NHLN Live Draft Thread

Updated: June 24, 2016 at 4:53 pm by Cam Lewis

Welcome to the NHLN 2016 Draft Thread! Throughout the night, we’ll be updating this post with analysis and interesting stuff for each selection and trade (if we, ya know, get any) as they happen. So keep clicking refresh for real-time takes! Updates from Cam Lewis (CL) and Shawn Reis (SR). 

No. 1 Toronto Maple Leafs — Auston Matthews 

Woosh! Who saw this coming? But actually, though, Auston Matthews has been a Leaf for over a month now, and now, it’s finally official! – CL

This is the greatest day in the history of the Toronto Maple Leafs franchise. With future Hall of Famer Auston Matthews now officially a member of the organization, the team can look forward to celebrating their Centennial Season by winning their first Stanley Cup in 50 years. – SR


The Montreal Canadiens trade Lars Eller to the Washington Capitals for a 2017 and 2018 second round pick. 

The Chicago Blackhawks trade Andrew Shaw to the Montreal Canadiens for two 2016 second round picks. 

So this basically works out as Montreal dealing Eller and immediately replacing him with Andrew Shaw, with a few second round picks flying around. Also, Chicago frees up some cap room, as Shaw was apparently looking for north of $4 million on his next deal. – CL

No. 2 Winnipeg Jets — Patrik Laine 

Laine brings size, puck protection, savvy passing, and a great knack for getting his heavy shot on the net. I don’t think the upside is as high, but at this stage I’d say Laine is even more polished than Auston Matthews and is my early favorite for the Calder Trophy next season. – SR

No. 3 Columbus Blue Jackets — Pierre Luc Dubois 

What??? Okay??? Why??? So…. Thank you Columbus… Edmonton’s fourth overall pick basically just doubled in value! – CL 

No. 4 Edmonton Oilers — Jesse Puljujarvi 

It just isn’t a draft without some amazing luck for the Oilers, right? The City of Edmonton collectively thanks Columbus for donating Jesse Puljujarvi to them! Edmonton now has another highly skilled winger, but this gives them some size that they don’t have right now. This basically makes up for Edmonton dropping from second to fourth in the lottery. – CL

No. 5 Vancouver Canucks — Olli Juolevi 

The dominoes are falling, but the Canucks stuck with, who it appears they wanted all along in Olli Juolevi. Also, this makes three Finns picked into the top five, which is, wow, impressive. 

I don’t know. It’s hard to argue that he’s the BPA there with Tkachuk available… But hey, at least they didn’t do what Columbus did! You’re welcome, Calgary! – CL

No. 6 Calgary Flames — Matthew Tkachuk 

This is literally exactly what the Flames must have wanted out of this draft. Keith’s kid Matthew is the perfect forward to play alongside Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, and Sam Bennett for years to come. Hmmm. Who got the better unexpected snag here, Edmonton or Calgary? Anyways, Columbus going off the board is the gift that keeps giving! – CL

I would say the most polished hockey players in the draft TODAY are Matthews, Laine, Tkachuk, and Chychrun. Not necessarily the best, but the most polished. Tkachuk should be a solid top-six winger for the Flames for a lot of years, even if he might not be the best player that was available to Calgary at 6. – SR

No. 7 Arizona Coyotes — Clayton Keller 

I’m a little surprised that the Coyotes drafting a forward, considering they already have a whole bunch of young forwards, like Christian Dvorak, Dylan Strome, etc in their prospect group, and considering Sergachev and Chychrun were available. – CL

I had Keller 4th on my list. I think he’s got the same sort of offensive upside as a guy like Matthew Tkachuk, but he’s a much better play driver. Something tells me Keller will be a puck possession machine in the NHL, which aligns nicely with the now analytics-heavy Coyotes organization. – SR


The Calgary Flames trade the 35th overall pick to the St. Louis Blues for Brian Elliott. 

Elliott seems to be unfairly viewed as being somehow not a legitimate NHL starter, but whether or not he can actually carry the load, he’s got great numbers. He’s getting up there in age, but for a goalie that’s arguably in the same tier as Ben Bishop, picking him up for what lkely costs less asset and less cap space seems like a fairly stout move. Congrats Calgary, you finally have a good goalie. – SR

No. 8 Buffalo Sabres — Alexander Nylander

Nylander is just a solid hockey player. Good combination of skating, puck-handling, and productivity befitting of a top ten pick. Likely a good top-six winger for a lot of years. Could be fun watching him vs. his brother William in the QEW Rivalry. – SR

No. 9 Montreal Canadiens — Mikhail Sergachev 

So, now they can deal Subban, right? RIGHT? But actually, though, Sergachev is likely the best defenceman in the draft, so this pick really has the potential to be a home run. – CL

Lots of debate all year about who the best defenseman in the draft is. Some say Juolevi, some say Chychrun, some say Sergachyov, some (me) even say Bean. Whether or not Sergachyov has top-pairing upside like some suggest is accurate, he does seem like a near-lock to be a top four defenseman in the NHL given his combination of size, speed, stick handling, and defensive smarts. – SR

No. 10 Colorado Avalanche — Tyson Jost 

This pick isn’t really a fit, but at this point, you have to do with the best player you can. Colorado needs defencemen, but Tyson Jost has become incredibly highly regarded for his work ethic and leadership as a player, which is always something that you can use, even if you’re already loaded with forwards. – CL

And that rounds out the top 10.


The New Jersey Devils trade pick No. 11 to the Ottawa Senators for pick No. 12 and a third. 

No. 11 Ottawa Senators — Logan Brown 

Hot take: I had Logan Brown No. 5 on my list. Love the combination of size, puck-handling, passing, and shooting ability. He’s a little raw and needs to become more polished in his play WITH the puck, but Brown possesses some of the highest upside in the draft. Some even think (and I’m not among these people) that he could be Joe Thornton levels of good. – SR

Ottawa pretty clearly misses having Jason Spezza on their team, so they went out and drafted Logan Brown, who’s tall, skilled, and has great playmaking ability. This can certainly be a home run for the Sens. – CL

No. 12 New Jersey Devils — Michael McLeod 

I love Michael McLeod. Great combination of top-end speed, size, puck-handling, and zone entry ability. Oh yeah and he can pass and shoot too. For some reason a polarizing player to the extent that some question his offensive upside, but to me there’s no question he has big-time upside as a play-driving center in the NHL. I think this is a great pick by the Devils. – SR

And they got a third round pick just for the hell of it! Nice guy Ray Shero, nice guy! – CL 

No. 13 Carolina Hurricanes — Jake Bean 

How about that blue line in Carolina, hey? Justin Faulk and Noah Hanifin, and now they add probably the best, pure offensive defenceman in the draft in Jake Bean. It seemed like they would seek out a forward, but such as I’ve said before, go for the best player in spots like this because you can always fill holes through trade and free agency. – CL 

Bean was the top defenseman on my list (though I still love the consensus top 3 guys). Bean has a tantalizing combination of speed, puck-handling ability, and puck moving – to the extent I’d say he has the best combination of those three skills among any of the defenseman in this draft. So, it’s no surprise that the analytics-friendly Hurricanes were fans of his. Carolina is starting to build a damn fine defense, adding Bean to a group that already includes Justin Faulk, Ryan Murphy, and Noah Hanifin. – SR

Okay…. Here we go! 

No. 14 Boston Bruins — Charlie McAvoy

Lord, this kid needs to never tweet again. – CL

McAvoy has a solid two-way package that makes him projects nicely as a good second-pairing player if he’s able to crack the NHL. Auston Matthews also said he’s the 2016 draft-eligible that could best pull off a crop top, so there’s that. This pick also justifies the droves of people that had McAvoy being mocked to Boston just because he plays college at BU. Congrats to all the lazy mock drafters who have been rewarded for their laziness. – SR


No. 15 Minnesota Wild — Luke Kunin 

Not surprising that Minnesota didn’t take a defenceman here, since, ya know, they’re loaded on the blue line, but somebody has to take Chychrun at some point, right? – CL 

What’s happening?? Something! 


The Detroit Red Wings trade Pavel Datsyuk and pick No. 16 to the Arizona Coyotes for Joe Vitale, pick No. 20, and pick No. 53. 

No. 16 Arizona Coyotes — Jakob Chychrun 

Wow, what a draft this has been for John Chayka. He makes a smart choice at No. 7, then he trades up to grab Chychrun, one of the best defencemen in the draft by taking on Pavel Datsyuk’s contract. This is an excellent trade for both teams, to be honest. – CL

Not my favorite defenseman in this draft but I’m a big Chychrun fan nonetheless. He’s the most polished defenseman in this draft, with a combo of size, speed, and overall smarts that makes him, quite literally, a surefire NHLer. Weirdest thing about him having his stock slide to the point where he’s not a top ten guy anymore is that he’s big, mobile, and loaded with intangibles, because that’s the sort of player scouts usually adore. So, the Yotes get a good player and the Wings get a hell of a return to trade down a few spots and rid themselves of the Datsyuk cap hit. – SR

No. 17 Nashville Predators — Dante Fabbro 

Fabbro is arguably the best offensive defenseman in the draft (though I’d argue Bean’s a bit better in that regard, with skating being the trump card). Dominated the BCHL this season via his excellent puck-moving, puck-handling, and shooting ability. Looked great for Canada at the U18s paired alongside Jakob Chychrun, who went one pick previous. A sound pick for the Preds, who get yet another defenseman to add to their seemingly never-ending stable. – SR


The Philadelphia Flyers trades No. 18 and No. 79 to theWinnipeg Jets for No. 22 and No. 36

No. 18 Winnipeg Jets — Logan Stanley 

Hmm… Better see what Garret Hohl has to say. 

Oh, oh. Okay. 

Stanley’s combo of size, defensive smarts, and stick-checking means he has legitimate top-four upside as your protyopical stay-at-home defenseman, though his lack of skill with the puck leaves me to think this might be one of the picks we look back at a few years from now and say “really, you drafted HIM instead of player x? Not only that, but you traded up to get him?”. – SR 

No. 19 New York Islanders — Kieffer Bellows 

Bellows seems like the immediate replacement for Kyle Okposo. Obviously he won’t be stepping in to play that role right away, but he’s got the same body, skill set, and play style that was so successful in New York for Okposo. – CL 

No. 20 Detroit Red Wings — Dennis Cholowski 

Not much intel on this guy from the BCHL, but you kinda gotta just trust Detroit with their drafting at this point, right? 

No. 21 Carolina Hurricanes — Julien Gauthier 

So this has turned into a really nice draft for the Hurricanes, who grab a high upside defenceman in Jake Bean, and then use their second first round pick add a big, strong forward prospect in Julien Gauthier. He scored 41 goals this year with a big, power forward frame, which is a perfect fit for Carolina who, well, doesn’t have much in the way of big, skilled forwards who can score on their roster or in their system. – CL

No. 22 Philadelphia Flyers — German Rubtsov 

At this point, I, uh, don’t really know anymore. So I’ll stick to takes from twitter!

No. 23 Florida Panthers — Henrik Borgstrom 

So, uh, this is pretty off the board, hey? Borgstrom is a tall forward with skill and creativity, but with Alex DeBrincat and Max Jones available, it seems a little odd that Florida wouldn’t wait to grab Borgstrom in the second round, where he was still projected to be available. 

Well! Let’s trust Money Puck and their shift to analytics! Also, damn, Jeff Marek telling Damien Cox, woof. Sure, the Panthers had a successful season, but they were a PDO bubble team who had poor underlying numbers, and that really showed in the playoffs. And I’m not watching, but apparently Mike Johnson roasted Pierre McGuire for making a similar take.

I foresee a #debate brewing on twitter! 

No. 24 Anaheim Ducks — Max Jones

And there we go. There’s Max Jones, the typical Western Conference, big, tough, physical grinder type that projects to play a bottom-six role in the NHL. Pretty reasonable pick to make in the late first. 

No. 25 Dallas Stars — Riley Tufte

I truthfully know next to nothing about 6″5′ Riley Tufte, but what I do know is that lazy numbers folks, myself included, peg this as a bad pick by the Stars because he had just 12 points in 22 games in the USHL this season. Is he good? Is he bad? I have no idea because I’ve never watched him play and at this point the draft is random anyways. But his production sucks. So I’m lazily going to say he sucks. Go Leafs! – SR


Washington Capitals trade No. 26 to the St. Louis Blues for No. 28 and No. 87 

No. 26 St. Louis Blues — Tage Thompson 

No. 27 Tampa Bay Lightning — Brett Howden

Personally not a big Howden fan, as I think his lack of puck skills means that if he’s even able to make the NHL he projects as a bottom-six forward. That said, Howden possesses a good shot and good goalscoring instincts. Good penalty killer. Also loaded with intangibles and was regarded as a “second captain” for Canada at the U18s this spring. – SR

Now, at this point, we’re all just thinking about the second round. Please, go off the board! Do it! – CL

No. 28 Washington Capitals — Lucas Johansen 

Here’s Ryan Johansen’s brother, Lucas. – CL

Lucas Johansen has strong numbers but isn’t much of a stand-out player. Needs to work on his skating and puck skills, though a good puck mover and seems generally intelligent defensively. Comes from a Kelowna organization that has, yes, produced a lot of good NHL defensemen (Shea Weber, Tyler Myers, Tyson Barrie, and so on). – SR

No. 29 Boston Bruins — Trent Frederic 

Another American, damn. 

And I say that because, who the hell is this guy? 

So that’s kind of a dumb pi— wait, what? This kid is a Friday Night Lights fan? Hell yeah! I’m into it, great pick, Boston! 

No. 30 Anaheim Ducks — Sam Steel

What a fantastic name. Great way to wrap up the first round. – CL