FC’s Staff 2016 Mock Draft (Picks 21-30)

Special To FC2016 Draft Center, NCAA

Future Considerations has asked a few of our evaluators who have been in the rinks all season scouting 2016 eligible prospects to give their input on team need, drafting tendencies and who they think NHL teams will be looking to add to their prospect pool in this first round mock draft.




Top Need: Top-six forwards
Secondary Needs: A blue-chip goaltending prospect
Top Five In Pipeline:

  1. C Sebastian Aho
  2. G Alex Nedeljkovic
  3. D Haydn Fleury
  4. LW Phil DiGiuseppe
  5. C Nicolas Roy

Carolina selects: LW Riley Tufte, 6-5, 205, Blaine, USHS

SCOUTING REPORT: True power forward who brings a strong scoring presence. Has the ability to play a physical game, and throw his weight around. Creates time and space on special teams and a true force around the circles. He is willing to battle along the boards and open ice and has smooth hands and can move well in tight spaces. His defensive responsibility is adequate, but is not the focus of this true power forward’s game.

REASONING: Carolina looks to add yet another forward for the near future to replenish what seems to be a depleted offensive front prior to a recent trade with Chicago involving Teuvo Teravainen. Tufte will provide a gritty, yet skilled, scoring power and could very well compliment McLeod in a couple of years for the Hurricanes. A big body forward will fit in nicely with the already well sized offensive skaters of the Carolina team.

Pick and team report by: Jake VanBesien – FC USHL Evaluator 


Top Need: Defenders of every shape and size
Secondary Needs: Talent to add to the top six forwards and a goalie prospect to develop
Top Five In Pipeline:

  1. C Kyle Conner
  2. D Josh Morrissey
  3. G Conner Hellebuyck
  4. LW Brendan Lemieux
  5. C Jack Roslovic

Winnipeg selects: C Luke Kunin, 6-0, 195, Wisconsin, NCAA

SCOUTING REPORT: An offensive center who plays a mature game. Kunin uses his extraordinary vision and hunger for offense to drive the play as a possession type player. He is one of the quickest players in the draft, already possessing pro level speed after his first two to three steps. His silky hands allow him to keep up with his mind and his feet. Has the touch to work play in and out of tight space as a solo artist, but is good at monitoring situational play and can drop dime-like passes in small windows of opportunity. Has a wicked shot that is potent, especially a well-documented elite backhand. Plays a clever game defensively and is willing to compete on plays, whether it be take a hard check to get the puck out of the zone or block shots. His mind is one step ahead of the play and he loves to turn defense into offense in a hurry, sometimes getting a bad rep as a guy who takes shortcuts to make plays.

REASONING: With one big fish out of the pond and into the Jets prospect pool early in the draft (Laine), the Jets have the luxury of picking up another player who could be an eventual cog in their top 9 forward group. While defense could be heavily considered from a needs perspective, no name at this position stands out to the Jets like Kunin. The addition of Kunin gives the youngster time to develop in the NCAA and gives the Jets a silly amount of depth at the forward position.

Pick and team report by: Justin Froese – FC Western Canadian Evaluator


Top Need: Secondary scoring
Secondary Needs: Depth on the blue line and a goaltender to develop
Top Five In Pipeline:

  1. LW Lawson Crouse
  2. D Mike Matheson
  3. D Ian McCoshen
  4. C Jayce Hawryluk
  5. C Connor Brickley

FLORIDA selects: RW/C Pascal Laberge, 6-1, 165, Victoriaville, QMJHL

SCOUTING REPORT: Laberge is a smart winger with great top-end speed. His season turned around in December as he was mowed on the wing, the position he will also be able to play at the next level. Offensively he can do everything you expect from a winger. He is very fast, has great vision without the puck, soft hands – can beat defenders one-on-one and he has a great shot and can score from anywhere on the ice. He is a good playmaker and sets up his teammates with accurate passes. He is a little bit inconsistent but possesses great skill set and may be a future top-six goal scorer in NHL. He needs to hit the gym more often and add some muscle.

REASONING: Panthers are set up at center very good, but they will need some secondary scoring and add talent at the wing, especially right wing. The top talent was already taken and teams should more concentrate on their needs, Laberge was impressive playing right wing this season and should be first choice for the Panthers at this point of the draft.

Pick and team report by: Miro Simurka – FC European Evaluator


Top Need: A scoring center prospect
SECONDARY NEEDS: Depth and skill on the wings
Top Five In Pipeline:

  1. D Shea Theodore
  2. D Jacob Larsson
  3. D Brandon Montour
  4. LW Nick Ritchie
  5. C Julius Nattinen

Anaheim selects: RW/C Tage Thompson, 6-5, 185, University of Connecticut, NCAA

SCOUTING REPORT: Still growing into his size, Thompson continues to improve his skating while playing a competitive game with good smarts and a drive to create and offensively. Not necessarily a power forward as you would expect for a player who stands at 6-foot-5, Thompson plays with skill and the puck on a string as he finds space looking to pick his spots to score. The Huskies looked to Thompson for his goal scoring and ability to dominate at special teams during his freshman season in the NCAA.

REASONING: Anaheim looks to the college ranks to find their future top-nine center with potential to play up and down the wings. They add speed, size, and skill to the prospect pool that still has three more years in the NCAA to develop into a NHL caliber player.

Pick and team report by: Daniel Deschenes – FC Head Ontario Scout


Top Need: Top-end puck moving defender
Secondary Needs: A top-end goaltending prospect and top six forwards to develop
Top Five In Pipeline:

  1. D Julius Honka
  2. RW Brett Ritchie
  3. C Devin Shore
  4. RW Denis Guryanov
  5. C Jason Dickinson

Dallas selects: D Dennis Cholowski, 6-1, 175, Chilliwack, BCHL

SCOUTING REPORT: An athletic, albeit physically raw, intriguing prospect who came out of the woodwork this season and demanded scouts take notice as he improved his game by leaps and bounds. He is an elegant plus level all-directional skater and handles the puck effectively. Breaks up plays with an active stick and some dogged puck pressure. Has impressive vision, impressive reads to exploit his opponents up the middle and makes strong passes. Has the smarts and intangibles to become a difference maker at the NHL level.

REASONING: Dallas will love what the steeply developing puck moving blue liner could eventually become for the Stars and are not afraid to use a back-end of the first round draft pick on a home run swing selection like this one. It will be a few years before he would crack their daily lineup in Dallas, but the potential reward this pick offers down the line is great.

Pick and team report by: Dan Stewart– FC Scouting Director


Top Need: Top-end defensive depth
Secondary Needs: Overall system depth, particularly on the wing
Top Five In Pipeline:

  1. D Madison Bowey
  2. LW Jakub Vrana
  3. G Ilya Samsonov
  4. D Jonas Siegenthaler
  5. LW Zachary Sanford

Washington selects: D Lucas Johansen, 6-1, 175, Kelowna, WHL

SCOUTING REPORT: He’s a smart defenseman whose strength lies in his mobility and what he’s able to do with the puck. He’s coming from the WHL’s very noteworthy defenseman factory of Kelowna, where the Capitals’ top prospect Madison Bowey recently strutted his stuff, and has given scouts a lot of reasons to believe that, despite some weaknesses in all three zones and a body in dire need of more weight, he has the wherewithal to be a top-four impact defenseman at the NHL level who can QB a power play and be a mainstay on the penalty killing unit.

REASONING: Washington knows very well what it means to be picking somewhere between 21st and 27th. They’ve done it a lot since Ovechkin arrived on the scene. They’ve usually gone Russian (Kuznetzov, Samsonov) or Swedish (Gustafsson, Johansson, Burakovsky) and many might think they’d be ripe for taking puck wizard Vitali Abramov or Sweden’s safe forward Rasmus Asplund at this spot, but with this being the only pick until slot 117, Washington will be wise and add to its greatest need, especially in light of the belief that a few dandies will be hanging around at just this spot.

Pick and team report by: Chapin Landvogt – FC European Evaluator


Top Need: Top center prospect
Secondary Needs: Shutdown defensemen with size and depth at forward
Top Five In Pipeline:

  1. C Brayden Point
  2. D Slater Koekkoek
  3. D Anthony DeAngelo
  4. LW Adam Erne
  5. LW Dennis Yan

Tampa Bay selects: LW Vitalii Abramov, 5-9, 175, Gatineau, QMJHL

SCOUTING REPORT: Abramov is a dynamic, highly skilled winger who can use any of his foot speed, his hands, elusive lateral movement and a lethal in-stride release to beat opposing defenders and goalies. One of the QMJHL’s most explosive playmakers as a rookie this season, Abramov established himself as one of the 2016 class’ most gifted players with the puck on his stick. His ability to control the puck in traffic and on his backhand make him a special talent who can electrify the game with a single play. He’s light on his feet and can change directions off the rush or in the slot to beat defenders and finish plays in tight. Despite lacking size, he’s got a low center of gravity and good balance and is rarely knocked off the puck as a result. He never stops moving in the offensive zone and makes quick, high-skill plays when he receives the puck.

REASONING: Steve Yzerman and company have shown no aversion to drafting highly skilled players even if they lack size. While the Lightning lack depth at center beyond Brayden Point, Vitalii Abramov’s elite skill set lends itself well to adding to an already strong pool of wingers. He’s the most skilled player left on the board and someone who shouldn’t slip out of the first round. He’s also one of the few forwards left with top-six upside and the ability to transition into a top power play threat.

Pick and team report by: Scott Wheeler – FC Quebec Evaluator


Top Need: Slowly begin to re-stock the system with forwards and defense
Secondary Needs: Complimentary players
Top Five In Pipeline:

  1. C Ivan Barbashev
  2. D Jake Walman
  3. G Ville Husso
  4. D Vince Dunn
  5. RW Ty Rattie

Toronto selects: D Kale Clague, 6-0, 185, Brandon, WHL

SCOUTING REPORT: A puck moving blue liner who skates well and shows strong offensive instincts. He exhibits impressive vision and decision making with the puck on his stick. He can skate with it and likes to join the rush. Adding strength and working on his defensive game is where his focus should be for the future.

REASONING: Having been so close to the Stanley Cup finals, the Blues don’t need much tinkering. With Hitchcock signed for another year, and Yeo coming in after that, the Blues can afford to let their pick develop. The Blues could use a younger guy to grow with their compliment of forwards and get the puck to them. They decided to go with Clague of the Brandon Wheat Kings. He’s a good mobile skater and can contribute in the offensive zone, plus he comes from a team that knows how to win and develop its players.

Pick and team report by: Randy Stoochnoff – FC Western Canadian Evaluator


Top Need: Two-way forward (after selecting a defenseman earlier in the draft)
Secondary Needs: Secondary scoring, plus size defenseman
Top Five In Pipeline:

  1. LW Jake DeBrusk
  2. RW Zach Senyshyn
  3. D Brandon Carlo
  4. D Jeremy Lauzon
  5. C Jakob Forsbacka-Karlson

Boston selects: C Brett Howden, 6-2, 190, Moose Jaw, WHL

SCOUTING REPORT: Hard-nosed forward who competes hard and is defensively responsible. Will hope to be able to fill the void left by David Krejci in the coming years, or bolster the third line while killing penalties. Gives them depth at a position that all 30 teams in the league desire.

REASONING: This was a tossup between Howden and Wade Allison (Tri-City). Both forwards bring the physicality that the Bruins like in their lineup, and both can score. I leaned towards the center; that has battled through the WHL and already has the frame needed to play throughout an NHL lineup. The other option here, which would have be taken, was Logan Stanley. But I can’t see the Bruins using both first rounder’s on defensemen. But a 6-foot-7 defenseman would have made sense with this pick otherwise.

Pick and team report by: John Healy – FC New England Evaluator


Top Need: Top-nine Center
Top Five In Pipeline:

  1. D Shea Theodore
  2. D Jacob Larsson
  3. D Brandon Montour
  4. LW Nick Ritchie
  5. C Julius Nattinen

Anaheim selects: C Will Bitten, 5-10, 165, Flint, OHL

SCOUTING REPORT: Bitten is a versatile forward that can not only play in all situations but as a winger in addition to his role as a top-line center. He is an undersized forward in the eyes of some observers, and while he may not fit the big and tough mold of the Western Conference, he is a competitive and determined forward that plays with speed and skill. High hockey IQ is at the heart of his skill set and in addition to his on-ice abilities, Bitten showed a thick skin in overcoming turmoil this season in Flint.

REASONING: Anaheim adds a versatile that can slide over to the wing if needed, providing depth in a middle 6 role down the road. The Ducks use the pick acquired from the Maple Leafs for Frederik Andersen to draft a player that can provide skill and energy down the middle for years to come.

Pick and team report by: Daniel Deschenes – FC Head Ontario Scout