2015 NHL Mock Draft: from a Colorado Avalanche Perspective

2 of 5

Picks 1-5

View image | gettyimages.com

#1: Edmonton Oilers, center Connor McDavid

Height/weight: 6-foot, 185 pounds

As frustrated as we are that the Edmonton Oilers have their fourth first-overall draft pick in five years, it’s the reality. Edmonton general manager Craig MacTavish has stated there’s “zero” chance if his trading away that draft pick, so the Oilers are going first.

And, of course, they’re not stupid enough to choose anyone other than the generational talent, Connor McDavid. This is a young forward about whom even the Great One, Wayne Gretzky, is raving, calling him the best prospect since Mario Lemieux.

Fine. He’s a might small — Avs didn’t want him anyway. (Sour grapes.)

#2: Buffalo Sabres, center Jack Eichel

Height/weight: 6-foot-2, 193 pounds

More from Avalanche News

A lot of us feel bad for the Buffalo Sabres. They were so bad last season. They’ve been bad for awhile, and yet they haven’t had the #1 NHL Draft pick in a long time — the Colorado Avalanche have had a #1 pick (Nathan MacKinnon) since the Sabres have.

Anyway, even though Sabres GM Tim Murray used to “dream about” Connor McDavid, the team’s getting center Jack Eichel. It’s not like Eichel is any slouch — any other draft year, he’d probably be #1. He’s big, he’s strong, and he can score.

The Avalanche would have liked Eichel on the team, but not enough to tank the season, thank goodness.

#3: Arizona Coyotes, left wing Lawson Crouse

Height/weight: 6-foot-3, 200 pounds

There’s got to be a shocker in the first round, so let’s entertain the idea early. Defenseman Noah Hanifin is the popular choice for the #3 pick. However, the Arizona Coyotes already have one of the best young offensive defenseman in Oliver Ekman-Larsson. They don’t have a whole lot in the forward position. Big Lawson Crouse, who’s a solid two-way player, could change that.

He’d be perfect for the Avs, but most 2015 NHL Mock Draft selections have him going to the Philadelphia Flyers.

#4: Toronto Maple Leafs, defenseman Noah Hanifin

Height/weight: 6-foot-2, 200 pounds

The Toronto Maple Leafs have just acquired one of the best NHL coaches around in Mike Babcock. You don’t get to be such a renowned NHL coach without being shrewd. So, if the big, gifted Noah Hanifin is still around for #4, the Leafs are going to select him. (The Leafs website have their team selecting Dylan Strome, but no way they select him if Hanifin’s still around.)

He might be a bit small for the Avs, so just as well he goes early.

#5: Carolina Hurricanes, center Dylan Strome

Height/weight: 6-foot-3, 187 pounds

Most sites have the Carolina Hurricanes selecting Mitch Marner. However, if the Coyotes’ surprise selection of Crouse leaves Dylan Strome available at #5, I think Carolina takes him. He’s good-sized and willing to improve. Strome already shows a strong compete level and has eleite skills in winning faceoffs and stick handling in general.

The Avs would snap him up if he were available, but I don’t think they’d trade for him.