Below includes each prospect's club/college and final North American ranking from NHL Central Scouting, along with Pryor's take.
Auston Matthews is ranked No. 1 among European skaters even though born in the U.S. Hence, Matthew Tkachuk appears ahead of him in the Central Scouting NA rankings.
Kieffer Bellows, LW, 6-1/194, Age 18, USNTDP (USHL); Ranked 10th
“All he does is score; everywhere he’s been,” Pryor said. “He’s one of those guys who can get in the seams, find the holes and put the puck in the back of the net. It’s pretty remarkable what he’s done for the amount of goals that he’s scored.”
Pierre-Luc Dubois, LW/C, 6-3/203, turns 18 day of draft, Cape Breton (QMJHL); Ranked 1st NA
“I think he’s going to be one of those guys that once you get past those big three, he’s in that conversation,” Pryor said. "He’s a guy that’s interesting just because he can do a lot of things. He can play center, he can play wing.”
Julien Gauthier, RW, 6-4/225, Age 18, Val d'Or (QMHJL); Ranked 12th
“Right away, you like the size and the skill package,” Pryor said. “He’s a north-south type guy. When he plays with a complementary center that when he can find a lane and the guy gets him the puck, he’s a dangerous-type guy that adds size and skating and physicality to your lineup.”
Max Jones, LW, 6-2/189, Age 18, London (OHL); Ranked 14th
“Max has the same attributes [as Gauthier], he’s got some size and he skates pretty well, and he adds that element of physicality,” Pryor said. “They’re a little different players in that regard. Both have good size and both can skate. Max adds that intangible — he gets on people, he gets under people’s skin. He’s got a little bit of a different makeup from that standpoint.”
Luke Kunin, C, 6-0/196, Age 18, Wisconsin (NCAA); Ranked 11th
“You look at his season, pretty remarkable for what he’s done for a true freshman playing at the University of Wisconsin,” Pryor said. "He’s another guy who came through that U.S. program and played real well last year. … He’s a versatile guy, can play wing, can play center, competitive, makes plays.”
Matthew Tkachuk, LW, 6-1/195, Age 18, London (OHL); Ranked 2nd
“He’s an offensive-type guy and he’s very good at what he does,” Pryor said. “From the blue line in, he’s a dangerous guy. He’s a big body, takes up a lot of space down low. He can find the open seams, and he can also make plays. You look at that London team, he’s a really good complement with the two guys he played with, [Christian] Dvorak and [Mitch] Marner. That was probably the best line in junior hockey this year, and he was a big part of it.”
Riley Tufte, LW, 6-5/205, Age 18, Blaine High School (Minnesota); Ranked 17th
“The big Minnesota kid,” Pryor said. “It’s a little different projection just because some of those high school hockey games, you get some games where it’s a tough evaluation. … He had a really good year. All the comparisons right now are to [Blake] Wheeler and [Nick] Bjugstad, which are really fair if you look from a numbers standpoint. Big kid, moves extremely well ... goes to the net and knows what to do with the puck when he gets it, and he adds some size and speed to your lineup.”