CBCSports.ca's Jeff Marek continues his way through the first round of his NHL mock draft with selections 16 through 30.
To check out picks one through 15, CLICK HERE.
16. Ottawa: Mark Pysyk (D — Edmonton Oil Kings — WHL)
Pysyk, a mobile and versatile blue-liner, will complement a defensive core in Ottawa which includes Erik Karlsson, Patrick Wiercioch and the hulking Jared Cowan. This kid can flat out skate and excel at both ends of the rink. He needs to fill out and add serious pounds to his 6'2 frame.
17. Colorado: Mikael Granlund (C — HIFK Helsinki)
Even though Colorado needs to add depth on the blue-line to go with Kevin Shattenkirk, it'll be hard for Av's GM Greg Sherman to turn down the skill set of the smallish yet highly skilled Finnish centreman. Granlund has great vision and is a smart player who has the ability to get the puck to goal scorers in any situation. Would be a great pivot for Matt Duchene.
18. Nashville: Emerson Etem (RW — Medicine Hat Tigers — WHL)
The Preds will ruin the show for Kings fans and draft the kid from LA one pick before Dean Lombardi gets a chance to write the local-boy-comes-home story. Etem, an LA born player who started playing roller hockey before ice, is an explosive goal scorer who found the back of the net 37 times for the Medicine Hat Tigers last season. Nashville is already blessed with an abundance of young blue-liners and Etem's offensive production (37 goals as a 17-year-old rookie) is exactly what David Poile's team needs.
19. Los Angeles: Quinton Howden (LW — Moose Jaw Warriors — WHL)
Already loaded at every position, the Los Angeles Kings will be in the envious position of not worrying at all which position they draft. This really is "best-player-available" time, folks. Howden is a strong two-way player who possesses a heavy and accurate shot (he won the accuracy competition at the Top Prospects game). And if you ask anyone in the Western Hockey League, they will tell you he's hard to play against. Also, he has an offensive upside (28 goals this season in Moose Jaw).
20. Pittsburgh: Evgeny Kuznetsov (C/LW — Chelyabinsk — KHL)
This centreman, who also plays the wing, played in the KHL against men while only 17. A slick puck handler, Kuznetsov can provide scoring both off the rush and in tight quarters.
21. Detroit: Teemu Pulkkinen (LW — Jokerit — FIN)
A smallish yet highly skilled winger who will continue the new trend of the Red Wings to look to Finland for offensive help. Injuries to Pulkkinen's wrist and ankle lowered his draft stock but that won'tdissuade GM Ken Holland from plucking this gem with the 21st pick.
22. Phoenix: Dylan McIlrath (D — Moose Jaw Warriors — WHL)
Already loaded with forward prospects in the system (Kyle Turris, Mikael Bodker, Brett MacLean) and a slick defenceman in Oliver Ekman-Larsson to build around, look for GM Don Maloney to go with toughness on the backend with his second pick in the first round. And they don't come tougher than McIlrath — hands down the toughest kid in the draft this year. He's a beast in front of the net and just plain intimidates opponents. He has an excellent and heavy slap shot from the point as well. He is willing to fight, and loves to do it.
23. Buffalo: Jarred Tinordi (D — USA Under-18 — USHL)
The Sabres went big and tough in the first round last year, selecting power forward Zack Kassian of OHL. Look for them to go for more size this year with this pick. Son of former NHL blue-liner Mark Tinordi and captain of the USA under-18 squad, Jarred is big (6'5 210), strong, and like his father, loves to hit. Also like his father, he's at times, downright nasty. Jarred is off to Notre Dame next season but Sabres fans will drool thinking about a twin-tower combination on the blue-line with Tinordi and Tyler Myers.
24. Atlanta (from New Jersey): Nick Bjugstad (C — Blaine High School)
Nephew of former NHL'er Scott Bjustad, Nick won the Mr. Hockey award this year as Minnesota's most outstanding player. Size and speed are his calling card. He still needs time to grow into his 6'4 frame. He's off to the University of Minnesota next season. Yup, he's a Gopher.
25. Vancouver: Beau Bennett (RW — Penticton — BCHL)
Bennett put up 120 points to win the BCHL scoring title (he tied for points with Salmon Arm's Mark Zengerle but had more goals, 41 to Zengerle's 33) and turned scouts' heads across North America. Bennett is a wildly creative player who opens up ice for his teammates and also has a great finishing touch, as his 41 goals would attest. He still needs time to fill out his frame (6'1 175) and develop his skills. He'll do that next year at the University of Denver.
26. Washington: Kirill Kabanov (LW — Moncton Wildcats — QMJHL)
If there is a team who can afford to take a HUGE gamble it's the Caps, who are stacked with prospects. And Kabanov is certainly the biggest gamble at this year's draft. Talent-wise this guy is top-10 talent, maybe even top-5 materia,l but the question is: where's his head at? He's left the Russian program, quit the Moncton Wildcats and was even dropped by his agent, the widely respected JP Barry of CAA. And that's all in the same year, folks. Red flags anyone?
27. Montreal: Calvin Pickard (G — Seattle Thunderbirds — WHL)
Once again, the Habs will look to the Western Hockey League for a goaltender and select the younger brother of Nashville goaltending prospect Chet Pickard. The Habs won't be fooled by Pickard's average numbers, as he was a "goalie on an island" most nights with the Thunderbirds. This kid saw a lot of action this past season and didn't crack.
28. San Jose: Tyler Toffoli (RW — Ottawa 67's — OHL)
Sharks GM Doug Wilson (a former Ottawa 67 himself) will continue his trend of drafting Ottawa players (Logan Couture, Brad Staubitz, Derek Joslin, Jamie Mcginn) and add the highly skilled yet inconsistent winger. Toffoli already has a legendary and NHL-ready shot.
29. Anaheim Ducks (from Philadelphia): Alexander Petrovic (D — Red Deer Rebels — WHL)
Quick question: Who stepped up at the Top Prospects game to fight Dylan McIlrath? Now, he didn't win but scouts loved how he showed no fear jumping in there against the toughest prospect in the WHL. A big and strong defender, Petrovic will take time to develop but he'll be worth the wait.
30. Chicago: Tyler Pitlick (C — Minnesota State University-Mankato — WCHA)
Nephew of former Ottawa Senator and Florida Panther Lance Pitlik, Tyler is a tough centreman who is also loaded with skill. He's off to the WHL to play with the Medicine Hat Tigers next season to improve his skill set, including the defensive side of the game.
Other players that could end up sneaking in to the first round include: John McFarland (Sudbury Wolves), John Zucker (USA Under-18), Ludvig Rensfeldt (Brynas), Johan Larsson (Brynas), Riley Sheahan (Notre Dame), Jaden Schwartz (Tri City USHL)