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Top 2016 Draft Prospects: North America

by Cory Wright / New York Islanders


With the NHL Draft coming up on June 24 and 25 in Buffalo, is previewing the top prospects in this year’s class. First up, the top-10 North American skaters as ranked by NHL Central Scouting. Click here for the top-10 European skaters.


10 - Kieffer Bellows

Kieffer Bellows
USA Hockey's National Team Development Program - USHL

Kieffer Bellows joined USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program’s U18 Team this season and made his presence felt with the national squad. Bellows scored 50 goals in 62 games, adding another 31 assists, finishing second in team scoring. He’s got skill, but at 6’1, 195 lbs., Bellows brings a physical element to his game. He can get around players or go right through them – it’s nice to have options. 

Pos. C/LW Shoots L
Ht. 6'1 Born 6/10/1998
Wt. 195 Hometown Edina, MN
2015-16 GP G A Pts. PIM
USNTDP 62 50 31 81 101

Islanders Head Amateur Scout Vellu Kautonen: 

Kieffer had a great year with the U18 team. This kid likes to shoot the puck and he shoots it well too. 50 goals in 62 games is sure something you don’t see happening too often. He also helps his team without the puck as well. Bellows plays with an edge and can throw some punishing hits.

9 - Clayton Keller 

Clayton Keller
USA Hockey's National Team Development Program - USHL

Another product of USA Hockey’s NTDP, Clayton Keller had an outstanding year offensively. Keller led the team with 107 points (37G, 70A) in 62 games and scored 14 points (4G, 10A) in seven games at the U18’s, winning bronze. 

At 5’10, 163 lbs., Keller is on the smaller side, but his surplus of skill and playmaking ability make him an enticing prospect, especially in a speed-and-skill NHL. 

Pos. C Shoots L
Ht. 5'10 Born 7/29/1998
Wt. 168 Hometown Swansea, IL
2015-16 GP G A Pts. PIM
USNTDP 62 37 70 107 40

Islanders Head Amateur Scout Vellu Kautonen: 

Not the biggest guy in this year’s draft but he certainly is one of the most skilled players. Keller is an excellent playmaker with good vision and finds linemates with his nifty passes. Despite his size he’s not afraid to go to traffic areas either.

8 - Mikhail Sergachev

Mikhail Sergachev
Windsor Spitfires - OHL

Mikhail Sergachev didn’t need any time to adjust to playing in North America, leading all OHL defensemen in goals (17) and finishing third in points (57). For his efforts Sergachev took home the Max Kaminsky Trophy as the OHL’s most outstanding defenseman. He has nice offensive upside to go along with good size as he clocks in at 6’2, 208 lbs.

Pos. D Shoots L
Ht. 6'2 Born 6/25/1998
Wt. 208 Hometown Nizhnekamsk, RUS
2015-16 GP G A Pts. PIM
Windsor 67 17 40 57 56

Islanders Head Amateur Scout Vellu Kautonen: 

Big, strong Russian d-man who had a great season in Windsor; 57 points in 67 games is pretty impressive. He skates well and is very strong on his feet in one-on-one situations, but his game with puck might still be his best asset. Good on PP and has heavy shot.

7 - Logan Brown 

Logan Brown
Windsor Spitfires - OHL

As the son of former NHLer Jeff Brown, Logan Brown has some big shoes to fill. Good thing he’s 6’6 and already 220 lbs. Brown is a big-bodied center with a knack for playmaking, racking up 53 assists – doubling his rookie year – and 74 points for the Windsor Spitfires this season. The American also picked up a bronze medal at the U18 World Championships. 

Pos. C Shoots L
Ht. 6'6 Born 3/5/1998
Wt. 220 Hometown Raleigh, NC
2015-16 GP G A Pts. PIM
Windsor 59 21 53 74 40

Islanders Head Amateur Scout Vellu Kautonen: 

Brown is a huge center with good hands and ability to make players around him better. Brown protects the puck well along the boards, but heeds to improve his skating and mobility. He had a very good U-18 Championship tournament in April in Grand Forks, ND.

6 - Charlie McAvoy

Charlie McAvoy 
Boston University - Hockey East

A Long Beach native, Charlie McAvoy is one of the local boys poised to go in this year’s draft. The sizable (6’0, 208 lbs.) defenseman had 25 points (3G, 22A) in his freshman season at Boston University, making the Hockey East All-Rookie Team. McAvoy was the youngest player in the NCAA this season, but playing at a higher level could help speed his transition to the NHL. Won bronze with Team USA at the 2016 World Junior Championships in Helsinki, Finland.

Pos. D Shoots R
Ht. 6'0 Born 12/21/1997
Wt. 208 Hometown Long Beach, NY
2015-16 GP G A Pts. PIM
BU 37 3 22 25 56

Islanders Head Amateur Scout Vellu Kautonen: 

McAvoy is a puck moving d-man who can help his team both with and without the puck. He plays simple, effective hockey; a mobile skater who competes hard every night.

5 - Olli Juolevi

Olli Juolevi 
London Knights - OHL

Olli Juolevi had himself a pretty successful year. The Finnish defenseman made the OHL’s All-Rookie Team, won the league title and Memorial Cup with the London Knights and picked up a gold medal at the 2016 World Juniors. At 6’2, 182 lbs., he’s long and lanky, but what he lacks in size he makes up for in offensive upside and hockey sense in his own end. He had 42 points (9G, 33A) in 57 regular season games, 14 points (3G, 11A) in 18 playoff games and seven assists at the Memorial Cup. 

Pos. D Shoots L
Ht. 6'2 Born 5/5/1998
Wt. 182 Hometown Helsinki, FIN
2015-16 GP G A Pts. PIM
London 57 9 33 42 16

Islanders Head Amateur Scout Vellu Kautonen: 

Great season for this talented d-man from Helsinki. He won the Memorial Cup with the London Knights and was also a key member of Finland’s U20 team that won gold January. He’s a puck moving d-man who skates well; a good power-play QB, as well as a smart player in the defensive zone.

4 - Jakob Chychrun

Jakob Chychrun
Sarnia Sting - OHL

Jakob Chychrun had a career year offensively on the Sarnia blue line, scoring 49 points (11G, 38A) in 62 games.  At 6’2, 205 lbs., Chychrun has a solid build for an 18-year-old and is on track to be an imposing physical defenseman. Scouts say he’s a strong two-way defender. 

Pos. D Shoots L
Ht. 6'2 Born 3/31/1998
Wt. 205 Hometown Boca Raton, FL
2015-16 GP G A Pts. PIM
Sarnia 62 11 38 49 51

Islanders Head Amateur Scout Vellu Kautonen: 

Chychrun is already a very mature physically. He skates well and can throw some hard open ice hits. Chychrun is a two-way d-man who plays tough in his own end and will fight if needed. Good puck skills and he can shoot the puck, too.

3 - Alexander Nylander

Alexander Nylander
Mississauga Steelheads - OHL

Alexander Nylander is the latest of the Nylander lineage to enter the NHL. His father, Michael, played 920 games, scoring nearly 700 points and his brother, William, was drafted eighth overall in 2014 and made his debut with the Toronto Maple Leafs this season. As for Alex, he had a standout season with the Mississauga Steelheads, scoring 75 points (28G, 47A) in 57 games this season – his first in North America.

Pos. LW Shoots R
Ht. 6'0 Born 3/2/1998
Wt. 180 Hometown Stockholm, SWE
2015-16 GP G A Pts. PIM
Mississauga 57 28 47 75 18

Islanders Head Amateur Scout Vellu Kautonen: 

An extremely skilled Swedish player who played this year in Mississauga. A complete offensive player as he can make plays and score highlight reel goals too. He had a great World Juniors tournament in Helsinki in January.

2 - Matthew Tkachuk

Matthew Tkachuk 
London Knights - OHL

Matthew Tkachuk, son of Keith Tkachuk, has accomplished a lot in his junior career. Tkachuk just won a Memorial Cup with the London Knights, scoring 40 points in 18 OHL playoff games, after scoring 107 points in 57 regular season games. Prior to that, he lit it up with the USANTDP, with 96 points in 65 games. He’s 6’1, 194 lbs. and is known for having some bite to his game, much like his dad. Also won bronze at WJC with Team USA

Pos. LW Shoots L
Ht. 6'2 Born 12/11/1997
Wt. 200 Hometown St. Louis, MO
2015-16 GP G A Pts. PIM
London 57 30 77 107 80

Islanders Head Amateur Scout Vellu Kautonen: 

This kid might be the most dangerous player of the whole draft in front of the net. He goes there, stays there, pays the price and scores. He’s a good playmaker as well. Overall, Tkachuk is a complete offensive player who competes hard and has a mean streak in him, too.

1 - Pierre-Luc Dubois

Pierre-Luc Dubois
Cape Breton Screaming Eagles - QMJHL

Scouts rave about Pierre-Luc Dubois’ combination of size, speed and skill. At 6’2, 205 lbs. he’s big enough to play with the big boys and plays a well-rounded game. Dubois is coming off a 42-goal, 99-point season for Cape Breton in the QMJHL, but is also lauded for his defensive-zone coverage. Scouts also like his versatility, as he can play center or the wing. 

Pos. LW Shoots L
Ht. 6'2 Born 6/24/1998
Wt. 201 Hometown Rimouski, QC
2015-16 GP G A Pts. PIM
Cape Breton 62 42 57 99 112

Islanders Head Amateur Scout Vellu Kautonen: 

He has good frame and is very strong for his age. He likes to play aggressive hockey and finishes all his hits. On top of that he is excellent with puck. Drives to net and knows how to score. A true power forward.

Next Week:
Top-10 European skaters as ranked by NHL Central Scouting.
Potential Islanders Picks

Top-10 European Skaters
Potential Islanders Picks
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