We don’t vote on our GM of the year at The Hockey News until after the season and Calgary GM Brad Treliving just put his name high on the candidate list by grabbing Dougie Hamilton from Boston for a first-rounder and two second round picks.
Ryan Kennedy is the associate senior writer and draft/prospect expert at The Hockey News. He has been with the publication since 2005 and in that span, Don Cherry, Lil Jon and The Rock have all called his house. He lives in Toronto with his wife and kids where he listens to loud music and collects NCAA pennants.
The Capitals pulled off a pretty neat trick the past few years: mining the second half of the first round for talent and consistently hitting on it. Evgeny Kuznetsov, Andre Burakovsky, Tom Wilson and Marcus Johansson all qualify, and picking in that range can be tricky. Add in no-brainer lottery pick Alex Ovechkin plus Nicklas Backstrom and you’ve got a pretty good homegrown core already. All told, Washington has drafted quite well.
Round 1, pick 22
Round 3, pick 62
Round 4, pick 113
Round 5, pick 143
Round 6, pick 173
The Caps are solid in all areas right now, but a two-way center who can also score wouldn’t hurt – someone in a Ryan Kesler mode. With Jakub Vrana in the pipeline, skill is taken care of in spades. Read more
For a team just a few years removed from a Stanley Cup and really only one season removed from being a titan in the Eastern Conference, there sure is a lot of chaos surrounding the Boston Bruins right now.
Based on the past two drafts, the Penguins are firm believers in education. Perhaps it’s because the 2013 Frozen Four was at their rink, but the Pens have drafted almost exclusively NCAA-bound players lately. Only one 2013 draftee was from major junior (goalie Tristan Jarry of Edmonton). University of Nebraska-Omaha freshman center Jake Guentzel already looks like a steal.
Round 2, pick 46
Round 5, pick 137
Round 6, pick 167
Round 7, pick 197
Wingers, sweet lord, wingers! The Penguins still head into nearly every off-season wondering how to find complements for Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, and the draft has not been kind in that regard. Beau Bennett is waiting to bust out, and he’s the closest candidate.
The 2015 draft has largely focused on North America, what with twin terrors Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel dominating headlines, with Dylan Strome, Noah Hanifin and Mitch Marner not far behind.
But there were some excellent prospects plying their trades on the other side of the Atlantic this season and they’re ready to let their skills do the talking.
The Flyers aren’t picky about where their talent comes from or where those players are going as long as they have potential. Prep schoolers and kids destined for mid-table NCAA schools such as Bowling Green and Connecticut have all been selected lately, as was NAHL goalie Anthony Stolarz. Curiously, no players from the OHL – a traditional hotbed – have donned the Orange and Black the past two drafts.
Round 1, picks 7 and 29
Round 2, pick 61
Round 3, picks 70 and 90
Round 4, picks 98 and 99
Round 5, pick 128
Round 6, pick 158
Round 7, pick 188
It’s not that the New York Rangers are bad at drafting. They just don’t do it as often as most other franchises. Thanks to playing in one of the most desirable sports markets in the world and having a splendid core that makes Stanley Cup runs, the Blueshirts have tended to build through trades and free agency lately – and it works. But because of that, New York has picked in the first round just once in the past three drafts (Brady Skjei in 2013) and, barring a trade, it won’t pick in the top 30 this year, either.
Round 2, pick 59
Round 3, pick 89
Round 4, pick 119
Round 6, pick 179
The Rangers aren’t particularly gritty up front, and that’s fine when the speedsters are on their horses, but it wouldn’t hurt to get some rougher, edgier players back in the jersey – think Andrew Shaw in Chicago or Kyle Clifford in Los Angeles.
The Islanders put a lot of stock in the draft and, in particular, the draft combine. The franchise has been infamous in the past for making the kids they interview fill out a lengthy personality test, but clearly it serves a purpose: noted free spirit Josh Ho-Sang was nabbed in the 2014 first round, and his play has continued to be solid. Of course, they also drafted the downright wacky Kirill Kabanov a few years back, too, so it’s not an exact science.
Round 3, picks 72 and 82
Round 4, pick 112
Round 6, pick 172
Round 7, pick 202