Connect with us

NHL Draft

NHN Mock Draft: Flames Land Sniper Centre in Final NHL Draft Preview



If the National Hockey Now mock draft is any indication, the Calgary Flames could land the player that happens to be the best player available AND the top positional need when the NHL Draft takes place this week.

In the first annual NHN mock draft, held over several days with the writers of the NHN network and scouting experts, the board lined up similarly to most, with just a few exceptions.

In the real world, the Calgary Flames could have more than just the No. 16 overall selection by the time GM Craig Conroy makes his first pick at the helm of the franchise. He’s looking to find new homes for a number of top players entering their last seasons with the Flames and not interested in re-signing.

The NHN writers and scouts included Chris Peters of FloHockey and NHL Sirius/XM’s draft analyst Russ Cohen, as well as Andy Strickland of Bally Sports who came in as a guest expert.

Who did we grab for the Calgary Flames?

The National Hockey Now NHL mock draft:

1. Chicago Blackhawks: Centre Connor Bedard, Regina (WHL)

One of the two sure-fire picks of the draft. The Blackhawks are getting arguably the most anticipated player since Connor McDavid went to the Edmonton Oilers in 2015. Bedard is expected to jumpstart the rebuild and help Chicago exit faster than what looked like a long process. (Selection made by Chicago Hockey Now’s Nate Brown)

2. Anaheim Ducks: Centre Adam Fantilli, University of Michigan (Big 10)

Fantilli is opting to return to the University of Michigan next season. That will give the Ducks time to figure out how to use their collection of quality young players best. Anaheim is starting to collect an impressive group of young centres. His overall game is superb, and he can be one of the NHL’s most dangerous players around the net in the near future. (Selection made by Sirius draft analyst Russ Cohen)

3. Columbus Blue Jackets: Centre Leo Carlsson, Orebro (SHL)

In other years, Carlsson could have been a No. 1 pick overall. The Blue Jackets need a centre, and he’s one of the best in the draft if they don’t use this pick to land a top centre like the Calgary Flames’ Elias Lindholm. Columbus Director of Pro Scouting Josef Boumedienne knows him from serving as assistant GM for Sweden’s national team. That team included potential Olympic selections for 2026. (Selection made by Cohen)

4. San Jose Sharks: Centre Will Smith, USNTDP (USHL)

While Matvei Michkov is tempting here, there are obviously a lot of questions surrounding him in terms of when he’ll be able to come over to North America. Smith is a safer pick in that regard but still owns a top-of-the-lineup offensive upside. (Selection made by San Jose Hockey Now’s Sheng Peng)

5. Montreal Canadiens: Right Wing Matvei Michkov, SKA St. Petersburg (KHL)

Despite the concerns regarding his contract in Russia, Michkov is simply too talented to ignore. The Canadiens desperately need players with elite offensive instincts, and Michkov fits the bill. He has the type of skill set that usually results in a first-overall choice. His fantastic shot, creativity, and elusiveness will serve him well in the NHL. (Selection Made by Montreal Hockey Now’s Marc Dumont)

6. Arizona Coyotes: Defenceman David Reinbacher, Kloten HC (Swiss National League)

The Coyotes desperately need defensive help in both the near and long term. Reinbacher projects favourably as a top-four defenceman with a chance to be a top-pairing guy. He has size and mobility that will make an impact in Arizona’s system. (Selection made by Chris Peters, senior content creator for FloHockey)

7. Philadelphia Flyers: Forward Ryan Leonard, USNTDP (USHL)

The Flyers need help everywhere. Leonard plays with a physical edge — Philly fans love that — and he has shown a scorer’s touch. The 18-year-old plays with maximum effort and is defensive-minded, too. He is going to Boston College in the fall to join Flyers prospect, Cutter Gauthier. (Selection made by Philly Hockey Now’s Chuck Bausman)

8. Washington Capitals: Centre Dalibor Dvorsky, AIK (Allsvenskan)

The Capitals need to capitalize on the team’s first top-10 choice since 2007, and Dvorsky is the safe pick with Michkov and others already off the board. The 6-foot-1, 201-pound centre is a cerebral playmaker and Central Scouting’s No. 3 International skater — drastically improving the Capitals’ prospect pool in one pick alone. (Pick made by Washington Hockey Now’s Jared Serre)

9. Detroit Red Wings: Centre Oliver Moore, USNTDP (USHL)

Detroit GM Steve Yzerman is delighted to find Moore still on the board at No. 9. He’s the playmaking centre that the Red Wings lack. With his explosive speed, he might also be the best skater in this draft class. As well, he’s sound defensively. Moore is destined for the University of Minnesota, and the Wings will like that they can be patient with his development. (Pick made by Detroit Hockey Now’s Bob Duff)

10. St Louis Blues: Right Wing Matthew Wood, Connecticut (Hockey East)

The Blues need defence but can likely grab a player they want with one of their later picks in the first round. Taking the best player available in this case would be selecting Wood. He’s the youngest player in NCAA hockey and dominated the BCHL the year before. Has some Tage Thompson qualities, although not as big. He’s 6-foot-3 (but is still growing), and the Blues want to get bigger. (Pick by Andy Strickland, Rinkside Reporter Bally Sports Midwest, Host 590 the Fan KFNS)

11. Vancouver Canucks: Defenceman Tom Willander, Rogle BK (SHL)

Vancouver has forwards in the pipeline but could use a top-end D. Willander was super impressive at the combine in both the workouts and during interviews. (Pick by Strickland, Rinkside Reporter Bally Sports Midwest, Host 590, the Fan, KFNS)

12. Arizona Coyotes: Centre Nate Danielson, Brandon (WHL)

The Coyotes can get a dependable two-way centre with some size and play-driving ability. There is debate about his overall puck skills as he lacks the dynamic element of some others available. Still, the Coyotes can add a projectable middle-six pivot by selecting Danielson. (Pick by Chris Peters, senior content creator for FloHockey)

13. Buffalo Sabres: Left Wing Quentin Musty, Sudbury Wolves (OHL)

Sabres GM Kevyn Adams appears to be looking to add a young power forward at No. 13. At the Draft Combine earlier this month, there was a lot of chatter about Buffalo being interested in Matthew Wood, but he went off the board to the Blues. Musty is a WNY product who played for the Jr. Sabres before heading to Sudbury. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound winger doubled his offensive output in his second OHL season with 78 points and is good two-way, but he needs to work on his skating. (Pick by Buffalo Hockey Now’s Mike Augello)

14. Pittsburgh Penguins: Forward Zach Benson, Winnipeg (WHL)

It’s very tempting to snag a centre like Brayden Yager here, but Benson is too good to pass up. He’s undersized (5-foot-9, 163 pounds), but many scouts think he’s a top-10 talent with speed and playmaking ability. He’s fearless in the corners and between the dots. A hard forechecker, Benson is compared to Mitch Marner. Despite the rough-and-tumble Metro Division, a difference maker on Evgeni Malkin’s or Sidney Crosby’s line is the type of pick that could add that bit of electricity back into the Penguins’ lineup sooner than later. (Pick by Pittsburgh Hockey Now’s Dan Kingerski)

15. Nashville Predators: Right Wing Gabe Perreault USNTDP (USHL)

GM-in-waiting Barry Trotz wants some high-end swings from his scouting department, and Perreault certainly fits that bill after a breakout 2022 season in which he set USNTDP records for single-season points (132) and assists (79). His elusive skating and excellent puck-handling make him a threat to create scoring chances from anywhere on the ice, and his ability (and desire) to attack defenders 1-on-1 is exactly the kind of aggressive, offensive skill set that will thrive under newly hired head coach Andrew Brunette, who was on the Calgary Flames list of potential hires. (Selection made by Nashville Hockey Now’s Michael Gallagher).

16. Calgary Flames: Centre Brayden Yager, Moose Jaw (WHL)

With the uncertainty of the futures of two of the top three current Calgary Flames players at the position, the Calgary Flames need to focus on the future at centre, and Brayden Yager has an elite shot and finishing ability they need after all those one-goal losses. If the Flames lose Elias Lindholm, Yager is the type of player they hope can develop on a similar path. (Pick made by Calgary Hockey Now’s Steve Macfarlane)

17. Detroit Red Wings: Defenceman Axel Sandin-Pellikka, Skelleftea (SHL)

The flashy Swede is the best puck-moving defenceman in the draft. He’s slick with the puck, a superb decision-maker. The Red Wings are looking to add more right-shot young defencemen and the Calgary Flames passed on a good one. (Pick made by Detroit Hockey Now’s Kevin Allen)

18. Winnipeg Jets: Defenceman Dmitri Simashev, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (KHL)

The 6-foot-4-inch defenceman has a high ceiling. He is already over 200 pounds, has room to get stronger, is already a very good skater, and is slippery in the offensive zone, creating chances for teammates. He has top-four defenceman written all over him. (Pick by Sirius Radio draft analyst Russ Cohen)

19. Chicago Blackhawks: Left Wing Colby Barlow, Owen Sound Attack (OHL)

Many believe Andrew Cristall will go here, but there are just too many boxes that Barlow checks not to take him. The Blackhawks are flush with centres and defensemen in the prospect pool, allowing them to take a skilled winger. Barlow scored 46 goals in 59 games and is Owen Sound’s captain. He would be another leadership voice in a future Blackhawks locker room. Beyond that, his commitment at both ends of the ice, scoring gifts, and other intangibles make him Davidson’s pick at 19. (Pick by Chicago Hockey Now’s Nate Brown)

20. Seattle Kraken: Centre Riley Heidt, Prince George (WHL)

He has plenty of speed, is a quick decision-maker on odd-man breaks, and is a precision passer. The pivot has a pro-one-timer, too. (Pick by Sirius Radio draft analyst Russ Cohen)

21. Minnesota Wild: Centre/Wing Otto Stenberg, Frolunda (SHL)

Stenberg’s speed off the wall makes scouts believe he will be a winger at the next level. His one-timer is terrific, and he’s a two-way player with excellent physical strength already. (Pick by Cohen)

22. Philadelphia Flyers: Defenceman Lukas Dragicevic, Tri-City (WHL)

After selecting Ryan Leonard at No. 7, the Flyers want to beef up their defensive corps. Dragicevic has size at 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, and is an excellent skater. He likes to charge forward with the puck and will turn defence into much-needed offence. (Selection made by Philly Hockey Now’s Chuck Bausman)

23. New York Rangers: Right Wing Gavin Brindley, University of Michigan (Big Ten)

Brindley is a smaller slippery forward with 38 points in 41 games during his freshman season with the Wolverines. He’s a nifty stick handler who competes hard and has proven he can thrive in high-traffic areas. He has plenty of speed. (Pick by Cohen)

24. Nashville Predators: Left Wing Andrew Cristall, Kelowna (WHL)

Cristall averaged two points per game in 2022 and finished sixth in the WHL scoring, despite missing 14 games. Tallying 35 goals and 95 points is the kind of production expected out of a Brunette-coached offense, and Cristall is a gifted playmaker with offensive creativity in spades. He will likely fall to the mid-20s because of his 5-foot-10, 167-pound frame, and Nashville will reap the benefits. (Pick by Nashville Hockey Now’s Gallagher)

25. St. Louis Blues: Winger Eduard Sale, Brno (Czechia)

Boasting some of the best hands in the draft, Sale knows how to find seams in the defence. Doesn’t always seem dangerous, but if you lose track of him, he will find the net. He buries his chances. Some teams have him rated close to the top 10. (Pick by Detroit Hockey Now’s Allen)

26. San Jose Sharks: Defenceman Oliver Bonk, London Knights (OHL)

At the Trade Deadline, Mike Grier added young defensemen Shakir Mukhamadullin, Nikita Okhotiuk, and Henry Thrun. He will likely continue his bid to re-shape the Sharks’ defense of the future by selecting the son of Radek, a 6-foot-2 blueliner who defends well and can move the puck. (Selection made by San Jose Hockey Now’s Sheng Peng)

27. Colorado Avalanche: Centre David Edstrom, Frolunda (SHL)

It is an ideal spot to trade down for the asset-poor Avalanche, but they select the very smart Edstrom. The 6-foot-3 centre excelled at every level in Sweden before finishing strong at the U-18’s. A hard worker and good skater with a high hockey IQ. These are all the attributes Colorado looks for. (Selection made by Colorado Hockey Now’s Evan Rawal)

28. Toronto Maple Leafs: Defenceman Luca Cagnoni, Portland (WHL)

The Leafs will select the best player available late in the first round, but with the scouting staff of former GM Kyle Dubas still running the draft, they will not shy away from a smaller player. Toronto will feel fortunate if Cagnoni is there at No. 28. The 5-foot-9, 180 lb. defenceman scored 64 points (17 goals, 47 assists) in 67 games for the Winterhawks, and after trading Rasmus Sandin at the deadline, Toronto may want to bolster their organizational depth on the blue line. (Pick by Buffalo Hockey Now’s Augello)

29. St. Louis Blues: Centre/Left Wing Samuel Honzek, Vancouver (WHL)

The skilled Slovak put up 56 points in 43 games for Vancouver. Honzek is 6-foot-4 and owns a quick release and hard shot. He will use his body and goes hard to the net. Impressive on the power play, he projects to be a second-line forward with the ability to score and play a strong all-around game. (Pick by Detroit Hockey Now’s Kevin Allen)

30. The Carolina Hurricanes: Right Wing Jayden Perron, Chicago Steel (USHL)

Perron’s speed sets up his offence, and his two-way game is on point, keeping with the Hurricanes’ way. (Pick by Cohen)

31, Montreal Canadiens: Centre Calum Ritchie, Oshawa Generals (OHL)

Ritchie projects as a two-way forward that can play a 200-foot game. His defensive awareness should allow him to find a role in the NHL and quickly become a coach’s favourite. (Pick by Montreal Hockey Now’s Dumont)

32. Vegas Golden Knights: Left Wing Daniil But, Yaroslavl (KHL)

A 6-foot-5 scorer, But is already playing well in the KHL. He owns a powerful shot and has good offensive instincts. He’s a project, but he has a high upside. (Pick by NHN Editor-in-Chief Dan Kingerski)

Get CHN in Your Inbox

Enter your email address to get posts sent directly to your email.

CHN on Facebook