… Tyler Toffoli, C, from the Ottawa 67s of the OHL.
The first-ever FanSided NHL Mock Draft will be posted today on the network’s new general NHL blog, Too Many Men On The Site. Be sure to check it out as you prepare for Friday.
From the start, I hoped Toffoli would last this long — and he also may be there at 30 for the actual NHL Draft. If so, the Blackhawks would be wise to take him for a few different reasons.
Toffoli is a raw talent. I watched him play when the NHL Network ran some OHL games and I saw a kid who has a lot of potential but is nowhere near NHL-ready — which is just fine, given the status of the Blackhawks farm system. There’s good depth at the forward position, plus enough prospects at defense giving the ‘Hawks the luxury of taking a chance on a raw, talented player like Toffoli.
Akim Aliu, Evan Brophy, Nathan Davis, Bryan Bickell, Jake Dowell, etc., will be NHL regulars before Toffoli, giving Toffoli time to develop his game. The general consensus on Toffoli from scouting reports says he’s not particularly stellar at any given aspect. What he has is a natural ability to score.
Toffoli came in ranked from 15 to 20 before the previous season began. His draft stock dipped a bit because of a horrible start to the year. But Toffoli bounced back to 79 points (37A, 42 G) in 65 games in the OHL.
If Toffoli is availabe at 30, it could be a steal for the Blackhawks. He’d be entering the NHL with more refined skills — He just turned 18 — by the time Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane are in the middle of their extensions.
The draft is Friday from Los Angeles and will be televised on NHL Network. Let’s find out if I’m right.