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SBN Mock Draft Day 9: Montreal Canadiens draft a defenseman after trading one

2017 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game Photo by Mathieu Belanger/Getty Images

We’re almost done, with the mock draft here at SBN and the picks and moves have been quite interesting. Yesterday, the Habs selected a sentient pile of vowels, the Blackhawks picked a EA Sports create a player default, and St. Louis was there too!

Let’s look back at the past picks:

  1. New Jersey Devils, via All About The Jersey, select center Nico Hischier.
  2. Philadelphia Flyers, via Broad Street Hockey, select center Nolan Patrick.
  3. Dallas Stars, via Defending Big D, select center Casey Mittelstadt.
  4. Colorado Avalanche, via Mile High Hockey, select defenseman Miro Heiskanen.
  5. Vancouver Canucks, via Nucks Misconduct, select forward Gabriel Vilardi.
  6. Vegas Golden Knights, via Knights On Ice, select forward Owen Tippett.
  7. Arizona Coyotes, via Five For Howling, select defenseman Timothy Liljegren.
  8. Buffalo Sabres, via Die By The Blade, select defenseman Cale Makar.
  9. Detroit Red Wings, via Winging It In Motown, select center Cody Glass.
  10. The Florida Panthers, via Litter Box Cats, select winger Kristian Vesalainen.
  11. The Los Angeles Kings, via Jewels From The Crown, select center Nick Suzuki.
  12. The St. Louis Blues*, via St. Louis Game Time, select winger Lias Andersson.
  13. The Winnipeg Jets, via Arctic Ice Hockey, select defenseman Juuso Välimäki.
  14. The Tampa Bay Lightning, via Raw Charge, select winger Kailer Yamamoto.
  15. The New York Islanders, via Lighthouse Hockey, select center Elias Pettersson.
  16. The Calgary Flames, via Matchsticks & Gasoline, select winger Klim Kostin.
  17. The Toronto Maple Leafs, via Pension Plan Puppets, select winger Eeli Tolvanen.
  18. The Boston Bruins, via Stanley Cup of Chowder, select defenseman Nicolas Hague.
  19. The San Jose Sharks, via Fear The Fin, select center Michael Rasmussen.
  20. The Carolina Hurricanes*, via Canes Country, select center Martin Necas.
  21. The New York Rangers, via Blueshirt Banter, select defenseman Erik Brannstrom.
  22. The Edmonton Oilers, via Copper & Blue, select center Ryan Poehling.
  23. The Pittsburgh Penguins**, via Pensburgh, select defenseman Callan Foote.
  24. The Columbus Blue Jackets, via Jackets Cannon, select winger Maxime Comtois.

Now, yesterday’s picks:

The Montreal Canadiens, via Eyes on the Prize, select defenceman Urho Vaakanainen

The Habs went for defence, after sending top defensive prospect Sergachev to Tampa Bay for Jonathan Drouin.

At EOTP, the internal debate when we were making our choice was between Vaakanainen and left-winger Isaac Ratcliffe. In our consensus ranking that was finalized later, which takes the main scouting outlets’ lists and compiles them into a single one, those two finished 24th and 25th, indicating that our assessments were fairly accurate (look for a report on that ranking on the site soon).

At the time of the selection (June 8, while the Stanley Cup Final was still taking place), we felt those two options were the best players remaining on the board. Ultimately, the staff felt that Vaakanainen was the better of the two, with the Finnish defenceman coming out on top after a vote.

Next up, the Chicago Blackhawks, via Second City hockey, selected Henri Jokiharju

Another defenceman goes, and the SCH folks are pretty happy about it:

Jokiharju immediately gives the Blackhawks something their system lacks: a young defenseman who could be an impact player in the near future. Other than Gustav Forsling, Chicago’s system is full of question marks when it comes to the blue line. Jokiharju immediately becomes a top-three prospect in the system, and could be the No. 1 prospect within a year.

Finally, the St. Louis Blues, via St. Louis Game Time, picked centre Shane Bowers.

The Blues have some time with him to develop, as he’s heading for the NCAA next season.

Respected independent scouting service ISS has Bowers ranked at 27th overall, but do not have him selected in the first round of their mock draft. Consistency, and explosiveness in his skating, are cited by ISS as areas in which Bowers could improve, and listed at just over 6’ 1 and 178 pounds, he is a tad undersized for the “ideal” NHL center. ISS does rank Bowers as the third-best defensive forward available in this draft, and rated him as “Very Good” in the areas of Size and Strength (emphasis on Strength), Shot, Defensive Play, Physical Play, and Competitiveness, and “Excellent” in terms of Hockey Sense. Vancouver center Brandon Sutter is listed by ISS as the NHL player to whom Bowers best compares.

That’s it for yesterday, up today sees the final three picks being made: Dallas Stars (via Anaheim), Nashville Predators, and the Pittsburgh Penguins.