SB Nation NHL Mock Draft: The Toronto Maple Leafs Select Nikolaj Ehlers

Ehlers getting hit! - Derek Leung

In the SBN NHL Mock Draft, from the hockey hotbeds of Denmark and Halifax, the Leafs select Nikolaj Ehlers!

As we have done for the past few years, the braintrust behind PPP Amalgamated Heavy Industries, Kitten Ranching, and Pug Development GmBH has participated in a mock NHL draft. We bided our time while we waited for the picks to roll in. Here's how they went before us:

1. Florida: Aaron Ekblad

2. Buffalo: Sam Bennett

3. Edmonton: Leon Draisaitl

4. Calgary: Sam Reinhart

5. NY Islanders: Michael Dal Colle

6. Vancouver: Jake Virtanen

7. Carolina: Brendan Perlini

Chemmy went into his lab and provided us with the following draft board and notes

Age Ht GP G A Pts iNHLe NHLe G82 NHLe A82 NHLe P82
FABBRI, ROBERT 18.4 5.10 58 45 42 87 0.31 19.7 18.4 38.1
EHLERS, NIKOLAJ 18.3 5.11 63 49 55 104 0.27 17.5 19.7 37.2
RITCHIE, NICHOLAS 18.5 6.03 61 39 35 74 0.30 15.7 14.1 29.7
HO-SANG, JOSHUA 18.4 5.11 67 32 53 85 0.31 12.1 20.1 32.2
MCCANN, JARED 18.0 6.00 64 27 35 62 0.34 11.7 15.2 26.9
BARBASHEV, IVAN 18.5 6.01 48 25 43 68 0.26 11.1 19.2 30.3
MACINNIS, RYAN 18.3 6.04 66 16 21 37 0.31 6.3 8.2 14.5
NYLANDER, WILLIAM 18.1 5.11 22 1 6 7 0.59 2.2 13.2 15.4


"iNHLe" is my interpolated value for NHLe. If you think someone's is low or high feel free to adjust on your draft board.

NHLe G82 is how many goals that NHLe translates to over 82 games, A and Pts you're smart guys.

Age is in decimal years, Ht is feet.inches.

After consultation, we decided to select Nikolaj Ehlers from the Halifax Mooseheads. There's some pretty good team lineage coming along hopefully. If you've read this site for any period of time, then you know that we tried to stay true to our philosophy that "when in doubt, draft the kid that can score". Doing otherwise is how you end up with plugs like Tyler Biggs in the first round. What do the more experienced draftniks have to say about Ehlers?

An incredibly skilled forward, Ehlers makes plays at high speeds and doesn't mind going to the tough areas in order to score. Scouts see him as an excellent complementary player and have even hesitantly brought up teammate Jonathan Drouin as a comparable, as lofty as that sounds. While playing for Biel last year, he even got to practise with locked-out NHL stars Tyler Seguin and Patrick Kane. And along with getting the Mooseheads back to the Memorial Cup for a title defense, Ehlers will be counted on at the world juniors next season with Denmark.

In the past 12 months or so, he helped the Danes get up to the top bracket at both the under-18s and the world juniors; an obvious point of pride for him.

Ryan Kennedy, The Hockey News

Imported from Denmark, Ehlers has replaced the scoring void quite nicely after Nathan MacKinnon made the leap to the Colorado Avalanche. Like his predecessor in Halifax, Ehlers is one of the fastest skaters in the draft, blazing past defenders and utilizing his dynamic elusive cuts in and out of traffic to create room. The depth of intelligence Ehlers possesses for the game allows him to adopt both a shooter and playmaker's mentality. Rising up draft boards quickly.

Brendan Ross, Dobber Sports

"The big question was how he would handle the durability of playing in the QMJHL and playing more games. But he's proven to be a skilled forward who can work some magic with Jonathan Drouin. He's got that quickness where he can separate from a check and get to the net. He's got soft hands and passes with authority, is a clever playmaker and very unselfish."

Director of NHL Central Scouting Dan Marr

He works the hardest out of most of the players on the team, first to get to training last to leave.

MyNHLDraft

A cursory glance at the Maple Leafs' development pipeline will lay a few truths bare with the most glaring being that the team lacks high end skill. The recent drafts have focused more on players that have lower ceilings but higher odds of making the NHL. That's a great way to fill out your bottom 3-6 forwards and your bottom defence pairing. However, skill wins games and Ehlers brings that in spades...apparently. Here's a video of him.

If you think we should have picked someone else then make your case in the comments and let it live on for eternity.

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