Round 1 – 23rd overall
Buffalo Sabres – Mark Pysyk
6′ 1″, 174 lbs – Defenseman, Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)
Mark Pysyk is a great skater, a great player with all of the “tools” to be truly special but he hasn’t exactly reached that point yet. Some feel that he just doesn’t have the mental make up to take his game to the next level and mentally match up to his physical abilities.
At #23 however, Pysyk was a steal for the Sabres who were able to nab one of the top defensemen in the draft and one of the top ranked skaters in North America.
Round 1 – 22nd overall
Montreal Canadiens – Jared Tinordi
6′ 5″, 205 lbs – Defenseman, USA U-18
The Canadiens go with a very American player with their first round selection at #22, a defensemen who emulates father Mark Tinordi’s playing style. He’s very big, he’s a good skater and he’s vicious, willing to put the hammer down on any forward that comes in his direction. He’s also a natural leader, and is going to be counted on to be a difference maker at Notre Dame.
Round 1 – 20th overall
Pittsburgh Penguins – Beau Bennett
6′ 0″, 173 – Right Wing, Pintincton
Bennett was shooting up draft boards the past few months, and some thought they would sneak into the first round. I doubt many though he’d go at #20, but the Penguins certainly feel confident that this prep school winger has what it takes to develop into the sniper he has the potential to be.
What is interesting is to see that Emerson Etem is still available, and Bennett was the first Californian to be picked.
Round 1 – 18th overall
Nashville Predators – Austin Watson
6′ 4″, 185 – Left Wing, Peterborough (OHL)
Austin Watson is a player that didn’t really shine until he was traded mid season to Peterborough, and instantly scouts were able to see just how special he can be. He’s a big player and really knows how to use his size along the boards, and many think that he can be one of the hidden gems from the draft.
He was overshadowed in Windsor, but made a big impression once he was in Peterborough. With the Predators in need of scoring depth in their system, this was a great pick at 18 overall.
The St. Louis Blues wanted their man, and made sure they got one of the best players in this year’s draft by trading prospect David Rundblad to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for the 16th pick in the first round.
That player: Vladimir Tarasenko, one of the most talented players available in the draft this year and whom would normally be a top 10 pick, or even top 5. Except he’s playing in the KHL, and there’s no guarantee that he’s going to make the move to the NHL.
He’s a superstar in the making over in Russia, so nabbing him this high was certainly a risk. Since the Blues had already had a first round pick they could afford to take a flyer on Tarasenko, especially if he does eventually make it on over to the US.