Monday, June 27, 2016

2016 NHL Draft first round grades

As some of my more loyal readers I'm surely are already well aware, there aren't many stronger passions that I possess that exceed my fandom for junior hockey and specifically the NHL draft. Drafts in general can be surmised as crapshoots because at the end of the day you're selecting based off potential, not necessarily concrete results. I'm also not naïve enough to suggest that my opinion is any more right than anybody else's as what enlies in the draft is a great deal of subjectivity which adds to the intrigue when reading respective junior "insiders" perspectives on how each team fared. Originally, I was going to grade each team on their overall performance at the draft but with too many unknowns picked in the later stages of the draft, I'll hedge by bets and dissect the first round performances. I'll grade each pick on a scale out of five. Hope you thoroughly enjoy.

1.Toronto Maple Leafs-Auston Matthews(Zurich Switzerland)


A grade of an inevitable pick can be extremely non chalant as there was essentially nothing Matthews could've done throughout the course of his draft eligible season to play his way out of the top overall selection and that's even considering the strong late fight Patrick Laine put up to provide  an alternative thought process for the Maple Leafs. He's a center, which when engaged in a coin flip, which to clarify, I'm not necessarily classifying this as a coin flip, always land on the side of the number one center because in this day and age the classification is becoming a rarer and rarer commodity.

As a proud Western Canadian, I can't completely ignore the fact that he spurned the WHL(Everett Silvertips property) to acquire a pay cheque in Europe but in fairness to the individual, a new trend may be beginning where the Canadian Hockey League has further difficulty recruiting players as how do you compete with the concept of  an eighteen year old kid making  a hefty wage? The answer bluntly is you can't, and ways to increase attractiveness back with the Canadian Hockey League is another blog post for another day.  Leaf land is salivating over the possibility of Matthews getting paired alongside pending unrestricted free agent Steven Stamkos is becoming more realistic by the day as we inch closer to the July 1st free agency window. Not who I foresee as the best player in this class, but a stud nonetheless and after years of epic failures, the Toronto Maple Leafs I can safely say are headed in the right direction.

My comparable:Jason Spezza

2.Winnipeg Jets-Patrik Laine(Tappara Finland)


He can shoot the puck! What a noble concept. Can he do more to provide justification for the number two overall selection? When I watch Laine play, I can't help but harken back to a comparison of a young Theoren Fleury.. Let's all take a deep breath and for once discard these absurd Teemu Selanne comparables. He's a Fin, duly noted, he's about to suit up for the Jets, once again understood but that my friends is where the comparisons should stop. Teemu Selanne wasn't just  as sniper as in the clutching and grabbing it was his speed that elevated his stardom. Laine by no way shape or form possesses the foot speed that Teemu once did and frankly in my viewings his productivity has been bolstered by playing alongside the likes of Jesse Pulujarvi and Mikko Koivu in international tournaments.  Like mentioned and like everyone in the inner circles of hockey continually giggles about is his shot and while I agree that he'll be dynamite on the power play I fail to see a well rounded game and this pick goes into the vault as a pick that Jets fan will remember for all the wrong reasons.  A power play specialist at number two? Ok Winnipeg.

My comparable:Theoren Fleury

3.Columbus Blue Jackets-Pierre-Luc Dubois(Cape Breton QMJHL)


On certain Social media outlets, I've seen observers pertinent to the happenings of the Columbus organization roast the pick harder then CNN roasts Donald Trump on a daily basis.  I fully sympathize with those who percieved Puljujarvi as the automatic selection at three and are now up in arms over the differentiation but similarly to Matthews, the versatility of Dubois gave him the Quebecois the edge in this spot.

Pierre-Luc is your quintessential late bloomer, a big body who took a longer while to adapt to a grueling seventy plus game schedule in the Canadian Hockey League. If I'm not mistaken, there were those back in 2010 that criticized the Columbus regime(different regime this time around keep in mind) for "reaching" for RyJo. Well....I'd say that worked out pretty well until the incompetent John Tortorella was brought in to steer the ship. Let's keep this in mind, sometimes, most of the time we can't solely judge a players draft stock based on the past year's statistics or if we did, the likes of Simone Gamache, Corey Locke and Ramzi Abid would be locks to be taken first overall. Projections are a large chunk of the equation and while on a personal basis I would've preferred Puljujarvi, Columbus is receiving themselves a long term building block.

My comparable:Eric Staal

4.Edmonton Oilers-Jesse Puljujarvi(Karpat Finland)


Home run, Golden Goal, buzzer beater....whatever patented sports analogy you choose to use in this situation is fine by me and completely accurate as unquestionably the Oilers have received the best player from this draft class. We could go into detail critiquing their roster management adding their millionth winger to the fold but the fact is the scene in Oil county is a little less messy with Jesse. I love the explosiveness with how he skates. The ability to go from 0 to 10 on a step will cause opposing defenceman nightmares for years to come. The likelihood of eventually playing alongside Connor McDavid who possesses unrivaled hockey IQ will put to bed any concerns people have pertaining to his ability to think the game. This is a scoring winger and if I were a fan of the Oilers, which I am, I'd fist say get a gosh darn defenceman, and then I would say we have ourselves our greatest Fin since Jari Kurri with a wholehearted apology going out to the great Jani Rita.

My comparable:Anze Kopitar

5.Vancouver Canucks-Olli Juolevi(London OHL)


The Vancouver Canucks came into this weekend's draft in Buffalo with the organizational consenus that they were in need of a number one defenceman. The Vancouver Canucks are now set to leave Buffalo with the organizational consensus that a number one defenceman is still required. Perhaps I'm being  a little hard on Juolevi but I have a plethora of concerns with the pick which has led me to this conclusion. I'm weary when a player comes over from Europe to North America as a relative unknown and gets shipped to a canadian powerhouse in the London Knights and looks better then what he really is due to who he's teammates with, He makes a good first pass, not the best first pass of all time if you took Sportsnet's Sam Cosentino's word with the 100% believability. Essentially, Olli  tops out as second pairing defenceman and this notion that he's potentially NHL ready is tomfoolery.

My comparable:Craig Wolanin

6.Calgary Flames-Matt Tkachuk(London OHL)


The 2016 Memorial Cup hero has landed in Cowtown and the Flames couldn't be happier as Tkachuk is the prime definition of Brian Burke's favourite word "truculence". The lineage, being the son of St.Louis  Blue great Keith is another tip of the cap to the pick as Matt has lived his entire life understanding the hard work that is needed to succeed at the next level. He's a battler, when you watch him play it's not the most aesthetically pleasing but effective as what impressed me was particularly during the Memorial Cup in Red Deer was his niche to find the open areas and always be in a scoring position. I envision a world where new bench boss and Saskatchewan native Glenn Gulutzan utilizes Matthew on the wing with the shifty fellow American Johnny Gaudreau. It's a combination that projects to be an outstanding match.

My comparable:Zach Parise

7.Arizona Coyotes-Clayton Keller(US NTDP)


A sub plot of the 2016 draft was the amount of prospects projected as first rounders that spent time playing for the St.Louis minor hockey association, Keller was one of five Missouri products who had their name called during Fridays first round so congratulations to the ever growing midwestern hockey circles. To analyze Keller, not unlike Puljujarvi has an exceptional first step but unlike Jesse, doesn't have the coveted size to compliment it.  Initially, I considered giving this selection a four but the more I pondered it, does Keller really fit in to a team need? The Coyotes are filled with a bunch of smaller forwards when delving into the core such as Max Domi,Anthony Duclair, Tobias Reider and eventually Dylan Strome, I question whether more size should've been sought after. Looking at how the draft board played out, I likely would've favoured Logan Brown in this spot.

My comparable:Ray Ferraro

8.Buffalo Sabres-Alex Nylander(Mississauga OHL)


Alex's older brother William once stipulated that his brother was more talented than he was, and that's high praise seeing as how William himself was an eighth overall selection in 2014.The Sabres may be reaching here based off of the reputation William preceded him with but it's well within range leaving me with the description of a bland pick. William spent the majority of the Ontario Hockey League campaign menacing on a line with New Jersey Devil prospects Michael McLeod and Nathan Bastien, who kudos to the Devils for nabbing Bastien where they did. My biggest contention with the young Nylander is his compete in the corners. He backs off and is extremely dependant on his linemates engaging in the dirty areas, I'm not questioning that Alex will grow stronger but it's one thing to put on muscle, it's a complete other to have that determination to fight for what's yours. I view this selection is a complete wildcard.

My comparable:Markus Naslund

9.Montreal Canadiens-Mikhail Sergachev(Windsor OHL)


Talk is talk but in this instance that widely reported viewpoint that Sergachev is the most NHL ready defenceman in this draft is something I'm willing to cosign. It's clear that Canadien fans have long grown tired of Russian turned pylon Andrei Markov, one can opine whether the addition of a young fellow Russian could not only do wonders for the career of Sergachev but could possibly have a secondary effect by re-energizing Markov. The debate begins now Habs fan. We all agree that Sergachev can play in the show as early as next year but with the Windsor Spitfires being awarded hosting duties for the 2017  Memorial Cup, does Marc Bergevin and co cater to Mikail's developmental needs by allowing him to lead the expected Spitfire powerhouse next season.  This is an awfully difficult decison as the Habs are nowhere near contending status but yet they're closer to it with Sergachev as one of the six defenceman. Excellent pick, excellent draft for the Canadiens, nearly handed out a 5/5.

My comparable:Nick Leddy

10.Colorado Avalanche-Tyson Jost(Penticton BCHL)


Jost is widely regarded for boasting phenomenal leadership intangibles. Aside from holding the future captain mantra for the Avalanche, well that is only after a young captain in his own right Gabriel Landeskog stepping aside, more importantly I'm curious on whether his Junior A dominance will be transferable to the NCAA and NHL ranks. The packages that I've witnessed of Jost I see a player who has an underrated shot and has a penchant for joining the rush at opportune times.  If I didn't know any better I would prognosticate that Jost is Jonathan Toews long lost brother. There are too many uncanny similarities for their not to be  a relation. Likely the easiest comparable I'll have to do the entire first round.  In summary, I'm optimistic for Avalanche fans but the tell tale sign will be how he competes against stiffer competition in the NCAA next season.

My comparable:Jonathan Toews

11.Ottawa Senators-Logan Brown(Ottawa OHL)


At the lack of a better adjective, it shocks me that Brown fell to number eleven. It shocks me further that the Devils agreed to make an elementary deal trading down one spot at the expense of losing Brown.We may never know who the Devils had at the top of their draft board, one may presume due to their willingness to drop down that Brown wasn't on their radar and if true.......WHY????? A seventeen/eighteen year old who is a giant at 6'7 and continues to grow provides the Senators with the number one center they have long coveted. Kyle Turris can slide into the two hole, a role for which is more suited pertaining to his skillset. The knock on Brown is that he's missing that killer instinct as he's been "accused" of coasting from shift and shift but I can assure that the motivation behind being a first round pick will change all of that and mark my words, Logan will be a perennial all-star in three to four years.

My comparable:Brent Burns(interesting comparison, right???....future defenceman?)

12.New Jersey Devils-Michael McLeod(Mississauga OHL)


His physicality legitimately surprised me in my viewings. Known as a skill player, but then again who isn't when selected as a forward in the first round, his attention to laying a licking on vulnerable defenceman strikes fear amongst opposition and in actuality opens up portions of his offensive game. In my notes  had compiled for Michael, one thing that constantly stood out like a sore thumb is his propensity to pass up on glorious shooting opportunities. In the National Hockey League, when the scouting report labels you as a passer and not a shooter, defenceman will cheat and limit your own productivity and it's for this reason why I'm giving this pick a 2/5, not necessarily an indictment towards McLeod but because I feel this is a unwarranted reach.

My comparable:Scott Pellerin

13.Carolina Hurricanes-Jake Bean(Calgary WHL)


Surveying the Carolina Hurricanes depth charts. am I incorrect when I see the names of Justin Faulk, Noah Hanifin, Ryan Murphy, Haydn Fleury and now Jake Bean all compiled in the defensive side of things? I'm not incorrect which for sooooo many reasons makes the pick of Bean laughable. Laughable for two reasons. For starters, from a team need perspective, where is the fit and who is going to put the puck in the back of the net for the Canes? Does Head coach Bill Peters have this delusional fantasization that Andrej Netrasil and Nathan Gerbe are going to magically transition into forty goal scorers? Coach Peters.....please give your head a shake as this organization very much like the Edmonton Oilers has a flawed roster management structure. Is the expectation to win games 2-1 every night, if so it would help if you had a goaltender.

Getting this back onto Bean, the second reason why I'm scolding the pick is in my personal opinion when it comes to Bean's hockey ability. In my projections, I would've rated Bean as a third to fourth round prospect. I'm not seeing the hype. Is it because he's an offensive defenceman? If so, have you seen his shot as a player like Luke Schenn who's no sharpshooter would put Bean's shot to shame. Simply put, Bean is a player who has gotten by with an above average skating stride with zero physicality and a shot that goaltenders in Atom hockey would welcome. Some may consider this next statement of mine bold but that is Jake Bean will NEVER be a National Hockey League regular.  I'm sorry if this came across as mean, I'm just calling it how I see it when it comes to Mr.Bean.

My comparable:Steve Eminger

14.Boston Bruins-Charlie McAvoy(Boston Terriers NCAA)


The author of the now infamous tweet that McAvoy sent out back in 2013 which said that he"f'n hates Boston" didn't exactly endear himself to the passionate Boston fan base but any knowledgeable and competent fan is well aware that this tweet came from a fourteen or fifteen year old and can't possibly correlate the tweet to the individual McAvoy is now.Aside from the questionable welcome to the city of Boston, what kind of player is McAvoy? A darn good one at that, full marks go out to the Bruins after a treacherous 2015 first round, they've more then corrected their mistakes by selecting McAvoy. Accumulating fifty six penalty minutes a year ago while playing in the NCAA is rather high for that league which explains to me that their is some ruggedness in his game which unlike his tweet in 2013 is the kind of player that flourishes in Massachusetts. In watching Sportsnet's draft coverage they were speculating asto which players could conceivably jump into the show  next year and I found it telling that not one expert mentioned McAvoy as a possibility. This speaks to the Canadian media's lack of familiarity with the NCAA brand as he's my darkhorse to stick with a Boston defensive group marred in turmoil.

My comparable:Willie Mitchell

15.Minnesota Wild-Luke Kunin(Wisconsin NCAA)


When forecasting the long term dividends of this pick for the Minnesota Wild, this was well thought out as the inclusion of Kunin is a terrific compliment to the type of forwards the Wild currently have in their system. Team speed in recent years has never been a concern for Minnesota but the attention to detail in the defensive zone slowly evaporated under the guidance of Mike Yeo, a trademark that was constantly enforced during the Wild's infancy years under Jacques Lemaire and now under an offensively minded head coach in Bruce Boudreau, it was imperative to pluck somebody into the system that plays a ninety foot game, and they've done that. Kunin is somebody that will more then not project out as a second line center, somebody who's speed will infuse offence whilst being a staple on the P.K. He had no issue with finding the back of the net at Wisconsin a year ago but when I watch his tapes, I'm just not entirely convinced he'll able to supply sustainable offence at the next level.

My comparable:Sergei Brylin

16.Arizona Coyotes-Jakob Chychrun(Sarnia OHL)


Acquiring this pick from the Detroit Red Wings in a ridiculous deal that sent the contract of Pavel Datsyuk to the Arizona Coyotes, and let me just vent that the fact the National Hockey League allows these type of transactions to take place screams competitive inequality. A team basically covered up Detroit's boo-boo by reaching the Salary cup floor by taking a contract of a player who for all purposes is inactive, but I regress as the purpose of this posting is to assess draft performance. Chychrun heading into the 2015-2016 season was perceived as a potential top five pick but his play, as well with injury troubles early in the campaign derailed any hope he may,of had of reaching that pinnacle. Jakob is an elite skater that will pair nicely with a couple of Arizona'e elite defenceman in Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Michael Stone that while more polished lack the top end skating ability(I'm willing to compromise that in some circles, OEK could be a top tier skater), Chychrun will come in, likely in two years and be an asset for the power play, a power play that has struggled in recent years but will surely improve with the influx of young talent coming in., Was it a nice pick, undoubtedly but the price they had to pay opens up a whole different can of worms.

My comparable:Kris Letang

17.Nashville Predators-Dante Fabbro(Penticton BCHL)


The second of three Junior A graduates that had their name called in the first round, specifically in the BCHL which will do wonders for recruitment, Fabbro is a very mundane defenceman that doesn't play with  a lot of flash but will have Predator fans quickly coining the nickname Shea Weber 2.0 pertaining to his electric shot.  I've concluded to grade this pick as a 2/5 for the simple reason that Fabbro isn't the type of skill set that David Poile and company should've been after in this slot. The strenghths in his game are awfully similar to Weber and Ryan Ellis on a Predator blueline that is quickly garnering the unwanted reputation of being slow on foot. Observing the draft  board prior to the pick, they would've been better served going with Julien Gauthier or German Rubstov especially for a franchise that anticipates contending in the very near future. Gauthier or Rubstov provide more NHL ready frames.

My comparable:Ryan Pulock

18.Winnipeg Jets-Logan Stanley(Windsor OHL)


Skimming through social media, I'm reading that a lot of loyal Jet fans are unsatisfied with the pick and while they're entitled to hold this opinion, I'll try to eloquently explain why I feel it wasn't such a reach and why you could be satisfied customers shortly.  Logan Stanley is a big body that will continue to grow into his frame, a sentiment if I'm not mistaken was also relatable to that of current Jet Tyler Myers. He's not the best skater and I certainly won't try to fool anybody by suggesting otherwise but the stronger he becomes the skating will vastly improve. Stanley's defensive awareness stood out under the tutelage of former Western Hockey League goon Rocky Thompson(to think he's a revered head coach  now is shocking) and has drawn enough confidence to the Winnipeg Jets for them to internally justify this pick. He has a professional-esque style of play which makes this pick a safe one and hopefully will quiet down some of the more public critics.

My comparable:James Patrick

19.New York Islanders-Kieffer Bellows


The son of 1982 first overall pick Brian Bellows has landed in Brooklyn and ready to earn the praise of Jay-Z because as I'm sure everybody reading this all knows that Jay-Z has an affinity with any Brooklyn based sports organization. In the 2014-2015 season, one that ultimately put Kieffer on the map, he was a dynamo throughout Sioux City's USHL playoff run accumulating nine goals in twelve games en route to a league championship. The aforementioned championship run garnered him a reputation of stepping up when the game is at it's most climatic point. Kieffer is a sniper who's not afraid to muck it up in the corners and could prove to be a terrific compliment to John Tavares as J.T welcomes anybody who can retrieve him the puck,.

My comparable:Derick Brassard

20.Detroit Red Wings-Dennis Cholowski(Chilliwack BCHL)


Here's my concern with the pick, and perhaps I've been tougher on the Western Canadians thanks in large part to a greater sample size, but very much like Fabbro, the competition was inferior and wasn't forced to engage in one on one battles against the likes of Adam Brooks(Regina), Brayden Point(Moose Jaw) and Kailer Yamamoto(Spokane) so the question remains if he can match wits with some of the games best. Detroit is a drafting giant, so if they saw something that I'm not, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt as they've had head scratcher picks that have materialized before but to summarize, I'm unsure if Cholowski possesses the physical tools to ever slot in as a reliable top four defenceman.

My comparable: Frantisek Kaberle

21.Carolina Hurricanes-Julien Gauthier(Val'dor QMJHL)


The bodybuilder is heading to Raleigh. Ok, so he's not exactly a bodybuilder personally but grew up in a family that made their careers in the field and it's the work ethic instilled in him through the type of regiment that is required to succeed in this type of field. Back to Gauthier, he surprised many by cracking the Canadian entry at the World Junior Hockey Championships and while he may have underwhelmed scouts then, I actually didn't share these findings as what I saw was a player who was a force in the corners who showcased great speed, the only knock on him was that he cancelled out the creativity that we know he has. It's that a sign of a lack of confidence, that'll naturally improve with age and I wholeheartedly expect great things as he will be the pinnacle of the Val'dor Foreurs next season. After a dud with #13,  the same reservations shouldn't be applicable with this pick.

My comparable:Ales Kotalik

22.Philadelphia Flyers-German Rubtsov(U18 Russia)


I keep hearing issues pertaining to character, but I honestly feel these are misguided. Is the fact that the Russian Ice Hockey Federation prides itself on cheating a scathing knock on Rubtsov, if it is that's completely absurd as this has this perceived anti Russian bias written all over it. In doing my due diligence with the pick, fans across social media have compared the work of Hextall here to that of the now criticized selection from the Dallas Stars with Denis Guryanov. Two completely different packages people. Guryanov(not even sure I spelled it right), is a shooter who doesn't play a both ends game while Rubtsov is miles more electric and won't be a liability in the defensive zone. All this bad blood seaming through Russian hockey has me surmising that it may be advisable for Rubtsov to come North of the border and strut his stuff in the Canadian Hockey League and my home town Regina Pats would be an ideal landing spot......just saying German, Regina's a calling.

My comparable:Artem Anisimov

23.Florida Panthers-Henrik Borgstrom(HIFK JR Sweden)


An unknown(relatively unknown) Swede coming to the National Hockey League,a novel idea that's never worked for said team who's drafted these type of players? Right? queue the Henrik Lundqvist's, and Henrik Zetterberg's of the worlds and I think they worked out just fine for the Rangers and the Red Wings respectively and Panther fans are collectively praying that Borgstrom will lead to similar results. Borgstrom is someone that needs to put on strength as he's a little undersized for his height and his commitment to the University of Denver next season will go a long way in better acquainting himself to the North American game. With all the  turmoil in the Panthers front office right now it's imperative that they capitalize on the momentum that was the 2015/2016 season and while some privy to the happenings in South Beach will opine that due to above a more sure fire pick would've been preferable but I'm not willing to write off Henrik just yet.

My comparable:Benoit Pouliot

24.Anaheim Ducks-Max Jones(London OHL)


My ranking of 1/5 has very little to do with Max Jones the player and has more to do with Max Jones the fit on the Anaheim Ducks.The summarization of the Anaheim Ducks is that they have a plethora of size but aside from fellow London Knight Corey Perry they're deprived of a lot of pure scoring. Max Jones is not what I would consider a pure scorer as he's more built in a mold of  a Ryan Kesler type, a trusted two way player who's more effective as a trailer on the rush as opposed to the one initiating the breakout.  If it wasn't obvious enough, I don't see Max Jones ever fitting admirably within the Ducks top nine and it would not surprise me in the least if the Ducks get off to another expected hot start next season if Jones is dangled as trade bait to push the quack attack to a point where they haven't been since 2007.

My comparable:Cory Stillman

25.Dallas Stars-Riley Tufte(Fargo USHL)


Unlike the Ducks synopsis above, the addition of Tufte fulfills a team requirement and those in the heart of Texas will quickly fall in love with Riley. Let's not call a spade a spade, size matters and Tufte has that in spades. At 6'5, he currently occupies the left wing position but based off of my viewings I firmly maintain he'd be a better player at center. I'm not fully convinced Tufte will ever be a feared scorer in the show but he'll be your prototypical  power forward who will, similarly to Logan Brown a nightmare matchup for National Hockey League calibre defenceman. We'll see if Minnesota-Duluth head coach Scott Sandelin can locate Tufte's offensive game while away at college because if he can, can you imagine a scenario where Jamie Benn and Riley Tufte are flying down to the corners together? Scary proposition.

My comparable:Chris Kreider

26.St.Louis Blues-Tage Thompson(Connectictut NCAA)


Another giant who's name gets called in the first round. The city of St.Louis hasn't had an athlete this intimidating since the days of the great Orlando Pace. I exaggerate of course but let's take a second to dig into the evaluation of Thompson. Thompson for his size is an exquisite skater which as a general statement is becoming an increasing inevitability when it comes to these tall, lanky types something that wasn't the case in the late nineties/early two thousands.  Thompson has spent a year at Connecticut but he's a darkhorse of mine to be considered NHL ready. The way he skates could create the dilemma of where Ken Hitchcock could slot Thompson in as the third line center as it's expected the Blues will allow David Backes to walk in free agency. A long shot I concur but based on the skillset, something that I imagine will be  deeply looked at.

My comparable:Craig MacTavish

27.Tampa Bay Lightning-Brett Howden(Moose Jaw WHL)


Contrary to my harsh outlook with other Western Canadians in this piece, the Lightning nailed one out of the park at number twenty seven with Quenton's little bro Brett. It's very hard to find one facet in Brett's game that he has difficulty with, a pro's pro if you will. His skating is premier, he shoots the puck above average, and more importantly he always knows where to go when particular plays present themselves, These intangibles presumably made the sprint to the podium an easy one for Steve Yzerman. Too many times a prospect gets picked high because of a flashy trait and when they reach that next level, the weaknesses in their game get exposed but this won't be problematic for Howden as like mentioned, he's an all around player that will ease the natural prospect development anxiety that most General Managers are forced to live with.

My comparable:Jason Pominville

28.Washington Capitals-Lucas Johansen(Kelowna WHL)


To offer up a comparison to the game of basketball, this has Andrea Bargnani written all over it. A player who assuredly works hard but is soft as butter and refuses to engage into the hard nosed areas. The great Bob McCown from the Fan 590, and I've referenced this quote on a few occasions throughout the course of creating this blog once said "I wouldn't trust  Bargnani covering the coach let alone an actual defender". To provide some correlation when it relates to Lucas Johansen,  if I was a coach  I wouldn't feel comfortable him covering a fourth line mucker from the ECHL knowing full well their was a high probability he'd get taken for lunch for. To spin this to a more positive angle for Caps fans, the lineage being the brother of Ryan Johansen can only help his development as right now his only area of strength is the ability to push up the puck offensively. Earler I hinted at a positional change down the road for Logan Brown, it's definitively possible that a similar change for Johansen could signal promising results.

My comparable:Ladislav Smid

29.Boston Bruins-Trent Frederic(Wisconsin NCAA)


The addition of Trent Frederic at twenty nine has been panned amongst critics. This is an unfair criticism from my vantage point because Trent Frederic is a quality prospect although I will support the majority agreement that trading down in all actuality could've landed Frederic but credit to Don Sweeney for stepping up and taking the player he targeted notwithstanding the backlash he has begun to receive. Frederic's style is very mundane, prides himself on displaying a North/South game that you know will bring an honest effort each night. It's likely that he'll never be counted to deliver top six minutes and with that I realize some of you are up in arms asking why you would ever bring in a first round commodity who doesn't project to a top six role which is a fair inquiry but keep in mind that sometimes a player who brings a consistent effort trumps a Alex Kovalev who shows up once every tenth night.

My comparable:Scott Lachance

30.Anaheim Ducks-Sam Steel(Regina WHL)


Disappointing first round for the Ducks eh? Here's the thing about Sam Steel and being from Regina I feel I can speak the loudest about due to the amount of times I've seen him play and that is that he can't lead a team in junior, let alone future professional escapades. He's a small, shifty player but the amount of times he gets pushed off the puck is staggering. The Regina Pats find themselves in a transitional period that was supposed to revolve around Sam Steel but due to inconsistent progression and sporadic injury issues, General Manager and Head Coach John Paddock was forced to bring in secondary pieces at the expense of the long term outlook of the franchise. In my projections, I saw Steel as a late second/early third round prospect and I hope my analysis on this player can be trusted with the quantity of times I've seen Sam in person. He'll always be effective on the power play because of the soft mitts but the unfortunate realization is that he'll be a liability in all other areas long term. I sincerely hope Steel proves me wrong.

My comparable:Robert Kron

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

2016 NHL Mock Draft

Here below is a two round NHL Mock draft for this summer's crop of young talent that I have constructed.

1.Toronto Maple Leafs-Auston Matthews(Zurich Lions)
2.Winnipeg Jets-Patrik Laine(Tappara Finland)
3.Columbus Blue Jackets-Jesse Puljujarvi(Karpat Finland)
4.Edmonton Oilers-Olli Juolevi(London OHL)
5.Vancouver Canucks-Matt Tkachuk(London OHL)
6.Calgary Flames-Pierre-Luc Dubois(Cape Breton QMJHL)
7.Arizona Coyotes-Mikhail Sergachyov(Windsor OHL)
8.Buffalo Sabres-Jakob Chychrun(Sarnia OHL)
9.Montreal Canadiens-Alexander Nylander(Mississauga OHL)
10.Colorado Avalanche-Logan Brown(Windsor OHL)
11.New Jersey Devils-Kiefer Bellows(US NTDP)
12.Ottawa Senators-Tyson Jost(Penticton BCHL)
13.Carolina Hurricanes-Clayton Keller(US NTDP)
14.Boston Bruins-Dante Fabbro(Penticton BCHL)
15.Minnesota Wild-Charlie McAvoy(Boston U)
16.Detroit Red Wings-Jake Bean(Calgary WHL)
17.Nashville Predators-Michael McLeod(Mississauga OHL)
18.Philadelphia Flyers-Brett Howden(Moose Jaw WHL)
19.New York Islanders-Luke Kunin(Wisconsin U)
20.Arizona Coyotes-Max Jones(London OHL)
21.Carolina Hurricanes-Samuel Girard(Shawinigan QMJHL)
22.Winnipeg Jets-German Rubtsov(Vityaz Poldolsk RUS)
23.Florida Panthers-Logan Stanley(Windsor OHL)
24.Anaheim Ducks-Julien Gauthier(Val'dor QMJHL)
25.Dallas Stars-Vitali Abramov(Gatineau QMJHL)
26.Washington Capitals-Tage Thompson(Connecticut U)
27.Tampa Bay Lightning-Rasmus Asplund(Farjestad Sweden)
28.St.Louis Blues-Boris Katchouk(Sault Ste.Marie OHL)
29.Boston Bruins-Carl Grundstrom(Modo Sweden)
30.Toronto Maple Leafs-Carter Hart(Everett WHL)

Round Two:

31.Toronto Maple Leafs-Pascal Laberge(Victoriaville QMJHL)
32.Edmonton Oilers-Riley Tufte(Fargo USHL)
33.Florida Panthers-Filip Gustavsson(Lulea Sweden)
34.Columbus Blue Jackets-Alex DiBrincat(Erie OHL)
35.Calgary Flames-Cameron Morrison(Youngstown USHL)
36.Winnipeg Jets-Cliff Pu(London OHL)
37.Arizona Coyotes-Markus Niemelainen(Saginaw OHL)
38.Buffalo Sabres-Kale Clague(Brandon WHL)
39.Montreal Canadiens-Libor Hajek(Saskatoon WHL)
40.Colorado Avalanche-Luke Green(Saint John QMJHL)
41.New Jersey Devils-Tyler Benson(Vancouver WHL)
42.Ottawa Senators-Will Bitten(Flint OHL)
43.Carolina Hurricanes-Sam Steel(Regina WHL)
44.Tampa Bay Lightning-Nathan Bastien(Mississauga OHL)
45.Montreal Canadiens-Brett Murray(Carleton Place CJHL)
46.Detroit Red Wings-Jordy Stallard(Calgary WHL)
47.Nashville Predators-Victor Mete(London OHL)
48.Philadelphia Flyers-Adam Mascherin(Kitchener OHL)
49.Boston Bruins-Taylor Raddysh(Erie OHL)
50.Carolina Hurricanes-Brandon Gignac(Shawinigan QMJHL)
51.Los Angeles Kings-Cam Dineen(North Bay OHL)
52.Philadelphia Flyers-Noah Gregor(Moose Jaw WHL)
53.Calgary Flames-Ryan Lindgren(US NTDP)
54.Pittsburgh Penguins-Dmitri Sokolov(Sudbury OHL)
55.Calgary Flames-Evan Fitzpatrick(Sherbrooke QMJHL)
56.Toronto Maple Leafs-Mitch Mattson(Bloomington USHL)
57.Tampa Bay Lightning-Jordan Kyrou(Sarnia OHL)
58.St.Louis Blues-Keaton Middleton(Saginaw OHL)
59.San Jose Sharks-Jacob Cederholm(HV71 Sweden)
60.Pittsburgh Penguins-Max Lajoie(Swift Current WHL)