Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2015 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Sports is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! For a Complete Listing of all our 2016 Draft Articles Click here.
For those who haven’t read the LWOS mock before here are the rules.
1) No trades except for those that have already been made by NHL teams.
2) A two-round Mock draft will be done in four parts. The first two parts (ie the first round) will be done today. The next two parts (ie the second round) will be done tomorrow.
3) Clicking the Player’s name will bring you to a full scouting report.
4) For Picks 27-30, we will assume that the team with home ice advantage will win each of the three series. Mocks will be updated as each series end, if that changes the draft order.
So with that out of the way, I present.
2016 NHL Mock Draft: Part 2 (Picks 16-30)
16.) Detroit Red Wings: Dante Fabbro, Defence, Penticton Vees
The Red Wings have always been about taking the best player available, and never been afraid to pick a player coming from a non-traditional league. They see Fabbro, out of the BCHL, as this year’s best player available. The Wings aren’t afraid to be patient with the talented puck moving defenceman, who will be headed to Boston University in the fall. Fabbro outshone other, more highly touted defencemen when playing for Team Canada at this spring’s Under 18s.
17.) Nashville Predators: Luke Kunin, Centre/Right Wing, Wisconsin Badgers
The Predators farm system has plenty of depth on the blue line, and their NHL team is full of youngish, talented blue liners. They could use an addition of talent in their top six though, especially at the centre position. Luke Kunin, had an excellent freshman season with the Wisconsin Badgers, and has the versatility to play in the middle of the ice and on the wing.
18.) Philadelphia Flyers: Max Jones, Left Wing, London Knights
The Philadelphia Flyers have the best group of defensive prospects in hockey. Shayne Gostisbehere is making an impact at the NHL level, while Ivan Provorov and Samuel Morin aren’t far away. They address their forward position, taking Max Jones of the London Knights. Jones can score goals, with an excellent shot and the ability to play a power forward style of game. Once developed he will fit in well with the Flyers core.
19.) New York Islanders: Julien Gauthier, Right Wing, Val d’or Foreurs
The Islanders have been searching for a winger to play on John Tavares’ wing for a long time. They take Julien Gauthier, a power winger who can score goals and plays an excellent two way game. If developed properly, he will soon be standing in front of the net, ready to finish passes from the Isles franchise player.
20.) Arizona Coyotes (from New York Rangers): Libor Hajek, Defence, Saskatoon Blades
Previous Pick: Alexander Nylander
With a prospect pool that includes Dylan Strome and Christian Dvorak; as well as a team that includes Max Domi and Anthony Duclair, the Coyotes are well stocked at forward. Earlier in our mock draft, we had them adding Alexander Nylander. Now with a pick acquired from the Rangers for Keith Yandle, they look at adding defensive depth, grabbing Hajek. Best known as a defensive defenceman, Hajek has good skating ability, and adds just a touch of offence to complete the package.
21.) Carolina Hurricanes (from Los Angeles Kings): Kieffer Bellows, Left Wing, US NTDP
Previous Pick: Jake Bean
The Hurricanes come to the table with their second pick of the first round and take US NTDP product Kieffer Bellows. After adding an offensive blueliner in Jake Bean, they go for some pure goal scoring potential up front. The son of Brian Bellows, Kieffer shows many of the same sniping traits as his father, but adds a little more grit and physical play. He could be a fan favorite for years to come in Carolina.
22.) Winnipeg Jets (from Chicago Blackhawks): German Rubtsov, Centre, Russia NTDP
Previous Pick: Patrik Laine
The Jets have one of the top prospect systems in hockey. They added a supremely skilled sniper in Patrik Laine with the second pick of our mock draft. Here they use the pick acquired for Andrew Ladd to snag Rubtsov. The Russian is a talented two-way centre, who slips a bit due to getting caught up as a member of the Russian U18 squad that went through the recent meldonium scandal. He would have gone higher if not for that question, and of course the KHL question marks. The Jets though can afford to be patient if he spends a year or two more in Russia.
23.) Florida Panthers: Logan Stanley, Defence, Windsor Spitfires
The Panthers proved to be an up and coming team this past season. Led by Alex Barkov, Nick Bjurstad, Jonathan Huberdeau, Vincent Trocheck, Rielly Smith, and talented prospects including last year’s first rounder Lawson Crouse. On defence, they have a franchise cornerstone in Aaron Ekblad, and talented players in Mike McKenzie and Ian McCoshen. Crouse was adding size to the forward group, this pick adds Logan Stanley and his size and physical play to the back end.
24.) Anaheim Ducks: Riley Tufte, Left Wing, Fargo Force
The Ducks suffered a disappointing playoff loss as they just could not break down the Nashville defence in game seven. Looking forward they have an impressive group of young defencemen, and so they grab a huge forward who can help the team as their forward group starts to get a little bit older. Tufte needs some time to fill out his frame, but he has excellent puck protection and reach, along with a pretty good shot.
25.) Dallas Stars: Lucas Johansen, Defence, Kelowna Rockets
The Stars have a relatively young forward core, and scored at will this season. Their achilles heel continues to be at the back end, and so they draft a young, mobile, two-way defender from the defence factory in Kelowna. Johanssen pairs the type of puck moving ability that teams love in the modern NHL, with strong defensive play and positioning.
26.) Washington Capitals: Kale Clague, Defence, Brandon Wheat Kings
Similar to the Stars, the Capitals can score plenty of goals, and do so with a number of key forwards being relatively young. They do have Madison Bowey in the pipeline on defence, but could use another top prospect at the position with players like Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen not getting any younger. They snag Kale Clague, who plays big minutes for the WHL Champion Wheat Kings.
27.) Tampa Bay Lightning: Rasmus Asplund, Centre, Farjestads BK
The Lightning go for the best player available and take the Swedish centre with versatility and a variety of offensive tools. Asplud’s stick handling and good balance allows him to create plays off the cycle game. He has a good variety of shots, showing a quick release, and heavy shot with his wrist shot and snap shot, as well as good accuracy on his one-timer.
28.) St. Louis Blues: Tage Thompson, Right Wing/Centre, Connecticut Huskies
The Blues look to add size to their forward group, and get it with the 6’5″ tall Tage Thompson. The Blues play a heavy game and with his ability to get in on the forecheck and punish opposing defencemen, Thompson will fit right in with St. Louis. He’ll get some time to fill out his frame in the NCAA before being ready for the big time.
29.) Boston Bruins (from San Jose Sharks): Pascal Laberge, Centre/Right Wing, Victoriaville Tigres
Previous Pick: Charlie McAvoy
The Bruins addressed defence with their first pick, and add to the forward group with this pick acquired when they flipped Martin Jones to the San Jose Sharks. Laberge fits into the Boston style, he loves to get in quickly on the forecheck. He also drives the net hard, both with and without the puck.
30.) Toronto Maple Leafs (from Pittsburgh Penguins): Carter Hart, Goaltender, Everett Silvertips
Previous Pick: Auston Matthews
Any team being built by Lou Lamoriello knows the importance of quality goaltending. After having Martin Brodeur in between the pipes for years, he made the bold move of trading a top 10 pick for Cory Schneider. Given that, the Leafs use one of their plethora of picks to take the best goaltender in this draft class. Carter Hart will need some development time, but could become the Leafs franchise goaltender.
We will have the second round of our mock draft closer to draft day. For now though its back to scouting reports, check back tomorrow to see who is next on our list.