2016 NHL Draft

January’s Top 250 Prospects

Changes aplenty but top tier remains unchanged
Steve Kournianos  |  01/17/2016 |  New York  |  

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Photo courtesy of Aaron Bell

Draft lists across the globe were somewhat altered after several performances at the recent Under-20 world junior championship. And as exciting as the on-ice play may have seemed, we simply don’t think  a week’s worth of hockey over Christmas break is enough to challenge an analyst’s pre-tournament opinions of upper- echelon prospects. So no, right wing Jesse Puljujarvi’s dominant WJC was not enough to offset his intermittent slumping in Liiga play and move up from his No. 5 rank. And yes, Jakob Chychrun (ranked No.2) and his omission from Team Canada doesn’t change the fact that he’s not only the draft’s top all-around defender, but someone we view as the only player to challenge center Auston Matthews (No. 1) for the quickest path to the NHL.  Wingers Patrik Laine (No. 3) and Matt Tkachuk (No. 4) were impressive at  the U20’s, playing with an edge and using underrated playmaking abilities to augment their elite shots.

Notable prospects who impressed without the benefit of the WJC spotlight include London left wing Max Jones (No. 15), who blitzed his way up the lottery after he helped carry a depleted Knights roster. Guelph’s goal-scoring power winger Givani Smith (No. 33) continues to impress on a terrible team, and Finnish imports Otto Makinen (No. 41) and Janne Kuokkanen (No. 47) are wearing out the U18 international circuit. The USHL had several big-bodied forwards blessed with mature builds and power-skill combinations perform at the recent Top Prospects Game, namely forwards Cam Morrison (No. 46), Willie Knierim (No. 91) and Ross Colton (No. 111), and big-bodied centers Matt Filipe (No. 61) and Michael O’Leary (No. 102). Chicoutimi rearguard Frederic Allard (No. 53), a powerful right-handed gunslinger who runs the power play and has leadership attributes, was surprisingly uninvited to the CHL Top Prospects Game, later this month in Vancouver. And feisty Quebec center Matt Boucher (No. 79) has been on a season-long tear, which increased in ferocity after top winger Dmytro Timashov was traded.

We hate to ding a kid for being injured, but Vancouver center/wing Tyler Benson (No. 21) is on the shelf for a second time this season, and his timetable to return is up in the air. We still view him as a potential lottery pick (we ranked him 12th last month), and he was playing like one after returning from offseason surgery. But it looks like he hurt his groin while playing the best hockey of his young career, so it’s not fair to rank him ahead of others who compare in skill but are healthy enough to display it. He’s still a stud, however, and has plenty of time to make up for games lost. Others who have slipped a bit include OHL Russian import Dmitri Sokolov, who is simply too inconsistent to be the impact player we thought he’d be. And add Halifax’s Otto Somppi to the list of those slogging through the winter months, as he’s playing uninspired hockey and looking more one-dimensional than before.

Below is a sortable table of The Draft Analyst’s January rankings of draft-eligible prospects. Players born between 01 January 1996 and 15 September 1997 are considered “overage” draft candidates who were once eligible for either the 1996 and/or the 1997 NHL Draft, and are identified in this list with an “OA” following their full name. 

RANK PLAYER POSITION TEAM LEAGUE
1 Auston Matthews C ZSC Lions NLA
2 Jakob Chychrun LHD Sarnia Sting OHL
3 Patrik Laine LW Tappara Tampere Liiga
4 Matt Tkachuk LW London Knights OHL
5 Jesse Puljujarvi RW Karpat Oulun Liiga
6 Alex Nylander RW Mississauga Steelheads OHL
7 Julien Gauthier RW Val-D’or Foreurs QMJHL
8 German Rubtsov C Russia U18 MHL
9 Olli Juolevi LHD London Knights OHL
10 Pierre-Luc Dubois C Cape Breton Screaming Eagles QMJHL
11 Clayton Keller C US U18 NTDP
12 Mikhail Sergachyov LHD Windsor Spitfires OHL
13 Max Jones LW London Knights OHL
14 Mike McLeod C Mississauga Steelheads OHL
15 Tyson Jost C/LW Penticton Vees BCHL
16 Kieffer Bellows LW US U18 NTDP
17 Logan Brown C Windsor Spitfires OHL
18 Luke Kunin LW Wisconsin Big-10
19 Alex DeBrincat RW Erie Otters OHL
20 Will Bitten C Flint Firebirds WHL
21 Tyler Benson C/LW Vancouver Giants WHL
22 Dante Fabbro RHD Penticton Vees BCHL
23 Samuel Girard LHD Shawinigan Cataractes QMJHL
24 Rasmus Asplund C Farjestad BK SHL
25 Simon Stransky LW Prince Albert Raiders WHL
26 Dillon Dube C Kelowna Rockets WHL
27 Libor Hajek LHD Saskatoon Blades WHL
28 Sam Steel C Regina Pats WHL
29 Carl Grundstrom RW MoDo SHL
30 Pascal Laberge C Victoriaville Tigres QMJHL
31 Charlie McAvoy RHD Boston University Hockey East
32 Chad Krys LHD US U18 NTDP
33 Givani Smith LW Guelph Storm OHL
34 Carter Hart G Everett Silvertips WHL
35 Vitalii Abramov C/RW Gatineau Olympiques QMJHL
36 Taylor Raddysh RW Erie Otters OHL
37 Nate Bastian C Mississauga Steelheads OHL
38 Jake Bean LHD Calgary Hitmen WHL
39 Kale Clague LHD Brandon Wheat Kings WHL
40 Brett Howden C/LW Moose Jaw Warriors WHL
41 Otto Makinen C/LW Tappara U20 Liiga Jrs
42 Vladimir Kuznetsov LW Acadie-Bathurst Titan QMJHL
43 Victor Mete LHD London Knights OHL
44 Luke Green RHD Saint John Sea Dogs QMJHL
45 Adam Mascherin LW Kitchener Rangers OHL
46 Cam Morrison C Youngstown Phantoms USHL
47 Janne Kuokkanen RW Karpat U20 Liiga Jrs
48 Riley Tufte RW Blaine HS-MN
49 Artur Kayumov LW Russia U18 MHL
50 Stephen Dhillon G Niagara Ice Dogs OHL
51 Jordan Kyrou RW Sarnia Sting OHL
52 Lucas Johansen LHD Kelowna Rockets WHL
53 Frederic Allard RHD Chicoutimi Sagueneens QMJHL
54 Filip Hronek RHD HR Kravlove Czech Extraliga
55 Tage Thompson RW Connecticut Huskies Hockey East
56 Aapeli Rasanen C Tappara U20 Liiga Jrs
57 Jacob Moverare LHD HV71 SHL
58 Kristian Reichel C Litvinov Czech Extraliga
59 Logan Stanley LHD Windsor Spitfires OHL
60 Dmitri Sokolov RW Sudbury Wolves OHL
61 Matt Filipe C/W Cedar Rapids Roughriders USHL
62 Alan Lyszczarczyk C/RW Sudbury Wolves OHL
63 Jacob Cederholm RHD HV71 SHL
64 Vojtek Budik LHD Prince Albert Raiders WHL
65 Noah Gregor C Moose Jaw Warriors WHL
66 Andrew Peeke RHD Green Bay Gamblers USHL
67 J.D. Greenway LHD US U18 NTDP
68 Joey Anderson RW US U18 NTDP
69 Evan Fitzpatrick G Sherbrooke Phoenix QMJHL
70 Adam Fox RHD US U18 NTDP
71 Travis Barron C/LW Ottawa 67’s OHL
72 Otto Somppi C Halifax Mooseheads QMJHL
73 Filip Gustavsson G Lulea SHL
74 Antoine Samuel G Shawinigan Cataractes QMJHL
75 Lukas Doudera LHD Trinec Ocealari Czech Extraliga
76 Sean Day LHD Mississauga Steelheads OHL
77 Markus Niemelainen LHD Saginaw Spirit OHL
78 Vladislav Sukhachov G Russia U18 MHL
79 Matthew Boucher C Quebec Remparts QMJHL
80 Cameron Hebig (OA) C Saskatoon Blades WHL
81 Kyle Maksimovich RW Erie Otters OHL
82 Brandon Gignac C Shawinigan Cataractes QMJHL
83 Veini Vehvilainen (OA) G JYP Liiga
84 Mikhail Meshcheryakov C Russia U18 MHL
85 Ryan Lindgren LHD US U18 NTDP
86 Jonathan Dahlen C Timra Allsvenskan
87 Benjamin Gleason LHD Hamilton Bulldogs OHL
88 Tim Gettinger LW Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds OHL
89 Maxime Fortier RW Halifax Mooseheads QMJHL
90 Jordy Stallard C/LW Calgary Hitmen WHL
91 Willie Knierim RW Dubuque Fighting Saints USHL
92 David Bernhardt LHD Djugardens Jrs Superelit
93 Connor Bunnaman C/LW Kitchener Rangers OHL
94 Nolan Volcan LW Seattle Thunderbirds WHL
95 Samuel Solensky C/LW Liberec Jrs Extraliga Jrs
96 Oskar Steen C/RW Farjestad BK Superelit
97 Jesper Bratt RW AIK Allsvenskan
98 Tarmo Reunanen LHD TPS Turku U20 Liiga Jrs
99 Liam Murphy LW Moncton Wildcats QMJHL
100 Will Lockwood RW US U18 NTDP
101 Max Gerlach LW Medicine Hat Tigers WHL
102 Michael O’Leary C Dubuque Fighting Saints USHL
103 Sam Rossini LHD Waterloo Black Hawks USHL
104 Mikhail Maltsev LW Russia U18 MHL
105 Dmitri Alexeyev LHD Russia U18 MHL
106 Brandon Hagel LW Red Deer Rebels WHL
107 Tobias Eder RW Bad Tolz Oberliga
108 Trent Frederic C US U18 NTDP
109 Kenny Johnson LHD Shattuck St. Mary’s HS-MN
110 Jack Kopacka LW Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds OHL
111 Ross Colton LW Cedar Rapids Roughriders USHL
112 Kristaps Zile LHD Riga MHL
113 Dawson Davidson LHD Kamloops Blazers WHL
114 Joona Koppanen C/LW Ilves U20 Liiga Jrs
115 Boris Katchouk LW/RW Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds OHL
116 Eetu Tuulola RW HPK Liiga
117 Josh Mahura LHD Red Deer Rebels WHL
118 Ty Ronning RW Vancouver Giants WHL
119 Adam Brizgala G Sparta Praha U20 Extraliga Jrs
120 Mikael Hakkarainen C Brookings Blizzard NAHL
121 Artem Ivanyuzhenkov RW Russia U18 MHL
122 Cam Dineen LHD North Bay Battalion OHL
123 Otto Koivula LW Ilves U20 Liiga Jrs
124 Jack Lafontaine G Janesville Jets NAHL
125 Patrik Bajkov RW Everett Silvertips WHL
126 Alexander Iakovenko LHD Russia U18 MHL
127 Evgeni Mityakin RW Avtomobilist KHL
128 Griffin Luce LHD US U18 NTDP
129 C.J. Dodero LW Sioux City Musketeers USHL
130 David Quenneville RHD Medicine Hat Tigers WHL
131 Kristians Rubins LHD Vasteras Allsvenskan
132 Seamus Malone (OA) C Wisconsin Big-10
133 Nikita Makeyev RHD Russia U18 MHL
134 Konstantin Dubin LW Sarmaty Orenburg MHL
135 Cole Candella LHD Hamilton Bulldogs OHL
136 Zach Sawchenko G Moose Jaw Warriors WHL
137 Josh Anderson LHD Prince George Cougars WHL
138 Cameron Askew (OA) C Moncton Wildcats QMJHL
139 Michael Graham LW/C Eden Prairie HS-MN
140 Linus Lindstrom C Skelleftea Jrs Superelit
141 Zach Osburn (OA) RHD Michigan State Spartans Big-10
142 Nick Pastujov LW US U18 NTDP
143 Tyler Parsons G London Knights OHL
144 Henrik Borgstrom C HIFK U20 Liiga Jrs
145 Jesper Mattila LHD Ilves U20 Liiga Jrs
146 Mitchell Balmas C/LW Charlottetown Islanders QMJHL
147 Michael Boyle RHD Sioux City Musketeers USHL
148 Callum Fryer (OA) RHD UMass-Amherst Hockey East
149 Garrett Pilon C Kamloops Blazers WHL
150 Graham McPhee LW US U18 NTDP
151 Vladimir Bobylev (OA) LW Victoria Royals WHL
152 Jacob Neveu RHD Rouyn-Noranda Huskies QMJHL
153 Max Lajoie LHD Swift Current Broncos WHL
154 Dante Salituro (OA) C/RW Ottawa 67’s OHL
155 Matt Ladd G Avon Old Farms HS-CT
156 Ondrej Vala LHD Kamloops Blazers WHL
157 Andrey Svetlakov (OA) C CSKA KHL
158 Mitch Mattson C/LW Grand Rapids HS-MN
159 Jiri Karafiat C/RW Zlin U20 Extraliga Jrs
160 Antii Kalapudas (OA) C Karpat Oulun Liiga
161 Collin Adams LW Muskegon Lumberjacks USHL
162 Ilya Karpukhin LHD Russia U18 MHL
163 Colt Conrad (OA) C/LW Western Michigan Broncos NCHC
164 Keaton Middleton LHD Saginaw Spirit OHL
165 Max Zimmer C/LW Chicago Steel USHL
166 Dylan Wells G Peterborough Petes OHL
167 Yegor Zaitsev LHD JHC Spartak MHL
168 Nikolai Chebykin (OA) C/LW HC MVD MHL
169 Lee Roberts RW/LW Laussanne NLA
170 Tye Felhaber C Saginaw Spirit OHL
171 Joe Masonius (OA) LHD Connecticut Huskies Hockey East
172 Oliver Felixson LHD Saint John Sea Dogs QMJHL
173 Ondrej Najman LW Dukhla U20 Extraliga Jrs
174 James Sanchez LW US U18 NTDP
175 Grant Jozefek RW Lincoln Stars USHL
176 Sebastian Ohlsson (OA) C/LW Skelleftea SHL
177 Tanner Kaspick C/W Brandon Wheat Kings WHL
178 Dylan Gambrell (OA) RW Denver NCHC
179 Julius Mattila C/LW Ilves U20 Liiga Jrs
180 Mikhail Berdin G Russia U18 MHL
181 Michal Roman LHD Trinec Ocealari U20 Extraliga Jrs
182 Chase Priskie (OA) RHD Quinnipiac ECAC
183 Blake Lizotte C Fargo Force USHL
184 Marco Miranda C/LW GCK Lions NLB
185 Ivan Kosorenkov LW Russia U18 MHL
186 Roman Krikunenko LW Loko MHL
187 Tim Wahlgren C MoDo Jrs Superelit
188 Juha Jääskä LW HIFK Jrs Liiga Jrs
189 Nicolas Werbik C Rimouski Oceanic QMJHL
190 Carson Meyer (OA) RW Tri-City Storm USHL
191 Egor Babenko (OA) LW Lethbridge Hurricanes WHL
192 Jonathan Ang C Peterborough Petes OHL
193 Marcus Ersson LHD Brynas Jrs Superelit
194 Garrett Wait LW Waterloo Black Hawks USHL
195 Jacob Bryson LHD Omaha Lancers USHL
196 Luke Coleman LW Prince Albert Raiders WHL
197 Cliff Pu RW London Knights OHL
198 Mike Campoli LHD US U18 NTDP
199 Jake Kryski C Kamloops Blazers WHL
200 Tanner Laczynski (OA) C Chicago Steel USHL
201 Brandon Fortunato (OA) LHD Boston University Hockey East
202 Livio Stadler LHD Zug NLA
203 Adam Werner (OA) G Farjestad BK U20 Superelit
204 Brayden Burke (OA) LW Lethbridge Hurricanes WHL
205 Cole Carter RW Windsor Spitfires OHL
206 Ilya Avramenko LW Russia U18 MHL
207 Casey Fitzgerald (OA) RHD Boston College Hockey East
208 Luke McInnis LHD Youngstown Phantoms USHL
209 Zach Poirier C/RW North Bay Battalion OHL
210 Carsen Twarynski LW Calgary Hitmen WHL
211 Evan Sarthou G Tri-City Americans WHL
212 Zach Walker RW US U18 NTDP
213 Keenan Suthers LW US U18 NTDP
214 Zakery Galambos (OA) RHD Johnstown Tomahawks NAHL
215 Filip Lestan RW HV71 SHL
216 Jeff de Wit C Red Deer Rebels WHL
217 Jordan Maher C Acadie-Bathurst Titan QMJHL
218 Daniel Gazda (OA) LHD Zlin U20 Extraliga Jrs
219 Nikita Bashkirov LW Stalnye Lisy MHL
220 Koby Bender (OA) RW Minnesota Wilderness NAHL
221 Matthew Phillips LW Victoria Royals WHL
222 Konstantin Chernyuk LHD Kingston Frontenacs OHL
223 Ryan Cranford RW Kingston Frontenacs OHL
224 Linus Weissbach LW Frolunda Jrs Superelit
225 Sebastian Repo (OA) C Pelicans Liiga
226 Derek Topatigh (OA) RHD Orangeville Flyers OJHL
227 Noah Carroll LHD Guelph Storm OHL
228 Anton Brandhammar (OA) LHD Farjestad BK Superelit
229 Dante Hannoun C/RW Victoria Royals WHL
230 Michal Gago LHD Zlin U20 Extraliga Jrs
231 Dylan Malmquist (OA) C/LW Notre Dame Hockey East
232 William Bower C Moncton Wildcats QMJHL
233 Yegor Korshkov (OA) RW Lokomotiv KHL
234 Trent Fox (OA) LW Hamilton Bulldogs OHL
235 Pat Harper RW/C Avon Old Farms HS-CT
236 Dominic Commisso C Oshawa Generals OHL
237 Kaspar Bjorkqvist (OA) LW Blues Liiga Jrs
238 Dylan Coghlan RHD Tri-City Americans WHL
239 Kirill Pilipenko (OA) RW Dynamo Moscow KHL
240 Ludvig Hoff (OA) LW Lincoln Stars USHL
241 Severi Isokangas G Karpat U20 Liiga Jrs
242 Filip Suchý LW HC Plzen Extraliga Jrs
243 Matt Dillon LHD Cushing Academy HS-MA
244 Artur Lauta (OA) RW Avangard Omsk KHL
245 William Pethrus RHD Mora IK Superelit
246 Frantisek Hrdinka LHD Frolunda Jrs Superelit
247 Radek Koblizek RW Karpat U20 Liiga Jrs
248 Evan Cormier G Saginaw Spirit OHL
249 Manuel Wiederer (OA) RW Moncton Wildcats QMJHL
250 Yannick Lerch LW Bern U20 NLB