Final rankings: the top 120 prospects for the 2016 draft

Prospect expert Ryan Kennedy presents his final list, whittled down with the help of countless NHL scouts, GMs and execs. Sure, Auston Matthews is the obvious No. 1, but what happens as the board becomes tougher to navigate?

We are one week away from the 2016 NHL draft in Buffalo. So now is the time to really bear down and get your knowledge. The following is my top 120 list. That represents about the first four rounds (give or take a compensatory pick) and it’s my hope that you will see all these names on the draft board by the time everything wraps up on Saturday afternoon.

Important note: This is not a mock draft. None of the selections are based on which teams are picking when, because that can (and pretty much always does) change with trades on the floor. This is a ‘Best Player Available’ list, for all intents and purposes. Nearly all the players here are first-time eligible. I try not to speculate on those already passed over unless they’re obvious (Tanner Pearson in 2012, for example), but a couple got through.

Otherwise, enjoy this primer.


1. Auston Matthews, C – Zurich Lions (Swi.): He’s the big, dominant center prospect that franchises are built around. Proved himself against men all year long in Switzerland and again at the worlds. No obvious weaknesses.

2. Patrik Laine, RW – Tappara (Fin.): A predatory sniper who can run you over when he’s not putting the puck in the net. Laine plays an infectious game that is impossible not to like and he will be incredibly fun to watch as he matures.

3. Jesse Puljujarvi, RW – Karpat Oulu (Fin.): A better two-way player than Laine, Puljujarvi can still put up points and also has a great competitive streak. May not have the same ceiling as Laine, but he’ll be a very good NHLer for a long time.

4. Matthew Tkachuk, LW – London Knights (OHL): He’ll get a stiff challenge from the next guy on the list, but Tkachuk’s combination of smarts, skill and compete level is just too much to pass on. He murdered the best junior league in the world as a rookie.

5. Pierre-Luc Dubois, LW – Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (QMJHL): Prolific scorer, plays with a nasty edge and has NHL size already. The fact Dubois has played some center too makes him a very intriguing prospect right now.

6. Olli Juolevi, D – London Knights (OHL): The frame, the poise, the smoothness – Juolevi is the kind of defenseman the current NHL is built for and it’s only going to tip further in that direction. World junior gold and the Memorial Cup in the same year.

7. Alex Nylander, LW – Mississauga Steelheads (OHL): Had an excellent world juniors and first season in the OHL, where he was named rookie of the year. Sublime vision, flashy hands and he’s got a size advantage on big brother William.

8. Mikhail Sergachev, D – Windsor Spitfires (OHL): The OHL defenseman of the year played a ton for a surprising Windsor squad and exhibited a great all-around game that includes offensive skills and physicality. Most NHL-ready blueliner in the draft.

9. Jakob Chychrun, D – Sarnia Sting (OHL): He may have been passed by two other D-men, but Chychrun is still a beast of a blueliner. Size, skating ability and skill. If he can learn the game a bit better, he’ll be incredible.

10. Tyson Jost, C – Penticton Vees (BCHL): The North Dakota commit loves Jonathan Toews and his complete game is proof. Tore up the BCHL and then laid waste to the world under-18s, proving he belonged with all the CHL kids.


  1. Clayton Keller, C – U.S. NTDP (USHL)
  2. Logan Brown, C – Windsor (OHL)
  3. Max Jones, LW – London (OHL)
  4. Mikey McLeod, C – Mississauga (OHL)
  5. Dante Fabbro, D – Penticton (BCHL)
  6. Kieffer Bellows, LW – U.S. NTDP (USHL)
  7. Jake Bean, D – Calgary (WHL)
  8. Charlie McAvoy, D – U.S. NTDP (USHL)
  9. Logan Stanley, D – Windsor (OHL)
  10. Julien Gauthier, RW – Val-d’Or (QMJHL)
  11. Luke Kunin, C – University of Wisconsin (Big Ten)
  12. Riley Tufte, LW – Blaine (Minn. HS)
  13. German Rubtsov, C – Russia J18 (Rus)
  14. Alex DeBrincat, RW – Erie (OHL)
  15. Cliff Pu, C – London (OHL)
  16. Brett Howden, C – Moose Jaw (WHL)
  17. Pascal Laberge, C – Victoriaville (QMJHL)
  18. Markus Niemelainen, D – Saginaw (OHL)
  19. Vitalii Abramov, RW – Gatineau (QMJHL)
  20. Nathan Bastian, RW – Mississauga (OHL)
  21. Carter Hart, G – Everett (WHL)
  22. Filip Gustavsson, G – Lulea (Swe)
  23. Boris Katchouk, LW – Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
  24. Libor Hajek, D – Saskatoon (WHL)
  25. Rasmus Asplund, C – Farjestad (Swe)
  26. Dennis Cholowski, D – Chilliwack (BCHL)
  27. Lucas Johansen, D – Kelowna (WHL)
  28. Taylor Raddysh, RW – Erie (OHL)
  29. Carl Grundstrom, LW – Modo (Swe)
  30. Kale Clague, D – Brandon (WHL)
  31. Dillon Dube, C – Kelowna (WHL)
  32. Chad Krys, D – U.S. NTDP (USHL)
  33. Sam Steel, C – Regina (WHL)
  34. Victor Mete, D – London (OHL)
  35. Jonathan Dahlen, LW – Timra (Swe)
  36. Trent Frederic, C – U.S. NTDP (USHL)
  37. Ryan Lindgren, D – U.S. NTDP (USHL)
  38. Will Bitten, C – Flint (OHL)
  39. Wade Allison, RW – Tri-City (USHL)
  40. Tage Thompson, RW – University of Connecticut (Hockey East)
  41. Luke Green, D – Saint John (QMJHL)
  42. Jordan Kyrou, RW – Sarnia (OHL)
  43. Tyler Benson, C – Vancouver (WHL)
  44. Givani Smith, LW – Guelph (OHL)
  45. Timmy Gettinger, LW – Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
  46. Griffin Luce, D – U.S. NTDP (USHL)
  47. Cam Morrison, LW – Youngstown (USHL)
  48. Frederic Allard, D – Chicoutimi (QMJHL)
  49. Samuel Girard, D – Shawinigan (QMJHL)
  50. Filip Hronek, D – Hradec Kralove (Cze.)
  51. Evan Fitzpatrick, G – Sherbrooke (QMJHL)
  52. Josh Mahura, D – Red Deer (WHL)
  53. Zach Sawchenko, G – Moose Jaw (WHL)
  54. Noah Gregor, C – Moose Jaw (WHL)
  55. Andrew Peeke, D – Green Bay (USHL)
  56. Connor Hall, D – Kitchener (OHL)
  57. Jack LaFontaine, G – Janesville (NAHL)
  58. Jordan Sambrook, D – Erie (OHL)
  59. Jacob Neveu, D – Rouyn-Noranda (QMJHL)
  60. Otto Makinen, C – Tappara (Fin)
  61. Sean Day, D – Mississauga (OHL)
  62. Jacob Cederholm, D – HV71 (Swe)
  63. J.D. Greenway, D – U.S. NTDP (USHL)
  64. Brett Murray, LW – Carleton Place (CCHL)
  65. Jonathan Ang, C – Peterborough (OHL)
  66. Janne Kuokkanen, C – Karpat Oulu (Fin)
  67. Linus Lindstrom, C – Skelleftea (Swe)
  68. Adam Mascherin, LW – Kitchener (OHL)
  69. Travis Barron, LW – Ottawa (OHL)
  70. Joseph Woll, G – U.S. NTDP (USHL)
  71. Henrik Borgstrom, C – HIFK (Fin.)
  72. Colton Point, G – Carleton Place (CCHL)
  73. Adam Fox, D – U.S. NTDP (USHL)
  74. Tyler Parsons, G – London (OHL)
  75. Cam Dineen, D – North Bay (OHL)
  76. Simon Stransky, LW – Prince Albert (WHL)
  77. Carsen Twarynski, LW – Calgary (WHL)
  78. Matthew Cairns, D – Georgetown (OJHL)
  79. Beck Malenstyn, C – Calgary (WHL)
  80. Jacob Moverare, D – HV71 (Swe.)
  81. Tanner Kaspick, C – Brandon (WHL)
  82. Max Zimmer, LW – Chicago (USHL)
  83. Jamie Armstrong, LW – Avon Old Farms (Conn. HS)
  84. Connor Bunnaman, C – Kitchener (OHL)
  85. Matt Filipe, C – Cedar Rapids (USHL)
  86. Jake Ryczek, D – Waterloo (USHL)
  87. Otto Somppi, C – Halifax (QMJHL)
  88. Jack Kopacka, LW – Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
  89. Jesper Bratt, LW – AIK (Swe.)
  90. David Bernhardt, D – Djurgarden (Swe.)
  91. Willie Knierim, RW – Dubuque (USHL)
  92. Joey Anderson, RW – U.S. NTDP (USHL)
  93. Eetu Tuulola, RW – HPK (Fin.)
  94. William Lockwood, RW – U.S. NTDP (USHL)
  95. Ondrej Vala, D – Kamloops (WHL)
  96. Dmitri Sokolov, C – Sudbury (OHL)
  97. Vladimir Kuznetsov, LW – Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL)
  98. Aapeli Rasanen, C – Tappara (Fin.)
  99. Ben Gleason, D – Hamilton (OHL)
  100. Tanner Laczynski, C – Lincoln (USHL)
  101. Keaton Middleton, D – Saginaw (OHL)
  102. Brandon Gignac, C – Shawinigan (QMJHL)
  103. Ty Ronning, RW – Vancouver (WHL)
  104. Mitchell Mattson, C – Grand Rapids (Minn. HS)
  105. Max Lajoie, D – Swift Current (WHL)
  106. Todd Burgess, C – Fairbanks (NAHL)
  107. Vojtech Budik, D – Prince Albert (WHL)
  108. Gabriel Sylvestre, D – Shawinigan (QMJHL)
  109. Alex Limoges, C – Tri-City (USHL)
  110. Ondrej Najman, C – Dukla Jihlava (Cze.)
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