2016 NHL Draft Rankings: War Room Fall Edition

by Eldon MacDonald (edited by @ChrisRalphTHW)

THW’s War Room: 2016 NHL Draft Rankings

November 2015 Edition: Top 60

The War Room November 2015 Rankings include a listing of 671 prospects, sixty of which are ranked along with ten honourable mentions and five sleepers. The list is fully downloadable and can be used to make your own top 30 or 60 or even beyond. Enjoy!

2016 Draft Fab Five

The new hockey season is well underway. The top draft eligibles are establishing themselves.

Auston Matthews, everybody’s choice as number one pick, was looking like the NHL superstar he is likely to become until he hit his head on the boards in a game on October 23rd and went to the infirmary. He had 10 goals and 17 points in 14 games in the top Swiss professional league, the NLA, before the injury. Auston “Powers” is not the only one battling injury in the top 5. Jakob Chychrun (son of former NHLer Jeff Chychrun), the big defenseman for the Sarnia Sting with the Aaron Ekblad type impact on the game, is just rounding into the form expected of him after rehabbing from a shoulder injury. He has 10 points and is +11 after 14 games. The third player in the top 5 is Jesse Puljujarvi, the big Finnish winger, who has 9 points in 19 games in the top Finnish professional league, the Liiga. Matthew Tkachuk (son of former NHLer Walt Tkachuk) is 4th, looking very impressive in a London Knights uniform with 17 points and a plus eleven in 12 games. Rounding out the top 5 is Patrik Laine, another big Finnish winger who has 7 points in 12 games in the Liiga.

Auston Matthews
Auston Matthews (Photo: Tom Sorensen)

Chief Whipping Boy

Every year there is a chief whipping boy that scouts and fans alike love to rail upon and point out even their most minor deficiencies. This year the chief whipping boy is Sean Day, the same player that was granted exceptional status to player in the OHL for the Mississauga Steelheads at 15. Sean’s main transgressions appear to be a lack of hockey sense and poor conditioning.

Naysayers should be a bit apprehensive about calling out Sean Day because some of the chief whipping boys of the past have turned out just fine. For the record, here’s a list of former chief whipping boys:

  1. 2015: Daniel Sprong – Pittsburg pick at 46th – Post draft year: Made the Penguins out of a camp. More than a few NHL teams are wishing a do over of at least one of their picks to pick up this guy.
  2. 2014: Anthony DeAngelo – Tampa Bay pick at 19th – Post draft year: CHL defenseman of the year in 2014-15. He has 7 points in 8 games for the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL this year.
  3. 2013: Anthony Mantha – Detroit pick at 20th – Post draft year: CHL player of the year in 2013-14.
  4. 2012: Mikhail Grigorenko – Buffalo pick at 12th – This is an interesting one as Patrick Roy, his old coach from the QMJHL, is trying to rejuvenate his career (2 points and a +2 in 11 games for the Avalanche). The jury is still out but the potential is still there for this big centre prospect (6’2, 209).
  5. 2011: Sean Couturier – Philadelphia pick at 8th – I always thought the criticisms of Sean Couturier during his draft year were most unfair as he had mono during that season. Since coming to Philadelphia, Sean has established himself as a top NHL defensive centre (ask Evgeny Malkin if you need a reference). The Flyers are attempting to up his offensive game this year by relieving him of some of his defensive duties. With 3 points in his first 8 games, the jury is still out.
  6. 2007: PK Subban – Montreal pick at 43 – Yes, PK Subban is the poster child for whipping boys. Naysayers, however, should note that he did win the Norris trophy in 2012-13 and was a first all-star twice, including last year. This year is not looking too shabby either as PK has 14 points and a +11 in his first 16 games.


Players by Country

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This is the year for players from Finland and the USA. Finland has three players in the War Room top eight (Puljujarvi, Laine and Juolevi) and the US has ten in the first round including three in the top ten (Matthews, Tkachuk and Jones). This is an off year for Canada but it still has twelve in the top 30 and three in the top ten (Chychrun, Brown and Gauthier). Three Russians (Sergachyov, Sokolov and Abramov) and two Swedes (Nylander and Grundström) round out the top 30.

Players by Team

12 of the top players are concentrated on just five teams.

  League Team Players
1 BCHL Penticton Fabro, Jost
2 OHL London Tkachuk, Juolevi, Jones
3 OHL Mississauga Nylander, McLeod
4 OHL Windsor Brown, Sergachyov
5 USHL USA U18 Bellows, Keller, Krys


Rules of Thumb

Most draft years play out in a similar way. So here are the rules of thumb as I see it:

  1. Players 1 to 20-23: Each year a consensus forms on the rankings for the top 20-23 players. Players in that group generally remain in the first round. The consensus forms fairly early so I suspect that 90% or more of the players that I have ranked in the top 20-23 in my latest ranking will be picked in the first round come draft time.
  2. Players 20-23 to 45-50: A later consensus, sometimes after the IIHF U18 tournament, forms on the players in the 20-23 to 45-50 range. This consensus is not as tight as the 20-23 range but about 80 to 90% are likely to be similar for most rankings.
  3. Players over 45-50: There is no consensus after 45-50; the rankings from the ranking agencies and the NHL teams are simply all over the place. I was wondering why this is the case but when you consider that most of these prospects will not make not make it; maybe, it isn’t so surprising. Most of these players have one, two or more NHL marketable skills but not enough to make it to the NHL without significant further development. The guess as to who will develop these skills is not easy as you would hope although some teams are better than others at it.

THW’s War Room Top 60 November 2016 NHL Draft Rankings


  • Your Quintessential Draft Tracker featuring 671 prospects
  • Plus 10 Honourable Mentions
  • With 5 Sleepers


The Ultimate Rankings Spreadsheet Legend

  • Column 1 “E-Mac” = E-Mac’s War Room November 2015 ranking
  • Column 2 “NHL” = NHL Central Scouting’s 2016 Futures List (Yes/No if player included)
  • Only a portion of the table displays by default; you can scroll over to see the rest of the player demographics and statistics or select View full-size workbook option, which is the icon in the bottom right hand corner, to view the full table.
  • The beauty of the above option is that you can then download the file to your computer and play with it or adjust it anyway you like.
  • Be sure to scroll over to see all the specifics on each prospect 
  • The spreadsheet is searchable; simply click on the spreadsheet and utilize CTRL/Command “F”
  • Most prospects are also linked to their elite prospects to get updated stats
  • Given still early in the season, stats from last season also included
  • Tabs “League” and “Nationality” have prospects sorted accordingly


Email: CRalph@TheHockeyWriters.com