Yesterday’s picks in the SBNation Mock Draft show that tactics in choosing get harder to decide on the deeper into the order you get. These picks were the results of a gamble on a trade down, a compromise pick, and a team that could take any prospect and improve their depth.

How you decide who to choose is often as interesting as who you pick.

Here are the picks so far:

  1. New Jersey Devils, via All About The Jersey, select centre Nico Hischier.
  2. Philadelphia Flyers, via Broad Street Hockey, select centre Nolan Patrick.
  3. Dallas Stars, via Defending Big D, select centre Casey Mittelstadt.
  4. Colorado Avalanche, via Mile High Hockey, select defender Miro Heiskanen.
  5. Vancouver Canucks, via Nucks Misconduct, select centre Gabe Vilardi.
  6. Vegas Golden Knights, via Knights on ice, select winger Owen Tippett
  7. Arizona Coyotes, via Five for Howling, select defender Timothy Liljegren.
  8. Buffalo Sabres, via Die by the Blade, select defender Cale Makar.
  9. Detroit Red Wings, via Winging it in Motown, select centre Cody Glass.
  10. Florida Panthers, via Litter Box Cats, select winger Kristian Vesalainen.
  11. Los Angeles Kings, via Jewels From the Crown, select centre Nick Suzuki.
  12. St. Louis Blues (from Carolina Hurricanes), via St. Louis Gametime, select winger Lias Andersson.
  13. Winnipeg Jets, via Arctic Ice Hockey, select defender Juuso Välimäki
  14. Tampa Bay Lightning, via Raw Charge, select winger Kailer Yamamoto [yesssss]
  15. New York Islanders, via Lighthouse Hockey, select Elias Pettersson
  16. Calgary Flames, via Matchsticks & Gasoline, select winger Klim Kostin.
  17. Toronto Maple Leafs, via Pension Plan Puppets, select winger Eeli Tolvanen.
  18. Boston Bruins, via Stanley Cup of Chowder, select defender Nicolas Hague.

The three picks on Sunday were very interesting choices and we get to see how Carolina made out by trading down earlier.  They were supposed to pick at 12th overall, but they traded that pick to St. Louis, who took Lias Andersson.  Carolina used their 20th overall yesterday.

19. San Jose Sharks, via Fear the Fin, select centre Michael Rassmussen.

The Fear the Fin team had to struggle a bit to make their selection. The later you pick in this draft, the more legitimate equal, yet different, choices there are.

Peeking behind the curtain a bit, the 19th selection offered us a few options. On the short list were Rasmussen, center Martin Necas, and defenseman Cal Foote, all of whom we deemed to have fallen in the draft. In various mock drafts, all three are lottery selections with Necas having rocketed up into the top 10 recently. Rasmussen has the biggest variance, with some mocks taking him top 5 and others having him fall into the 20’s.

This started a debate among the writers, where we were basically split between Rasmussen and Necas. Foote seemed to be the third option, as it is an organizational priority to fill the center position as Thornton nears the end of his career.

Rassmussen is not a pick without question marks by his name, and the article covers the topic in depth. How do you make this kind of choice? On the one hand, he’s a power play scorer, but on the other hand:

Besides goals, Rasmussen has also seemingly improved his skating, his playmaking seems to be underrated at the junior level. This could bode well for him at the NHL level if his goal scoring doesn’t stay at the same clip he produces in junior. Finally, he is effing huge and he uses his size to his advantage. He knows how and when to use his big body to win in the corners and get in front of the net to bang in goals.

He might not be a top ten player prospect as he’s ranked by so many, but that doesn’t mean he’s nothing. All in all, this was an interesting pick and a fascinating look at how you make a choice like that.

20. Carolina Hurricanes, via Canes Country, select centre Martin Necas.

I have to tell you, seeing two centres so low in the draft raises my eyebrows. I don’t think Necas will fall so low on Friday.  But he was there, so the Canes team took him, and their trade down paid off big time.

The players that appealed to our staff - Martin Necas, Michael Rasmussen, Elias Pettersson and Kailer Yamamoto, to name four - would have been a stretch to pick at No. 12. One of those would have been our pick, but we decided to pursue a trade since we thought the chances were decent that we could take one of them later and net a premium for moving down. If nothing materialized, we would pick one of the players we considered, despite doing so earlier than the conventional wisdom would have them drafted.

We eventually agreed on a trade with St. Louis that swapped our first-round picks and also netted the Canes the Blues’ second rounder, #51 overall. When we got to pick 20 and Necas was still on the board, he was the obvious selection.

Sometimes a gamble works out.

21. New York Rangers, via Blueshirt Banter, select defender Erik Brännström.

There are a few players who we have targeted as needs for the Rangers who might see their stock fall into that window. In truth, the Rangers’ farm is so barren of true high-end talent, the real selection should be best player available rather than drafting for a need. As such, guys like Nicholas Suzuki, Kailer Yamamoto, Erik Brännström and Callan Foote are expected to be on the board when it’s Jeff Gorton’s turn to make his selection.

When our turn came up, there were a few of those players available. I polled the Blueshirt Banter group and the player that gave us the most pause about passing on was Yamamoto. He was picked 14th overall however, which made the decision easier. In the end, I’m not sure it would have mattered if he was available since the upside of Brannstrom (along with the position he plays) could be too perfect a cocktail to pass up on.

Here’s the schedule for today:

10 AM: Edmonton

1 PM: Arizona

3 PM: Columbus

Which centre do you think is truly likely to fall this low in the draft?

Which player will fall so far in the real draft?

Michael Rassmussen 70
Martin Necas20
Neither, they’ll both be gone in the top 1558