Despite being what many analysts have described as a ‘down year’ as far as talent goes in the NHL Draft, there is no doubt that this is one of the more intriguing drafts in recent years.
The intrigue starts at the top where the Montreal Canadiens, who also happen to be hosting the draft, hold the top pick. There is no consensus top player this year, and there have been various conflicting reports on who the Habs will take first overall.
Will it be the steady, safer pick in center Shane Wright of the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs? Or will it be the ‘unicorn’ Slovakian winger Juraj Slafkovsky?
You can bet on who you think the top pick will be over at online sportsbook Bodog where they have the latest NHL Draft odds and props for the big night.
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NHL Mock Draft
1. Montreal Canadiens, Shane Wright, C, Kingston (OHL)
Just a few hours before the draft there were still lots of conflicting reports about who the Habs would pick. They reportedly met with Slafkovsky on draft day, but ultimately, we think they go with the center.
Wright has been on the NHL radar since he was a middle-schooler who was granted exceptional status to play in the OHL before everyone else his age. If not for COVID cutting off a year of his development he’s likely the slam dunk 1st overall pick.
Wright fits an organizational need for Montreal, and it doesn’t make much sense for the team’s new management group to take a toolsy projection who plays the wing over a reliable two-way center. Wright is the favorite at Bodog to go first at -275.
We don’t think this pick will be traded, so it’s most likely either Wright or Slafkovsky are the pick. Sprinkling a little bit on Slafkovsky at +125 can’t hurt considering the buzz around him going here.
2. New Jersey Devils, Juraj Slafkovsky, LW, Tps (Finland)
What makes this draft so interesting aside from the drama around who goes first is the reports that many of the top picks are in play to be traded. That starts here with the number two spot as New Jersey is reportedly trying to make a splash and improve their team by acquiring a veteran. Could it be scoring winger Alex DeBrincat? Defensive stalwart Jakob Chychrun? Both have been linked to Jersey and we could definitely see this pick moved.
But for betting purposes, it doesn’t matter who makes this pick – it matters which player is picked. And we think no matter who makes this selection it will be Slafkovsky going number two. The young forward dominated the World Championships and Olympics against grown men, but didn’t have a great statistical season with his club team in Finland. Size and speed are the name of his game, and it’s not hard to see why teams would fall in love with this prospect. We’re betting him at -200 to be the pick here.
3. Arizona Coyotes, Logan Cooley, C, USNTDP
Generally considered the number three player in the draft, there’s definitely a chance Cooley could go in the top two, especially if New Jersey trades the second pick and the acquiring team has a need a center.
Cooley is a smaller prospect but has above average skills in virtually every area. He skates well, can shoot the puck, has great hockey sense and is dynamic with the puck on his stick. There are rumblings that the Coyotes could galaxy brain themselves here and reach for a hometown kid like Cutter Gauthier, but we’ll give them enough credit here to take the no-brainer in Cooley. He is -225 to go third while Gauthier is +750. We won’t deny being intrigued by Gauthier at that number.
4. Seattle Kraken, Simon Nemec, RHD, Nitra (Slovakia)
The draft picks themselves start to get even more interesting here with two defensemen being the next two top players on most people’s boards. It’s huge need for the Kraken, but the question is which flavor do they prefer? Nemec is a well-rounded player who’s underlying number are off the charts in some models. He is the modern D-man as opposed to David Jiricek who is a bit more old school as the larger frame of the two.
5. Philadelphia Flyers, Cutter Gauthier, F, USNTDP
This pick is another spot that has been in the rumour mill quite a bit. But in this scenario we have the Flyers taking the American Gauthier, another size/speed prospect with high compete level and position versatility. Gauthier’s OVER/UNDER line is pick 5.5, and we like the UNDER at -145 with all the buzz around him landing even higher than this.
6. Columbus Blue Jackets, David Jiricek, RHD, Plzen (Czechia)
There are analysts who believe Jiricek could go as high as number two if Wright is the selection at one. But in this scenario we have the big Czech defenseman falling a bit to the Blue Jackets. Jiricek’s size and physical play style will be attractive to a ton of front offices around the league, and we think he’s the perfect natural fit next to Zach Werenski down the road.
7. Chicago Blackhawks, Matthew Savoie, C, Winnipeg (WHL)
The Ottawa Senators traded this pick just hours before the draft for Alex DeBrincat, and now the Blackhawks have an opportunity to replace some of the dynamism lost by DeBrincat’s departure with another undersized forward with great offensive ability in Savoie. Savoie is -120 to go UNDER 9.5.
8. Detroit Red Wings, Marco Kasper, C, Rogle (SHL)
Analysts have been earmarking Kasper to the Wings all draft season and far be it from us to stand in the way of a good offseason narrative. Kasper is the perfect fit for Steve Yzerman’s Wings from a stylistic perspective as a mature player with great compete levels.
9. Buffalo Sabres, Joakim Kemell, RW, JYP (Finland)
The Sabres continue to add to their war chest of prospects with a well-rounded game in virtually every area outside ideal size.
Known mostly for his NHL-ready shot, we could see Kemell go higher than this pretty easily and his OVER/UNDER line is 8.5. That prop would cash at +110 if you bet the OVER and he goes here at nine. He is -150 to go at eight or earlier.
10. Kevin Korchinski, LHD, Seattle (WHL)
The Athletic’s Corey Pronman seems to believe Anaheim will take either Korchinski or Pavel Mintyukov here unless someone notable falls.
Korchinski fits well with the type of defensemen that Anaheim have prioritised in recent years as a good puck mover and skater with offensive upside.
Korchinski’s line is set at 10.5, and he’s favored to go in the top ten at -130.
11. San Jose Sharks, Conor Geekie, Winnipeg (WHL)
12. Columbus Blue Jackets, Jonathan Lekkerimaki, RW, Djurgarden (Sweden)
13. New York Islanders, Noah Ostlund, C, Djurgarden (Sweden)
14. Winnipeg Jets, Nathan Gaucher, C, Quebec (QMJHL)
15. Vancouver Canucks, Owen Pickering, LHD, Swift Current (WHL)
16. Buffalo Sabres, Danila Yurov, RW, Magnitogorsk (KHL)
17. Nashville Predators, Denton Mateychuk, LHD, Moose Jaw (WHL)
18. Dallas Stars, Pavel Mintyukov, LHD, Saginaw (WHL)
19. Minnesota Wild, Jiri Kulich, F, Karlovy Vary (Czechia)
20. Washington Capitals, Frank Nazar, C, USNTDP
21. Pittsburgh Penguins, Jimmy Snuggerud, RW, USNTDP
22. Anaheim Ducks, Reid Shaefer, LW, Seattle (WHL)
23. St. Louis Blues, Liam Bichsel, LHD, Leksands (SHL)
24. Minnesota Wild, Ryan Chesley, RHD, USNTDP
25. Toronto Maple Leafs, Liam Ohgren, LW, Djurgarden (Sweden)
26. Montreal Canadiens, Rutger McGroarty, LW, USNTDP
27. Arizona Coyotes, Brad Lambert, RW, Pelicans (Finland)
28. Buffalo Sabres, Isaac Howard, LW, USNTDP
29. Edmonton Oilers, Sam Rinzel, RHD, Chaska (US High School)
30. Winnipeg Jets, Tristan Luneau, RHD, Gatineau (QMJHL)
31. Tampa Bay Lightning, Ivan Miroshnichenko, LW, Avangard (Russia)
32. Arizona Coyotes, Jagger Firkus, RW, Moose Jaw (WHL)
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Odds Shark Staff Mon, Aug 8, 11:58am