21 Ottawa Senators (from Nashville)
Nicklas Jensen, LW, Oshawa (OHL)
Despite some solid contributions from young players this past season, the Senators need to keep adding to that talent pool to solve the secondary scoring issues that have plagued this franchise. Jensen had a good first season in North America and at times was dynamite in the OHL playoffs. Jensen can set up the play fairly well, but he’s the kind of guy who could turn into a very good finisher on the wing, as his rookie year featured a seven-game goal-scoring streak.
22 Anaheim Ducks
David Musil, D, Vancouver (WHL)
With many forwards already in the system, including Peter Holland, Emerson Etem and Devante Smith-Pelly, the Ducks will look to rebuild their blueline en route to a return to the playoffs. Musil, a 6-foot-4 defensive defenseman for the Vancouver Giants, will be able to provide a strong, physical game that the Ducks haven’t seen since Chris Pronger was traded to Philadelphia. Although he isn’t going to put up more than 20 points per season in the NHL, he has great puck skills and can help start a breakout with ease. His skating continues to improve each year as well.
23 Pittsburgh Penguins
Vladislav Namestnikov, C/W, London (OHL)
When you look at the Pittsburgh Penguins, there’s always been one place that they’ve needed help since drafting Sidney Crosby 1st overall in 2005 and that’s on the wings. With the free agent signings in the off-season last year, the soonest a Penguins defenseman goes to free agency unrestricted is 2013/14 (Ben Lovejoy), meaning top prospect Simon Despres might be in for a wait as well. Namestnikov has the speed and vision that would fit in well alongside Crosby, Malkin, or Staal, but mainly he’ll be expected to finish, which he can definitely do. Like most his age, Namestnikov will need to add size to help him get to the next level.
24 Detroit Red Wings
Alexander Khokhlachev, C, Windsor (OHL)
A rookie in the OHL this year, Khokhlachev was among league leaders for the first quarter of the season. Although he finished a bit slower, you have to give him the benefit of the doubt, with regards to fatigue over a 70-game season. He is the perfect fit for Detroit, who love puck-possession players, specifically those from Europe. Khokhlachev can play on both ends of the ice, and will be mentored for the next few years by Pavel Datsyuk, and could ultimately prove to be the replacement for the famed Russian on Detroit’s first line. Khokhlachev is a project, but the Red Wings have never backed down from one in the past.
25 Toronto Maple Leafs (from Philadelphia)
Boone Jenner, C, Oshawa (OHL)
It’s no secret that the Leafs need help down the centre of the ice, and adding another prospect to that pool will help them build that depth. Jenner is a dangerous player because he can jump on you quickly and capitalize on mistakes. He’s not just patient and waits out those mistakes by his opponents though, his hard work forces them. He’s a player that understands the phrase “doing what it takes to win” and could be just as effective as a checking centre and a faceoff winner, as he could be as a second-line set-up man. He’s got good size (6’1″) and knows how to use it.
26 Washington Capitals
Scott Mayfield, D, Youngstown (USHL)
Looking to boost their back-end, the Capitals will take project defenseman Scott Mayfield fro the USHL. The 6-foot-4, St. Louis native has a few years before he can even think about making the jump to the NHL, but if he develops as the Capitals hope, he can one day be a solid anchor on their blueline. He is a smooth skater and can dish out some big hits, but is also a very smart player. He is committed to the University of Denver for next season, but the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL also own his rights. Where he winds up is yet to be determined.
27 Tampa Bay Lightning
Ty Rattie, RW, Portland (WHL)
While Rattie isn’t the largest winger in the draft, size isn’t something that has deterred the Lightning in the past. They’ve got a solid set of young forwards in the system, and Rattie strengthens that depth. He’s a quick, tough winger that likes to use his hands and will be able to create. He’ll need a little more time to develop, but Tampa is in a solid position down the wings right now, offering all of their prospects the time to do so.
28 San Jose Sharks
Mario Lucia, LW, Wayzata (USHS)
With brother Tony already in the system, the Sharks will be happy to watch the 6-foot-2 winger develop alongside his sibling. Mario is a future two-way forward who will be able to play consistently on a third or fourth line for an NHL team. He still has a good three or four years to fill out and develop his game, but he has great work ethic and scouts are keen on his ability to step up his game when it comes time. Unfortunately, he won’t
29 Vancouver Canucks
Oscar Klelfbom, D, Farjestad (SEL)
Despite being depleted by injuries and fatigue in the Stanley Cup Finals, the Vancouver Canucks have a group of core forwards in place that will be able to get them back there. Where the immediate questions are, are on defense. While Klefbom won’t be able to help solve their upcoming free agency woes, he’ll provide the Canucks with another long term piece with attractive size, while he’ll still be afforded a bit of an opportunity to learn.
30 Toronto Maple Leafs (from Boston)
Matt Puempel, W, Peterborough
While the Leafs have already built up a solid foundation of prospects up front, young scoring forwards are always useful. Puempel provides the Leafs with that, and he’s a dynamic forward that may get forgotten about, which is a surprise considering he was the OHL and CHL Rookie of the Year last year. Season-ending surgery may raise a red flag upon first glance, but after seeing the same specialist that treated Mario Lemieux, the problem is not expected to plague Puempel.
Alan Bass, a writer for The Hockey News and THN.com, is the author of The Great Expansion: The Ultimate Risk That Changed The NHL Forever. He has worked for the Philadelphia Flyers’ Fan Development department, going to schools throughout the tri-state area to teach about fitness and the importance of teamwork. He is the General Manager of the Muhlenberg College Division II hockey team as well. You can contact him at Alanbasswriting@aol.com.