NHL Mock Draft: March Madness Edition

While March Madness is synonymous with NCAA college basketball, it’s also as good a time as any to conduct another instalment of The Next Ones NHL Mock Draft. The dealing has been done. Some teams are still jostling to secure playoff spots. Others are looking to ensure they are well positioned for June’s entry draft in Buffalo.

The Great Northern Lottery

Canadian franchises have, without a doubt, struggled this season. As it currently stands, all seven Canadian teams find themselves in the bottom ten in the league standings. Fanbases of these teams are all hopeful their team will win the NHL Draft Lottery.

The Perils of Mock Drafting

“Whether it be the Boston Bruins going off the board to take Zachary Senyshyn, the rapid rise or fall of a Swedish blueliner’s stock, or Nikita Korostelev free-falling to the seventh round, a mock draft can go off the rails quicker than Auston Matthews can execute a dynamic, game-changing play. This draft class, though maybe not as heralded as the 2015 McEichel special one, possesses great depth.”


The Order

The NHL Draft Order for this mock draft was determined by team points per game up to March 8th, 2016 with the simulation ran once via Future Considerations’ NHL Draft Lottery Simulator.

The Winners

NHL Mock Draft Lottery

Carolina might be considered the real winners, moving up substantially to snag the number two draft slot.

The rest of the draft order for current lottery eligible squads would then look like:

NHL Mock Draft Lottery

For the rest of the order, outside the lottery picks, Tankathon, was utilized. For the purposes of this mock draft, no trades were conducted.

The Picks

Auston Matthews
Auston Matthews (Tom Sorensen/USA Hockey)

[Skip to 2nd round picks]

1. Toronto Maple Leafs: Auston Matthews, C, Zurich (SUI)

Were he born two days earlier, Auston “Powers” would have given Jack Eichel a run for his money for the 2nd overall pick in the 2015 Draft. Team USA and is eventual NHL team hopeful he develops into an American version of Jonathan Toews. Leafs land a true franchise player at number one.

2. Carolina Hurricanes: Patrik Laine, LW/RW, Tappara (FIN)

(pronounced LIE-nay)

Gifted Finnish forward can certainly finish, finished tied for goal-scoring at World Juniors lead with Auston Matthews – 7 goals apiece. Impressive offensive instincts. Rocket shot. Slick puck handling. 6’4″. Highly desirable talent. Laine will likely be battling countryman Puljujarvi for the number two slot.

3. Columbus Blue Jackets: Jesse Puljujarvi, RW, Karpat (FIN)

(pronounced pool-you-YAR-vee)

The Blue Jackets opt to draft the Finnish Ultimate Weapon to terrorize NHL defenses everywhere from the right wing. Puljujarvi capped off a dominating performance at the World Juniors with a gold medal win. He notched 17 points in 7 games to lead the tournament. To give some perspective, knowing it is difficult to compare years, generational talent Connor McDavid registered 11 points in 7 games at the 2015 World Juniors. Size. Powerful skating with afterburner acceleration. Hockey Sense. Puljujarvi is a legitimate threat to supplant Matthews as the first overall selection.

4. Calgary Flames:  Matthew Tkachuk, LW, London (OHL)

Son of Keith is a chip off the old block and has been torching the OHL all season long, producing at a nearly two points per game clip. Another of the draft eligible standout performances at the World Juniors, he tied Matthews for Team USA scoring lead with 11 points. 

5. Winnipeg Jets: Jakob Chychrun, D, Sarnia (OHL)

Tantalizing combination of size, skating ability, skill and hockey smarts. Chychrun plays a smooth transition game and brings a physical game when the situation calls for it.

6. Edmonton Oilers: Olli Juolevi, D, London (OHL)

(Pronounced YU-oh-leh-ve)

Juolevi is yet another of the 2016 Finnish draft eligibles who struck gold in Helsinki at the most recent instalment of the World Juniors. Like his wingmen, he was an integral part of the team, far from a passenger. He is extremely poised on the blueline, times his attacks to perfection, and is strong defensively. His NHL arrival will be anxiously awaited in Edmonton.

7. Arizona Coyotes:  Pierre-Luc Dubois, C/LW, Cape Breton (QMJHL)

Dubois possesses desirable size, outstanding compete level, and is simply a well-rounded forward overall who will do whatever it takes to win.

8. Vancouver Canucks: Alexander Nylander, LW/RW, Mississauga (OHL)

Alex’s brother is Maple Leafs prospect William Nylander, both sons of former NHLer, Michael (once dubbed The Swedish Gretzky). His brother went down early in the tournament with an injury; Alex put his talents on display with 9 points in 7 games, finished tied for sixth in scoring at the World Juniors. The cerebral winger has also transitioned nicely to the the North American game as evidenced by his production in the OHL.

Oh, and his full name, for the record (via Elite Prospects): 

  • Alexander Maximiliam Michael Junior Nylander Altelius 

9. Buffalo Sabres: Mikhail Sergachyov, D, Windsor (OHL)

Talented two-way Russian defender has the talent to potentially dominate at both ends of the rink. He is a powerful and smooth skater, tenacious, has exceptional anticipation, and exudes confidence with respect to puck skills.

10. Montreal Canadiens: Mike McLeod, C, Mississauga (OHL)

The relentless, crafty centreman is a speed demon. He is a responsible forward and helps his team’s possession game with his strength in taking face-offs. 

11. New Jersey Devils: Clayton Keller, C, USA U-18 (USHL)

Slightly undersized centreman is an adaptive, explosive offensive catalyst with the shot of a marksman. He’s a Boston University commit.

12. Ottawa Senators: Tyson Jost, C, Penticton (BCHL)

The University of North Dakota commit possesses tremendous speed, vision and hockey IQ. At December’s World Jr. A Challenge, Jost was MVP for gold medal winning Canada West, leading the tournament in scoring with 9 points in 4 games. Interestingly (but not very valuable comparatively), to date he has amassed more points than any other first year draft eligible prospect (in the BCHL).

13. Colorado Avalanche: Jake Bean, D, Calgary (WHL)

Super-poised blueliner is an apprentice to Philadelphia Flyers’ first rounder Travis Sanheim, and himself looks more than capable of running a NHL powerplay QB, and log plenty of all-situation minutes. He’s a smooth, sublime skater with outstanding puckhandling skills. His 23 goals scored to date lead all CHL defenseman.

14. Philadelphia Flyers:  Kieffer Bellows, C/LW, USA U-18 (USHL)

Brian’s son: American Sniper, the hockey prospect. 

15. Minnesota Wild:  Max Jones, LW, London (OHL)

Some have pegged Jones as the Lawson Crouse of this year’s draft class. The power forward is skilled, difficult to play against, and can chip in offensively.

16. Detroit Red Wings: German Rubstov, C, Team Russia U18 (MHL)

Robstov is the classic prospect that seemingly comes out of nowhere in his draft year to have an astronomical rise up many draft rankings. He had a standout World Jr. A Challenge for Russia with his magician-like hands on display. He’s a skilled and powerful player who makes his teammates better, while being a matchup nightmare for the opposition. He was Red Wings written all over him.

17. Toronto Maple Leafs (via Pittsburgh Penguins):  Julien Gauthier, RW, Val-d’Or (QMJHL)

Size. Shot. Skating. An offensive power forward’s hat trick of goodness. 40 goals in 49 games played thus far.

18. Nashville Predators: Logan Brown, C, Windsor (OHL)

The son of veteran NHL blueliner Jeff Brown is a mammoth, mobile 6’6” centre who possesses an enticing skill-set, with good puck skills, and he uses his frame effectively.

19. Boston Bruins (via San Jose Sharks): Dante Fabbro, D, Penticton (BCHL)

Fabbro, like Jost, is from the high octane Penticton Vees of the BCHL. He is a mobile two-way blue liner with a penchant for the offensive side of the game. He is composed and makes good decisions with the puck. He currently sits sixth in the BCHL in points-per-game, scoring at a 1.49 PPG clip. For perspective, the next closest defensemen is 20 year old Yanni Kaldis at 27th. Like Keller, he’s a Boston University commit.

20. Boston Bruins: Rasmus Asplund, C, Färjestad BK (SHL)

Asplund is one of the youngest players in the Sweden Elitserien League (SHL). He was impressive at the World Juniors, putting his speed and outstanding hockey IQ on display.

21. Florida Panthers: Charlie McAvoy, D, Boston University (H-EAST)

Mature, confident two-way defenseman with good hockey instincts plays a game that should translate seamlessly to the NHL.

22. Arizona Coyotes (via NY Rangers): Samuel Girard, D, Shawinigan (QMJHL)

Sublime skating, savvy blueliner is undersized, but another player with the ability to overcome this perceived shortcoming. He is one of the top scoring defenseman in the CHL this season.

23. Tampa Bay Lightning: Luke Kunin, C, University of Wisconsin (NCAA)

Complete player with high compete level all over the ice, Kunin plays with speed and has a laser precision shot, and gets it off his stick quickly. He’s impressively averaging nearly a point-per-game in college.

24. New York Islanders: Alex DeBrincat, RW, Erie (OHL)

Scoring at a ridiculous clip in the OHL. If he was 5’11’’, we’re likely talking top 10 consideration. He has superior hockey sense, elusive mobility, and dynamic offensive ability. He had a frustrating World Juniors tournament – one of those scenarios in which he did not help his stock, but won’t greatly suffer as a result either. With 44 goals scored thus far, he is tops for first year draft eligible players in the CHL.

25. Carolina Hurricanes (via Los Angeles Kings): Pascal Laberge, C/RW, Victoriaville (QMJHL)

The highly skilled centreman had a brilliant performance and Team Orr MVP at CHL Top Prospects Game.

26. St. Louis Blues:  Dillon Dube, C, Kelowna (WHL)

Complete 200 ft player, never gives up; responsible, speedy forward with a deceptive shot.

27. Anaheim Ducks:  Nathan Bastian, RW, Mississauga (OHL)

Stock rising on this banging and crashing big power forward who is smart with the puck.

28. Dallas Stars*: Vitali Abramov, LW, Gatineau (QMJHL)

Undersized dynamic forward is lighting up the QMJHL.He possesses hyperdrive acceleration. Will he slip in the draft due to size or be a draft day riser because of The Gaudreau Effect? 

*If pick transfers to the Calgary Flames (see trade notes below), highly unlikely they would select Abramov. The two forwards below would be tempting, but  in this mock draft they go with:

Libor Hajek, D, Saskatoon (WHL)

Rock solid, smooth, poised blueliner; effortlessly fends off attackers

29. Winnipeg Jets (via Chicago Blackhawks): Riley Tufte, LW, Fargo (USHL)

6’5″ skilled power forward has been tagged a clutch performer. He just won the Mr. Hockey Award (Minnesota HS Award).

30. Washington Capitals: Tage Thompson, C/RW, Univ. of Connecticut (NCAA)

6’5″ forward is impressively second on UConn (NCAA) in team scoring.


For 2nd Round Picks continue to here


1st Round Traded Draft Picks

as per MyNHLdraft

# 17 – Toronto receives Pittsburgh’s 2016 1st round pick (conditional – lottery protected) and a 3rd round pick, Kasperi Kapanen, Scott Harrington and Nick Spaling for Phil Kessel, Tyler Biggs, Tim Exiron and Pittsburgh’s 2016 2nd round pick (previously acquired, and is conditional).

# 19 – Boston receives San Jose’s 2016 1sts round pick and Sean Kuraly for Martin Jones.

# 22 – Arizona receives the NY Rangers 2016 1st round pick (lottery protected), a 2015 2nd round pick, Anthony Duclair, and John Moore for Keith Yandle (50 percent of his salary retained by the Coyotes), Chris Summers and a 2016 4th round pick.

# 25 – Carolina receives Los Angeles’s 2016 1st round pick and Roland McKeown for Andrej Sekera.

# 28* – Flames receives Stars 2016 1st round pick conditional if Stars reach 2016 Western Conference Finals and Kris Russell plays at least half the games in rounds 1 and 2.

# 29 – Winnipeg receives Chicago’s 2016 1st round pick, Marko Dano and a conditional pick for Andrew Ladd, Jay Harrison and Matt Fraser.


Email: CRalph@TheHockeyWriters.com