Having just passed the midway point in this NHL season, it is again time to check in with Mark Seidel from North American Central Scouting. Each time we receive the list from NACS, I open the email attachment with a sense of excitement, like a kid at Christmas time.
Without further adieu, let us dive into the player rankings for the 2016 NHL Entry Draft!!
First off, there is very little surprise at the number 1 spot with Auston Matthews being selected. Matthews has been the consensus (until recently) top selection for over a year now. A big, mobile center with the ability to score, Matthews has overcome his injury this year and hasn’t missed a beat.
After Matthews, the NACS team then selects Jesse Puljujarvi at number 2. Again, this isn’t really off the board since you will find he, Chychrun and Laine as an interchangeable group once Matthews is selected first overall. Whether you are picking the Best Player Available or a player dependent on a team’s needs, these are three interesting selections and it will be quite telling to see how it plays out on Draft Day.
Similar to the players just mentioned, the next group of young men are also comparable in the fact that any of them can move up on Draft Day or slide down a few selections. Obviously the Team selecting at that pick will have personal favourites, as they do each year, but the talent that is available in the Top Ten for 2016 Draft is outstanding. I would probably give up a lot to have two picks in this group. Is that possible for the Leafs? I seriously doubt that it is possible and I would defer to the drafting skill of Mark Hunter who must be absolutely salivating as Pittsburgh moves closer to securing a playoff spot, and thus a SECOND pick for the Maple Leafs in the first round this year.
Look all the way down to number 31 in this ranking and you will see Alex Debrincat. At 5’7” and a solid 165 pounds, this little goal scoring machine might be ranked low but I have a feeling this kid will find the Top 15 in this Draft. If this list is correct, and the NHL continues to embrace powerplays, 3 on 3 hockey, Debrincat will be a STEAL if he drops this low and is picked second round.
So take a look at the list and let us know what you think. Does the North American Central Scouting team have similar selections to you? Or are they off base in a certain area?
Thanks to Mark and his entire team for sharing these rankings with us at Leafs Hub on a continual basis, it is an outstanding gesture and we appreciate it greatly.