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Chris Wescott's 2016 Mock Draft

by Chris Wescott / Edmonton Oilers



mock drafts: Bob Stauffer | Jack Michaels | Tom Gazzola | Chris Wescott | Meg Tilley
1 TOR Auston Matthews, C, Zurich (SUI) Toronto adds their own version of a Jonathan Toews or Anze Kopitar, two players Matthews has drawn comparisons to. However, Matthews is his own beast and the top prospect in the draft, despite Patrik Laine's strong finish (pun intended) and elite potential.
2 WPG Patrik Laine, LW, Tappara (FIN) The Jari Kurri Trophy winner and 2016 Worlds MVP is quite the talent. Considering Winnipeg drafted one of my favourite prospects in 2015, Kyle Connor, the Jets are building a nice arsenal of young scorers.
3 CBJ Jesse Puljujarvi, RW, Karpat (FIN)
Puljujarvi and Laine are two dynamite Finns. Laine is more of a pure scorer, while Puljujarvi probably has more 200-foot game in his bag of tricks. Still, a great prospect and a big guy at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds. Could he drop to four?
4 EDM Matthew Tkachuk, LW, London (OHL) Hockey bloodlines, intelligent, elite hockey sense, strong on his skates. Tkachuk is potentially a full-package player with the ability to elevate the play of his teammates. Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli was at the Memorial Cup to witness his five-goal, three-assist performance in the tournament. Tkachuk had two goals in the final. The London winger had 30 goals and 107 points in 57 games this season, and 40 points (20-20-40) in the OHL playoffs. A top-six winger provides flexibility for Chiarelli should they keep this pick and go this route.
5 VAN Pierre-Luc Dubois, F, Cape Breton (QMJHL) The Canucks flipped a young forward when they traded Jared McCann. So, they can stock the cupboard a bit with Cape Breton's big forward, who scored 42 goals this season. Named the CHL's best pro prospect among draft-eligible juniors.
6 CGY Alexander Nylander, RW, Mississauga (OHL)
Flames get the best forward available and add scoring to the future of their lineup. Nylander follows in his father's footsteps in Calgary, and is a talent worthy of this spot.
7 PHX Olli Juolevi, D, London (OHL) Arizona takes the first defenceman off the board, and one who fully believes he's worthy of that distinction. The Finn has elite hockey IQ and arguably surpassed the likes of Mikhail Sergachev and Jakob Chychrun with his strong season for the Memorial Cup Champs. Although, the debate is still open on that as Sergachev garnered plenty of interest at the combine.
8 BUF Mikhail Sergachev, D, Windsor (OHL) The Sabres have their franchise player in Jack Eichel and will attempt to surround him with scoring, particularly on the wing. But that's an immediate-impact need and in their system they could use a good left-shot defencemen in their system. Buffalo is a prime trade-up candidate, but if they're here then Sergachev or Chychrun makes sense.
9 MTL Logan Brown, C, Windsor (OHL) A big presence down the middle with a lot of tools and room to grow. He may not even last to this spot, considering his rise.
10  Jakob Chychrun, D, Sarnia (OHL) A big kid who projects to play in the NHL for many years. Good puck skills and solid physical presence. Oilers did their homework on Chychrun and the rest of the top D at the Combine. Colorado maybe gets a steal here if he reaches his full potential.
11 NJD Tyson Jost, RW, Penticton (BCHL) Dominated the BCHL with 104 points in 48 games. An offensively gifted player.
12 Michael McLeod, C, Mississauga (OHL) Size and speed, and can play in many situations. He has good value for this spot.
13 CAR Clayton Keller, C, USA U18 (USHL) Projected to be a scoring centre in the NHL, Keller provides creativity and intelligence to help supplement his smaller frame.
14 Jake Bean, D, Calgary (WHL) There are a few potential landing spots for Bean, including some higher than the 14 spot. Bean is an offensive defenceman who had 64 points in the WHL last season.
15 Max Jones, LW, London (OHL) It may be hard for them to pass up on MN native Kieffer Bellows, but I have Jones slotted here. Highly competitive, finishes his checks and has high-end skill. 28 goals and 106 penalty minutes in 2015-16. Could the Wild also trade back? The Wild are without a second-round pick and have only four picks total as of right now.
16 DET Luke Kunin, C, Wisconsin (NCAA) Detroit can take a two-way centre here, one who had 32 points in 34 games as a freshman at Wisconsin. CSS has him as their 11th best North American skater.
17 Dante Fabbro, D, Penticton (BCHL) Nashville takes one of the best defencemen available. Named BCHL's top d-man after a 67-point season in Penticton. Fabbro helps stock the future of a blueline that traded Seth Jones and has Shea Weber on the north side of 30.
18 PHI Julien Gauthier, RW, Val-d'Or (QMJHL) A big power forward with lots of talent and superb skating ability.
19 Charles McAvoy, D, Boston University (NCAA) Their last four first-round picks have been up front. This year, I have them taking defence. Had 25 points in 37 games as a college freshman.
20 PHX
(From NYR)
Logan Stanley, D, Windsor (OHL) There was a point in time when Stanley might have been available to the Oilers at 32, but his stock rose with a breakout second season for Windsor, paired often with Sergachev. Massive defenceman who is still growing into and adjusting to his frame. Arizona went defence-defence in my mock, after they went with two forwards in the first last year.
21 CAR
(From LA)
German Rubtsov, C, Russia (MHL) Best player available by most rankings. Top-notch skater with good defensive game.
22 WPG
(From CHI)
Brett Howden, C, Moose Jaw (WHL) Good size. Finished his season with 24-40-64 in 68 games.
23 FLA Kieffer Bellows USA U18 (USHL) Great value here for Florida, taking a gifted shooter who projects to be a solid goal-scoring winger at the next level. Son of former NHL player Brian Bellows.
24 ANA Riley Tufte, LW, Fargo (USHL) Size, skating, "bite" to his game. Tufte fits in the Western Conference, and with Anaheim.
25 DAL Alex DeBrincat, RW, Erie (OHL) The Stars have focused on adding forwards with size in the past, but now they take a smaller, elusive forward with scoring ability. He's also shown he knows how to play with top-end talent like Auston Matthews, Dylan Strome and the Oilers own Connor McDavid.
26 WSH Tage Thompson, C, Connecticut (NCAA) There's a thought Washington might go defence with this pick, which wouldn't be shocking given they haven't taken a blueliner with their first-round pick since 2007. Maybe this year is the year. With Stanley off the board, however, I like Thompson here. Big centre with good skill, lots of upside. He had 31 points in 34 games as a freshman at Connecticut. His coach, Mike Cavanaugh, compared deploying him on the power play to how Ovechkin is used in Washington. Set him up and let him rip the one-timer.
27 Vitaly Abramov, RW, Gatineau (QMJHL) On the smaller side at 5-foot-9, but highly competitive and offensively gifted. Had 38 goals and 93 points in 63 games, his first season in the QMJHL. Has top-six potential.
28 Pascal Laberge, C, Victoriaville (QMJHL) "Chippy" player who can complement highly skilled teammates. Has drawn comparisons to Blues 2007 26th-overall pick (and former Oilers forward) David Perron. Was MVP of CHL/NHL Top Prospects game.
(From SJ)
Boris Katchouk, LW, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL) Finished fifth among OHL rookies in scoring and was named to OHL Second All-Rookie Team. An underrated prospect heading into the draft and is hard working, intelligent and has a nose for getting to the net.
30 TOR
(From PIT)
Dennis Cholowski, D, Chilliwack (BCHL) Dennis Cholowski has been gaining name recognition since the combine, where there was a lot of interest. Often times you beware of fast risers, but a team that takes a chance on him in this range could get a good player. Solid, two-way defender who can quarterback the power play. I could see big defenceman Markus Niemelaninen being a target as well if they like him enough.
31 TOR Carter Hart, G, Everett (WHL) The Leafs will be on the hunt for a goalie and they get a crack at the top one in the draft. There's a chance that will be Sherwood Park native Carter Hart, who met with the Leafs at the combine.
32 EDM Markus Niemelainen, D, Saginaw (OHL) The Oilers could go a number of ways here, including Edmonton native Tyler Benson. But bolstering your defensive prospect pool is always a good idea and the Oilers could use additions there. Peter Chiarelli uses two words to describe needs near the top of the draft - size and defence - and you get both of those with Niemelainen, who is over 6-foot-5. The Finnish blueliner will need more development but has an NHL-ready frame and good mobility for his size. He is rangy and steady on the back end. Played key role on Finland's gold medal team at U-18s. Could develop into a big, reliable two-way defenceman for whoever drafts him. The Oilers could go a lot of different ways with this pick, but I'm taking a chance on Niemelainen.


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