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NHL Draft

NHL.com's top 10 left wings eligible for 2016 Draft

Tkachuk, Dubois, Nylander head list of best players at position

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

A number of the highly talented left wings available for the 2016 NHL Draft come from rich hockey backgrounds.

Matthew Tkachuk of London is the son of United States Hockey Hall of Fame member Keith Tkachuk, who spent 18 seasons in the League before his retirement in 2010.

Ron Wilson, who coached Keith Tkachuk at the 1996 World Cup of Hockey and 1998 Nagano Olympics, and Matthew Tkachuk in the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship, can see a comparison. 

"Matthew has a long way to go with regard to his size (6-foot-1, 202 pounds), but he has a nose for the net and fights and claws and he's tenacious like his dad was," Wilson said. "He scores goals that remind me of his dad, on his knees, getting to rebounds."

Alexander Nylander (6-0, 178) of Mississauga is the brother of Toronto Maple Leafs prospect William Nylander and son of Michael Nylander, who played for seven teams spanning 16 seasons in the League. Kieffer Bellows (6-0, 197) of USA Hockey's National Team Development Program (NTDP) under-18 team, is the son of Brian Bellows, a forward who had 1,022 points in 1,188 NHL games with five teams in 17 seasons.

Max Jones (6-2, 206) of London is the son of Brad Jones, an eighth-round pick (No. 156) in the 1984 draft by the Winnipeg Jets who spent five seasons in the League. Simon Stransky (5-11, 185) of Prince Albert is the brother of right wing Matej Stransky, a sixth-round pick (No. 165) in the 2011 draft by the Dallas Stars who has spent the past three seasons with Texas, the Stars' American Hockey League affiliate.

Two other left wings with solid hockey pedigrees eligible for the 2016 draft are Ottawa's Travis Barron (6-1, 195), the nephew of retired NHL forward Andrew Cassels, and the NTDP's Graham McPhee (6-0, 173), the son of former NHL player and general manager George McPhee.

Here are NHL.com's top 10 left wings eligible for the 2016 NHL Draft:

1. Matthew Tkachuk, London (OHL): Possesses elite hockey sense and vision to consistently find ways to contribute and be impactful in many roles. Scouts have said Tkachuk reminds them of Anaheim Ducks forward Corey Perry with his relentless pursuit for loose pucks to set up teammates. Tkachuk scored five goals in four games at the Memorial Cup, including the game-winning goal in overtime in the championship game. He also was fifth in the Ontario Hockey League during the regular season with 107 points, and led the OHL playoffs with 20 goals in 18 games.

2. Pierre-Luc Dubois, Cape Breton (QMJHL): A strong and deceptive skater who is capable of playing all three forward positions. Dubois (6-2, 201) quickly ascended the draft rankings this season after he had 42 goals and 99 points in 62 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League games. He plays with an edge and enjoys using his size to an advantage, as evidenced by his 112 penalty minutes. He also had 10 power-play goals and seven shorthanded points. He finished in the top 12 in six of the fitness test categories at the NHL Scouting Combine.

3. Alexander Nylander, Mississauga (OHL): The OHL Rookie of the Year had 28 goals and 75 points in 57 games. Nylander, a right-handed shot, can make plays at full speed, is dangerous 1-on-1, and has high-end goal-scoring instincts. Scouts love the fact he's difficult to defend because he can create offense in so many ways. He had the highest peak power output on the Wingate cycle ergometer, which measures a player's explosiveness, at 21.1 watts per kilogram. He also tied for sixth on the bench press with 13 repetitions at 135 pounds (75-80 percent of his body weight).

4. Kieffer Bellows, USA U-18 (USHL): Committed to Boston University for 2016-17, Bellows led the NTDP U-18 team with 50 goals and second with 81 points in 62 games. He's physical on the forecheck and looks to shoot whenever given the chance. He has a knack for getting shots on goal from all angles and shoots with authority.

5. Max Jones, London (OHL): A prototypical power forward who enjoys hitting hard and playing with an edge. Jones proved to be a consistent scorer in his first season with London with 28 goals and 52 points in 63 games. He has a strong shot with a quick release and is good in tight spaces.

6. Riley Tufte, Blaine (HIGH-MN): Winner of the 2016 Mr. Hockey Award as the top high school senior in Minnesota, Tufte (6-5, 211) is committed to the University of Minnesota-Duluth in 2016-17. A good passer with good finish to his game, he had 47 goals, 78 points, six power-play goals and 10 game-winning goals in 25 regular-season games. Tufte also had two goals and seven points in two state playoff games for Blaine. He's had to overcome Type 1 diabetes since the age of 11.

7. Tyler Benson, Vancouver (WHL): The No. 1 pick in the 2013 Western Hockey League bantam draft had nine goals and 28 points in 30 games, but had his season cut short because of injuries. Benson (5-11, 197) missed the first month of 2015-16 after having surgery to remove a cyst near his tailbone. The injury shouldn't affect his draft status as scouts consider him a smart, skilled player with good offensive instincts.

8. Boris Katchouk, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL): Relentless and capable of playing an in-your-face style, Katchouk (6-1, 190) had 24 goals and 51 points in 63 games. He has good hockey sense, instincts and has a good scoring touch. The OHL rookie had six power-play goals and six game-winning goals.

9. Jack Kopacka, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL): Kopacka (6-2, 191) is a fluid skater with good hands and offensive instincts. He used his reach and skills effectively in creating offensive opportunities this season, his first in the league. The native of Lapeer, Mich., had 20 goals and 43 points in 67 games.

10. Timothy Gettinger, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL): Gettinger (6-6, 202) is able to use his size and strength to create offensive opportunities for himself and his teammates. He had 17 goals, 39 points, 10 power-play points and 177 shots on goal in 60 games.

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