2016 NHL Mock Draft: Final Mock 7 Rounds
Round 1 Picks 1-15
Posted By: Chris Ransom Last Updated: June 24, 2016.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Auston Matthews, C, ZSC Lions (National League A)
- Toronto looks like they have narrowed this pick down to the top 2 prospects in Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine with the first pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft after winning the 2016 NHL Draft Lottery. I cannot see them passing on Auston Matthews here.
- Toronto goes best available player with the top pick. The 6-2 194 lb Auston Matthews is a complete skater that can play left wing, center, or right wing in the NHL. Toronto has had some effective centers in the past, but a line 1 game changer like Matthews is what the doctor ordered in Toronto.
- Matthews had 24 goals, 22 assists, and 46 points in 36 games. Matthews also had 3 assists in 4 playoff games before the ZSC Lions got swept in the opening round in the National League A playoffs despite having the best regular season record. Matthews may have missed some games due to injury, but when healthy he is the top prospect in the 2016 NHL Draft.
- Toronto's top 3 centers in 2016-2017 could very well be Auston Matthews on line 1, Mitch Marner on line 2, and William Nylander on line 3. Toronto drafted Nylander eighth overall and Marner fourth overall in 2014 and 2015. Add Matthews on the top line and this instantly becomes a team that is 3 deep at center. All three forwards have the versatility to move to the wing as well.
Winnipeg Jets: Patrik Laine, LW, Tappara (SM Liiga)
- Winnipeg is looking at Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine, and Jesse Puljujarvi with the second pick. It's unlikely that Toronto passes on Matthews even though Laine is making a case to be the top pick as well. That's why I think its almost a foregone conclusion that Winnipeg takes Matthews or Laine second overall depending on who Toronto passes on.
- Winnipeg will take the best available player and go with Patrik Laine after moving up from 6 to 2 following the 2016 NHL Draft Lottery. Laine is now the unanimous #2 overall prospect right behind Auston Matthews.
- The 6-4 210 lb Patrick Laine possesses exceptional defensive awareness. His one question mark heading into the season was his ability to score. Laine only had 1 point last season and he had 17 goals, 16 assists, and 33 points in 46 games with a +6 +/- ratio. Has 6 penalty minutes through 46 consecutive games this season making him extremely disciplined. Laine also had 10 goals, 5 assists, and 15 points in 18 Playoff games against SM Liiga teams in Finland.
- Laine has the awareness and hockey IQ that teams will look for. He led Tappara to the SM Liiga Championship game where they lost to Oulun Karpat in 2015, but this year Tappara got revenge on Oulun Karpat in the semifinals before defeating HIFK to win the 2016 SM Liiga League. His excellent shooting power on slap shots and wrist shots makes his shots very fast and difficult for gameplan against.
- Laine began the season with mixed reviews as high as fifth overall and as low as fifteenth overall. With all the momentum he's built with his 33 points on Tappara plus the 7 goals, 6 assists, and 13 points he posted at the 2016 World Junior Championships, Laine has to be the front runner to go second overall especially with Winnipeg having a dire need at left wing with Andrew Laad gone.
Columbus Blue Jackets: Jesse Puljujarvi, RW, Oulun Karpat (SM Liiga)
- Columbus drafts the best player available after moving up one spot in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. At this point that player is Jesse Puljujarvi who would give the Blue Jackets their best right winger since Rick Nash. I've heard rumors about Logan Brown going to Columbus, but I'm guessing that's a plan B if they find someone who is foolish enough to give Columbus a ton of draft picks that they will later regret trading so I'm gonna say the Brown rumors are a smokescreen and stick with the obvious script on Columbus taking Puljujarvi.
- The 6-3 201 lb Jesse Puljujarvi is the third best prospect in 2016. Puljujarvi won back-to-back Championships with Oulun Karpat in the SM Liiga league and his defensive awareness is just as outstanding as his offensive awareness when working with the puck. Puljujarvi also has excellent stick handling.
- Puljujarvi had 13 goals, 15 assists, and 28 points in 50 games. He had 4 goals, 5 assists, and 9 points in 10 SM Liiga Playoff games. Puljujarvi is showing NHL scouts he can be a quality sniper and playmaker at the next level in 2015-2016, even though some teams see him as more of a playmaker at this point simply because his shooting power needs to improve. He doesn't show enough wrist shot power or slap shot power on his shots.
- One other player the Blue Jackets are looking at is Pierre Luc-Dubois. I doubt the Blue Jackets go that route though with Puljujarvi there. That seems to be a smokescreen more than anything.
Edmonton Oilers: Matthew Tkachuk, LW, London Knights (OHL)
- Edmonton draft a defenseman at fourth overall. Two weeks ago I heard the Oilers are looking at both Olli Juolevi and Matthew Tkachuk at four assuming they don't trade the fourth overall pick. Outside of the sixteenth pick which the Oilers traded for Griffin Reinhart in the 2015 NHL Draft, I've never failed to predict who the Oilers would draft in the first round and I've been doing NHL Mock Drafts since 2010.
- I originally had Juolevi slotted here. I'm changing things up and going with Matthew Tkachuk at 4 since he's such an exceptional left winger on tape that could challenge Jesse Puljujarvi for the third pick in the 2016 NHL Draft.
- My theory is simple. Either Edmonton keeps this pick and drafts Tkachuk or moves down with a team like the Arizona Coyotes for a defenseman at 7. At this point I believe the former is more likely with the Oilers taking Tkachuk after he really impressed Edmonton and other NHL teams during the interview portion of the 2016 NHL Combine.
- The 6-1 194 lb Matthew Tkachuk, exceeded expectations with 30 goals, 77 assists, and 107 points in 57 games with the London Knights. Tkachuk had 20 goals, 20 assists, 40 points, and a +23 +/- ratio in 18 OHL Playoff games. Tkachuk is supposed to be a pure left winger, but he's lined up at center and won face offs on plays when Mitch Marner has struggled with the face off as well as right wing.
- All of the defensemen in this draft won't be ready until 2017-2018 at the earliest. Tkachuk is talented enough to play in the NHL right away, but with Lauri Korpikoski and Matt Hendricks having contracts that run through 2017, there is a chance Tkachuk doesn't play until 2017-2018. Tkachuk only has one season of OHL experience after being teammates with Auston Matthews on the United States National Team Developmental Program back in 2014-2015 before going to London in 2015-2016.
- Matthew Tkachuk was the captain for Team Orr in the 2016 CHL Prospects Game. Tkachuk was one of five players that dominated in the 2015 USA Prospects Game earlier this season and seems like a safe bet as a top 5 pick.
Vancouver Canucks: Pierre-Luc Dubois, LW, Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (QMJHL)
- Vancouver has a lot of prospects that are making excellent progress. Center Brendan Gaunce their 2012 first round pick is tearing it up on the Utica Comets in the AHL. Brock Boeser their 2015 first round pick is having a big year for North Dakota. Defenseman Jordan Subban, a 2014 fourth round pick already has 23 points. Goalie Thatcher Demko has a .939 save percentage at Boston College and 8 shutouts as a junior. Vancouver has prospects dominating at each position for the long-term which gives them the luxury to go with the best player available at 3.
- Vancouver goes with another winger. The Canucks can take Pierre-Luc Dubois, Alex Nylander, or Logan Brown at 5. The consensus seems to believe that Pierre-Luc Dubois will be the pick, but Vancouver is also high on Nylander and Brown.
- Pierre-Luc Dubois had 42 goals, 57 assists, and 99 points in 62 games. Pierre-Luc Dubois has 7 goals, 5 assists, and 12 points in 7 games during the 2016 QMJHL Playoffs. Pierre-Luc Dubois had 1 goal, 2 assists, and 3 points in the 2016 CHL Prospects Game.
Calgary Flames: Alex Nylander, LW, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)
- Calgary goes best available player with the top pick. Calgary is also looking at Julian Gauthier, Logan Brown, Jacob Chychrun, Max Jones, Alex Nylander, Olli Juolevi, and Mikhail Sergachev as options with the sixth overall pick.
- At this point, I'll go out on a limb and say that the Flames are targeting Alex Nylander at 6. He makes the most sense among those prospects they have scouted.
- In 55 games, Nylander has 28 goals, 47 assists, and 75 points. Alex Nylander's strong 2015 campaign along with his impressive intangibles on tape will land him a spot in the top 10.
- Alex Nylander is in his rookie OHL season and he's at 75 points which is 18 more than the next best rookie who finished with 58 points. Alex's older brother William Nylander was drafted eighth overall back in 2014. Now Alex goes higher than his brother and gets drafted two years later in 2016 after Alex played on the top line for Team Orr in the 2016 CHL Prospects Game.
- Alex Nylander had 6 goals, 6 assists, and 12 points in 7 OHL Playoff games. Nylander will be a great NHL talent, but he's going to play for Rogle B.K. in 2016-2017.
Arizona Coyotes: Logan Brown, C, Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
- Arizona had an awesome 2015 NHL Draft and will be a team to watch in a few years. Getting guys like center Dylan Strome, center Nick Merkley, right winger Christian Fischer, goalie Adin Hill, left winger Brendan Warren, and right winger Jens Looke with six of their seven picks in the first three rounds of the 2015 NHL Draft. This team has an abundance of offensive prospects after Max Domi and Anthony Duclair were prospects in the Coyotes farm system in 2014-2015 and both players will now be on the team along with Antoine Vermette who the Coyotes traded to Chicago for the 30th pick in the 2015 NHL Draft to get Merkley only to get Vermette back in Free Agency.
- That being said, Arizona has two 2016 first round picks. Arizona can go with the best player available at 7 and then go with a defensemen at 20 after trading for Alex Goligoski to pair up with Oliver Ekman-Larsson.
- The Arizona Coyotes get the 6-6 220 lb Logan Brown. Logan Brown had 21 goals, 53 assists, 74 points, and a +24 +/- ratio in 59 games this season. Brown had 17 goals, 26 assists, and 43 points in 2014-2015. Brown entered the year as a preseason top 10 pick in many 2016 NHL Mock Drafts, but fell after getting off to a rough start. Brown finished the season on a high note and built momentum in the CHL Prospects Game, IIHF World Championships, and the 2016 NHL Combine to go from being the 8th best overall player in the preseason that fell to 22 at the beginning of the year to move all the way up to the 7th best player following the NHL Combine.
- Logan Brown was the line 1 center for Team Cherry in the 2016 CHL Prospects game. Brown did some things and looked solid against his teammates from Windsor Mikhail Sergachev and Logan Stanley.
Buffalo Sabres: Mikhail Sergachev, D, Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
- Buffalo takes the best available player. The Sabres can get any of the three NHL defensemen who are 1A, 1B, and 1C in the 2016 NHL Draft.
- The 6-2 220 lb Sergachev, also known as Mikhail Sergachyov in Russia, possesses exceptional defensive awareness when you watch his tape in Russia prior to the OHL. His one question mark was his ability to score. Sergachev finally blossomed in the CHL upon joining the Windsor Spitfires after spending most of his youth in Russia.
- Sergachev had 17 goals, 40 assists, and 57 points in 67 games with a +15 +/- ratio. That play allowed Sergachev to win the 2016 Max Kaminsky Award for the top defenseman in the OHL. Sergachev became the first player to win the Max Kaminsky Award in his rookie season. Sergachev had 2 goals, 3 assists, and 5 points in 5 OHL Playoff games. Sergachev excelled on offense, but struggled on defense in the 2016 OHL Playoffs.
- Sergachev weighed 6-2 205 lbs and Jakob Chychrun weighed 6-2 215 lbs heading into the 2015-2016 OHL Season. Sergachev added 15 lbs of muscle to get up to 220 lbs while Chychrun lost 17 lbs to drop to 6-2 198 lbs at the 2016 NHL Combine. That may influence Buffalo to draft Sergachev first becaus e he had more points then Chychrun and has the biggest frame of the three first round defensemen.
- Mikhail Sergachev did allow a goal at the 2016 CHL Prospects Game, but he did play on line 1 with teammate Logan Stanley. Playing on the first line is why he's now a top 10 pick.
Montreal Canadiens: Olli Juolevi, D, London Knights (OHL)
- Montreal goes with a defenseman here. The Canadiens will be torn on both Jakob Chychrun and Olli Juolevi here at 9. Chychrun is the better defenseman based on tape, but something tells me Montreal goes with Juolevi at 9.
- Olli Juolevi played for Jokerit over in Finland in the SM Liiga league before making the jump to the OHL. The 6-2 183 lb Olli Juolevi had 9 goals, 33 assists, 42 points, and a +38 +/- ratio in 57 games this season. Juolevi has 3 goals, 11 assists, 14 points, and a +15 +/- ratio in 18 OHL Playoff games. He received an A grade from Central Scouting Services just like Jakob Chychrun.
- Juolevi had 9 assists in 7 games at the 2016 World Junior Championships. Juolevi can make a case for being the top defenseman over Chychrun with Mikhail Sergachev gone, but all three defensemen are 1A, 1B, and 1C at this point.
- Juolevi was on the third line at the 2016 CHL Prospects Game. Nobody on Team Cherry's third line had a goal or assist and all 3 forwards on Team Cherry's third line had a 0 +/- ratio or lower thanks to Juolevi's defense. Juolevi has posted games like that on first lines during the 2016 OHL Playoffs as well as the 2016 Memorial Cup where London has outscored their opponents 20-5 in the first three games.
Previous Pick: Alex Nylander, LW, Mississauga Steelheads
Colorado Avalanche: Jakob Chychrun, D, Sarnis Sting (OHL)
- Colorado needs defense. While the Avalanche are high on both Clayton Keller and Michael McLeod, getting Jakob Chychrun makes too much sense if he slips to 10.
- Jakob Chychrun makes a ton of sense here. Chychrun weighed 6-2 194 lbs last season before going up to 6-2 215 only to drop to 6-2 198 lbs following the 2016 NHL Combine. The assistant captain for the Sarnia Sting impressed rookie with 16 goals, 17 assists, and 33 points as a rookie which was 4 more than the 29 points Ekblad posted as a rookie. Chychrun had 11 goals, 38 assists, 49 points, and a +23 +/- ratio in 62 games this season. Chychurn's 49 points bested the 34 points Ekblad posted in year 2, but Ekblad also posted 53 points in the year he was eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft. Jakob Chychrun had 2 goals, 6 assists, and 8 points in 7 2016 OHL Playoff Games.
- Chychrun dominated during the Broad Jump during the 2016 NHL Combine. Chychrun was the second best prospect behind Auston Matthews back in the preseasson, but some draft boards have him falling to the fourteenth best overall player and the fifth best defensemen in the 2016 NHL Draft. There is a chance Chychrun could fall pretty far if Colorado passes on him, but I think the Avalanche take Chychrun at 10.
- Jakob Chychrun was originally alternate captain for Team Cherry in the 2016 CHL Prospects Game. When Tyler Benson was ruled out with an injury, Chychrun became the team captain for Team Cherry. Chychrun did a good job blocking shots and showing off his complete ability in the 2016 CHL Prospects Game. Colorado needs someone like Chychrun with this pick.
Previous Pick: Clayton Keller, C, United States National Team Developmental Program
New Jersey Devils: Tyson Jost, C, Penticon Vees (BCHL)
- New Jersey takes the top center available here. Tyson Jost makes a lot of sense for the Devils at 11. Getting the captain of the Penticon Vees in the BCHL makes a ton of sense.
- The BCHL may be a pee wee league compared to the CHL where the OHL, QMJHL, and WHL all exist. One player from the BCHL that is not a pee wee player is Tyson Jost.
- At 6-0 194 lbs, Jost has the versatility to play left wing, center, or right wing at the next level. In 46 regular season games, Jost posted 23 goals, 22 assists, and 45 points. In 21 playoff games with the Penticon Vees, Jost posted 10 goals, 4 assists, and 14 points.
- This season Jost had 42 goals, 62 assists, and 104 points in 48 regular season games. Jost had 6 goals, 8 assists, and 14 points through 11 games in the BCHL Playoffs. He led the IIHF tournament with 15 points. Jost is averaging 2 points per game, and has really blossomed as a playmaker as well as a sniper. His excellent offensive awareness and blazing speed on tape make him a top 10 pick after maintaining this consistency for such a long period.
- Jost got voted team captain by the Penticon Vees for the upcoming 2015-2016 season. Jost is too talented to slip out of the top 10 even if he's not playing in the CHL and projects as a top 6 forward on a first or second line in the NHL. Realistically you are looking at a guy with upside to be a line 2 center or a line 1 winger in the NHL. New Jersey can patiently groom Jost to be the center of the future. Jost will go to North Dakota in 2016-2017 so he'd be out a year before being called up to the NHL.
Ottawa Senators: Jake Bean, D, Calgary Hitmen (WHL)
- The Ottawa Senators can take the best player available. Ottawa is looking at both Keiffer Bellows and Jake Bean at 12. Something tells me the Senators end up taking Bean at 12 to boost the blue line as many consider Bean to be a top 10 to top 15 prospect making him a great fit at 12.
- Bean had 5 goals, 34 assists, and 39 points in 51 games last season along with a +20 +/- ratio. This season the 6-0 172 lb Bean had 24 goals, 40 assists, 64 points, and a +8 +/- ratio in 68 games in 2015-2016. Bean had 2 assists in the 2016 WHL Playoffs.
- Bean played with Luke Green on the second line in the 2016 CHL Prospects Game for Team Orr. Bean and Green's line dominated on the second line and Bean is the only one of those defenseman with an A grade.
- Everyone in the WHL has really hurt their draft stock. Jake Bean seems like he's now the best WHL player. It's not just that, there are rumors buzzing that scouts are considering moving Bean into the top 15 so if he falls to Ottawa he will be the pick at 12.
Carolina Hurricanes: Clayton Keller, C, United States National Team Developmental Program (USHL)
- Carolina grabs another center to develop now that Eric Staal is gone. The 5-10 163 lb Clayton Keller is available at 13.
- Clayton Keller is a playmaker center who had 13 goals, 24 assists, and 37 points on the United States National Team Developmental Program in the USHL in 2015-2016. Keller also had 107 points on the USA Under 18 team against weaker competition.
- Clayton Keller will play for Boston University in the Fall. Keller could eventually be a future center on the Carolina Hurricanes even though he is a project right now.
Boston Bruins: Charles McAvoy, D, Boston University
- The Boston Bruins get Charles McAvoy at 14. Boston University's Charles McAvoy has been building a lot of momentum leading up to the 2016 NHL Draft.
- Charles McAvoy has 3 goals, 22 assists, and 25 points with a +10 +/- ratio in 37 games. McAvoy is now ranked in the top 20 of every scouting service in the country so he moves up to 16 as the Red Wings take him here, with McAvoy ranked as high as 12 on some NHL Draft Boards.
Minnesota Wild: Kieffer Bellows, LW, United States National Team Developmental Program (USHL)
- Minnesota will take a forward. The question is do they go with Kieffer Bellows or Michael McLeod at 15. I'm gonna say they go with Bellows, but its real close at this point and I almost changed this pick to McLeod today.
- Bellows a native from Edina, MN posted 52 points in 58 games and led the Sioux Falls Stampede to the 2015 Clark Cup in the United States Hockey League where they won the 2015 Clark Cup for best team in the USHL thanks to Bellows 9 goals, 3 assists, and 12 points in 12 USHL Playoff games. Now Bellows will play for the United States National Team Developmental Program in 2015-2016 before playing college at Boston University in 2016-2017.
- Whether it's skating as a kid in Minnesota to leading the Stampede to a Clark Cup, to playing for Team USA, to playing for Boston University, you have to like the fact that Bellows keeps traveling to different teams. In 15 USHL games in 2015-2016, Bellows has 14 goals, 13 assists, and 27 points in 18 games. Before playing for the United States National Team Developmental Program, he had 1 goal in the 2015 USA Prospects Game.
- Bellows has tremendous puck handling. He has the shooting accuracy you look for on tape with wrist shot power and slap shot power. This guy forechecks well. He also wins face offs when lined up at center. Bellows is physical at 6-1 194 lbs and will wear an opposing line down. Bellows has the versatility to play left wing, center, or right wing and will be utilized as a power forward in the mold of Brenden Morrow in the NHL.
- Minnesota cannot really go wrong with Bellows or McLeod. I'm gonna give them Bellows since I believe the Wild are more likely to take him over Keller at 15.
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