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In Depth First 10 Picks 2015 NHL Mock Draft

There are many mock drafts at the moment, but here is an in depth player and team description for each of the first 10 picks explaining why the team will choose the player they did. (Minus the obvious picks of McDavid and Eichel)

1) Edmonton Oilers:  Connor McDavid (C, Erie Otters)

This one is given, as Oilers Nation is screaming for McDavid to be drafted. Everyone already knows everything about him so this description will be short. He's generational talent, and a given 1st line centre in the NHL. He's labeled as the next Crosby and is sure to be one of the best the league has ever seen.

2) Buffalo Sabres: Jack Eichel (C, Boston University)

Again, this pick is obvious as the other generational talent in the draft will go to Buffalo. He plays a physical style, and it matches perfectly with his abilities. Imagine the skill of Buffalo's first line: Ennis, Eichel, and Evander Kane.

3) Arizona Coyotes: Dylan Strome (C, Erie Otters)

Arizona needs a future 1st line centre, and Strome is the best available at this point in the draft for the Coyotes specifically. It is really impossible to judge who they will pick, because of the benefits of taking either Stome or Hanifin (and possibly Marner). Strome is big and physical; matching the style of the Western Conference perfectly. It is no secret to re-building clubs that they need to build around a star centre, and Dylan Strome will be that guy for the Coyotes. Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun reported that before the Coyotes dropped to the third slot in the draft, they told one of Dylan Strome’s agents that they wouldn’t pass on him if they had the third overall pick. Playing in the same division with Kopitar, Thornton, and Getzlaf, Arizona will need Strome in order to be competitive with their rivals. 

4) Toronto Maple Leafs: Mitch Marner (C/W, London Knights)

The Leafs will see their need for a #1 centre and skip over Hanifin as well and draft the highly skilled Mitch Marner. Both Marner and Strome have said they want to play for the Leafs, so it would be an added bonus to draft homegrown talent and someone who so badly wants to wear the jersey of their home team. Marner plays both wing and centre, giving the Leafs the option of having a future no. 1 centre or top line winger; whichever fits best. They will most likely see Marner as their no. 1 centre as it has been years since Toronto has had one, and as I said before teams need to re-build around one. Sportsnet's Elliot Friedman asked Leafs assistant GM Kyle Dubas wether they would pass on Marner because of his size, and Dubas replied with:

“Here’s the way I look at it, right now, we aren't good enough to be picky about smaller players. We need as many elite players as we can. If we get into playoffs and are too small, or overwhelmed, it’s easier to trade small for size than draft for size and trade for skill.”

Basically hinting that Marner is their guy. 

5) Carolina Hurricanes: Noah Hanifin (D, Boston College)

Many thought Hanifin would go 3rd overall but Carolina gets to watch him fall down the draft board to them. They already have a franchise defenceman in Justin Faulk, and top defensive prospects in Hayden Fleury and Ryan Murphy, but having the possibility of Hanifin pairing with one of the three is too enticing to pass over. The Hurricanes have many needs, but having Hanifin available would make them address their defence by drafting him. Their defensive core of the future will be set with Faulk, Fleury, Murphy and Hanifin, giving the Canes some comfort on the back end. After this pick, Carolina only has to worry about their forward positions for the rest of their re-build, as their defence and goaltending is settled.

6) New Jersey Devils: Mikko Rantanen  (RW, TPS Turku)

President Lou Lamarello has already stated that they will be looking to draft a forward with this pick. On defence, the Devils already have Adam Larsson, Eric Gelinas, and Damon Severnson for the future, but they lack quality forward prospects. Most of the time forwards take significantly less time to develop than defencemen, so New Jersey will draft Rantanen so they can have him in the lineup quickly. Many scouts believe he is the most NHL ready of all the European prospects, and so the Devils will take advantage of that. At 6' 4" and 211 pounds, he will bring size, youth, amazing skill, and puck-sense to a New Jersey team that so badly needs all of that. He was crowned the best international skater, beating all who were eligible for the 2015 draft.

Joe Curtis of Eliteprospects.com had this to say about Rantanen: 

An exceptionally talented playmaker and always a consistent threat on the ice; Rantanen is a combination of elite-level hockey sense, silky smooth hands, and nimble skating. Needs to improve his shot and physical play, as he doesn't take advantage of his size in many situations. All-in-all, an intelligent, big-bodied forward that oozes skill. 

New Jersey would love a skilled player in their forward core, and Mikko's lack of physicality can easily be worked on. Playing in the eastern conference, physicality isn't as necessary as in the western, so the Devils can draft him with the comfort of knowing that the only thing he needs to develop isn't really a necessity for their division. NHL Director of European Scouting Goran Stubb says Rantanen is "very close to being the complete package".

7) Philadelphia Flyers: Lawson Crouse (LW, Kingston Frontenacs)

Lawson Crouse is destined to wear a Flyers jersey. He has been called every coaches dream because he is big, can score, and is extremely physical. The Flyers will not pass up an opportunity to draft a skilled player who is a brute on the ice, which is Philadelphia's identity. They also need to find Giroux and Voracek a winger to consistently play with, and this is their guy. His nickname on the Kingston Frontenacs is "the sheriff" because of the way he polices the game and fights to stick up for his teammates. He will be perfect fit in Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh better watch out the next time they decide to have a brawl with the Flyers. 

The London, Ontario native was ranked 5th by NHL Central Scouting, and is labeled as the most physical and intimidating player in this draft. There have been question marks surrounding his offensive production levels, but Crouse managed a point per game in the OHL despite having only decent line mates. If he's developed well by Philadelphia and put on a line with either Giroux and Voracek, or Schenn and Simmonds, then there is no telling his offensive potential with great line mates. Philadelphia has great offensive power on their forward lines, and finding Crouse skilled line mates will be no problem. 

8) Columbus Blue Jackets: Ivan Provorov (D, Brandon Wheat Kings)

The Blue Jackets have completed their re-build, and have a very strong team at the moment. They were killed with injuries this past season, but when their lineup is healthy, they have no weakness at any position. So with this pick Columbus will draft the best available player in the big Russian defender; because they have no particular need. He plays a very physical game and plays on both the power play and penalty kill for the Brandon Wheat Kings in the WHL. He is labeled as NHL ready and his physical style of play will fit nicely in Columbus. The feisty Blue Jackets will be drafting a player that matches their style perfectly, and that will be a top pairing defender in the NHL. The future top line on defence of Ryan Murray and Ivan Provorov will be set.

Many scouting lists even place Provorov ahead of Hanifin in terms of skill (like Craig Button of TSN), but Ivan just doesn't seem to get the same hype. All in all, he's a guaranteed top 10 pick. 

9) San Jose Sharks: Timo Meier (RW, Halifax Mooseheads)

Predicting the Sharks pick will be difficult because they can select any one of Timo Meir, Zack Werenski, Matthew Barzal, Pavel Zacha, and a couple of others. Picking Timo Meir would add a massive boost to the Sharks offence, as their aging forward core of Thornton, Marleau, and Pavelski will need some scoring youth to be brought to the lineup. In 61 games played with the Halifax Mooseheads this season, the Switzerland native posted 44 goals and 46 assists for 90 points. He is a big forward at 6' 1" and 210 pounds, making his large body ideal for the Sharks to select because of the sheer size of the competition in the big and tough western conference. Logan Couture is the Sharks 1st line centre of the future, and Meier will be his winger along side. Because of his size, offensive power, and position as a forward in general, the Sharks will be happy to pick him as they need young up and coming players to provide all the things Meier can. Werenski would be a good fit as well, but since the Sharks already have Mirco Mueller in their system, I see them taking Meier.

10) Colorado Avalanche: Zack Werenski (D, University of Michigan) 

This one everyone can see coming from a mile away as the Avalanche are in desperate need of defensive prospects. Like Lawson Crouse to the Flyers, Werenski to Colorado just fits. He plays for University of Michigan and possesses strong offensive and defensive skills. As said in the Sharks profile, the Avalanche will draft the 6' 2" defender as the size is a must for playing in the western conference. He still has room to grow and add muscle to his 215 pound body, and his height and weight are ideal by NHL teams looking to bolster their back end. The future defensive line of Tyson Barrie and Werenski will be formidable, and their powerplay will be able to have two quarterbacks on it.

Joe Curtis of Eliteprospects.com says that Werenski is "a smooth-skating, puck-moving defenceman that has a strong understanding of the game. Excels in key situations and is able to execute under pressure. Possesses good vision and awareness on the ice; uses his abilities to put offensive and defensive pressure on the opposition. All-in-all, a very strong all-around defenceman that consistently brings his game every night".

Zack Werenski definitely has the potential to be drafted higher, but based on other teams drafting around their own needs, he might fall to the Avalanche. 

In the end, these are just my reasons for teams picking these players, but the draft in June might be completely different as it never seems to be predictable. Looking at many mock drafts (including some on this site), this seemed to be the consensus. 

Thanks for reading, feel free to comment who should be picked where

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