Overall, I'd say the 2016 NHL draft class is average. The very top of the class has three top-tier prospects -- which is better than average -- with the rest of the first round being standard. The depth in lower rounds is below-average. Longtime readers know I can get a little eccentric with the lower portion of my draft boards, but this was the hardest tail end for me to sort out in a few years. There's a drop off in talent after prospects No. 2 and No. 3, before the gradual decline in marginal prospect value throughout the rest of the class.
The information used to develop these rankings and profiles are done through a variety of methods. I've seen a large chunk of these players live in the past 12 months. I supplement that with discussions with scouts, executives and other hockey people for evaluation and background information, and also perform statistical research and watch video of the players. While discussions with others take place, the rankings are completely my own, and are done to reflect my opinion of who I believe the top prospects in the draft class are, and may differ from the industry.
Here are the top 100 skaters eligible for this year's draft, along with expanded rankings explanations for the top 10.
1. Patrik Laine, LW, Tampere (Liiga)
DOB: 4/19/98 | Ht: 6-4 | Wt: 206
GP: 46 | G: 17 | A: 16
Laine is everything you want in a high-skill power forward. First, he's built like a truck at 6-foot-4, 206 pounds, with broad shoulders and great core strength. It's a joy to watch film of Laine shrugging off checks left and right, and easily winning loose puck battles. He's equally adept at being a playmaker as he is being a goal scorer. Laine's offensive IQ is high-end, bordering on elite. He's a very creative puck handler who anticipates pressure well, and knows how to create space for himself. He moves the puck quickly with few errors.
Off the puck, he finds the open seams well, and can launch a scoring chance from almost anywhere on the ice, having probably the best shot in this class. Laine's skating is his one notable flaw, although he's gotten a little quicker from last season. He's average in that area, and I don't think he's going to jet past NHL defensemen. Overall, he's a special forward, someone who could be an elite scoring power winger in the NHL for the next decade.
Ranking explanation: We're gonna need more than a paragraph on this one. Click here to read my case for Laine over Auston Matthews.
2. Auston Matthews, C, Zug (NLA)
DOB: 9/17/97 | Ht: 6-2 | Wt: 210
GP: 36 | G: 24 | A: 22
Teams dream about getting a legit No. 1 center like Matthews when picking at the top of the draft. A 6-foot-2, 210-pound pivot with a skill level that is off the charts, he's also got professional experience to boot, and he's been making Swiss cheese out of his opponents in the NLA. Matthews is a magician with the puck; not one of those pretend magicians you'll find in Las Vegas, but like the ones you read about in fiction novels. He is so coordinated and creative that it's nearly impossible to strip him of the puck. Combining that with an incredible touch that can have him effortlessly saucer pass across the rink onto the blade, or place it on a shot wherever he wants to, and he's a nightmare for teams to defend. He's a very good skater, and while he's not among the very top tier of the class in terms of speed, he can explode down the ice with anyone.
Matthews isn't perfect. His real weakness is when the offense isn't flowing through him. He's not a really physical player who will grind for pucks along the wall, nor is he some sort of defensive stalwart. Matthews still uses his big frame to win pucks and competes well on the ice in every zone, but the team drafting him must be realistic about what he's going to be in terms of the gritty areas of the game.
Ranking explanation: Jesse Puljujarvi is a fantastic prospect, one of the best under-18 players to ever don the Finland jersey. His 16- and 17-year-old performances at the IIHF World Junior Championship (WJC) are among the all-time greats. He's big, skilled, fast and advanced in his play. He's just not at the same level as Matthews and Laine. I can't think of one attribute he's substantially better at than Matthews, except for possibly his physical play; he's quicker than Laine and a little better defensively. They have him beat in every other area, either marginally or notably.
3. Jesse Puljujarvi, RW, Karpat (Liiga)
DOB: 5/7/98 | Ht: 6-4 | Wt: 203
GP: 50 | G: 13 | A: 15
Puljujarvi is one of the most exciting prospects Finland has produced. He's a big, explosive winger, who was the second-highest scoring 17-year-old ever at the WJC, tied with Eric Lindros and a point behind Jaromir Jagr. He's an unbelievable skater for a 6-foot-4 player, having a great top gear and a really fluid stride. He's not that physically aggressive, but he closes on guys so well that he pressures and wins battles effectively. Puljujarvi shows a high-skill level, a plus shot and high-end hockey IQ. He is constantly around the puck and setting up his teammates.
He's not quite defensively sound yet, but he shows effort in that area, and with proper development, we could see that area of his game grow. To get an idea of what a competitor he is, a few hours before the gold medal game at the IIHF under-18 world championship, Puljujarvi was sick in bed. He then went out and carried his team to a championship, scoring a hat trick. (thanks to Twitter user Tuomo Vartianen for pointing this out). At his ultimate upside, he could be one of the more dynamic scorers in the NHL.
Ranking explanation: This point has a drop off from Puljujarvi to the next group of forwards in Clayton Keller, Alexander Nylander and Matthew Tkachuk. None of these alternatives has the excellent resume or the dynamic all-around tool kit of Puljujarvi. Keller's skill is about the same, and he is a better playmaker, but Puljujarvi is a monster standing next to him, and is a better goal scorer, too. Nylander can't match his physical dominance or shot, and Tkachuk doesn't skate as well. They all may be better at one or two things than Puljujarvi, but then it's either a push or a slant to Puljujarvi in every other attribute.
4. Clayton Keller, C, USA U18 (USHL)
DOB: 6/29/98 | Ht: 5-10 | Wt: 168
GP: 55 | G: 33 | A: 60
One of the best players ever to participate at the USA Hockey National Team Development Program (USNTDP), Keller put up monstrous numbers between his USHL, collegiate and international performances. He's a complete offensive player who seems to generate chances and display distinct puck-moving abilities whenever he takes a shift. Keller has an explosive first step and an above-average top gear. He's not an incredible skater for a smaller guy, but he still skates very well. Keller handles the puck at a top level, too, but his clear best trait is his hockey sense. He just makes so many good, high-level decisions with and without the puck that allow his team to maintain possession and get shooting lanes. Keller never seems rattled with the puck, and makes the right plays seem easy.
While not a defensive stalwart, Keller has shown decent defensive prowess this season. His size and physical game limitations are obvious issues, but there is a lot to like in his game other than that.
Ranking explanation: One could argue the stats favor Pierre-Luc Dubois over Keller, as the former has been a scoring and shots machine in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), even though Keller was among the best scorers in USNTDP history. However, Keller shows a different level of skill. His vision is much better, he's a better skater and puck handler, and while Dubois is bigger and a better defensive player, Keller was no slouch defensively. He was often the first player coach Danton Cole sent over the boards in a critical defensive situation. Compared to Tkachuk, Keller is nearly a full year younger than him, so I almost take a glance at Tkachuk during his time in the NTDP last season versus Keller now, and it's a no-brainer in Keller's favor. Obviously, one has to consider what Tkachuk has done since then, but he didn't have an overwhelmingly great season, nor do his tools grade at such a higher level than Keller's, other than his physical game. Nylander and Keller have similar skill sets, but Keller is a competent center and better defensively.
5. Pierre-Luc Dubois, C, Cape Breton (QMJHL)
DOB: 6/24/98 | Ht: 6-2 | Wt: 201
GP: 62 | G: 42 | A: 57
Dubois was one of the best players in the QMJHL this season and nearly made Canada's WJC team. I've never watched Dubois play and come away thinking he's the best skater or the best puck handler in a given match, but he always makes a positive contribution. He's incredibly well-rounded, though. Dubois can play both the wing and center effectively, but is more comfortable on the wing. He's a skilled scorer with very good two-way hockey IQ who can flash high-end vision.
He's a very physically developed player, who is strong, competitive on the ice, drives to the dirty areas, and is committed to his fitness off the ice. Whenever Dubois gets into a 1-on-1 battle, he tends to come out with the puck. He's not the fastest skater but he doesn't slug around the ice, either. He projects as an NHL forward who can be slotted into a variety of roles, and has a low-risk factor on his projection.
Ranking explanation: I had Tkachuk at the No. 5 spot for a decent chunk of the season, until Dubois switched to playing center full time for Cape Breton and doing it well. A decent component of this ranking is projecting that Dubois will end up an NHL center, which is something that not every NHL scout I've talked to believes in. Like in the Keller case, Tkachuk is notably older than Dubois, and has more experience, but I don't see as much of a skill gap. In fact, one could argue Tkachuk has a slightly higher skill level and better vision. Skating is pretty much a push as well. However, Dubois is a much more effective defensive player and a little better in his physical play. Nylander wasn't as dominant this season in the OHL as Dubois was in the QMJHL, however I see the argument his pure upside is higher. I don't see the offensive ceiling between the two being dramatically different, but Dubois has the much better two-way game.
6. Matthew Tkachuk, LW, London (OHL)
DOB: 12/11/97 | Ht: 6-2 | Wt: 200
GP: 57 | G: 30 | A: 77
Keith Tkachuk's son has been a standout for years at multiple levels. He was great last season in the USHL and with the USNTDP, was a top player at the world under-18 championship, and a top player this season in the OHL. He is a multi-dimensional scoring winger. You talk to any scout about Tkachuk, they come back raving about his hockey IQ. He has great vision and offensive creativity, and makes quick, precise decisions with the puck. He can dangle defensemen, and create offense out of nothing, but Tkachuk is also a relentless worker. He wins more than his fair share of battles, and is his father's son on some days, being a pain in the rear for many defenders and goalies.
His speed isn't at the same level as his hands and vision. He's not slow, but he's certainly not a top-end speedster, either. Tkachuk can also get caught cheating a little defensively, an area of his game that he'll need to tighten up.
Ranking explanation: I flip-flopped on Tkachuk vs. Nylander probably every week in the lead up to this list, and it wasn't until Tkachuk's extremely strong showing in the OHL postseason tilted the needle a bit. I've talked to scouts who strongly believe in one or the other, but for me this is a pure coin flip. They are both very skilled and intelligent players who have produced in the OHL and internationally. Nylander is a little better with the puck, is a better skater, and also has played one fewer season than Tkachuk. However, Tkachuk is a little smarter, much tougher in puck battles and has been a more consistent force in terms of controlling puck possession during the past two years. His ability to consistently elevate his game at any level makes me lean to Tkachuk.
7. Alexander Nylander, RW, Mississauga (OHL)
DOB: 3/2/98 | Ht: 6-1 | Wt: 180
GP: 57 | G: 28 | A: 47
Brother of Leafs prospect William Nylander and son of former NHLer Michael Nylander, Alexander was one of the top scorers in the OHL this season, and was one of the top under-18 scorers ever at the WJC. His skill level and his offensive hockey sense are elite. Nylander is able to think the game so quickly, and dominate possession whenever he gets near the puck. He sees options developing even without directly looking down the lanes, and is able to create space for himself. He's got guts with the puck, sometimes putting the puck in risky spots, but overall he makes plays few other forwards do.
Nylander's speed is not elite, but it's certainly above-average and flashes a grade above on top of his being very agile on his edges. He also features a quality wrist shot as well. Nylander's defense could still use work. He's too prone to losing battles and can misplay his position, but he did show significant progression in that area as the season went on, and steadily earned penalty killing time in the second half. He shows strong work ethic, and you can envision him cleaning up that area with proper development.
Ranking explanation: The merits of Nylander or really any of these top forwards over a top defenseman like Olli Juolevi or Jakob Chychrun comes down to two factors: The degree of talent and the value of the position. Forwards are considerably more valuable (http://es.pn/1DCnuRD) than defensemen in today's NHL, so for a defenseman to overtake a forward on my board, he needs to be notably better in terms of pure talent. When comparing the set of forwards versus the set of defensemen in this year's class, we have several players who have excelled in league play and internationally but haven't dominated. We have players with very good skill sets, but either have a crucial flaw or are not elite across the board. Given these circumstances, always take the forward.
8. Olli Juolevi, D, London (OHL)
DOB: 5/5/98 | Ht: 6-2 | Wt: 182
GP: 57 | G: 9 | A: 33
One of the best defensemen in the OHL this season, Juolevi also recorded the highest point totals ever by an under-18 defenseman at the WJC. Juolevi is a fantastic skater. He exerts very little effort to get up to a dangerous top gear and moves well in all directions. His puck movement is high-end, as he shows calmness, skill and elite hockey sense when he has the puck on his stick. He's able to QB a power play with the best of them, on top of creating dangerous chances in transition. He's also not afraid to take risks, but he's very calculating when he does, and rarely does he hurt his team.
Juolevi's smarts translate to defense. He is always getting his stick on pucks and is an overall reliable defensive player in his positional play. He could stand to bulk up quite a bit, as he has a bit of a beanpole frame (6-foot-2, 182 pounds). However, Juolevi still works hard on the ice to win battles and get to pucks even if his frame isn't ideal for those situations yet.
Ranking explanation: This ranking explanation has two parts. First, the reason for ranking him over Tyson Jost is because there is a notable difference in talent level between the two. Juolevi is a top-of-the-line skater, with elite hockey IQ, and while Jost does a lot of things very well he doesn't have any particular elite attributes.
The second is Juolevi versus the other defensemen available. There is no clear top defenseman in this year's class, but here is why I tilt toward Juolevi. Chychrun and Mikhail Sergachyov have been more productive in the OHL this season, but Juolevi has a better toolkit. He's as good a skater and puck handler as both of them, but the differentiator is hockey sense. While Chychrun and Sergachyov are bigger, better physically and have better shots, Juolevi is much smarter than both, and can control the flow of a game at both ends. Dante Fabbro's hockey IQ is at that level, maybe even higher, but Juolevi is a much better skater. I could see reasonable quibbles over this placement, especially since Juolevi did not dominate the OHL, but he had one of the best WJCs I've ever seen by a 17-year-old defenseman. It's a gut call on my part; your gut may differ.
9. Tyson Jost, C, Penticton (BCHL)
DOB: 3/14/98 | Ht: 5-11 | Wt: 191
GP: 48 | G: 42 | A: 62
Jost was simply fantastic this season, putting up huge numbers for a 17-year-old in the BCHL, even when you adjust for its lesser league quality. He is a dynamic, athletic center with decent off-the-puck skills as well. Jost is one of the better skaters in his draft class, with an easy, explosive stride whose first few steps will be able to evade NHL checkers. He's a highly-skilled puck handler who can execute high-difficulty plays in tight spaces, as well as make above-average passes.
Jost's defensive play has shown significant improvement during this season. I didn't love his defensive positioning last year, but by the world under-18 championship in the spring, he was arguably Canada's best defensive forward. Bigger players can muscle him off pucks too easily at times. However, Jost does work his tail off, often being one of the hardest working players on the ice on top of being one of the most skilled. He has committed to the University of North Dakota for next season.
10. Dante Fabbro, D, Penticton (BCHL)
DOB: 6/20/98 | Ht: 6-0 | Wt: 189
GP: 45 | G: 14 | A: 53
An outstanding two-way defenseman who was the best defenseman in the BCHL this season, Fabbro also had strong showings in international play. His hockey IQ is among the best in this draft class. The way Fabbro moves the puck dictates the tempo of the shift. His passes are accurate but also very crisp, as he puts his full weight into a lot of his breakout passes. He's so calm and aware on his outlets, and is a decent skater, which lets him rush the puck up as well. Fabbro can QB a power play, and has some creativity in his game.
He's got a decent frame, will engage his checks physically and is a quality positional player. There's an occasional mistake on that end, but for the most part he's a pretty sound player. He is committed to play next season at Boston University.
Ranking explanation: I came into the season with Chychrun being rated a few spots higher than Fabbro, and as we went from August to May, I was continually impressed by Fabbro while waiting for Chychrun to have those "wow" games. Mind you, Chychrun was still great all season, and struggled through some injuries, but he never showed the offensive upside Fabbro did. For me, Fabbro projects to be a moderately better puck mover in the NHL, while Chychrun projects to be slightly better defensively. That matters -- given that they are defensemen -- but still makes me tilt toward Fabbro, given the IQ/offense gap he's shown. What's more, they played together for two weeks -- often on the same pairing -- in the final weeks of the season, with Fabbro elevating his play over Chychrun.
11. Jakob Chychrun, D, Sarnia (OHL)
DOB: 3/31/98 | Ht: 6-2 | Wt: 205
GP: 62 | G: 11 | A: 38
Son of former No. 47 overall pick (1984) Jeff Chychrun, Jakob has been on the prospect radar for years, as one of the top players in the 1998 age group for a while; that includes his being the top pick in his OHL draft year. Chychrun was one of the better defenders in the OHL this season. He's a high-end skater, with excellent agility. Chychrun has above-average skill, and while he isn't a dangler, he can evade pressure well and move the puck very effectively on the man advantage. Chychrun thinks the game pretty well defensively. He's an advanced positional player, and given his very strong frame and great work ethic, he is a very reliable penalty killer. Offensively, he shows the ability to move the puck well and make some skill plays, but he can make some bad decisions and doesn't show high-end creativity.
12. Logan Brown, C, Windsor (OHL)
DOB: 3/5/98 | Ht: 6-6 | Wt: 220
GP: 59 | G: 21 | A: 53
A native of Raleigh, North Carolina, Brown has been a much-discussed prospect in the scouting ranks for years, and for a variety of reasons. He is often defined as having "all the tools." He's a 6-foot-6 center, with high-end skill who can dominate a game whenever he gets near the puck. He's a very smart playmaker with great patience, vision and instincts. Though not a blazer, he skates extremely well for a player his size. If there weren't some consistent negatives hanging on him, he'd have all the capabilities to be in the top five of this class. One of the negatives is that he can be a non-factor off the puck. Historically, he's had a tendency to shy away from physical play, and his defensive effort isn't good, although the latter area showed significant improvement in the second half of this season. His work ethic on and off the ice have been criticized, but Brown seemed to take those critiques to heart, and really impressed in the past few months. If he maintains that trend, he could be a game-breaking center.
13. German Rubtsov, C, Russia U18 (MHL)
DOB: 6/27/98 | Ht: 6-2 | Wt: 178
GP: 28 | G: 12 | A: 14
The well-rounded Rubtsov was the top player on the inaugural Russia under-18 team this season, and showed well in international play. Offensively, he has the traits one would expect of a top Russian prospect. He's an above-average skater, with a good first step and an easy stride. His skills aren't elite, but he shows good hands and is able to create space for himself. His hockey IQ is very impressive, as he displays great patience with the puck, sees his options well and always finds himself involved with the play. Rubtsov is a fierce competitor in puck battles and, despite having a lean frame, is able to win a fair amount of them. He's also a quality defensive center, who has been leaned on all season in critical defensive situations, and is often a threat to score shorthanded. Though he and the rest of his teammates were disqualified from the under-18 world championships, it's hard to see his draft stock slipping too much.
14. Kieffer Bellows, LW, USA U18 (USHL)
DOB: 6/10/98 | Ht: 6-0 | Wt: 196
GP: 55 | G: 45 | A: 28
Bellows, son of former No. 2 overall pick (1982) Brian Bellows, has been one of the top players in the USHL for the past two seasons. He's followed a unique path. After skating for Sioux Falls of the USHL in 2014-15, he joined the USA Hockey National Team Development Program (USNTDP) for his second season of eligibility, and was the under-18 team's second-best player this season; he currently ranks among the best goal scorers ever in the program. Stylistically, Bellows is a scoring power winger. He's got a sturdy, developed frame, plays with an edge and brings a lot of offensive tools to the table. He shows above-average puck skills and offensive hockey sense, and has a high-end shot. In fact, he was a shots machine this season, with one of the highest shots-per-game rates in the USHL. However, Bellows' skating has been a consistent issue in his game. He just doesn't have any sort of explosiveness in his stride. His defensive play isn't too great either, which may be a product of his skating as opposed to any work ethic issues. He has committed to Boston University for next season.
15. Alex DeBrincat, RW, Erie (OHL)
DOB: 12/18/97 | Ht: 5-7 | Wt: 163
GP: 60 | G: 51 | A: 50
The diminutive DeBrincat has been one of the top scorers in the CHL during the past two seasons. Following 2014-15, there were lingering criticisms that summed up to "that's all great, but he played on a line with Connor McDavid." This past season, DeBrincat put a lot of those concerns to rest with a dominant campaign. He's a highly-skilled winger who shows above-average to high-end speed, puck skills, vision and finishing skill. DeBrincat is constantly buzzing around the ice making all sorts of offensive plays. His elite hockey sense allows him to be in the right place and control the puck with confidence. He was one of the very best forwards in the CHL in terms of generating scoring chances. In terms of the negatives, DeBrincat is very small, coming in at 5-foot-7, but has a real tenacity to his game. He drives the net, battles for pucks and wins some scrums versus much bigger players. His defense isn't great and his size will obviously hold him back there, but there is still a lot to like.
16. Luke Kunin, C, Wisconsin (Big 10)
DOB: 12/4/97 | Ht: 6-0 | Wt: 193
GP: 34 | G: 19 | A: 13
Kunin was Wisconsin's best player this season as a freshman, and generated insane shot totals for a player in his first season, nearly hitting the 4.0 mark per game. He's such an easy player to admire, because he's such a well-rounded player. Kunin's speed is above-average, and on occasion I've seen him touch a real separation gear as well. He plays with skill and intensity, showing the ability to go around and through defenders. His hockey IQ is also a positive attribute, although he can sometimes force some bad decisions. Kunin shows impressive vision, on top of being aware defensively and a capable penalty killer. Finally, Kunin features a plus shot, being a feared goal scorer at the NCAA, USHL and international levels. There really isn't a ton to nitpick in the Missouri native's game, other than he probably won't be an NHL game breaker, but I definitely can see him making a long career of some form in the league.
17. Mikhail Sergachyov, D, Windsor (OHL)
DOB: 6/25/98 | Ht: 6-2 | Wt: 208
GP: 67 | G: 17 | A: 40
Sergachyov had a very strong rookie season in the OHL, displaying two-way abilities and putting up big counting numbers from the blue line. He was the youngest player ever to win the OHL Defenseman of the Year award. Sergachyov is a fantastic skater for a big man, showing a technically sound stride and an above-average first step. He moves the puck well, is a creative power-play quarterback showing good patience and vision, and has a rocket for a shot. Sergachyov wins battles, shuts down lanes due to his speed, frame and toughness, and has an edge to his game as well. His defensive positioning can use some tweaking, but he shows a decent amount of awareness in that area, even if I wouldn't qualify his hockey IQ as high-end. He's a player with a lot of upside.
18. Tyler Benson, LW, Vancouver (WHL)
DOB: 3/15/98 | Ht: 6-0 | Wt: 201
GP: 30 | G: 9 | A: 19
A former elite prospect for many years, Benson's season was upended from several injuries to his lower body and back. Even when he was playing, he was at 50 percent at the best of times. Benson has great instincts, constantly finding seams to get the puck to his teammates or on net. "He never wows you," said one scout, "but he's always around the puck, making a good play." Benson is a quality defensive forward with great work ethic in battles and solid overall positional play. He doesn't shy away from throwing a hit, and is strong on the puck. His skating isn't superb, but I thought it was decent prior to this season, with the injuries possibly accentuating the issues. He has the tools to be a top-six forward in the NHL, but there are big risk factors attached to making him a first-round pick as well. I'm banking on a recovery and a return to top form next season, but he's clearly one of this class' biggest wild cards.
19. Jake Bean, D, Calgary (WHL)
DOB: 6/9/98 | Ht: 6-1 | Wt: 173
GP: 68 | G: 24 | A: 40
Bean was one of the top defenders in the WHL this season, which is pretty incredible given that he was never drafted into the WHL and has improved by leaps and bounds. "NHL hockey sense, he's got it," one NHL GM said. Bean processes the game so well, and when he gets the puck he moves it quickly and into the right spots. He never gets pressured into bad calls by fore-checkers, evading checks and maintaining possession very well. He's certainly an offensively tilted player, with above-average hands, and high-end vision on top of having a quality shot. Bean has improved his skating a lot from 12 months ago, but his first step or so is still a little slushy. Despite average size and skating, he's still a decent defensive player due to his hockey sense, and could potentially play on a second PK unit at his peak in the NHL; however, he's not a real physical defender.
20. Michael McLeod, C, Mississauga (OHL)
DOB: 2/3/98 | Ht: 6-2 | Wt: 188
GP: 57 | G: 21 | A: 40
The Mississauga native had a very good season for the Steelheads. He is a highly-skilled and competitive center who brings a lot of elements to the table. He's an elite skater, which is a remarkable trait for a 6-foot-2 player. He plays with such a tenacious energy to his game, and his first few steps are as good as anyone in the draft. McLeod has above-average skill possession, good hand-eye coordination, a solid level of creativity and can move the puck well to his teammates. He brings a physical component to his game, and while not a defensive stalwart, he is quite solid defensively for a player his age, projecting as a two-way center as a pro. The main concern for McLeod is how high his offensive upside is, and if his instincts, vision and overall IQ are high-end enough to create enough offense without his big speed advantage once he reaches the NHL.
21. Vitali Abramov, RW, Gatineau (QMJHL)
DOB: 5/8/98 | Ht: 5-9 | Wt: 175
GP: 63 | G: 38 | A: 55
Abramov landed in North America with a bang, as one of the top-scoring 17-year-olds in the CHL and the highest scorer on the Olympiques by 20 points. He's a well-rounded offensive player with a lot of flair to his game. Abramov is a skilled, confident puck handler who can make dynamic stick plays with consistency. He shows a lot of creativity in how he creates space and tries to generate scoring chances, and he displays above-average to high-end vision, as well. Abramov is a slippery and quick skater who can be very difficult to check in open ice, given his speed and how well he spins off pressure. His size is a hindrance, as he comes in at about 5-foot-9, but he works hard to try to get pucks. He could improve his defense, as he can take too many risks trying to create offense.
22. Kale Clague, D, Brandon (WHL)
DOB: 6/5/98 | Ht: 6-0 | Wt: 177
GP: 71 | G: 6 | A: 37
Clague has been a big name in the prospect world for a number of years. Although he didn't have as stellar a season as expected, he was quite effective as a two-way defenseman and showed well in his time playing for the Canadian under-17 team. He is one of the best pure skaters in this draft class. His ability to escape pressure is elite, he's got a great first step, and he can jump up into the attack as well as anybody. Although I don't love his puck skills, Clague shows high-end vision with the puck and projects as a useful power-play option. Defensively, he's a feisty player despite being undersized. His defensive positioning overall is quite solid, as he uses his skating and stick to make stops.
23. Samuel Girard, D, Shawinigan (QMJHL)
DOB: 5/12/98 | Ht: 5-10 | Wt: 162
GP: 46 | G: 17 | A: 16
One of the most dangerous draft-eligible offensive defensemen the QMJHL has seen in decades, Girard was great the past two seasons. He's an elite skater and one of the most elusive small-space skaters I've seen in a few years. Although he isn't going to dangle on end-to-end rushes every game, he has the ability to make high-level offensive plays. I don't love his shot, but he's very good at creating for his teammates and opening up the ice. Girard's main knock is his size, as he comes in at a sturdy 5-foot-9. He won't win a ton of battles, but he's competitive, doesn't tend to cross the line with penalties and can win a least a handful of puck battles.
24. Julien Gauthier, RW, Val-d'Or (QMJHL)
DOB: 10/15/97 | Ht: 6-4 | Wt: 225
GP: 54 | G: 41 | A: 16
Gauthier was one of the top goal scorers in the CHL this season, and he was the only draft-eligible player to make Team Canada's team at the WJC. Gauthier is an exciting and dynamic scorer who brings a lot of plus physical attributes to the table. He is a 6-foot-4 forward who is a good skater, and I'd classify him as a high-end one for a big man. Gauthier is a highly skilled puck handler who can dangle and create highlight-reel plays. Gauthier uses his size, competes for space and pucks well, and gets to the dirty areas. His defensive game could use some work, though, as he can be a little loose on his positioning.
25. Rasmus Asplund, C, Farjestad (SHL)
DOB: 12/3/97 | Ht: 5-11 | Wt: 176
GP: 46 | G: 4 | A: 8
Although Asplund didn't translate his strong international play to great success in the SHL this season, he's still a pretty desirable prospect. There are split opinions on him within the industry, with some scouts seeing an NHL tweener and others seeing a player with a very good chance to become a top-six center. Asplund's best trait is his hockey sense. He's a creative, aware, two-way forward who creates with his hands and vision, on top of being positionally sound. Asplund is also an above-average skater with great agility on his edges and a good first step. His 5-foot-11 frame works against him, and his strength needs to go a long way before he's NHL-ready, but he shows the capability to be a solid defensive center, despite his size.
26. Charlie McAvoy, D, Boston University (Hockey East)
DOB: 12/21/97 | Ht: 6-0 | Wt: 208
GP: 37 | G: 3 | A: 22
McAvoy was one of the better freshmen in the country this season, as he served as a key puck-moving defenseman for his team and played a lesser role for the Americans at the WJC. He put up some huge point totals for a freshman, but a fair amount of that was buoyed by secondary assists. McAvoy is an offensive defenseman at heart, and he excels when he has the puck on his stick. He skates very well and shows a lot of ability to evade pressure and lead a rush. He's a pretty effective power-play quarterback, with above-average or better hands and vision. Defensively, he'll have good and bad days. He's not spectacular at checking good players or playing the body with force, and he is prone to brain cramps in his positioning and decision-making. He won't be leaned on as the first guy over the boards to kill a penalty, but it's very possible he could skate top-four minutes at his peak.
27. Dmitri Sokolov, LW, Sudbury (OHL)
DOB: 3/14/98 | Ht: 5-11 | Wt: 220
GP: 68 | G: 30 | A: 22
Now we come to one of the most perplexing prospects of this draft class. In the summer, he was a no-doubt first-rounder and maybe even a top-10 pick, but he fell off that level quickly. One big issue for scouts has been Sokolov's skating and weight. His weight has been an issue all season, with him being measured over 220 pounds at times, but he managed to get it down to 205 toward the end of the season. In terms of positives, Sokolov is a highly skilled forward with an elite shot who can dominate based on his puck skills, hockey IQ and power game. He's a competitive player who notably improved his defensive play as the season went on. Despite all the doom and gloom, he scored 30 goals on a very bad Sudbury team while playing with a dislocated shoulder, and many hockey folks from Russia still believe in his upside. However, it would be an understatement to say there's risk in picking him. I know some NHL scouts who would highly, highly disagree with my placement of him at No. 27, but I see a big, highly skilled scorer who has worked to improve himself and has huge upside.
28. Carl Grundstrom, LW, Modo (SHL)
DOB: 12/1/97 | Ht: 6-0 | Wt: 194
GP: 49 | G: 7 | A: 9
Grundstrom has been on the NHL radar for a few years, particularly after several impressive showings last season created buzz around his name. Grudstrom's skill level has stood out to me, and he showed the ability to make high-end skill plays, but he really excels in playing a two-way forward-type of role. He has decent strength for a player his age, kills penalties well and has a little edge to his game. Grundstrom also shows slightly above-average speed, on top of pretty good puck skills. He'll occasionally make a highlight-reel type of play, but his hands and vision more consistently show as merely above-average. Grundstrom has been solid as a regular in the top Sweden league the past two years.
29. Sam Steel, C, Regina (WHL)
DOB: 2/3/98 | Ht: 5-11 | Wt: 178
GP: 72 | G: 23 | A: 47
After being a second overall pick in his bantam class, Steel underwhelmed at times this season but was pretty impressive overall. He's got above-average to top-end skating, hands and hockey IQ. He can play the game with a quick tempo and shows the ability to make defenders miss with his feet and hands, while also showing the vision to create for others. Steel is not one-dimensional, and he has shown decent defensive prowess by being an effective penalty killer for his junior team and for Team Canada at the Ivan Hlinka tournament. One downgrade for Steel was a notable inconsistency in terms of his offensive play.
30. Max Jones, LW, London (OHL)
DOB: 2/17/98 | Ht: 6-3 | Wt: 203
GP: 63 | G: 28 | A: 24
This season with London, Jones put up counting stats that were just OK, but don't be fooled by his lack of gaudy point totals. He is a legitimate top offensive talent. London was a loaded offensive team this season, and Matthew Tkachuk held down the top left wing spot, which relegated Jones to the second even-strength and power-play units. Jones is an above-average skater with a technically sound stride and very powerful first step. He is a coordinated puck handler with a fair amount of creativity and the ability to make defenders miss in open ice. Jones creates space on the ice very well with these attributes and is a tenacious worker with a strong frame and big shot. Jones has worked on his defensive play this season. His biggest remaining issues are discipline and decisions. He can cough the puck up at times, and he takes a lot of bad penalties, which shows that he can be pushed over the edge.
31. Adam Fox, D, USA U18 (USHL)
DOB: 2/17/98 | Ht: 5-10 | Wt: 185
GP: 57 | G: 8 | A: 41
The Harvard commit was a player who consistently impressed me all season, and he was a top player for the USNTDP. He has big-time offensive upside and some of the best offensive tools among the draft-eligible defensemen. Fox can control the play very well in all three zones, shows great patience, creativity and vision, and creates space well with his puck skills. Although he isn't an elite skater, he has above-average speed and agility and is able to make plays that require evasion. Fox has shown some improvement defensively, but that remains a big issue in his game. A small defender is never going to dominate in that area, and he has been a little inconsistent in terms of positioning on that end. He is a high-risk player at times, trying to do too much, and he can pass the puck to the other team more than you'd like.
32. Brett Howden, C, Moose Jaw (WHL)
DOB: 3/29/98 | Ht: 6-2 | Wt: 193
GP: 68 | G: 24 | A: 40
A top name in prospect circles for a number of years, Brett is nearly a carbon copy of his older brother, Quinton, a first-round pick of the Florida Panthers (2010) who played in 58 games for the club in 2015-16. Howden skates very well and displays an easy stride and great first step. He is a competitive, two-way forward who hustles for pucks every shift. With his size, character and hockey IQ, Howden is a very good defensive forward who has been leaned on by Moose Jaw to play critical defensive minutes. He's not a lights-out scorer, but he has some scoring tools. He'll show solid vision and shooting skills, though his hands and creativity aren't the best. He likely won't be a primary puck carrier on the power play as a pro, as he'll get more of his offense from being the main guy to gain the zone and win battles.
33. Joey Anderson, RW, USA U18 (USHL)
DOB: 6/19/98 | Ht: 5-11 | Wt: 192
GP: 57 | G: 20 | A: 29
Anderson was known at times this season for being the third wheel on the USNTDP's top line with Clayton Keller and Kieffer Bellows. However, he was solid in his own right and provided versatility to that top line and team as a whole. Anderson gets the greasy goals and shows a great work ethic and willingness to attack the net. He isn't all elbows, though, as he has above-average skill and very good speed and can move the puck around just fine. He was never carried by the big duo he played with, as he often made quality plays to keep the puck alive and occasionally made a top-level skill play. He was often relied upon as a penalty killer, and he often proved to be a shorthanded scoring threat. He's committed to Minnesota-Duluth for the 2016-17 season.
34. Will Bitten, RW, Flint (OHL)
DOB: 7/10/98 | Ht: 5-10 | Wt: 167
GP: 67 | G: 30 | A: 35
In what was a disastrous season for Flint, Bitten was a bright spot who stood out as one of the CHL's top 17-year-old forwards. He's an explosive skater who brings a lot of energy to every shift due to his speed and competitiveness. He's also a skilled offensive player who can make high difficulty plays with the puck and shows creativity with his passes. He can force some plays and could smarten up on a few decisions, but overall, he is a big net positive offensively. His defensive play rates as solid and improved a fair amount as the season went on, to the point that he was a critical defensive player for Canada at the under-18 world championship. Bitten shows the speed and work ethic to be a fine penalty killer, and though he'll occasionally cheat off his man on the point, overall he plays with the intensity you want in a checker.
35. Jordan Kyrou, RW, Sarnia (OHL)
DOB: 5/5/98 | Ht: 6-0 | Wt: 175
GP: 65 | G: 17 | A: 34
Kyrou had an up-and-down season. In his best moments, he shows high-end pro potential; in his worst stretches, he's invisible offensively and even a liability. His skating and puck handling are of the game-breaking variety, and he can create highlight-reel moments with the best of them. Kyrou often beats defenders to the outside with his speed and shows great edge work. Now, on to the bad: Kyrou has a slight build, is very shy in terms of physical play and often loses his 1-on-1 battles. He cheats defensively and can be a liability in his own end. There is a lot of risk and reward in his projection.
36. Alexander Polunin, RW, Lokomotiv (KHL)
DOB: 5/25/97 | Ht: 5-8 | Wt: 161
GP: 25 | G: 7 | A: 5
Polunin had a breakout season after going undrafted last summer, skating a regular shift for his KHL team and playing in the top six for Russia at the WJC as an underage player. There are reasons to doubt him, however. He has never been a top player on a team or in a tournament, he's 5-foot-8, and he isn'tan All-World skill player. But in every game this season, he looked impressive for an 18-year-old. Polunin is a good to very good skater with a quick burst out of every stride and a dangerous top gear. He's great in open ice and able to dangle defenders with consistency. Polunin is very smart in terms of his creativity with the puck and being able to set his teammates up with tough passes. He can also finish chances from a distance. On the downside, he is a one-dimensional player in terms of his play away from the puck, but he will hang around the net area and get in tight when he anticipates a chance.
37. Pascal Laberge, C, Victoriaville (QMJHL)
DOB: 4/9/98 | Ht: 6-1 | Wt: 172
GP: 56 | G: 23 | A: 45
The former second overall QMJHL draft pick is a highly talented and competitive forward. He brings a solid base of intangibles to the table, shows a good work ethic every shift and doesn't shy away when the energy level ratchets up a few notches. Laberge is an above-average skater with a very good top gear, which allows him to separate off the rush. He's a creative playmaker who can dangle and create the occasional highlight-reel moment as well as consistently set his teammates up for scoring chances. He's not the best defensively, which is concerning as a center, but I see him as a player trending upward.
38. Ryan Lindgren, D, USA U18 (USHL)
DOB: 2/11/98 | Ht: 6-0 | Wt: 198
GP: 54 | G: 4 | A: 16
Lindgren has been a touted name coming up through the ranks for a few years. Although he wasn't a dominant force this season, he was a pretty solid two-way defender for the USNTDP. He's a good skater who can join the rush effectively, and he has the mobility to stay with quick forwards. He handles the puck well and shows the occasional flash of top-level skill, but he mostly contains himself to good, short passes. Lindgren is a tough competitor who battles for pucks as hard as anybody and will lay out some crushing hits on occasion. His decision-making isn't perfect, but it's not a huge hole in his game. His shot could be a little better too. Lindgren is committed to the University of Minnesota starting next season.
39. Adam Mascherin, LW, Kitchener (OHL)
DOB: 6/6/98 | Ht: 5-10 | Wt: 206
GP: 65 | G: 35 | A: 46
One of the top-scoring under-18 players in the CHL this season, the former No. 2 overall pick in his OHL draft was a dominant player for long stretches. I polled a lot of scouts about Mascherin, and the common themes were "goal scorer" and "elite shot." While Mascherin can snipe it from a distance, he has other strong attributes to his game. He has above-average puck skills and shows great overall offensive instincts. Mascherin is able to find teammates, anticipate where the play is going and find ways to put himself in the right position. Overall, his team dominates the puck when he's on the ice. He's small, but he's a very strong and competitive forward who wins more battles than he should for a smaller guy. Mascherin's biggest flaw is his skating. He is a roughly average skater and notably below-average for a smaller player, in terms of his speed and first-step agility. This hinders his defensive play and prevents him from being too dangerous rushing through the neutral zone.
40. Riley Tufte, LW, Fargo (USHL)
DOB: 4/10/98 | Ht: 6-5 | Wt: 205
GP: 27 | G: 10 | A: 4
Tufte played much of the season in the high school ranks for Blaine High (Minnesota), where he was outstanding (scoring 78 points in 25 games), even when you adjust for the lower quality of competition, compared to Canadian junior leagues or the USHL. Tufte measures in at around 6-foot-5, but he skates like a 5-foot-10 forward. He has an incredibly explosive stride and first step; combined with his frame, that makes him a headache for defensemen when he's coming down the wing. Tufte's hands are above average, with good hand-eye coordination for a big man and a quality level of creativity and vision. His defensive play was fine at the high school ranks, but against the higher level of competition in the USHL, some holes were exposed in the way he plays his position. As always with top high school prospects, questions of pace and quality of competition will loom over Tufte until he shows it at a consistent level versus better players. But given the struggles he has gone through, one has to be confident that he has the willpower to find a way to prove himself. He is committed to Minnesota-Duluth for the 2016-17 season.
41. Cam Dineen, D, North Bay (OHL)
DOB: 6/19/98 | Ht: 5-11 | Wt: 183
GP: 68 | G: 13 | A: 46
A Toms River, New Jersey, native, Dineen was one of the biggest surprises of the season, as he came out of relative nowhere (he was considered only a decent prospect in the summer) to be one of the top-scoring defensemen in the CHL. Dineen has good raw offensive qualities; he brings above-average mobility and hands to the table. However, the biggest reason for his success is his hockey sense. Dineen is one of the smartest players in the draft. He takes the extra second to make a play and evades pressure as well as anyone. His timing on his passes is always spot-on, and he knows when and when not to jump up into the attack. In fact, his hockey sense has allowed him to be a not only competent but also useful defensive defenseman, in spite of his size. He isn't an overly flashy player, but he has shown this season that he can be a very effective two-way defenseman. Teams that can overlook his size might land a gem.
42. Victor Mete, D, London (OHL)
DOB: 6/7/98 | Ht: 5-10 | Wt: 174
GP: 68 | G: 8 | A: 30
Mete was a favorite of mine this season. On a team full of superstar prospects in London, he found a way to consistently stand out. Mete is one of the best skaters in this draft class. He can explode up the ice and lead a rush as well as anybody in the CHL, and he is quite agile. His puck skills aren't high-end, but he can make some plays in open ice, and he moves the puck around well. He's a small defender, but he is actually quite solid defensively and was often relied on by London in key defensive situations. Although he isn't perfect in that area, mainly due to his size, his skating and quality hockey IQ allow him to make some stops. He'll need to bulk up a ton, but he has significant pro upside.
43. Linus Lindstrom, C, Skelleftea (J20 SuperElit)
DOB: 1/8/98 | Ht: 5-11 | Wt: 164
GP: 40 | G: 14 | A: 30
Lindstrom is not the first player many would think of when they look for a forward to score a goal, yet he has been a very consistent and reliable two-way forward the past few years. In the Swedish 1998 age group, he was the top-line center. He's often one of the first guys over the boards to kill a penalty, in spite of below-average size, which is because of his very good hockey sense and work ethic. He's no slouch offensively, either. Lindstrom has above-average vision and can occasionally flash a tick above that level. He's hard on the puck and can maintain possession fine, thanks to his competitiveness and quality puck skills. He isn't a slow skater, but he's certainly not a fast one, and that's a disappointment, given his size.
44. Dillon Dube, C, Kelowna (WHL)
DOB: 6/20/98 | Ht: 5-11 | Wt: 182
GP: 46 | G: 17 | A: 16
One of the Kelowna's top players this season, Dube played all situations effectively. He's a very good skater with a powerful first few steps, and he brings a high level of energy to most shifts. Despite subpar size, he battles for pucks effectively, kills penalties well and will throw a few hits around too. When he's on his scoring game, he can dangle, set his teammates up and score from outside the paint. You see flashes of top-end skill from Dube, but it isn't there consistently, which makes me wonder if he has the top-level offensive hockey sense to put up big numbers in the NHL. He probably ends up as a bottom-six forward in the NHL.
45. Jacob Moverare, D, HV71 (J20 SuperElit)
DOB: 8/31/98 | Ht: 6-3 | Wt: 198
GP: 41 | G: 5 | A: 16
Although not a highlight-reel type of defenseman, Moverare is consistently solid. He's big, but there is a lot more to his game than size. He is a quality puck mover who can make good touch plays and doesn't panic under pressure. Defensively, he understands the position, doesn't shy from leaning on his checks and wins a lot of battles. His skating isn't the best, and though he is still able to rush the puck, thanks to his hockey IQ, I've seen him get burned by speed on the defensive end more than once. But overall, he is a quality two-way defenseman who doesn't take anything off the table.
46. Libor Hajek, D, Saskatoon (WHL)
DOB: 2/4/98 | Ht: 6-2 | Wt: 196
GP: 69 | G: 3 | A: 23
Hajek has been a top prospect for a few years. He was one of the top 16-year-old players in recent memory to be a regular in the top Czech league, and he was one of Saskatoon's best players this season. Hajek is a fantastic skater, one of the very best in this draft class. He closes his gaps well on his checks, evades pressure and is a threat offensively by activating off the point or jumping into the rush. He moves the puck efficiently, shows some creativity on the power play and is a steady positional player. He is also able to defend his off-wing very effectively. Hajek's hands aren't great, but his IQ lets him get his points, as he opens lanes so well with timing, patience and skating ability. Hajek has some room on his frame to bulk up, and he shows the intangibles to battle for pucks and throw his weight around.
47. Anatoli Golyshev, LW, Avtomobilist (KHL)
DOB: 2/14/95 | Ht: 5-8 | Wt: 179
GP: 56 | G: 25 | A: 19
Golyshev had a breakout season as a 20-year-old, as he scored the fourth-most goals in the KHL and carried his team to a postseason appearance. He's a gifted all-around offensive player who displays plus hands, good in-tight coordination and overall creativity. His best tool is arguably his shot, as he can wire chances home from the circles with consistency. He isn't as dynamic a skater as you'd like for a 5-foot-8 player, but he is certainly above-average and has an aggressive element to how he plays, and that lets him play up past his size. Although it seems like he's one of the more NHL-ready players on the list, one reason I'm not ranking Golyshev too highly is that his KHL deal runs through 2019, and there is no Russian transfer agreement.
48. Taylor Raddysh, RW, Erie (OHL)
DOB: 2/18/98 | Ht: 6-2 | Wt: 203
GP: 67 | G: 24 | A: 49
Among the top OHL scorers for long stretches of the season, Raddysh was a shots-on-goal machine in the process. Although he was helped by being on a super line with Arizona Coyotes prospect Dylan Strome and likely first-rounder Alex DeBrincat, Raddysh was very impressive in his own right. He is a power winger. He works hard every shift to win battles while also showing above-average puck skills. He reads the play very well and shows quality vision and offensive instincts. Raddysh's defensive play is about average; he's the kind of player who sacrifices his body for his team but could improve his positioning. His first step can use some work, as he's got a bit of a sluggish stride but decent leg strength.
49. Jesper Bratt, LW, AIK (Allsvenskan)
DOB: 7/30/98 | Ht: 5-10 | Wt: 171
GP: 48 | G: 8 | A: 9
Bratt was a useful player for AIK this season and one of the better under-18 scorers in the Allsvenskan the past few seasons. Bratt is a small yet exciting offensive player with dynamic qualities and an above-average skater with an explosive first step. When you add his impressive puck skills, he can be tough to handle coming through the neutral zone for defenders. He's a pretty smart two-way player as well. Bratt makes good decisions with the puck and sees the ice well, and despite his frame, he shows the ability to be quite solid defensively, even killing penalties in international play. He isn't the most physical player, and with a long road of bulking up in front of him, his drafting team will need to be patient.
50. James Greenway, D, USA U18 (USHL)
DOB: 4/27/98 | Ht: 6-5 | Wt: 213
GP: 57 | G: 4 | A: 16
Younger brother of Jordan Greenway (who went 50th overall to the Wild in 2015), James is a very interesting prospect who was a top defenseman this season for the USNTDP. He stands 6-foot-5 and is by no means a tree on defense. Greenway skates fine for a big man, is capable with the puck and can pull off the occasional high-skill play on the rush or off a pinch. However, he's more of a stay-at-home player who can lean on opponents and clog up traffic. You see games in which Greenway can be absolutely dominant as a two-way defender, but those moments are inconsistent. He can be susceptible to brain cramps, in terms of his coverage, and he can cough the puck up by trying to do too much or getting caught in a forecheck.
51. Sebastian Aho, D, Skelleftea (SHL)
DOB: 2/17/96 | Ht: 5-10 | Wt: 176
GP: 39 | G: 3 | A: 13
This is the third season in a row I'm listing Aho here, so I've made peace with the likelihood that he will go undrafted yet again, but here we are (and he is not to be confused with the Finnish forward of the same name, who went 35th overall to the Hurricanes last year). Aho was a solid contributor for the top team in the SHL but missed the WJC due to injury. He is a very mobile skater with top-end hockey sense, moves the puck well, and has some creativity in his game. The main knock against Aho has been that he's a small defenseman, which hinders his NHL potential. That is true, and he doesn't project as a top-end player or defensive stalwart, but his IQ allows him to be an effective stickchecker and to execute proper positioning.
52. Filip Hronek, D, HC Hradec Kralove (Czech Extraliga)
DOB: 11/2/97 | Ht: 6-0 | Wt: 163
GP: 40 | G: 0 | A: 4
Hronek has been a decent regular in the top men's league in the Czech Republic this season, but his best showing came at the WJC. His lackluster point production in professional play is not indicative of his potential, as he is an offense-tilted defenseman. Hronek has quick feet and is able to close his gaps and join the rush effectively. His solid hands and skating allow him to be quite elusive. He has a decent work ethic but his thin, small frame holds him back from winning battles, and he can be manhandled in the defensive zone. His defense isn't horrible, but improving the physical aspects of his game will go a long way toward rectifying those issues.
53. Jonathan Dahlen, C, Timra (Allsvenskan)
DOB: 12/20/97 | Ht: 5-11 | Wt: 176
GP: 51 | G: 15 | A: 14
Son of former No. 17 overall pick Ulf Dahlen, Jonathan was one of the best players on his team. One Swedish scout referred to him as a "mama's boy Swede." I'm still trying to figure out exactly what that means, but he said it in context while discussing how Dahlen has a high level of skill and hockey intelligence, so I'll go with that. Dahlen sees the ice well, showing well above-average vision as a playmaker. He also thinks the game quickly, showing the poise of a professional player already. He's not an incredibly gifted skater, which is the biggest issue in his offensive arsenal. He could also stand to be a little tougher on his checks and in one-on-one matchups, as he loses more battles than he should.
54. Frederic Allard, D, Chicoutimi (QMJHL)
DOB: 12/27/97 | Ht: 6-1 | Wt: 179
GP: 64 | G: 14 | A: 45
Allard was a leader for Chicoutimi this season, steadily progressing as the season went along and becoming one of the top defensemen in the Q. Allard thinks the game at a very high level, showing a high panic threshold with the puck. He makes creative plays on the power play, transitions the puck very well, and is able to hold on to the puck for an extra second to make the right play. He's not a standout defensive player, but is able to be solid positionally and stay with his checks. Allard's skating could use a little work, as he lacks an explosive first step.
55. Logan Stanley, D, Windsor (OHL)
DOB: 5/26/98 | Ht: 6-7 | Wt: 225
GP: 46 | G: 17 | A: 16
The massive blueliner has been a lightning rod in the prospect community for a number of years, with a wide variance of opinions. I've heard scouts who wouldn't use a pick in the first two rounds on him, and others who consider him a top-10 talent. He stands 6-7 and is a pretty impressive skater and puck mover for such a big man. He's not particularly dynamic in either area, but he shows a quality athletic toolkit. Stanley leans on opponents with his large frame to win battles and gets in shooting lanes pretty well, and disrupts play with his long reach. Stanley's hockey IQ isn't sublime; while he's not a liability there, he doesn't display top-end puck-moving instincts to make him a real power-play threat. There's some offensive upside, but it's pretty evident how his bread will be buttered.
56. Aapeli Rasanen, C, Tappara (Jr. A. Liiga)
DOB: 6/1/98 | Ht: 6-0 | Wt: 196
GP: 50 | G: 19 | A: 19
Rasanen's point totals weren't too gaudy this season in the top Finnish junior league, but he's been an important part of the Finnish 1998 age group the last few years. He's a very smart center who can slow the game down and create chances while appearing to exert minimal effort. He can deke defenders, but he's more effective making quick passes and beating opponents with pace. Rasanen is at his best as a playmaker, but he takes his shots when he gets a lane and has a decent cannon when he does so. His skating is his most noticeable hole to me; his top gear is below average, and he can have trouble pushing defenders back too far off the blue line on a rush. He is quite good defensively, often being leaned on for critical defensive situations and faceoffs.
57. David Quenneville, D, Medicine Hat (WHL)
DOB: 3/13/98 | Ht: 5-8 | Wt: 182
GP: 64 | G: 14 | A: 41
Brother of New Jersey Devils prospect John Quenneville (and second cousin of Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville), David is still as skilled as he was when he was a top pick in his WHL bantam draft, but everyone else grew a few inches and he stayed 5-8. Quenneville has put up big scoring numbers and is one of the more skilled offensive defensemen in this year's draft. He's a very agile skater who can escape pressure well and activate into the attack. His puck moving is exceptional. He thinks the game quickly, has the hands to evade pressure, and doesn't shy away from getting up into the attack. He doesn't have a cannon from the point, but he always finds a way to get it on net and create issues for the opposition. Despite his size, I've seen Quenneville throw an occasional big hit, and he doesn't shy away from puck battles. Defensively, he's not a huge hole due to his IQ, but his size limits what he can do there.
58. Janne Kuokkanen, LW, Karpat (Jr. A Liiga)
DOB: 5/25/98 | Ht: 6-1 | Wt: 175
GP: 47 | G: 22 | A: 31
Kuokkanen was a top scorer in the Finnish junior league and was consistently impressive during under-18 international play for Finland. He's not an outstanding offensive player in any one regard, but he's a well-rounded threat who can play center or wing, though projects more as a winger. Kuokkanen has a strong burst in his skating and is able to ratchet up to a solid top gear. He can make skill plays, move it quickly up the ice, and maintain possession in tight spaces. He has a decent power game in his arsenal, as I've seen him drive the net front area and protect the puck effectively. Defensively, he cheats a little and could stand to clean up that part of his game in order to be a more complete player as the competition level ramps up.
59. Yegor Rykov, D, SKA (KHL)
DOB: 4/14/97 | Ht: 6-2 | Wt: 205
GP: 20 | G: 3 | A: 7
I was surprised Rykov wasn't drafted last season. It was possibly due to the "Russian factor," and while he didn't have a mind-blowing season, he was solid for an 18-year-old skating in the KHL and had a good WJC. I think any NHL org would benefit from his skills, and he's cleared the hurdle of being good enough to be worth the risk of a draft pick late in the second round or early in the third. Rykov doesn't have one standout ability; he's not going to blaze by on a rush, or lay a crushing hit, but I don't see a glaring weakness in his game. He skates well, can move the puck, has some offensive creativity, and is a reliable positional defender who has shown the ability to check the best players in his age group as well as older players.
60. Simon Stransky, LW, Prince Albert (WHL)
DOB: 12/21/97 | Ht: 5-11 | Wt: 178
GP: 62 | G: 19 | A: 43
Stransky was pretty good for Prince Albert in his second WHL season, but he had an average performance at the WJC for the Czech Republic. He is a gifted puck handler who can make difficult, coordinated plays seem easy, and is an unselfish playmaker who makes soft touch plays around the offensive zone to move the puck quickly. His offensive hockey sense gives you optimism about his projection. On the negative side, he is a bit scrawny and will need to bulk up a lot over the next few years. He also isn't the most gifted skater, having a bit of a sluggish first step and an overall rough stride. He will need patience on the part of the organization that picks him, but he does show some NHL capabilities.
61. Noah Gregor, C, Moose Jaw (WHL)
DOB: 7/28/98 | Ht: 5-11 | Wt: 175
GP: 72 | G: 28 | A: 45
After missing a big chunk of the previous season due to injury, Gregor was very impressive in 2015-16, being one of the top-scoring under-18 players in the CHL. He's a pretty good skater, bringing above-average speed and agility to the table. He's a tenacious player who buzzes around the ice and stays on his man. Gregor can go east-west with the puck, and he is a smart playmaker who has soft hands, can spot the open seams in the ice and get the puck to his teammates. He's a two-way forward who can kill penalties well. One knock on him is his size, and while he's not the biggest player, he works hard to win defensive battles and get in lanes. He's been one of the big risers on my board this season.
62. Oskar Steen, RW, Farjestad (SHL)
DOB: 3/9/98 | Ht: 5-9 | Wt: 188
GP: 46 | G: 17 | A: 16
A quick look at Steen's basic stats would probably leave some folks less than enthusiastic. He's small and hasn't put up giant scoring numbers this season at any level or tournament, yet every time I saw him I came away thinking he's a real NHL prospect. He did manage to work his way into a regular role for an SHL team for a good portion of the season and playoffs, so I'm not alone in that opinion. Steen is a good to a very good skater. He's an energetic player, and wins battles thanks to that work ethic and having the speed to pressure opponents. His skill is not at an All-World level, but he certainly has solid puck skills and vision, and can pull off some high-level plays on occasion. Steen is also useful defensively, killing penalties at the international level and in junior play before his promotion to the SHL side.
63. Luke Green, D, Saint John (QMJHL)
DOB: 1/12/98 | Ht: 6-0 | Wt: 188
GP: 61 | G: 10 | A: 25
The first overall pick in the 2014 QMJHL draft, Green has been a quality part of the top-four rotation for Saint John the last two seasons. He hasn't been spectacular, though, with just flashes of top-end play. He's a natural offensive player, with shifty feet and above-average puck skills. He can join a rush very effectively, and shows good overall offensive creativity and instincts. Green struggled at times with his decision-making at both ends this season, coming along better in the second half. He's not a top defender, but he was capable in the Q this season, exhibiting fine work ethic even if the technical side of his game needs work.
64. Artur Kayumov, LW, Russia U18 (MHL)
DOB: 2/14/98 | Ht: 5-11 | Wt: 176
GP: 39 | G: 12 | A: 19
One of the players hurt most by the Russian doping scandal was Kayumov, who had been one of the top players on the new Russian under-18 program throughout the season. He's small, but every other element of his game impresses. Kayumov is a very good skater, displaying above-average to high-end speed and acceleration. He's able to slow the game down with the puck, making deft touch plays and evading pressure. Kayumov is a game-breaking offensive talent, and he creates a lot of his own opportunities. Despite his size, he's shown that he can be a useful penalty-killer based on his speed and can even win some battles. He has the intangibles to push himself past his physical deficiencies if a team is willing to take a shot on him this summer.
65. Lucas Carlsson, D, Brynas (SHL)
DOB: 7/5/97 | Ht: 6-0 | Wt: 189
GP: 35 | G: 4 | A: 5
Carlsson is a re-entry player, and one who I also had ranked in the latter portions of my top 100 last season. He was solid as a regular player for Brynas this season, but doesn't stand out at either end of the rink. Offensively, he displays solid-to-average stick skills, with fine mobility and straight-line speed. This season he showed a little more creativity than I saw from him in the past. His hockey IQ is what makes him go. He's a very smart and patient puck mover, and on defense he makes stops using good positioning and stick play. He can also win some battles, and is able to kill penalties. Carlsson gets beat a little too much by speed, but it's not a huge issue.
66. Tim Gettinger, LW, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
DOB: 4/14/98 | Ht: 6-5 | Wt: 200
GP: 46 | G: 17 | A: 16
After coming into 2015-16 with a fair amount of hype, Gettinger never really found his offensive groove, and I'd count him among the more underwhelming prospects this season. He's a 6-foot-5 forward with skill, which immediately draws attention. The skill isn't overwhelming -- more in the "slightly above-average" bucket -- but it's very good for a man his size. Gettinger displays solid vision with the puck, has pretty good defensive awareness for a player his age, and can kill penalties at a quality level. I don't hate his skating given his size, but he has a rough first step and overall has to develop that area of his game a fair amount to have a shot at the NHL. He isn't the most physical player, which can underplay his size advantage, and scouts point to issues regarding his willingness to compete and maintain proper fitness.
67. Chad Krys, D, USA U18 (USHL)
DOB: 4/10/98 | Ht: 5-11 | Wt: 185
GP: 46 | G: 3 | A: 23
Krys was another prospect I thought underperformed relative to expectations this season. He had a fine season but never really established himself as a take-control-of-the-game kind of player for the USNTDP. Krys can "own the puck," per one scout, with his great vision, creativity and skill. He shows the ability to quarterback the power play with his poise and IQ. He's an agile skater with above-average speed as well. Krys' 5-foot-11 frame is an obvious concern, coupled with the fact he's not a high-end defensive player and makes the odd hiccup; this raises notable concerns about his projection. He is committed to Boston University starting next season.
68. Markus Niemelainen, D, Saginaw (OHL)
DOB: 6/8/98 | Ht: 6-5 | Wt: 198
GP: 65 | G: 1 | A: 26
Niemelainen was a fine two-way player for Saginaw this season. He's a fantastic skater for a defender of his size, moving effortlessly around the ice. His skill isn't high-end, but he moves the puck at a solid-to-average level, showing good hands and coordination for a player his size, and decent offensive instincts. Niemelainen is a hard-working player who will use his size to his advantage, but he needs to bulk up a fair amount. One criticism has been that he can look somewhat bland, never particularly dominating a game or making elite-level plays at either end. Since Niemelainen was loaned to Saginaw this season from his club team in Finland, he may not be restricted to play in the CHL the next two seasons, so his drafting team could choose to develop him in a pro league elsewhere.
69. Boris Katchouk, LW, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
DOB: 6/18/98 | Ht: 6-1 | Wt: 192
GP: 63 | G: 24 | A: 27
Katchouk showed notable improvements in his game this season, even in terms of his month to month play. Katchouk is a player who bleeds intangibles. He is an intense competitor who brings it every shift, and walks the line between "physical" and "agitator." He's not all hits and fists, as Katchouk is a decent skater, with above-average vision, shooting touch and a decent-sized frame. As the season went on, he showed more confidence and creativity with the puck. He shows good strength for a player his age, and gets to the tough areas of the ice pretty effectively. Surprisingly -- given his tools and playing style -- he was not relied upon too much to kill penalties this season, but one expects he will do so as he transitions into the pro ranks.
70. Cliff Pu, C, London (OHL)
DOB: 6/3/98 | Ht: 6-2 | Wt: 192
GP: 63 | G: 12 | A: 19
Though he scored just a tad over a half-point per game, don't forget that Pu was buried on a deep London forward group, and showed well in a limited role. Pu skates very well for a player with a pro-sized body. He can jet through the neutral zone and pressure opponents well. He's got a decent touch with the puck, able to handle in tight spaces just fine and flash some top-level plays. He can play center reliably and be a quality penalty killer. Pu is a very bright individual, but his hockey IQ hasn't shown well at times.
71. Matthew Phillips, C, Victoria (WHL)
DOB: 4/6/98 | Ht: 5-7 | Wt: 140
GP: 72 | G: 37 | A: 39
Phillips was a top-20 scorer in the WHL this season as a rookie and a big part of Victoria being one of the top teams. The reason why he's not going in the top 45 is that he can't get onto every ride at an amusement park, coming in at about 5-foot-7 and 140 pounds. He's a very dynamic offensive player, however. Phillips is one of the better skaters in this draft class. While his top gear is not elite, his ability to elude pressure and his side-to-side movements are elite. He's a very shifty puck handler with good vision, and despite his size, he can be very difficult to check in open ice. Phillips is a battler who goes to the net, although overall, his off-the-puck play is -- and will continue to be -- a significant issue.
72. Lucas Johansen, D, Kelowna (WHL)
DOB: 11/16/97 | Ht: 6-2 | Wt: 176
GP: 69 | G: 10 | A: 39
Ryan Johansen's brother took huge steps forward in his second WHL season, being one of Kelowna's most important players. He shows quality hockey sense, effectively moving the puck out of his end and on the man advantage. He doesn't have a "wow"-level caliber of skill, but he always makes decisions with the puck to put his team in a position to succeed and is able to hold onto it for that extra second. He's very solid defensively, showing great work ethic to win pucks and get in lanes, as well as fine positional play. Johansen's biggest issue is his skating. He's notably below average in that department, with a sluggish stride, and he can get beat wide by quicker forwards.
73. Yegor Korshkov, LW, Lokomotiv (KHL)
DOB: 7/10/96 | Ht: 6-4 | Wt: 180
GP: 41 | G: 6 | A: 6
Korshkov got a lot of attention after a very good performance at the WJC, and he has been a decent bottom-six forward for his KHL team after going undrafted by NHL clubs the past two years. Korshkov is a towering power forward, with a strong 6-foot-4 frame that he uses to bulldoze his way to the front of the net and win many battles along the boards. He's a good skater for a man his size, showing excellent balance. Korshkov's hands won't dazzle, but he can make coordinated plays to avoid a check here or there. He'll move the puck at a fair level, and he isn't just a bump-and-grind big man.
74. Trent Frederic, C, USA U18 (USHL)
DOB: 2/11/98 | Ht: 6-2 | Wt: 203
GP: 54 | G: 16 | A: 17
A two-way center who was relied on to play key minutes, Frederic was inconsistent on the offensive end. He has a big, strong frame and is quite effective in one-on-one battles. He's a pretty good penalty killer who gets in lanes and wins pucks. He also is a short-handed scoring threat. He's got solid puck skills, even if he's not a spectacular puck handler. His skating, on the other hand, worries me a little. He's not really fast, relying on his power game -- as opposed to a quick burst -- to get to the net. He is committed to the University of Wisconsin starting next season.
75. Will Lockwood, RW, USA U18 (USHL)
DOB: 6/20/98 | Ht: 5-11 | Wt: 172
GP: 52 | G: 12 | A: 14
Lockwood didn't put up great numbers this season, so consider this one more of a scouting feel, as I always came away impressed when I saw Lockwood play this season. He has high-end offensive talent, as he skates very well and buzzes around the ice with speed and energy every shift. He is confident with the puck and can execute difficult plays with consistency. Lockwood is better at attacking directly than being a playmaker, although he has decent vision. His off-puck play can use a lot of work. He is not the most physically imposing player nor does he win a ton of battles. His defensive positioning could also be described as lackluster, at times. He's committed to the University of Michigan starting next season.
76. Nathan Bastian, RW, Mississauga (OHL)
DOB: 12/6/97 | Ht: 6-4 | Wt: 205
GP: 64 | G: 19 | A: 40
Bastian served as one third of one of the best lines in the CHL this season, playing alongside Michael McLeod and Alexander Nylander. While he was the third wheel on that line, he's still a very good prospect, in his own right. A two-way forward with power elements in his game, he shows solid stick skills and has the ability to make creative offensive plays to maintain possession. Bastian is a big, strong forward who grinds out battles and plays every shift hard. I don't love his skating, and given that he doesn't have high-end offensive touch with the puck, I'm not sure I see him as having the talent to rate as a potential top-six forward for an NHL team.
77. Jack Kopacka, RW, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
DOB: 3/5/98 | Ht: 6-2 | Wt: 185
GP: 67 | G: 20 | A: 23
Overall, it was a solid rookie campaign for Kopacka in the OHL, despite some peaks and valleys. Kopacka is a good skater with an explosive first step, and he's dangerous when coming through the neutral zone with the puck. He shows the ability to make plays to his teammates, has above-average puck skills and can score from a distance. As alluded to above, his offense was not always there this season, at times looking invisible for long stretches. He has a decent frame but isn't the most physical player or a guy you would put over the boards first to kill a penalty. He has good long-term upside, but he will require patience from an organization drafting him.
78. Josh Mahura, D, Red Deer (WHL)
DOB: 5/5/98 | Ht: 6-0 | Wt: 178
GP: 2 | G: 0 | A: 1
Mahura missed nearly the entire season due to a knee injury, so this is a mostly scouting-based call, though he did play in the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament and WHL playoffs. Mahura is not incredibly dynamic, but he is a very useful two-way defenseman. He's an easy, four-way skater who can get up into the attack and recovers very easily on his backward motions. His puck movement is solid, and he shows the ability to be an average power-play quarterback, with some flashes of top-level creativity. Mahura exhibits decent grit in battles and has the hockey IQ to play his position. His decisions aren't perfect, as I've seen situations where he tries to get too cute or misses his check, but that is not a major issue.
79. Sean Day, D, Mississauga (OHL)
DOB: 1/9/98 | Ht: 6-2 | Wt: 228
GP: 57 | G: 6 | A: 16
Let's talk about Sean Day. Renowned for being named the fourth "exceptional" player by Hockey Canada, following John Tavares, Aaron Ekblad and Connor McDavid. Renowned, as well, for being in the same sentence with those names -- first overall NHL draft picks, all of them -- for only that reason. On the plus side, he's an elite skater with unbelievable four-way quickness for a big man. Day is a creative puck mover who can outlet the puck well and make plays in tight spaces. On his best days, Day is a calm, efficient puck mover who can win some battles and make some stops. On his worst days, Day is shooting his team in the foot with poor puck management and positioning. Despite all his talents, he has shown notably little progression during the past 12 months and is a very inconsistent player. He has also had issues controlling his weight and maintaining proper fitness.
80. Dennis Cholowski, D, Chilliwack (BCHL)
DOB: 2/15/98 | Ht: 6-0 | Wt: 170
GP: 50 | G: 12 | A: 28
Cholowski was Chilliwack's best puck mover this season, and while he's a long-term project type of prospect, he does have the upside to make an NHL's team patience worth it. Cholowski has above-average offensive tools across the board. He has the top speed to be able to rush the puck effectively and can evade pressure off his edges just fine. Cholowski is a very smart puck mover, showing good poise on his outlets and power-play decisions. He possesses solid coordination with the puck and can execute above-average passes. Cholowski's physical game, however, is a significant issue. He is undersized and can have a real tough time winning one-on-one battles. Defensively, he's not a world killer, either. He is committed to St. Cloud State starting in the 2017-18 season.
81. Otto Somppi, C, Halifax (QMJHL)
DOB: 1/12/98 | Ht: 6-1 | Wt: 180
GP: 59 | G: 13 | A: 33
Somppi had a somewhat better than expected season in the QMJHL, being one of Halifax's best players and becoming heavily leaned on especially after San Jose's top prospect, Timo Meier, was dealt. "Toolsy playmaker," said one scout. "He's still a little bit raw, but you see he can make a lot of good plays." Somppi shows pretty good passing skills. He likes to set up his teammates and passes up shooting opportunities to make a play. He's a solid skater who can get up and down the ice fine. His work ethic is quality, as he can win battles and will play his defensive position on the back check. Is he the most consistent offensive threat? Probably not, but he does show you he has what it takes to play with pros down the lines.
82. Brayden Burke, C, Lethbridge (WHL)
DOB: 1/1/97 | Ht: 5-10 | Wt: 160
GP: 72 | G: 27 | A: 82
Burke took gigantic steps forward in his development this season, after going undrafted in 2014-15 to being one of the WHL's top scorers. Burke is a very good skater, showing above-average to plus agility, acceleration and top gear. His ability to elude pressure and carry the puck up the ice is a difference-maker for him. Burke excels with the puck on his stick and is one of the better playmakers in the CHL, consistently executing on tough passes and putting pucks in good spots. Even if he has a tendency at times to overpass, he was at well over an assist per game this season. Burke's size and defensive game are issues. He measures in at just 5-foot-10, is not incredibly physical and doesn't project as a top-end penalty killer, by any means.
83. Maxime Fortier, RW, Halifax (QMJHL)
DOB: 12/15/97 | Ht: 5-10 | Wt: 177
GP: 68 | G: 31 | A: 46
Fortier improved significantly in his 18-year-old season with Halifax, serving as assistant captain and putting Halifax on his back some nights especially after Timo Meier was traded. Fortier has big-time speed, being able to create a lot of scoring chances with how he turns defenders coming through the neutral zone. Fortier can't go east-west as well as he can go north-south, but he's certainly got a quality pair of hands on him too. He can make creative plays in tight spaces and angle out defenders well. He'll create at a fair level for his teammates, making the odd "wow" play, and has a solid wrist shot too. Fortier's off-the-puck play is a significant issue. He's small and not the best in one-on-one battles. He also isn't the most useful player when it comes to defensive positioning.
84. Ty Ronning, RW, Vancouver (WHL)
DOB: 10/20/97 | Ht: 5-9 | Wt: 163
GP: 67 | G: 31 | A: 28
The son of NHL journeyman Cliff Ronning, Ty Ronning was one of the most improved players in the CHL this season, putting up big goal-scoring numbers and leading Vancouver in most offensive categories. Ronning plays the game with a ton of energy. I don't love the technical part of his stride, having a bit of an awkward lean, but he gets to where he needs to go in straight lines very well and shows an overall impressive top gear. Ronning is small but doesn't shy away from the rough stuff, all while keeping his penalty minutes low. He shows above-average puck skills and solid overall coordination, and he can make plays to his teammates. Ronning also features a high-end wrist shot, showing the ability to finish plays from faceoff-dot distance.
85. Givani Smith, LW, Guelph (OHL)
DOB: 2/28/98 | Ht: 6-2 | Wt: 204
GP: 65 | G: 23 | A: 19
Smith's counting numbers might not jump off the screen to anyone who does a quick Google search, but keep in mind, he was a top player on one of the worst OHL teams. Smith is one of the most physical players in the draft. He wins most of the one-on-one battles he engages in and can fight back pucks from opponent's possession as well as nearly any junior player. He shows a solid pair of mitts too, being able to generate some space for himself with the puck. Neither his speed nor his puck skills are amazing, but he'll be able to carry himself in those areas with pros. His discipline is a major issue, as you often hear scouts describe him as "reckless" and a "headache" in terms of the penalties he takes. His overall decision-making could stand to be a lot better. However, he does find a way to agitate opponents quite well.
86. Kristian Reichel, C, HC Litvinov (Czech Extraliga)
DOB: 6/11/98 | Ht: 6-1 | Wt: 167
GP: 28 | G: 17 | A: 7
The son of longtime NHL player Robert Reichel (who was also his coach this season at the under-18 level), he was solid in international play and was a regular in the top Czech league this season. There are a fair amount of tools to like from Reichel. He is a 6-foot-1 center with above-average speed and can make skilled plays with the puck. He's not a dynamic highlight reel, but versus his age group, he has usually found ways to stand out. Reichel can show good vision with the puck and has some creativity too. His off-the-puck play isn't horrible, and while he'll make the odd good defensive play and win some battles, there is a lot of room for improvement there -- particularly if he wants to stay down the middle.
87. Tim Wahlgren, LW, Modo (J20 SuperElit)
DOB: 3/8/98 | Ht: 6-0 | Wt: 178
GP: 39 | G: 20 | A: 25
Wahlgren was one of the top scorers in the top Sweden junior league and was impressive as well for Sweden's under-18 team. He's a very good skater who plays with a real intensity and constantly pressures opponents. He can be a handful to take the puck away from and kills penalties effectively due to his speed, work ethic and IQ. He's not an insignificant puck handler by any means, as Wahlgren can show the occasional flash of skill, but he won't be a primary puck carrier on a scoring line, by any means. Overall though, he shows pretty good anticipation and decision-making, rarely working plays that create a negative for his team. He has a shot to be an effective two-way forward as a pro.
88. Andrew Peeke, D, Green Bay (USHL)
DOB: 3/17/98 | Ht: 6-3 | Wt: 205
GP: 56 | G: 4 | A: 25
The Florida native has impressed this season in the USHL and several international showings for the U.S. Peeke is a good skater and an extremely fluid and mobile player for a 6-foot-3 defenseman. He evades pressure well to create space on outlets and is able to join the rush fairly effectively. Peeke moves the puck well, showing solid vision and overall offensive instincts. His puck skills are poor, though, and in tight pressure, he can't skate away from challenges. Peeke's defense is fine, with his positioning being a slight issue, but his mobility, size and work ethic allow him to be a quality defender. He is committed to the University of Notre Dame starting next season.
89. Maxim Lazarev, LW, Cape Breton (QMJHL)
DOB: 1/29/96 | Ht: 5-10 | Wt: 170
GP: 52 | G: 30 | A: 45
Lazarev has gone undrafted twice, and I've never had him ranked prior to this season, but he impressed me this season enough to throw him in toward the bottom of my top 100. Lazarev has a very high skill level, and the more time he has spent in North America, the more comfortable he has gotten making skill plays in tight spaces. He's one of the best playmakers in the CHL (albeit, as one of the league's older players), because of how he sees the ice -- but also in terms of how he creates space for himself to dish the puck. He skates fine, with above-average speed and edge work, but given his diminutive size, you hope he would have another gear. Lazarev is also a one-dimensional player, not being able to win many board battles, and his defensive positioning is subpar, at best. I think the offensive upside is worth a flier even if he is a bit of a long shot.
90. Cameron Morrison, LW, Youngstown (USHL)
DOB: 8/27/98 | Ht: 6-2 | Wt: 200
GP: 60 | G: 34 | A: 32
Morrison was his USHL team's leading goal scorer and point producer. Morrison features a pro-level shot and finished on nearly 30 percent of his shots this season. While that obviously is not a shooting percentage that he will maintain, he can absolutely finish chances from a distance. Scouts I've talked to praise his skating, but when I saw him multiple times this season, I never saw a truly high-level gear; it looked more overall average to me, but you see the odd good flash. I'm not a huge believer in his hockey sense, but I still rank him due to his frame, his touch with the puck and his shot; and people I trust around the USHL seem to think there is something there. He is committed to the University of Notre Dame starting next season.
91. Maxime Lajoie, D, Swift Current (WHL)
DOB: 11/5/97 | Ht: 6-1 | Wt: 183
GP: 62 | G: 8 | A: 29
Lajoie held steady this season from his breakout campaign in 2014-15, continuing to be a solid two-way defender for Swift Current. He doesn't have any particularly elite skills, but he does a variety of things pretty well. He's a good skater, showing above-average skating traits in terms of ease of stride and speed, and he is capable of jumping up into the attack. With the puck, he's able to make a play whether moving or carrying it. Defensively, he can be relied upon to battle for possession, get in shooting lanes and maintain his position at a fair level. Swift Current has leaned on him as an all-situations defender. Lajoie can be a bit bland, though. He is not really a player you rely on for a crucial play or some big, powerful defender that can kill a penalty by himself.
92. Kyle Maksimovich, LW, Erie (OHL)
DOB: 3/10/98 | Ht: 5-9 | Wt: 172
GP: 68 | G: 27 | A: 44
One of the bigger risers this season, Maksimovich was a former top scorer on his GTHL team (ahead of top prospects such as Michael McLeod), but he never really emerged at the OHL level until this season. He is a highly gifted puck handler, possessing coordination, creativity and the quick-twitch abilities to make plays in tight spaces. He has great hockey sense, showing rapid decision-making and above-average vision. Maksimovich's size is an issue. He works hard, but he is 5-foot-9 and isn't the best defensively, either. He's a lot slower than the ideal skill forwards in his height range. He is fine moving on his edges but lacks a true breakaway gear.
93. Tage Thompson, RW, Connecticut (Hockey East)
DOB: 10/30/97 | Ht: 6-5 | Wt: 185
GP: 36 | G: 14 | A: 18
Thompson surged up draft boards this season after putting up big point totals as a freshman. While a lot of his scoring was due to heavy power-play production, which isn't always very predictive of talent, there is certainly a fair amount to like about Thompson's game. He's a skilled big man. Thompson shows the ability to make decent offensive plays, displaying strong coordination and puck-movement ability for a 6-foot-5 player. Thompson also has a big shot, often being used this season as a trigger man on the point for Connecticut. His defensive hockey sense is fair, as he was a quality penalty killer during his time with the USNTDP. His skating isn't the best, though. His speed isn't horrible for a big man, but he's not a burner at all. And despite his size, Thompson isn't the most physical player you will find in the draft.
94. Eetu Tuulola, RW, HPK (Liiga)
DOB: 3/17/98 | Ht: 6-2 | Wt: 227
GP: 29 | G: 9 | A: 5
On the heels of preseason hype, Tuulola stagnated a bit in his development this season. There is a lot to like about the tool kit, as he's a 6-foot-3 forward with talent. Tuulola is a very good puck handler for a big man, able to make skill plays in tight spaces and create space for himself. He has a cannon swing and can finish scoring chances from a significant distance with a forceful wrist shot. His offensive IQ isn't amazing, but it is fine, as Tuulola is able to move the puck around and make the odd good pass. He's effective in front of the net, using his frame and hands to create havoc for goalies. Tuulola's skating is a significant hole in his arsenal due to his sluggish stride. His defense is also a work in progress.
95. Jonathan Ang, C, Peterborough (OHL)
DOB: 1/31/98 | Ht: 5-11 | Wt: 165
GP: 68 | G: 21 | A: 28
Ang is a former top pick in the OHL who has been a solid yet unspectacular player for the Petes over the past two seasons. He's a dynamic offensive threat, at times. He's got a great first step and can jet through the neutral zone as well as most CHL forwards. Highlight-reel plays aren't uncommon, as Ang can dangle in open ice and otherwise make moves with the puck. He is a small player who has been dinged in the past for his off-the-puck work, but he was able to steadily get more reliable defensive minutes, even killing penalties along the way. I'm not sold on his hockey IQ being of the top-level variety, as he can force the puck and make some bad decisions at times. He also has some trouble winning battles.
96. Lukas Doudera, D, HC Trinec (Czech Extraliga)
DOB: 1/3/98 | Ht: 5-11 | Wt: 165
GP: 30 | G: 0 | A: 2
Doudera was a regular all season in the top Czech league and solid in the upper half of the lineup during under-18 international play. He's not a well-rounded player lacking any big-time attributes. Doudera is an above-average skater displaying good technical footwork and skating power in every direction. His coordination with the puck is sound, moving it up the ice competently and making some plays in open ice. He makes simple yet good decisions consistently and is able to open lanes and get pucks through on the power play. He's undersized and not too bulky, which can hinder him in one-on-one battles. His positional play is decent, but there is work to be done before he can be a competent defensive player at high levels.
97. Rem Pitlick, C, Muskegon (USHL)
DOB: 4/2/97 | Ht: 5-9 | Wt: 196
GP: 56 | G: 46 | A: 43
Pitlick took gigantic strides this season, advancing from a bottom-six forward on his USHL team and going undrafted last season to being the league's top goal scorer and point producer. He's a pretty good skater who has a strong first step and top gear. Pitlick displays a solid north-south game as he barrels down with energy and attacks the goal, despite being an undersized forward. Stickhandling is solid for Pitlick, and he also has a very good shot, which helped him to clear the 40-goal mark this season. His size is an issue, as is his lack of top-end playmaking ability. He is committed to the University of Minnesota starting next season.
98. Marek Zachar, RW, Bill Tygri Liberec (Czech U20)
DOB: 6/11/98 | Ht: 5-9 | Wt: 146
GP: 37 | G: 10 | A: 14
A Google search of Zachar would likely leave some underwhelmed. 5-foot-9? Check. Underwhelming point production in a low tier league? Check. Almost no hype or recognition as a draft prospect? Check. But I'll be darned if every time I watched him I didn't come away thinking there is something more to him. He is one of the better speedsters available in this year's class. Zachar has an explosive first step and a great engine to pressure and win the puck, despite a smaller frame. The question many will have for him: How many plays can he make when his legs aren't moving? And I do think there is some offensive IQ to his game; it just hasn't matured yet. But you see the flashes of creativity and vision from Zachar.
99. Vladimir Kuznetsov, RW, Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL)
DOB: 2/18/98 | Ht: 6-2 | Wt: 210
GP: 68 | G: 25 | A: 33
Kuznetsov was the first overall pick in last year's CHL import draft. He was a very solid addition for Acadie-Bathurst, finishing as one of the top-scoring rookies in the CHL this season. He's a skilled winger who can stick handle at above average levels. Kuznetsov has a fine wrist shot and shows good vision from the sideboards. They don't come with any consistently, but he's capable of "wow" moments, thanks to his natural touch and solid speed. Kuznetsov is a big kid at 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, but he's not all that physical, losing more battles than he should at his size. His effort and positional play on the defensive end could use some work too. The team that drafts him will be getting a good amount of offensive ability but will also know there are a lot of warts to work around.
100. Ondrej Vala, D, Kamloops (WHL)
DOB: 4/13/98 | Ht: 6-5 | Wt: 207
GP: 72 | G: 4 | A: 17
At the 100th spot, we have a player that has an intriguing set of skills and tools. Vala is a big defenseman at 6-foot-5, and I think there is some puck-moving upside to his game. Mind you, he's no Erik Karlsson, but Vala has shown the hockey sense to be competent with the puck. And at the under-18 and WHL levels, he has been effective during his time on the power play. He is decent defensively too, using his big frame to clog up lanes and win battles. His skating is poor, with a real awkward stance and stride. He can be turned horizontally a little too easy by quick forwards, which is a major hurdle that he'll need to overcome on his way to potentially becoming a top prospect.
Henrik Borgstrom, LW, HIFK (Jr. A Liiga)
Vojtech Budik, D, Prince Albert (WHL)
Jacob Cederholm, D (J20 SuperElit)
Dylan Gambrell, C, University of Denver (NCHC)
Connor Hall, D, Kitchener (OHL)
Ivan Kosorenkov, RW, Spartak (MHL)
William Knierim, RW, Dubuque (USHL)
Otto Makinen, C, Taapara (Jr.A Liiga)
Mitchell Mattson, C, Grand Rapids High (US High School)
Nikita Makeyev, D, Russia U18 (MHL)
Nathan Noel, C, Saint John (QMJHL)
Nick Pastujov, C, USNTDP (USHL)
Livio Stadler, D, Zug (NLA)
Andrei Svetlakov, C, CSKA (KHL)
Alexander Yakovenko, D, Russia U18 (MHL)