looke - RW
19 . Dennis Gilbert - D
20 . Veeti Vainio - D
HMs: Cameron Hughes, Shane Eiserman, Teemu Kivihalme, Ryan Mantha, Jaedon Descheneau, Alex Forsberg