How's this for a mini mock draft up until 9? Not sure where I'm going with this, so don't take it too seriously.
1. Colorado Avalanche - Seth Jones / He seems to be the highest regarded prospect by most.
2. Florida Panthers - Nathan MacKinnon / I like Drouin more, but I think a Huberdeau/MacKinnon combo would be great for Florida.
3. Tampa Bay Lightning - Jonathan Drouin / They had to sacrifice Conacher to help fix their goaltending problem from this season, but maybe Drouin could pick up where he left off even better.
4. Nashville Predators - Alex Barkov / In desperate need of a franchise forward. Perfect pick for them.
5. Carolina Panthers - Darnell Nurse / I think Nurse is really underrated in this draft class. Plus, Carolina is stacked with relatively young forward talent in their top 6. They saw what happened when Pitkanen got hurt. I think they need to draft defense, especially if they aren't going BPA.
6. Calgary Flames - Valeri Nichushkin / Can't pass on him at 6. The Flames have not drafted well lately, but I see Nichushkin as one of the best players in this draft (top 2/3)
7. Edmonton Oilers - Sean Monahan / Their GM basically came out and said that he's interested in Monahan at 7.
8. Buffalo Sabres - Nikita Zadorov / Since Myers doesn't seem to be working out for them, here's another big defenseman who has the potential to be a #1D. I've heard he looks pretty dominant in the OHL.
9. New Jersey Devils - Elias Lindholm / Best player available
Basically what I'm trying to say is: it won't be too surprising if a guy like Lindholm or Monahan falls to the 9th spot. I do worry, though, that Buffalo takes that last player before the drop off in talent. That said, I wouldn't mind selecting Zadorov, Ristolainen, or Nurse at 9.