FC releases February ranking for 2016 NHL Draft

Press Release2016 Draft Center, Draft Rankings

Internal rankings discussion among Future Considerations scouts is providing plenty of heated discussion.

It’s also producing more changes on the draft board as prospects eligible for the 2016 NHL Draft continually leave their mark, prompting progression towards sorting out which belongs where.

But for the time being, there’s no change up top.

At the top of Future Considerations’ February ranking, ZSC Lions forward Auston Matthews remains as the consensus top pick for the draft.

However, the next two picks have been where the debate has been.

The Puljujarvi vs. Laine debate is where we as a group have been split almost evenly down the middle, but with a fraction more on the Jesse Puljujarvi side of the ledger. That is, until this month, where a few European scouts switched their tune after some recent viewings showcasing the dominance that Patrik Laine possesses.

“I believe that Laine should be ahead of Puljujarvi,” Swiss based evaluator Dennis Schellenberg said. “In my opinion, Laine is the only player who could challenge Matthews’ top spot. His shot is very close to Matthews’ elite shot, and Laine’s skating has improved a lot this season, too.”

The change doesn’t suggest a distinct separation between Laine and Puljujarvi, though. The margin between the two remains razor thin.

There’s other movement in the top-10, too.

Those in Quebec have lobbied for a name in particular to rise — Cape Breton Screaming Eagles forward Pierre-Luc Dubois.

Dubois has always come highly regarded, but has really turned it up after being cut from the Team Canada at the World Junior Evaluation camp in December.

“The 6-foot-3 center has begun to solidify himself as the best 2016 NHL Draft prospect in the QMJHL,” Future Considerations’ Scott Wheeler said. “Dubois’ versatility and ability to excel as a passer and a shooter make him one of the more exciting prospects in the draft class. He’s generating a lot of shots without sacrificing his game as a playmaker. There’s lots to like.”

1Auston MatthewsZSCNLAC6'2"195
2Patrik LaineTapparaLiigaRW6'4"205
3Jesse PuljujarviKarpatLiigaRW6'4"195
4Jakob ChychrunSarniaOHLD6'2"215
5Matthew TkachukLondonOHLLW6'1"195
6Alexander NylanderMississaugaOHLRW6'1"180
7Clayton KellerNTDP U18USHLC5'10"170
8Pierre-Luc DuboisCape BretonQMJHLLW6'3"200
9Julien GauthierVal-d'OrQMJHLRW6'4"225
10Mikhail SergachyovWindsorOHLD6'3"205
11Michael McLeodMississaugaOHLC6'2"190
12Olli JuoleviLondonOHLD6'2"180
13Tyson JostPentictonBCHLC5'11"190
14Dante FabbroPentictonBCHLD6'0"190
15Kieffer BellowsNTDP U18USHLC6'0"195
16Charlie McAvoyBoston UNCAAD6'0"210
17Luke KuninU of WisconsinNCAAC6'0"195
18Jake BeanCalgaryWHLD6'0"175
19German Rubtsov Russia U18MHLC6'2"175
20Logan BrownWindsorOHLC6'6"225
21Max JonesLondonOHLLW6'3"205
22Vitali AbramovGatineauQMJHLLW5'9"170
23Samuel GirardShawiniganQMJHLD5'10"160
24Tyler BensonVancouverWHLLW6'0"205
25Riley Tufte Blaine HSUSHSLW6'5"205
26Rasmus Asplund Färjestad BKSHLC5'11"175
27Alex DeBrincatErieOHLRW5'7"160
28Carl GrundstromMODOSHLLW6'0"195
29Chad KrysNTDP U18USHLD5'11"185
30Libor Hájek SaskatoonWHLD6'2"185
31Nathan Bastian MississaugaOHLRW6'4"205
32Pascal Laberge VictoriavilleQMJHLC6'1"165
33Brett Howden Moose JawWHLC6'2"195
34Kale ClagueBrandonWHLD6'0"175
35William Bitten FlintOHLC5'10"170
36Jordan Kyrou SarniaOHLC6'0"180
37Carter Hart EverettWHLG6'1"175
38William Knierim DubuqueUSHLRW6'3"205
39Logan Stanley WindsorOHLD6'7"220
40Tage Thompson U of ConnecticutNCAARW6'5"185
41Tim Gettinger Sault Ste. MarieOHLLW6'5"205
42Sam SteelReginaWHLC5'11"175
43Taylor Raddysh ErieOHLRW6'2"205
44Boris Katchouk Sault Ste. MarieOHLLW6'1"180
45Maxime Fortier Halifax QMJHLRW5'10"175
46Dillon DubeKelownaWHLC5'10"180
47Adam Mascherin KitchenerOHLC5'9"205
48Cam Dineen North BayOHLD5'11"185
49Frédéric Allard ChicoutimiQMJHLD6'0"175
50Sean Day MississaugaOHLD6'2"225
51Lucas Johansen KelownaWHLD6'1"175
52Matt Filipe Cedar RapidsUSHLC6'2"200
53Jonathan Dahlén Timrå IKAllsvenskanC5'11"175
54Joey AndersonNTDP U18USHLRW5'11"190
55Ryan Lindgren NTDP U18USHLD5'11"200
56Jesper Bratt AIKAllsvenskanLW5'10"170
57Adam Fox NTDP U18USHLD5'10"185
58Luke Green Saint JohnQMJHLD6'0"190
59Victor Mete LondonOHLD5'9"175
60Otto Somppi Halifax QMJHLC6'1"180
61Dennis CholowskiChilliwack BCHLD6'1"170
62Josh Mahura Red Deer WHLD6'0"180
63Michael O'LearyDubuqueUSHLRW6'2"195
64Markus Niemeläinen Saginaw OHLD6'5"190
65Noah Gregor Moose Jaw WHLC5'11"180
66Jack Kopacka Sault Ste. MarieOHLLW6'2"190
67Zach Sawchenko Moose Jaw WHLG6'0"180
68Jacob Moverare HV71 J20SuperElitD6'2"200
69Evan FitzpatrickSherbrooke QMJHLG6'3"220
70Janne Kuokkanen Kärpät U20Jr. A SM-liigaC6'1"175
71Connor BunnamanKitchener OHLC6'2"205
72Vladimir Kuznetsov Acadie-Bathurst QMJHLLW6'2"210
73Max Lajoie Swift Current WHLD6'1"185
74Dmitri SokolovSudbury OHLLW6'0"220
75Vladislav Sukhachyov ChelyabinskMHLG5'11"190
76Cameron Morrison Youngstown USHLC6'2"205
77Tim WahlgrenModo J20SuperElitC6'0"180
78Otto Makinen Tappara U20Jr. A SM-liigaF6'1"180
79Tyler ParsonsLondon OHLG6'1"185
80David BernhardtDjurgarden J20SuperElitD6'3"190
81Andrew Peeke Green Bay USHLD6'3"210
82Jacob Cederholm HV71 J20SuperElitD6'3"185
83Linus WeissbachFrolunda J20SuperElitLW5'9"155
84Mikhail BerdinRussia U18MHLG6'2"165
85Benjamin GleasonHamilton OHLD6'0"175
86Brandon GignacShawinigan QMJHLC5'11"175
87Dylan WellsPeterborough OHLG6'2"185
88Matt CairnsGeorgetown OJHLD6'2"190
89Eetu Tuulola HPKLiigaRW6'2"225
90Evan Cormier Saginaw OHLG6'3"200
91Aapeli RasanenTappara Jr.Jr. A SM-liigaC6'0"195
92Jordan StallardCalgary WHLC6'2"190
93Egor KorshkovYaroslavlKHLRW6'4"185
94Henrik BorgstromHIFK Jr.Jr. A SM-liigaC6'3"175
95Filip Gustavsson Luleå HF J20SuperElitG6'2"185
96Trent Frederic NTDP U18USHLC6'2"205
97Linus Lindström Skellefteå AIK J20SuperElitC5'11"165
98Max ZimmerChicago USHLLW5'11"185
99Ty RonningVancouver WHLRW5'9"165
100Oskar SteenFärjestad BK J20SuperElitC5'9"185


Halifax forward Maxime Fortier has also impressed with his constantly dangerous offensive game for a thinned out Mooseheads roster.

“He’s n the biggest by size, but one of the biggest by heart,” evaluator Simon Rouillard said. “Fortier really starts to stand out at the Super Series, with his grit, his speed and his ability to change the momentum of a game. Fortier is now the cornerstone of the Mooseheads’ offense, with the departure of Timo Meier. Underestimated because of his small frame, Fortier has to prove he can play with anybody else at the next level.”

One guy specifically has made a big impact to the point of him moving up our draft board considerably in Ontario. Hamilton defenseman Ben Gleason has been impressive since an early season trade from London, but his game has continually impressed with each of our views.

“Gleason has really taken off,” noted Ontario head scout Daniel Deschenes. “He has been standing out and leading the charge for a young Bulldogs team over the last month and has really impressed me. He has been chipping in offensively, registering nine assists in 13 games and has been peppering the net with shots form the backend and off the rush. Not afraid to drive the play and use his speed to his advantage. Gleason is someone I’ve moved up my rankings the last few weeks thanks to his exciting play with the puck, smooth and mobile skating, and great vision on the breakout.”

Out West, there have been two guys of note, one moving up and another falling down the draft board. Forward Jordy Stallard of Calgary has caught the attention of our evaluators with his improved play all season for the Hitmen.

“Stallard has continually improved this year and has shown an offensive dimension that I didn’t know he had,” Western head scout Zenon Herasymiuk said. “He doesn’t light up the highlight reel with dazzling plays, but he is smart off the puck and can use his length and mobility to attack the net and weave through traffic while maintaining possession. He plays a versatile game, has projectable size, can play center and wing, and he doesn’t take a lot of short cuts. Despite being one of the older players available, he has shown to be a bit of a late bloomer who just scratching the surface of his ultimate upside.”

On the flip side Simon Stransky, an offensively gifted winger with Prince Albert, has been pilling up points but has left us continually wanting more after most viewings.

“If he had the drive to match his offensive skill he would be right in the mix with the top guys in the WHL,” scout Justin Froese said. “Stransky disappears when he faces adversity more often than not and I simply don’t think his smarts and flash can cover up his waning impact when times are tough. Not a lover of his skating, and find him soft. He would be mistake to take higher unless he figures out some things first.”

There’s some growth south of the border, too. Muskegon center Rem Pitlick has impressed Future Considerations’ Jake VanBesien during recent play.

“Pitlick has taken his sophomore year in the USHL by the horns,” VanBesien said. “He is a pure playmaking forward that has greatly matured over the past year, is much bigger physically, and moves around the ice with more speed and power. Being on the statistically worst team at this point of the season and still managing to lead the entire league in scoring speaks for itself. In my last viewing of him, he was exceptionally hard to contain in the offensive zone, often weaving in and out of defenders with ease. I believe that with the season that Pitlick is having this year, he is definitely making a case for himself.”

There’s a shuffle in Europe, too.

Our Mikael Hedberg has been continually impressed with Farjestad center Oskar Steen as a guy who might surprise people in a few years’ time.

“Steen has had a good season in Superelit so far, and recently got to start playing games with the SHL-team,” Hedberg said. “After a slow start, Steen has been very good when he was put on a line with Joel Eriksson-Ek and fellow 2016 draft-prospect Rasmus Asplund. He has been playing well, despite his lack of size.”