Well, that was eventful.
In a first round full of trades, generational talents being selected and quite a few surprises throughout, there wasn't much of an opportunity for fans to catch their breath. Now's your chance, folks, as we take a look back at the opening round and grade the teams that selected on Friday evening.
Round 1 Results
|2015 NHL Draft 1st Round|
|1.||Edmonton Oilers||Connor McDavid||C||Erie|
|2.||Buffalo Sabres||Jack Eichel||C||Boston University|
|3.||Arizona Coyotes||Dylan Strome||C||Erie|
|4.||Toronto Maple Leafs||Mitchell Marner||C||London|
|5.||Carolina Hurricanes||Noah Hanifin||D||Boston College|
|6.||New Jersey Devils||Pavel Zacha||C||Sarnia|
|7.||Philadelphia Flyers||Ivan Provorov||D||Brandon|
|8.||Columbus Blue Jackets||Zachary Werenski||D||Michigan|
|9.||San Jose Sharks||Timo Meier||RW||Halifax|
|10.||Colorado Avalanche||Mikko Rantanen||RW||TPS|
|11.||Florida Panthers||Lawson Crouse||LW||Kingston|
|12.||Dallas Stars||Denis Gurianov||RW||Togliatti 2|
|13.||Boston Bruins*||Jakub Zboril||D||Saint John|
|14.||Boston Bruins||Jake DeBrusk||LW||Swift Current|
|15.||Boston Bruins*||Zachary Senyshyn||RW||Sault Ste. Marie|
|16.||New York Islanders*||Mathew Barzal||C||Seattle|
|17.||Winnipeg Jets||Kyle Connor||LW||Youngstown|
|18.||Ottawa Senators||Thomas Chabot||D||Saint John|
|19.||Detroit Red Wings||Evgeny Svechnikov||LW||Cape Breton|
|20.||Minnesota Wild||Joel Eriksson Ek||C||Farjestad|
|21.||Ottawa Senators (from NY Islanders via Buffalo)||Colin White||C||USA-18|
|22.||Washington Capitals||Ilya Samsonov||G||Magnitogorsk 2|
|23.||Vancouver Canucks||Brock Boeser||RW||Waterloo|
|24.||Philadelphia Flyers*||Travis Konecny||C||Ottawa|
|25.||Winnipeg Jets (from St. Louis via Buffalo)||John (Jack) Roslovic||C||USA-12|
|26.||Montreal Canadiens||Noah Juulsen||D||Everett|
|27.||Anaheim Ducks||Jacob Larsson||D||Frolunda Jr.|
|28.||New York Islanders*||Anthony Beauvillier||LW||Shawinigan|
|29.||Colombus Blue Jackets*||Gabriel Carlsson||D||Linkoping Jr.|
|30.||Arizona Coyotes (from Chicago)||Nicholas Merkley||RW||Kelowna|
|*Trade was made for pick|
Bruins acquire No. 13 pick from Kings
Bruins acquire No. 15 pick from Flames
Islanders acquire No. 16 pick from Oilers
Flyers acquire No. 24 pick from Maple Leafs
Islanders acquire No. 28 pick from Lightning
Maple Leafs acquire No. 29 pick from Flyers
Blue Jackets acquire No. 29 pick from Maple Leafs
|1st Round Team Grades|
|Edmonton Oilers||A+||When you draft the best player to hit the NHL since Sidney Crosby, well, you get the best possible grade. Trading Nos. 16 and 33 to the Islanders for Griffin Reinhart was an interesting deal, though the Oilers added a young blueliner and one they clearly felt was far better than any player they would have gotten with either pick.|
|Buffalo Sabres||A||Jack Eichel is just about the best consolation prize a team could ask for. The Sabres would have likely loved to have the top pick to nab Connor McDavid, but Eichel will be a superstar, too.|
|Arizona Coyotes||A||You have to love this draft for the Coyotes. Dylan Strome was a nice selection, yes, but having Nick Merkley fall to them at No. 30 was huge. The Coyotes just dramatically improved their offense—albeit two years or so from now—in this draft.|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||A-||The Maple Leafs sure were busy. First, they drafted Mitch Marner, one of the most exciting playmakers in this class. Then, they turned the No. 24 pick into Philadelphia's 29th and 61st selections. Then, just to keep their fans on their toes, they turned the No. 29 pick into the Columbus' 34th and 68th picks. So, 24 turned into 34, 61 and 68. For a team with plenty of needs, that was a pretty solid haul.|
|Carolina Hurricanes||A-||The Hurricanes took the top player on the board who also happened to be the top defenseman, Noah Hanifin. A nice, easy selection for them to make.|
|New Jersey Devils||B+||Pavel Zacha is a high-risk, high-reward prospect. If he lives up to his potential, he could be a star.|
|Philadelphia Flyers||A||Ivan Provorov was always the likely choice at No. 7, and he instantly becomes the top young blueliner in a stable of players at the position for Philly. Trading up to get Travis Konecny was one of the savvier moves in the draft. Were it not for injuries this year, Konecny might have been a top-10 pick. He was a bargain for Philly, even at the cost to move up and get him.|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||B+||The Blue Jackets identified their biggest need, defense, and addressed it in the first round. Zach Werenski was a nice pick at No. 8, while Gabriel Carlsson was a slight reach at No. 29 but not enough of one to dock the Blue Jackets points for nabbing a player they clearly targeted.|
|San Jose Sharks||B-||Timo Meier was a reach here, though if the Sharks couldn't trade down or didn't want to risk Meier coming off the board, it's hard to knock them too much for getting their guy. But from a pure value perspective, they might have done a bit better.|
|Colorado Avalanche||B||Mikko Rantanen was a nice, solid, safe pick for Colorado.|
|Florida Panthers||B+||A high-risk, high-reward pick for Florida, who will look like they snagged one of the steals of the draft if he lives up to his ability.|
|Dallas Stars||C||Denis Gurianov was a real reach at No. 12. He could end up being an excellent player, but the Stars probably could have traded back into the end of the first round and still landed him.|
|Boston Bruins||B-||The Bruins certainly were busy. But did they get much better? They nabbed Jakub Zboril with the No. 13 pick obtained in the Milan Lucic deal, a much-needed blueliner to add to the ranks. At No. 14, their own pick, they took Jake DeBrusk, a slight reach but a player who should score goals. Then, at No. 16, obtained in the Dougie Hamilton deal, they took Zachary Senyshyn, a major reach with much better players on the board. A slightly puzzling draft from Boston.|
|New York Islanders||A-||The Islanders went from coming into the draft with no first-round selections to nabbing absolute steals in Mathew Barzal and Anthony Beauvillier. Great first round for the Islanders.|
|Winnipeg Jets||B||Kyle Connor was a great value at No. 17. Jack Roslovic was a slight reach at No. 25, though not a terrible pick by any means, as Roslovic divides opinion a bit. Solid draft haul for Winnipeg.|
|Ottawa Senators||B||Thomas Chabot and Colin White were solid mid-round picks, with Chabot a bit more of the risk and White the steadier choice. Either way, solid picks for the Sens.|
|Detroit Red Wings||B+||Great value here for Red Wings, who get a player with a ton of upside at No. 19. He's one of the more physically gifted players in this draft.|
|Minnesota Wild||B-||Joel Eriksson-Ek was a safe pick, probably at the expense of overall upside. Hard to knock the Wild for taking a "what you see is what you get" prospect, however.|
|Washington Capitals||B-||The Capitals nabbed their goalie of the future in Ilya Samsonov. Might have been a bit high, but he was clearly the top netminder available this year.|
|Vancouver Canucks||B||Brock Boeser is a physical forward and an absolute sniper. He was a nice value here.|
|Montreal Canadiens||C+||A bit of a reach, and certainly a project, but Noah Juulsen has the type of upside that could totally justify this selection down the road. For now, though, this looks like a risk.|
|Anaheim Ducks||B||The rich get richer. Jacob Larsson is a nice, safe, steady player who may never be special but will probably be a good player in the NHL.|
|Teams without a first-round selection currently have a grade of|
Everything about Connor McDavid screams "star." His skill level. His poise. His patience and vision on the ice. His polite, measured demeanor off of it.
Nobody would have blamed McDavid for being majorly bummed about going to a franchise that perpetually lives at the top of the draft. But instead, McDavid seemed excited about all of the young talent the team has accumulated, per the team's Twitter account:
McDavid alone made the Oilers the biggest winners on the night. But nabbing a young defenseman in Griffin Reinhart by trading draft picks suggested that the Oilers were interested in putting a young roster out on the ice ready to compete next year (since McDavid almost assuredly will be on the roster next season) rather than building for the more distant future.
If nothing else, expect Edmonton to be a fun team to watch next year.
In just about any other year, Jack Eichel would have been the consensus No. 1 pick and the future of a franchise. This year, he was Buffalo's consolation prize.
But cheer up, Buffalo fans. If Connor McDavid wasn't available in the first place, your team would have wound up with a prospect that likely won't have nearly the career that Eichel could potentially have. So it was still a great day in Buffalo.
Dylan Strome lived in the shadow of McDavid a bit when the two played for the OHL's Erie Otters, but not to the point that he wasn't a very worthy selection at No. 3. A big, physical, well-rounded center, Strome will do a bit of everything for the Coyotes.
But Nicholas Merkley was such a steal at No. 30 that the Coyotes came away from the first round winning at the top and bottom.
Merkley is another playmaker with a ton of skill who could really help transform this franchise and might end up pairing with Strome on the team's first line a few years down the line. A potentially transformational draft for Arizona.
The Philadelphia Flyers had a great draft, nabbing two top-10 talents with just one top-10 pick. Ivan Provorov will instantly become the top young defenseman in the Flyers' system. A true two-way blueliner, Provorov will make the team's power play a lot better in a few years. A nice pick for Philly.
But Travis Konecny at No. 24 was the real steal. He can skate. He can handle the puck. He can snipe. He can create space. He will add a ton of talent to an already skilled attack in a few years and could be a poor man's Claude Giroux for the Flyers.