Final Fantasy Rankings for Draft Eligible Prospects

by Peter Harling on July 5, 2016
  • Feature Story
  • Final Fantasy Rankings for Draft Eligible Prospects

2016 draft board

The DobberProspects Fantasy Ranking of 2016 NHL Draft eligible prospects feature we created back in February quickly became the top viewed post in DobberProspects history. Given its success and great feedback, and the fact we have had a second half of the season to view the eligible prospects combined with the impact of the NHL draft; we decided to update the feature just in time for most leagues fantasy drafts.

If you missed the first edition, I have recruited the input from several external scouts and writers as well as several DobberProspects scouts to provide the consensus top 30 overall ranking for players from the 2016 draft based on Fantasy Hockey value.

 

The following criteria were considered to compile the ranking;

  • Based on Points only, keeper leagues
  • Projected upside
  • How quickly they will develop into an NHL player and onto your roster
  • Probability of success, both in reaching the NHL and achieving full potential

 

We have polled a total of 14 expert writers and scouts to help create our experts consensus rankings. We invited the following writers to contribute;

Ryan Kennedy @THNRyanKennedy – The Hockey News

Mark Seidel @MarkSeidel – NA Central Scouting

Scott Wheeler (@scottwheeler) – Future Considerations / Pension Plan Puppets

Steve Kournianos (@TheDraftAnalyst) – Draft Analyst

Ryan Wagman (@RAWagman) – Hockey Prospectus / ESPN

Brock Otten (@BrockOtten) - OHL Prospects

Brennen York  @DraftGeek -  Draftgeek.ca

Zachary Devine @zakkthebear – Hockey Prophets, Last Word on Sports, DobberProspects San Jose Sharks Scout/Writer

Aynsley Scott @HockeyMinister – Prospect Radio Producer on SiriusXM NHL Network Radio, DobberProspects Winnipeg Jets Scout/Writer

Cam Robinson (@CrazyJoeDavola3) Philadelphia Flyers Scout/Writer DobberProspects Philadelphia Flyers Scout, DobberHockey, Frozen Pool

Joel Henderson (@dathockeydoe) Calgary Scout/Writer DobberProspects Calgary Flames Scout

Kevin LeBlanc @kleblanchockey Carolina Hurricanes Scout/Writer DobberProspects, DobberHockey

Brad Phillips @BradHPhillips – Ottawa Senators, St Louis Blues Scout/Writer  DobberProspects

Peter Harling (@pharling) Managing Editor DobberProspects, McKeens Hockey writer.

Each contributor provided a list of their top 30 players, the average score was used to determine the rankings and is included after the position listing.

1. Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs – Center (1.3)

Comparable: Evgeni Malkin

“I still think Matthews is the best player in the draft, but that's different than the best fantasy player. He'll get his points with Toronto, but I could see him winning a Selke rather than an Art Ross.” Ryan Kennedy – THN

“Auston Matthews - Franchise number one center who gives the Leafs the first true number one center post Mats Sundin. Matthews should have an immediate fantasy impact and reminds me a lot of Mike Modano” Brock Otten – OHL Prospects

 

2. Patrik Laine, Winnipeg Jets – Right Wing (1.92)

Comparable: Alex Ovechkin

“With his shot and his rambunctious style, Laine is tailor-made for the NHL. He's also coming into a situation in Winnipeg where he has talent surrounding him, so the points will come early and often. He's the Calder front-runner for me.” Ryan Kennedy – THN

“Laine has elite offensive potential, and a perfect team fit to fulfill his upside. Slight bump over Matthews for me because he will play in a better forward group this season” Kevin LeBlanc – DobberProspects

“Stone cold sniper. Won’t be long until he challenged for the Rocket Richard Trophy” Brad Phillips – DobberProspects

 

3. Jesse Puljujarvi, Edmonton Oilers – Right Wing (2.8)

Comparable: Mats Sundin

“Not a bad landing spot for the big Finn. In Edmonton, Puljujarvi will have great line mates in the top-six, so points shouldn't be a problem for the playmaker with the sweet shot.” Ryan Kennedy – THN

“When asked at the Draft about Puljujarvi being Kurri to Gretzky, Oilers GM Pete Chiarelli simply smiled and said ‘there are some similarities’. Falling to fourth from third on draft day may have had a huge and positive impact on his fantasy value” Peter Harling – DobberProspects

 

4. Pierre-Luc Dubois, Columbus Blue Jackets – Left Wing/Center (5.0)

Comparable: Patrice Bergeron

“If Columbus sees him as a center, he's going to have great opportunities in the top-six in the years to come. His 200-foot game will help him earn trust quickly, too.” – Ryan Kennedy – THN

“There were a lot of surprises at this years draft, however none came with more criticism than when the Jackets selected Pierre-Luc Dubois with the third overall pick. Dubois boasts a strong 200 foot game and is ready to step into the NHL as early as this year. Statistically speaking, he's a bit of a wildcard. Dubois managed to out score Claude Giroux in his draft year, however he plays more of a two way style meaning he may be a career 60 point player.” Brennen York – Draft Geek

 

5. Matthew Tkachuk, Calgary Flames – Left Wing (5.2)

Comparable: Jamie Benn

” It's not hard to picture Tkachuk as the net-front presence and battler on a line with Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau in the future, is it? Give him a year or two to get up to speed, though.” Ryan Kennedy – THN

“My fifth ranked prospect, Tkachuk fits in at #4 on this list because he has an outside chance at playing in the NHL next season. If he fails to crack his team out of camp, he should spend no more than one year developing before he’s too good for the OHL. If his playoff performance was any indication, he’s not far off.” Scott Wheeler – Future Considerations

 

6. Clayton Keller, Arizona Coyotes – Center (5.7)

Comparable: Claude Giroux

“I expect him to join Windsor this year which means his ascention to the NHL won't be nearly as long as it would be if he went to school. Will play in Arizona's Top 6 sooner rather than later.” Mark Seidel – NACS

“The hockey mind to create time and space and the hands and shot to produce staggering numbers. Terrific speed and vision. This is the new breed of elite point producers. Size be damned.” Cam Robinson – DobberProspects

 

7. Alexander Nylander, Buffalo Sabres – Right Wing (6.6)

Comparable: William Nylander

“Outside of the big three, I think Nylander has the most offensive potential of any player in this draft. Consistency needs to improve, but his skill level is off the charts. A potential 40/40 player and in fantasy, points are king.” Brock Otten – OHL Prospects

“Skills are unquestioned but the drive and consistency issues drop him down the board when similarly skilled players can produce” Zachary Devine – Hockey Prophets

 

8. Tyson Jost, Colorado Avalanche – Center (9.7)

Comparable: Joe Sakic

“For me, Jost is one of the toughest prospects to project moving forward because of how much potential he possesses. Looking back on this list, we may wonder in the future how he was ranked so low. Much of his fantasy value will depend on what role he is put into when he reaches the NHL” Kevin LeBlanc – DobberProspects

“High-skill center that operates at high speed. Headed to North Dakota but strictly for hockey development. Could be next years Kyle Connor.” Zachary Devine – Hockey Prophets

 

9. Mikhail Sergachev, Montreal Canadiens – Defence (11.4)

Comparable: Victor Hedman

“The top offensive blueliner in the draft IMO. Dynamic offensive player who just happens to be absolutely massive. Makes him so hard to stop as he gains steam through the neutral zone. Also possesses a cannon of a point shot on the PP. Think he goes back to Windsor for the Mem Cup run.” Brock Otten – OHL Prospects

“Now that Montreal's PP will be very different in the future, Sergachev has the ability to step into the Top-4 and run a future powerplay. Should get every opportunity to succeed. “ Joel Henderson – DobberProspects

 

10. Logan Brown, Ottawa Senators – Center (12.3)

Comparable: Joe Thornton

“Logan Brown is a bit of a risky player, however I'm optimistic he has what it takes to be a top line NHL player. He has the size, speed, and skill to be a seventy point center, however it will come down to work ethic, something he's struggled with, that will determine if he's a first or fourth liner. May be Brian Boyle 2.0. “ Brennen York – Draft Geek

“Massive frame and passes like he was born to do it. Protects the puck well and uses time to distribute through lanes. Needs to shoot more and display better consistency” Cam Robinson – DobberProspects

 

11. Olli Juolevi, Vancouver Canucks – Defence (12.8)

Comparable: Mark Giordano

“Supremely poised and cerebral offensive defender has exquisite first pass and the wheels to join any rush. Can quarterback a power play and skate the puck out of danger. Holds the line like a veteran.” Cam Robinson – DobberProspects

“Juolevi doesn’t have the offensive upside of a couple of the other prospects on the backend, but he’s closer to being NHL ready. Built to quickly become a real top-4 option for an NHL coach.” Scott Wheeler – Future Considerations

“He might play in the NHL next season which speaks volumes about his skating ability and hockey IQ. It also speaks volumes about Vancouver's depth at the position”  Joel Henderson – DobberProspects

 

12. Kieffer Bellows, New York Islanders – Left Wing (13.2)

Comparable: Kyle Okposo

“Bellows is a sniper, pure and simple. His fantasy value increases if he plays minutes alongside John Tavares in the future. He should be deadly on the power-play if his linemates are able to get him the puck in high-danger areas” Kevin LeBlanc – DobberProspects

“Bellows’ frame is better suited to quickly transition to the NHL than Keller’s but his offensive game may not stand out immediately at the NCAA level. His finishing ability will be hard to keep out for long for an NHL team though.” Scott Wheeler – Future Considerations

 

13. Jake Bean, Carolina Hurricanes – Defence (14.6)

Comparable: Cam Fowler

“Will end up being the highest point producer among the Defensemen taken in this draft. He is still a couple years away but he will be worth the wait.” Mark Seidel – NACS

“Might be the most pure offensive D-man in the draft. Needs to bulk up” Brad Phillips – DobberProspects

 

14. Jakob Chychrun, Arizona Coyotes – Defence (15.2)

Comparable: Aaron Ekblad

“Chychrun has, in my estimation, the highest offensive ceiling (or right there with Jake Bean) among the 2016 draft-eligible defensemen and his athleticism and strength make him a strong bet to make an NHL roster sooner rather than later” Scott Wheeler – Future Considerations

“He fell in the Draft but he went to a great team that will be putting up big points in the near future and Chychrun will be part of that. His skating lets him jump into the rush and contribute offensively.” Mark Seidel – NACS

 

15. Luke Kunin, Minnesota Wild – Center (15.8)

Comparable: Joe Pavelski

“Luke Kunin is not the next Dylan Larkin, like many have suggested, rather his own, unique player. He's a gritty, skilled forward who excels at both ends of the ice. He's a good pick mover, and has an excellent release on his shot. At the NHL level he's likely a 40-60 point forward. Will need another two or three years before he's ready.” Brennen York – Draft Geek

“- I can't see him graduating at Wisconsin so I can see him playing 1 year in the AHL and then jumping into the NHL. Skilled kid that works harder than everybody which will endear him to his NHL coach.” Mark Seidel – NACS

 

 

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16. Mike McLeod, New Jersey Devils – Center (16.3)

Comparable: Bryan Little

“McLeod gives the Devils a viable two-way center to groom as Travis Zajac’s replacement, although hitting the 60-point mark may take a while. His ability to make precision plays while moving at a high rate of speed will open the ice up for New Jersey squad that in 2016 finished dead last in both goals scored and shots, but he could use another year or two in junior to work on his shot before making noise in the AHL. There will be games, however, when McLeod will dominate at the dot and throw his body around without impunity” Steve Kournianos – Draft Analyst

“Plays PK. Great fluid skater. Agile and slick with the puck. Will play very physically. Tracks back, 200ft guy. Intriguing upside. Great acceleration. High man on forecheck. Many of his goals come from speed and stickhandling and a quick trigger. Actual shot power not special. Speed, hands, passing, two-way play.” Ryan Wagman – Hockey Prospectus

 

17. Julien Gauthier, Carolina Hurricanes – Right Wing (16.7)

Comparable: Rick Nash

“Gauthier is the kind of prospect who will sneak up on people, as he was one of the top goal scorers among the entire 2016 draft class in each of the last three seasons. He’s a lethal shooter with an NHL build who can help any power play, and we wouldn’t be surprised if he followed current Philadelphia Flyer Sean Couturier’s path and joined the Canes right out of his first training camp. Of course, there are contractual ramifications, but Gauthier looks poised to make his mark sooner than later. And the low assist totals didn’t concern us at all – he has playmaking abilities but opts for the shot nine times out of 10.” Steve Kournianos – Draft Analyst

“He has a great certainty to be a consistent NHL player, but doesn't have as high a potential as others. I think he fits in well with the current depth of Carolina. “ Joel Henderson – DobberProspects

 

18. German Rubtsov, Philadelphia Flyers – Center (20.2)

Comparable: Pavel Datsyuk

Rubtsov is first-round material, a player with excellent hockey sense and puck skills, who has to work on some areas (physical play, faceoffs, overall defensive play), but that has all the tools to become a prolific player even at the NHL level. His smarts will allow him to overcome his small size issues`` Ryan Wagman – Hockey Prospectus

“Rubtsov will become a fantasy darling because he does everything you’d want in a top-six center – he hits, wins faceoffs, plays the wall on the top power play unit and runs the lead penalty killing quartet. He’s more of a passer than a finisher, but a good coach will get him to use his hard, accurate shot more often. Rubtsov plays a heavy game and can display a mean streak as well, so he’ll give you freebie PIM’s on the off chance he’s not contributing elsewhere.” Steve Kournianos – Draft Analyst

 

19. Dante Fabbro, Nashville Predators – Defence (20.2)

Comparable: Tyson Barrie

“Huge showing at the U18’s put the cherry on top of an impressive season in the BCHL. Has the tools to be an offensive d-man in the NHL, but will take some seasoning. “ Zachary Devine – Hockey Prophets

Though still needing refinement on the defensive side, Fabbro projects to be a solid all-around D-man with scoring upside. He is likely to need several more years before breaking into the NHL” Aynsley Scott -  Hockey Prospect Radio

 

20. Charlie McAvoy, Boston Bruins – Defence (20.2)

Comparable: Duncan Keith

“Boston knows him well and might like him to leave school before he graduates. Handles the puck and makes plays while using his speed to jump in.” Mark Seidel – NACS

“Sturdily built defender. Excels at skating the puck out of his zone leading an attacking rush.” Brad Phillips – DobberProspects

“A fantastic skater who loves to join the rush, McAvoy is cerebral at both ends of the rink and can read a play happen with the best of them. Fits in line with the new breed of all-around defenders” Cam Robinson – DobberProspects

 

21. Max Jones, Anaheim Ducks – Left Wing 21.8)

Comparable: Dustin Brown

“Blessed with natural skill and strength, the knock on Jones is consistency and decision making. He has enough talent to be a top six forward and his good skating and physicality should result in plenty of opportunites. “ Cam Robinson – DobberProspects

 

“Jones is a throwback power forward who can score and intimidate. Has the potential to really make a fantasy impact as a guy who can put up 20+ goals and accumulate 100+ PIM. Only Wayne Simmonds and Scot Hartnell did that last year.” Brock Otten – OHL Prospects

 

22. Alex DeBrincat, Chicago Blackhawks – Right Wing (23.4)

Comparable: Johnny Gaudreau

“Not as dynamic of a player as Keller, but the undersized Debrincat possesses equally strong offensive potential. His shot release is already pro ready, but he needs to get stronger and improve his leg strength to become a little more explosive to find those same gaps at the NHL level. Another year in junior and then a year in the AHL and I think he's ready.” Brock Otten – OHL Prospects

“Size concerns may hold him back from ever being an NHL regular, however, if he does make it he’ll likely be a star. Top end mitts, shot and skating ability. Likely won’t grow any taller so its time to get a lot stronger” Cam Robinson – DobberProspects

 

23. Riley Tufte, Dallas Stars – Left Wing (24.3)

Comparable: Corey Perry

“All the tools are there but it all has to come together for Tufte. Played mostly High School hockey during his draft year, so a small concern on how he translates when the competition gets tougher.” Zachary Devine – Hockey Prophets

“Handles the puck very well. Above average skater – especially for his size. Plays a very physical game. Tough to scout due to variable nature of his opponents. He dominated high school hockey in Minnesota – a good state as far as high school hockey goes, but high school nonetheless. When he got back to Fargo towards the end of the year, he showed he could score at the higher level, although he did not dominate. Has plus hands and uses his size well to disrupt in the offensive zone. The most raw projected first rounder.” Ryan Wagman – Hockey Prospectus

 

24. Adam Mascherin, Florida Panthers – Left Wing (26.0)

Comparable: Mike Cammalleri

Built like a fire hydrant, those who like Mascherin appreciate his hockey sense and puck skills. Thos who don’t knock his skating ability. All agree however, that he knows how to score`` Ryan Wagman – Hockey Prospectus

“He isn't the biggest guy, like Debrincat, but he is a sniper that doesn't have seperation speed. He has a pro shot and a very sturdy build that will allow him to get into scoring areas and finish.” Mark Seidel – NACS

“Mascherin was the OHL’s most dangerous draft-eligible player behind Matt Tkachuk and Alex DeBrincat, only he performed without as big of a spotlight shining on him. His heavy shot and off-the-charts vision make up for average foot speed, and he is one of the better prospects at understanding play development. His ceiling is higher than that of 2015 first rounder Lawson Crouse, who will duke it out with Mascherin for a permanent left wing slot on the Panthers’ second line.” Steve Kournianos – Draft Analyst

 

25. Vitali Abramov, Columbus Blue Jackets – Right/Left Wing (26.3)

Comparable: Sergei Samsonov

“Agility allows him to overcome his smaller size. First 2-3 steps need improvement. Speedy, highly offensively skilled, hard-working and very productive winger. Puck skills and hockey IQ are both very high end. Consistency is not always present, but between his size and nationality, his overall game will break some prejudices.” Ryan Wagman – Hockey Prospectus

“A dynamic offensive player who possesses excellent vision and offensive creativity. Has a wide array of moves, dekes and toe-drags with explosive acceleration and a high-end top gear.” Peter Harling – DobberProspects

 

26. Samuel Girard, Nashville Predators – Defence (26.5)

Comparable: Torey Krug

“Girard is one of the best offensive blue line threats in recent years. Size and defense is a concern, but could pile up the points if he breaks through.” Zachary Devine – Hockey Prophets

He's an exceptional skater and a top end ability to create. It will take a few years to see if his potential can translate but watch out if it does” Joel Henderson – DobberProspects

 

27. Jonathan Dahlen, Ottawa Senators – Left Wing (26.7)

Comparable: Jussi Jokinen

“Son of Ulf, I feel like Jonathan is underrated when it comes to this past year's draft. Should develop nicely in Sweden the next few years then make the trip over. A bit of a project, but I think he's got 50+ point potential.” Brock Otten – OHL Prospects

“Jonathan Dahlen is the steal of the second round as his playmaking abilities and skilled footwork will make him a top six forward in Ottawa. He's an electrifying player to watch, and at the NHL level he will likely be a 40-50 point playmaking winger. He needs to add size strength, however there's a tough balance there given he doesn't want to lose speed, one of his best qualities. He could very well jump to the AHL this year.” Brennen York – Draft Geek

 

28. Denis Cholowski, Detroit Red Wings – Defence (26.7)

Comparable: Jason Demers

“Smooth, fluid skater. More of a playmaker than a shooter from the back-end. “ Brad Phillips – DobberProspects

“As a middle-pair projected defenseman with a top-pairing ceiling, Cholowski was drafted into a good organization in Detroit. He will be given the opportunity to improve at St. Cloud. Another player who could be a sleeper moving forward” Kevin LeBlanc – DobberProspects

 

29. Pascal Laberge, Philadelphia Flyers – Center/Right Wing (26.8)

Comparable: Mike Hoffman

“Laberge has the potential to be a steal given his raw offensive skills and his second-round draft position. If he can become a more consistent player, I like his fit in Philadelphia. “ Kevin LeBlanc – DobberProspects

“He had his struggles this year but has a history of putting up points. He is a few years away but he knows what it takes to score.” Mark Seidel - NACS

 

30. Brett Howden, Tampa Bay Lightning – Center (27.3)

Comparable: Valtteri Filppula

“A fantastic U18 tournament and WHL playoffs showcased the hands and vision that Howden possesses. He’s a complete player who is excellent on face-offs. Shouldn’t be as long a wait as some other 2016 prospects” Cam Robinson – DobberProspects

“Howden played with some very talented teammates, but he wasn’t a passenger. More of his offensive upside will be shown next year when he gets more puck time. “ Zachary Devine – Hockey Prophets

 

Honorable mention to players just shy of the top 30 and their ranking:

Tyler Benson, Edmonton Oilers (27.8)

Lucas Johansen, Washington Capitals (28.3)

Will Bitten, Montreal Canadiens (28.7)

Wade Allison, Philadelphia Flyers (28.8)

Sam Steel, Anaheim Ducks (28.8)

 

 

  • Joel Demuynck

    Are these players ‘rated’ anywhere, using the prospect guide’s rating system of blue-chip, first couple rounds, etc? Just trying to see where these players fall in with the existing prospects list.

    • Dobber

      They’ll be added to my Top 200 Fantasy Prospect Rankings, out on July 10th (or possibly 11th)

      • Joel Demuynck

        Thanks Dobber, appreciate all of the work you and the team do… what I was more referring to was who would be considered a blue-chip prospect, should be drafted in first couple rounds, a middle round option, etc., as the prospects in the prospect report are rated. Cheers

  • Captain Obvious

    Are the comparables based on playing style or on points-only statistical upside? Thank you.

    • Peter Harling

      Comparable to style. Not point ceilings

  • Captain Obvious

    PS: Clayton Keller – “Will play in Calgary’s Top 6 sooner rather than later”.

    If you neither mean the Flames nor the Hitmen, you probably meant to say Coyotes 😉

    • Peter Harling

      Thanks Captain obvious, that one slipped past me. #Shame