2016 NHL Mock Draft | François Carignan and Zachery Ellis

The 2016 NHL Entry draft is only a few hours away now as the 1st round goes underway on June 24th, and rounds 2 to 7 will go on June 25th.

Two writers from All About The Habs have compiled a full 1st-round 2016 NHL mock draft with potential selections from each team in order.

Zachery Ellis: Ellis is a university student majoring in Sports Management from the Niagara Region in Southern Ontario. He has written over 100 articles for All About The Habs since joining the team on January 26th, 2014. (Twitter: @ZEllis96)

François Carignan: Carignan covers the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), more specifically the Sherbrooke Phoenix for several different medias. Since joining the team on September 4th, 2014, he has been writing QMJHL prospect updates for All About The Habs. He now works as a webmaster and social media manager. (Twitter: @CarignanTQN)

#1 – Toronto Maple Leafs
François Carignan: RW Patrik Laine. Pro Comparable: Alex Ovechkin, Ilya Kovalchuk

OK hear me out on that… The Leafs won’t draft Laine, because it doesn’t make any sense to do that when you have Auston Matthews available. What I mean is that, they have a bigger need for a natural goal scorer on the wing to complete the very good centers they have: Nazem Kadri, William Nylander, Mitch Marner, Tyler Bozak and possibly Steven Stamkos in a couple of days. That’s only what I would do, not what I think they will do. Consider this as a gamble, not a promise!

Zachery Ellis: Auston Matthews (C – ZSC Lions/NLA)

The Maple Leafs finally fill one of their biggest holes for years, and that’s the absence of a #1 franchise centre. Matthews is already a year ahead with a year of professional hockey against grown men and former NHL players (in Switzerland) under his belt. While Laine has made a serious challenge for the 1st overall pick, Toronto will take the centre.

#2 – Winnipeg Jets
François Carignan: C Auston Matthews. Pro Comparable: Anze Kopitar, Niklas Backstrom

It’s always easier to take a center than a winger, especially when you have access to such a gem like Auston Matthews. If the Leafs don’t take him, which is VERY unlikely, the Jets will jump on him like a dog on a bone. Matthews can play well on 200 feet and has an elite level hockey IQ, is a great skater and is easily one of the most complete players in this year’s crop.

Zachery Ellis: Patrik Laine (LW/RW – Tappara/Liiga)

Laine is said to have the best release in the draft and could likely become an elite goal scorer at the NHL level. With the love Winnipeg has for finnish legend Teemu Selanne, that love will only continue when Jets fans see what they have in Laine.

#3 – Columbus Blue Jackets
François Carignan: RW Jesse Puljujarvi. Pro Comparable: Marian Hossa, Jakub Voracek

They call him ‘’The other one’’, but he’s more than just that. At 6’3” and 200 pounds, Jesse is a power forward that will fit right in the Jackets mix. He has a heavy shot, skates extremely well and plays great on the whole surface. The “consolation” prize after Laine and Matthews go 1-2, Puljujarvi could very well be the perfect replacement for Johansen in terms of offensive contribution, while still bringing something very good to the defensive core of the team.

Zachery Ellis: Jesse Puljujarvi (RW – Karpat/Liiga)

Columbus has the easiest pick in the draft. Whomever is remaining from the “big three” in the 2016 draft, is who they will take. Future superstar Puljujarvi is more than just a consolation prize for the Blue Jackets, who will be compared to fellow countryman Laine for years to come.

#4 – Edmonton Oilers
François Carignan: D Olli Juolevi. Pro Comparable: Ryan Suter, Olli Maatta

The Oilers NEED defense… and a goalie. But to be honest, there is no goalie worth of going in the first 25 this year, so they need to settle for a D. Juolevi is a top-end defenseman who can eat minutes like they are candy: he makes me think of Suter because he seems never to get tired. He plays well on both ends and has very good playmaking skills. Easily the most complete blue liner in the draft.

Zachery Ellis: Olli Juolevi (D – London Knights/OHL)

This pick is probably the toughest to guess, because there is a good chance Edmonton moves it. Assuming they don’t though, everybody will be waiting to hear the Oilers select a blue liner after years of using their lottery success on forwards. Juolevi will look good in the defender prospect pool with Nurse and Reinhart.

#5 – Vancouver Canucks
François Carignan: LW Pierre-Luc Dubois. Pro Comparable: Jamie Benn, winger Patrice Bergeron

Dubois was the first guy I interviewed at the QMJHL entry draft in my hometown Sherbrooke, Quebec and I have been amazed by the kid ever since. His maturity on and off the ice is most impressive and he’s got the body to go with it. Dubois is 6’03” and even if he’s not the MOST physical, he is able to use his body to drive the net when he needs to. PL can also score goals every now and then, which will once again be a great thing for the Canucks as the departure of Vrbata will leave a gaping hole, and the Sedin twins sure aren’t getting any younger. He’s been the most consistent draft eligible player in the Q after Christmas, which explains why he gained a few ranks.

Zachery Ellis: Pierre-Luc Dubois (C/LW/RW – Cape Breton Screaming Eagles/QMJHL)

Dubois has spent the year in the QMJHL playing all three forward positions, which is good news for Vancouver as they can be flexible with where they play the #1 draft prospect that played in North America this year.

#6 – Calgary Flames
François Carignan: LW Matthew Tkachuk. Pro Comparable: less-scoring Corey Perry, Keith Tkachuk

Pretty good on both ends, Tkachuk isn’t a natural goal scorer, but shares many traits with Corey Perry except for that. If you have ever seen daddy Keith Tkachuk play, well the son’s pretty much a 2.0 version of him. He’s somewhere between a power forward and a playmaker, and has every tool to be a star in the NHL as he matures. He already got his name written in CHL history, as he scored in overtime to give the London Knights the 2016 Memorial Cup title with a perfect shot over goalie Chase Marchand’s shoulder.

Zachery Ellis: Matthew Tkachuk (LW – London Knights/OHL)

With Dubois off the board, Calgary will be adding the Memorial Cup winning goal scorer Tkachuk to their prospect pool. With Gaudreau on the wing and Bennett, Monahan down the middle, Calgary has the potential to be a dangerous offensive power in a few years.

#7 – Arizona Coyotes
François Carignan: D Jakob Chychrun. Pro Comparable: Aaron Ekblad, Erik Johnson

Chychrun joins the Coyotes at #7, that is if they don’t trade up or down… The idea of seeing Chychrun play with OEL in the future probably has the desert guys drooling already. He can do everything well and has been impressive while running for a spot with Team Canada at the last WJHC.

Zachery Ellis: Jakob Chychrun (D – Sarnia Sting/OHL)

The second defenceman comes off the board as Arizona looks to strengthen the looks of their defensive prospects, to add to an incredibly impressive forward prospect pool. Maybe we’ll be seeing Chychrun play with star blue liner Ekman-Larsson in the years to come.

#8 – Buffalo Sabres
François Carignan: D Charlie McAvoy. Pro Comparable: Lesser Drew Doughty, Kevin Shattenkirk

McAvoy is one of the most underrated defensemen in the draft… Weird to say when you say he’s ranked top-15 on everybody’s list! His late birthdate forced him to play against already drafted players and he has been able to adapt to it very well. He’s probably the defenseman with the most pro-ready game as of now.

Zachery Ellis: Mikhail Sergachev (D – Windsor Spitfires/OHL)

A year after selecting Jack Eichel in the first round, the Sabres can freshen up their blue line with one of the best defencemen in the draft available. Sportsnet’s Damien Cox and Sam Cosentinos say that Sergachev may not only have the highest ceiling of any blue liner in the draft, but might also just be the best.

#9 – Montreal Canadiens
François Carignan: D Mikhail Sergachev. Pro Comparable: Oliver Ekman Larsson, Mark Giordano

As Zach said, Sergachev has a sky-high potential and to be fully honest, I am teared up inside when it comes to choosing between Alex Nylander, Logan Brown and Sergachev for the Habs pick. I am going for the russian guy for three main factors: The lack of quality prospects at the blue line in Montreal (add to the fact Juulsen has shown nothing too encouraging so far…), the imminent retiring of Andrei Markov who is arguably the only one able to play with Subban right now, and then finally, the huge upsides Sergachev brings: a fast transition game, a very good positioning and a very good global understanding of the gamer. He reminds me of Mark Giordano for a mix of efficiency and offensive awareness. People will once again put him a few ranks lower on their lists because he’s got that Russian tag attached to him, but I think he came in America to stay.

Zachery Ellis: Alexander Nylander (LW/RW – Mississauga Steelheads/OHL)

The younger brother of rivals’ Toronto Maple Leafs prospect William Nylander is considered to be one of the top forwards in the draft.
The bad news for Montreal is that the depth for left shot defencemen in the organization is incredibly lacking. As of now Nathan Beaulieu would be considered the #1 LD in the organization (long term), which is great. As Andrei Markov turns 38 later this year, his time in hockey is limited. Alexei Emelin’s future in the organization is uncertain. After that it becomes Mark Barberio, Tom Parisi, Joel Hanley, Simon Bourque and Mac Bennett. With all due respect to the names listed, the Habs have an unarguable need to freshen up that left shot defence depth.

If the “big three” left shot defenders are taken by 9th overall, there’s a chance that the Canadiens could trade down and grab one later on, but it’s also likely that they can stay put and address another glaring need – goal scoring.

If you need to improve your ability to generate offence in the future and Alexander Nylander is on the board, you take him!

The Canadian-born, Swedish-raised forward has stood out everywhere he’s played. In 2013-14, he had 12 goals and 10 assists in 17 games for Sodertalje SK’s under-18 squad in Sweden… as a 15 year old. As a 16 year old in 2014-15 on the Stockholm-based AIK under-20 squad, he was nearly a point per game player with 40 points in 42 games. Finally, this season, Nylander came over to North America to play for Mississauga in the Ontario Hockey League where the rookie recorded 75 points in 57 games. This year he also represented Sweden at the World U18’s with 11 points in 7 games on route to a silver medal, and at the World Juniors with 9 points in 7 games.

The common theme is that Nylander will be off the board by the 9th overall selection, but it’s also not a stretch to say he won’t be. With all the potential draft day trades, and teams already in the top-10 that are in need of defence, Nylander could be passed on in favour of a blue liner. Considering there’s a very like scenario where Chychrun, Juolevi and Sergachev could be gone before the end of the top 10 picks, a forward may have to slip to accommodate those selections. And that would be incredible news for Montreal.

The Habs can always focus on other needs with their two second round picks, in free agency, or via trade. If the Habs are lucky enough to see Nylander still on the board at this position, that would be amazing news for the organization.

#10 – Colorado Avalanche
François Carignan: RW Alex Nylander. Pro Comparable: Evgeni Kuznetsov, William Nylander

Nylander will be a great addition to the Avs offense which has good depth down the middle, but would appreciate a little help on the wings. Alex is able to score goals and run a powerplay, which unfortunately he hasn’t been given the opportunity to do last season as his team opted for a dumb stationary style powerplay. What a waste of skill… Still, Nylander is a fabulous puck handler and has a very complete offensive arsenal: Shot, skating, playmaking skills and very quick hands.

Zachery Ellis: Jake Bean (D – Calgary Hitmen/WHL)

Between a natural offensive ability and a complete game in his own end, Bean is a defensive prospect that any team, in this case Colorado, would be lucky to have. The 6’1” defenceman recorded 64 points in 68 WHL games this season, but could still add on some more muscle at 172 lbs.

#11 – New Jersey Devils
François Carignan: C Logan Brown. Pro Comparable: Joe Thornton, Ryan Johansen

Brown is an absolute beast at 6’6″ and about 220 pounds. He’s got that very smooth skating for a guy his size and can play a 200-foot game. He has the potential to one day become the first line center that will make every opponent D have nightmares. Logan also has very decent vision and playmaking capacities, and when he puts all of his weight on a shot, he can let it rip like very few others can.

Zachery Ellis: Clayton Keller (C – U.S. U-18 National Development Team)

There isn’t much concern about Keller’s ability aside from his 5’10 / 170lbs size. The 9th ranked player among North American skaters in the NHL Central Scouting rankings tallied 107 points in 62 games, and could bring that dominance to a Devils team that could use it. Whether he grows or uses his size to his advantage, Keller could be a steal at the 11th spot.

#12 – Ottawa Senators
François Carignan: C Tyson Jost. Pro Comparable: Jonathan Toews, Patrice Bergeron

Jost plays an complete game on the entire surface and isn’t afraid to sacrifice a scoring chance to help his team defensively… Which is weird when you look at his numbers in the BCHL, and makes you wonder if he even backchecked! Jost has drawn comparisons to Jonathan Toews and Patrice Bergeron because he’s got the full package: Defensive/offensive awareness, skating, playmaking skills, and an elite-level understanding of the game. Mitch Brown made me realize he has that same forechecking capacity Logan Couture has, and has about the same release. For me, his performance at the U18 tournament was a proof he could still dominate in the CHL, should he have chosen this path.

Zachery Ellis: Tyson Jost (C – Penticton Vees/BCHL)

Tyson Jost is undoubtedly a talented forward, but there are some questions about the level of competition in the BCHL. Whether or not this could see him slip a little is yet to be seen. Having said that, scouts praise Jost on his release, passing and skating. Everybody likes to watch a fast skater with soft hands, right?

#13 – Carolina Hurricanes
François Carignan: C Clayton Keller. Pro Comparable: Patrick Kane, Johnny Gaudreau

Small and deadly are the two best words to describe Keller. He’s arguably the best puck handler in the draft and would instantly rise to top 5 should he reach the 6-foot mark. An excellent skater and agile playmaker, Keller will bring a very good helping hand to the Hurricanes that, slowly but surely, are packing up a good squad for years to come.

Zachery Ellis: Logan Brown (C – Windsor Spitfires/OHL)

At 6’6” and 220lbs, Logan Brown is among the largest players in the draft, imagine that coming your way down the centre of the ice with the puck. Usually a player of that size would be seen on the blue line, but this forward showed a display of offensive dominance with Windsor this season with 74 points in 59 games.

#14 – Boston Bruins
François Carignan: C Michael McLeod. Pro Comparable: Darren Helm, Nils Ekman

“But why Nils Ekman”? Do you remember how fast Ekman was but he was never able to score when all alone with the goalie? Well that’s Michael’s main weakness. Other than that, he’s the best skater in the draft, which helps him creating space for both him and his teammates. McLeod will never be a goal scorer but will become a great playmaker, and every coach will love the fact he wins a large majority of faceoffs he takes, no matter where on the ice.

Zachery Ellis: Charlie McAvoy (D – Boston University/NCAA)

With long term questions on the blue line, one could reasonably see the Bruins taking a physical, big hitting defenceman that scouts love the two-way game of. McAvoy has had a nice transition so far from the U.S. National Development Program to University.

#15 – Minnesota Wild
François Carignan: LW Kieffer Bellows. Pro Comparable: Rick Nash, James Van Riemsdyk

Bellows is a strong winger with a sense for the net. He can score in both peripherical locations and right in the slot. He can use his body to protect the puck very well and to dish out some hits every now and then. He has that high-skill power forward tag attached to him. He also is praised for his leadership skills.

Zachery Ellis: Michael McLeod (C – Mississauga Steelheads/OHL)

The draft analyst praises McLeod’s skating and leadership qualities. As a two-way centre that can play at both ends of the ice, McLeod averaged just over a point per game with Mississauga in the Ontario Hockey League this season.

#16 – Detroit Red Wings
François Carignan: D Jake Bean. Pro Comparable: Erik Karlsson, Mike Green

Bean draws some comparisons with Mike Green when he still was producing at that crazy pace in the 2005-2010 years. He never hesitates to join the rush and is VERY good at it. He will always be a powerplay quarterback and dominate wherever he ends. He may be offensively minded, but he also has the skating that allows him to fall back and help defensively as well, and he is still very good at it. A transition, puck-moving defenseman with elite vision and great defensive capacities? The Wings might like that a lot!

Zachery Ellis: Kieffer Bellows (C/LW – U.S. U-18 National Development Team)

Bellows is committed to play for Boston University in the 2016-17 season, so he will have time to develop at the NCAA level. Bellows is a very athletic forward with an admirable work ethic and hard to knock off the puck.

#17 – Nashville Predators
François Carignan: RW Julien Gauthier. Pro Comparable: Max Pacioretty, James Neal:
Julien has lost a few spots as the season went on, mostly because he hasn’t really been getting any better in the second half of the campaign, and the scouts are very afraid of this kind of pattern. Julien has a sub-par hockey IQ for a first rounder, but has the body and shot to make everyone jealous. He can be pretty much invisible for 95% of the game and finish the contest with two goals, which is why any team wants a guy like this on their squad. Definitely never going to be an elite playmaker, but will always be competing for team lead in goals wherever he ends.

Zachery Ellis: Julien Gauthier (RW – Val-d’Or Foreurs/QMJHL)

At a 6’4” and 225lbs build, Gauthier is literally a man-child. The strong right winger has shown some elite goal scoring potential with 41 goals and 16 assists through 54 games in the QMJHL this season. Even with questions about his involvement in the play without the puck, the Preds can surround him with playmakers to compliment his scoring and penalty killing abilities.

#18 – Philadelphia Flyers
François Carignan: LW Max Jones. Pro Comparable: Rick Nash, Raffi Torres

Let me explain the comparisons: Jones is similar in many points to Nash, but sometimes can go crazy and dangerous on the ice like Raffi Torres is known to be. Now that we have that out of the way, Jones thinks and act like a goal scorer and would have played on the Knights first line should have Tkachuk not been there… That’s such a great problem to have for a coach, isn’t it? He has that very good speed to go along with the size.

Zachery Ellis: Luke Kunin (C – University of Wisconsin/NCAA)

The natural goal scorer in Kunin will fit in nicely in Philadelphia. Coaches at the University of Wisconsin can’t get enough of this kid’s maturity and leadership. With 19 goals in his freshman year in Wisconsin, it’s hard to believe somebody that coaches drool over will fall to 18th overall, but in such a front-heavy draft… anything can happen.

#19 – New York Islanders
François Carignan: D Dante Fabbro. Pro Comparable: Ryan McDonagh, Jonas Brodin

With the possible departure of Travis Hamonic, the Islanders will be looking to rebuild their defensive depth. Fabbro has that high hockey IQ and plays a full two-way game with great skating. He worries people a little bit because he played in the BCHL, but just like Jost, he proved he was very capable of great things at the U18 World Championship.

Zachery Ellis: Max Jones (LW – London Knights/OHL)

When Jones wasn’t finding open space to score one of his 28 goals in London this season, he was using his frame to knock the opponent off the puck and take it the other way. While he will have to work on his consistency, the Islanders can take a terrific power forward at the 19th selection.

#20 – Arizona Coyotes (from NYR)
François Carignan: D Dennis Cholowski. Pro Comparable: Trevor Daley, Alex Edler

Totally unspectacular, Cholowski plays a straight-up simple game that makes him nearly invisible, and he’s just fine with that! He’s a great skater that can do pretty much anything on the ice, but never will be the absolute best at anything. The comparison with Alex Edler given to me by a scout really interested me.

Zachery Ellis: Dante Fabbro (D – Penticton Vees/BCHL)

Similar to Penticton teammate Tyson Jost, there are questions about the quality of competition that Fabbro has faced this year in the BCHL. Having said that, there aren’t many questions left about Fabbro’s ability to move the puck efficiently and set up plays from the blue line.

#21 – Carolina Hurricanes (from LAK)
François Carignan: C Luke Kunin. Pro Comparable: Tyler Toffoli, Brad Marchand

Yes, another centerman! However, Kunin can very well play as a winger, which will be a great thing as Sebastian Aho also is going to move to Raleigh very soon, so the versatility of Kunin, along with his natural goal scoring abilities, will force the Hurricanes to draft him.

Zachery Ellis: Riley Tufte (LW – Blaine High/USHS)

Tufte is a big 6’5” winger who split time this season between high school hockey and the United States Hockey League. In high school, Tufte dominated with 47 goals and 31 assists in 25 games played. With Fargo in the USHL, Tufte tallied 10 goals and 4 assists in 27 games. Once he can limit the number of undisciplined penalties taken, he can become a solid power forward in the Hurricanes organization.

#22 – Winnipeg Jets (from CHI)
François Carignan: D Logan Stanley. Pro Comparable: Zdeno Chara, Nick Grossman

With Laine or Matthews now in the Peg, they will need to work on defense. I think taking a chance on Stanley, a giant D-man compared to Zdeno Chara for many reasons, is a great fit for the Jets. Just imagine in a couple years how tough it will be to face a 6-man core of Byfuglien, Enstrom, Myers, Trouba, Kostalek and Stanley… I seriously think the Jets can’t make any mistake drafting Logan, as he is more of a defensive guys than all the other 5 mentionned above.

Zachery Ellis: Samuel Girard (D – Shawinigan Cataractes/QMJHL)

Girard posted an impressive 1.10 points per game from the blue line in the QMJHL this season. With the Jets selecting the goal scoring machine Laine earlier in this round, they’ll find some offensive power in Girard as well. On defence, Girard’s playmaking abilities will be a nice compliment to Winnipeg’s deep pool of forward prospects.

#23 – Florida Panthers
François Carignan: LW Riley Tufte. Pro Comparable: Nick Bjugstad, Wayne Simmonds

To be fully honest I have never seen Tufte play, but I heard great things about him. He’s big and strong, and is more of a power forward than anything. He’s more of a project at this point, but the Panthers love to take their time with prospects anyways so I see nothing wrong with that.

Zachery Ellis: German Rubtsov (C – Russia U18/MHL)

Rubtsov is praised by many for being involved in the game at both ends of the ice. It wouldn’t hurt for Florida to add this playmaker and incredible skater with admirable vision to their roster one day.

#24 – Anaheim Ducks
François Carignan: C Rasmus Asplund. Pro Comparable: Bo Horvat, Henrik Zetterberg

A complete player and great leader, Asplund can do a lot on the ice. Smart and responsible, he is more of a playmaker that can carry the puck well, and doesn’t hate getting his nose dirty. He also is a very good skater.

Zachery Ellis: Rasmus Asplund (C/LW – Farjestad BK/SHL)

18-year old Asplund has two years of professional hockey under his belt already in Sweden’s top league. While there’s not much of a physical aspect to his game, there is an admirable work ethic in his two-way game. Asplund is fast with and without the puck and is always finding open space to create plays.

#25 – Dallas Stars
François Carignan: RW Alex DeBrincat. Pro Comparable: Brian Gionta, small Michael Ryder

He hasn’t been as good without McDavid (who wouldn’t be, to be honest?), but he still showed how much of a game-breaking ability he has. He’s a very small but dangerous forward who likes to be stationnary while still having a very good skating, but that fits him well because he’s a high-level goal scorer. Think of him as a renewed version of Brian Gionta when he was at his peak.

Zachery Ellis: Alex DeBrincat (RW – Erie Otters/OHL)

The small 5’7” DeBrincat has an incredible story. After going undrafted in the Ontario Hockey League, he was signed as a free agent a year after his draft year by the Erie Otters. Since then, he has 205 points in 128 games as an Otter. His size is clearly a concern, but there is absolutely no doubting how talented the kid is and how hard he works out on the ice.

#26 – Washington Capitals
François Carignan: D Samuel Girard. Pro Comparable: Ryan Ellis, small Kris Letang

Think of Girard like a faster Ryan Ellis with little less pure skills. Sam still has that elite level competitiveness and playmaking skill that would instantly make him a top-10 pick, should he have been a few inches taller. The GM that will take a chance on him will eventually be blessed with honors, should Samuel be able to adapt to the physical level of professional hockey. The Caps can afford taking a chance on him as they don’t have any urgent need, but you never have too many defensemen if you want to go all the way through the playoffs.

Zachery Ellis: Vitali Abramov (LW/RW – Gatineau Olympiques/QMHL)

Another small forward, Abramov stands at around 5’9”. Despite this, he has to be one of the most exciting players to watch in junior hockey. Whether it’s accurate shooting, tape to tape passing, fast skating or natural instincts, Abramov will fit in well on the Capitals.

#27 – Tampa Bay Lightning
François Carignan: C German Rubtsov. Pro Comparable: Travis Zajac, Rickard Rakell

Very smart and responsible in all three zones, Rubtsov has drawn comparisons to a Pavel Datsyuk without the Magic Man touch. He can skate well, distribute the puck and score goals, which makes him one of the most complete players in the crop.

Zachery Ellis: Pascal Laberge (C/RW – Victoriaville Tigres/QMHL)

The former 2nd overall pick of the 2014 QMJHL draft is an offensive threat who can skate well with a good possession game.

#28 – St. Louis Blues
François Carignan: G Evan Fitzpatrick. Pro Comparable: Carey Price, Roberto Luongo:

Warning: I might be biased here. I know Fitz very well personally and that probably makes me a fan by default, but here is my humble opinion on the kid: Fitz is not a future elite goalie, but I still see him as a starting NHL goalie for a very long period of time. He shares many attributes with Carey Price: He’s big, calm, very mobile in his net and has the right approach to every game. He’s got a very good work ethic and even if he’s not the most consistent out there, he shows a lot of character and is able to bounce back after bad games: 24 hours after he allowed 7 goals to Shawinigan in game 3 of the first round, he bounced back with a jaw-dropping 73-save performance (!!!), but ultimately lost the game 3-2 after Samuel Girard, whom I think will be drafted two ranks before him, scored off a perfect screen shot that ringed off the bar before crossing the goal line.

Zachery Ellis: Tage Thompson (C/RW – University of Connecticut/NCAA)

Despite Thompson’s size which contributes to an ability to throw some hits, he is a disciplined player who only took 12 minutes in penalties at Connecticut last season. His freshman college season was nearly a point per game with 32 points in 36 games.

#29 – Boston Bruins (from SJS)
François Carignan: C Pascal Laberge. Pro Comparable: Jonathan Huberdeau, Thomas Hertl:

Labby is a very smart kid and always seems to be right on the puck. He follows the play well and has quick hands, not only to initiate plays but also to finish them. He has that very good skating to go along with it, and he’s got some very good hockey sense to tighten it all up together. While not the best player available in any domain, the whole package makes Pascal a very appreciable pick late in the first round. Also, Bruins love to come cherry picking in Quebec every now and then…

Zachery Ellis: Brett Howden (C – Moose Jaw Warriors/WHL)

Howden is an accurate passer who is praised for his hockey sense and work ethic. He’s very competitive and will be noticeable in a positive sense in the offensive zone and in his own end.

#30 – Anaheim Ducks (from PIT via TOR)
François Carignan: W Vitaly Abramov. Pro Comparable: Dmitri Jaskin, Johnny Gaudreau:
For some reason, I have never seen Abramov at his best it seems… The best performance I saw of him live was a 2 point night, and God knows he’s had many more productive outings… Anyways, the one my colleague Jean-François Plante (from Le Droit) calls “Abracadramov” for his magic tricks on the ice, can beat you one-on-one, outspeed you in a split second, or use you as a screen to complete a play. The elite-level stickhandler is somewhat underappreciated because of his very small physique (5’9” and under 180 pounds).

Zachery Ellis: Logan Stanley (D – Windsor Spitfires/OHL)

At 6’7”, Stanley is a big blue liner who has shown improvements in previous weaknesses such as skating. As of now he’s more of a defensive defender, but as a big player he’s praised for his long reach.

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