2016 NHL Draft provides plenty of storylines

Aaron Vickers2016 Draft Center, NCAA

From the selection of Auston Matthews first overall to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday night, to the plucking of Filip Helt by the St. Louis Blues 211th overall, the 2016 NHL Entry Draft has come and gone.

It wasn’t without some interesting notes, either.

Numbers, too.

Canada led the way with 89 players drafted, but the United States at 52 — the second-leading nation — made some interesting noise on Friday. Including Matthews, the Americans saw 12 players selected in the first round, up from seven in 2015. Matthews, who played with Zurich of Switzerland, was the first American selected first overall since Patrick Kane went to the Chicago Blackhawks in 2007.

Kane was drafted from the London Knights that year. Seven were drafted from the same club in 2016.

The run started with defenseman Olli Juolevi going fifth overall to the Vancouver Canucks, and continued with forward Matthew Tkachuk at seven to the Calgary Flames. Winger Max Jones (No. 24) went to the Anaheim Ducks to complete the first round run of London, while Tyler Parsons, at 54, picked things up on Day 2 by joining Tkachuk in Calgary. Forward Cliff Pu (Buffalo Sabres, No. 69) and defensemen Victor Mete (Motnreal Canadiens, No. 100) and Nicolas Mattinen (Toronto Maple Leafs, No. 179) rounded out a successful day for the Knights.

Parsons was the second goaltender taken at the draft behind Carter Hart of the Everett Silvertips, who was drafted 48th overall to the Philadelphia Flyers. It’s the latest a goaltender has been chosen since Shawn Simpson was picked 60th overall by the Washington Capitals in 1986. In all 18 goalies were selected — the fewest since 19 were nabbed in 2011.

NCAA players and recruits were much busier.

A record-tying 11 first round selections were part of 61 NCAA players and recruits picked over the two-day draft. All but one NHL team — the Winnipeg Jets — added a collegiate player, pending or otherwise. Boston University led all schools with six picks, including four in the first round, to tie a record for first-rounders by one team with Minnesota in 2006. North Dakota and Wisconsin each had five players taken.