I loved PPP’s selection of “best player available” Eeli Tolvanen yesterday, but not all of us did. Leaving Nicolas Hague on the board strengthened Stanley Cup of Chowder, which is never good, but perhaps even the Bruins’ strong D won’t be a match for all of the firepower of the rising Leafs.

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

And now yesterday’s selections.

16. The Calgary Flames, via Matchsticks & Gasoline, select winger Klim Kostin.

These guys were too busy with trades to post their mock draft story, so I’m going to link to Fulemin’s article about Kostin instead. Actually, after reading his article, I still don’t know why Kostin went 16th overall. Fulemin didn’t want him at 17th, so...

It may be hard to see why, exactly, Kostin is still being rated as highly as he is—and keep in mind that last fall, he was considered a threat to be drafted top ten. After reading through a number of scouting reports, it seems clear that at times Kostin looks like one of the most dominant young players on the planet. Let’s turn to that.

The Leafs’ scouting department knows many things that I do not know. About a Russian prospect, if he’s drawn the attention of scouts Nikolai Ladygin or Evgeni Namestnikov, they know very much more than I do. It’s possible they’ve seen enough in Kostin to know that those incredible stretches of dominance are the raw material of a top-six winger. And make no mistake—there is a real chance Kostin is the kind of player who will make a scout look like a genius, if everything goes right.

17. The Toronto Maple Leafs, via Pension Plan Puppets, select winger Eeli Tolvanen.

After some contentious wrangling in the room, the PPP staff (but not Fulemin) selected Eelie Tolvanen as 17th over all, on behalf of the Maple Leafs. (Secret: Fulemin wanted Hague kind of like how my daughter wants a kitten.)

As we got closer and closer to pick #17, our staff was interested in adding one of Tolvanen, Martin Necas, or Elias Pettersson. The latter was selected just a couple of spots before we picked, but we were thrilled to be able to choose between two highly-skilled forwards. Erik Brannstrom and Nicolas Hague also warranted some consideration, but Tolvanen was ultimately regarded as the best player available.

Heading into the mock draft, we did not expect to take yet another winger. The Maple Leafs are already loaded at right wing, but having too many top-end scorers is a great problem to have. Our main focus was to maximize our chance at landing an impact NHL player, and Tolvanen’s shot would add yet another major weapon to the team’s power play.

While Necas’ speed and work ethic was intriguing, Tolvanen’s quick release and extensive track record makes him the safer bet to score at a strong clip. His shot is borderline elite, and his quickness helps him to generate plenty of shots on goal.

18. The Boston Bruins, via Stanley Cup of Chowder, select defenseman Nicolas Hague.

HOW COULD THIS GUY DROP TO 18th??! Probably because Fulemin’s vote did not tip the majority — contention in the room resulted in the selection of a Finn and not a good Mississauga boy. The Bruins snapped Hague right up when he fell, though. Apparently, unlike the rest of the league, the Bruins have a surplus of RHD and needed a LHD. SCOC addressed this hole in the lineup.

Zdeno Chara shoots left, but he’s closer to the end of his career than the beginning, leaving Torey Krug as the only proven left-shot defenseman on the roster. To begin to address this organizational weakness, we’re proud to select Nicolas Hague of the Mississauga Steelheads with the 18th pick in SB Nation’s mock draft.

We debated this pick for a while in our staff chat, and it really came down to Hague or Callan Foote. We ended up choosing Hague because he’s a little bigger and is a left-handed shot, something the Bruins need. Hague is ranked in the Top 20 in most scouting rankings. He finished the 20th-ranked North American skater, falling from 11th in the mid-term rankings.

Here’s the schedule for today:

10 AM: San Jose

1 PM: Carolina

3 PM: NY Rangers

Was Fulemin correct?

It’s complicated46