TLN Consolidated 2016 Draft Rankings: March 22, 2016

It’s just past the middle of March, the CHL is entering their playoffs, the NCAA is on the road to the Frozen Four, and Auston Matthews is at his cottage, what better time to do a quick update on the current state of the Consolidated Draft Rankings. 

Since our last update on March 2nd, we’ve had Sportsnet (Damien Cox) and Craig Button of TSN submit revised rankings. The two outlets took very different approaches as Sportsnet remained relatively stable in their rankings and Button decided to scorch the earth his fiery new takes. The latter had some impact on the consolidated rankings as you’ll see…

THE CONSOLIDATED RANKINGS

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Given the fact that there are nine sources for these rankings (Draftbuzz, ISS, Future Considerations, Bob McKenzie, Corey Pronman, Sportsnet, Craig Button, McKeens, and Hockeyprospect.com) Button has been able to cause significant shift on his own. 

He has single-handedly put Samuel Girard in the Top 30, and he’s the one source that has excluded Max Jones from his Top 30 (he sits 35th on Button’s list). Of course, differing views being captured here are the entire point, and generally there is not much consensus outside of the top 20 in this draft.

Sportsnet

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Sportsnet carried on the proud post Top Prospects tradition of moving Dubois up in their standings, but the only new name on the list is Rasmus Asplund, who replaces Tyler Benson, the victim of a season ending injury that has also taken him off the Consolidated Top 30. 

Craig Button

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Gone from Button’s Top 30 this month are Max Jones, Logan Stanley, Tyler Benson, and Brett Howden. The first two being consistent members of most other lists out there. Button has also joined the church of Pierre Dubois, as well as Jake Bean who has consistently moved up the rankings throughout the season. The addition of Luke Kunin to Button’s list now makes him a unanimous first rounder across our rankings, but at the expense of Jones no longer being one. 

Laberge also seems to be enjoying a bump from the prospects game, since these are the first rankings Button has released since Pascal’s strong showing there. Logan Brown is another player who has now creeped into being a unanimous first rounder thanks to Button.

The other interest thing on this January to March comparison is the drop we’re seeing in Julien Gauthier. Button has moved him 11 spots lower. In that time Button has added Kunin and Laberge to his list and placed them higher, as well as no longer views Gauthier as strongly as players like Dillon Dube, Taylor Raddysh, or Mitchell Mattson. This is a fascinating development.

I reached out to Tom Hunter for his thoughts on a couple of Craig Button’s favourites:

Cam Dineen:

Cam Dineen is one of the more underrated offensive defensemen in this year’s draft. He finished the season second behind only Mikhail Sergachev (ahead of Chychrun & Juolevi) in primary points per game among eligible defenders. What makes Dineen’s point total even more impressive is that this was his rookie season in the OHL. After deciding to break his commitment to play for Yale, Dineen came to North Bay as a somewhat unheralded 11th round selection that had all kinds of raw talent but needed to learn how to play the game “the right way”. He’s given a ton of credit to head coach Stan Butler who has spent the time to help Dineen use his hockey instincts to be more than just a on dimensional player. He’s still the most impactful when he’s skating with the puck on his stick, but Dineen has grown leaps and bounds in his own end this season. 

Dineen is a pass-first player who has looked great setting up his partner Kyle Wood all season. A Power Play quarterback who has the ability to control the play every time the puck is on his stick, Dineen has the talent level that could make him a “how did he drop so far” candidate. Comparisons have been made to Shayne Gostisbehere, and the way the Flyers rookie has been tearing up the NHL might give a team picking in the late first/early second round the excuse they need to ‘reach’ on Dineen. He’s still raw and will need time to develop a more all-around game but Dineen is one of a few defenders ranked in the 30-45 range that are going to make some teams very happy.

Taylor Raddysh:

Taylor Raddysh is a guy that scouts have very different opinions on. Some downplay his season because he’s playing on a line with the best center in the OHL, but others recognize that he has the skill set that could translate well to the pro level. While not a high end offensive talent, Raddysh has the type of low-maintenance, ‘simple’ game that would make him a more conservative pick, especially for a team with multiple second round picks. 

He doesn’t have an eye-popping point total but when you look at the underlying numbers, Raddysh was very productive this season. He finished third among draft eligible OHL wingers in even-strength primary points per game, producing more than sure fire top-10 picks Matthew Tkachuk and Alex Nylander.  
Raddysh has a big frame and is very good at using it to protect the puck. He’s a smart player that sees the ice well and has a shot that allows him to capitalize on scoring chances. He plays well down low and has the ability to win battles against the boards. He has the ability to adapt his style to the game situation and has the sense that will likely allow him to be a bottom-6 NHLer if his skills don’t allow him to be more.

LEAFS PERSPECTIVE

We’re now about six weeks out from the draft lottery and potentially the Leafs will have a very easy decision to make with their pick, hopefully coming in the form of Auston Matthews, but with the Penguins First Round pick some new concerns are popping up.

Before there was worry over if the Pens would even make the playoffs, but that carried with it the reward of a potential pick in the mid teens for the Leafs, but now the Pens are surging and that pick could find itself falling into the 20s, where the talent drop off begins to occur. Potentially Toronto still walks away with a talented scorer like DeBrincat, or a solid defender like Logan Stanley, but it’s not the same as chasing down Charlie McAvoy or German Rubtsov as potential Leafs. 

The comforting fact is that someone will always fall in the draft and someone will always reach. Craig Button’s list is a great example of what happens when you really reach. The Bruins at the 2015 draft are better example of that in practice. With wildcards like that, I trust the Leafs to do just fine in what isn’t the deepest of drafts.

  • CMpuck

    Loving the Pens pick it’s a reason to be invested in the East playoff race, they still have time to drop down into a wildcard slot.

    Looking at this draft class though, I still feel the Leafs would have been well served with Provorov or Hanifin last season. No disrespect to Marner intended but we knew we’d be getting a stud forward in this draft.

    • dougie88

      And how did we know that exactly? If anything, you could argue that they’d be looking at a player like Chychrun instead and taken a forward last year.

      Nobody knows anything more than a year out, and prospects always move up and down the rankings (that’s why there are constant updates to lists…).

      They took who they thought was the best player available, which is exactly what they should have done.

      • CMpuck

        Funny all of last year even on this site I talked about how many good forwards there were in this coming draft. If a dumb fan like myself could bother to look up a prospect ranking list.. Spoiler alert, next year’s top ten is loaded with blueliners and centers with size.

        Chychrun wasn’t ever ranked ahead of the Finns or Matthews, and he was the lone prospect that looked had franchise blueliner in projections among a glut of high end forwards.

        Mark Hunter favored a Knight but it’s looking third year in a row drafting a forward. We mock the Oilers for making that mistake but give a homer pass to the Leafs?

        I argued to draft by position given Hanifin/Provorov/Marner were relatively equal value and for Strome given he’s a center if he fell at the time given in 2016 another forward was coming with our 1st. And here we are, everything playing out as I said.

        It’s not like next year’s top of the draft is a complete mystery today.

        • silentbob

          First, taking position into account when drafting is a HORRIBLE way to draft. You don’t draft to address the issues you have today, the goal is to add TALENT and ASSETS; you add the best prospect. Period.

          Second, when ever I see people say the Leafs don’t have a bluechip d-man I wonder if they’ve seen this guy – http://www.cbc.ca/sports-content/hockey/opinion/assets_c/2014/02/rielly-morgan-131108-thumb-620xauto-348815.jpg

          • CMpuck

            Again, I said given the talent of Hanifin, Provorov and Marner being relatively equal…. it’s not like if Marner was traded for Hanifin or Provorov today anyone is getting ripped off.

            Care to address the point that was made?

          • silentbob

            Its great that you think they were equal. Who says Hunter and Shanahan and Dubas saw it that way?

            Shanahan has said they use the best player available “method” of selecting talent – http://www.torontosun.com/2015/06/09/pre-draft-talks-heating-up-shanahan – I this imaginary situation of “completely equal players” isn’t reality. There will always be one player or another that scouts or the GM will favor and see as the better choice.

            Your point seems to be “there were lots of good forwards avaiable in 2016 so they should have taken a D-man in 2015”, but thats drafting by position which is not a smart way to draft talent.

          • CMpuck

            Seeing how scouts couldn’t find consensus between those three players, I’ll say yes pretty equal value.

            As for what the Leafs brain trust thought? Funny that the Leafs attempt to trade down with CBJ which was shot down given Werenski would likely be available let alone Provorov.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_niCzDPYHSw

            So let’s not pretend the Leafs had Marner miles ahead of Hanifin or Provorov and the Leafs dead set on walking away from the draft with him.

            Again my point was, GIVEN THAT PROVOROV, HANIFIN AND MARNER HELD RELATIVELY EQUAL VALUE (not yelling but you haven’t really addressed it) and yes, we’re mostly likely getting another forward in this year’s draft it would have been prudent to get Hanifin or Provorov last year.

            You act as if Marner is objectively > Hanifin or Ivan which is silly.

          • Gary Empey

            In last years draft 5 of the first 6 players were listed as centers. That is not drafting by position? (I know Marner is now likely to be a winger)

            Best player available is usually too subjective to properly evaluate after the first few picks.

            How do you really compare a defenceman to a forward. Where do goalies come into the mix.

            For the most part the GM’s and their scouting teams, just like most of the mock drafts, are all over the place. This is the reason we are seeing Consolidated Draft Rankings.

        • dougie88

          The best metric we have for comparing players from different league’s is nhle. Based on that metric Marner’s nhle is .67 pts per game. Matthews’ is .52.

          Nhle is only a rough estimate but it’s not subject to the biases of human prejudice. Just because Matthews gets all the hype doesn’t mean he’s better. If Marner was 6 foot 2 he would have gone before Eichel and Strome. Unless the NHL is planning on instituting the jump ball in hockey Marner’s 5 11 height won’t hold him back.

          • magesticRAGE

            If Marner had Strome’s size, he would have been chosen 3rd, but he didn’t have the game breaking speed that Eichel and McDavid has. Just from what I have seen, Marner will be a late growing prospect, that will have a productive NHL career, but he’s not a potential game breaker like Nylander, and possibly Provarov.
            Saying this though, I think the Leafs did good, as they had a need for possible centers, and already had 2 solid puck moving defensemen in Gardiner and Reilly.

          • Nylander is not and will never be anywhere close to the player Marner is! That’s just nonsense!

            Eichel is only as good as Domi and Marner was clearly superior to Domi last year.

            At least I have some analytics to support my view.

            No matter who we draft this year Marner will still be our best prospect. And the best player not in the NHL.

            Next year all the doubters will see. Mark my words when all of these prospects are in the NHL Marner will be the cream of that crop.

    • Gary Empey

      Most of the commenters and all of the writers here, consistently undervalue defencemen in the draft. Oddly enough they also sing the praises of Reilly and Gardiner.

      Most here when they say BPA really mean the forward with the most points in junior.

      The old wife’s tale about drafting the BPA should only come into play when there is an eye-popping difference.

      Hanifin for example could likely be starting his 4th season in the NHL by the time Marner starts his first. Management is already on record as stating unless something dramatic happens over the summer, Marner is going back to junior next year. From there it is likely he would go to the Marlies to develop his strength.

      Hunter does understand the value of defense. He picked two good CHL ones that are not far off.

      With the general need to improve every position, there should be lots of debatable opinions this year. For me I will be looking at the best center and the best defenceman.

      My gut feeling is we may not know where either the Leafs or Pittsburgh end up in the standings until the very last game of the year.

  • magesticRAGE

    I’m pretty sure that Hunter selecting, the leafs will find a gem of player with our own pick and use the Peguins pick to get a player like Perry, Giroux or Pacioretty whose stocks fall into that late first round.

  • CMpuck

    Pierre luc dubois, even with his sky rocketing value, is still under appreciated. He had a slow start to the season with only 30 points in his first 25 games but since then he’s been scoring at 1.86 points per game pace getting better all the time. That’s Dylan Strome numbers. He’s big at 6 foot 3, 202 lbs. Yet he’s one of the youngest players in this draft. And he plays center.

    It’s so hard to compare Matthews, Laine and pulijujarvi and dubois because they play in different league’s. But in my opinion no one in the CHL even comes close to Dubois in talent.

  • Metal thrashin dad

    Logan Stanley is the most overrated prospect in the entire draft. Just because he is a tree scouts are drooling over him. Barely creates any offense dispute being placed on the number one power play unit with Sergachev. Vastly overrated IMO.

  • CMpuck

    no serious ranking system would include Button. He exaggerates to make a point. I would never have drafted Vertanen; he’s playing this year exactly like I predicted; a head-hunter who’s too small to be a head-hunter, and so injury-prone. So, I agreed with Button, who had him ranked around 48. Button leaving Jones out of the top 15, and placing Dubois ahead of three World Juniors stars, is juvenile, but we get his point, just like his placing Dineen ahead of Green, Clague, Krys is purely for us to notice Dineen’s progress. Also, do you notice he doesn’t have any Europeans (SHL, KHL, Asplund, Rubtsov)?