2016 NHL Draft: Matthews maintains hold on top spot, but change elsewhere in ISS December rankings

By ISS
Michael McLeod - Mississauga Steelheads

Photo: Mississauga Steelheads center and 2016 prospect Michael McLeod is currently ranked 18th in scoring in the OHL with 32 points in 28 games (courtesy of Aaron Bell/OHL Images)

 

 

Following a couple of months of relative calm in ISS Hockey‘s ranking of the top 30 prospects for the 2016 NHL Draft, the December list features a fair amount of change throughout the rankings.

That change begins in the top 5, although not at the very top. Holding steady at No. 1 for the third straight month is Auston Matthews, the U.S.-born center currently competing for the ZSC Lions in Switzerland’s top league, the National League A. Matthews is producing at a point-per-game pace, with his 11 goals placing him fifth overall in the NLA.

Moving up two slots this month is London Knights left wing, Matthew Tkachuk. The son of former NHL forward Keith Tkachuk is currently fourth in scoring in the OHL with 12 goals and 48 points in 24 games. Playing for the offensive juggernaut in London has certainly helped boost his totals, but Tkachuk has been very much a part of that team’s offensive attack from the get-go.

Dropping from the second to slot third this month is Sarnia Sting defenseman, Jakob Chychrun. The minor drop in rank likely has more to do with Tkachuk’s strong showing than it does any hiccups in Chychrun’s game over the past month. Another 2016 prospect with NHL bloodlines, Chychrun has been chosen to participate in Hockey Canada’s selection camp for that country’s 2016 World Junior Championship squad.

Moving up one position to the fourth slot is Finnish winger Jesse Puljujarvi. The big forward is competing in Finland’s Liiga this season, producing five goals and 11 points in 27 games for Karpat.

Making his debut in the ISS top 5 is Mississauga Steelheads center, Michael McLeod. One of three Steelheads ranked in this month’s top 30, McLeod is currently among the top 20 scorers in the OHL with 10 goals and 32 points in 28 games. ISS Hockey Director of Scouting Dennis MacInnis singled out McLeod in this month’s release.

“Michael McLeod does not back down physically,” said MacInnis. “As a player, he’s the one to make plays on the rush at top speed, finishes checks, and has the ability to make teammates better.”

The entry of McLeod into this month’s top 5 meant that another player would lose that standing, and that player was the London Knights’ Max Jones. Jones was ranked third by ISS in November, but has fallen back to the sixth slot in December.

The next three players in the top 10 remain unchanged from last month. Alexander Nylander from the Mississauga Steelheads reamins in seventh place, while another OHL forward, Logan Brown of the Windsor Spitfires, holds steady in the eighth slot. Tappara winger Patrik Laine is once again the ninth-ranked player in the ISS rankings.

Making his top 10 debut this month is Windsor Spitfires defenseman Mikhail Sergachev. The 6’3”, 206-pound defender has produced seven goals and 16 points in 27 games while posting a +9 rating to date. Sergachev (also spelled as Sergachyov) was the sixth pick overall in the 2015 CHL Import Draft.

Outside the top group, a pair of prospects made fairly significant moves up the ranks, while another suffered a precipitous drop out of the top 30. In addition, a handful of new names appear in the lower portion of the ISS rankings.

Moving up six places from last month’s showing is U.S. NTDP left wing Kieffer Bellows, who is ranked 12th. Bellows turned in a strong performance at the Five Nations Cup in November, helping to lead the USA to a tournament win.

Moving from the 17th slot to 13th this month is Penticton Vees center, Tyson Jost. The skilled forward has already passed his point total from last season in nearly half the number of games, having posted 57 points (23G, 34A) in 28 games in 2015-16 after a season of 45 points in 46 games.

Falling out of the top 30 after being ranked 15th in the November rankings is Brandon Wheat Kings defenseman Kale Clague. Clague was the highest-ranked WHL player last month, with that honor now falling to Regina Pats forward Sam Steel (#18).

Of the newcomers to the ISS top 30, the highest-ranked is Mississauga Steelheads center Nathan Bastian. The 6’4”, 208-pound Bastian is ranked third in scoring for the Steelheads, behind fellow top 30 dwellers McLeod and Nylander. Bastian is ranked 22nd by ISS.

Four of the five newcomers are ranked in the final five slots. Saginaw Spirit defenseman Markus Niemelainen sits in the 26th slot, with Russian forward German Rubtsov (#28), Boston University defenseman Charles McAvoy (#29), and Erie Otters right wing Taylor Raddysh (#30) rounding out the order.

Moving up one position to the top slot among goaltenders is Lulea netminder Filip Gustavsson. He was ranked second in the November rankings, with that spot now being occupied by Carter Hart of the Everett Silvertips.

Below are the top 30 prospects for the 2016 NHL Draft as ranked by ISS Hockey for December of 2015.

Rank

Player

Position

Birth

Shot

Height

Weight

Team

League

1

MATTHEWS, Auston

C

9/17/1997

L

6.01.5

194

Zurich ZSC

SuiA

2

TKACHUK, Matthew

LW

12/11/1997

L

6.01.25

195

London

OHL

3

CHYCHRUN, Jakob

LD

3/31/1998

L

6.02

215

Sarnia

OHL

4

PULJUJARVI, Jesse

RW

5/7/1998

R

6.03

203

Karpat

FinE

5

MCLEOD, Michael

C

4/19/1998

R

6.02.25

188

Mississauga

OHL

6

JONES, Max

LW

2/17/1998

L

6.03

205

London

OHL

7

NYLANDER, Alexander

C

10/15/1997

R

6.00.5

179

Mississauga

OHL

8

BROWN, Logan

C

6/20/1998

L

6.06

222

Windsor

OHL

9

LAINE, Patrik

RW

2/3/1998

R

6.04

209

Tappara

FinE

10

SERGACHEV, Mikhail

RD

6/25/1998

L

6.02.5

206

Windsor

OHL

11

GAUTHIER, Julien

RW

3/5/1998

R

6.03.5

225

Val-d’Or

QMJHL

12

BELLOWS, Kieffer

LW

3/14/1998

L

6.00

196

NTDP USA Under-18

USHL

13

JOST, Tyson

C

3/15/1998

L

5.11

191

Penticton

BCHL

14

DUBOIS, Pierre-Luc

LW

3/2/1998

L

6.02.5

202

Cape Breton

QMJHL

15

FABBRO, Dante

RD

6/24/1998

R

6.00.25

189

Penticton

BCHL

16

JUOLEVI, Olli

LD

4/14/1998

L

6.02.5

179

London

OHL

17

KELLER, Clayton

C

7/29/1998

L

5.09.5

168

NTDP USA Under-18

USHL

18

STEEL, Sam

C

6/10/1998

L

5.11

177

Regina

WHL

19

BENSON, Tyler

LW

6/5/1998

L

5.11.75

201

Vancouver

WHL

20

BEAN, Jake

LD

2/3/1998

L

5.11.75

173

Calgary

WHL

21

KRYS, Chad

LD

5/21/1998

L

5.11

185

NTDP USA Under-18

USHL

22

BASTIAN, Nathan

C

12/6/1997

R

6.03.75

208

Mississauga

OHL

23

KNIERIM, William

RW

1/22/1998

R

6.02.5

207

Dubuque

USHL

24

KUNIN, Luke

RW

3/29/1998

R

5.11.75

193

Wisconsin

BigTen

25

ASPLUND, Rasmus

C

12/4/1997

L

5.10.5

176

Farjestad

SweJE

26

NIEMELAINEN, Markus

RD

6/8/1998

L

6.04.75

189

Saginaw

OHL

27

HAJEK, Libor

LD

2/4/1998

L

6.02

185

Saskatoon

WHL

28

RUBTSOV, German

C

6/27/1998

L

6.02

176

Russia MHL 98

RusJr

29

MCAVOY, Charles

RD

12/21/1997

R

6.00.25

208

Boston Univ.

H.E.

30

RADDYSH, Taylor

RW

2/18/1998

R

6.01.75

203

Erie

OHL