Skip to main content
NHL Draft

NHL Draft: Metropolitan Division team needs

NHL.com takes a look at which players would best fit into specific styles, dynamics

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

The 2016 NHL Draft, to be held at First Niagara Center in Buffalo, provides an opportunity for teams to shore up positions of need with an injection of young talent.

The first round is June 24 (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports); Rounds 2-7 are Saturday (10 a.m. ET; NHLN, SN).

Here is what Metropolitan Division teams could be looking to do when they arrive in Buffalo (teams listed in alphabetical order):

CAROLINA HURRICANES

Top priority: Top-end skill

The situation: The Hurricanes have finished 22nd or worst in the League in scoring in each of the past three seasons, including 27th at 2.39 goals per game this season. An infusion of talent and skill to the forward group is a necessity with the 13th and 21st picks in the first round.

Possible fits: Clayton Keller, C, USA U-18 (USHL); Tyson Jost, C, Penticton (BCHL); Kieffer Bellows, LW, USA U-18 (USHL)

Video: 2015-16 Metropolitan Division breakdown

COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS

Top priority: Better puck possession

The situation: The Blue Jackets have been one of the worst possession teams in the League the past two seasons, and the reduced offensive time has meant more time spent in the defensive zone and more pressure placed on the defensemen and goaltenders. Finding defenseman able to move the puck up the ice and forwards able to hold it in the offensive zone is vital.

Possible fits: Jesse Puljujarvi, RW, Karpat (FIN); Logan Brown, C, Windsor (OHL); Matthew Tkachuk, LW, London (OHL)

NEW JERSEY DEVILS

Top priority: Skilled forwards

The situation: The Devils have ranked 27th or worst in scoring in each of the past four seasons, including 30th at 2.22 goals per game this season. "We need more talent," general manager Ray Shero said. "That's what we're looking for."

Possible fits: Clayton Keller, C, USA U-18 (USHL); Tyson Jost, C, Penticton (USHL); Michael McLeod, C, Mississauga (OHL)

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

Top priority: Size on defense

The situation: The Islanders defense has talented puck-movers but not much in the way of size or physicality. Johnny Boychuk, who led their defensemen in hits this season, is 32. Another offensive-minded forward could be an option with the 19th pick in the first round.

Possible fits: Logan Stanley, D, Windsor (OHL); Dante Fabbro, D, Penticton (BCHL); Max Jones, LW, London (OHL)

NEW YORK RANGERS

Top priority: Young talent

The situation: The Rangers haven't had a first-round pick since 2012 and this year they won't pick until No. 81 in the third round; they traded their first-round pick to the Arizona Coyotes last season for Keith Yandle, and their second-round pick was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes for Eric Staal on Feb. 28. J.T. Miller (23) and Chris Kreider (25) are their only top forwards under 26, and Brady Skjei, 22, is expected to graduate into a defense corps that desperately needs an infusion of youth. Expect the Rangers to go with the best player available regardless of position with their five picks.

Possible fits: Ty Ronning, RW, Vancouver (WHL); Henrik Borgstrom, C, HIFK Jr. (FIN-JR); Stepan Falkovsky, D, Ottawa (OHL)

PHILADELPHIA FLYERS

Top priority: Power forward

The situation: Flyers general manager Ron Hextall has said he wants to see his team get bigger up front, and those thoughts were echoed by director of scouting Chris Pryor. "Maybe we need to get a little bigger, little faster," Pryor said. "But at the end of the day, it comes down to evaluating and taking the best player available. Size does become a factor, and the skill level and the speed. Those are all the intangibles that the scouting staff, that we earmark."

Possible fits: Max Jones, LW, London (OHL); Julien Gauthier, RW, Val-d'Or (QMJHL); Riley Tufte, LW, Blaine (HIGH-MN)

PITTSBURGH PENGUINS

Top priority: Defense depth

The situation: The Penguins traded two of their best prospects, forward Kasperi Kapanen and defenseman Scott Harrington, plus their 2016 first-round pick (No. 30), to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Phil Kessel. The payoff was the Stanley Cup, but now they need to add pieces for the future. That process starts with two picks in the second round. It's likely they take the best player available with potentially a slight lean toward defense if all things are equal.

Possible fits: Filip Hronek, D, HR Kralov (CZREP); Sean Day, D, Mississauga (OHL); Vladimir Kuznetsov, RW, Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL)

WASHINGTON CAPITALS

Top priority: Defense depth

The situation: Capitals defenseman Madison Bowey, a 2013 second-round pick (No. 53), is ready to push for an NHL roster spot. Connor Carrick, their other top defense prospect, was traded to the Maple Leafs along with Brooks Laich for Daniel Winnik. A deep defense draft could allow them to find more prospects to groom at No. 26 in the first round.

Possible fits: Lucas Johansen, D, Kelowna (WHL); Kale Clague, D, Brandon (WHL); Boris Katchouk, LW, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)

View More