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NHL Draft

Mock Draft: Matthews, Laine first two picks's Mike G. Morreale projects top 30 selections

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / Staff Writer Staff Writer Mike G. Morreale projects the top 30 selections in the 2016 NHL Draft:

1. Toronto Maple Leafs - Auston Matthews, C, Zurich (SUI)
Matthews (6-foot-2, 216 pounds) won the "Rising Star" award and was second in voting for MVP in National League A, Switzerland's top professional league, after he had 24 goals and 46 points in 36 games. He starred for the United States at the 2016 IIHF World Championship and will play for Team North America at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. He showcased himself during the fitness testing and the NHL Scouting Combine, finishing ninth in peak power output on the Wingate cycle ergometer bike test (18.1 watts/kilogram), which measures a player's explosiveness, and lasted 11:00 on the VO2 max bike test, which measures a player's endurance.

2. Winnipeg Jets - Patrik Laine, RW, Tappara (FIN)
Laine (6-3, 201) won the Jari Kurri Trophy as MVP of the playoffs in Liiga, Finland's top league, with 10 goals and 15 points in 18 games for league champion Tappara. Laine also won the MVP at the 2016 World Championship while helping Finland win the silver medal and will play for Finland at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

3. Columbus Blue Jackets - Jesse Puljujarvi, RW, Karpat (FIN)
Puljujarvi (6-3, 203) led all scorers and was named MVP for gold medal-winning Finland at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship with 17 points (five goals). It was tied for the second-most points ever at the tournament by an under-18 player, one point less than what Jaromir Jagr had at the 1990 WJC for Czechoslovakia.

4. Edmonton Oilers - Matthew Tkachuk, LW, London (OHL)
Tkachuk (6-1, 200) is intelligent and incredibly strong in the tough areas of the ice, something the Oilers could use in their top-six forward group. Drafting Tkachuk here could allow them to trade one of their other forwards for the established defenseman needed to strengthen that area.

5. Vancouver Canucks - Pierre-Luc Dubois, LW, Cape Breton (QMJHL)
Dubois (6-2, 201) plays with an edge, has good vision and good hands in tight spaces. He led Cape Breton with 57 assists, 99 points and a plus-40 rating in 62 games. He finished in the top 12 in six of the testing categories at the combine.

6. Calgary Flames - Logan Brown, C, Windsor (OHL)
Brown (6-6, 220) is the big center the Flames desperately crave for their prospect pool. He has good hands and is difficult to contain when driving to the net. He had 21 goals, 74 points and 29 power-play points in 59 games, and also won 53 percent of his faceoffs (609-of-1,148).

7. Arizona Coyotes - Olli Juolevi, D, London (OHL)
Juolevi (6-2, 182) had nine goals, 42 points and a plus-38 rating while playing big minutes in all situations for London. He had three goals, 14 points and a plus-15 rating in 18 OHL playoff games, and seven assists in four games to help London win the Memorial Cup.

8. Buffalo Sabres - Jakob Chychrun, D, Sarnia (OHL)
Chychrun (6-2, 199) is a good skater with offensive instincts and defensive awareness. He enjoys playing physical, and had 11 goals, 49 points and a plus-23 rating in 62 games. He was second in the long jump at 118.5 inches; sixth in the vertical jump at 25.24 inches; and had the eighth-best peak power output on the Wingate test at 18.0 watts per kilogram at the combine.

9. Montreal Canadiens - Alexander Nylander, RW, Mississauga (OHL)
Nylander (6-0, 178) has good separation speed, and led Mississauga with 28 goals, nine power-play goals and 75 points in 57 games as an OHL rookie. He had the highest peak power output on the Wingate at 21.1 watts per kilogram.

10. Colorado Avalanche - Mikhail Sergachev, D, Windsor (OHL)
Sergachev (6-2, 221) capped his first season in North America by being named the Most Outstanding Defenseman in the OHL. He had 17 goals, 57 points and 31 power-play points in 67 games.

11. New Jersey Devils - Tyson Jost, C, Penticton (BCHL)
The 5-11, 189-pound forward is committed to the University of North Dakota for 2016-17. A left-shot forward, he had 42 goals, 62 assists, 104 points, 14 power-play goals and seven game-winning goals in 48 games. He also led Canada with six goals and 15 points in seven games at the 2016 IIHF World Under-18 Championship, and was named the tournament's best forward.

12. Ottawa Senators - Jake Bean, D, Calgary (WHL)
Bean (6-0, 173) led Western Hockey League defensemen with 24 goals in 68 games in his second full season in the league.

13. Carolina Hurricanes - Michael McLeod, C, Mississauga (OHL)
The creative McLeod (6-2, 185) led Mississauga in shorthanded goals (four), and was second in goals (21) and points (61). He has a fantastic work ethic that makes him tough to defend in the offensive zone.

14. Boston Bruins - Clayton Keller, C, USA U-18 (USHL)
Keller (5-10, 163), committed to Boston University in 2016-17, led USA Hockey's National Team Development Program under-18 team with 70 assists and 107 points. He also had four goals and 10 points in seven games to help the U.S. to a bronze medal at the World U-18 Championship.

15. Minnesota Wild - Charles McAvoy, D, Boston University (H-EAST)
The right-shot defenseman (6-0, 199) was named to the Hockey East All-Rookie Team after he had three goals, 25 points, a plus-10 rating and 39 blocked shots in 37 games as a freshman.

16. Detroit Red Wings - Luke Kunin, C, Wisconsin (BIG10)
A lethal finisher capable of creating offense each shift, the right-shot Kunin (5-11, 192) was named to the Big Ten Conference All-Freshman team after leading the Badgers with 19 goals, five power-play goals and 127 shots on goal in 34 games. Kunin had the best vertical jump (28.98 inches), was seventh in the long jump (113.5 inches) and tied for 13th in peak power output on the Wingate at 17.4 watts/kilogram.

17. Nashville Predators - Dante Fabbro, D, Penticton (BCHL)
Fabbro (6-0, 191), committed to Boston University for 2016-17, was named top defenseman in the British Columbia Hockey League after leading the league's defensemen with 67 points (14 goals, 53 assists) and a 1.49 points-per-game average. 

18. Philadelphia Flyers - Julien Gauthier, RW, Val-d'Or (QMJHL)
Gauthier (6-3, 230) is a prototypical power forward who can skate well, score and play with an edge. He had 41 goals, including 11 on the power play, and 57 points in 54 games this season. He was the only draft-eligible player to earn a spot with Canada at the 2016 World Juniors.

19. New York Islanders - Max Jones, LW, London (OHL)
Jones (6-3, 205) is good at tracking pucks, plays with an edge, and knows how to use his size and strength to an advantage. He had 28 goals, five game-winning goals, 52 points, 106 penalty minutes and a plus-30 rating in 63 games this season, and four points in four games to help London win the Memorial Cup.

20. Arizona Coyotes (from New York Rangers) - Dennis Cholowski, D, Chilliwack (BCHL)
Cholowski (6-1, 177) had 12 goals and 40 points in 50 games this season. He thinks and processes the game exceptionally well and knows where to go with the puck to elude forecheck pressure.

21. Carolina Hurricanes (from Los Angeles Kings) - Kieffer Bellows, LW, USA U-18 (USHL)
Bellows (6-0, 197), committed to Boston University for 2016-17, is a pure goal scorer capable of getting pucks on net from any angle. He led the USNTDP with 50 goals, 12 power-play goals and nine game winning goals, and was second with 81 points in 62 games.

22. Winnipeg Jets (from Chicago Blackhawks) - Rasmus Asplund, C, Farjestad (SWE)
The 5-10, 176-pound left-shot forward is considered a great competitor and leader on and off the ice. He had four goals and 12 points in 46 games in the Swedish Hockey League. He compensates for his lack of size with smarts and how he uses the ice.

23. Florida Panthers - Tage Thompson, C, Connecticut (H-EAST)
Thompson (6-5, 195) has good size and scoring prowess but still needs time to mature and bulk up before playing at the next level. The right-shot forward led the NCAA with 13 power-play goals, and had 14 goals and 32 points in 36 games as a college freshman. 

24. Anaheim Ducks - Riley Tufte, LW, Blaine (HIGH-MN)
The 2016 Minnesota Mr. Hockey Award-winner is committed to the University of Minnesota Duluth in 2016-17. Tufte (6-5, 211) had 47 goals, 78 points, six power-play goals and 10 game-winning goals in 25 regular-season games.

25. Dallas Stars - German Rubtsov, C, Team Russia U18 (RUS-JR)
Rubtsov (6-0, 178) plays an honest two-way game, is skilled and is strong in traffic areas. He had 12 goals, 26 points and a plus-12 rating in 28 regular-season games.

26. Washington Capitals - Brett Howden, C, Moose Jaw (WHL)
A valuable team player capable of helping the power play, Howden (6-2, 193) had 24 goals, 64 points, 25 power-play points and three game-winning goals in 68 games.

27. Tampa Bay Lightning - Logan Stanley, D, Windsor (OHL)
The left-handed defenseman has enough mobility to handle speed and defend well against most rushes. Stanley (6-7, 224) had five goals, 17 points and 103 penalty minutes in 64 games. He led players at the combine by lasting 12:30 on the VO2 max bike test.

28. St. Louis Blues - Boris Katchouk, LW, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
Katchouk (6-1, 190) enjoys an in-your-face style similar to St. Louis Blues right wing Troy Brouwer. He had 24 goals, 51 points and 61 penalty minutes in 63 games.

*29. Boston Bruins (from San Jose Sharks) - Pascal Laberge, C, Victoriaville (QMJHL)
The 6-1, 173-pound right-shot forward competes at a high level and is willing to go to the dirty areas to score goals. He led Victoriaville with 68 points and was named MVP of the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in January.

*30. Toronto Maple Leafs (from Pittsburgh Penguins) - Vitaly Abramov, LW, Gatineau (QMJHL)
A potential top-six NHL forward, Abramov (5-9, 175) led Gatineau with 38 goals, 11 power-play goals and 93 points in 63 games in his first season in North America. 

*to be determined at end of Stanley Cup Final

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