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The annual NHL Draft is one of the most fun two days of the hockey calendar. Part of the fun is the excitement of players taking a step towards fulfilling their lifelong dreams. Another part of the fun is the sheer chaos of 31 teams with different draft needs and wants (and rankings) taking players in orders that befuddle us draft observers.

In an effort to anticipate the chaos, we assembled our staff and ran a consensus mock draft late last week.

Our only rule was “no trades.”

1st overall: NY Rangers select LW Alexis Lafreniere from Rimouski (QMJHL)

We didn’t really overthink this one. Lafreniere is legit.

2nd overall: Los Angeles selects C Quinton Byfield from Sudbury (OHL)

The Kings have drafted many centres lately, but none of us could justify passing up a player with Byfield’s offensive ceiling.

3rd overall: Ottawa (from San Jose) selects LW Tim Stutzle from Adler Mannheim (DEL)

Ottawa needs everything and Stutzle could help them immediately (and on the cheap).

4th overall: Detroit selects C Marco Rossi from Ottawa (OHL)

Rossi has a sky-high offensive ceiling, but is a bit small. But he’s so good, and it would be Very Ottawa for the obvious player for Ottawa to take at 5th overall – the kid who plays for Ottawa in junior – to go right before they pick again.

5th overall: Ottawa selects LW Lucas Raymond from Frolunda HC (SHL)

The Senators “settle” for a smart, toolsy Swede. He just feels like a Senator, doesn’t he?

6th overall: Anaheim selects D Jamie Drysdale from Erie (OHL)

The Ducks have a young NHL defensive group but no blue chip D prospects, so Drysdale was a pretty simple fit.

7th overall: New Jersey selects RW Alexander Holtz from Djurgardens IF (SHL)

For the record, from here on out we asked if any team would jump for Askarov or Jarvis.

We argued between Holtz and Perfetti, and we concluded that Holtz might be seen as the “safer” pick for a perpetually rebuilding Devils team with a new GM.

8th overall: Buffalo selects C Cole Perfetti from Saginaw (OHL)

Buffalo needs everything and Perfetti has a great offensive ceiling.

9th overall: Minnesota selects C Anton Lundell from HIFK (SM-Liiga)

Right after parting ways with their longtime Finnish centre, the Wild grab another one.

10th overall: Winnipeg selects D Jake Sanderson from U.S. National Development Team (USHL)

Sanderson feels like a fit for the Jets, a smart defender whose dad played in the NHL.

11th overall: Nashville selects RW Dawson Mercer from Chicoutimi (QMJHL)

It was between Jarvis and Mercer for us, and we leaned slightly Mercer for the Preds because Nashville has been burnt so many times with centres.

12th overall: Florida selects C Seth Jarvis from Portland (WHL)

The Computer Boys love the WHL, and Jarvis is the best WHLer available (and an offensive beast).

13th overall: Carolina (from Toronto) selects G Yaroslav Askarov from SKA-Neva St. Petersburg (VHL)

After considering Askarov for the past six picks, we decided that Carolina would pull the trigger. Askarov is a beast, and Carolina is deep enough elsewhere to “gamble” on the best goalie in the draft.

(This also prevents Edmonton from drafting him.)

14th overall: Edmonton selects RW Jack Quinn from Ottawa (OHL)

Edmonton has a bunch of good centres but need wingers to play with ’em.

15th overall: Toronto (from Pittsburgh) selects LW Rodion Amirov from Salavat Yulaev Ufa (KHL)

The Leafs kinda could go in a bunch of directions, but Amirov could become a very nice complimentary piece to all the other high-end forwards they have.

16th overall: Montreal selects D Kaiden Guhle from Prince Albert (WHL)

Guhle gave all of us a very Noah Juulsen vibe, in terms of how well he’s done with the Habs. Why not another one?

17th overall: Chicago selects C Dylan Holloway from University of Wisconsin (NCAA)

The Hawks have a bunch of interesting young forward prospects in the pipeline, so they can afford to be a bit patient as Holloway develops.

18th overall: New Jersey (from Arizona) selects C Connor Zary from Kamloops (WHL)

Second pick of round, might as well go for a big swing.

19th overall: Calgary selects D Braden Schneider from Brandon (WHL)

We debated hard between Schneider and Jacob Perreault, but erred on the side of the right shot defender.

20th overall: New Jersey (from Vancouver) selects RW Jacob Perreault from Sarnia (OHL)

Third pick of round, just grab the consensus best goal-scorer left.

21st overall: Columbus selects RW Noel Gunler from Lulea HF (SHL)

The Jackets go best player remaining and grab Gunler, a mature, skilled Swedish forward.

22nd overall: NY Rangers (from Carolina) selects C Hendrix Lapierre from Chicoutimi (QMJHL)

Lapierre’s a skilled goal-scorer, but his injury issues caused some teams pause. With Lafreniere selected with their first pick, the Rangers can afford to gamble a bit here.

23rd overall: Philadelphia selects RW J.J. Peterka from EHC Muenchen (DEL)

The Flyers have a fairly good defensive prospect base, so they opt for a skilled German product already playing in a high-end pro league as a teenager.

24th overall: Washington selects D William Wallinder from MODO Hockey (Allsvenskan)

The Capitals kind of need everything, so they go for a Swedish defender in the form of Wallinder.

A caveat: Washington tends to go for obscure-ish Russians early, so if Marat Khusnutdinov or Shakir Mukhamadullin go in the first round, it’ll be to Washington.

25th overall: Colorado selects C Mavrik Bourque from Shawinigan (QMJHL)

The Avalanche adore offensive-minded players and Bourque fits their needs to a T. Plus, he’s got one of the cooler names in the draft class.

26th overall: St. Louis selects D Helge Grans from Malmo (SHL)

The Blues are lean on defensive prospects, so Grans fits their needs nicely.

27th overall: Anaheim (from Boston) selects C Brendan Brisson from Chicago (USHL)

The son of super-agent Pat Brisson, Brendan was born in Manhattan Beach and came up through the SoCal minor hockey circuit. This just feels like a smart fit.

28th overall: Ottawa (from NY Islanders) selects RW Tyson Foerster from Barrie (OHL)

After going with some strong, safer picks at 3rd (Stuztle) and 5th (Raymond), the Senators can afford to gamble on Foester’s impressive goal-scoring acumen. He needs to round out his game, but his goal-scoring is worth the gamble here.

29th overall: Vegas selects C Ridly Greig from Brandon (WHL)

Vegas GM Kelly McCrimmon owned the Wheat Kings until recently, and Greig is the type of smart, skilled forward the Golden Knights tend to covet.

30th overall: Dallas selects LW Lukas Reichel from Eisbaren Berlin (DEL)

At this point of the draft, the Stars likely opt for someone with pedigree and polish. Look no further than Lukas Reichel, nephew of longtime NHLer Robert Reichel.

31st overall: San Jose (from Tampa Bay) selects C Jan Mysak from Hamilton (OHL)

Mysak doesn’t have a huge OHL sample size yet, but this selection seems like a “buy low” propostion similar to their selection of Ryan Merkley in 2018.