There were interviews of Timmins right after the first round, and I remember it clear as day, when he said the mandate was to pick a defenseman. I remember it specifically in the 2015 draft when we took Juulsen. I also believe that was the mandate when we took Sergachev.Not sure I fully agree. I think we drafted for need with MacCarron (go figure) and KK. The rest of the draft I'd argue we drafted BPA. However we clearly had a focus on centers and defensemen in the past 2-3 drafts.
[Edit] I can't find the 2015 interview, but it's been made mention here (1:10), the reporter says "Yesterday, Marc said 'we had drafted forwards 3 years in a row, it was time for defensemen' https://www.rds.ca/videos/hockey/timmins-fait-le-point-sur-sa-recolte-3.1138494