The 2015 NHL Draft class saw some great talent early in the first round with Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel going one and two. This year’s draft, on June 24th, may not see the top-tier talent like last year but does have more first round depth. In 2015, after about the 10th or so pick the level of play dropped off. This year the players being drafted in the middle to end of the first round will bring much more to their team than last year.
The first overall pick this year will most likely be center Auston Matthews. Matthews is currently playing for the ZSC Lions in the Switzerland National League (NLA). He has also represented the United States in numerous tournaments. In just 36 games this season in the NLA ,Auston had 46 points. Matthews will probably be joining a young, talented Toronto Maple Leafs team.
Being picked second will either be right winger Patrik Laine or defenseman Jacob Chychrun. If you are comparing value that the player brings to the table Patrik is ahead. The reason why Chychrun may go second is if the Edmonton Oilers receive the second pick. The Oilers need some depth at the blue line and Jacob would be a great addition. If another team has the second pick such as the Canucks or the Blue Jackets, they would be looking to take Patrik Laine, a skilled offensive threat from Finland.
For the third pick in the draft it may be Patrik Laine’s line mate on the Finland junior national team Jesse Puljujarvi. Puljujarvi came up to the world wide stage when in the 2016 U20 World Championship he scored seven goals and twelve assists in just seven games for team Finland.
Another talented player most likely to be drafted in the top five is Matthew Tkachuk. This U.S. born left winger just finished second in the OHL (Ontario Hockey League) in assists while playing for the London Knights. Tkachuk could be joining the Columbus Blue Jackets who are lacking offensive playmakers. By bringing in Matthew the Blue Jackets could be getting themselves a real offensive threat.
After just turning 18 Alexander Nylander could be drafted in the top five in this years draft. The team that may end up with Alexander is the Calgary Flames. With such a lack of wingers the Flames will probably draft wingers with their first couple picks. The Flames went from the being in the playoffs to one of the worst teams in the NHL in one year. As a rookie in the OHL, Nylander finished 19th in scoring which is a great look into what is to come. Nylander will probably not be in the league for some time but a great pick for a future star.