After the top 5 went pretty much as expected, the next 5 didn’t see many surprises either at the NHL draft…
The Vancouver Canucks had the #6 pick, and they opted for hometown boy, Abbotsford, BC native Jake Virtanen from the Calgary Hitmen of the OHL. He is a great skater with a very good shot and will be a big part of the rebuild in Vancouver, that started with the trade of Ryan Kesler earlier in the day.
The Carolina Hurricanes selected defenseman Haydn Fleury from the Red Deer Rebels of the WHL with the #7 pick. Fleury is a fast riser, who is a towering presence that has developed his game offensively.
The Leafs had the 8th pick and they selected Swedish forward William Nylander, son of former NHLer Michael Nylander. He is the second 2nd generation player selected in the draft and the first from outside the OHL or WHL.
Finally, a trade was consummated between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Nashville Predators, with James Neal going from the Penguins to the Predators as the Penguins looked to dump salary. Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling went from the Preds to the Pens, with no picks apparently changing hands.
The Jets stepped up with the 9th pick and picked Nikolaj Ehlers from the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL. He isn’t big, but is probably the best skater of the draft class who will bring an element of speed and skill, and could form a small but dynamic duo with 2013 pick Nic Petan.
The Anahiem Ducks used the Ottawa Senators pick at #10 to select Nick Ritchie from the Peterborough Petes of the OHL. He is a burgeoning power forward who some question his ability to score at the NHL level, but I think he will be fine at the next level. Combined with Devante Smith-Pelley, the Ducks have some of the better young up and coming power wingers in the league.
Check back soon for the 11-15 picks.