No. 26 Chicago Blackhawks Select Kailer Yamamoto
The Blackhawks took a chance on a diminutive forward in Alex Debrincat in last year’s draft, and they’ll do it again this year. Kailer Yamamoto is just simply too skilled to pass up on at this point. He is small at 5 foot 8 and 160 pounds, but he makes up for it with elite passing and hands.
No. 27 St. Louis Blues Select Conor Timmins
With their second pick in the entry draft, the Blues will try to make up for the loss of Kevin Shattenkirk by selecting Timmins, another defenseman with a lot of offensive skill. He’s on the rise too, as he upped his point total by 48 points since last year in the OHL. He’ll definitely need some development time, but he has the potential to become a solid offensive blueliner.
No. 28 Ottawa Senators Select Michael DiPietro
The Senators were not expecting the Flames to go after Jake Oettinger. So, in order to mitigate the loss they’ll go off the board and look at a future replacement for Craig Anderson. DiPietro is a good goalie who makes up for his lack of normal goalie size — 6 foot — with elite movement. Anderson probably has at least two years left in him, and DiPietro should be a back-up by then.
No. 29 Dallas Stars Select Jesper Boqvist
The Stars look for a forward at this pick, having gone for defense with their No. 3 pick. Boqvist is an exciting player who showed well at International Juniors this year for Sweden with four goals and eight points in four games. He also played at the pro level in Sweden and put up six assists in 16 games. The kid has a high a ceiling, and the Stars will take a chance.
No. 30 Nashville Predators Select Ryan Poehling
The Nashville Predators were close, oh so close to winning the Cup. They lost their No. 1 center though and weren’t able to make up for the hole. They’ll look for a center who can be that solid No. 2 pivot in a few years with Ryan Poehling. Poehling doesn’t do any one thing particularly well, but he’s a solid all-around player, and should be able to contribute in the top six within a few years.
No. 31 Pittsburgh Penguins Select Juuso Valimaki
The Stanley Cup champions likely still have a pretty large window of time to win more Cups. They’ll look to extend that window by selecting a defenseman who has no business falling this far down the draft boards. Valimaki is on his way to becoming a steady two-way blueliner, and the Pens will happily let him fall in their laps at No. 31 overall, while probably still celebrating their Cup victory.