2016 NHL Mock Draft: Post Deadline Edition

The NHL Trade Deadline has come and passed. Now the focus for NHL teams is to either fight for the playoffs or to solidify their place at the bottom of the League. With 20 games or less remaining for most teams, there’s not much time left. While there are a few teams that are currently out of the playoffs that have a chance to fight their way back in, the bottom-10 teams seem to be set. All that’s left to figure out is who will pick where.

This mock draft isn’t using a lottery for the sake of showing the standings as they stand, not including last night’s games. It will also only feature the teams that will be involved in the draft lottery So that means no playoff teams. So let’s get it started.

Team USA's Auston Matthews after winning a bronze medal at the 2016 World Junior Championship in Helsinki, Finland (J.DeLuca/THW).
Team USA’s Auston Matthews after winning a bronze medal at the 2016 World Junior Championship in Helsinki, Finland (J.DeLuca/THW).

1. Toronto – Auston Matthews

Position: C

Height: 6’1″

Weight: 210 lbs

ISS February Ranking: 1

The Toronto Maple Leafs have amassed a pretty good group of prospects that includes William Nylander, Kasperi Kapanen and Mitch Marner. Add Matthews to that group and the Leafs future looks even brighter than it does already.

2. Edmonton – Patrik Laine

Position: Left Wing

Height: 6’4″

Weight: 209 lbs

ISS February Ranking: 4

Another year, another high pick for the Oilers. While missing out on Matthews, drafting the 6’4″ Laine would give them size and skill. Considering the Oilers tallest players are Luke Gazdic, Zack Kassian and Patrick Maroon, Laine would be a pretty good addition to the top-six. Putting him alongside Connor McDavid would be just plain scary.

3. Calgary – Jesse Puljujarvi

Position: Right Wing

Height: 6’3

Weight: 203 lbs

ISS February Ranking: 2

Like Laine, Puljujarvi gives the team that drafts him size and skill. While he is an inch shorter than Laine, he perhaps is the more skilled of the two Finns. Already having Sam Bennett, Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau, Puljujarvi would just add to the skill that is building up in Calgary.

Matthew Tkachuk
Matthew Tkachuk of the London Knights. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images

4.Winnipeg – Matthew Tkachuk

Position: Left Wing

Height: 6’1″

Weight: 195 lbs

ISS February Ranking: 3

26 years ago, Keith Tkachuk was drafted 19th overall by the original Winnipeg Jets in the 1990 Draft. It would be so fitting for the new version of the Jets to take his son Matthew in the 2016 Draft.

5. Buffalo – Jakob Chychrun

Position: Defense

Height: 6’2″

Weight: 215 lbs

ISS February Ranking: 5

With the past two drafts, the Sabres have ended up with Sam Reinhart and Jack Eichel. It’s time for the Sabres to pick a defenseman. You can’t get a better in this draft than the second second-generation player taken in this draft, Chychrun. Chychrun’s father Jeff Chychrun played eight seasons in the NHL from the 1986-87 season to the 1993-94 season.

6. Columbus – Olli Juolevi

Position: Defense

Height: 6’2″

Weight: 179 lbs

ISS February Ranking: 10

One of, if not the best defenseman for Team Finland in the World Junior Championships, Juolevi will give Columbus an even better defense down the road, joining Seth Jones and Ryan Murray. He was actually named to the tournament All-Star team.

7. Arizona – Alex Nylander

Position: Right Wing

Height: 6’0″

Weight: 179 lbs

ISS February Ranking: 7

Arizona just loves taking players whose father’s played in the NHL. With Nylander available, why not continue the trend? Older brother William has said that the youngest Nylander is the more skilled of the two. That’s pretty good news for whoever picks him considering William’s pretty good.

8. Vancouver – Pierre-Luc Dubois

Position: Left Wing

Height: 6’2″

Weight: 202 lbs

ISS February Ranking: 13

One of the fastest risers of this year’s draft, Dubois could be a big help for the semi-rebuild that’s going on in Vancouver. After trading away Hunter Shinkaruk, Dubois would be a good replacement on the prospect depth chart.

9. Montreal – Julien Gauthier

Position: Right Wing

Height: 6’3″

Weight: 225 lbs

ISS February Ranking: 16

Montreal needs size. Montreal needs scoring. Gauthier would supply both. He was the only draft-eligible player to make Team Canada in the World Juniors this year. The fact that he is from Quebec is just a bonus for the Habs.

Michael McLeod
Michael McLeod of the Mississauga Steelheads. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images

10. Carolina – Michael McLeod

Position: Center

Height: 6’2″

Weight: 188 lbs

ISS February Ranking: 6

McLeod was named the Player of the Game in the CHL Top Prospects Game. In a game meant to showcase some of the best draft-eligible players, that’s a pretty good accolade to have. Also, with the trade of Eric Staal, the Hurricanes could use a player that could end up playing like Staal.

11. Ottawa – Mikhail Sergachyov

Position: Defense

Height: 6’2″

Weight: 206 lbs

ISS February Ranking: 9

With Marc Methot and Dion Phaneuf no longer as young as they used to be, the Senators should consider taking a defenseman that should be ready in the years around one or both of them leaving. With “The Russian Factor” being less of a factor every year, Sergachyov would be a good pick with little to no risk.

12. Minnesota – Clayton Keller

Position: Center

Height: 5’9″

Weight: 168 lbs

ISS February Ranking: 15

“The College/University Factor” might just have replaced “The Russian Factor”. With an increased amount of drafted college/university players choosing to become free agents, teams could be scared off. However, I don’t see Minnesota being afraid as they take a lot of college-bound players.

13. New Jersey – Dante Fabbro

Position: Defense

Height: 6’0″

Weight: 189 lbs

ISS February Ranking: 20

Another university-bound player Fabbro would be a good pick for New Jersey. They have not taken a defenseman in the first round since Adam Larsson in 2011. It’s time to take another higher-end defenseman.

14. Colorado – Jake Bean

Position: Defense

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 173 lbs

ISS February Ranking: 21

Closing out the lottery potion of the draft, the Avalanche take a defenseman that came out of nowhere after not being drafted into the CHL. With the Avalanche seeming to always be in need of a defenseman, they need to take one and hope he works out this time.