2015 NHL Draft: What Happened?

nhl-draft-hockeyThe NHL Draft is the unofficial beginning of the new NHL season as it is the first chance to start over for almost every team.

The season may have just ended last week but that doesn’t mean anything for all but two teams as every other team has been waiting to get back to preparations after being eliminated.

The Tampa Bay Lightning and Chicago Blackhawks were the focus of the last two weeks and Chicago fans were celebrating before seeing who might make up their future.

The rest of the teams had been waiting for this moment for months as they look to turn the page on a failed season and move on to a new year.

The draft marks that page turning as it is the first time teams enter the news since they were eliminated from playoffs contention or from the playoffs themselves.

It is a chance to begin a rebuild for many teams that have struggled over the last few years as they looked to add the future of their team that might have an impact sooner rather than later.

It is also a chance for teams to grab some more experience as it has become a date for trade talks.

Draft day can slide in right behind the trade deadline as one of the most active days in the NHL calendar for player moves.

Teams look at the draft day as the first day to begin moving veterans around to either pick up draft picks or gains some extra talent.

Owners and general managers are brought to the same city where they can talk and hammer out deals that can change a team in a big way.

With the draft just before the opening of the free agent market on July 1st many teams look to move players around in an attempt to get a better idea of what they have before going out and spending big money.

If they can grab a big need through a trade rather than competing with every other team for a limited number of players it could work out better for them in the long run.

This year was no different in the league as plenty of teams came into the draft looking to make some major moves.

There were plenty of trade rumours swirling before the draft with some big names on the market.

No team made bigger news heading into the draft than the Toronto Maple Leafs who seemed to be ready to trade away two of their biggest players.

It was to be the official start of the rebuild of the Leafs as they were listening to offers for captain Dion Phaneuf and top scorer Phil Kessel.

If the Leafs could manage to trade these to topo players they were likely going to receive some big players in return, likely younger stars that could help the rebuild truly start.

As the draft approached, it seemed like the price for both players was just too much as interest began to drop off.

The Leafs still attempted to see both players gone for some younger talent but on the day nothing materialized as the Leafs were involved in a few trades mainly for draft picks.

Instead it was the Boston Bruins and Colorado Avalanche who seemed to be the two most active teams in the trade market even exchanging players themselves the day before the draft.

The Boston Bruins gave the Avalanche the rights to Carl Soderberg, who signed a 5-year contract with e Avalanche a day later, in the 25th and that began massive speculation.

The Avalanche receiving a centre like Soderberg seemed to be a sure indication that they were getting nowhere with Ryan O’Reilly in contract talks as they were looking to lock up O’Reilly or trade him if they could not agree on a contract.

Draft night the speculation was proven right as the Avs sent O’Reilly and Jamie McGinn to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for defenceman Nikita Zadorov and forwards Mikhail Grigorenko and J.T. Compher along with a 2nd round pick in the draft.

It was one of the biggest trades of the night as the Avalanche sent two good forwards to Buffalo in exchange for a great goal scorer and a big need in a defenceman.

It wasn’t the only deal though as the Avs’ partner in the first trade of the draft period, the Bruins, traded away Milan Lucic to the Los Angeles kings for Martin Jones, Colin Miller, and a 1st round draft pick and traded Dougie Hamilton to the Calgary Flames for a package of draft picks.

Meanwhile the Edmonton Oilers who had already taken Connor McDavid with the top pick got a great young defenceman in Griffin Reinhart after a trade with the New York Islanders while also added a veteran defender in Eric Gryba on the last day of the draft.

Trades continued to come through and this time around goaltenders seemed to be the most popular players.

Eddie Lack went from Vancouver to Carolina, Anti Neimi’s rights went from San Jose to Dallas, Anton Khudobin went from Carolina to Anaheim, and the Oilers got one of the most sought after goalies on the trade market receiving Cam Talbot from the Rangers for a number of draft picks.

Even Chris Pronger, who hasn’t played since 2012, was traded to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for Sam Gagner.

It was an active day for plenty of teams and although some big names went nowhere there were plenty of moves to keep everyone’s head spinning.

With the draft over though a new set of dizzying moves is ready to begin as only a few days away lies the opening of the free agent market.

Teams who couldn’t get what they wanted on draft day will spend some major dollars trying to land some of the biggest names on the free agent list.

With players like Mike Ribeiro, Mike Green, and Antoine Vermette available teams will go to work trying to get deals done as the off-season has started and teams get ready for the new season only four months away.

edmonton_oilers

Edmonton Oilers

1. Connor McDavid, C (ERIE, OHL) 117. Caleb Jones, D (USAU18, USHL)
124. Ethan Bear, D (SEA, WHL) 154. John Marino, D (SSK, USPHL)
208. Miroslav Svoboda, G (HCT, CZE) 209. Ziyat Paigin, D (ABK, RUS)
This one was hard to screw up as McDavid was simply a no-brainer but the two days for the Oilers were more effective thanks to their trade activity. They picked up two defenceman and a goalie focusing on some major needs just through the trade market. As for the rest of the picks they focused on their biggest need on defence using four of their six picks on young defenceman. Overall the Oilers had a successful two days but it’s hard not to when they can take McDavid.
buffalo_sabres

Buffalo Sabres

2. Jack Eichel, C (BU, NCAA) 51. Brendan Guhle, D (PAR, WHL)
92. William Borgen, D (MHS) 122. Devante Stephens, D (KR, WHL)
152.Giorgio Estephan, C (LH, WHL) 182. Ivan Chukarov, D (MNW, NAHL)
It was another draft that was hard to screw up as Eichel is another franchise changing prospect and adding him immediately makes them better. The additions of McGinn and O’Reilly through a trade with Colorado only improve the two days for the Sabre. They may have reached for some of their other picks but much like the Oilers it’s a hard to screw this up no matter who you picked up with the rest of their selections.
phoenix_coyotes

Arizona Coyotes

3. Dylan Strome, C (ERIE, OHL) 30. Nicholas Merkley, RW (KR, WHL)
32. Christian Fischer, RW (US18, USHL) 63. Kyle Capobianco, D (SBY, OHL)
76. Adin Hill, G (PDW, WHL) 81. Brendan Warren, LW (US18, USHL)
83. Jens Looke, RW (BIF, SWE) 123. Conor Garland, RW (MW, QMJHL)
183. Erik Kallgren, G (LHC, SWE)
The coyotes had the toughest job this year in picking between a number of top players at the third spot but in the end they got it right. Strome is what they have been looking for in a big scoring centre while the rest of the draft focused on their big number of picks. With those they reached for a few players but overall had a solid showing in dealing with their biggest issues throughout the two days.
toronto_maple_leafs Toronto Maple Leafs
4. Mitch Marner, C (LDN, OHL) 34. Travis Dermott, D (ERIE, OHL)
61. Jeremy Bracco, RW (US18, USHL) 65. Andrew Nielsen, D (LH, WHL)
68. Martins Dzierklas, LW (HCR2, RUS) 95. Jesper Lindgren, D (MH, SWE)
125. Dmytro Timashov, LW (QUE, QMJHL) 155. Stephen Desrocher, D (OSH, OHL)
185. Nikita Korostelev, RW (SAR, OHL)
Marner seemed like a no-brainer for the Leafs with the London Knights owner a part of the Leafs management and that is exactly how it played out. Other than Marner the Leafs were not as active as they could have been on the trade market instead focusing on reorganizing their system for the rebuild. That included a good pick up in the solid two-way defenceman in Dermott who fills a big need while the rest of the draft replenished the ranks.
carolina_hurricanes Carolina Hurricanes
5. Noah Hanifin, D (BC, NCAA) 35. Sebastian Aho, RW (OK, FIN)
93. Callum Booth, G (QUE, QMJHL) 96. Nicolas Roy, C (CHI, QMJHL)
126. Luke Stevens, LW (N&G, HS) 138. Spencer Smallman, RW (SJS, QMJHL)
156. Jake Massie, D (KUHS) 169. David Cotton, C (CAHS)
186. Steven Lorentz, C (PBO, OHL)
The Hurricanes were lucky to see Hanifin fall to them and made the easy pick to bring a true top defender to the team. Other than that pick though there wasn’t a lot to get excited about in the draft but they made a major move outside of taking a prospect. Trading for Lack may be their best move of the two days as their goaltending corps hasn’t been the best in recent seasons.
new_jersey_devils New Jersey Devils
6. Pavel Zacha, C (SAR, OHL) 42. Mackenzie Blackwood, G (BAR, OHL)
67. Blake Speers, C (SSM, OHL) 97. Colton White, D (SSM, OHL)
157. Brett Seney, LW (MC, NCAA)
The Devils went into the draft looking for some more skill to add to the system and they found it in the draft but that doesn’t mean it was all good. Zacha is a great pick up if he can stay on the ice while Speers and Seney could be good down the road. The headscratcher is the pick of Blackwood who is a good goaltending prospect but is not a glaring need and they could have picked another top forward with the #42 pick.
philadelphia_flyers Philadelphia Flyers
7. Ivan Provorov, D (BDN, WHL) 24. Travis Konecny, C (OTT, OHL)
70. Felix Sandstrom, G (BIF, SWE) 90. Matej Tomek, G (TRR, NAHL)
98. Sam D-McFalls, LW (SJS, QMJHL) 104. Mikhail Vorobyov, C (UFA2, RUS)
128. David Kase, RW (PCH, CZE) 158. Cooper Marody, C (SFS, USHL)
188. Ivan Fedotov, G (HCNN, RUS)
Trading away Pronger’s contract was a great end to the draft for the Flyers who ended a long struggle with the former captain. The draft started just as well with Provorov filling that hole left since Pronger’s concussion while trading up for Konecny might have been the best move in the first round. Drafting two goalies after the first round might turn out to be the downfall of the draft though as it is a little much without a top tier goalie available.
200px-Columbus_BlueJackets.svg Columbus Blue Jackets
8. Zach Werenski, D (UM, NCAA) 29. Gabriel Carlsson, D (LHC, SWE)
38. Paul Bittner, LW (PDW, WHL) 58. Kevin Stenlund, C (HV71, SWE)
69. Keegan Kolesar, RW (SEA, WHL) 129. Sam Roupp, D (PGR, WHL)
141. Veeti Vainio, D (EB, FIN) 159. Vladislav Gavrikov, D (LY, RUS)
189. Markus Nutivaara, D (OK, FIN)
The Blue Jackets saw a run of offensive players before their pick and that was a boost for a team clearly looking to improve their blue line. Werenski is one of the top three ranked defenceman although he looks to be going to college next year while Carlsson is a good pick up even if they didn’t need to move up so far. The rest of the draft the Jackets added more blue line help with some good value forwards in the middle rounds.
san_jose_sharks San Jose Sharks
9. Timo Meier, RW (HAL, QMJHL) 31. Jeremy Roy, D (SHE, QMJHL)
86. Mike Robinson, G (LAHS) 106. Adam Helewka, LW (SPC, WHL)
130. Karlis Cukste, D (DR2, RUS) 142. Rudolfs Balcers, LW (STO, NOR)
160. Adam Parsells, D (WWHS) 190. Marcus Vela, C (LGR, BCHL)
193. John Kupsky, G (LSB ,NASHL)
The Sharks were glad to see Meier fall to them in the draft as the next generation of the Mooseheads makes his way to the West Coast. They saw an opportunity in the second round moving up to pick up Roy who was expected to be taken in the first round. Robinson is a curious pick as he may never see NHL ice while the rest of the draft saw them focus more on defensive minded players.
colorado_avalanche Colorado Avalanche
10. Mikko Rantanen, RW (TPS, FIN) 39. AJ Greer, LW (BU, NCAA)
40. Nicolas Meloche, D (BCD, QMJHL) 71. Jean-Christophe Beaudin, C (RNH, QMJHL)
101. Andrei Mironov, D (HCDM, RUS) 161. Sergei Boikov, D (DRU, QMJHL)
191. Gustav Olhaver, C (RBK, SWE)
They were a busy team during the two days trading away O’Reilly and picking up some much needed defence help and a replacement for O’Reilly. In the draft they took some great skill in Rantanen who can play any role while Greer could prove to be taken too high or a steal at #39. Not surprisingly they dipped into the QMJHL reserve for most of their picks and tried to fill some needs but they lacked a ‘second-tier’ defenceman that they could have landed and needed.
florida_panthers Florida Panthers
11. Lawson Crouse, LW (KGY, OHL) 77. Sam Montembeault, G (BBA, QMJHL)
88. Thomas Schemitsch, D (OSA, OHL) 102. Denis Malgin,  C (ZSC, Swiss)
132. Karch Bachman, LW (CAHS) 162. Chris Wilkie, RW (TCS, USHL)
192. Patrick Shea, C (KUHS) 206. Ryan Bednard, G (JTT, NAHL)
The Panthers took Crouse with their first pick and many would say that it was a little too high for the winger but the Panthers clearly like his skillset enough. After that pick the rest of the draft is a bit of a strange one and typical for Dave Tallon. Montembeault doesn’t fill an immediate need and neither does Schemitsch. Instead they focused on the forwards later which likely won’t pay off any time soon.
dallas_stars Dallas Stars
12. Denis Gurianov, RW (HCLT, RUS) 49. Roope Hintz, LW (Ilves, FIN)
103. Chris Martenet, D (LDN, OHL) 133. Joseph Cecconi, D (MKL, USHL)
163. Markus Ruusu, G (JYP, FIN)
The Stars weren’t one of the most active teams in the draft but they did well with what they had, that being five picks. Gurianov has plenty of upside and was taken in a good spot in the first round while Hintz is also a good value pick where they took him. The rest of the draft wasn’t overly impressive but they didn’t make any glaring mistake either as they simply added to a fairly good pool of prospects.
los_angeles_kings Los Angeles Kings
43. Erik Cernak, D (HCK, SLV) 74. Alexander Dergachyov, C (SKASP, RUS)
99. Austin Wagner, LW (RP, WHL) 134. Matt Schmalz, RW (SBY, OHL)
187. Chaz Reddekopp, D (VIC, WHL) 194. Matt Roy, LW (MTU, NCAA)
The Kings made a big splash in the two days when they traded away their first round pick for Lucic who will provide a grit that the Kings are lacking. Their draft really started in the second round where they added Slovak defender Cernak in a pick that some don’t like due to his lack of skating ability but he has the size to compete. They added more strength with Dergachyov in a pair of days that seemed to be about making the Kings a bully more than anything else.
boston_bruins Boston Bruins
13. Jakub Zboril, D (SJS, QMJHL) 14. Jake Debrusk, LW (SCB, WHL)
15. Zachary Senyshyn, RW (SSM, OHL) 37. Brandon Carlo, D (TCA, WHL)
45. Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, C (OML, USHL) 52. Jeremy Lauzon, D (RNH, QMJHL)
75. Daniel Vladar, G (HCK, CZE) 105. Jesse Gabrielle, LW (RP, WHL)
165. Cameron Hughes, C (UW, NCAA) 195. Jack Becker, C (MHS)
Nobody knew what the Bruins were going to do next as they dealt their way into history becoming the first team to pick three times in a row in the first round. They had to make it count after trading two of the franchises biggest names and to many they didn’t. Zboril and Debrusk are good but are a little raw while Senyshyn is a complete reach at #15. They saved it a bit with Carlo but overall there was no telling what the Bruins were thinking most of the two days.
calgary_flames Calgary Flames
53. Rasmus Andersson, D (BAR, OHL) 60. Oliver Kylington, D (FBK, SWE)
136. Pavel Karnaukhov, LW (CGY, WHL) 166. Andrew Mangiapane, LW (BAR, OHL)
196. Riley Bruce, D (NBB, OHL)
The biggest move for the Flames in these two days was the trade to get Hamilton from the Bruins which immediately takes their blue line to a new level. Andersson and Kylington continue the remake of the blue line in a couple days that have changed the face of the Flames. The youth movement continued in Calgary and this time it was on defence as they Flames had a big two days that looks to make them better as soon as next year.
pittsburgh_penguins Pittsburgh Penguins
46. Daniel Sprong, RW (CHA, QMJHL) 137. Dominik Simon, C (HCP, CZE)
167. Frederik Tiffels, LW (WMU., NCAA) 197. Nikita Pavlychev, C (DMB, USHL)
It wasn’t a very good two days for Pittsburgh but mainly because they only had four picks in the entire draft with the 46th pick being their first. That makes it challenging for the team to make any major improvements but they looked to do just that with their limited numbers. All of these picks from Sprong to Pavlychev will all need time to develop making this a bit of a wasted draft for the Pens.
winnipeg_jets Winnipeg Jets
17. Kyle Connor, LW (YTP, USHL) 25. Jack Roslovic, C (US18, USHL)
47. Jansen Harkins, C (PGR, WHL) 78. Erik Foley, LW (CRR, USHL)
108. Michael Spacek, RW (HCP, CZE) 168. Mason Appleton, C (TCS, USHL)
198. Sami Niku, D (JYP2, FIN) 203. Matteo Gennaro, C (PAR, WHL)
It was another great two days for the Jets as they were active in trades by exchanging picks and taking the best players they could. Connor is a bit of a steal this low in the first round while the rest of the draft focused on adding scoring and forward depth. With a prospect pool full of already good prospects only a few of these players will see the NHL next season but the Jets had another great draft in adding everyone they needed.
ottawa_senators Ottawa Senators
18. Thomas Chabot, D (SJS, QMJHL) 21. Colin White, C (US18, USHL)
36. Gabriel Gagne, RW (VIC, QMJHL) 48. Filip Chlapik, C (CHA, QMJHL)
107. Christian Wolanin, D (MKL, USHL) 109. Filip Ahl, LW (HV71, SWE)
139. Christian Jaros, D (LHF, SWE) 199. Joel Daccord, G (CAHS)
The Senators were making moves most of the two days but almost all of their moves were to get more picks in an attempt to load up on young talent. They did just that with two first round pick taking a future top four defenceman in Chabot along with a good two-way forward in White. There were few risky picks in the draft and not many misses as the Sens had a good two days with plenty of new faces for the team.
detroit_red_wings Detroit Red Wings
19. Evgeny Svechnikov, LW (CBSE, QMJHL) 73. Vili Saarijarvi, D (GBG, USHL)
110. Joren van Pottelberghe, G (LHC, SWE) 140. Chase Pearson, C (YTP, USHL)
170. Patrick Holway, D (BAU18, USMAAE) 200. Adam Marsh, LW (SJS, QMJHL)
The Red Wings did what the Red Wings do on draft day as they went with European players and never really made any mistakes. They may not see a lot of these players any time soon, after all the Red Wings prefer to take their time with their prospects, but all have a shot at making the NHL. Svenchnikov is a great goal scorer while Saarijarvi and Holway are solid blue line prospects that may need some time to develop.
minnesota_wild Minnesota Wild
20. Joel Eriksson Ek, C (FBK, SWE) 50. Jordan Greenway, LW (US18, USHL)
111. Ales Stezka, G (HCBTL, CZE) 135. Kirill Kaprizov, LW (MN, RUS)
171. Nicholas Boka, D (US18, USHL) 201. Gustav Bouramman, D (SSM, OHL)
204. Jack Sadek, D (LNHS)
Eriksson Ek is not necessarily the prototypical Wild player but he is a great player that can play both ways and put up points making him a great pick-up. Greenway is another good pick but will likely be headed to the NCAA before the NHL. Then there was the movement off of the draft floor as the Wild took one of the most sought after free agents in Mike Reilly that almost overshadowed a good but not great draft for the Wild.
new_york_islanders New York Islanders
16. Mathew Barzal, C (SEA, WHL) 28. Anthony Beauvillier, LW (SHC, QMJHL)
82. Mitchell Vande Sompel, D (OSH, OHL) 112. Parker Wotherspoon, D (TCA, WHL)
147. Ryan Pilon, D (BWK, WHL) 172. Andong Song, D (Lawrenceville)
202. Peter Hansson, D (LHC, SWE)
The Islanders made some big news during the draft in selecting the first Chinese born player in NHL history when they selected Song at #172. Outside of that groundbreaking pick the Isladners were busy in earning more picks after the Reinhart trade and used those extra picks well. They picked up a good two-way forward in Barzal and a small but very skilled forward in Beauvillier for a successful day in Brooklyn.
washington_capitals Washington Capitals
22. Ilya Samsonov, G (MM, RUS) 57. Jonas Siegenthaler, D (ZSC, Swiss)
143. Connor Hobbs, D (RP, WHL) 173. Colby Williams, D (RP, WHL)
They didn’t have a lot to work with this year as the Capitals only had four picks in total but they did make the best of a fairly quiet two days. The first pick gave the Caps a top goaltender as Samsonov was the best European goaltender in the draft and is a good pick for the future. The rest of the draft wasn’t great but for what the Caps had to work with it turned out fairly well even if the new prospects won’t be seen for a while.
vancouver_canucks Vancouver Canucks
23. Brock Boeser, RW (WLB, USHL) 66. Guillaume Brisebois, D (ABT, QMJHL)
114. Dmitry Zukhenov, C (AOM, RUS) 144. Carl Neill, D (SHC, QMJHL)
149. Adam Gaudette, C (CRR, USHL) 174. Lukas Jasek, RW (HCOT, CZE)
210. Tate Olson, D (PGR, WHL)
The biggest move of the draft could be the trade of Eddie Lack for a pick in what was a fairly one-sided trade as the Canucks could have gotten more. Other than that trade they didn;’t make many bad moves though as Boeser is a great offensive player that can fill in multiple roles. Meanwhile Brisebois was picked in the right place and the rest of the draft featured a good group of prospect although the Lack deal looms over the two days.
nashville_predators Nashville Predators
55. Iakov Trenin, C (GAT, QMJHL) 85. Thomas Novak,C (WLB, USHL)
100. Anthony Richard, C (VDO, QMJHL) 115. Alexandre Carrier, D (GAT, QMJHL)
145. Karel Vejmelka, G (HCP, CZE) 175. Tyler Moy, C (HU, NCAA)
205. Evan Smith, G (AUB, NAHL)
The Predators took the first day of the draft off as they had no first round picks but they went to work reloading their centre depth in the second day. When they finally got to pick they took Trenin who is not a guaranteed starter for next season as he needs to develop but his upside is high. They focused on a need with every pick in taking a number of centres and although all might not have an impact soon they could provide plenty of depth in the future.
st_louis_blues St. Louis Blues
56. Vince Dunn, D (NIA, OHL) 94. Adam Musil, C (RDR, WHL)
116. Glenn Gawdin, C (SCB, WHL) 127. Niko Mikkola, D (KP, FIN)
146. Luke Opilka, D (US18, USHL) 176. Liam Dunda, LW (OSA, OHL)
The Blues only added to their defensive depth continuing to add to a young defensive corps with Dunn in their first pick along with Mikkola and Opilka later in the draft. Dunn is the prize of that group though as he is a great skater that can add to the offensive capabilities of the blue line. The Blues did not necessarily look for the needs but they reloaded an already good prospect pool with smart picks throughout the second day.
montreal_canadiens Montreal Canadiens
26. Noah Juulsen, D (EVS, WHL) 87. Lukas Vejdemo, C (DIF, SWE)
131. Matthew Bradley, C (MHT, WHL) 177. Simon Bourque, D (RIM, QMJHL)
207. Jeremiah Addison, LW (OTT, OHL)
The Canadiens had a familiar two days as they went with plenty of European talent and looked for skill over size in most picks. Juulsen is a big player that will fill out to be a solid defenceman but his skillset is more like Subban giving the Canadiens two offensively talented defenceman. It was a typical two days for the Canadiens as they went with smaller size and plenty of skill in a good two days.
anaheim_ducks Anaheim Ducks
27. Jacob Larsson, D (FHC, SWE) 59. Julius Nattinen, C (JYP2, FIN)
80. Brent Gates, C (GBG, USHL) 84. Deven Sideroff, RW (KLB, WHL)
148. Troy Terry, C (US18, USHL) 178. Steven Ruggiero, D (US18, USHL)
179. Garrett Metcalf, G (MDC, USHL)
To some Larsson was a reach but for the Ducks his ability to move the puck was worth taking him in the first round before someone else could have got him. They made up for the potential reach with their second round pick though as Nattinen is a great two-way centre that wasn’t expected to last to the #87 pick. Much like the rest of the teams that pick this late it is hard to really screw things up as they find the best players available and that is what the Ducks did.
new_york_rangers New York Rangers
41. Ryan Gropp, LW (SEA, WHL) 62. Robin Kovacs, RW (AIF, SWE)
79. Sergey Zboroskiy, D (RP, WHL) 89. Aleksi Saarela, C (AST, FIN)
113. Brad Morrison, C (PGR, WHL) 119. Daniel Bernhardt, RW (DIF, SWE)
184. Adam Huska, G (GBG, USHL)
The Rangers stayed quiet for the first day but then went about trading away a number of players to pick up some extra draft picks. With the extra picks the Rangers reloaded their prospect pool with some good scoring forwards in Gropp and Kovacs. The problem is that there may have been better forwards available as their prospects could be good but they may have been able to walk away with a better group.
tampa_bay_lightning Tampa Bay Lightning
33. Mitchell Stephens, C (SAG, OHL) 44. Matthew Spencer, D (PBO, OHL)
64. Dennis Yan, LW (SHC, QMJHL) 72. Anthony Cirelli, C (OSH, OHL)
118. Jonne Tammela, RW (KP, FIN) 120. Mathieu Joseph, RW (SJS, QMJHL)
150. Ryan Zuhlsdorf, D (SCM, USHL) 153. Kristian Oldham, G (OML, USHL)
180. Bokondji Imama, LW (SJS, QMJHL)
The Lightning knew what they needed in the new set of prospects as they were looking for defensive responsibility throughout the draft. They may not have had a pick in the first round but they still went with defensive specialists in the rest of the draft. Stephens and Cirelli provide two two-way forwards while Spencer is a defensive defenceman as the Lightning focused on their biggest need with ten total picks.
chicago_blackhawks Chicago Blackhawks
54. Graham Knott, LW (NIA, OHL) 91. Dennis Gilbert, D (CHI, USHL)
121. Ryan Shea, D (BCHS) 151. Radovan Bondra, RW (HCK, SLV)
164. Roy Radke, RW (BAR, OHL) 181. Joni Tuulola, D (HPK, FIN)
211. John Dahlstrom, RW (FHC, SWE)
There was a big need to rebuild the prospect pool as the free agency market will strip them of some top players. They went with defence first as Knott provides a two-way forward while they followed that up with two straight defensive picks. They are selecting last and not in the first round so the prospects may not have an effect next season but it is still a good group for the future of the Champions.

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