The Nation Network Top 60 Draft Profile Overview and Summaries

Updated: January 11, 2018 at 2:24 am by Jeremy Davis

The 2016 NHL Entry Draft is just a few days away and the Nation Network Draft Profiles are finally complete. We know that things can get a little crazy on draft day and you won’t want to be running all around the internet looking for our super great taeks on the best prospects available at this year’s draft.

So I’ve compiled them all in one spot. Here we have a top 60 list with a little bio info, some stats and some pGPS projection numbers, a beautiful new magazine, as well as a brief summary of each prospect in our top 60 and links to the full profiles. Eat your hearts out draft lovers, the big day is nearly upon us.

The Nation Network Top 60

Draft Chart

You might notice that the pGPS numbers reported in this chart are occasionally different than the ones reported in the original draft profiles. The reason for that is that the original numbers I distributed to the Network staff were created a couple of months ago, and the pGPS is constantly evolving. I am always experimenting with different ways of weighting the formula in order to optimize the predictability of the metric. These numbers are the derived from the most recent formula that I’ve been using.

You can read more about the pGPS metric and how to interpret it here.

*German Rubtsov does not have a pGPS score because I have not created a database for the MHL, where Rubtsov played last year. This is because the league has only been in operation for half a dozen years, meaning there isn’t a reliable historical precedent for comparable players. There may be mays to work around this, and I’m exploring them for use in the future.

*Carter Hart does not have a pGPS score because he is a goalie and goalies are voodoo.**

**I don’t actually think goalies are voodoo, I just don’t have as firm a grasp on them, so I defer to experts. I just really enjoy the voodoo narrative. Don’t @ me.

Battalion: A Draft Preview Magazine

Our resident graphic designer Matthew Henderson has put in some huge hours recently to create a beautiful downloadable magazine that contain all 60 our of draft prospect profiles. Feel free to download a copy for yourselves, maybe even print one, and use it for reference on draft day and beyond!

In order to download your copy, click the share button under the magazine and click download. You can create an account using your Facebook, Google, or Linked In profile, then download and print the magazine.

Draft Profiles Recaps

#1 – Auston Matthews (C)

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Quite simply, Laine should go second overall and Matthews will be first overall because he is the best prospect available in this year’s class.

Given that the American plays centre, it is an important part to include when deciding who should go first overall. Matthews plays a 200 foot game that allows him to use all of his skills. He is a very good skater who reads the play very well in all three zones. Although he may not have the same offensive ceiling as some of the other prospects, he makes up for it in the total impact he will make on the game. He just seems to be in the right spot at the right time. He just seems to bury his chances because he was in the right spot. 

He may not create exciting plays or chances, but that’s not a bad thing as he uses his timing, location and teammates to his advantage, so that what looks like nothing can turn into something.

– Ryan Biech

#2 – Patrik Laine (RW)

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2 (EU) 2 2 2 1 1 2 2 2

Laine combines blue-chip skills with well above average size and strength, while performing at historically exceptional levels on multiple stages. Because of these reasons, we find statistical model of pGPS to have no opinion on the player with no statistical cohort. Never before has a 17-year-old dominated the Liiga while standing four inches above six feet tall with a similar birthdate.

Even the most casual draft followers know of Laine’s goal scoring prowess. Many have heard or even seen Laine’s shot release, that would likely already be one of the better shots in the league. Almost everyone has heard about Laine being able to overpower opponents with his sheer size and strength.

– Garret Hohl

#3 – Jesse Puljujarvi (RW)

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3 (Europe) 3 3 3 3 3 3 3

Jesse Puljujarvi is almost undeniably deserving of the third overall ranking for this year’s draft. He’s an incredibly dynamic prospect: big and fast, with great hockey sense and a knack for big-moment performances. He put on a show at the World Juniors this winter, and was terrific in the playoffs for Karpat, putting up 4 goals and 5 assists in ten games.

That Puljujarvi was driving play so effectively at just 17 years old speaks to the completeness of his game. He has size, offensive upside, and two-way acumen. He has the ability to be a big-bodied, two-way, offense-generating first-line winger at the NHL level: a Blake Wheeler-type player.

– Mack Irwin

#4 – Pierre-Luc Dubois (LW/C)

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1 (NA) 5 6 4 6 7 ? 4

At first glance, there isn’t really a flaw in his game – he has elite skating, shooting and hockey IQ. He uses his all of those and his size to protect the puck and create offence. He also has the explosive first couple of strides to separate himself from defenders. If it’s in a down low situation, Dubois isn’t afraid to get in there and muck it up. At this moment, there really isn’t a flaw to his game and it’s no wonder why teams would be tripping over themselves to select him.

Dubois started the season a little rocky, but around the 15-18 game mark of the season he began his steady climb and then hovered around 1.5 PPG. Dubois is a major creator of plays which is reinforced by his 83 primary points, which was first in the entire CHL amongst draft eligible players. 

– Ryan Biech

#5 – Matthew Tkachuk (LW)

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2 (NA) 4 5 5 6 6 4 4 5

There’s a whole lot to like about Matthew Tkachuk, son of former NHLer Keith Tkachuk. He’s big, he’s tough, he’s got a great shot and impressive vision and playmaking ability. As the fifth ranked prospect on our list, he falls right into the wheelhouse of some Canadian teams, making the locals pay even closer attention.

But Tkachuk hasn’t been without his detractors, and while you certainly can’t claim that he isn’t incredibly talented, there is a case to be made that his numbers have been inflated a bit because of who he spent the 2015-16 season playing with.

Speculating on how much of Tkachuk’s success is due to Marner and Dvorak is just that – speculation. It isn’t exactly fair to him to assume that they’re the source of his success, when he hasn’t gotten a legitimate opportunity to sink or swim on his own. Qualitative analysis of Tkachuk’s play suggests that he is still worthy of a top five pick, and we don’t have much else to go on at this point. Even if Tkachuk had help getting to his impressive point totals, we can’t really hold it against him without seeing a large body of work in other situations.

– Jeremy Davis

#6: Clayton Keller (C)

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9 (NA) 12 16 9 4 14 ? 6

Without a doubt, Keller is an extremely talented playmaker with high-end hockey sense, vision and patience who seems to find his teammates in the right spot more often than not. Whether that is a cross-crease dish for a tap in, or a perfectly timed pass that sends his teammate on a breakaway, Keller seems to just find those lanes. He also has high-end skating abilities that allows him to carry the puck with speed while being extremely elusive and shifty when being pressured by opponents.

It’s fair to say that if Keller was a few inches taller, that he would easily and rightfully be in the conversation as a Top 5 pick. As we’ve seen with players like Tyler Johnson and Johnny Gaudreau in recent years, if a smaller player has a high end skill set, they will find a way to make it. Keller reminds many scouts of those two players and looks poised to overcome his smaller stature and carve himself out an NHL career.

– Ryan Biech

#7: Mikhail Sergachev (D)

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8 (NA) 10 8 8 8 9 17 10

Sergachyov is an excellent skater that can carry the puck through traffic and use his frame to protect the puck in close quarters. His head’s always up and looking for an outlet, though he’s just as content to carry the puck himself. He reminds me most of Alexander Edler, though one scout I spoke to felt Mattias Ohlund was a better match.

This isn’t to say Sergachyov is perfect, though. Not by any stretch. He can be reckless with the puck on occasion and could stand to work on his reads from the defensive zone. Luckily for Sergachyov and whichever team drafts him, these are fixable flaws.

Sergachyov is still an attractive defenceman, that could find himself taken anywhere in the 7-20 range of the draft. In all likelihood, his draft position will undersell his upside and the team that’s lucky enough to make the investment will reap huge rewards.

 – J.D. Burke

#8: Jakob Chychrun (D)

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4 (NA) 8 6 14 11 10 9 9 17

Chychrun may in fact still be the draft most “complete” defenceman in terms of his ability to impact all three zones. While Sergachev’s rushing ability and Juolevi’s playmaking are more impressive, Chychrun is the most capable defender in his own zone, the most punishing physical, and has the most impressive raw tools including an absolute cannon of a shot.

Though he has numerous areas that need polishing, he still has the potential to be a top pairing defender, if not the cornerstone that the scouting world once thought he could be. At worst, even if the production doesn’t come, he should still be a minute munching defender – he’s considered to be a near-lock to make the NHL in at least some capacity, giving him one of the highest floors in the draft class – he’s a “safe” pick, if you will.

– Jeremy Davis

#9: Olli Juolevi (D)

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Juolevi is a smooth skating, puck moving defenceman with offensive flair and a penchant for creativity. Though his defensive side is still a bit of a work in progress (and it has improved greatly over the course of the season), his ability to move the puck up the ice, and ,in particular, distribute it in his own zone, in a highly sought after skill set in the NHL.

One of Juolevi’s biggest weaknesses right now is his size and strength, two attributes that are pretty easy to improve of time. If he can improve on those aspects, Juolevi has a solid shot at becoming a first pairing defenceman. “His body is still miles from where it will end up,” said one NHL scout in March of this year. “When he’s in his early twenties and has man strength he will be phenomenal.”

– Jeremy Davis

#10: Tyson Jost (C)

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16 (NA) 9 13 10 9 15 11 13

Though Jost has built his name on lofty point totals, it’s the development of his defensive game that’s solidified his position among the top centres in this year’s draft class. Part of that is his ability to read plays before they develop and use his explosive first step to close distances in an instant. Another is that Jost plays well outside his 5’11” frame and battles as hard as anyone on loose pucks. He’s not one to shy away from the less glamorous parts of playing centre.

It’s not a stretch to suggest that Jost offers the most well-rounded game among the second tier of centres in this draft. There aren’t many holes in Jost’s game, aside from the obvious height deficit he’ll suffer for his entire career playing professional hockey. If he can conquer that, there’s no reason Jost can’t contribute in the top-half of an NHL lineup for years to come.

– J.D. Burke

#11: Alexander Nylander (RW/LW)

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3 (NA) 6 7 6 7 8 6 6

There is no doubt that Nylander is a very skilled prospect who has an intriguing skill set that would thrive in a high-tempo system. He skates very well, has a quick and deceptive release and has good vision when looking for his teammates.  What stood out to me through my viewings, is that if you give Nylander time and space to get his wrist shot off, he places it perfectly. To the point where if he is anywhere around the circles and slot, the expectation is that he is scoring. Obviously, he doesn’t every time, but you just get the sense that he sees a seam, and is aiming for it.

Nylander’s skating is a cut above his peers. He is very shifty and able to switch from edge to edge quickly to avoid pressure. Using those and his stop/starts, he is able to separate himself from defenceman in the OHL and use that time and space to create chances. 

– Ryan Biech

#12: Jake Bean (D)

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15 (NA) 16 16 17 19 12 12 12

Bean may be the best offensive defenceman available in this year’s draft class. Our 26th ranked Samuel Girard did outpace Bean, but there are questions about his size and if he will be able to make it at the next level. Bean suffers no such shortcomings.

Measuring in at 6’1″ and 172 lbs, Bean is already on his way to having an NHL frame and with some weight added, he should easily fall into the ‘normal’ sizing for a good offensive defenceman.

The Calgary native is an excellent skater who uses that skill to effectively eliminate chances in his own zone, and then has the ability to carry and transition the puck to the offensive zone with ease. He continually has his head up looking for chances to create offence on the rush. Not regarded as physical, but doesn’t shy away from battling down low in the defensive zone.

– Ryan Biech

#13: Kieffer Bellows (C/LW)

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10 (N.A.) 17 17 20 14 23 20 16

Kieffer Bellows has a really intriguing set of tools for a potential mid-teens pick. He has a deadly shot, good puck skills, and an excellent power forward game. He isn’t massive, but he plays like he is. He put up a huge statline for the USNTDP this season — 50 goals and 81 points in 62 games.

Skating is definitely a concern, then, for any team considering drafting Bellows. His playmaking game could also use some work; he’s guilty of occasionally getting tunnel vision in going hard straight to the net.

Bellows has spent some time playing centre over the past two years, but more likely projects to play on the wing in the NHL. His absolute ceiling is as a first-line power forward winger, but if that doesn’t pan out, his skill set will translate very well as a strong middle-six winger with a nose for the net.

– Mack Irwin

#14: Michael McLeod (C)

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What makes McLeod such an intriguing prospect is his ability to make high skill plays at speed. He can make passes in any direction to properly set up his teammates for scoring plays or to get the puck out of his defensive zone.

McLeod is defensively reliable and which will endear him to teams looking for a centre with the ability to make an impact shortly after he is drafted. What has some scouts worried, and this may be why McLeod is not ranked as high, is he has not shown a strong ability to score goals.

– Cam Farquharson

#15: Logan Brown (C)

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7 (N.A.) 7 14 19 12 17 15 27

Brown is 6’6, but is far from a traditional power forward. He plays centre and is much more of a playmaker than a shooter, but has an absolute weapon of a wrister when he chooses to use it. His passing is uncanny: he very often manages to find a seam to move the puck to a teammate that others wouldn’t even notice. He uses his size sparingly, but to good effect.

Any of that sound familiar? 

Almost every scouting report you read about Brown mentions Joe Thornton as a comparable. And as silly as it is to compare any 18 year old to Jumbo Joe, the stylistic similarities are certainly there.

– Mack Irwin

#16: Julien Gauthier (RW)

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12 (NA) 21 10 20 10 17 24 26

Part of Gauthier’s appeal is that he’s a throwback. In a game that’s finding itself shorter on power forwards than ever, Gauthier represents a bygone era of hockey with his combination of skill and size, standing at 6’4″. Though Gauthier’s toolkit lends itself most especially to a visceral shoot first ask questions later mentality, it should be noted that he can see the ice exceptionally well and thinks the game at a high-pace.

The elephant in the room is Gauthier’s inability as a setup man this season. No matter how you shake it, 16 assists in a draft year is a terrible look. Then again, Gauthier’s statistical profile suggests that there might be something at work here that’s getting lost in translation.

– J.D. Burke

#17: Dante Fabbro (D)

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A smooth skating, puck mover who put up massive points for the Penticton Vees, had some questions about being able to translate that success to a higher competition level. But after a very good performance at the U18 tournament in North Dakota, Fabbro firmly placed himself in the conversation as a Top 20 pick in this upcoming draft, with thought of him going in the Top 15 as a possibility.

Fabbro possesses a skill set that is extremely attractive to NHL teams. He skates with the puck very well, and as we see from his power play production, can quarterback a power play with ease. Combine that with his smarts in the defensive zone, and Fabbro potentially has the full package to be an NHL defenceman for a long time.

– Ryan Biech

#18: Charlie McAvoy (D)

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McAvoy is a strong skater with good balance and solid edge work, he’s adept and weaving through traffic while skating the puck in on offense, or lining up opposing forwards for hits in his own zone. While he possesses a heavy and accurate shot, where McAvoy really stands out is in his vision and passing ability. Often described as steady or calm, McAvoy’s ability to process the game at high speed allows him to slow things down to help make sure he can make the correct play when he has the puck on his stick. Where McAvoy is lacking right now is in consistency and confidence, while some games he can look like a sure fire top-10 pick, other times small mistakes can snowball into bigger ones and lead to entire games worth of relatively poor performance. McAvoy also needs to work on finding better areas to shoot from, though his low goal numbers can be at least partially attributed to bad luck as he had a very low shooting percentage.

– Andrew Wheeler

#19: Luke Kunin (C)

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There aren’t any obvious holes in Kunin’s game: his skating, defensive awareness, and hockey IQ are all very strong. His best attribute, though, is his shot. 19 of his 32 points this season were goals, and in the 2015 World U-18’s he scored 6 goals in 7 games. He’s a volume shooter, putting up nearly 4 shots per game this season, but he’s also a quality finisher: he has a quick release and a very accurate shot, and was good for a 15% shooting percentage this season.

– Mack Irwin

#20: Alex Debrincat (C/LW)

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There’s every reason to be concerned about DeBrincat’s long term prospects of developing into an impactful NHL player. There are just as many, hell, maybe even more to be optimistic that he can not only develop into a bona fide scorer at the NHL level but a high-end one at that. It’s about finding a spot in the draft for him that accurately reflects the potential without investing too heavily in the risk.

– J.D. Burke

#21: Vitali Abramov (RW)

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I’ve taken a liking to Abramov because his combination of sleight stature and Russian heritage make him a tough sell to general managers. He’s also been gifted offensive ability in spades, possessing fantastic lateral movement and a deceptive wrist shot. His best asset, however, is his stickhandling, as he showed multiple times over the 2015-16 season, dancing around opponents with relative ease. Only one draft-eligible player from the Q produced primary points at a better rate than Abramov — Pierre-Luc Dubois, who is practically a lock to go in the top 5 of this year’s draft.

– Jackson McDonald

#22: Max Jones (W/C)

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14 (NA) 14 23 18 30 18 16 35

It’s clear why Jones is regarded as a probable first round pick this June. He has the wheels, shot, and strength to be an NHL player and that is what will likely get him selected on draft day. You can’t blame teams for thinking that Jones has an desirable skill-set, because if he is able to make the step to the NHL level, his type of game is hard to find. But the risk is that once he faces a higher talent level on a nightly basis and where everyone else is his size or bigger, that he may hit a wall. It is common for players of the same ilk to run into that problem.

– Ryan Biech

#23: Pascal Laberge (C/LW)

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Pascal Laberge is a player that could go anywhere in the 20 to 40 range but will likely hear his name called on the first day of the NHL Draft. Regarded as a hard working, creative playmaker who is lauded for his ‘intangibles’, Laberge presents an interesting skill set that is very attractive.

He possesses good skating abilities that allow him to create opportunities for himself and his teammates – whether that is through forecheck or transition through the natural zone. He obviously will need to improve on his defensive game to make it at the next level, but that is par for the course with any 18-year-old centre.

– Ryan Biech

#24: Tage Thompson (C/RW)

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20 (NA) 25 N/A 25 93 20 28 31

Thompson’s combination of size and booming shot served him well this season and made him an ideal special teams performer as the skills gave him the ability to be a point/half wall triggerman one moment and front of the net presence the next. What really makes him so effective however, is that he has a set of hands rarely seen on such a big man, he showed a strong ability to pick pucks out of scrums and get a shot on net through obstructing bodies. As is often the case with bigger players his skating could use some work, but it is strong enough not to be a significant hindrance and is something he should be able to improve with time. 

– Andrew Wheeler

#25: German Rubtsov (C)

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5 (EU) 15 19 15 13 24 23

As the top ranked Russian forward in the 2016 draft class, Rubtsov has several traits that you’d expect from a Russian trained player: he has pro-level skating ability, a good shot, impressive offensive vision, and fantastic hands – Alessandro Seren-Rosso of Hockey Prospectus remarked that they’re “definitely one of the best set of hands of the draft”.

However, it’s not just his offensive talent that is garnering attention. Rubtsov is lauded for his ability to play in all three zones.

– Jeremy Davis

#26: Samuel Girard (D)

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38 (NA) N/A 24 N/A 45 N/A 23 18

I try my best to avoid using idioms like “boom or bust” whenever possible, but given that we’re talking about a 5’9″ to 5’10” player this might be as deserving a scenario as I’ve come across to date in this series. If Girard’s offence can’t translate to the next level, I wonder how much he can offer and whether it’s enough to make up for the shortcomings in his game. There’s enough to like, though, that the potential reward is well worth the risk and I’d argue slightly in favour of the former. That’s worth getting excited about.

– J.D. Burke

#27: Rasmus Asplund (C/LW)

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4 (EU) N/A 24 25 22 43

First off, the biggest knock on Asplund is his size. At under six feet, he is considered small for a forward. However, in an age where Tyler Johnson, Brendan Gallagher, and Brad Marchand are making meaningful impacts, Asplund should be fine.

What scouts like about Asplund is the use of his speed. Combined with his hockey smarts, he is able to make good plays by creating space with his speed. The real question will be, can Asplund adjust his game to the North American game.

– Cam Farguharson

#28: Will Bitten (C)

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43 (NA) N/A 26 N/A 34 N/A 40 29

Though an undersized, playmaking centre, Bitten possesses many of the traits that foster development at all ends of the rink. His anticipation and ability to process the game at lightspeed especially. That’s part of Bitten’s allure. I don’t foresee Bitten fighting annually for the Selke trophy, but his offensive proficiency comes at no expense to his defensive responsibilities. That’s rare a trait for junior players, but most especially 17-year-olds.

– J.D. Burke

#29: Tyler Benson (LW)

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24 (NA) N/A 28 24 18 26 34 38

There is a reason why Tyler Benson was in the conversation as a possible Top 15 or even Top 10 pick before the season began. He has an NHL calibre shot, that he is able to get it off with limited time and space. His playmaking abilities are his calling card though, he has a knack for finding his teammates in a good spot.

I wouldn’t regard Benson’s skating as good, but it isn’t terrible. I’ve mentioned in previous profiles, that as long as a player is starting from an adequate starting point, skating is a workable skill. 

Benson protects the puck very well, has the hockey sense and patience, to battle through the checking to create space.

– Ryan Biech

#30: Carl Grundstrom (LW)

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6 (EU) NR NR NR 28 NR NR 70

Grundström plays a game that mixes both skill and power. He’s listed at nearly 200 pounds, and while he doesn’t use his size to intimidate opponents, he’s certainly not afraid to throw his weight around. He’s a ferocious forechecker and plays hard in the corners. He has a bit of a “Canadian game”, for lack of a better term, and his skill set is well suited for a bottom six role in the current NHL. That said, he’s got the offensive talent to shift a bit up the lineup if need be.

– Jeremy Davis

#31: Riley Tufte (LW)

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17 (NA) 22 18 19 21 45

Scouts seem to be in agreement that Tufte has raw skill, as is showcased by the points accrued at the high school. However, how much of this can be attributed to his size and playing against much smaller opponents is still unknown. The consensus seems to be that he needs to work on all aspects of his game. 

Tufte has been compared to Rick Nash and that would be a good comparison or any player his size to have, albeit pretty lofty. If he can learn to use his size in offensive situations, then drafting Tufte 31st overall will be a great pick. Additionally, Tufte says he models his game after Nick Bjugstad, a budding centre on the Florida Panthers.

– Cam Farquharson

#32: Dillon Dube (C)

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41 (NA) NR NR NR 44 NR NR

Dubé is a player whose results are largely predicated on his effort level. He’s a bit undersized, but he more than makes up for that deficiency with his speed and strength. As the saying goes, he plays a larger man’s game. His speed and acceleration allow him to catch defenders flat footed and position himself into prime scoring chances. He’s a tenacious player with a hard shot, though he needs to work a bit on his accuracy. He could also stand to use his teammates a little bit more.

– Jeremy Davis

#33: Taylor Raddysh (RW)

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36 (NA) 28 N/A N/A 48 N/A 32 25

Raddysh fits the mold of a traditional power forward almost perfectly. The bulk of his goals come from the ‘home plate’ right in front of the net, where he has a demonstrated ability to find soft areas and get himself open for shots. Raddysh is also adept at digging the pucks out of the corners and has shown to have the vision to find teammates for scoring chances or to work the cycle. While a willing defender, Raddysh’s defensive positioning could be better as he has the tendency to get a little lost in his own zone. His skating could also use some work as his mobility and top speed are not really at the level you’d like to see for an NHL player.

– Andrew Wheeler

#34: Adam Mascherin (C/LW)

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42 (NA) N/A N/A N/A 39 N/A 57 34

It’s not just Mascherin’s size which makes him a difficult match for physically developed defenders, but his speed and general slipperiness. There’s a case to be made that Mascherin possesses one of, if not the single best shot in the draft. He has no qualms using it either, as Mascherin launched nearly four shots a game on net. His shot plot reflects as much, and indicates a trigger happy nature and willingness to launch the puck from, well, everywhere and anywhere.

– J.D. Burke

#35: Brett Howden (C)

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22 (NA) 20 N/A N/A N/A 45

Howden has a large frame, which he uses in corner battles against posing players. He needs to increase his strength to compete against the bigger players at the NHL level, if his game is going to translate to the NHL. The reward for teams is if Howden can translate his game to the NHL level, he can be a good two-way centre with exceptional play-making abilities. When it comes to scoring, you will find him taking the puck to the net, looking for a scrappy goal.

– Cam Farquharson

#36: Kale Clague (D)

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27 (NA) N/A N/A N/A 30 33

It sounds like Kale Clague has the potential to be a pretty good defenseman. The fact scouts are already praising his skating ability is very good. The inability to keep up speed wise in the NHL is one of the reasons why many prospects do not reach the NHL level.

– Cam Farquharson

#37: Sam Steel (C)

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30 (NA) N/A N/A N/A 29 26 41 58

Steel maybe one of the lowest risk/reward players simply because he possesses all the attributes that translate to the NHL. He has NHL calibre skating, and not just simply the speed that is needed, his edge work and stop/starts are something that he already does quite well.  He also has the explosive acceleration to separate himself from his opposition.

– Ryan Biech

#38: Nathan Bastian (LW)

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35 (NA) N/A N/A N/A 76 N/A 29 69

Bastian is a player that doesn’t do anything elite but does everything well. The Kitchener native does possess a good wrist shot, but it can’t be classified as elite. He skates well for his size, but could see an improvement in that aspect, which in this day and age seems to be a workable skill when the player is starting at a reasonably adequate level. He also sees the ice well and is defensively responsible. What makes him attractive is that he has played with two high end talents in Nylander and McLeod and didn’t look out of place.

– Ryan Biech

#39: Cam Dineen (D)

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39 (NA) N/A N/A N/A NR 30

The general consensus with Dineen is that his greatest asset is his mind. He’s been described as a cerebral player and no one would deny that he possesses an above average hockey IQ. What he lacks in physicality is made up by playing sound positionaly and keeping an active stick to disrupt opposition players. While he’s not really considered a burner, he is a smooth skater and does possess the kind of speed needed to effectively jump in to the play or close ground should an opposing player get behind him. He possesses a hard, accurate shot and has a knack for getting it through shot blocking defenders on the way to the net.

– Andrew Wheeler

#40: Libor Hajek (D)

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31 (NA) NR 30 27 ? 19 NR NR

His strengths are mainly rooted on his own side of centre. He excels at puck retrieval and dispersal, making sharp first passes to exit his own zone before opposing forecheckers can get close to him. It seems like a simple task, but it is of vital importance in the modern era, where speed and transition trump size in most cases. Hájek’s hockey IQ is well above average, and he plays the game as if he can see events unfolding several steps in advance.

– Jeremy Davis

#41: Noah Gregor (C)

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45 (NA) N/A N/A N/A N/A 44

Gregor is a quick player and has good offensive zone instincts. He is billed as a two-way centre who is highly skilled. Gregor has been utilized on the power play in his first full WHL season and has passing skills to be a pretty good playmaker.

– Cam Farquharson

#42: Cameron Morrison (LW)

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46 (NA) NR NR NR NR NR NR 40

Cameron Morrison is a physical, shoot-first winger coming off an impressive first year in the USHL, which included a hat-trick in the final game of the season. He was easily the best first-time draft eligible player in the USHL this season from a statistical standpoint. 

Morrison is noted for his strong defensive play in addition to his offensive talent. He’s positionally sound in his own end and is adept at getting his stick into shooting lanes.

– Jeremy Davis

#43: Boris Katchouk (LW)

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25 (NA) 27 N/A N/A N/A 25 44 47

Although you won’t be enamoured by Katchouk in any one way, he does seem to do all the little things well. He skates well, battles hard down low to create turnovers and seems to have a knack for finding the puck. If you can get him to refine his shooting skills and shoot more, there may be something here. But if that isn’t something he can improve, he may be able to carve out a career as a depth penalty killer who chips in offensively with his speed and tenacity.

– Ryan Biech

#44: Markus Niemelainen (D)

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52 (NA) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 33 36

Although I am mentioning his offensive game, it’s merely in hopes that he becomes a complete player. Generally speaking, the defensive defenceman in the NHL saw offensive production during their junior careers. He is already a very good defensive defenceman in the OHL, who has the size, skating ability and hockey IQ to make it at the next level.

– Ryan Biech

#45: Logan Stanley (D)

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19 (NA) 25 N/A 21 N/A 42

Teams looking at Stanley will likely be hoping to get a guy who can be the defensive anchor of a top-4 pairing. While research has shown that even the ‘stay-at-home’ guys at the NHL tended to be strong scorers in junior, there is always a chance that Stanley could break out offensively in the future similarly to a player like Tyler Myers.

– Andrew Wheeler

#46: Carter Hart (G)

Due to his tracking ability, Hart has exceptional patience. His movements around the crease are very efficient, and he arrives immediately square to the player with the puck. That allows him to hold his edges longer than most goaltenders, giving him excellent coverage to his left and right. He is rarely caught reaching, so it’s quite uncommon to see a goal squeak through his body.

– Greg Balloch

#47: Chad Krys (D)

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53 (NA) N/A N/A N/A N/A 86

Krys is well regarded for his offensive game and skating abilities, but will need some time to develop and round out his defensive game. The Philadelphia native will attend Boston University next season, with hopes of rounding out his game there.

– Ryan Biech

#48: Lucas Johansen (D)

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26 (NA) N/A N/A N/A 28 50

What is apparent for Johansen, is that he doesn’t have one trait that is overrides all his other skills. He is a good skater, with sound defensive awareness and valuable offensive instincts. This isn’t a bad thing, because defenceman like that are needed in NHL organizations.

– Ryan Biech

#49: Jordan Kyrou (RW/C)

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34 (NA) N/A N/A N/A 42 37

He is a very smart playmaking player, and when given the opportunity can bury his own chances. When he has the puck, you can see that him patiently waiting for a chance to deliver a perfect pass to his teammate.

– Ryan Biech

#50: Frederic Allard (D)

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32 (NA) N/A N/A N/A N/A 84

Frederic Allard is an offensive defensemen who is extremely lethal on the man advantage and in odd man rushes. Nearly doubling his points total and increasing his goal total from 2 to 10. Allard was part of 26.5% of the goals that the Sagueneens scored this past season.

– Ryan Biech

#51: Luke Green (D)

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40 (NA) N/A N/A N/A N/A 57

Like many defenceman his age, Green will need to round out his defensive game to make it at the next level, but this isn’t to say that he is a liability in his own end, it’s merely suggesting he may have some issues as the quality of his opponents increases.

– Ryan Biech

#52: Adam Fox (D)

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50 (NA) N/A N/A N/A N/A 98

Fox has floated about as a mid-round pick since the beginning of the season. As a member of the USNTDP, he’s clearly a prospect worth keeping on the proverbial radar. That’s an excellent program that’s churned out high-end prospects at an alarming rate in these last few seasons. Wouldn’t be surprised to see Fox land somewhere in the middle of the second-round. Wouldn’t be a half-bad bet, either.

J.D. Burke

#53: Simon Stransky (LW)

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48 (NA) N/A N/A N/A N/A 51

Stransky has the potential to make a lot of people look silly again this season, much like Sprong before him. The offensive toolkit is full-to-overflowing, as his point-per-game clip will attest. So too is his defensive game, as he was called upon to play in a checking role for the Czech Republic at the World Junior Championships this winter.

– J.D. Burke

#54: David Quenneville (D)

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144 (NA) N/A N/A N/A N/A 74

Though Quenneville doesn’t play outside his height, he’s certainly not victimized by it either. Quenneville processes the game at a blazing speed and is slippery from the confines of his own end, as he facilitates breakouts with relative ease.

– J.D. Burke

#55: Jacob Cederholm (D)

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16 (EU) N/A N/A N/A N/A 93

Jacob Cederholm is lauded most especially for his leadership, as he captained the HV71’s U20 team in the SuperElit league. Cederholm was also an assistant captain for the Swedish Ivan Hlinka and U18 teams. Between his NHL-ready frame and consecutive seasons as a ringer in the SHL, there’s a lot to like about his NHL prospects. This encouragement is meted by his low point totals, as the sturdy, stay-at-home defender last cracked the double-digit points threshold in the 2013-14 season.

– J.D. Burke

#56: Dennis Cholowsi (D)

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23 (NA) N/A N/A N/A 27 39

Cholowski, a late riser in scouting circles, took massive steps forward in this, his second full season with the Chilliwack Chiefs of the BCHL. Cholowski was considered to be a late round talent for much of this season, but a consistently strong upward trajectory has placed himself on the map as a potential first-round pick.

– J.D. Burke

#57: Ryan Lindgren (D)

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49 (NA) N/A N/A N/A N/A 89

Lindgren’s value, though, mostly extends from areas outside of production. The defensive defender is well known for his safe and smart plays while also carrying many of the “intangibles” scouts desire as seen by Lindgren captaining two teams to medals in international tournaments.

– Garret Hohl

#58: Maxime Fortier (RW/C)

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145 (NA) N/A N/A N/A N/A 54

Speed is Fortier’s game, and Fortier may be one of the fastest players in the QMJHL right now. The 5’10 winger uses his speed to keep the puck separated from defenders and to win board battles before they start in order to make up for his lack of size and strength.

– Garret Hohl

#59: Cliff Pu (C)

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75 (NA) 30 N/A N/A N/A 81

After a strong showing as a bottom-six player on the London Knights in 2014-2015, many expected Pu to play a major role in the offensively stacked team’s top-six this past season. Instead, Pu found himself predominately playing on the Knights third line and with very little power play usage.

– Garret Hohl

#60: Mitchell Mattson (C)

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61 (NA) N/A N/A N/A N/A 24

He is thought of highly predominantly for playing a very NHL-style game to go with his NHL-sized body. Mattson played centre although he may project better as a winger. He plays a very North/South game and protects the puck well although could learn to use his 6’4 frame even more efficiently.

– Garret Hohl