The Draft Analyst 2015 NHL Mock Draft: Picks 1-30

1 EDMONTON G/T2D/T6C C CONNOR McDAVID: Easiest pick in the draft. His nearly 2.60 PPG is most in CHL since Sidney Crosby’s 2.71 in 2005 draft year. Can be NHL 1C as early as next season.
2 BUFFALO T6C/T6LW/PPQB C JACK EICHEL: Record-setting season for collegiate powerhouse, who became first freshman since Paul Kariya in 1993 to win Hobey Baker award. Has Forsberg’s power and vision.
3 ARIZONA T3C/T4D/G LHD NOAH HANIFIN: Arguably the best defense prospect to come out of New England since Brian Leetch. Production doubled after Jerry York unbridled him. Unlimited potential.
4 TORONTO T3C/T4D/G RW MITCH MARNER: Tough call to make between him and Strome, but Leafs overlook Marner’s size disadvantage for his superior vision and explosiveness.
5 CAROLINA T6RW/T6LW/T2D C DYLAN STROME: Prototypical top center with size makes him an easy top-5 choice for Hurricanes, who at some point will have to replace soon-to-be 31 year old Eric Staal.
6 NEW JERSEY T3C/G/T3RW C MATT BARZAL: Arguably best pure playmaker in the draft after McEichel. Can be the centerpiece of any team’s offense due to acute grasp of on-ice situations.
7 PHILADELPHIA T6LW/G/T4D LW LAWSON CROUSE: Excellent value here for a guy whose skill package would make him a top-3 pick in most drafts. Tremendous at elevating all aspects of his game when the situation warrants it.
8 COLUMBUS T3LW/T2D/G LHD IVAN PROVOROV: An on-ice general who can either slow the game down or quicken the pace better than any of his peers. Plays the game the way he shoots — hard and heavy.
9 SAN JOSE T6C/T4D/T6LW C PAVEL ZACHA: One of the draft’s best at the 200-foot game. His season has been riddled with injury/suspensions, but he plays like he’s shot out of a cannon; something the Sharks could use.
10 COLORADO T6RW/T6 LW/T4D RW MIKKO RANTANEN: A modern-day Bobby Smith. Power forward who will grind you down along the boards, then either thread the needle for a better scoring chance, or bull his way to the net.
11 FLORIDA G/T3RW/T3LW RW TIMO MEIER: The scouting report on Meier should be simple: He shoots. He finished 3rd in the Q with 316 shots in only 61 games. Solid frame but not overly physical. Tough to dislodge, especially in the low slot.
12 DALLAS T4D/G/2WF LHD ZACH WERENSKI: Werenski, who will be 17 on draft day, is a tower on skates who is this draft’s best pure quarterback from the back end. Size, shot and mobility for days.
13 LOS ANGELES T4D/T6LW/T6C LW EVGENI SVECHNIKOV: A big play threat at any given time, Svechnikov has pro size and an even better shot. He could slide, but the Kings will like the fact that he’s not far from being an NHL regular.
14 BOSTON T6LW/T6C/T2D C KYLE CONNOR: Connor is an electrifying player who consistently makes something out of nothing. Can also play the wing, and fits the bill as both a scorer and playmaker.
15 CALGARY T4D/T6LW/T6RW RHD JEREMY ROY: Silky-smooth puck mover who deserves to be mentioned in same breath with three rearguards expected to be picked ahead of him. Finished 2nd among QMJHL blueliners with 0.93 PPG
16 EDMONTON via PITTSBURGH G/T2D/T6C LHD THOMAS CHABOT: The Oilers will certainly entertain offers for this pick, but if they keep it, they’ll likely nab a defenseman. Chabot is a Jack-of-all-trades type who wont wow you with one specific skill but provide safe and sound two-way play.
17 WINNIPEG G/T4D/2WC RW DANIEL SPRONG: As risky as they come in terms of Boom vs. Bust, but you could take a chance when you have the Jets’ arsenal of riches. Skates well, shoots hard and accurate, and can makes plays.
18 OTTAWA T4D/2WF/G C TRAVIS KONECNY: Sens go BPA here, and it just happens to be a local kid. Lightning quick and fearless who can shoot a lethal shot off the rush and/or pass better than most in this draft
19 DETROIT T2D/T6C/PMD LHD JACOB LARSSON: The best of Sweden’s heralded group of draft eligible defensemen in terms of defensive play. Held his own playing among men in the SHL.
20 MINNESOTA (X) T3C/T6RW/T6LW C NICK MERKLEY: Instant offense. Merkley is the straw that stirs Kelowna’s drink. Very fast and precise with his set ups. Tireless work ethic fits Wild identity.
21 BUFFALO via NEW YORK ISLANDERS T6C/T6LW/PPQB LW DENIS GURYANOV: Russia’s best draft-eligible player is under contract to play a little longer in the KHL. That shouldn’t stop the Sabres from taking him, if he’s even available.
22 WASHINGTON (X) T6C/T6LW/T3RW RW JEREMY BRACCO: Boston College-bound uberscorer who finished third in scoring at the U18’s despite playing 2nd line minutes. Makes up for being undersized with elite vision, accuracy and puck control. Broke Pat Kane’s USNTDP single-season assist record in 2014.
23 VANCOUVER T2D/T3RW/T3C LHD OLIVER KYLINGTON: Once considered a top-5 pick, his stock has fallen after marginal performances on the international stage. Still possesses game-breaking upside too enticing to pass up. Has top-pairing potential.
24 ARIZONA via CHICAGO (X) T3C/T4D/G C JANSEN HARKINS: Should have a chip on his shoulder if drafted this late. Relentless two-way playmaker with size/skill combo addresses what the Coyotes have lacked for years.
25 TORONTO via NASHVILLE T3C/T4D/G C JOEL ERIKSSON EK: One of the draft’s few 5-tool players: skates well, uses size and strength, great shot, high IQ and can pass the puck. May go even higher.
26 PHILADELPHIA via TAMPA BAY (X) T6LW/G/T4D RHD BRANDON CARLO: One of the best available shut-down defenders, Carlo carried an injury-riddled Tri-City team for most of the season. Can and knows how to add offense when warranted. A good risk taker.
27 WINNIPEG via ST. LOUIS/BUFFALO G/T4D/2WC G MACKENZIE BLACKWOOD: Goalies have gotten overlooked early in recent drafts, but Blackwood is the kind of player a team with multiple picks shouldn’t risk losing. Takes up more net than any of the top-rated NA netminders.
28 ANAHEIM (X) T6C/2WF/G C COLIN WHITE: Skilled two-way C who’s solid in the dot and is tough to defend against. Scored Golden Goal for Team USA at last month’s U18 tournament.
29 MONTREAL (X) T3C/T4D/G C FILIP CHLAPIK: Let’s be honest — the Habs need offense from the center position. Considering where they’ll be picking, he’s likely to be the center with the highest upside. Not fast but an excellent playmaker, especially on the rush.
30 TAMPA BAY via NEW YORK RANGERS (X) T4D/2WC/T6F LW PAUL BITTNER: Has done well as a puck distributor rather than a goal scorer when moved off Hawks’ dynamic top line with Bjorkstrand and Petan. Huge frame helps him protect the puck in tight spaces.

(X): Currently active in Stanley Cup Playoffs
-Edmonton owns Pittsburgh’s 2015 1st round pick from the David Perron trade
-Buffalo owns New York Islanders’ 2015 1st round pick from the Thomas Vanek trade
-Winnipeg owns the St. Louis Blues’ 2015 1st round pick from the Evander Kane trade with Buffalo. Buffalo previously acquired the pick from the Blues in the Ryan Miller trade
-Toronto owns Nashville’s 2015 1st round pick from the Cody Franson/Mike Santorelli trade
-Arizona owns Chicago’s 2015 1st round pick from the Antoine Vermette trade
-Philadelphia owns Tampa’s own 2015 1st round pick from the Braydon Coburn trade
-Tampa owns the New York Rangers’ 2015 1st round pick from the Martin St. Louis trade