I’ve already gone through the top forwards in the draft. You can see them here.
Barrett’s 2016 Positional NHL Draft Rankings: Defencemen
Cerebral. The one word I would use to describe Olli Juolevi. The Finnish defender may have played for a powerhouse, but he’s a major reason they were one. Equally fluid on his skates as he is with his stick, his value increases because he is exactly the type of defenseman that has become extremely coveted lately, and the fact that I am certain he can survive as an 18-year-old in the NHL cements him atop the D board. That latter statement isn’t something to be taken lightly either.
Undoubtedly the most scrutinized skater in the draft, Jakob Cychrun has dealt with a lot of pressure since entering the OHL as a 16-year-old. While many want to label him the ultimate boom-or-bust draft eligible skater of 2016, the fact that his “bust” could still be good enough to contribute as a bottom-pairing type in the league completely whips that sentiment out for me. Reaching his full potential as a true number one D-man who can dominate both ends of the rink would be ideal, but I don’t think there is a doubt that he can at least play in the NHL.
Another player people are heavily torn on, Mikhail Sergachev has the potential be all that you’re looking for at the position. The former forward made a smooth transition to the blueline four years ago and never looked back. Add his size and fine skills to his intense competitive nature and you have yourselves one heck of a playmaker from the backend. Whether or not the Russian’s game translates into immediate NHL impact, there is no doubting his tool box.
I think a lot of people feel as if Fabbro’s potential is capped for some reason. Maybe it’s a size thing, and they have the one inch taller Bean ranked ahead of him. But at the moment, Fabbro’s defensive game is better than Bean’s. Highlighted by a very active stick and an intense focus on detail, Fabbro is adept at forcing turnovers and countering the attack. He has a solid slapper, and quick release from the point as well as the poise and vision to be an above-average point producer.
The undrafted Hitman is one of the more intriguing prospects of the 2016 draft due to his late-bloomer status and quick rise to the top. The 6’1 defenseman has fantastic vision, and excellent passing skills that could make him an asset at the next level regardless of the rest of his game. Not to say that he is terrible defensively, but he definitely needs to improve in that area if he ever wants to be a top-pairing defenseman.
Already mature enough to play in the NCAA, Charles McAvoy is a terrific skater who uses that talent to rush up and down the ice with ease. He is evasive to the forecheck, and excellent at finding teammates in the open lane. He packs a punch behind his shot, and is dangerous inside the blueline. An outstanding freshman season surprised everybody, and now there is no looking back for the BU product.
Main Photo: ST CATHARINES, ON – FEBRUARY 04: Olli Juolevi #4 of the London Knights skates with the puck during an OHL game against the Niagara IceDogs at the Meridian Centre on February 6, 2016 in St Catharines, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)