As happens every year, some of the people who were down on the 2016 draft early are now warming to the overall pool of prospects. This is not 2003, nor is it 2015, but there is a strong group stretching out after the top three overall. If you are the Edmonton Oilers, with an early second-round selection, it might be worthwhile trading up into the middle of the first round. I think we may see a lot of movement at the draft table this summer.
The Oilers should be able to grab two (or more) of the names below based on where they are drafting. It is important to keep in mind a trade is possible, either down in the first round or out of the top 30.
OILERS PICKS FOR 2016
- No. 2 overall
- No. 32 overall
- No. 62 overall
- No. 76 overall (Pittsburgh pick)
- No. 83 overall (Florida pick)
- No. 122 overall
- No. 148 overall (St. Louis pick)
- No. 152 overall
- No. 182 overall
LOWETIDE 2016 DRAFT TOP 30, IDES OF MARCH
- (1) C Auston Matthews, Zurich Lions (Swiss-A): From the video, he looks like a sure plug and play for an NHL team. Matthews is 36gp, 24-22-46. He is is 6.02, 194 and could be better than Eichel. Could he be 2LW in Edmonton this fall? NHLE is 42 points, Taylor Hall was 46 points NHLE in his draft season. Matthews is a fantastic prospect.
- (2) W Patrik Laine, Tappara (Sm-Liiga): Laine is 46gp, 17-16-33 in the SM-Liiga. A 6.04, 207 power winger and I do think a team drafting second this year should consider themselves extremely fortunate. NHLE: 17 points, time-on-ice may be an issue (it often is with Euro players, giving us an even stronger feel for Matthews).
- (3) R Jesse Puljujarvi, Karpat (Sm-Liiga): Injured now, he was 7gp, 5-3-8 leading up to the injury. He is is 50gp, 13-15-28 in the SM-Liiga. Size, speed and creativity, he is a complete forward with the ability to make a difference on offense and defense. NHLE: 13 points.
- (4) L Matthew Tkachuk, London Knights (OHL): He is 54gp, 27-76-103 overall. He is ripping up the scoring charts in the Ontario league. I cannot decide who is zooming who on his team so have him at No. 4. NHLE is 50 points. CHL analyst for Sportsnet Todd Warriner: “Strong on the puck, good playmaker who gets to the net and finishes. Tenacious, good in traffic and sticks up for himself and teammates…just like his Dad. Playing with Marner and Dvorak means early season stats should continue.” Source
- (5) LD Jacob Chychrun, Sarnia Sting (OHL): Chychrun is 59gp, 10-36-46 in the OHL this season. NHLE is 20 points. Brendan Ross, McKeens and Dobber Hockey: “His ability to read the play and jump into action is elite and catches opposing defences off-guard. Chychrun’s strength and touch on the puck are approaching elite levels for a defenseman making him as dangerous as any forward in the league.” Source
- (6) LD Mikhail Sergachev, Windsor Spitfires (OHL): He is 64gp, 15-36-51. EP says he is a dominant two-way defenseman. Sergachev is also a fine skater and 6.02, 205—he might be the best defender in the draft. NHLE: 21 points. Todd Warriner: “Keeps getting better. Powerful skater, poised and solid with puck. Rink and gym rat, who’s a fierce competitor and wants to be an NHL player.” Source
- (7)R Alexander Nylander, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL): He is 56gp, 28-47-75 this season. A slick winger and a lot like his brother. At 6.0, 172, he is the first small forward on the list. NHLE: 35 points. Mark Seidel, NACS Hockey: “Might have the best pure skill in the OHL…Will bring fans out of their seats…Getting better defensively…High ceiling.” Source.
- (11) C Michael McLeod, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL): He is 54, 21-38-59 and 6.02, 187. Playmaking power center and a fantastic skater, I think he is shy of some of these kids offensively. Bob McKenzie has him No. 7 overall, but the offense suggests that is a little too high. NHLE is 29 points. Ryan Kennedy, The Hockey News: “The speed is incredible. Having seen him live, I could barely believe some of the stuff he pulls off when he has the puck and he’s pretty good on face-offs, as well. Scouts love how he stood out on Canada’s Ivan Hlinka team.” Source
- (13) LD Olli Juolevi, London Knights (OHL): The Finn is 54gp, 9-30-39 this year. There is a lot to like: Smooth skater, great passer, and has a wide range of skills. NHLE is 19 points. Anthony Mauro, DraftBuzz Hockey: “Two way D with the mind of an NFL quarterback. He hasn’t been seen as flashy up to this point, but playing with Team Finland spiced things up a bit. Juolevi could be worth spending a higher pick on than consensus would suggest because of what he might look like unleashed as a pro. Has safety as a prospect with his frame and head for the game.” Source
- (14) LD Jake Bean, Calgary Hitmen (WHL): He is 66gp, 24-37-61 overall. Bean is an effective, creative player with the puck. Intelligent defender with across the board skills. He is 6.01, 172 and NHLE is 20 points. Speeding Zamboni: He seems to have the whole offensive package out there. He’s got a good shot, which he is able to keep low for deflections, and also able to get it through traffic. He’s a very agile skater who loves to spin off of checks. However, he is lacking a bit of explosiveness in terms of skating. He’s a good passer and a smart player, able to read the game as it develops. What has stuck out most to me in my early impression regarding Bean, is his shot. He is the trigger man on the most dangerous WHL blueline. Source
- (8) C Clayton Keller, USNDTP (USHL): He is 20, 11-23-34 in the USHL, and at 5.10, 170 you know he has to bring a few special skills to the game. NHLE is 38 points, the system I am using (Christian Roatis) is very generous for the USHL. Steve Kournianos: Keller is a strong, shifty skater with a powerful shot, displaying brilliance and hockey sense strikingly similar to Mitch Marner.
- (12) C Pierre-Luc Dubois, Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (QMJHL): He is 61, 40-55-95 and has spiked in recent weeks. He has decent size—6.03, 201. Described as a complete prospect, he can impact the game at both ends. This is my favorite player-type, his skating is good not great or I would have him higher. NHLE: 33 points.
- (9) R Alex DeBrincat, Erie Otters (OHL): He is 57, 49-46-95 and has spiked in a big way since we last talked. Small sniper, not sure how much to nick him in regard to the other quality players on his team. NHLE is 44 points.
- (10) RD Dante Fabbro, Penticton Vees (BCJHL): He is 45gp, 14-53-67 overall. Difficult to compare offenses but my guess is he is a little shy of the men ahead of him. NHLE is 16 points, he has been compared to Brian Rafalski. I talked to Kirk Luedeke about him this week, said he as a very mature young man. ISS Hockey: “Strong offensive instincts as a puck moving D. Excellent skating & effortless stride.” Source
- (17) R Taylor Raddysh, Erie Otters (OHL). He is 64, 22-49-71 this year. Another big winger (6.02, 202), he has been called a power forward by some services. NHLE: 29 points.
- (16) L Tyson Jost, Penticton Vees (BCJHL). He is 48, 42-62-104. Elite Prospects: Crafty goal-scorer that carries out plays as quickly as he envisions them. NHLE: 23 points.
- (15) R Julien Gauthier, Val D’Or Foreurs (QMJHL): He is 52, 41-15-56 and a monster at 6.04, 224. Great hands, speed is an issue and the entire Q class has skating issues, it seems. NHLE: 23 points.
- (25) RD Charlie McAvoy, Boston University (NCAA). He is 36, 3-21-24 in college. 6.0, 205 he has some interesting offensive numbers for a draft-eligible college players. The McKenzie List has him at No. 14, he is rising offensively. NHLE: 20 points.
- (21) C Luke Kunin, Wisconsin (NCAA): He is 33, 18-13-31 in the NCAA, that is a pretty good number for a draft eligible (Kunin is a December 1997). He is 6.0, 196, Elite Prospects likes him plenty. NHLE: 27 points.
- (27) C-R Nathan Bastian, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL): He is 61, 19-40-59 and driving toward a strong finish. At 6.04, 207 he possesses both good (and improving) speed and some offensive touch, along with some savvy defensively. I don’t have a clear picture of him but am intrigued. NHLE: 25 points.
- (19) C-L Kieffer Bellows, USNDTP (USHL). He is 20, 15-15-30. A nice offensive forward with good size (6.01, 194) and a scorer’s touch. Described as a good power forward who is aggressive offensively. Speed an issue. NHLE: 33 points.
- (26) D Cam Dineen, North Bay Battalion (OHL): He is 62, 12-46-58. Undersized at 6.0, 180 he is mobile, great passer. Steve Kournianos: Dineen is a high-end puck mover who likes to join the rush and communicates well with his teammates on the ice. He’s a smooth skater with a long stride, and his decision making is sound, specifically in terms of when and when not to pinch, and when to release from slot coverage. Source NHLE: 25 points.
- (NR) R Vitali Abramov, Gatineau Olympiques (QMJHL). I held off in listing him because there is no chance he will go in the first round, but he belongs. Only 5.09, 170 he is 63, 38-55-93 in the Q this year. He is a May 1998, and he is pretty skilled. Russia owes the Oilers a Traktor Boy, this young man may be it. NHLE: 31 points.
- (18) G Carter Hart, Everett Silvertips (WHL): He is down to .918 in save percentage and The McKenzie List doesn’t rate him as a first-round pick (No. 35). From the time I identified him as a solid first rounder to now, he has been going the wrong way. Still an interesting prospect and should be a first round pick.
- (NR) C Tage Thompson, Connecticut Huskies (NCAA). Older player, he is a giant and yet another NCAA player inside the top 30 this year. 6.05, 185 and 36, 14-18-32 this year. He is a legit skill player who had some injury issues earlier in his junior career. NHLE: 27 points.
- (28) L Riley Tufte, Fargo Force (USHL). He is 17, 6-2-8 in the USHL and beating the daylights out of high school goalies. Big winger (6.04, 205) with raw skills across a wide range. Complete wild card who may take some time to deliver on promise. I have spoken to independent scouts and to Luedeke, and the buzz on this guy is pretty massive. NHLE: 21 points (using high school totals).
- (NR) C-R Pascal Laberge, Victoriaville Tigres (QMJHL). He is 6.01, 172 and 53, 22-42-64 in the Q this year. Has two-way skills and is very aggressive. NHLE: 26 points.
- (30) C Logan Brown, Windsor Spitfires (OHL): He is 56, 19-48-67. 6.06, 215 and has impressive offensive skills. A playmaker, the questions revolve around foot speed. NHLE: 31 points.
- (20) C German Rubtsov, Team Russia (MHL). He is 28, 12-14-26 in the MHL, that doesn’t seem like an impact offensive player. However, Steve Kournianos of the Draft Analyst suggests he’s arguably the 2016 draft’s best two-way forward—that has value, and in a year where the offensive talent is going to be second tier by the middle of round one, he might go here. NHLE: 14 points.
- (23) C Dillon Dube, Kelowna Rockets (WHL): He is 61, 24-37-61. Undersized WHL scorer, speedy and has some two-way acumen (via Kournianos). NHLE: 22 points.
Missing the cut this time:
- (22 last time) L Max Jones, London Knights (OHL): He is 60, 25-24-49 and described as a power forward with skills. Big man (6.03, 201) with speed, as always with these fellows the offense is the concern. He has a lot of fans in the scouting community. NHLE: 21 points.
- (24 last time) C Rasmus Asplund, Farjestads (SHL). He is 46, 4-8-12 in a pro league. Asplund is 6.0, 180 and quality checker, very difficult to gauge offense from the SHL—Eriksson-Ek was 34, 4-2-6 last season and went No. 20 overall. NHLE: 13 points.
- (29 last time) C Sam Steel, Regina Pats (WHL). He is 69, 22-45-67 and closing well. Fast, quick and skilled, he is 5.11, 176. NHLE: 21 points.