2016 NHL Draft: Hockey’s Future Staff Mock Draft

By HF Staff

2016 NHL Draft Prospects - Logan Stanley, Samuel Girard, and Kale Clague

Photo: CHL defensemen are featured in the 21-30 section of HF’s 2016 Mock Draft, Logan Stanley (OHL), Samuel Girard (QMJHL), and Kale Clague (WHL) all being chosen in that range (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images, Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images, Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)

 

Carolina Hurricanes - 21st Overall21. Carolina Hurricanes (from LAK) (Cory Lavalette) – Julien Gauthier, RW, Val d’Or Foreurs

The Carolina Hurricanes already have Michael McLeod in the fold with their first pick, so they may look to use this pick as collateral for an NHL player. But if they decide to make the selection, Julien Gauthier would give them more size and skill up front. Gauthier is, plainly put, a monster on the wing. Some have concerns based on his lack of assists this past season (just 16), but his 41 goals should ease their worries. He won’t be a physical, Milan Lucic-type, but he will put the puck in the net and be a handful for defenders.

 

Winnipeg Jets - 22nd Overall22. Winnipeg Jets (from CHI) (Devin Slawson) – Samuel Girard, D, Shawinigan Cataractes

While this pick could be viewed as a reach given the fact that Samuel Girard seems to be ranked solidly as a second round choice, he was one of the top offensive defensemen in his age group during the 2015-16 season. Girard doesn’t possess ideal size for an NHL defenseman, but neither did Pittsburgh defensive stalwart Kris Letang when he was drafted in 2005. Girard has a good two-way game, but he is particularly effective on offense due to above-average skating ability and a strong hockey IQ. The Jets arent blessed with great organizational depth at defense, so Girard will add a potential power play QB to the mix.

 

Florida Panthers - 23rd Overall23. Florida Panthers (Chris Roberts) – Brett Howden, C, Moose Jaw Warriors

With an impressive group of young defensemen (despite dealing Erik Gudbranson), the Florida Panthers opt to improve their depth down the middle, taking center Brett Howden with the 23rd pick overall. Florida has plenty of center prospects, but none are sure things and Howden would immediately become their best forward prospect outside of Lawson Crouse. Howden, whose brother Quinton is with the Panthers organization, opened a few eyes with both a solid second half and a good showing at the U18 World Championship.

 

Anaheim Ducks - 24th Overall24. Anaheim Ducks (Jason Lewis) – Rasmus Asplund, C, Farjestad

One could simply say “Because Sweden“, and that would probably suffice. The Anaheim Ducks love their Swedes. But the choice of Rasmus Asplund has more to do with the Ducks current lack of a real creative offensive center behind Ryan Getzlaf. With an aging Ryan Kesler and a very thin center group in the pipeline, the Ducks have to start looking for a potential 2C replacement down the line. Asplund is an offensive catalyst, and is easily the most talented center left on the board.

 

Dallas Stars - 25th Overall25. Dallas Stars (Sean Shapiro) – Riley Tufte, LW, Blaine High School

The Dallas Stars have good depth down the middle already, while the defensive pool is filled with young prospects. It is the perfect opportunity for the Stars to take a chance on a powerful winger with great size, two attributes that are already in abundance for the 6’5″, 190-pound Riley Tufte. When all is said and done, Tufte could end up as the top power forward from this draft class should his development continue on an upward path. For now, Tufte will develop his game at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

 

Washington Capitals - 26th Overall26. Washington Capitals (Sean Shapiro) – Logan Stanley, D, Windsor Spitfires

The Washington Capitals have an exciting prospect base at forward and in goal, but could use a towering defenseman like 6’7″ Logan Stanley in the system. Stanley is more of a defensive stalwart than an offensive force at this stage of his career, but his defensive game is very impressive given his size and skating ability. Stanley should be a force for what could be a very strong Windsor team in 2016-17.

 

Tampa Bay Lightning - 27th Overall27. Tampa Bay Lightning (Chris Roberts) – Kale Clague, D, Brandon Wheat Kings

Given their NHL success in recent years, the Tampa Bay Lightning still have surprising prospect depth, particularly on defense. Kale Clague, a strong skater, improved his draft stock toward the end of the year and into the playoffs after a disappointing first half of the season. He rates strongly in terms of possession numbers, as well.

 

St. Louis Blues - 28th Overall28. St. Louis Blues (Suraj Skumar) – Tage Thompson, C/W, University of Connecticut

Despite the holes at left wing, it would be hard for the St. Louis Blues to pass up a player like Tage Thompson. He is big, skates well, and has become a go-to player at the University of Connecticut. He embodies everything the Blues like and comes with impressive versatility. Even though he lines up on the right, he is an improving center with solid abilities in the faceoff circle. Pegged as a power forward, Thompson is still very disciplined despite the physical side of his game and could become even stronger once he fills out his frame.

 

Boston Bruins - 29th Overall29. Boston Bruins (from SJS) (Pat O’Rourke) – Vitali Abramov, LW, Gatineau Olympiques

While undersized, Vitali Abramov has plus skill and brings a huge dose of speed from the right side, two areas the Boston Bruins are in need of at the moment. In his rookie year in the QMJHL this past season, Abramov was fifth in the league with 93 points (38-55), running away with the rookie scoring title. The next closest on the scoring leaderboard among rookies was Toronto prospect Martins Dzierkals, who had 67 for league champion Rouyn-Noranda.

 

Anaheim Ducks - 30th Overall30. Anaheim Ducks (from PIT by way of TOR) (Jason Lewis) – Wade Allison, RW, Tri-City Storm

The Anaheim Ducks make a splash by going with one of the most improved and dangerous forwards in the USHL this season. They also love the collegiate route in terms of development, and Wade Allison is committed to Western Michigan University beginning this Fall. He is a big power forward who simply goes hard to the net. While he may seem like a reach, teams would be wise to cash in on his meteoric rise in the draft rankings, and the Ducks have the opportunity to do just that with Allison still on the board at 30.

 

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