Here's my shot at the top 10 for the upcoming NHL Draft. This is not what I want to happen but what seems likely.
Edmonton Oilers: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, C. *Burnaby, BC*
It is pretty evident these days that RNH is the consensus #1. The Oilers will bolster a lineup already featuring the likes of Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson. Tambellini has pretty well tipped his hand on this one.
Colorado Avalanche: Gabriel Landeskog, RW. *Stockholm, SWE*
The Avalanche need wingers and need character badly. Landeskog provides both and is becoming regarded by more and more as an alternate #2 pick.
Florida Panthers: Adam Larsson, D. *Skelleftea, SWE*
The Panthers use the 'best player available' method and select Adam Larsson. Hard to think that a team this hard pressed for a positive future would pass up on such a sure thing. They will have one of the better defensive corps going forward and will hope that this will be how they return from exile and into the playoffs. This will be an easy sell to the fanbase and Larsson's immediate presence in the lineup will be a godsend for this perpetually struggling team.
New Jersey Devils: Jonathan Huberdeau, C. *St-Jerome, QC*
The Devils are missing front line scoring in their prospect pool and will not pass up on Huberdeau. Some have argued that the slick center from the QMJHL will enter into the top 3 but I see him being selected at #4. Huberdeau provides scoring punch to a team that has struggled of late and will be a cornerstone of the rebuild going forward. It is hard to see any team picking any remaining defenseman ahead of Huberdeau.
New York Islanders: Sean Couturier, C. *Phoenix, AZ/Bathurst, NB*
The Islanders likely could see themselves taking a defenseman but with the big rangy Couturier on the board they opt to either swap picks with the Senators (adding a late-2nd or early-3rd rounder) or they select Couturier. Although they have a multitude of forward prospects they will not pass up on the complete package offered by Couturier, particularly given the lack of size of some of their more skilled forwards.
Ottawa Senators: Dougie Hamilton, D. *Toronto, ON*
With the 4 best forwards in the draft off the board it is back to 'best player available' for Bryan Murray. Although it is clear that the Senators need to select a forward I cannot see them passing on Dougie Hamilton given that he is a top 5 talent. It is pure luck that Hamilton is available at #6 and the Senators will reluctantly take the 6'4 defenseman. Hard to see who would be on the way out in terms of young defensemen but its even harder to see Murray selecting Strome or any of the other remaining forwards when they can take a player that is a level above the players remaining and offers a more complete package. Detractors might argue in favor of Strome but at this point there are far too many question marks about whether his game will translate into NHL success to be able to pass over Hamilton. Fans aren't thrilled with this pick and the Murrays aren't happy to have missed out on the top forwards in the draft.
Trade with NYI a very distinct possibility under this scenario.
Winnipeg Jets: Ryan Strome, C. *Mississauga, ON*
The umm... Jets... select the best remaining forward Ryan Strome. The Jets farm system lacks offensive upside and strome would provide some additional security going forward. In the year they return to Winnipeg, the Jets need to make a splash and the flashy Strome could provide just that.
Columbus Blue Jackets: Ryan Murphy, D. *Aurora, ON*
Columbus has been perpetually in search of a puck-moving defenseman and finally they draft a top-tiered one in Ryan Murphy. He fits the needs of the team so well that it is almost a sure thing if Murphy is still on the board.
Boston Bruins: Jamie Oleksiak, D. *Toronto, ON*
Now the fun begins, the Bruins select Jamie Oleksiak, a very large (6'7) defenseman who is considered to be a long-term project. The Bruins are in need of defensive help in the long term and have offensive prospects with considerable upside already. Oleksiak is a smaller version of Chara who could develop into a monster for the Bruins.
Minnesota Wild: Sven Baertschi, LW. *Langethal, SWI*
Although it has been argued that Armia would fit in well in Minnesota given their predisposition for Finns, the Wild select Baertschi who is a very dynamic offensive winger from Switzerland. Baertschi is already integrated into the North American system coming from the WHL and put up great numbers in his first year. The future is only looking brighter for this young winger.