TLN Consolidated 2016 Draft Rankings: March 2, 2016

Now that the trade deadline is behind us the next major days on the Leafs calendar all seem to be somewhat draft related. The lottery will obviously be an important day, and it feels like the next month and a half will be spent fretting over the idea of the Leafs falling outside the top three. 

There has been some good news on the draft front, besides the fact that the Leafs being very much the owners of the coveted 30th in the league position. The Penguins seem to have positioned themselves to be a very strong possibility for the playoffs, and it would be shocking to see them on the outside. 

Further to that, they haven’t looked that good that it’s not incredibly unlikely that the Leafs could have the best possible pick from the Penguins and pick in the 15th overall spot. What a wonderful dream. What a time to be a Leafs fan.

The Consolidated Ranking

With the trade deadline behind us, the Consolidated Draft Rankings are going to become much more of a regular thing on TLN. In fact it was just over a week ago that we ran the last rankings, but with new rankings from Draftbuzz Hockey, HockeyProspect.com and ISS Hockey, it seemed like a good time for a quick refresher, especially considering the significant changes they’ve all made in their rankings.

These outlets along with Future Considerations, McKeens, TSN-Bob McKenzie, TSN-Craig Button, Sportsnet-Damien Cox, and ESPN-Corey Pronman make up the list of rankings used. 

march2rankings

The updated rankings are still heavily influenced by the CHL Top Prospects Game. Two of the three outlets are providing their first prospect lists since the game and as a result we’re still seeing some significant appreciation for Pascal Laberge and a growing love of Pierre-Luc Dubois.

consolidatedtrends

My favourite thing about the rankings may be the high/low rankings, which makes it look like there are seven different options to go in the four spot, and after that unanimous first round players will be exhausted by pick 20. This is a wonderfully wide open draft which seems to encourage the idea of trading up or at least accumulating as many picks in the first two rounds as possible.

hockeyprospectrankings

Laberge climbs into the Top 30 for the first time on the HockeyProspect.com list, and Dubois moves up two spots into the Top 5 overall. Dubois’ climb is even more significant since we see a slide for Jakob Chychrun who is still the top ranked defenseman in the Consolidated list, but he falls being the 3rd listed defenceman here and this is also the closest Chychrun has been to falling out of the Top 10 on any list. 

A couple of other trends that we’ve seen across the new rankings are present here. People are falling in love with Logan Brown again, and he’s making significant jumps, and people are falling out of love with Alex DeBrincat, who’s hot start to the season hasn’t been sustained.

draftbuzzrankings

The Draftbuzz rankings are even more interesting when you consider them alongside the HockeyProspect rankings. Draftbuzz increased their position on Luke Kunin by seven spots, while HP dropped him 4. Basically, he’s in the exact same position in the consolidated list, but with a lot less consensus on where he should go in the draft. 

Draftbuzz is also rather high on Logan Brown again, and like HP, sees Dubois is the fourth best player available in the draft now. They did make a much more aggressive introduction of Pascal Laberge to their list, placing him 19th after not having him in the Top 30 the month before. 

Besides that, the significant drops to Max Jones and Julien Gauthier are worth noting. While this hasn’t had a huge impact on their consolidated ranking, it’s becoming more common to see Max Jones in the 20-30 range. 

The fact that Julien Gauthier is finding his way to around where the Penguins pick may fall should be the stuff of dreams for Leafs fans.

issrankings

The ISS Rankings have the same theme of Brown, Dubois, and Laberge appreciation, although on a smaller scale. There’s also the same theme of dropping Chychrun from the top five, having someone new sneak into the four spot. Instead of going with Dubois like the other services did, ISS opted for Alex Nylander, which only adds fuel to the fire about having a brothers act in Toronto.

Closer Look from Tom Hunter

Potential First Rounder- William Bitten – Forward for the Flint Firebirds

Playing in Flint hasn’t been easy for Will Bitten this season; his coach was fired twice, he and his teammates led a boycott against their owner and oh yeah, the entire city is getting lead poisoning from tainted drinking water. After having his draft season nearly completely derailed multiple times, Bitten still sits as a high second round prospect with a very good possibility of sneaking into the first. The young centerman has averaged a point per game playing on a terrible Firebirds team is just waiting for this season to be over. Born in July, Bitten falls into the increasingly popular theory about later birth-dates being better draft picks because they are impressing at a younger age and have further room to grow post-draft. Bitten is a great skater with great speed an allusiveness. He has the puck skills to carry the puck effectively and create scoring chances for himself as well as his wingers. He’s a smart player may be getting undervalued because of how bad the Flint team is around him. With 5 points in 5 games for Canada last summer, Bitten could use the U-18 tournament in April to show what he can do with and against the best of his peers. Bitten has the kind of skill set that may allow him to shine during the tournament and I would be surprised if he wow’d a few scouts to solidify himself as a 1st round pick.

Late First Opinion- Alex DeBrincat- Forward for the Erie Otters

Alex DeBrincat started the season on fire. Hoping to prove that he wasn’t just a byproduct of Connor McDavid, DeBrincat put up obscene goal totals through the first few months of the OHL season. Many who saw the updates on Twitter and checked into his HockeyDB page weekly wondered why he wasn’t getting the respect in the draft rankings.  “It’s another example of the size-bias among scouts” was the common refrain. The fact is DeBrincat was never as good a prospect as his goal total suggested and he should not have been thought of close to the top-10. After an underwhelming performance at the World Juniors, DeBrincat had a bad January and just didn’t look like the same player we saw before Christmas. He seems like the kind of player that when things aren’t going his way and his confidence dips, it’s hard for him to snap out of it. There is no doubt that DeBrincat has very good scoring ability. He is a high-volume shooter (currently sits 3rd in the OHL in SH/Game) that can find open space and put himself in a position to take advantage of scoring opportunities. He has a great nose for the net but his puck skills leave much to be desired and he won’t often create offense for his linemates. He doesn’t play like the typical small-winger we’re used to seeing. He doesn’t have the crazy speed an allusiveness of a guy like Johnny Gaudreau or Jiri Hudler. He’ll never be a top line offensive cornerstone but DeBrincat may be the perfect pick for a good team selecting late in the first who can plug him into the lineup in a few years as a secondary offensive option.

Leafs Perspective

In this consolidated ranking there were almost 50 different players that received consideration as a potential first round pick. Players like Tobias Eder might be long shots to become that, but certainly become interesting ideas for a team like the Leafs that presently would have 5 of the first 61 picks. 

  • Douglas

    Sorry to go off topic a bit but I was thinking about next years Marlies,so if the player needs to be 20 by December 31st of that year, does that mean that players like Dermott,Timashov,Derosher and Nielson can be there?

    • Gary Empey

      The agreement in place between the NHL and the CHL.—- Players drafted and playing for CHL teams are ineligible to play in the professional minor leagues (AHL, ECHL) until they are 20 years old (by December 31st of that year) or have completed four years in major juniors.

      European players further complicate The Agreement. If European players are drafted in the CHL draft before they’re drafted by an NHL club, this rule applies to them. However, if they’re drafted as a member of a European squad, and choose post-NHL-draft to play for a CHL team, they can, in fact, report to the NHL team’s minor squads before the age limit kicks in.

      Travis Dermott – Born Dec 22 1996 — 19 yrs. ago

      Dmytro Timashov = Born Oct 1 1996 — 19 yrs. ago

      Stephen Desrocher – Born Jan 26 1996 -20 yrs. ago

      Andrew Nielsen – Born Nov 13 1996 – 19 yrs. ago

      All these players will be 20 this year.

      Added on:—As for Mitch Marner – Born May 5 1997 – 18 yrs. ago, he is not eligible to play for the Marlies next season, as he will only be 19.

      • Gary Empey

        The problem with bringing all these players up to the Marlies is that their contracts will count against the 50 contract limit. If they stay in junior for an overage year I don’t think they do count. Am I wrong on this?

      • Gary Empey

        This excites me! Thinking of the Marlies filling some of the gaps left by Nylander, Shoshnikov, Leipsic and one of Loov/Percy as they will all likely make the big club, and maybe even Kapanen…. With the above mentioned players is pretty exciting both from a Marlies perspective as well as what that means for the 2-3 years following next.

  • Douglas

    The problem I see with Tkachuk is the insane number of second assists (41) he’s getting, likely from playing on the same line as Marner and Dvorak. If you look at only primary points (goals and 1st assists) he plummets down the rankings and falls behind Pierre luc Dubois, way behind debrincat but still ahead of Nylander. In fact he has the same number of primary points as Bracco which makes sense since they had virtually the same number of points last year in the usndp.

    If the leafs pick 4th or 5th (as is most likely) and it’s a choice between Dubois and Tkachuk I think the leafs should take Dubois. He’s bigger, younger by 6 months, scores more goals (even adjusted for the Q), plays with weaker linemates, and he’s a center.

    Any way you look at it though we won’t be getting a prospect as good as Marner this year because there ain’t one! Matthews’ NHLe is 5 points less than Marner’s

    • Benjamin

      Agreed.

      Pretty sure Marner and Dvorak (and Matthews at the WJC) are dragging Tkachuk’s ranking a little too high. He probably belongs in the top 10, but I think he’d be a mistake in the top 5.

      Worst case (and Leafiest) scenario, where we finish last and pick 4th: hoping for one of Nylander/Chychrun/Dubois.

      Nylander and Dubois are carrying their respective teams at 17yo and Chychrun looks to be the best D available (Juolevi’s tires got a little too pumped at the WJC). Very happy with any of those guys.

  • CMpuck

    Tkachuk also gets a considerable bump for his last name and a bump with Hunter for playing in London. He’s the only player I’d be disappointed with landed out of the top 8.

    We need a blueliner and/or center, the Finns get a pass because their clearly the BPA and Nylander gets a pass because it’d be cool to have 2016’s answer to the Sedins with the Nylanders.

    Fear that we tank to 30th, lose the lotteries and pick between Chychrun, Juolevi, Nylander and Tkachuk, because my gut says Hunter goes to his favorite well again.

    • Gary Empey

      I am not sure why you would criticize Hunter’s ability to pick draft prospects. Here is a list of the nine players we picked last year. It looks to me that most, if not all of them have excelled and become A prospects. I think the Marlies will have trouble finding space for all the prospects we now have. I noticed he didn’t choose BPA.

      Mitchell Marner – Travis Dermott – Jeremy Bracco – Andrew Nielsen – Martins Dzierkals – Jesper Lindgren – Dmytro Timashov – Stephen Desrocher – Nikita Korostelev

      If you have concerns about the Leafs drafting Tkachuk, I wouldn’t worry. He will definitely be a good top line forward in the NHL. I agree with you that we must improve the defense and center positions. I am guessing there will a lot of different opinions on who we should pick. If we can’t or don’t draft those positions then the only option I see will be to trade one of our top prospects to acquire one.

      • Gary Empey

        Not so sure I agree that he didn’t draft the BPA. Usually out of the top 5-10 players in a draft BPA is incredibly subjective with no real consensus, so saying BPA in that range is tough. Marner was def BPA when taken, and if you ask Hunter I bet he thinks he took the BPA when he did, and based on the years they are having he would be justified.

        I don’t think Tkachuk will be considered BPA in that range… maybe in the 7-10…

    • Gary Empey

      I have the same fear in complete honesty, but have been trying to tell myself that regardless of Hunter’s comfort with players from the Knights he will pick the BPA,and I don’t think he sees Tkachuk as BPA in that 4-6 range. Perhaps closer to 10, but with so much analytics in the front office these days I suspect Tkachuk wouldn’t be the pick in the 4-6 range

  • Gary Empey

    Who in the name of fack chose Laine #1???

    Matthews obvious #1.. but I like Puljujarvi as my 2. I’m a big fan of his game… reminds me of a young Jagr (I emphasize ‘young’).

    But honestly… as a Leaf fan – I am just praying for a top 3 pick. I’ll have to go on a mental health leave otherwise….

  • Gary Empey

    Teams have four different “roster” limits to balance under the league’s regulations; a 20-player “dressed list” for games, a 23-player active NHL roster, a 50-contract maximum, and a 90-player maximum reserve list.

    18 and 19-year-old players assigned to their team in the CHL do not count against the 50-contract maximum, until they have played at least 11 NHL games in one season.

  • Gary Empey

    Noah Hanifin was the BPA on almost every list. It also may turn out that he was the BPA as he is playing top four defense for Carolina this year as a just turned 19 year old. Hanfin is also playing first PP minutes. Marner is still with London and may be with them again again next year. While all us Leaf fans are optimistic the Marner will turn out to be the BPA in the end, so far he is still a good prospect.

    While it is only my opinion I think Tkachuk should be ranked #2 overall. His experience on the smaller rinks playing junior, gives him the edge over the Fins.