It is no wonder why NHL mock drafts vary wildly this year. Beyond Nail Yakupov, or maybe Ryan Murray, there are no clear-cut superstar prospects.
That has some teams considering trading draft picks for proven veterans, or drafting on potential.
An Eastern Conference executive told the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch:
“This draft is unpredictable. I get the sense that you might see teams go off the board after No. 10. There is a huge dropoff and that’s when teams might decide that they want to take a chance on another player. Not saying it will happen, but it certainly could.”
That could see players like Russian Mikhail Grigorenko, who comes with character concerns, move up draft boards regardless of their off-the-ice issues. It may also see decent, what-you-see-is-what-you-get prospects slide, teams opting to look for someone who could develop into a star down the line.
According to Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News, Sabres director of amateur scouting Kevin Devine said there's no top talent in draft and that "draft boards from most teams likely have 30 different arrangements."
That makes it unlikely that a lot of teams will go with the "safe" pick unless they are a premier team drafting at the end of the first round. It also could make this one of the most interesting drafts in years, where we have to wait for many stars to emerge down the line (if at all) instead of right away.
So if your favorite team selects some second-round prospect in the first round who is considered too raw or riddled with character concerns, you may be thanking them down the road if they develop him into a star in a relatively weak draft.