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Jack Michaels' 2016 Mock Draft

by Jack Michaels / Edmonton Oilers



mock drafts: Bob Stauffer | Jack Michaels | Tom Gazzola | Chris Wescott | Meg Tilley
1 TOR Auston Matthews, C, Zurich (SUI) He's perhaps not quite the consensus number one that Connor McDavid was a year ago, nor as explosive, but had he been born three days earlier, last year's grouping of McDavid and Buffalo's Jack Eichel would have been expanded to three.
2 WPG Patrik Laine, LW, Tappara (FIN) He has slowly gained steam since the World Juniors, and it'd almost be as surprising to me if the Jets passed on Laine as the Leafs passing on Matthews. The reason is simple-at a time where the NHL's goal-scoring totals are retreating to 2004 levels, Laine can fill the net.
3 CBJ Jesse Puljujarvi, RW, Karpat (FIN)
This is no longer as automatic as once originally thought, but let's remember that it was this guy, not Laine, who was named MVP of the tournament and led the World Juniors in scoring. If for whatever reason he would fall to the Oilers at number four, he wouldn't fall any further.
4 EDM Matthew Tkachuk, LW, London (OHL) Coming off the best season of anyone on this list-107 points for London in the regular season, 4-7-11 in seven games at the World Juniors for Team USA, playing through a painful ankle injury and carrying the Knights to the Memorial Cup, punctuating the year with the game-winning goal in overtime. Oh, and his pedigree? 500-plus NHL goals in 1200-plus games (father, Keith). Oilers give him the nod over Dubois based on Tkachuk's superior consistency in all facets at this stage.
5 VAN Pierre-Luc Dubois, F, Cape Breton (QMJHL) A little bigger (6-3, 200) than Tkachuk and plays with an edge, shaking off the disappointment of having been cut from Team Canada's World Junior team to put up 42-57-99 for Cape Breton. Dubois, who finished in the top 12 in six different categories at the NHL Combine, makes sense for the Canucks, who know the Sedins are on the back nine of their careers. 
6 CGY Logan Brown, C, Windsor (OHL)
Like Edmonton, the Flames have dynamic offensive talent up front (no one on par with McDavid, but the point still holds true) but could use some size. Brown, the son of former NHLer Jeff Brown, has plenty of that at 6-6, 220 lbs.
7 PHX Mikhail Sergachev, D, Windsor (OHL) Impressed at the combine with his smooth demeanor and transition to the OHL this past season, where he racked up 17-40-57 in Windsor. That offensive upside, combined with a sturdy frame (6-2, 205), has me believing he'll be the first defenceman taken.
8 BUF Jakob Chychrun, D, Sarnia (OHL) By his own acknowledgement, Chychrun (whose father, Jeff, played a couple games for the Oilers at the end of his career) didn't have the best season in his draft year and was cut from Team Canada's World Junior team, but he was coming off shoulder surgery. He's set on proving that he's the best two-way defenceman in the draft and will fit nicely alongside Rasmus Ristolainen in a couple of years.
9 MTL Olli Juolevi, D, London (OHL) The run on defencemen continues, as another Memorial Cup winner with the Knights goes to the Habs, whose blue line all of a sudden is a bit uncertain, with whispers about Subban's availability, Markov's age, and Petry coming off a season-ending injury.
10  Clayton Keller, C, USA U18 (USHL) He's committed to Boston University after making a run at Auston Matthews' single-season USNTDP record (he finished last year with 107 points, nine shy). His OHL rights are owned by Windsor, for whom Keller's good buddy, Logan Brown, already plays.
11 NJD Alexander Nylander, RW, Mississauga (OHL) Sweden's top scorer at the World Juniors after his brother, William, bowed out in the first game of the tourney after a head shot. Part of a dynamic group of Mississauga prospects that should be all over draft boards this year and next.
12 Michael McLeod, C, Mississauga (OHL) Another Mississauga prospect who will go in the first round-he didn't make Canada's World Junior team, but he shined at the Top Prospects game and managed better than a point-per-game despite being hampered by a knee injury.
13 CAR Tyson Jost, RW, Penticton (BCHL) One of several Edmonton-area players projected to be drafted in the first two rounds, the Hurricanes will stick to their collegiate trend (all six d-men last year played NCAA) and take the highly skilled Jost, who has committed to NCAA Division I champion North Dakota next fall.
14 Charles McAvoy, D, Boston University (NCAA) A sensible call for the Bruins to take a d-man playing in their own backyard (Boston U.). McAvoy is a little thicker (208 lbs) than the other blue line choices likely available here and shined for Team USA's bronze medal-winners at the World Juniors.
15 Kieffer Bellows USA U18 (USHL)
Another player set to suit up for the Terriers next fall happens to hail from nearby Edina, and that, coupled with father Brian's 10-year stint with the North Stars, makes this a relatively routine call for the Wild.
16 DET German Rubtsov, C, Russia (MHL) As Pavel Datsyuk heads back to Russia, the Red Wings hope they land another two-way dynamo in the 6-2, 175-pound Rubtsov.
17 Jake Bean, D, Calgary (WHL) The Predators love to build their attack from their defence on out, and the nearly point-per-game d-man Bean, born and raised in Calgary and now lighting it up for the Hitmen, makes perfect sense here.
18 PHI Dante Fabbro, D, Penticton (BCHL) The Flyers found a gem in Shayne Gostisbere last season, and their re-stocking of the blueline continues here with Fabbro, a teammate of Jost last year in Penticton (BCHL) and yet another player heading to NCAA Division I Boston University this fall.
19 Luke Kunin, C, Wisconsin (NCAA) Curious if St. Louis tries to trade up for what would be a homegrown product for the Blues, but if form holds, Garth Snow and the Isles will be getting a versatile (though undersized) forward who will ripen at the University of Wisconsin and should be ready by the time New York is ready to turn over some of its key top-six components.
20 PHX
(From NYR)
Alex DeBrincat, RW, Erie (OHL) The undersized DeBrincat put up 51 goals with Connor McDavid as his centre, then put up another 51 with Dylan Strome (drafted third by the Coyotes a year ago). He was slated to play with Matthews at the world juniors but was ejected for a spear and then got hurt. Regardless, he knows how to play with elite-level talent.
21 CAR
(From LA)
Julien Gauthier, RW, Val-d'Or (QMJHL) As sure as there are risers in every draft, there are fallers, and Gauthier falls into the latter category. But for the perpetually offensively-challenged 'Canes, his size (6-4, 225) and his 79 goals over the last two years in the QMJHL will be too tempting-and if he's another Elias Lindholm, at least they won't be taking him fifth.
22 WPG
(From CHI)
Max Jones, LW, London (OHL) Plays the game the way Paul Maurice prefers-straight lines, finishes checks, and plenty of puck skills (28 goals in 63 games for Memorial Cup champ London).
23 FLA Brett Howden, C, Moose Jaw (WHL) Brett's older brother, Quinton, was selected 25th by the Panthers six years ago and will be heading into his third season with the team. Brett has more goals (46) in his first two years with Moose Jaw than his brother did (41).
24 ANA Tyler Benson, LW, VAN (WHL) For a guy expected to go anywhere between 20-50, something tells me the Ducks are deep enough to go ahead and take a mini-gamble on the onetime Southside Athletic Club superstar. Limited to 30 games a year ago and dealt with a cyst on his back before that; the fact remains, however, that his body is structurally sound.
25 DAL Markus Niemelainen, D, Saginaw (OHL) Defencemen with size (6-6) who can skate are always in demand, and the Stars could use another with the jury still out on some of their top blue line prospects, most notably 2011 first-rounder Jamie Oleksiak.
26 WSH Logan Stanley, D, Windsor (OHL) The Capitals have a deep blue line but one that's not getting any younger, and Stanley, at 6-7, 225, is a project that one team will assuredly tackle with a first-round pick.
27 Pascal Laberge, C, Victoriaville (QMJHL) Needs to add strength at 6-1, 170, but led Victoriaville (QMJHL) in scoring and scored twice with an assist in the CHL Top Prospects Game. Remember, the Lightning may be missing a huge chunk of its offence by the time he's ready to play at the next level.
28 Riley Tufte, LW, Fargo (USHL) In a choice you see made less and less by American prospects (even those bred in Minnesota), Tufte played a final year for his Minnesota high school team, winning the state's coveted "Mr. Hockey" award. Will play NCAA Division I hockey at UM-Duluth.
(From SJ)
Tage Thompson, C, Connecticut (NCAA) Born in Illinois, bred in Anchorage, Alaska, and the Eastern seaboard, Thompson was NCAA Division I UConn's second-leading scorer as a 6-foot-5 freshman. Needs to fill out quite a bit, but has plenty of offensive upside and an NHL pedigree (father Brent was a Black Ace for the 1993 Cup Finalist L.A. Kings).
30 TOR
(From PIT)
Will Bitten, C, Flint (OHL) Wouldn't be shocked if the Leafs use one of these two picks on Sherwood Park's Sam Steel, but they're no doubt well-versed in Bitten's game, one that saw him scored 30 goals for a scandal-ravaged Flint (OHL) squad last year.
31 TOR Lucas Johansen, D, Kelowna (WHL) Ryan's younger brother plays a different position, but one that has come to define Kelowna, from Shea Weber to Duncan Keith to Tyler Myers. An excellent skater who put up 49 points last year with the Rockets.
32 EDM Carter Hart, G, Everett (WHL) Three years ago, the Oilers were poised to take goaltender Zach Fucale with the 37th pick; instead, Montreal snagged him at 36 and Edmonton traded with L.A. to move down. This year, despite not winning the Matthews lottery, the Oilers will feel like they won the lottery when perhaps the best goalie in the draft (and a Sherwood Park native to boot) falls out of the first round and lands here.


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