Welcome to the week of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. On Friday, we finally find out who the New Jersey Devils will pick in the first round at eleventh overall. We also find out what the other teams will do on that day. The coming days will be quite busy for all thirty teams between preparing for free agency, making moves for the future, and deciding on some tough choices. But the draft is crucial for everyone who has a selection on Friday and Saturday and it's that first round that is so important part for any NHL draft. It's the round that has more successful picks than any others and it's the one where the top talent will go first.
To that end, it is commonly predicted ahead of the draft itself. They're called mock drafts and they go through each pick, predicting which team will take which prospect. They're commonly done for the first round - as we did at SB Nation - although some go even deeper. In addition to being a diversion, it gives one a sense of what prospects will likely be available when the team's actual pick comes up on Friday. Since the 2016 NHL Draft is this week, I decided to summarize what mock drafts I could find online. Was our mock draft pick of Clayton Keller off the mark or in line with others thought and perhaps be a plausible hope on Friday? Let's find out. (Spoiler: It's the latter.)
As of this writing - 6/18/2016 at 4 PM EST - I found 21 mock drafts. Not rankings. Not a Top X list. These are mock drafts. I specifically who was picked for the Devils, who was picked for Ottawa right after the Devils, and who was picked by Montreal and Colorado - both right before the Devils. This will provide a range of players of who to expect to be available around twelfth overall. If you find or know of more mock drafts and they're at least one round long,then please link them in the comments. I will add it to the post over the next few days. What will follow after this big chart is a summary of what I found as I originally wrote this post. One quick note on the dates of the mock drafts, for multi-site mock drafts like SBNation's or Hockey Wilderness' mock first round, I used the date the Devils' pick was posted.
|Mock Draft||Link||Mock Date||Devils Pick (#11)||MTL Pick (#9)||COL Pick (#10)||OTT Pick (#12)|
|SBNation/NHL||Link||06/13/16||Clayton Keller||Tyson Jost||Logan Brown||Mikhail Sergachev|
|The Draft Analyst – Steve Kournianos||Link||05/13/16||Clayton Keller||Mikhail Sergachev||Michael McLeod||Logan Brown|
|OHL Prospects – Brock Otten||Link||06/05/16||Mikhail Sergachev||Jakob Chychrun||Clayton Keller||Tyson Jost|
|NHL.com – Adam Kimelman||Link||06/06/16||Clayton Keller||Alexander Nylander||Mikhail Sergachev||Charles McAvoy|
|NHL.com – Mike Morreale||Link||06/06/16||Tyson Jost||Alexander Nylander||Mikhail Sergachev||Jake Bean|
|The Hockey Writers – Larry Fisher||Link||06/13/16||Jakob Chychrun||Tyson Jost||Mikhail Sergachev||Clayton Keller|
|SportsNet – Damien Cox||Link||06/16/16||Tyson Jost||Logan Brown||Logan Stanley||Jake Bean|
|SportsNet – Jeff Marek||Link||06/17/16||Clayton Keller||Logan Brown||Jakob Chychrun||Michael McLeod|
|NESN – Nicholas Goss||Link||06/17/16||Tyson Jost||Mikhail Sergachev||Logan Stanley||Clayton Keller|
|CSN NE – Joe Haggerty||Link||06/06/16||Alexander Nylander||Tyson Jost||Mikhail Sergachev||Clayton Keller|
|Bleacher Report – Timothy Rapp||Link||06/14/16||Jakob Chychrun||Mikhail Sergachev||Michael McLeod||Jake Bean|
|Bleacher Report – Tim Daniels||Link||06/18/16||Tyson Jost||Logan Brown||Mikhail Sergachev||Jake Bean|
|USA Today – Kyle Woodlief||Link||06/07/16||Jakob Chychrun||Jake Bean||Mikhail Sergachev||Logan Brown|
|Last Word on Sports – Ben Kerr||Link||05/16/16||Logan Brown||Tyson Jost||Jakob Chychrun||Clayton Keller|
|Too Many Men on the Site – Ryan Ritchie||Link||06/10/16||Clayton Keller||Logan Brown||Alexander Nylander||Tyson Jost|
|Beer League Heroes||Link||06/16/16||Alexander Nylander||Mikhail Sergachev||Clayton Keller||Tyson Jost|
|Editor in Leaf – Tim Chiasson||Link||06/13/16||Tyson Jost||Logan Brown||Mikhail Sergachev||Michael McLeod|
|The Hockey Writers – Mark Scheig||Link||06/16/16||Tyson Jost||Olli Juolevi||Clayton Keller||Jake Bean|
|Rotoworld – Gus Katsaros||Link||06/13/16||Clayton Keller||Pierre-Luc Dubois||Mikhail Sergachev||Michael McLeod|
|BSN Denver – Cole Hamilton||Link||06/08/16||German Rubtsov||Mikhail Sergachev||Logan Brown||Clayton Keller|
|Hockey Wilderness||Link||05/30/16||Alex DeBrincat||Alexander Nylander||Logan Brown||Tyson Jost|
|TSN - Craig Button||Link||06/22/16||Clayton Keller||Logan Brown||Tyson Jost||Jakob Chychrun|
|CSNPhilly - Tom Dougherty||Link||06/22/16||Tyson Jost||Mikhail Sergachev||Charlie McAvoy||Clayton Keller|
|The Hockey Writers - Chris Ralph||Link||06/21/16||Clayton Keller||Logan Brown||Jakob Chychrun||Tyson Jost|
|Sportsnet - Sam Cosentino||Link||06/20/16||Jakob Chychrun||Logan Brown||Tyson Jost||Clayton Keller|
|Dump 'n Chase||Link||06/20/16||Michael McLeod||Logan Brown||Alex DeBrincat||Tyson Jost|
|CBS Sports - Chris Peters||Link||06/20/16||Clayton Keller||Alexander Nylander||Jakobv Chychrun||Tyson Jost|
|USA Today via AZ Central - Kyle Woodlief 2.0||Link||06/21/16||Jakob Chychrun||Mikhail Sergachev||Alexander Nylander||Tyson Jost|
6/22 Note: #22 Craig Button's (TSN) mock was added; #23 Tom Dougherty's (CSN Philly) mock was added; #24 Christopher Ralph's (The Hockey Writers) mock was added; #25 Sam Cosentino's (Sportsnet) mock was added; #26 Dump 'n Chase's mock was added; #27 Chris Peters' (CBS Sports) mock was added; and #28 Kyle Woodlief's second mock draft was added
Out of these 21 mock drafts, there were eight different players picked for the Devils and fourteen different players mentioned between ninth and twelfth overall. There was a tie for the most commonly picked player for the Devils. Clayton Keller - who we picked and I profiled here - and Tyson Jost, who Brian profiled. Six mocks had one or the other for the Devils. Curiously, eight other mocks had both players go in this ninth to twelfth overall range. The rest had them fall past Ottawa, leaving Carolina or Boston to pick up Jost or Keller. I don't think that will happen. In any case, it appears it isn't a pipe dream at all to think Keller could be donning a New Jersey sweater on Friday. Based on the mock drafts, at least.
Following those two were a hodge-podge of players among these twenty-one mocks. Three mocks had Jakob Chychrun going at eleventh and two had Alexander Nylander fall to New Jersey. Those would be some surprising turns of events and maybe be better picks than Keller (although one mock had the Devils picking Nylander after Keller went). I still think both will go in the top-ten on Friday, though. Mikhail Sergachev, Logan Brown, German Rubtsov, and Alex DeBrincat were mentioned only once for the Devils. No other mock had Rubtsov or DeBrincat going in the nine to twelve range, so I'm thinking those are long shots at that spot. They'll be first rounders for sure but not likely this high in the first round. Sergachev and Brown were much more popular in the range. Sergachev was picked the most in this range out of any other player and he was picked for Montreal in five mocks and picked by Colorado in eight mocks. I can believe he can be a top-ten pick on Friday. Brown was also popular in this range in ten other mocks with five of them having the big center become a Canadien, another three having him join the Avalanche organization, and another two picking him to be a Senator. His tantalizing mix of size and skill would make a compelling case for Brown to go in the top ten. I can believe that too.
Most of all, this exercise mostly confirms what I've felt about this year's draft prospects. After the top three, there's Tkachuk, Dubois, Nylander, Juolevi, Sergachev, Chychrun, Brown, Keller, and Jost to pick from among the rest and the Devils will get a shot of at least one of them. Where the three defensemen will go will really drive which forwards will be available. And there could be a surprise move up from someone not rated as highly like Jake Bean, Michael McLeod, or someone else. Keller appears to be a reasonable hope for being the Devils' pick. We'll see if it plays out that way this Friday. Thank you for reading.
Again, please leave links to other mock drafts that take up the first round and I'll add them to this post throughout the week.