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NHL Draft

NHL Draft prospects analyze their play

Matthews, Tkachuk among those describing best assets, areas to improve

by Mike G. Morreale @MikeMorrealeNHL / Staff Writer

Among the meticulous notes kept by NHL Central Scouting on the top prospects for the 2016 NHL Draft are surveys asking for the prospects to self-analyze the strengths and weaknesses of their game.

History has shown these self-assessments, for the most part, are pretty accurate.

They also provide scouts an idea of what type of player each prospect believes he can become.

Here's a summary of what each of the top five North American prospects, top North American goalie and top international skater provided on their questionnaire followed by an evaluation of that response from NHL Central Scouting.

Players are listed in order of Central Scouting's midterm ranking in January. All statistics are from the regular season.

Top North American skaters
1. Matthew Tkachuk, LW, London (OHL)
2015-16: 57 games, 30-77-107, 80 PIM, plus-45, 42 power-play points
Height/weight: 6-foot-1, 195 pounds
Who is the NHL player your play would most likely be compared to: "James van Riemsdyk."
Best asset: "Hockey IQ, competitiveness, work ethic and skill."
Where do you need improvement: "Skating, size and strength if I want to be an NHL player."
NHL Central Scouting says: "Unique with his skill and physical attributes. Possesses elite hockey sense and vision to consistently find ways to contribute and impact. Makes players around him better and has a very good scoring touch around the net. Plays inside the dots and is willing to go to the hard areas to score goals. One of the best puck protection players in the draft."

2. Jakob Chychrun, D, Sarnia (OHL)
2015-16: 62 games, 11-38-49, 51 PIM, plus-23, 28 power-play points
Height/weight: 6-2, 215
Who is the NHL player your play would most likely be compared to: "Drew Doughty."
Best asset: "I would say my hockey IQ and ability to play in many situations on the ice."
Where do you need improvement: "You can never be too good a skater. I'd like to improve in every aspect of the game."
NHL Central Scouting says: "A complete defenseman. Excellent skater who plays with confidence and poise. Possesses high-end hockey sense and passing ability. Very good offensive instincts with a powerful shot. Plays a sound defensive game and is rarely found out of position. Highly reliable and consistent while displaying strong leadership qualities."

3. Alexander Nylander, LW, Mississauga (OHL)
2015-16: 57 games, 28-47-75, 18 PIM, plus-8, 28 power-play points
Height/weight: 6-foot, 179
Who is the NHL player your play would most likely be compared to: "John Tavares."
Best asset: "Skating, shooting, passing and reading the game."
Where do you need improvement: "I think I can improve in everything."
NHL Central Scouting says: "Dynamic player with an elite skill set to go along with NHL speed and quickness. Skilled to make plays at top speed and extremely dangerous in 1-on-1 situations. Very good offensive hockey sense to create scoring chances and deceptively quick offensive instincts which make him a scoring threat every time he's on the ice."

4. Julien Gauthier, RW, Val-d'Or (QMJHL)
2015-16: 54 games, 41-16-57, 24 PIM, plus-24, 14 power-play points
Height/weight: 6-3, 225
Who is the NHL player your play would most likely be compared to: "Corey Perry."
Best asset: "Driving to the net, vision and play in the offensive zone."
Where do you need improvement: "Positioning and skating."
NHL Central Scouting says: "Skilled power forward that can score. Very good skater with size and strength. Has a strong, fluid stride with deceptive speed. Plays physical game, willing to battle for pucks down low and positioning to the net. Adept hockey sense, offensive instincts and playmaking skills to get open on the play and finish his chances. Responsible and hard working in all zones."

5. Olli Juolevi, D, London (OHL)
2015-16: 57 games, 9-33-42, 16 PIM, plus-38, 24 power-play points
Height/weight: 6-2, 179
Who is the NHL player your play would most likely be compared to: "Oliver Ekman-Larsson."
Best asset: "Reading the game, passing and skating."
Where do you need improvement: "My all-around game, 1-on-1 coverage and goal scoring."
NHL Central Scouting says: "Smooth skating, puck-moving defenseman with excellent poise and composure. Displays elite hockey sense and instincts with and without the puck. Plays in every situation and possesses the skills and smarts to have a positive impact on the game in a number of different ways."

Top international skater: Auston Matthews, C, Zurich (SUI)
2015-16: 36 games, 24-22-46, 6 PIM, plus-16, 14 power-play points
Height/weight: 6-1, 210
Who is the NHL player your play would most likely be compared to: "Jonathan Toews."
Best asset: "I believe my vision, compete level, hands, skating, hockey IQ, leadership and ability to make players around me better."
Where do you need improvement: "I want to improve on all aspects of my game and be a complete player. The parts I would really like to focus on are faceoffs and shooting."
NHL Central Scouting says: "He was the best player in National League A, the top professional league in Switzerland, since the start of December. He improved most in the plays without the puck and his shooting was high end. Best assets are probably his ability to protect the puck in the corners and along the wall. He is very strong on the puck and can shed attacking defensemen with relative ease, comes out of the corners with the puck and creates options. He is a good playmaker and a player who makes his teammates better."

Top North American goalie: Carter Hart, Everett (WHL)
2015-16: 63 games, 35-23-4, 2.14 goals-against average, .918 save percentage, 6 shutouts
Height/weight: 6-foot, 177
Who is the NHL player your play would most likely be compared to: "Braden Holtby."
Best asset: "My crease mobility and ability to read the play and to stay calm."
Where do you need improvement: "Puck-handling and getting out of my crease more."
NHL Central Scouting says: "Very poised, patient and calm in the net; doesn't get rattled. He displays a focused and consistent technique with positioning and crease management and stays square on the play and plays out to the top of the crease. He makes every save look easy and has strong lateral movement while keeping his body controlled. He is very good at reading and reacting to plays and has excellent butterfly coverage."

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