When we started The Bloggers’ Tribune, our hope was to make it a community to bring together hockey fans that could express their opinions and knowledge about the game. To help grow this idea, we had the ambitious idea of collecting enough writers to put together a 2016 NHL Mock Draft.
With the help of a number of friends, we have collected one writer to pick for each team selecting in the first round this year. We’ve asked everyone to make the pick as though they were the general manager selecting for the team.
We would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who participated and made this mock draft a little different and a lot more fun.
Here is part 1: The Lottery.
1. Toronto Maple Leafs – Justin Fisher (@) – C Auston Matthews, ZSC Lions (SWI)
This is an easy decision – it’s not every day you get to draft the actual best player available (and Matthews is, certainly, the best player available). Better yet? Matthews fills the organization’s most pressing need – Toronto needs a true #1 center more than anything else. It’s an excellent fit for both club and player.
2. Winnipeg Jets – Mack Irwin (@) – W Patrik Laine, Tappara (FIN)
This was an easy one. I’m going to take Patrik Laine second overall for the Jets. In the last month, Laine has led his team to the Liiga championship, won the Jari Kurri playoff MVP trophy, and torched the opening round of the World Championships for one of the tournament’s best ever U-19 performances.
Puljujarvi is a great prospect, and was unbelievably good at the WJC’s — but he just can’t compare to Laine’s pure goalscoring ability.
3. Columbus Blue Jackets – Jeremy Crowe (@) – W Jesse Puljujarvi, Karpat (FIN)
If you’re drafting third in a draft with three top prospects, you’ve got the easiest selection in the draft: take whichever one of those three are left! In this case, Columbus should be over the moon to take Jesse Puljujarvi with their selection. A big body, above average skater, excellent playmaker, with a strong, accurate, but all-too-rarely used shot, and the framework of being a two-way contributor, Puljujarvi is a no-brainer pick at third for the Jackets. Do not let anyone try to convince you otherwise
4. Edmonton Oilers – Lowetide (@lowetide) – F Pierre-Luc Dubois, Cape Breton (QMJHL)
Although the Oilers will have their choice of defenders at No. 4 overall, none of the available blueliners are locks to be impact players. If Edmonton trades down, a defenseman is more likely, but at No. 4 overall the choice is rugged forward, Pierre-Luc Dubois. His pro position is very likely to be power winger and that covers an enormous need for the Oilers—and he is the best player available in the draft at this point. His physical presence is a nice kicker, but the combination of size/speed and skill is too much to pass over for Edmonton.
5. Vancouver Canucks – JD Burke (@) – D Mikhail Sergachyov, Windsor (OHL)
This selection may come as somewhat of a shocker, but I haven’t the slightest doubt that I’ve secured the fifth best talent in the draft — and inarguably the best defender — in Mikhail Sergachyov. Sergachyov possesses a rare combination of size, skating and transitional ability that makes him the envy of the defenders in this class. One scout I spoke to compared him to Mattias Ohlund, and that’s not faint praise. His statistical credentials check out as well, as Sergachyov is the leading CHL defenceman in this draft in points, primary points and even strength points. Sergachyov’s pGPS (read on that at http://www.CanucksArmy.com ) of 84.6% suggests that nearly every single player with a similar statistical and stature based mould went on to have successful NHL careers.
6. Calgary Flames – BookofLoob (@) – W Alex Nylander, Mississauga (OHL)
“First of all, thanks to the Canucks for doing the thing we always knew Jim Benning was capable of doing. Taking care of picking the 14th overall player really clears things up for the rest of us. For the Flames, Alex Nylander is a no brainer. He’s one of those rare situations where the franchise is drafting the best player available and where there’s a need at the position. This doesn’t mean Nylander will be playing with the big club this coming season, but he won’t be too far off. In drafting the son of a former flame, Calgary may have found a highly skilled, possibly elite winger that will complement Sam Bennett for years to come. If Joe Colborne is Big and Local, Alex Nylander is Good and Local.
7. Arizona Coyotes – Cat Silverman (@) – D Olli Juolevi, London (OHL)
Although his left shot makes him a potentially poor fit to play alongside elite defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson in the future, London Knights blue liner Juolevi gives the Coyotes depth on the left side that they currently don’t boast much of. Their two most intriguing defensemen, Michael Stone and Connor Murphy, both shoot right – but after Ekman-Larsson, the team’s left shots leave a lot to be desired. Juolevi could slot in as one of the team’s best depth options on defense in the coming seasons, assuming they bring in a right shot free agent over the summer; with an all-around game and decent presence in all three zones, the Finnish defenseman brings exactly what the Coyotes need to the table.
8. Buffalo Sabres – Joe Yerdon (@) – D Jakob Chychrun, Sarnia (OHL)
After seeing how the first seven selections went and the run on forwards that occurred, it became clear the choice would be a defenseman. A year ago, Chychrun was thought to be an automatic top-two pick behind Auston Matthews. After a rough first half with Sarnia and not being selected to play for Team Canada at World Juniors, his stock fell hard, but he had a huge second-half. The Sabres would be giddy to see him fall in their laps to help rebuild their defensive prospect base and potentially land a guy who could play right away.
9. Montreal Canadiens – Marc Dumont (@) – LW Matthew Tkachuk, London (OHL)
There are concerns that Mitch Marner is the driving force behind Matthew Tkachuk’s point production this season, especially since you consider that 41 of Tkachuk’s 107 points came in the form of secondary assists. But to his credit, fewer of his points came on the powerplay compared to his linemates. Also, when you consider he was a year younger, and he produced more points than Bracco, Roslovic, White and Greenway on the U.S. National U18 team last year, it’s clear that Tkachuk possesses a fair amount of talent of his own. He’s 6’1″, which should help the longstanding size insecurity among Habs fans and management alike. If Tkachuk is available at #9, the Habs will trip over themselves to select him, mostly due to his consensus ranking among reputable scouts seems to be around #5. He’s not the ideal selection when it comes to Montreal’s needs, but at #9 he definitely seems like the best player available.
10. Colorado Avalanche – Katya Knappe (@) – RW Julien Gauthier, Val-D’Or (QMJHL)
Julien Gauthier is not everyone’s top ten pick, but he’s perfect for the Avalanche and their coach. He’s not the best player available, that is so obviously Clayton Keller, I was surprised I got to pass him up. But the Avs have two very urgent needs that make breaking the BPA rule valid: players who can make the NHL quickly and big wingers. Patrick Roy would never play a guy like Keller. He just let Joey Hishon walk for nothing to Europe after he fired the guy who picked him. It might not seem like good tactics, but you have to draft players your team will actually use or you’re just wasting everyone’s time.
11. New Jersey Devils – Todd Cordell (@) – F Clayton Keller, USNDT
I think the New Jersey Devils would happily take Clayton Keller here. Since Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise walked away for nothing the Devils have been an offensively starved team and haven’t had that game breaker-type player. Keller has the potential to be that one day. While a little undersized, Keller possesses elite offensive skills and provides the Devils with exactly what they’re lacking organizationally.
12. Ottawa Senators – Kathryn Jean (@) – C Michael McLeod, Mississauga (OHL)
The Ottawa Senators are very thin down the middle and have been looking for a
#1C since they lost Jason Spezza at the end of the 2013-14 season. With Michael McLeod still on the board, he was a no brainer. McLeod is a big-bodied energetic two-way pivot who can win key faceoffs. Despite his size, he is one of the better skaters in his draft class using his acceleration and agility to separate himself from his opponents. McLeod is a competitive player and isn’t afraid to use his size to his advantage while staying disciplined. His vision combined with his speed allows him to create chances for both himself and his teammates (doubling his rookie year points at 21G 40A in 57GP). While McLeod’s offensive ceiling is unpredictable, his vision combined with his speed, size and skill makes him a low-risk prospect with the ability to be effective in different roles.
13. Carolina Hurricanes – Tom Hunter (@) – F Tyson Jost, Penticton (BCHL)
The knock against Jost (and all BCHL prospects) is always the ‘quality of competition’ argument. Are they really that good or is he just dominating lesser competition? Jost answered that question this spring when he was Canada’s best player at the IIHF U18 tournament. Having selected defensemen with three of their past four 1st round picks, Carolina can use a high-end forward this year and at this spot Jost is the best player available. He instantly becomes the organization’s top forward under-21 and along with Noah Hanifin can become a building block for a franchise that desperately needs one.
14. Boston Bruins – Jon Steitzer (@) – D Dante Fabbro, Penticton (BCHL)
After striking out swinging on three straight pitches last year it’s probably too much to hope for to have the Bruins do the same this year. That’s why I’m going to credit them with a smart pick and have them go after a right handed defender who would have probably been a top ten pick if he wasn’t playing in Junior-A. Bruins will like the idea of him developing in their backyard as Fabbro is committed to Boston University next season, and he’s a good step on the road to upgrading their aging defensive core.