2015 Jets Draft: NHL releases two mock drafts

The NHL website released two new mock drafts, predicting which players would likely be selected if the draft were based on information available up to March 22nd.

The Winnipeg Jets have two first round picks this year, so mock drafts are especially interesting and fun for the fanbase.

Let’s take a look at some of the players selected and who was left on the board.

Mike Morreale’s Mock Draft

17th Overall: Mathew Barzal

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Barzal is an excellent selection at 17th overall. The centre has dynamic skill for someone selected halfway through the first round. He has decent defensive skills, while being a top-end offensive threat. Barzal skates well and is an excellent playmaker due to a deadly combination of vision and puck-control.

At six-feet-tall and average defensive acumen, Barzal projects as a more an offensive forward than two-way threat, but a strong one at that.

Barzal is thought as a top ten talent by many, although there are some concerns due to an injury he suffered earlier in the year, causing him to miss nearly half the season.

When drafting in the early rounds, it would be wise to target scoring players. Scoring success for prospects holds a very strong relationship with NHL success. In addition, the advantage to prospects is the potential for a longterm, cost-controlled roster player and scoring value tends to be inflated in trade and free agency markets.

Next Three Players on the Board

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Pavel Zacha has projectable size although his scoring leaves some to be desired given this point in the draft and the available talent on the board. He has the size, work ethic, and strength combination though that scouts salivate over.

Travis Konecky is a high skilled forward who has scored comparably to Barzal. At 5’10 though he is smaller which increases the bust-risk relative to a similar player like Barzal. Konecky is probably faster and possesses a better shot than Barzal, although not as strong of a playmaker. He also exudes some similarities to Jets’ own Nic Petan, in that being small has not turned Konecny into a perimeter or soft player.

Jeremy Roy is another high skilled possible selection. He has produced at nearly a point per game rate this season and has also a strong Draft-1 season on his resume as well. While not being particularly weak or undersized, 6′ is below the NHL average for a defenseman. Roy is a strong puck mover and possesses a coveted right-hand shot, although he predominately plays on the left side. A good comparable would be Joshua Morrissey, although Roy’s current resume is a bit stronger than Morrissey’s at the same point in development.

26th Overall: Nicolas Roy

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Nicolas Roy is quite different than the other Roy projected as a first round player, although they have similar point totals.

The forward version has a huge frame at 6’4 and is respected more for his defensive game than offensive. Most scouting notes have listed similar things as you would expect for a highly touted, low scoring centre. Big, strong, works hard, both zones, etc.

As a large and smart defensive player, he would compare similarly to Adam Lowry for Jets fans, although Roy does not have the same degree of physical dominance and penchant for bone-crunching hits.

Roy will probably end up a good prospect, but there is likely better talent available if the Jets were to select Roy at this point.

Next Three Players on the Board

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All three of the next selected players are examples why Nicolas Roy is not the wisest selection despite being a pretty good prospect in his own right. There is a difference between selecting a good player and selecting the best player available.

Jake DeBrusk carries many of the same hard working accolades that Roy carries, but he’s also scored at a much higher pace. The difference is in the height. The spread between 5’11 and 6’4 is not marginal and does impact probability of NHL success. The issue though is that while both scoring and height impact success probabilities, height tends to be overvalued and scoring undervalued in the draft.

Thoughts on Oliver Kylington varies all over the place, but there are many who place Kylington amongst the top tier in this draft with Noah Hanifin, Zach Werenski, and Ivan Provorov. Kylington is known more for his offensive and play driving skills but his defensive abilities are not half-bad either. Kylington’s scoring numbers are low, but one must add the context that he has played in a depth role on a men’s professional level team with similar competition of the AHL. If the Jets could pick up a potential top-six skilled centre like Barzal and a top-four skilled defender like Kylington, the draft could end up a steal for the Jets.

Filip Chlapik plays a similar to DeBrusk in scoring efficiency. He is less of a physical forechecking forward, but has a decent defensive game while also being a full two inches taller. There is also the added value of being a centre, a more coveted position. Chlapik is an above average skater and rising in many draft rankings. 

(Morreale’s Mock Draft)

Adam Kimelman’s Mock Draft

17th Overall: Nicholas Merkley

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Nick Merkley is a dynamic offensive player much like Barzal. Like Barzal, he has more of an offensive game than defensive, although Jets do not have too many concerns here with both Mark Scheifele and Adam Lowry projecting as above average Corsi impact centres.

Merkley’s greatest skill is his speed, but not just in his skating. He thinks quick, acts quick, and plays quick. He is a great playmaker and distributes the puck well in all three zones.

Merkley has scored at a high pace and lead the WHL for much of the season, although there were concerns of some shooting percentage or PDO inflation in Kelowna earlier in the season.

Next Three Players on the Board

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Daniel Sprong is a fast winger who has been on the radar for quite some while. With a 1.29 point per game pace he has not disappointed in production. He tends to get knocked for his play-style not being round enough, saying that he’s too offensively minded. He is still a dynamic offensive player with high potential ceiling.

Jansen Harkins is very much a “does-everything” type player. He can score, distribute, defend, and push the play. His biggest weakness rests in his skating, in mechanics, efficiency, and effectiveness. Despite his skating limitation, Harkins has still been highly effective in scoring and looks like one of the better overall players in the draft.

Jakub Zboril is a pretty good defender, but probably a bit of a reach at seventeen given some other options available in the forward department or Jeremy Roy. He scores at a strong pace that projects him as a likely NHL player. His defensive game is not as well rounded as some other options but he gets along fine at the junior level.

26th Overall: Jacob Larsson

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Jacob Larsson at 26th is an interesting selection. There is not information out there due to playing in Europe and three points is far from lighting the world on fire.

Still, Larsson has played 20 games as a draft eligible player in one of the world’s premium mens pro-leagues. This both indicates how coaches see him and also indicates high NHL success probability.

The Swedes have a bunch of high end defensive prospects this year entering the draft with Oliver Kylington, Sebastian Aho, Jacob Larsson, and Rasmus Andersson. Oliver Kylington sits in a tier above the rest, but the other three come with high potential.

Next Three Players on the Board

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Both DeBrusk and Roy have been discussed previously already.

Brock Boeser offers another interest pick. He is a decently high scoring winger. While not as dynamic as a Sprong or even DeBrusk, he does have some offensive upside to him. His game is fairly North-South, almost power forward like. Boeser protects the puck well and is above average defensively for a junior aged winger.

(Kimelman’s Mock Draft)