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NHL Draft

Top two picks in 2016 Draft to play early in season

Matthews, Maple Leafs visit Laine, Jets on Oct. 19

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / Deputy Managing Editor

BUFFALO -- NHL fans shouldn't have to wait long to see the first two players picked in the 2016 NHL Draft oppose each other in the regular season.

Center Auston Matthews was taken with the first pick by the Toronto Maple Leafs, who are scheduled to play the Winnipeg Jets and No. 2 pick, right wing Patrik Laine, on Oct. 19 at MTS Centre in Winnipeg. They''re also scheduled to play Feb. 21 at Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

That first game against the Jets comes four days after Matthews would make his regular-season home debut with the Maple Leafs, Oct. 15 against the Boston Bruins.

Matthews is expected to play his first game at Air Canada Centre as a member of Team North America during the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, which starts Sept. 17. Team North America plays Laine and Team Finland on Sept. 18 in the preliminary round.

A native of Scottsdale, Ariz., Matthews would play his first game in Arizona on Dec. 23.

Laine would play his first game in Winnipeg on Oct. 13 against the Carolina Hurricanes.

One of the bigger surprises of the draft came at No. 3, when the Columbus Blue Jackets selected left wing Pierre-Luc Dubois rather than right wing Jesse Puljujarvi, who went No. 4 to the Edmonton Oilers.

The Blue Jackets could see Dubois and Puljujarvi go head-to-head Dec. 13 when they play the Oilers at Rogers Place in Edmonton. The teams also play Jan. 3 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus.

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