Posted by: New Era Hockey
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1. Auston Matthews: Center, Zurich (SWISS), 6-1, 190
- Matthews should be the consensus first overall pick this upcoming draft. He has spent the season playing in Swiss pro league for Zurich. He was second in MVP voting and posted 46 points in 36 games; all while at the tender age of just 18. He is already a top-tier offesive center who is undoubtedly the best player in his draft class. He is a great skater who possesses an NHL level shot. His creativity and ability to beat defenders is unmatched, giving him the potential to be a franchise center for the Toronto Maple Leafs. His offensive arsenal is complimented by his ability to think the game at high speeds, offensively and defensively. As it stands now, I see very few weaknesses in his game and I anticipate that he will be in the NHL as soon as possible.
2. Patrik Laine: LW, Tappara ( FIN), 6-3, 208
- Laine leads the way when it comes to power forwards in this years draft. He has a massive frame, which he uses extremely well to protect the puck. He is not the fastest skater around, but he is extremely powerful and uses his strength to shield off defenders. He has 33 points (17G, 16A) in 46 games playing in the Finnish league Liiga. Don't let these numbers deceive you, as he plays amongst men in a very deep league. In just two games at the World Championship he has managed to put up 4 goals and 2 assists. What impresses me most about Laine is how dangerous his shot is. He can score from anywhere on the ice, which includes a very lethat one-timer. His puck possession and offensive instincts have been compared to that of Jamie Benn and Rick Nash.
3. Jesse Puljujarvi: RW, Karpat ( FIN ), 6-3, 203
- Puljujarvi is another dominant power forward who excells both offensively and defensively. He is a very responsible player, who already possesses a strong 200 foot game, He posted 28 points in 50 games this season playing in Finland. He is a good skater for his size, and has the ability to make plays at full speed. There are few forwards his age capable of playing such a strong two-way game. For this reason, I expect Puljujarvi to go third overall. His only weakness may be his shot, which could definitely be improved. Nonetheless, he has all the skills necessary to transition into the NHL.
4. Matthew Tkachuk: LW, London Knights (OHL), 6-1, 188
- Tkachuk spent this season with the London Knights, playing alongside Leaf prospect Mitch Marner. Tkachuk put up 107 points in 57 games. it is hard to classify his game with just a few words because he can beat defenders in so many ways. He is quick, smart and posseses great vision. Tkachuk's game is so well versed in that he can beat you in so many ways, whether it be with his shot or his playmaking ability. He is also known to exhibit some grit and nastiness in his game; a trait many teams look for in young talent.
5. Jakob Chychrun: D, Sarnia Sting ( OHL), 6-2 , 190
- In my mind, Chychrun is the most well-rounded defender in this years draft. He is a very responsible defenseman who excells at every aspect of the position. He can shutdown the oppositions best players while still contributing at the offensive end. He already displays elite level skating and vision, a rare trait in young defenseman. His versatility and ability to contribute in all zones makes him my top pick on the blue line. This season he posted 49 points in 62 games; all while acting as the main shutdown defender for his squad.
6. Pierre-Luc Dunois: C/W, Cape Breton ( QMJHL), 6-3, 200
- Dubois' excellent play this season has propelled him into the top 10 draft prospects for this upcoming draft. His combination of physicality and offensive skills make him a very intreguing player. Comparable to Anze Kopitar offensively; Dubois also excels in defensive situations. He is an agressive back-checker who finishes his player whenever possible. He amassed 99 points in just 62 games this season, racking up over 100 PIMS to top it off. His ability to play all forward positions is an added bonus for interested teams. Dubois could find himself in a top-9 role in the NHL as early as next season if he has a strong training camp.
7. Alex Nylander: RW/LW, Steelheads ( OHL), 6-0, 185
- Alex comes from a very talented hockey family, and it should come as no surprise that he will be drafted in the top ten. He is a very crafty forward who excels in open ice. He has very quick hands, great vision, and can beat defenders with his excellent skating ability. All in all, he is one of the best playmaking wingers in the draft. He may need another season to develop his board play and defensive zone coverage, but outside of that he is a future top 6 forward in the making.
8. Oiil Juolevi: D, London Knights ( OHL) , 6-2, 185
- Juolevi is a Finnish born defender currently playing for the London Knights in the OHL. He amassed 42 points in 57 games, making him one of the the most dangerous defenseman in this years' draft. He is a very smooth skater who thinks the game like few players his age. His ability to transition through the neutral zone is a key component to his success. He is very active in all three zones, and can play in all situations effectively. His playmaking ability from the back end is comparable to that of Olli Maatta of the Penguins. However, Juolevi is known to play a more energetic, physical brand of hockey.
9. Tyson Jost: C/:W, Penticton Vees ( BCHL) , 5-11, 195
- Jost is a pure offensive threat who was just tearing through the BCHL this season. He posted 104 points in just 48 games, displaying both goal-scoring and playmaking abilities. He battles hard, and plays with an extreme determination in the offensive zone. I don't anticipate him jumping onto an NHL roster immediately, as he could improve some defensive aspects of his game. Nonetheless, he has top line potential if he can transition his game into the NHL.
10. Mikhail Sergachyov: D, Windsor Spitfires ( OHL), 6-2, 205
- Sergachyov is a very hard-working defenseman who can contribute in all areas of the game. He plays a responsible, yet skilled, two-way game. He put up very impressive numbers this season, posting 57 points in 67 games. He is involved in every game, whether it be offensively or defensively.
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