Every year prior to the draft, the SB Nation network of hockey blogs conducts a mock NHL draft, with each blog making picks on behalf of their team.
Due to Montreal's surprising playoff run, our pick landed late in this year's SBN NHL mock draft. Fortunately for us, there was a plethora of talent still on the board when we made our pick. Here's a list of picks made so far.
Without further ado, Eyes on the Prize is proud to select with the 26th overall pick, from the Allsvenskan, right-winger David Pastrnak.
It was a reasonably easy decision, since a player as talented as Pastrnak is rarely available so late in the first round. We were impressed by his top-notch stickhandling, offensive creativity, and great release. His ability to make players around him better was on display all year in the Allsvenskan, and that was made even more impressive considering he was playing against men as a 17-year-old. Pastrnak's wicked wrist shot is his weapon of choice, although he's shown he's quite capable of beating goalies with his reasonably heavy slap shot.
Team: Sodertalje (Allsvenskan)
Position: Right Wing
Born: May 25th, 1996
Weight: 170 pounds
Future Considerations: 17th
Central Scouting: 5th (European skaters)
Craig Button: 25th
The Hockey News: 23rd
Hockey Prospect: 17th
Bob MacKenzie: 22nd
Climbing the ranks quickly, David Pastrnak has been flashing his exciting offensive skill set at every level, most recently at the World Junior Championships. Using quick agile cuts and dazzling puck skills, Pastrnak attacks quickly often making defenders look foolish along the way.
He hounds pucks in an unrelenting way and doesn't steer away from traffic but his underdeveloped frame can hold him back occasionally in puck battles. The Czech forward has been fantastic in Allsvenskan professional action and he currently leads his men’s team in scoring as a 17-year-old. - Dobber Sports
"Pastrnak's ability to challenge defenders with his skating from both straight-ahead and darting positions makes him dangerous. He has very good hands & is always looking to create scoring opportunities. Always probing to exploit offensively" - Craig Button
"Pasternak is a flashy, electrifying offensive talent with gifted hands and shiftiness in his feet. He also has a bullet shot and is a very dangerous finisher. He uses quickness and good lateral elusiveness to avoid bigger opponents." - International Scouting Services
"David is an offensive-minded player with smooth hands, great instincts and a very quick shot," Stubb said. "He's an excellent skater with speed and acceleration. He's very smart on ice, but will need more weight and strength to excel at the next level." - Mike Morreale, NHL.com
What's more, this kid is definitely the type of player that would interest Marc Bergevin. Take a look at some of the quotes following the combine:
"One of our best interviews" (at the combine). – NHL Scout
"That kid (Pastrnak) was really good in our interview." – NHL Scout
"He gave great answers in our interview and added some insightful information." – NHL Scout
quotes via Hockey Prospect
As is the case with most offensive prospects, David will have to work on his defensive coverage. He can be careless when clearing the puck, and struggles with defensive zone awareness, leading to a lot of puck chasing. He's definitely not a physical player, as he would rather evade the physical game with his skill, but he'll need to fill out his frame if he hopes to make it to the NHL. The good news is that defensive coverage can be taught, however the natural talent he possesses cannot.
Is he a fit for the Habs?
Absolutely. Not only does he fill an organizational need as a right-winger, but he was also the best player available in our opinion. Montreal sorely lacks high-end talent in their prospect pool, and Pastrnak would definitely rival Andrighetto as our most skilled young player.
His impressive reviews from the combine also fall in line with Trevor Timmins' drafting tendencies, and there is no doubt that he would snatch up such a talented player at 26th.
Have your say
Do you agree with the EOTP selection? If not, have your say below, and let us know which player we missed, or who you would have preferred.
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