Early 2016 NHL Mock Draft
The 2016 draft is another deep draft class filled with highly talented players. This class has elite players at the top but you will find many players later who will make impacts in the NHL.
1. Arizona Coyotes- Auston Matthews RW ZSC
Matthews is on the same level as Jack Eichel as a prospect. He has the size, speed, and skill you look for in a franchise player. Matthews took an unconventional route, because of his birthdate, choosing the Swiss League over Major Junior or College. He doesn’t look out of place having 3 goals and 2 assists in 5 games. Matthews is without question the number one player in this draft.
2. New Jersey Devils- Jesse Puljujarvi RW Karpat
Puljujarvi, much like Matthews, is an exciting player to watch. He has size and skill to dominate. He had a phenomenal World Juniors last year as an under ager. He had 11 points in 21 games for Karpat last season playing against men. The Devils need all the offense they can get and Puljujarvi will be a big part of their rebuild.
3. Toronto Maple Leafs- Jakob Chychrun D Sarnia Sting
Chychrun is your prototypical number one defenseman. He can do it all. His defensive game is top notch and has offensive flair to his game. Toronto is rebuilding and they have elite forward prospects. Besides Morgan Reilly the Leafs are really lacking high-end defensemen prospects. Leafs select their cornerstone defensemen in Chychrun.
4. Carolina Hurricanes- Matthew Tkachuk LW London Knights
Matthew Tkachuk has an elite hockey IQ to go with his skill. He had 28 goals and 58 assists last season playing on a line with Auston Matthews and Jack Roslovic for the U18 NTDP. This season, playing for the London Knights, he has 2 goals and 8 assists through 4 games. Carolina desperately needs offense and Tkachuk will bring that.
5. Vancouver Canucks- Dante Fabbro D Penicton Vees
Fabbro, even while playing in the BCHL, is considered to be one of the top defensemen prospects in the 2016 draft. He has an all around great game, playing solid in all zones. He has mobility and IQ that all teams look for in defensemen. He’ll be playing in college next year but the NHL isn’t far away for him.
6. Philadelphia Flyers- Patrik Laine LW Tappara
Laine has size and a solid skill set that teams want. There is room for improvement on his skating but that will come along. He already has 6 points in 9 games for Tappara in the Finnish league playing against men. The Flyers lack another high-end winger after Jakub Voracek and Wayne Simmonds. Laine could be exactly what they need.
7. Colorado Avalanche- Chad Krys D USA NTDP
Krys is gifted offensively and his hockey IQ is one of the best in the draft. His size for a defenseman may be the only concern for teams but it should not be a problem. He is a solid puck mover and is what the new wave of defenseman is becoming. The Avalanche just traded for two left handed defensemen in Nikita Zadorov and Brandon Gormley but they can’t pass up on a guy like Krys.
8. Buffalo Sabres- Tyler Benson LW Vancouver Giants
Benson is an all around great player. He plays a great two way game and is a hard worker. He has leadership skills as evidence of him being named Captain of the Vancouver Giants at 17 years old. The Sabres really lack Left Wing prospects and Benson would be another great addition to an already loaded prospect group.
9. Florida Panthers- Kale Clague D Brandon Wheat Kings
Clague is a shutdown defensemen that brings some offense too. He’s a smooth skater and moves the puck well. The Panthers have a bright future at forward but are lacking after Aaron Ekblad on defense. Clague could be a future top pairing shutdown defensemen with Ekblad.
10. Edmonton Oilers- Alex Nylander RW Mississauga Steelheads
Alex Nylander, like his brother Will, is highly skilled. He has great skating, great hands, and he is hard working. He scored 40 points in 42 games for AIK U20 in Sweden last season and is off to a great start in Mississauga scoring 7 points in 5 games so far. The Oilers can’t pass on the highly talented Nylander.
11. Ottawa Senators- Carl Grundstrom LW MODO
Grundstrom is another highly skilled player. He has good hockey IQ and can beat players with his speed. He scored 36 points in 27 games last season for MODO U20. He hasn’t been regarded as an early first but should move up draft boards as the season progresses. He will be playing full time for MODO this season.
12. Boston Bruins via San Jose Sharks- Dimitri Sokolov LW Sudbury Wolves
Sokolov was a highly regarded prospect coming out of Russia. He hasn’t impressed lately having only scored 2 points in 4 games for Sudbury this season. Having just come over to North America, it may take time for him to adjust to the game here. Sokolov still has offensive talent and he uses his body to create chances.
13. Nashville Predators- Tyson Jost C Penicton Vees
Jost is in the same boat as teammate Dante Fabbro, choosing to play Jr. A instead of the WHL. He’s a high-end player with a great skill set and he is hardworking. He was named the Captain of the Vees and has answered the bell scoring 16 points in 8 games so far this season. Jost is headed to North Dakota where he will play his college hockey.
14. Boston Bruins- Mikhail Sergachyov D Windsor Spitfires
Sergachyov has the chance to be the best Russian to come out of this draft. He’s a big defensemen who can skate. He is going to shut down the opponents top players day in and day out. Boston is really hurting on defense. Jakub Zboril was a good pick for the Bruins but they still need added help. Sergachyov would be a nice piece on the backend for the Bruins future.
15. Dallas Stars- Olli Juolevi D London Knights
Juolevi is a very smart defensemen. He makes quick decisions and has good skating ability. His play for Jokerit U20 was great last season scoring 32 points in 44 games. He is the type of defensemen to run the point on the power play. The Stars already have a top Finnish defensemen prospect in Julius Honka and the two could make a great pair in the future.
16. Calgary Flames- Julien Gauthier RW Val-d’Or Foreurs
Julien Gauthier is a big boy standing at 6’4”. He is a smooth and skilled player for the Val-d’Or Foreurs. He scored 73 points in 68 games in his second full season with the team. He has 7 points in 8 games so far this season. The Flames are weak after Emile Poirer on the right side and Gauthier has top line potential.
17. Columbus Blue Jackets- Rasmus Asplund C Farjestad
Asplund is a great all around player doing everything from killing penalties to making plays in the offensive zone. He’s a great competitor and leader too having captained multiple Swedish national teams. Asplund will add to a very deep prospect pool in Columbus.
18. Winnipeg Jets- Logan Brown C Windsor Spitfires
Brown is another big boy at 6’6” but he has a good skating ability. He has great hockey IQ and can wear down his opponents with his size. Brown has scored 6 points in 3 games for the Spitfires so far. The Jets are another team with a very deep prospect pool so they can wait for Brown to continue his development.
19. Minnesota Wild- Clayton Keller LW USA NTDP
Keller another top American prospect really impressed while playing for the USA U17 NTDP. He’s on the smaller end but he has a lot of skill and speed to make up for it. He’s always looking to make a play on the ice. Keller had 59 points in 45 games for the U17 squad. The Wild will need to replace Zach Parise and Thomas Vanek one day and Keller would be a great choice to do so.
20. Detroit Red Wings- Max Jones LW London Knights
Jones is big power forward type player but he hasn’t put everything together. He struggled at times for USA U17 NTDP. He has been compared to Lawson Crouse because of the split of opinion on where he should go in the draft. Jones, a native of Michigan, would fit well in Detroit. They have been known to have patience with their prospects and Jones just needs the development time.
21. Washington Capitals- Sean Day D Mississauga Steelheads
Day has been under tremendous pressure for years. He was granted exceptional status in 2013 where he was drafted 4th Overall in the OHL Draft. He has size and has excellent skating ability but he doesn’t have the hockey IQ necessary to move to the next level. He makes mistakes in his own end and has been known to make bad passes. If he can get it together though, all the potential is there. He’s a boom or bust prospect.
22. Arizona Coyotes via New York Rangers- Pierre-Luc Dubois LW Cape Breton Screaming Eagles
Dubois is big forward that works very hard. He is constantly moving trying to create chances. His style of play wears down defensemen constantly laying the body. Dubois has scored 13 points in 9 games so far for the Screaming Eagles. He has the chance to be a top 6 power forward in the NHL down the road.
23. Carolina Hurricanes via Los Angeles Kings- Brett Howden C Moose Jaw Warriors
Howden projects to be a shutdown center who can bring some offensive abilities. He is a hard worker and creates chances with his size. He will lay his body on the line to win games. Carolina is weak in all areas and Howden would be a nice add to help in the rebuilding process.
24. Montreal Canadiens- Jordan Kyrou RW Sarnia Sting
Kyrou is a hard working winger who can bring some added offense. He’s not going to “wow” you but he will make a difference in the game. He has a lot of room to improve his offensive skills but that will come in time. Kyrou would be a solid choice for the Canadiens late in the first round.
25. Toronto Maple Leafs via Pittsburgh Penguins- Alex DeBrincat RW Erie Otters
DeBrincat will be one of the most talked about prospects this season leading up to the draft. He had a phenomenal season last year scoring 104 points in 68 games. Some believed DeBrincat was just a product of Connor McDavid but DeBrincat recently scored 5 goals in a game. He’s got the offensive skills but his size will hurt him in terms of draft value. He could be a steal this late in the first round.
26. St. Louis Blues- Jake Bean D Calgary Hitmen
Bean is one of the top offensive defensemen in this draft class but he is lacking on the defensive side. He has high-level hockey IQ and skating ability. St. Louis isn’t lacing in defensemen prospects but the potential that Bean could become a top offensive threat is too good to pass up.
27. Anaheim Ducks- Nick Pastujov USA NTDP
Patujov is a hard working winger willing to go into the dirty areas. He has room to grow in all parts of his game but he has shown flashes of what could come. He was impressive at the recently played US top prospects game in Buffalo. Pastujov will play his college hockey at Michigan where he will continue to develop his game.
28. New York Islanders- Vitali Abramov RW Gatineau Olympiques
Abramov is on the smaller side standing only 5’9”. He has good speed and has a good sense on the ice. This season Abramov has scored 16 points in 9 games. If he can continue to grow his all around game he has the chance to move up draft boards.
29. Tampa Bay Lightning- Michael McLeod C Mississauga Steelheads
McLeod has the size you want in a center. He isn’t great in one area but rather good in all areas. He’s a hard worker and a leader having been named the captain of the Steelheads. Tampa would be thrilled to grab him here.
30. Chicago Blackhawks- Charlie McAvoy D Boston University
McAvoy is a great skater and a great puck mover. He was relied on as the number one defensemen for the USA U18 Team last season and he produced. He’s in a crowded blue line at Boston University this season but he has what it takes to make a difference. Chicago adds much needed defensive depth.