The NHL is currently in the think of the playoff race where teams are trying to outwork each other to win the Stanley Cup. But the teams that aren’t in the race have their eyes firmly set on the upcoming NHL draft in which the best prospects on earth will find out where they will play. Here are my top 5 players in the 2016 NHL Draft.
1. Matthew Tkachuk
This guy is among the most intense and high energy players of this draft. This is no surprise as his father was NHLer Keith Tkachuk who was an edgy and high energy player with a knack for scoring. He hustles at both ends of the ice and is a complete player who isn’t afraid to back down and will become acquainted with goalies were early in his career. He is just a grimy player that gets the job done, and coaches love players like that
2. Jacob Chychrun
Chychrun is largely believed to be the best defenseman available in the 2016 NHL draft. He is extremely talented, with great feet and is a calm, cool and collected prospect. Blessed with NHL size already (6’2, 194 lbs) and physicality to go along with his talent, he is as NHL ready as anyone in the draft. If he is able to work on is positioning a little once he gets to the NHL, he could be a superstar.
3. Jesse Puljujarvi
This forward is among the best European prospects in the draft and has been playing in the Finnish elite league since he was only 16. He possesses and extremely hard shot and is one of the most physical forwards in the draft who is not afraid to use his nearly 6’3 frame to out-muscle opponents. While his offensive talents may not be as polished as some of the other forwards in this article, his two way play and physicality make him a player any coach or GM would love to have.
4. Patrik Laine
Like Puljiujarvi before him, Laine is a talented European forward with exceptional size and was a key part in helping Finland with the World Junior Championship. In addition to his size, he is also extremely skilled as a player and capable of scoring with his quick release. He also possesses a fantastic ability to control his 6’4 frame and uses the reach very well. Big, physical players with his type of skills a very very rare.
5. Auston Matthews
Now we finally have come to Auston Matthews, who is the consensus number one pick by basically everybody. This guy is the total package and has been dominating players older than him for quite some time. His unique skillset complete with speed, size and scoring prowess make him an easy choice for the number one pick. While he may not be a generational talent like a Crosby or an Ovechkin, he is still extremely impressive and will only continue to get better with age. I would be shocked if he is not the first player taken off the board at the 2016 NHL Draft.