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

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NHL Mock Draft 2015: Picks 26-30

Jun 27, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Nikita Scherbak puts on a team sweater after being selected as the number twenty-six overall pick to the Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

No. 26 Montreal Canadiens- Brock Boeser

Position: RW

Junior Team: Waterloo Black Hawks

57 GP- 35 goals- 33 assists- 68 points

It is no secret that the Canadiens need to find a dynamic scorer. Boeser has the tools necessary to be a great offensive player.

He looks up to players like Derek Stepan and Kyle Okposo, but pays more attention to the offensive side of the game. The Canadiens would be wise to add a player that can provide dynamic offensive ability as a late first round pick.

No. 27 Anaheim Ducks- Jake DeBrusk

Position: LW

Junior Team: Swift Current Broncos 

72 GP- 42 goals- 39 assists- 81 points

The Ducks will need an offensive player to get them over the hump in the playoffs and they could find that in DeBrusk. He went from 15 goals in 2013-14 to 42 in 2014-15, which put him in consideration for the first round after many previously believed he would be taken in the second round.

DeBrusk suffered a concussion at the end of the season, but many teams were still interested in speaking with him at the combine. If he can continue to produce offensively, while pushing his way into the tight areas in front of the net, the Ducks would be more than happy.

No. 28 Tampa Bay Lightning- Jacob Larsson

Position: Defense

Junior Team: Frolunda HC

20 GP- 1 goals- 2 assists- 3 points

The Lightning would like to add to their blueline and Larsson would have time to develop. (The team has options on the blueline for the next few seasons.)

Jun 27, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Anthony Deangelo puts on a team sweater after being selected as the number nineteen overall pick to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

He has drawn comparisons to Oliver-Ekman Larsson because of his size, vision and breakout pass. Again, like many European skaters, he will need time to adjust to North America, but once he bulks up he should be a steal in the late first round.

Frolunda is a top team in the Swedish elite league, so for Larsson to get the call up to the big club is not easy to do. He was solid for Sweden at the under-18 tournament and was named the top defenceman in Sweden’s under-18 league in 2013-14.

No. 29 Philadelphia Flyers- MacKenzie Blackwood

Position: Goalie

Junior Team: Barrie Colts

51 GP-  34-14-2, 3.09 GAA- .906 SV%

The Flyers history with goaltending has not been great, but having Blackwood in the wings could push them forward. Blackwood surprised many in 2013-14 when he got the starting job in Barrie as a 16 year old rookie.

He needs to improve on his GAA and save percentage from this past season. However, he did see the latter increase to .922% during the playoffs.

Blackwood has been compared to Mike Smith and Pekka Rinne, because of his athleticism and big 6’4″ 215 pound frame. If he can continue to work on the mechanics of his game, there is no question he will earn a starting job in the NHL, as long as he is given the time he needs.

No. 30 Arizona Coyotes- Thomas Chabot

Position: Defense

Junior Team: Saint John Sea Dogs

66 GP- 12 goals- 29 assists- 41 points

The Coyotes have a chance to replace Keith Yandle, who they traded to the Rangers. That is where Chabot comes in, with the final pick of the first round.

He is not an overly big player, but has the skating and creativity offensively that a team like Arizona needs. Chabot has drawn comparisons to Yandle and could get an invite to Team Canada for the World Junior tournament. If he can slip into a top four pairing and top powerplay unit, then it should be a no brainer for the Coyotes if they can get him at the end the first round.

For many reasons fans can expect the 2015 NHL draft to a memorable one for years to come, especially with so much uncertainty and talent available in the first round. The Leafs will have their work cut out for them, but with the effort Mark Hunter and the rest of the management team have put in, they should be in fine shape when the sun sets in Florida on Friday night.