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Mock Draft

2016 NHL Draft: First Round

by Gus Katsaros
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

The upcoming NHL Draft is special for Canadian teams as no team north of the border qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 1970. Back then there were only two NHL teams based in Canada, Montreal and Toronto, whereas now there are seven.


Five of the first six selections will be made by Canadian teams with only Columbus sneaking in at number three as the only American city.


Special thanks as always to Iain Morrell, founder of McKeen’s Hockey who did the mock draft. Make sure to check back with McKeen’s Hockey for their upcoming Draft Guide

Let's get to it with the Maple Leafs on the clock.



Pick Team Trades Player Notes
1 Maple Leafs   Auston Matthews (C) Toronto's lengthy quest for No. 1 center looks answered thanks to fortuitous Draft Lottery. The Scottsdale, Arizona native brings a tantalizing package of size, speed, and skill.
2 Jets   Patrik Laine (LW) Jets prefer top-line center but happily settle for ultimate consolation prize….Finnish 'beast' gives Winnipeg dynamic left wing attack along with Nik Ehlers and Kyle Connor.
3 Blue Jackets   Jesse Puljujarvi (RW) Odds are slim that Finnish-born GM Jarmo Kekalainen will pass on splendid physical specimen in fellow countryman Puljujarvi. Will likely be groomed as centerman.
4 Oilers   Olli Juolevi (D) Despite bounty of forwards available at No. 4, Oilers opt to fill dire need for top-pairing blueliner with gifted Finnish puckmover Juolevi.
5 Canucks   Matthew Tkachuk (LW) Canucks sort out the dizzying choices available up front and go with skill, grit and intelligence on the flanks in Tkachuk. 
6 Flames   Alexander Nylander (LW) Skill is the order of the day as the Flames add a versatile and highly-gifted forward ....... sparks could fly with Nylander on a line with Johnny Gaudreau and Sam Bennett.
7 Coyotes   Jake Bean (D) The Coyotes appreciate the necessity to get the puck to a crop of promising forward prospects - and peg the smart, mobile and skilled Bean.
8 Sabres   Pierre-Luc Dubois (LW) Buffalo had Nylander in the crosshairs, but settle for talented 'jack-of-trades' type in Dubois, arguably the safe pick here though perhaps not the home run.
9 Canadiens   Michael McLeod (C) Under-appreciated toiling in shadows of teammate and fellow draft star Alex Nylander... with size, breathtaking speed and an F1 motor, Habs may get last laugh.
10 Avalanche   Mikhail Sergachev (D) The Russian factor grows on the Avalanche with selection of big, hard-shooting blueliner... followed up strong import season in Windsor with inconspicuous U18 WJC.
11 Devils   Clayton Keller (C) The ever-flowing creativity of diminutive center Clayton Keller may be just the right catalyst in New Jersey's lineup. 
12 Senators   Logan Brown (C) An impressive performance for Team USA at the U18 WJC is proof enough for Ottawa to select the huge, talented playmaking center.
13 Hurricanes   Tyson Jost (C) A record-setting performance for Team Canada at the U18 WJC gets Jost a chance to help fill holes up the middle with Eric Staal gone.
14 Bruins   Jakob Chychrun (D) Big, mobile and athletic, Chychrun has all the physical attributes to mature into a staunch two-way NHL blueliner - development will be key.
15 Wild   Charles McAvoy (D)  With Ryan Suter getting on in age and question marks on the blueline, the Wild take the skilled, fleet-skating McAvoy on heels of terrific freshman year at Boston University.
16 Red Wings   Dante Fabbro (D) With a number of intriguing forwards still on the draft board, Detroit makes a partly surprising choice in Fabbro, a smart, steady two-way defender.
17 Predators   Dennis Cholowski (D) Nashville continues the run of blueliners by taking the Chilliwack standout whose progression over the second half of the BCHL season suggested home run potential.
18 Flyers   Luke Kunin (LW) The Flyers opt for duty over dazzle with a versatile 'plug-and-play' forward whose contributions usually go beyond the score sheet. Led Wisconsin with impressive 19 goals as freshman.
19 Lightning   Logan Stanley (D) Stanley adds another towering figure to Tampa's blueline, however also a player who polarized opinions on the 'half-full-half-empty' debate. Too much projection for certain tastes.
20 Bruins Sharks Kieffer Bellows (LW) The B's passed on Brian Bellows with the first overall pick back in 1982 - but don't same mistake with son Kieffer, a strong-shooting sniper.
21 Islanders   Adam Fox (D) Oozed skill and creativity all season while displaying great chemistry with Clayton Keller and especially on the power play. Needs work on strength and defense, but upside is intriguing.
22 Coyotes Rangers Julien Gauthier (RW) Arizona books the bullet train with big, fast, hard-shooting winger who fired impressive 41 goals in 54 games. Stock fell though amid questions on level of hockey smarts.
23 Hurricanes Kings Riley Tufte (LW) The Canes can use some size and scoring from the wings  and tab Blaine High School star Tufte, a mammoth winger with soft hands and surprising athleticism and agility.
24 Panthers   Brett Howden (C) Howden performed well for Team Canada at the U18 WJC, demonstrating his skating, versatility, and steady high work rate. Re-joins brother Quinton, taken 25th overall in 2010.
25 Ducks   Max Jones (LW) Plenty for Anaheim to like in the Rochester, Minnesota native - a big, aggressive power forward with loads of speed, skill and moxie.
26 Jets Blackhawks German Rubtsov (C) Missed opportunity to showcase himself at U18 WJC thanks to Russian doping scandal. Brings size, skill and mobility, and a potential top-six center for Jets.
27 Maple Leafs Penguins Boris Katchouk (LW) Leafs could go any direction with this pick but settle on Soo Greyhound forward Katchouk whose size, skating, and character may be a fit alongside Auston Matthews some day.
28 Blues   Pascal Laberge (RW) Laberge adds a skilled, slick-skating forward to St. Louis mix. Plays center or wing and has shown flashes of high-end potential... needs to develop physical play, work consistency.
29 Flames Stars Tage Thompson (RW) The 6-5 Thompson turned in a strong freshman showing at the U. of Connecticut, playing on the right wing.... has good hands, excellent shot - and holds equal allure as a centerman.
30 Capitals   Jordan Kyrou (RW) Some Caps showed their age in the playoffs and prompt the selection of speedy playmaking forward in Kyrou. Stock steadily rose following standout Top Prospects Game.
Gus Katsaros
Gus Katsaros is the Pro Scouting Coordinator with McKeen’s Hockey, publishers of industry leading scouting and fantasy guide, the McKeen’s Annual Hockey Pool Yearbook. He also contributes to popular blog MapleLeafsHotStove.com ... he can be followed on Twitter @KatsHockey