Today is the big day for the Maple Leafs in the SBN Mock NHL Draft. Our team of amateur scouts threw darts at a list of names have been working around the clock watching game tapes and crunching numbers to make the right selection.
Here are the picks so far:
- New Jersey Devils, via All About The Jersey, select centre Nico Hischier.
- Philadelphia Flyers, via Broad Street Hockey, select centre Nolan Patrick.
- Dallas Stars, via Defending Big D, select centre Casey Mittelstadt.
- Colorado Avalanche, via Mile High Hockey, select defender Miro Heiskanen.
- Vancouver Canucks, via Nucks Misconduct, select centre Gabe Vilardi.
- Vegas Golden Knights, via Knights on ice, select winger Owen Tippett
- Arizona Coyotes, via Five for Howling, select defender Timothy Liljegren.
- Buffalo Sabres, via Die by the Blade, select defender Cale Makar.
- Detroit Red Wings, via Winging it in Motown, select centre Cody Glass.
- Florida Panthers, via Litter Box Cats, select winger Kristian Vesalainen.
- Los Angeles Kings, via Jewels From the Crown, select centre Nick Suzuki.
- St. Louis Blues (from Carolina Hurricanes), via St. Louis Gametime, select winger Lias Andersson.
And now yesterday’s selections:
13. Winnipeg Jets, via Arctic Ice Hockey, select defender Juuso Välimäki
Välimäki’s greatest strength is his offensive abilities, which he showcased the past two seasons. According to McKeen’s, his puck-moving abilities outweigh his shooting abilities, which is saying something because he scored 19 goals this past season.
Välimäki was also able to show his improvement from season to season in the WHL after he came over as a 17 year old. He is a late birthday, missing the cut off for last year’s draft by just under a month. He is fine at defending when he does not have to move too much. While he is a strong skater once he gets going, it takes him a few strides to get there.
14. Tampa Bay Lightning, via Raw Charge, select winger Kailer Yamamoto
Yamamoto is a small, speedy forward with dazzling hands. He has a quick release on his shot and is just as capable of making a seeing-eye pass to set up a teammate. Check out his speed, and some of his personality, in this GoPro footage from the CHL Top Prospects game.
Yamamoto’s size is a bit concerning, especially since he weighed in at only 146 pounds at the NHL Scouting Combine. However, it’s been pointed out to us that Mitch Marner weighed in at nearly the same weight and was two inches taller than Yamamoto during his combine testing. And Mitch Marner has turned into a high-end NHLer putting up 19 goals and 61 points in 77 games during his rookie season with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
We’re not ready to anoint Yamamoto as the next Marner, but he could be the next Brayden Point for the Lightning. Yamamoto is one of the older prospects in the draft and has already completed three full seasons in the WHL while Point had only completed two seasons.
15. New York Islanders, via Lighthouse Hockey, select Elias Pettersson
Elias Pettersson’s points-per-game this past season compares favorably to that of fellow Europeans David Pastrnak, William Nylander, Filip Forsberg, Alexander Wennberg, and William Karlsson for their under-19 seasons in the same Swe-1 league. Pettersson finished second on his team in scoring rate this past season, within four points of the leader in two fewer games.
Here’s the schedule for today:
10 AM: Calgary
1 PM: Toronto
3 PM: Boston
Who would you choose from this list of upcoming selections?