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SBN NHL Mock Draft: Islanders select Serron Noel at pick #31

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Acquired as part of the mock-trade for Grubauer, we used our second first rounder on a “raw talent” project.

2017 NHL Draft - Round One
And with that, all 31 picks (and several trades) in the 2018 mock draft are complete.
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

At Lighthouse Hockey we have the pleasure of closing out the 2018 SB Nation NHL Mock Draft at pick #31. Alas, it’s not because the Islanders won the Stanley Cup. That hasn’t happened in {checks calendar} 35 years.

Instead, during the draft and horse trading discussions we went slightly “real world” and traded the Islanders’ #11 pick to the Washington Capitals (represented by Japers’ Rink, still probably hungover) for goalie Philipp Grubauer.

We then held on to the #12 pick to select defenseman Ty Smith.

With the 31st pick, we went “high upside” to select Serron Noel. The Oshawa winger is enticing in part because of his size — but wait! This isn’t a MOAR SIZE kind of pick. He’s a talented kid, too! So this isn’t a case of 1990s-era scouting where teams look at a player’s size and have visions of Lindros dancing in their head. Instead they see real skill and combine it with his size to imagine how that frame and skating will only make the skill that more dangerous.

Discussions of Noel, he’s no doubt heard throughout his life, never begin without mention that he is the son of a former professional football player, the CFLer Dean Noel. The 6’5, 200-lb. Serron has been working with a skating coach the last two years that by several accounts has brought that skill close to NHL level already.

He also cites former NHLer Jason York for important coaching along his development. “He has good coaching in Oshawa now, but I think whoever drafts him will be getting a player that’s just at the tip of the iceberg in his development,” said York in this NHL.com profile.

Noel makes good use of his reach and presence in front of the net, but he’s also shown moves — and again, skating ability — that indicate he’s not just going to be a “get in front of the net” guy. At age 17 (he doesn’t turn 18 until August) he put up 25 goals for OHL Oshawa last season, and just five of those came on the power play.

A lot of the profiles discuss him as a “project” with “raw talent” and all that, but it seems like that sells him a little short — or at least, it’s not the kind of “project” of yesteryear where they hope they can teach a big kid to keep his stick down in front of the net and hit people. This is a kid who is already legitimately a highly regarded prospect, and if he continues to improve his game he could be a steal at #31.

To sample where he falls on various lists, TSN has him at 16 (Button) or 22 (McKenzie), where Sportsnet also has him. The NHL.com’s three prospect writers had him ranging from 15 to 28. ISS has him at 14, while McKeen’s has him at 21, and Future Considerations has him at 29.

That said, not everyone has him as a first rounder. Corey Pronman, for one, praised him in April but also said he’d rank him just outside the first round:

Some fans who haven’t seen him, might Google him quickly and see fine but not great stats in the OHL and think this is a classic case of overvaluing size because he is 6-foot-5. That might be true to some extent, but Noel has some real ability.

Just to continue that example, Pronman ended up putting Noel at 34 in his final rankings with this addendum:

He’s opened my eyes quite often, as you normally don’t see a giant like him as a 17-year-old be able to glide up the ice with the puck and make anything more than a basic play. I don’t think his skill and playmaking are high-end; you see good flashes from him, although it’s inconsistent, and on the power play for Oshawa he was more of a net-front guy.

In truth, LHH consultants CanadianIslesLifer and North Dakota Red Eagle both mentioned how they might trade down from this spot in the draft, but since there’s no second round in our mock draft and since he’s our second pick of the round, we went with the “project” who allows us to dream big.

After all, we don’t have to live with the consequences.

Full SBN NHL Mock Draft Selections

Below is how the entire first round played out in our mock draft, including a few trades that alter the order from the (present) real world. The links go to the rationales posted at each of the SB Nation team sites, and also serve as a helpful resource for learning more about the prospects likely to be selected in this year’s first 30+ picks:

  1. Sabres select Rasmus Dahlin [Die by the Blade]
  2. Hurricanes Andrei Svechnikov [Canes Country]
  3. Canadiens select Filip Zadina [Habs Eyes on the Prize]
  4. Senators select Quinn Hughes [Silver Seven]
  5. Coyotes select Brady Tkachuk [Five for Howling]
  6. Red Wings select Adam Boqvist [Winging it in Motown]
  7. Canucks select Noah Dobson [Nucks Misconduct]
  8. Blackhawks select Oliver Wahlstrom [Second City Hockey]
  9. Rangers select Evan Bouchard [Blueshirt Banter]
  10. Oilers select Martin Kaut [Copper n Blue]
  11. TRADE: LHH trades this pick to D.C. [LHH]; Capitals select Jesperi Kotkaniemi [Japers’ Rink]
  12. Islanders select Ty Smith [Lighthouse Hockey]
  13. Avalanche (via Philly in mock-draft trade, via Dallas) select Joe Veleno [Mile High Hockey]
  14. Stars (via Philly) select Joel Farabee [Defending Big D]
  15. Panthers select Bode Wilde [Litter Box Cats]
  16. Flyers (via Colorado in mock-draft trade above) select Rasmus Kupari [Broad Street Hockey]
  17. Devils select Barrett Hayton [All About The Jersey]
  18. Blue Jackets select Isac Lundstrom [The Cannon]
  19. Flyers select Vitaly Kravtsov [Broad Street Hockey]
  20. Kings select K’Andre Miller [Jewels From The Crown]
  21. Sharks select Ryan Merkley [Fear the Fin]
  22. Senators select Jonathan Berggren [Silver Seven]
  23. Ducks select Grigori Denisenko [Anaheim Calling]
  24. Wild select Dominik Bokk [Hockey Wilderness]
  25. Flyers (via Toronto in mock-draft trade) select Nils Lundkvist [Broad Street Hockey]
  26. Rangers select Akil Thomas [Blueshirt Banter]
  27. Blackhawks select Calen Addison [Second City Hockey]
  28. Rangers select Ryan McLoed
  29. Blues select Mattias “Son Of Kjell” Samuelsson [St. Louis Game Time]
  30. Red Wings (via Vegas) select Jay O’Brien [Winging It in Motown]
  31. Islanders (that’s us!) (via earlier mock-draft trade) select Serron Noel

Thus concludes the 2018 SB Nation NHL Mock Draft. Thanks for playing!