No. 21 New York Rangers Select Shane Bowers
We’re starting to get into the realm where the picks teams make are really anybody’s guess. However, the Rangers are starting to age and they need to start building up their prospect ranks. Bowers is a great option for them, another center with some serious two-way skill. The Rangers sorely need some defensive forwards on their roster, and will take the Boston University commit.
No. 22 Edmonton Oilers Select Nicolas Hague
The Oilers are in need of defense to take the next step. They really need a puck-moving defenseman, but Oscar Klefbom still has a lot to give in that area. Nic Hague is a great addition for the Oilers on the blueline and he’s already physically ready to play in the NHL, at 6 foot 6 and 214 pounds. So, he should be contributing to the NHL sooner rather than later.
No. 23 Arizona Coyotes Select Pierre-Olivier Joseph
After taking another skilled and speedy forward with their No. 7 pick in Owen Tippett, the Coyotes will take a defenseman here. Oliver-Ekman Larsson still has a lot left to give, but Joseph is on a nice upward trend coming into the draft. He’s got some height at 6 foot 2, and will fill into his current 160 pound frame to become a nice two-way add with some offensive upside.
No. 24 Columbus Blue Jackets Select Nikita Popugaev
The Columbus Blue Jackets had an incredible season, but they ran into the Pittsburgh Penguins early. With their great group of defensemen already locked down for the future, the Blue Jackets will be looking at forward help. Popugaev is a high-risk, high-reward type of prospect and makes sense this late in the first round. He’s got the size at 6 foot 6 and 203 pounds, and he has the skill as well. He still has some issues with effort and consistency the Blue Jackets will look to develop.
No. 25 Montreal Canadiens Select Lias Andersson
The Montreal Canadiens had yet another disappointing run in the playoffs, and it was mostly due to a lack of offense. So, drafting a forward makes sense for them. Lias Andersson is a great option too. He still has top six potential at this point in the draft, and would add to a strong Canadiens team sorely needing forwards.