SUNRISE, Fla. -- We all know the big two names from the 2015 NHL draft -- Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel -- but considering how deep this year’s class is, we’ll delve a bit deeper on some other interesting names that were called on the draft floor this weekend.
1. Noah Hanifin (fifth overall, Carolina Hurricanes) -- Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney confirmed he tried hard to put a package of mid-first-round picks together to move up in the draft, but couldn’t quite pull it off. He did not mention by name who he was targeting specifically, though several sources told ESPN.com that the Bruins expressed significant interest in taking Hanifin. The Bruins weren’t the only team in love with the talented young blueliner, who had five goals and 23 points in his first season at Boston College. In fact, the Hurricanes felt lucky to find him still available at No. 5, with some folks likening the situation to the Nashville Predators nabbing Seth Jones at No. 4 in the 2013 draft. The 18-year-old is seen as an elite player who could immediately become the best defenseman in the Hurricanes' system. He is a great skater for a player of his size (6-foot-3, 203 pounds) and has a really solid all-around game. Great value for a Carolina team desperate to turn things around after some tough years.
2. Zachary Senyshyn (15th overall, Boston Bruins) -- Revisiting Sweeney’s noteworthy Day 1 of the draft, this will likely be one that Bruins fans will be keeping a close eye on, as it was a choice that puzzled some people. One scout told ESPN.com he firmly believed that Senyshyn would’ve been available at No. 37, the Bruins’ next pick. So what was so enticing about the 18-year-old winger who spent the past two seasons with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds? His skating. Though he still has some strides to make in rounding out his game, he has home run potential because of his speed.
3. Mitchell Stephens (33rd overall, Tampa Bay Lightning) -- He might not be the flashiest in terms of skill -- though he is regarded as an elite skater with an excellent shot -- but he makes up for it in his well-roundedness and leadership qualities (he was the captain of Canada’s under-18 team). One scout likened him to a Ryan Callahan-type player who likely will take some time to develop at the NHL level, but could make a significant impact once he makes that jump. "He’s the type of guy you want in your organization," the scout told ESPN.com. "He’s a guy you win with."
4. Oliver Kylington (60th overall, Calgary Flames) -- A very exciting pick for the Flames, who capitalized on a highly-regarded player whose stock dropped significantly. Though many anticipated the Swedish defenseman was a first-round talent, he slipped following an inconsistent season that was marred by injury (which prevented him from playing at the World Juniors in December) and saw him toggle between two different professional leagues in Sweden. Ranked as Central Scouting’s top European skater in January, Kylington is a strong skater with promising offensive abilities and was always on the Flames' radar. And he handled a tough situation -- the bitterly long wait to hear his name called -- with a good attitude, vowing to use the drop as motivation as he hopes to embark on a promising NHL career. There are plenty of talented defensemen to mentor him in Calgary, including the recently acquired Dougie Hamilton. And Kylington told reporters after being drafted that he plans on training this summer with fellow Swedish blueliner and close family friend Johnny Oduya. This could go down as a huge steal for Calgary.
5. Felix Sandstrom (70th overall, Philadelphia Flyers) -- The Philadelphia Flyers have long had a rocky history with goalies, and general manager Ron Hextall made it clear that position was a priority heading into this year’s draft, using both of the club’s third-round picks on Sandstrom and fellow netminder Matej Tomek (90th overall). ESPN prospects guru Corey Pronman had Sandstrom as his top-rated goaltender -- despite the fact the Swede was hampered by injury this season -- and sees as a ton of potential in his game. One goaltending scout told ESPN.com that he has a strong blocker side and good technique, though his overall quickness and upper net coverage is "suspect."