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NHL Draft

Mock Draft: Matthews head of the class

NHL.com's Mike G. Morreale projects top 30 selections

by Mike G. Morreale @MikemorrealeNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

1. Toronto Maple Leafs - Auston Matthews, C, Zurich (SUI)

Matthews (6-foot-2, 216 pounds) was second in voting for the most valuable player award in National League A, Switzerland's top professional league, after he had 24 goals and 46 points in 36 games. His first game at Air Canada Centre in Toronto will come with Team North America at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

2. Winnipeg Jets - Patrik Laine, RW, Tappara (FIN)

Laine (6-3, 201) won the Jari Kurri Trophy as MVP of Liiga,a Finland's top professional league, with 10 goals and 15 points in 18 playoff games for league champion Tappara. Laine also won the MVP at the 2016 IIHF World Championship while helping Finland win the silver medal. He'll play for Team Finland at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

ALSO READ: Kimelman mock draft

3. Columbus Blue Jackets - Jesse Puljujarvi, RW, Karpat (FIN)

Puljujarvi (6-3, 208) led all scorers and was named MVP for gold medal-winning Finland at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship with 17 points. He also helped Finland to a gold medal at the 2016 IIHF World Under-18 Championship with five goals and seven points in four games.

4. Edmonton Oilers - Matthew Tkachuk, LW, London (OHL)

Tkachuk (6-1, 202) is intelligent and incredibly strong down low in the offensive zone, something the Oilers could use in their top-six forward group. Edmonton then could trade a forward for an established defenseman to fill another need. Tkachuk excels in the big moments. He had 20 goals and 40 points in 18 Ontario Hockey League playoff games, and in four games at the Memorial Cup he scored five goals, including in overtime of the championship game.

5. Vancouver Canucks - Pierre-Luc Dubois, LW, Cape Breton (QMJHL)

Dubois (6-2, 201) plays with an edge, has good vision and showcases 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 NHL Scouting Combine.

6. Calgary Flames - Logan Brown, C, Windsor (OHL)

Brown (6-6, 220) is the big center the Flames 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. He also won 53.0 percent of his faceoffs (609 of 1,148).

7. Arizona Coyotes - Olli Juolevi, D, London (OHL)

Juolevi (6-2, 188) had nine goals, 42 points and a plus-38 rating while playing big minutes in all situations. He had three goals, 14 points and a plus-15 rating in 18 OHL playoff games, and nine points (all assists) for gold medal-winning Finland at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship.

8. Buffalo Sabres - Jakob Chychrun, D, Sarnia (OHL)

Chychrun (6-2, 200) 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. At the combine 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 cycle ergometer, which measures a player's leg strength and explosiveness, at 18.0 watts per kilogram.

9. Montreal Canadiens - Alexander Nylander, RW, Mississauga (OHL)

Nylander (6-0, 178) led OHL rookies with 47 assists and 75 points in 57 games. The 18-year-old set a Mississauga record for points by a rookie and is the first Steelheads player to be named OHL Rookie of the Year. Nylander was voted second-best stickhandler and best shootout shooter in the OHL Eastern Conference coaches poll, and 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), the Most Outstanding Defenseman of the Year in the OHL, had 17 goals, 57 points and 31 power-play points in 67 games as a rookie. He has a great hockey IQ, can lead and join the rush, and can quarterback a power play.

11. New Jersey Devils - Tyson Jost, C, Penticton (BCHL)

Jost was named the 2016 RBC Canadian Junior Hockey League National Player of the Year after he was fifth in the British Columbia Hockey League with 42 goals and third with 104 points in 48 games. Jost (5-11, 190) has been compared to former Devils/current Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise. He is committed to the University of North Dakota, where Parise played two seasons, in 2016-17.

12. Ottawa Senators - Jake Bean, D, Calgary (WHL)

Bean (6-0, 173) led Western Hockey League defensemen with 24 goals and had 64 points in 68 games. The left-shot defender is considered one of the smartest defensemen in the draft.

13. Carolina Hurricanes - Clayton Keller, C, USA U-18 (USHL)

Keller (5-10, 164) led USA Hockey's National Team Development Program Under-18 team with 70 assists and 107 points. He helped the United States win the bronze medal at the 2016 IIHF World Under-18 Championship with 14 points, second in the tournament. He's committed to Boston University for 2016-17.

14. Boston Bruins - Charles McAvoy, D, Boston University (H-EAST)

The right-shot defender (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.

15. Minnesota Wild - Michael McLeod, C, Mississauga (OHL)

The creative McLeod (6-2, 185) led Mississauga with shorthanded goals (four), and was second in goals (21) and points (61). He is one of the fastest skaters in the 2016 draft class and has a fantastic work ethic that makes him tough to defend in the offensive zone.

16. Detroit Red Wings - Luke Kunin, C, University of Wisconsin (BIG10)

A lethal finisher capable of creating offense each shift, the 6-foot, 193-pound right-shot forward was named to the Big Ten Conference All-Freshman team after leading Wisconsin with 19 goals, five power-play goals and 127 shots on goal in 34 games. Kunin had the best vertical jump (28.98 inches) at the combine.

17. Nashville Predators - Dante Fabbro, D, Penticton (BCHL)

Fabbro (6-0, 192) was named the top defenseman in the BCHL after he led the league's defenders with 67 points and was second with 14 goals. He's committed to Boston University in 2016-17.

18. Philadelphia Flyers - Julien Gauthier, RW, Val-d'Or (QMJHL)

Gauthier (6-3, 231) is a prototypical power forward who can skate well, score and play with an edge. He had 41 goals, including 11 power-play goals, and 57 points in 54 games. Gauthier was the only draft-eligible player to skate for Canada at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship.

19. New York Islanders - Max Jones, LW, London (OHL)

Jones (6-2, 206) is good at tracking pucks, plays with an edge, and knows how to use his size and strength to his advantage. He had 28 goals, five game-winning goals, 52 points, 106 penalty minutes and a plus-30 rating in 63 games.

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. He thinks and processes the game exceptionally well and knows where to go with the puck to elude forecheck pressure. Jost said Cholowski's best traits are his deception and ability to make good outlet passes.

21. Carolina Hurricanes (from Los Angeles Kings) - Kieffer Bellows, LW, USA U-18 (USHL)

Bellows (6-0, 197) is a pure goal scorer capable of getting pucks on goal from any angle. He led the NTDP with 50 goals, 12 power-play goals and nine game-winning goals, and was second with 81 points in 62 games. He's committed to Boston University in 2016-17.

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. He compensates for his lack of size with his 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 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. He had 14 goals and 32 points in 36 games.

24. Anaheim Ducks - Riley Tufte, LW, Blaine (HIGH-MN)

The 2016 Minnesota Mr. Hockey Award winner had 47 goals, 78 points, six power-play goals and 10 game-winning goals in 25 regular-season games. The 6-5, 211-pound forward is committed to the University of Minnesota-Duluth in 2016-17.

25. Dallas Stars - German Rubtsov, C, Team Russia U18 (RUS-JR)

Rubtsov (6-0, 178), who has been compared to Panthers center Aleksander Barkov, plays an honest, two-way game, is skilled and is strong in high-traffic areas. He had 12 goals, 26 points and a plus-12 rating in 28 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-shot defender has enough mobility to handle speedy players and defend well against the rush. 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, which measures a player's endurance.

28. St. Louis Blues - Boris Katchouk, LW, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)

Katchouk (6-1, 190) plays an in-your-face style similar to Blues right wing Troy Brouwer. He had 24 goals, 51 points and 61 penalty minutes in 63 games. He's a projected top-six NHL forward who willingly battles for loose pucks.

29. Boston Bruins (from San Jose Sharks) - Pascal Laberge, C, Victoriaville (QMJHL)

The 6-1, 174-pound right-shot forward, a projected second-line scorer, 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. Anaheim Ducks (from Pittsburgh Penguins via Toronto Maple Leafs) - Vitaly Abramov, RW, Gatineau (QMJHL)

Abramov (5-9, 175), the QMJHL Rookie of the Year, is a potential top-six NHL forward. He led Gatineau with 38 goals, 11 power-play goals, and 93 points in 63 games in his first season in North America. He's deceptively quick, elusive and very skilled.

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