With the first round of the NHL Draft set for Friday night and more information coming out this week about possible trades and more information about where certain prospects are valued, we're due for an update from our previous mock draft (which you can check out here).
The trade rumors have been really interesting with names like Ben Bishop, Kevin Shattenkirk, Cam Fowler and even P.K. Subban being tossed around. It sounds as though many draft picks can be had for the right price as well, including -- surprisingly enough -- the No. 3 overall pick currently held by Columbus.
With all of that in mind, we took a fresher look at how tonight might go, with a few picks and even a few speculative mock trades for a little twist of fun. As we saw last year, anything and everything can happen on draft day. Expect some craziness.
So here's a look at our updated selections and yes, we threw in a mock trade in there for fun:
1. Toronto Maple Leafs
Auston Matthews, C, Zurich (NLA): Nothing is likely to change in the first five picks. Matthews is the obvious choice as the franchise center the Maple Leafs need to build around. The 18-year-old would be an instant impact player for Toronto.
2. Winnipeg Jets
Patrik Laine, RW, Tappara (SML): The Finnish sniper is the best pure scorer in the draft and has that game-breaking potential that could help boost Winnipeg's offensive attack. Some are saying he is the best pure scoring winger to enter the draft since Alex Ovechkin.
3. Columbus Blue Jackets
Jesse Puljujarvi, RW, Karpat (SML): The Blue Jackets just may end up trading this pick, based on recent reports. Jarmo Kekalainen said it will only happen after the top two picks are made. Puljujarvi is widely viewed as a better all-around forward compared to his countryman Laine, but doesn't quite have the same scoring prowess. Does Columbus buy that, though? Kekalainen has been quiet on the top prospects.
4. Edmonton Oilers
Matthew Tkachuk, LW, London (OHL): His 107-point season for London was impressive, but another thing to note about Tkachuk is that he's used to playing with great players and he knows how to keep up with them. Two years ago, he was on a line with Auston Matthews. Last year he was with Maple Leafs' prospect Mitch Marner. Could Connor McDavid be next on that list?
5. Vancouver Canucks
Pierre-Luc Dubois, C/W, Cape Breton (QMJHL): The Canucks simply have to go with the best player available here and while they could be tempted by a defenseman or even a trade, Dubois would appear to fit their needs. This team has to get younger at forward and they get a blue-chipper at No. 5. Dubois had 42 goals and 99 points last year.
Calgary Flames trade the No. 6 overall pick in 2016 and a 2017 second-round pick to the Tampa Bay Lightning for G Ben Bishop. Because Bishop is heading into the last year of his contract and the looming expansion draft will force the Lightning to pick between Bishop and Andrei Vasilevskiy, they have to go with the kid. Losing Bishop is tough, but the Lightning's cap situation is anything but clear. Cory Schneider was acquired by the Devils straight up for the 9th overall pick in 2013. No. 1 goalies are expensive on draft day. The Flames would also probably have to make a corresponding trade, either at the draft or in the near future to clear some cap space heading into next season. Again, this is a mock trade, not a real trade.
6. Tampa Bay Lightning (from CGY)
Olli Juolevi, D, London (OHL): Depending on who you ask, Juolevi appears to have separated himself as the top defenseman in this draft class. The Lightning need to go cheaper on the back end, which they can do by adding a rookie like Juolevi either this year or the following season. He has good size, excellent skating ability and he'd be a weapon in Tampa's transition game with his puck-moving capabilities.
7. Arizona Coyotes
Mikhail Sergachev, D, Windsor (OHL): Despite the change just ahead of them, the Coyotes will still get one of the three top-end defensemen available in the draft. Sergachev has good size and tremendous offensive instincts. There's poise in his game that suggests an easy transition to the pros. He also would help the Coyotes address their most glaring need in their system.
8. Buffalo Sabres
Clayton Keller, C, US NTDP (USHL): This pick is in play on the trade market according to Tim Murray. His desire is to find a veteran left-shot defenseman. If they don't move it, though, Keller could be a dynamic forward to add to their mix. He is one of only three players in the history of the vaunted national team program to eclipse 100 points in a single season. The other two are Auston Matthews and Patrick Kane.
9. Montreal Canadiens
Alexander Nylander, RW, Mississauga (OHL): The Habs could have eyes on defense here, but with Nylander still available, he shouldn't fall past ninth. A dynamic offensive talent, he would offer a big boost to Montreal's prospect pool.
10. Colorado Avalanche
Logan Brown, C, Windsor (OHL): The Avs could be tempted by a defenseman here, but passing on big Logan Brown would be too hard. The massive forward (6-6, 220) has skill and skating ability that makes him more than your average big man.
11. New Jersey Devils
Tyson Jost, C, Penticton (BCHL): The best player available in this slot is Jost, who has dynamic elements in his game as evidenced by his 42 goals and 104 points in just 48 games this season. The University of North Dakota-bound forward would join Pavel Zacha at the top of the Devils' growing prospect system.
12. Ottawa Senators
Jakob Chychrun, D, Sarnia (OHL): The closer we get to the draft, the more it sounds like Chychrun is tumbling down boards. That said, this is a player that had 49 points last season, has a pro frame and plays an advanced game. The big question is about his upside, but there's no questioning his overall talent.
13. Carolina Hurricanes
Kieffer Bellows, RW, US NTDP (USHL): The Canes have a shot at bringing in a high-end scoring winger with NHL bloodlines here. Bellows has one of the better shots in the draft, good physical strength and gets to the net very well. He put up 50 goals playing alongside Clayton Keller this year.
14. Boston Bruins
Jake Bean, D, Calgary (WHL): The buzz is growing around Bean. He was listed as the third best defenseman on Bob McKenzie's final rankings on TSN and is one of the draft's most dynamic offensive defensemen. Boston needs more of what Bean can bring to the roster in the near future.
15. Minnesota Wild
Charlie McAvoy, D, Boston University (NCAA): The Wild are reportedly going to be busy in the trade market and may be dealing from their stable of younger defensemen. That opens a spot to pick one at No. 15, at which point McAvoy looks like a strong possibility. He's polished and productive.
16. Detroit Red Wings
Dante Fabbro, D, Penticton (BCHL): Ken Holland hinted earlier this week that he'd like to see the team draft a few more defensemen, but they'll stick with best player available here. Fabbro looks like a good choice in this slot. His two-way skills have been lauded all season long.
17. Nashville Predators
Michael McLeod, C, Mississauga (OHL): With the top defensemen gone, the Preds should be able to nab another high-quality forward. McLeod would appear to be the best available in this position and Nashville should appreciate his dependable two-way game.
18. Philadelphia Flyers
Julien Gauthier, RW, Val d'OR (QMJHL): A big riser up the draft boards this year, the big-bodied winger had a tremendous season in the QMJHL with 41 goals. The Flyers have stacked their defensive prospect system, so adding Gauthier to their forward crop should provide a nice bump.
19. New York Islanders
Luke Kunin, C, Wisconsin (NCAA): After the season he just had at the University of Wisconsin, Kunin looks like he may be on a faster track to the pros. A solid two-way center, he still managed to excel in a really challenging situation with the Badgers.
Arizona Coyotes trade the No. 20 overall pick and prospects Ryan MacInnis and Connor Clifton to the St. Louis Blues for D Kevin Shattenkirk. Reports have been swirling that the Coyotes are going after Kevin Shattenkirk aggressively. Adding him to a blue line that features Oliver Ekman-Larsson and new acquisition Alex Goligoski brings a lot of intrigue. The Blues don't sound optimistic about their ability to re-sign Shattenkirk beyond this season, but they don't necessarily have to trade him now and can drive the price up. Once again, this is a mock trade and not a real trade.
20. St. Louis Blues (from ARI)
Max Jones, LW, London (OHL): After dealing away Shattenkirk, it may be tempting to take a defenseman, but the best player available in this spot is Max Jones. He's a fascinating prospect who has battled bouts of inconsistency and poor decision making on the ice. That said, he's big, speedy and has enough skill to project as a future top-six or at least a top-nine forward.
21. Carolina Hurricanes
German Rubtsov, C, Russia U18 (MHL): Having already made one pick in the draft, the Hurricanes can take a little more risk on at 21. Rubtsov has drawn rave reviews, but there's always a few questions when it comes to Russian prospects, even though the "Russian Factor" chatter has died down. The two-way abilities and overall skill of Rubtsov still make him worth taking here.
22. Winnipeg Jets
Riley Tufte, LW, Blaine (Minnesota H.S.): The Jets are reportedly shopping this pick, but they may like what they see if they hang onto it. Tufte is a massive winger with tremendous offensive talent and a load of upside. By nabbing Laine at No. 2, they can take on a longer-range prospect with no need to rush him along.
23. Florida Panthers
Alex DeBrincat, C/W, Erie (OHL): The Panthers are a real wild card based on how they shuffled their draft. It's not entirely clear who will have the final say on this pick. That said, this team has never been scared of drafting smaller players. When that player has two 51-goal seasons in the OHL, it makes that decision even easier.
24. Anaheim Ducks
Logan Stanley, D, Windsor (OHL): The Ducks have two picks in the lower third of the first round, which gives them some flexibility. It sounds that they are likely to deal Cam Fowler. Perhaps this would be a good spot to take a chance on D. Stanley is a huge 6-foot-7, 224 pounds. He does not put up points, but defensively he is very solid and knows how to use that big body of his. His lack of production does make him a higher-risk prospect, though.
25. Dallas Stars
Dennis Cholowski, D, Chilliwack (BCHL): It sounds as though the Stars are preparing to graduate a number of their prospect defensemen to the NHL roster. They could use another injection of talent into the pool. Cholowski is an interesting one here. He's been kind of a late riser and showed off some solid offensive skills in the BCHL. He had 40 points in 50 games for Chilliwack.
26. Washington Capitals
Rasmus Asplund, C, Farjestad (SHL): A team that has had a lot of success drafting imports, Asplund is one of the more intriguing prospects this year. His production in the Swedish top division was not eye-popping, but he remains projected by most as a late first-round pick.
27. Tampa Bay Lightning
Brett Howden, C, Moose Jaw (WHL): Howden is coming off a solid WHL season with 64 points in 68 games. The Lightning aren't often known for making the "safe pick," but that's what Howden would seem to be in this slot.
28. St. Louis Blues
Kale Clague, D, Brandon (WHL): If the Blues do end up moving Shattenkirk out, they could bring in a player with a somewhat similar skill set in Clague. He's projected as a late-first, early-second round pick, but he had some really impressive numbers, including 43 assists last season for WHL champion Brandon.
29. Boston Bruins
Tage Thompson, C, UConn (NCAA): An interesting prospect due to his 6-foot-5 frame and impressive scoring numbers as a true freshman. One of the quirks in his numbers is that all but one of his goals this season came on the power play. He's a higher-risk prospect, but there's upside here still.
30. Anaheim Ducks
Pascal Laberge, C/W, Victoriaville (QMJHL): Laberge plays an aggressive brand of hockey and adds plenty of skill to bring on the points. He had 68 points in 56 games in the QMJHL last year. After going with defense in their earlier pick, nabbing the best forward on the board would be the right play.