Analysis and Predictions for the 2016 NHL Entry Draft

The 2016 NHL draft is around the corner so it’s time to put on my prediction hat and take a look at who will be selected.  What follows is a long preamble, so for those simply interested in the list just scroll down.  It’s worth noting that I am not a scout, simply someone who enjoys the draft (a part of the NHL system that lacks good comparative data; it’s also fun to make predictions).  Before we get into my list I’ll explain my methodology.

With the advent of the salary cap in the NHL (2005) it became paramount for all organisations to invest in their scouting operations and draft well. Teams could no longer simply buy their way out of trouble or plug holes with expensive free agents. That change has helped drive the cottage industry that is draft prediction.  The wide variety of sources covering the draft are not created equal and few of those who provide their opinions will reflect on their subsequent accuracy. My purpose is to collate the best sources and provide insight into who will be selected.

This is my seventh year predicting the draft (beginning with the now defunct Hockey Herald back in 2010). That year I picked 72% of the entire class.  When I talk about predicting the draft class, I don’t mean player X went in X round at X position–that kind of precision simply isn’t practical (in the years I tracked it the number was a little higher than a quarter and when you subtracted the first round it bottomed out completely).  These numbers and percentages reflect which players were selected in the draft, period.  Back to the totals: in 2011 I picked 70%; 75% in 2012 (two points up on Red Line Report); 69% in 2013 (tied with Hockey Prospect‘s); 2014 71% (again tied with HP), then hitting a high of 78% in 2015 (ahead of HP by three points).  Overall I’m batting 72%.  Here’s the average of sources used over those years (excluding 2010 when I didn’t track it):
Me: 70%, 75%, 69%, 71%, 78% (avg 72%)
HP: 47%, 72%, 69%, 71%, 75% (avg 66%)
ISS: 60%, 70%, 65%, 62%, 68% (avg 65%)
FC: 44%, 71%, 68%, 69%, 69% (avg 64%)
RLR: 44%, 74%, 67%, 64%, 72% (avg 64%)

My method is to take the sum of reliable sources and produce a number (player X is ranked 15, 24, and 32, those numbers are then averaged to create his aggregate total). This gives me a number I can use for comparison. I then engage in comparative analysis—for instance, if player X has a higher aggregate score, but player Y wins the head-to-head comparison, the latter is given the higher position (so 11, 30, 31, 38 loses to 12, 13, 16, 69, because the latter’s number is sunk by one bad score). It’s worth noting that there is a difference between trying to assess who is the best player versus who will be drafted.  My interest is in figuring out who will be taken given the available data draft guides provide–the percentages above aren’t critiques of the guides (that’s a separate proposition), instead simply showing how closely their assessments match those of NHL teams.

Determining my Sources of Data

A wide variety of media and bloggers produce draft predictions (especially for the first round), but not all are created equal. My preference is for guides covering the entire draft (as that’s my purpose here), but otherwise simply based on results. For that purpose I use the International Scouting Service (ISS), Red Line Report (RLR), Future Considerations (FC), Hockey Prospect‘s (HP), and Central Scouting (CS). I have used other sources in the past (Corey Pronman, McKeen’sThe Hockey Writers, The Hockey News, etc), but due to their limitations I no longer do so.

An important note: both ISS and CS have inherent comparative problems. Central Scouting does not create a master list—players are divided into North American and European regions, then further subdivided into skaters and goaltenders.  As such I don’t integrate CS into the aggregate number (it’s simply not possible), instead it’s simply a point of reference (it’s also worth noting NHL teams and draft guides show little interest in CS’ European assessments). ISS, on the other hand, separates only their goaltenders into a separate ranking. This separation used to have draft positions associated with them (by round), but for whatever reason ISS no longer provides that, making it impossible to include them in the aggregate score.


-Acronyms: ISS (International Scouting Service), CS (Central Scouting), RLR (Red Line Report), HP (Hockey Prospect), and FC (Future Considerations)
-For convenience I’ve identified goaltenders (G) and defenseman (D); any player listed as “undersized” means they are officially listed as 5’9 or shorter; players with an asterisk (*) are overage

First Round
1. Auston Matthews (1.0) – the consensus pick across the board
2. Patrik Laine (2.0) – picked #2 across the board
3. Jesse Puljujarvi (3.0) – as above
4. Pierre-Luc Dubois (4.5) – opinion between he and Tkachuk is split, but CS provides the tiebreaker
5. Matthew Tkachuk (4.5) – son of the former NHL star
6. Alexander Nylander (8.5) – although his aggregate is close to four other players, he beats them all head-to-head; son of the former NHLer
7. Jakob Chychrun (D) (9.25) – hurt by his HP rating, he beats Jost and Sergachev head-to-head; he’s the son of former NHLer and the highest defenseman listed
8. Tyson Jost (9.0) – it’s rare for a BCHL player to be so highly touted, but everyone has him in their top-10
9. Logan Brown (9.75) – it’s essentially a wash between he and Sergachev, but his threshold is higher giving him the edge; his father is former NHL defenseman Jeff Brown
10. Mikhail Sergachev/Sergachyov (D) (9.5) – perhaps hurt by the Russian factor, his ratings are in a very tight band
11. Olli Juolevi (D) (10.0) – HP has him higher, but on aggregate he comfortably slots here
12. Clayton Keller (11.5) – undersized; FC and HP put him in the top-ten
13. Dante Fabbro (D) (13.25) – another BCHL player
14. Jake Bean (D) (13.75) – very close between he and McLeod below
15. Michael McLeod (D) (15.25)
16. German Rubstov (18.5) – beats Bellows head-to-head, although the Russian factor could slip him further down
17. Kieffer Bellows (17.5) – son of the former NHLer
18. Luke Kunin (19.25) – beats Jones head-to-head and has a very tight range of rankings
19. Charlie McAvoy (D) (20.5) – the comparison to Jones is a bit of a toss-up, but he’s given a higher ceiling
20. Max Jones (18.75)
21. Riley Tufte (20.5)
22. Julien Gauthier (20.75)
23. Vitali Abramov (25.75) – undersized; Russian factor a consideration
24. Alex DeBrincat (26.0) – undersized
25. Brett Howden (27.0)
26. Boris Katchouk (28.75)
27. Rasmus Asplund (29.75)
28. Pascal Laberge (31.5)
29. Tage Thompson (38.25) – his number is sunk by one bad ranking; son of former NHLer Brent Thompson
30. Logan Stanley (D) (31.75)

Eleven other players are slotted in the first round, but none by more than one source (which I believe is a first since I’ve done this–there’s usually one or two players with a couple of first-round picks that fall out by the ratings).

Second Round

31. Kale Clague (D) (37.75)
32. Libor Hajek (D) (38.0)
33. Nathans Bastien (39.0)
34. Adam Mascherin (40.75) – undersized; number hurt by a single ranking
35. William Bitten (44.0) – undersized; as above (from the same source as well)
36. Dennis Cholowski (D) (39.75) – another BCHLer
37. Carl Grundstrom (41.0) – Swede beats Hart head-to-head
38. Filip Gustavsson (G) (42.66) – also beats Hart head-to-head; top-ranked goaltender
39. Carter Hart (G) (40.66)
40. Tyler Benson (44.25) – opinions are split over whether he’s a borderline first-rounder or a late second-rounder
41. Jonathan Dahlen (68.5) – his number is tanked by one rating; he’s the last player on this list with a first-round selection; son of the former NHLer
42. Lucas Johansen (D) (44.25)
43. Taylor Raddysh (44.25)
44. Samuel Girard (D) (45.5) – as an undersized defenseman this is high ranking
45. Sam Steel (48.0)
46. Ryan Lindgren (D) (50.0) – score sunk by one rating
47. Markus Niemelainen (D) (48.5) – very split opinions on him
48. Adam Fox (D) (49.0)
49. Dillon Dube (50.75) – beats Parsons head-to-head
50. Tyler Parsons (G) (50.0)
51. Janne Kuokkanen (73.25) – his number sunk by one ranking
52. Jordan Kyrou (56.5)
53. Cameron Morrison (53.5) – wildly divergent opinions on him
54. Noah Gregor (61.0) – far more consistent rankings than Moverare
55. Jacob Moverare (D) (57.25) – floated by one ranking
56. Cameron Dineen (D) (62.5) – split opinions on him
57. Evan Fitzpatrick (G) (64.66)
58. Tim Gettinger (64.75) – beats Pu and Anderson head-to-head
59. Cliff Pu (62.5)
60. Joseph (Joey) Anderson (63.5)
61. Frederic Allard (80.75) – number wrecked by one ranking

Three players with two second-round picks do not appear above.

Third Round

62. Victor Mete (D) (72.0) – undersized; his number is sunk by a single rating
63. Wade Allison (88.75) – another player whose number is sunk by one rating
64. Luke Green (D) (66.5) – the final prospect with two second-round rankings
65. Filip Hronek (D) (68.25)
66. Josh Mahura (D) (69.5) – beats Lindstrom head-to-head
67. Andrew Peeke (D) (71.0) – as above
68. Linus Lindstrom (69.33) – unlisted by one source
69. Eetu Tuulola (100.0) – his ranking is thrown off by one rating
70. Brandon Gignac (77.66) – beats Krys and Lajoie head-to-head; unlisted by one source
71. Chad Krys (D) (76.66) – not listed by one source
72. Max Lajoie (D) (76.75) – wide ranging rankings for him (second through fourth)
73. Jacob Cederholm (D) (78.75) – split opinions on him (second through fourth)
74. Joseph Woll (G) (84.33) – highest ceiling of those remaining
75. James Greenway (87.75) – his number takes a beating from one ranking
76. Artur Kayumov (91.0) – wide range of opinions; Russian factor could be in play
77. Mitchell Mattson (92.0) – split opinions on him (second through fifth), but beats Borgstrom head-to-head
78. Henrik Borgstrom* (91.5) – split opinions as well (as above)
79. Trent Frederic (84.0)
80. Sean Day (D) (84.75)
81. Jack Kopacka (92.0) – wins head-to-head against the better aggregates below
82. Vojtech Budik (D) (87.25) – beats Middleton head-to-head
83. Maxime Fortier (103.0) – score hurt by one rating
84. Keaton Middleton (D) (83.0) – not listed by one source
85. Jordy Stallard (105.75) – score sunk by one source
86. Otto Somppi (91.0) – has a higher ceiling than Kaspick
87. Tanner Kaspick (89.25)
88. Matt Filipe (92.25)
89. Connor Bunnaman (95.75)
90. Jordan Sambrook (D) (100.75) – wide range of opinion (second to fifth)
91. Dmitri Sokolov (95.25)

Six players with two third-round (or lower) selections don’t make the list (Mathias From in particular is hurt by not being listed by two sources).

Fourth Round

92. Artyom Maltsev (96.75) – rating hurt by one ranking
93. Vladimir Kuznetsov (93.75)
94. Simon Stransky (107.25) – his ranking takes a pounding from one source
95. David Bernhardt (D) (97.75) – a second-rounder according to one source
96. Benjamin Gleason (D) (98.0)
97. Mathias From (80.0) – being listed by just two sources makes him hard to slot
98. Connor Hall (D) (99.5) – a second-rounder via one source
99. Matthew Cairns (D) (100.66) – not listed by one source; OJHLer
100. William Knierim (117.5) – ranked all over the place (second to seventh)
101. Ty Ronning (114.75) – undersized; number is thrown off by one rating, but otherwise has the tightest ranking; son of the former NHLer
102. Yegor Korshkov (104.75) – one second-round nod
103. Beck Malenstyn (105.25) – one second-round nod
104. Hudson Elynuik (116.75) – score hurt by one ranking; son of the former NHLer
105. Jesper Bratt (110.5)
106. Dylan Wells (G) (104.33)
107. Michael Pezzetta (110.0) – rankings are all over the place (third to sixth)
108. Josh Anderson (120.25) – ranked everywhere (third to seventh)
109. Max Zimmer (114.0) – tight rankings
110. Tim Wahlgreen (107.33)
111. Zach Sawchenko (G) (109.66)
112. Mikhail Berdin (G) (103.0) – not listed by one source
113. Marco Miranda (103.5) – not listed by two sources
114. Lucas Carlsson* (D) (119.0) – has a higher threshold than Candella
115. Cole Candella (D) (117.75)
116. Brett Murray (128.75) – number hurt by a single ranking; CCHLer
117. David Quenneville (D) (120.25) – undersized
118. Dylan Coghlan (D) (122.0) – not ranked by one source
119. Rem Pitlick* (121.75) – undersized; son of the former NHLer
120. Nicholas Caamano (123.66) – not ranked by one source
121. Carsen Twarynski (126.5)

Four players with two-fourth round selections do not appear above.

Fifth Round

122. Nick Pastujov (134.0) – number hurt by one ranking
123. Oskar Steen (120.0) – undersized; unranked by one source
124. Aapeli Rasanen (131.5) – gets a second-round nod
125. Adam Brooks* (130.0) – has a second-round selection
126. Dmitri Alexeyev (D) (133.0) – rankings all over the place (third to seventh)
127. Tobias Eder (125.66) – similar to the above; injuries hurt his season; only player listed from the German leagues
128. Markus Nurmi (125.33) – rankings third to seventh
129. Travis Barron (124.25) – fairly tight range of predictions
130. Dylan Gambrell* (123.66) – not listed by one source
131. Evan Cormier (G) (131.33)
132. Matthew Murray (G) (129.0) – not listed by one source; AJHLer
133. Stepan Falkovsky* (D) (127.5) – not listed by two sources (ahead due to threshold)
134. Samuel Rossini (D) (117.5) – as above
135. Todd Burgess* (119.5) – as above
136. Ross Colton* (127.5) – as above (higher threshold than Koppanen)
137. Hayden Verbeek* (132.0) – as above (ibid)
138. Joona Koppanen (126.5) – as above
139. William Lockwood (137.5) – number hurt by one ranking; has two-fourth round placements
140. Brayden Burke* (148.75) – undersized; rankings all over the place, but ranked by everyone and tops out in the third-round
141. Riley Stillman (D) (149.75) – very similar to Burke above; son of the former NHLer
142. Matthew Phillips (141.0) – undersized; relatively tight range (3rd-5th), but absent from one source
143. Otto Makinen (141.0) – as above
144. Graham McPhee (135.25) – picked in all sources with a fairly tight range (4th-6th); son of former NHLer George
145. Jonathan Ang (141.75) – as above
146. Ondrej Najman (134.33) – extremely tight range (just 17 spots in this round); not picked by one source
147. Jeff de Witt (140.0) – wide range (3rd-7th); not picked by one source
148. Colby Sissons (D) (148.) – as above
149. Brandon Hagel (150.0) – as above
150. Hugo Danielsson (D) (144.33) – highest threshold of a group of three similarly ranked players
151. Jack LaFontaine (G) (145.33) – second of the aforementioned group

Nine players with two fifth-round (or higher) selections did not make the above list.

Sixth Round

152. Domenic Commisso (144.66) – last of the aforementioned group
153. Yegor Rykov (D) (146.66) – one of the last players with a 4th and 5th round ranking
154. Patrick Bajkov (157.0) – another player with 4th-5th selections (higher threshold than Neveu)
155. Jacob Neveu (142.0) – the final player from at least three sources with 4th-5th round picks
156. Griffin Luce (168.75) – while most put him as a late round pick, he has a 3rd round selection and is one of the last players placed by all sources
157. Casey Fitzgerald* (154.33) – the last player picked by three-sources slotted in the 3rd round; son of the former NHLer
158. Garrett Pilon (169.75) – a fourth-round high and appears in all sources; son of the former NHLer
159. Kyle Maksimovich (151.66) – undersized; fourth-round selection
160. Jaime Armstrong (152.33) – has a fourth-round nod; son of former AHL pugulist Bill
161. Ondrej Vala (D) (161.75) – fourth-round selection and appears in all sources
162. Vojtech Zelenak (D) (161.66) – fourth-round pick and beats Graham head-to-head
163. Michael Graham (170.33) – the last player to appear in three-sources with a fourth-round selection
164. Kasper Bjorkqvist* (144.0)
165. Alan Lyszczarczyk (163.75) – the last player to appear in all sources with two fifth-round selections
166. Jake Ryczek (D) (156.66)
167. Andrei Svetlakov* (157.66) – the last player to appear in three sources with two fifth-round selections
168. Jake Kryski (163.66)
169. Grant Jozefek (161.33) – the last player from three sources to have a 5th and 6th selection
170. Otto Koivula (168.5) – his number is skewed by one ranking
171. Kristian Reichel (180.75) – despite some underwhelming scores he appears in all sources and does get a 5th-round pick; son of the former NHLer
172. Colin Grannary (183.5) – the last player to appear in all four sources; BCHLer
173. Tanner Laczynski* (174.33) – second last player from three sources with a 5th-round pick
174. Gabriel Sylvestre (D) (169.33) – last player from three sources with a 5th
175. Joseph Raaymakers (G) (174.0)
176. Daniil Miromanov* (179.0) – among the final players from three sources
177. Filip Lestan (186.66) – as above
178. Jiri Karafiat (190.66) – the last player to appear in three sources
179. Jakob Stukel* (137.5) – a 3rd-round pick to one source
180. Filip Berglund* (D) (139.0) – as above
181. Dante Salituro* (136.0) – undersized; a fourth-rounder to one source; decent ranking in last year’s draft

This round exhausts the supply of prospects picked by all or three of my sources.

Seventh Round

182. Dawson Davidson (D) (139.5) – as above
183. Colton Point (G) (140.0) – as above; CCHLer
184. James Sanchez (140.5) – as above
185. Frederik Karlstrom (148.5) – as above
186. Tyler Steenbergen (153.0) – as above
187. Josh Dickinson (128.5) – gets a fifth-round nods where he appears; OJHLer
188. Tyler Soy* (134.0) – as above; was fairly highly ranked in the previous draft
189. Brandon Duhaime* (137.5) – as above
190. Max Gerlach (141.5) – undersized; the last player with two fifth-round nods where he appears
191. Samuel Solenksy (146.5) – undersized
192. Brandon Saigeon (149.0)
193. Austin Osmanski (D) (150.0)
194. Mathieu Sevigny (151.0)
195. Greg Printz (152.0)
196. Mitch Eliot (D) (154.0)
197. Luke Coleman (154.5)
198. Noah Carroll (D) (156.0)
199. Tarmo Reunanen (D) (161.5)
200. Yevgeni Mityakin (162.0)
201. Matthew Boucher (169.0) – undersized; son of former NHLer Philippe
202. Dean Stewart (D) (173.0) – MJHLer
203. Casey Staum (D) (173.5)
204. Olivier Galipeau* (D) (171.5) – the last player with a fifth-round selection
205. Zach Walker (155.5)
206. Cameron Clarke* (D) (166.5)
207. Brinson Pasichnuk (D) (173.5) – AJHLer
208. Gustaf Westlund (176.0)
209. Dmitri Zaitsev (D) (181.5)
210. Evan Sarthou (G) (186.5)
211. Kristians Rubins (D) (187.0) – the final player to appear in two sources

This is the first draft since I started doing this where I’ve had no players with two scores left off the list (last year there were six).  I’ve felt that scouting opinions have gradually been moving towards consensus and this is evidence of that.  There are four goaltenders who appear somewhere other than ISS (including the delightfully obscure Belgian goaltender Wouter Peeters), but given that publication’s insistence on not providing metrics for those selections I can’t use them practically (the highest appears as a fourth-rounder elsewhere).

As for individual picks left out, the highest is a late second-rounder, followed by three third-rounders.  Central Scouting’s European selections were (again) largely ignored, as 13 of the top-50 skaters/top-10 goaltenders were ignored, including Pius Suter and Veini Vehvilainen who were both ranked in last year’s draft.  Given how NHL teams like bloodlines Tony Amonte’s son Ty, Paul Coffey’s son Blake, Dale Hawerchuk’s son Ben, or Petr Klima’s son Kevin could be picked, although none are ranked by any of my sources.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)



  1. Great work . Where is Adam Fox

    • You caught a slip of the pen there–inexplicably I put *Trent* in for *Adam* (fixed now)–too much time looking at lists apparently…. Glad you enjoyed the work!

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