NHL Mock Draft 2015: Toronto Maple Leafs Select….?

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NHL Mock Draft 2015: Picks 21-25

Jun 30, 2013; Newark, NJ, USA; Nikita Zadorov poses for a photo as he is introduced as the number sixteen overall pick to the Buffalo Sabres during the 2013 NHL Draft at the Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

No. 21 Buffalo Sabres- Ilya Samsonov

Position: Goalie

Junior Team: Magnitogorsk Metallurg

2 GP- 2.44 GAA .942 SV%

If the Sabres take a chance on a goaltender, then they will probably take the highest ranked one in the draft. Samsonov could follow fellow Russians like Sergei Bobrovsky and Semyon Varlamov, but needs to get accustomed to the North American style.

The risk associated with Samsonov is whether he stays in Russia after signing a three year deal. Since the Sabres are not in a position to contend anytime soon, it would benefit them to have Samsonov stay in Russia and then come to the AHL, where he can prepare to move up to play in the NHL as a full time starter.

No. 22 Washington Capitals- Denis Guryanov

Position: LW/RW

Junior Team: Lada Togliatti

8 GP- 0 goals- 1 assists- 1 points

The Capitals could use another game breaker. and adding Guryanov could be an intriguing pick. He has dynamic offensive talent, but whether he can adjust to the physical style in North America is a concern for some scouts.

Guryanov has been compared to Valeri Nichushkin because of his offensive skill. It would be a risky pick for the Capitals, but having Alexander Ovechkin could make him willing to come to North America.

No. 23 Vancouver Canucks- Brandon Carlo

Position: Defense

Junior Team: Tri-City Americans

63 GP- 4 goals- 21 assists- 25 points

The Canucks have an aging blueline that has had its fair share of injuries over the last few years. Carlo has the size that has drawn comparisons to Tyler Myers, but needs to add offence to his game if he wants to make an impact at both ends of the ice.

He likes to use his size to his advantage, but also has the mobility teams look for in a top four defenceman. Being a right handed shot is another bonus so if he can make strides offensively, he can use his skating and mobility to make life difficult for opposing defenders.

No. 24 Toronto Maple Leafs- Gabriel Carlsson

Position: Defense

Junior Team: Linkopings HC

7 GP- 0 goals- 2 assists- 2 points

The Leafs may have options to trade this pick, but if they don’t then expect them to take a defenceman. The second ranked international skater is not the flashiest prospect, but Carlsson has raw talent as a stay at home defenceman.

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He is calm in his own end with his breakout passes and does not crack under pressure. If the Leafs can remain calm with him and allow him to mature and fill out his frame, then the Leafs might get a good safe pick.

Mike Babcock is no stranger to swedish defenseman with his time in Detroit with Nicklas Lidstrom and Niklas Kronwall. Hopefully he can have success with Carlsson as well.

No. 25 Winnipeg Jets- Nick Merkley

Position: RW

Junior Team: Kelowna Rockets 

72 GP- 20 goals- 70 assists- 90 points

While he does not have the size the Jets are accustomed to, Merkley has received comparisons to Corey Perry. He realizes that where he succeeds is with his playmaking ability.

Not having the size to dominate the front of the net, Merkley tries to keep his play to the outside and avoid big bodies. If the Jets are looking for a dynamic playmaker, this is the player they want.

Next: Picks 26-30