As we enter the month of August, the 2015 NHL Draft slowly becomes blurred while prospect fans look towards the 2016 NHL Draft. In June of 2016, the NHL will fittingly hold the 54th NHL Entry Draft in Buffalo, New York.
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If you’re familiar with prospects you will know that things can change fast from now and June. Real fast. The best example from last year is Oliver Kylington who was found himself in the top 5 in many preliminary rankings and slid to 60th on draft day.
With that in mind, I present my Top 10 Early Edition 2016 NHL Draft Rankings. This ranking will be followed up with a preliminary top 50 ranking prior to the start of the Canadian Hockey League season.
#1 Auston Matthews – USNTDP (C)
Easily number one. He would’ve challenged Jack Eichel for 2nd overall in the 2015 draft. He’s a head above the rest of the class.
#2 Jesse Puljujarvi – Karpat (RW)
Highly ranked primarily because he’s showcased himself on the international stage. He also earned vital experience by playing 21 games in the SM-Liiga last season and not looking out of place.
#3 Jakob Chychrun – Sarnia Sting (D)
Top defender in the preliminary rankings. Went 1st overall in the 2014 OHL Draft. He has the ability to do everything on defense. Super high potential and I can’t see him falling out of the top 7 in this draft.
#4 Matthew Tkachuk – London Knights (LW)
Son of somebody named.. Keith Tkachuk? His dad played over 1200 NHL games. That’s a lot to live up to. He committed to the London Knights instead of going the college route. The Knights are losing Max Domi and possibly Mitchell Marner. Does Tkachuk slide onto Dvorak’s wing? Possibly. Regardless, playing for a great London team helps his draft stock a ton.
#5 Dmitri Sokolov – Sudbury Wolves (C/LW)
Sokolov is coming to North America after being drafted 3rd overall in the CHL Import Draft. I’m surprised because something something Russian Factor. Maybe I shouldn’t be. He’s huge. I can’t wait to watch him play and I hope he can light the OHL up.
#6 Max Jones – London Knights (LW)
#7 Sam Steel – Regina Pats (C)
#8 Tyler Benson – Vancouver Giants (LW)
#9 Patrik Laine – Tappara (RW)
#10 Logan Brown – Windsor Spitfires (C)
As I said at the beginning of the post, this is a bite sized look at the top prospects in the 2016 NHL Draft. Expect to see a top 50 2016 NHL Draft rankings prior to the commencement of the 2015-16 season along with more comprehensive rankings as the season progresses.