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NHL Draft Lottery Preview: Pick #3

by Torie Peterson / Calgary Flames

CALGARY, AB -- We get it.

In all likelihood, one of the Finns -- Patrik Laine and Jesse Puljujarvi -- will be selected third overall at the 2016 NHL Draft. And we've covered off why they're such highly-touted prospects in our past two Draft Lottery Preview features.

But as history has proven, organizations can have different priorities and they may deviate from the predictable path. Today, we look at three potential sleepers to slide into the third overall spot at the 2016 NHL Draft.

Due to their 26th place finish, the Calgary Flames hold a 9 percent chance of selecting third overall this summer.

As an FYI, the lottery will operate under a new structure this year, with the first three picks being assigned via three lotteries. All non-playoff teams having a chance to win one of those three picks.

As a result of this new process, the team earning the least amount of points in the regular season is no longer guaranteed, at worst, the second overall selection. That team can now drop to fourth overall with the new lottery process.

As in the past, teams not selected in the three lottery draws will be assigned selections in inverse of regular season points.

Pierre-Luc Dubois - Left Wing

Birthdate: Jun. 24, 1998

Birthplace: Ste-Agathe-des-Monts, QC

Shoots: Left

Height: 6'3

Weight: 201 lbs.

It has been a year of ascension for Dubois. He jumped from seventh in the NHL Central Scouting midterm rankings to first in Central Scouting final rankings of North American skaters. The big winger from Quebec led the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles in scoring this year with 42 goals and 99 points in 62 skates. In the playoffs, he averaged a point-per-game with seven goals and 12 points through two rounds.

Known as a complete player, there isn't much to dislike about Dubois' game. He generates plenty of offence, elevates his linemates' play, is responsible in his own zone, and has a strong hockey IQ. While not overly physical at this point in his development, he boasts a 6-foot-3 frame and weighs in at over 200-pounds, making it feasible for him to establish more of an edge to his game as he evolves as a player..

Alexander Nylander - Right Wing

Birthdate: Mar. 2, 1998

Birthplace: Calgary, AB

Shoots: Right

Height: 6'0

Weight: 176 lbs.

Another Nylander is about to hear his name called at the NHL Draft. Alexander, son of former Flame Michael Nylander and younger brother of Leafs prospect William Nylander, opted to play in North America during his draft-eligible season and it has paid off. He led the Mississauga Steelheads in scoring with 28 goals and 75 points in 57 games, netting the OHL rookie of the year honours, and saw his stock rise steadily throughout the 2015-16 season.

The youngest Nylander is all about offensive creativity and finesse. As his offensive totals in Mississauga show, he has no problem producing thanks to his incredible skill level and speed. He's not a physical player, which is knock for some, but teams eyeing him up wouldn't be searching for a gritty forward but a player with high-end offensive talent. That being said, he will need to put on muscle to aid in his ability to create space at the next level of play and withstand the rigors of professional hockey.

Matthew Tkachuk - Left Wing

Birthdate: Dec. 11, 1997

Birthplace: Scottsdale, AZ, USA

Shoots: Left

Height: 6'1

Weight: 194 lbs.

It's safe to say Tkachuk's first season in the OHL was a resounding success. In 57 regular season outings, Keith's son registered 30 goals and 107 points with the London Knights. In the playoffs, he has been equally as dominating, with 28 points through 12 games. Prior to joining the Knights, Tkachuk played for the U.S. National U18 Team, posting 38 goals and 96 points in 65 games.

Tkachuk plays with an edge and air of nastiness to his game. He isn't shy about mixing it up physically but also has the skill set to put up numbers. He reads plays very well and has above average puck skills. Tkachuk is likely the top power forward available in the 2016 NHL Draft, a highly-coveted position among NHL teams, and if a team is desperately searching for a offensively talented winger who can play a Milan Lucic style of game, they may jump on the chance to nab Tkachuk.

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