NHL Mock Draft: May The Force Be With You

The NHL Draft Lottery has finally played out with the Toronto Maple Leafs winning the prized number one overall draft position. This is the May edition of The Next Ones NHL Mock Draft.

The Great Northern Rebuilds

Canadian franchises have, without a doubt, struggled this season. All seven Canadian teams failed to make the playoffs. Not all are in full rebuild mode. Not all team issues will be fixed through the draft. Fanbases of these teams are all hopeful their team will find at least one key franchise cornerstone in this draft class.

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.”

If only we could use Jedi mind tricks in the predictive process of what might go down in Buffalo this June.

The Order

Pro Sports Transactions was used for for the NHL draft order for this mock draft (accessed May 13th, 2016).

[2016 NHL Draft Guide: The Next Ones]

The Picks

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

Auston Matthews
Auston Matthews (Tom Sorensen/USA Hockey)ews

It’s official. Well, almost official. Leafs land a true franchise player at number one. 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.

2. Winnipeg Jets: Patrik Laine, LW/RW, Tappara (FIN)

(pronounced LIE-nay)

Gifted Finnish forward can certainly finish. He had an absolute monster playoffs in Finland’s top league. He was namedSM-liiga Best Player in Playoffs (Jari Kurri Award). Laine 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. Have the Jets found their second coming of The Finnish Flash?


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.  He notched 9 points in 10 playoff games in Finland’s top league. 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. 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.

5. Vancouver Canucks: 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. He has surpassed the 2 PPG clip thus far in the playoffs. Another of the draft eligible standout performances at the 2016 World Juniors, he tied Matthews for Team USA scoring lead with 11 points.

6. Calgary Flames: Alexander Nylander, RW/LW, Mississauga (OHL)

Alex’s brother is Maple Leafs prospect William Nylander, both sons of former NHLer and ex-Flame, Michael (once dubbed The Swedish Gretzky). Nylander had an impressive debut season in North America as OHL rookie of the year. He also registered 12 points in 6 OHL playoff games. His brother went down early in the World Juniors 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

7. Arizona Coyotes: Tyson Jost, C, Penticton (BCHL)

The University of North Dakota commit possesses tremendous speed, vision and hockey IQ. He recently he captained Canada’s U18 squad at the U18 World Juniors and was named top forward, recording 15 points in 7 games which. 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.

8. 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.

9. Montreal Canadiens: Pierre-Luc Dubois, C/LW, Cape Breton (QMJHL)

Habs ecstatic when Pierre-Luc falls to them. Dubois possesses desirable size, outstanding compete level, and is simply a well-rounded forward overall who will do whatever it takes to win.

10. Colorado Avalanche: 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.

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: Kieffer Bellows, C/LW, USA U-18 (USHL)

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

13. Carolina Hurricanes: 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.

14. Boston Bruins: 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. Fabbro was named a top 3 player on Team Canada World U18 team. Dante notched the most assists of all defenseman with 8 in 7 games. He finished 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.

15. Minnesota Wild: 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.

16. Detroit Red Wings: 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.

17. Nashville Predators: Julien Gauthier, RW, Val-d’Or (QMJHL)

Size. Shot. Skating. An offensive power forward’s hat trick of goodness.

18. Philadelphia Flyers: 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 impressively averaged nearly a point-per-game in college this past season.

19. New York Islanders: 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 24 goals scored in regular season led all CHL defenseman.

20. Arizona Coyotes (via NY Rangers): 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.

21. Carolina Hurricanes (via Los Angeles Kings): Tage Thompson, C/RW, Univ. of Connecticut (NCAA)

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

22. Winnipeg Jets (via Chicago Blackhawks): Samuel Girard, D, Shawinigan (QMJHL)

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

23. 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.

24. Anaheim Ducks: 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).

25. Dallas Stars: Pascal Laberge, C/RW, Victoriaville (QMJHL)

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

26. Washington Capitals: 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.

27. Tampa Bay Lightning: Brett Howden, C, Moose Jaw (WHL)

Prospect Profiler Notes: Quinton’s brother also possesses nice size; complete game; has pro feel about him

28. Boston Bruins (via San Jose Sharks): 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 51 goals scored in the regular season, he was tops for first year draft eligible players in the CHL.

29. Toronto Maple Leafs (via Pittsburgh Penguins): Will Bitten, C, Flint (OHL)

Prospect Profiler Notes: Quick, skilled forward, effective along the boards, does not back down

30. St. Louis Blues: 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?


For 2nd Round Picks continue to here

1st Round Traded Draft Picks

as per MyNHLdraft

# 20 – 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.

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

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

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

# 29 – 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).


Email: CRalph@TheHockeyWriters.com

Twitter: @ChrisRalphTHW