In the middle of the first round, our SB Nation NHL sites have decided to get creative and start making trades. Could the Philadelphia Flyers and Minnesota Wild swap an early pick and an established NHL defender? Maybe!
Catch up on the picks so far here:
Wild receive: Flyers 2021 1st-round pick (13th overall), F Elliot Desnoyers
Flyers receive: D Matt Dumba
From Hockey Wilderness:
Doing so gets the Wild their third first-round selection this year and a young winger that projects to be a solid middle-six with some scoring upside that the Flyers drafted in the fifth round just last year.
In addition to some youngsters, the Wild will also get heaps of cap space to re-sign wingers Kirill Kaprizov and Kevin Fiala to desirable, long-term contracts that can keep this team competitive in the future.
From Broad Street Hockey:
It’s no secret that the Flyers desperately need to improve defensively this offseason. And while another year of experience could be what some of their young blueliners need, this isn’t the offseason to take a “wait and see” approach. The Flyers need immediate improvements from their defensemen, and the best way to help accelerate that process is by acquiring a veteran NHLer with a proven track record of success. [...]
And, for what it’s worth, Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher selected Dumba with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, so the two are very familiar with one another.
13. Minnesota Wild — Aatu Raty
From Hockey Wilderness:
With the former potential bundled up into a sizable center, I had no choice but to select Aatu Räty with the 13th overall pick. Even if some rankings have him lower and in the late-first round, you can’t really pass up the potential he once had.
He didn’t score a ton of points during his time in the Finnish Liiga this season, but the draw is still there enough to take him with this pick. Räty will unfortunately be tied to Dumba for his entire career in this hypothetical NHL, but it’s just added pressure for the center to achieve his potential. [...]
All things considered, I believe the Wild would be a really great landing spot for a player like Raty. The Wild can absolutely benefit from extra depth on center, and having a player with Raty’s upside in the Wild system is always a good thing. Although he may never live up to the hype generated by his U20 World Juniors performance a few years back, I think it’s reasonable to assume that Raty will still be an impact player at the NHL level.
14. Dallas Stars — Corson Ceulemans
From Defending Big D:
Which is why, when the folks at Raw Charge approached us about a deal for a Tampa Bay Lightning player, we took it. In our mock draft, the Stars trade their fifth round pick to Tampa for the rights to Blake Coleman. This will give general manager Jim Nill and company an exclusive window to negotiate with the pending free agent on a contract in Dallas. As one of the team’s primary targets to upgrade the middle six, it’s a move that could make sense.
With that piece of business out of the way, the Defending Big D crew select Corson Ceulemans at 14 for the Dallas Stars. [...]
Defense may not appear to be the obvious choice, but when you really think about it, it actually makes the most sense. Thomas Harley is the best defensive prospect in the Stars system, and he appears to be knocking on the NHL door. After him in the system, though, appear to be long-term projects and some guys that will be serviceable defenders at the highest level at best — but probably not many future top four guys, which Dallas needs in the pipeline.
15. New York Rangers — Chaz Lucius
From Blueshirt Banter:
Lucius is a 6’0”, 172-pound center committed to the University of Minnesota, and spent the 2020-21 campaign split between the US National U-18 team, and the US National Development Program Juniors team in the USHL. At both levels he scored 13 goals, with his total line in the USHL being 13-5-18 in 12 games, and 13-7-20 in 13 games with the National Team.
EP Rinkside describes Lucius as a high-octane offensive player that’s a threat with the puck from anywhere in the offensive zone, and someone with crafty hands and a quick release to make himself a goal-scoring weapon. He isn’t the strongest of skaters, but that’s not exactly something that the Rangers have overlooked when draft players in the past. That and there could be a reason for his poor skating, but more on that in just a bit.
16. St. Louis Blues — Matthew Coronato
From St. Louis Game Time:
It’s hard to argue any player had a more-impressive season than Matthew Coronato. In the year leading up to his draft, Coronato broke multiple records. This includes the record for longest consecutive point-streak, going over-28 games with a point. In fact, there were only nine games the Steel played this season, including the playoffs, where Coronato didn’t score. That means he scored in 85 percent of his outings this season, as he tore up the USHL on track to 85 points in 51 games during the regular season, 48 of them being goals, and an additional 13 points in 8 playoff games, nine of them being goals.
Of course, scoring isn’t everything in young players. But when their ability to put the puck in the net reaches Coronato’s levels of extreme, it has to be noticed. Coronato’s goal-scoring ability itself is historic. 48 goals in 51 games means Coronato scored 0.94 goals-per-game. That is a level that hasn’t been accomplished since Jason Sessa scored 0.96 goals-per-game in 1994-95. That’s over 26 years ago and Sessa did it in a USHL that saw, on average, 0.6 more goals-per-game than this year’s league.
17. Winnipeg Jets — Logan Stankoven
From Arctic Ice Hockey:
Stankoven is listed as only 5’8”, but as Brayden Point, Brendan Gallagher, and Cole Caulfield have taught us: if you are good you are regardless of your size and Stankoven has the tools of a good player in a small package. He only played six games in the WHL bubbly this year so it is hard to really draw any conclusions about his play and any improvements he made from last season to this season, but as a rookie in the WHL he scored 48 points in 59 games including 29 goals.
Stankoven is most known for his shot which is hard. However, he must be a decent passer to put up the points totals he did as a 16 year old. However, almost a year of sitting duck can impact a player’s development and even though Stankoven had 10 points in six games this year, that does not tell us much about his development. The only good thing is he did not lose a year to injury recovery or something. A lot of North American prospects are in the same boat as Stankoven. However, the Jets are hoping that by rolling the dice on a small, skilled player they will get rewarded again.
18. Nashville Predators — Oskar Olausson
From On the Forecheck:
Among draft-eligible skaters in the J20 Nationell this season, Olausson was first in primary points-per-game (1.44) and first in even-strength primary points-per-game (0.75). In his limited SHL play—where he averaged just over nine minutes of ice time per night—he was second in both those categories behind William Eklund, a likely top-five pick.
Olausson is one of the best shooting talents in this draft and doesn’t discriminate in where he shoots from. Above is his shot map from J20 Nationell play this season. He scores from in tight and at a distance, and is willing to fire the puck from nearly anywhere. [...]
There are certainly flaws in Olausson’s game that will need rounding out, but he has the potential to grow into a robust scoring threat who can drive transition, frustrate other teams’ defense pairs, and score 20+ goals per season. He’d certainly be a worthwhile addition to Nashville’s pipeline.
The Edmonton Oilers are on the clock.