7th Pick (1st Round)
Pick: Nikolaj Ehlers
Position: Left Wing
Height/Weight: 5’11″/176 lbs.
2013-2014 Team: Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
Pick Explanation: Lots of people have been talking about Nick Ritchie for the 7th pick in the draft, but he comes with a lot of red flags. Effort is a big concern with Nick Ritchie, and that is what scared me off in this mock draft.
Jake Virtanen was another player that was very tempting, but his serious shoulder injury also scared me away from selecting him with the 7th pick. He’s a great talent with plenty of size and skill, but the shoulder injury is a big red flag.
That left Nicolaj Ehlers and William Nylander as my top picks. They both have their pros and cons, but I opted to go with Ehlers with the seventh pick.
Nikolaj Ehlers comes out of the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL, the same team that both Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin came out of.
The Danish forward took the North American crowd by storm in his first year in the Canadian Juniors. He finished his first year in the QMJHL with 104 points in 64 games played. He finished 4th in the “Q” in points, and he led all rookies in points, goals, and assists.
Nikolaj Ehlers also played well in the U-20 Junior Championships where he tallied six points in five games.
Scouts rave about Nikolaj Ehlers’ speed and ability to jump all over defensemen. He may be the best skater in the draft, and he is very crafty offensively. A future line with Jeff Skinner sounds incredibly dangerous.
The only knock on Nikolaj Ehlers is his size. He has plenty of work to do with physically maturing, but if he can get bigger, he can be a star in the NHL.