21. Buffalo Sabres (from NYI)
Joel Eriksson Ek, C, Farjestad (SHL)
Sure, the Sabres went with a franchise center in Eichel with the second pick, but you can never have enough centers. With depth at virtually every position, the Sabres should take the best player available approach. Eriksson Ek is a strong, smart, two-way center who is versatile enough to fit anywhere in the lineup. His mature game should fast-track him to the NHL, but with a ’97 birthday the Sabres can let him develop a bit longer as GM Tim Murray continues his re-build.
Oliver Kylington, D, Farjestad (SHL)
The Caps have found a few gems later in the first round of recent drafts and Kylington has the potential to fit that mold. He began as a top 10 prospect at the beginning of the season, but has seen a steady fall since. He’s got all the talent in the world, but his size and questions about whether he can fully put everything together have plagued him. He’s got the skating and the offensive ability the Capitals love, especially if veteran puck-mover Mike Green departs.
23 . Vancouver Canucks
Brandon Carlo, D, Tri-City Americans (WHL)
The Canucks have a diverse stable of defensive prospects, but none of them have the potential that Carlo does. He is a smart, calm, stay-at-home defender who can take the opposing team’s top scorers out of the game without breaking a sweat. At 6’5 and 196 pounds, he will be ready to move up to the next level soon—although he may end up developing in the WHL for the next few years, as Edmonton’s Darnell Nurse did.
24. Toronto Maple Leafs (from NSH)
Brock Boeser, RW, Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL)
Boeser is a natural goal scorer with good strength and size. He also is a good skater and passer, making him a solid all-around talent. Having selected Marner with the fourth overall pick, and with William Nylander already in the system, the temptation would be to pick a center or defenseman here. However, Boeser is too good to pass up.
25. Winnipeg Jets (from BUF/STL)
Jansen Harkins, C, Prince George Cougars, (WHL)
Harkins is a strong, two-way center with above average skating ability and high hockey IQ. His strong two-way game and playmaking abilities will be a nice complement to some of Winnipeg’s undersized, yet offensively skilled players on the wing.
Jacob Larsson, D, Frolunda (SHL)
The Montreal Canadiens have quantity but not quality on the backend. Larsson would immediately become their top defensive prospect once Jarred Tinordi graduates. He is a strong, two-way defender who looked comfortable through 20 SHL games this season. At 6’2 and 190 pounds, he gives the Canadiens another potential big body on the blue line.
27. Anaheim Ducks
Filip Chlapik, C, Charlottetown Islanders (QMJHL)
The Ducks are in need of more depth at center. Chlapik is a tremendous thinker of the game and plays well in a lot of areas. He has good size, very high hockey IQ, and dynamic offensive skills. He could be a terrific playmaking replacement when it’s time for Ryan Kesler to move out of Anaheim’s top six.
Thomas Chabot, D, Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)
Chabot is an ever-improving defender who emerged as a top-flight defenseman in the QMJHL this past season. Along with Jakub Zboril, he should push Saint John to the top of the league in the next two seasons. He has great offensive instincts, combined with a hard, direct shot from the point. He is by no means a shutdown defender, but is improving in his anticipation and own-zone defending.
29. Philadelphia Flyers (from TBL)
Daniel Sprong, RW, Charlottetown Islanders (QMJHL)
If Daniel Sprong is still available at 29th, the Flyers will snatch him up without blinking. The team is in need of high-end left or right wing talent, and Sprong’s playmaking ability, skating, and puck skills would give the Flyers another dimension. While a netminder might be a good choice, the Flyers might still view Anthony Stolarz as their future in goal.
30. Arizona Coyotes (from CHI)
Ilya Samsonov, G, Stalnye Lisy Magnitogorsk (MHL)
A big, blocking-style netminder, Ilya Samsonov would make a fantastic addition to the Coyotes’ prospect pool. Starting in the MHL last season, he finished with a sparkling 11-4-1 record that included two sutouts, 2.66 goals-against average, and a .918 save percentage. Samsonov is signed up in the KHL through 2017-18, but any team that is willing to exercise patience with him could be rewarded with a top-flight starter at some point down the road.
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