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Craig Button

TSN Director of Scouting

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I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating one final time as we approach the NHL Entry Draft in Buffalo on June 24: position matters. That’s why Auston Matthews, a complete, elite centre, gets the nod over explosive winger Patrik Laine at the top of the final Craig’s List.

Laine scored more goals than Matthews during the 2015-16 season - 48 to 41 - but he did it in 96 games, while Matthews netted his in 64. That gives Matthews the goals per game average nod over Laine (.64 to .5).

There is no doubt Laine had a season for the ages and one not seen from a draft- eligible player since Jaromir Jagr in 1990. He excelled at the World Juniors then followed it up with MVP performances in the SM Liiga playoffs and at the World Championships, leaving no doubt about his terrific talent.

An argument can be made that Laine may score more at the NHL level, but as a centre, Matthews can impact the game in more ways. My view is simple: Without a complete, elite centre, a team will have a very difficult time being successful.

Jesse Puljujarvi, Pierre-Luc Dubois and Matthew Tkachuk have all shown they have the capabilities to be front-line players in the NHL, combining considerable size with high-end skill. Their impact was significant this season, and the trio have the tools to do the same at the professional level — perhaps as soon as the 2016-17 season.

Button: Matthews, Laine still slated to go 1-2 at NHL draft

TSN's resident scout Craig Button joined the Big Show for some NHL talk including the favourite for the Conn Smythe, Edmonton's off-season options impacting their fourth overall draft pick and why Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine should be the top-two names called at the upcoming NHL draft.

Clayton Keller and Logan Brown come in at six and seven respectively. The two Americans are separated by eight and half inches in height and 44 pounds in weight, but there is not much separating their ability to impact the game offensively. Keller’s imagination and creativity is unmatched in this draft, conjuring up images of Patrick Kane.

Brown has grown, literally and figuratively, over the course of this season with the Windsor Spitfires. His game has become increasingly impactful and he reminds me of Joe Thornton when he passes the puck and makes plays for teammates.

Button: Logan Brown is going to go early in this draft

Craig Button says Logan Brown will go early in the draft. A 6'6" centre who plays like Joe Thornton, according to Button who also says at some point, the Canucks are going to have to replace Henrik Sedin. Big bodied number one centremen don't come along very often.

Mikhail Sergachev not only made a smooth transition to the OHL with the Spitfires, he was voted the best defenceman in the entire league. He excels in every single area of the game. He can skate, pass, shoot, has a physical element and very well may be the most complete blueliner available in the draft.

Olli Juolevi has excellent hockey sense that allows him to always feel the rhythm and pace of the game. That gift allowed him to play with effortless command all season long for the London Knights.

So there you have it, the end of the line for Craig’s List, 2016 Draft Edition. The end for us is just the beginning for these players. There is real excitement for what these prospects could mean to a franchise. If the performances we’ve seen leading up to the draft are an indication of what lies ahead, NHL fans are in for a treat.

 

Craig's List - Final Ranking

 
RK Player Team Pos HT WT GP G P
1  Auston Matthews Zurich (Suisse A) C 6'1½ 194 36 24 46
2  Patrik Laine Tappara (SM-Liiga) RW 6'4 206 46 17 33
3 Jesse Puljujärvi Karpat (SM-Liiga) RW 6'3 ½ 203 50 13 28
4  Pierre-Luc Dubois Cape Breton (QMJHL) C/LW 6'2 ½ 202 62 42 99
5  Matthew Tkachuk London (OHL) LW 6'1 195 57 30 107
6  Clayton Keller USA NTDP (USHL) C 5'9 ½ 168 62 37 107
7  Logan Brown Windsor (OHL) C 6'6 222 59 21 74
8  Mikhail Sergachev Windsor (OHL) D 6'2 ½ 206 67 17 57
9  Olli Juolevi London (OHL) D 6'2 ½ 179 57 9 42
10  Alexander Nylander Mississuaga  (OHL) LW/RW 6'0 ½ 179 57 28 85
11  Tyson Jost Penticton (BCHL) C 5'11 191 48 42 104
12  Jake Bean Calgary (WHL) D 6'0 173 68 24 64
13  Kieffer Bellows USA NTDP (USHL) LW 6'0 196 62 50 81
14  German Rubtsov Russia U-18 (MHL) C 6'2 176 28 12 26
15 Charlie McAvoy Boston (NCAA) D 6'0 208 37 3 25
16 Dante Fabbro Penticton (BCHL) D 6'0 189 45 14 67
17  Jakob Chychrun Sarnia (OHL) D 6'2 215 62 11 49
18  Brett Howden Moose Jaw (WHL) C 6'2 193 68 24 64
19  Michael McLeod Mississuaga (OHL) C 6'2 188 57 21 61
20 Luke Kunin Wisconsin (NCAA) C/RW 6'0 193 34 19 32
21  Alex DeBrincat Erie (OHL) C/RW 5'7 163 60 51 101
22 Cam Dineen North Bay (OHL) D 5'11 183 68 13 59
23  Vitali Abramov Gatineau (QMJHL) LW/RW 5'9 172 63 38 93
24  Carter Hart Everett (WHL) G 6'0 ½ 177 63 2.14 .918
25 Dennis Cholowski Chilliwack (BCHL) D 6'0 170 50 12 40
26 Will Bitten Flint (OHL) C/RW 5'10 167 67 30 65
27  Samuel Girard Shawinigan (QMJHL) D 5'9 ½ 160 67 10 74
28  Dillon Dube Kelowna (WHL) LW 5'10 180 65 26 66
29 Jordan Kyrou Sarnia (OHL) C/RW 6'0 178 65 17 51
30 Logan Stanley Windsor (OHL) D 6'7 220 65 5 17
31  Janne Kuokkanen Kärpät (FIN-Jr) LW 6'1 175 47 22 53
32  Tage Thompson Connecticut (NCAA) C 6'5 185 36 14 32
33 Matthew Phillips Victoria (WHL) C/RW 5'6 ½ 140 72 37 76
34 Henrik Borgström  HIFK (SM-Liiga Jr) C 6'3 ½ 176 40 29 55
35 Pascal Laberge Victoriaville (QMJHL) C/RW 6'1 162 56 23 68
36  Rasmus Asplund Farjestad (SHL) C 5'11 176 46 4 12
37  Mitchell Mattson G. Rapids (USHSW) C 6'4 186 25 17 46
38 Adam Fox USA NTDP (USHL) D 5'10 185 64 9 59
39 Tyler Parsons London (OHL) G 6'1 184 49 2.33 .921
40  Taylor Raddysh Erie (OHL) RW 6'2 203 67 24 73
41  James Greenway USA NTDP (USHL) D 6'5 213 64 5 28
42  Max Jones London (OHL) LW 6'3 205 63 28 52
43  Julien Gauthier Val d'Or (QMJHL) RW 6'3 ½ 225 54 41 57
44  Tyler Benson Vancouver (WHL) LW 6'0 201 30 9 28
45  Riley Tufte Blaine (USHSW) LW 6'5 205 25 47 78
46 Brayden Burke Lethbridge (WHL) LW 5'10 160 72 27 109
47 Cameron Morrison Youngstown (USHL) LW 6'2 205 60 34 66
48  Noah Gregor Moose Jaw (WHL) C 5'11 180 72 28 73
49 Boris Katchouk S.S. Marie (OHL) LW 6'1 181 63 24 51
50 Lucas Johansen Kelowna (WHL) D 6'1 174 69 10 49
51 Givani Smith Guelph (OHL) RW 6'1 194 65 23 42
52 Aapeli Räsänen  Tappara (SM-Liiga Jr) C 6'0 196 50 19 38
53 Adam Brooks Regina (WHL) C 5'10 174 72 38 120
54 Jonathan Dahlén Timrå IK (SWE-Als) C 5'11 176 51 15 29
55  Kale Clague Brandon (WHL) D 6'0 177 71 6 43
56  Sam Steel Regina (WHL) C 5'11 177 72 23 70
57 Adam Mascherin Kitchener (OHL) LW 5'9 ½ 206 65 35 81
58  Markus Niemeläinen Saginaw (OHL) D 6'5 189 65 1 27
59 Artur Kayumov Russia U-18  (MHL) LW/RW 5'11 176 39 12 31
60 David Quenneville Medicine Hat (WHL) D 5'8 182 64 14 55
61 Wade Allison Tri-City (USHL) RW 6'2 205      
62 Joseph Woll USA NTDP (USHL) G 6'2 ½ 198      
63  Luke Green Saint John (QMJHL) D 6'0 189      
64 Simon Stransky Prince Albert (WHL) LW 5'11 ½ 171      
65 Jacob Moverare HV 71 (SWE-J20 Elit) D 6'2 ½ 198      
66 Nolan Stevens Northeastern (NCAA) C 6'3 183      
67  Carl Grundström Modo (SHL) RW 6'0 194      
68  Filip Gustavsson Luleå (SWE-J20) G 6'1 ½ 184      
69 Rem Pitlick Muskegon (USHL) C/LW 5'9 196      
70 Maxime Fortier Halifax (QMJHL) RW 5'10 177      
71 Mikey Essiymont St. Cloud (NCAA) LW 5'11 ½ 180      
72  Trent Frederic USA NTDP (USHL) C 6'2 203      
73 Ɉosh Anderson Prince George (WHL) D 6'2 221      
74  Cliff Pu London (OHL) C/RW 6'1 ½ 192      
75  Frédéric Allard Chicoutimi (QMJHL) D 6'1 179      
76 Jack Walker Victoria (WHL) LW 5'11 179      
77  Ryan Lindgren USA NTDP (USHL) D 5'11 ½ 198      
78  Victor Mete London (OHL) D 5'9 ½ 174      
79  Tarmo Reunanen TPS (SM-Liiga Jr) D 6'0 178      
80 Evan Fitzpatrick Sherbrooke (QMJHL) G 6'3 206      
81 Kyle Maksimovich Erie (OHL) LW 5'8 ½ 172      
82 Nathan Bastian Mississauga (OHL) RW 6'4 208      
83 Ty Ronning Vancouver (WHL) RW 5'9 165      
84  Libor Hájek Saskatoon (WHL) D 6'2 185      
85 Dylan Gambrel Denver (NCAA) RW 6'0 179      
86 Filip Hronek Kralove (Czech Extra) D 6'0 163      
87 Brandon Gignac Shawinigan (QMJHL) C 5'10 ½ 173      
88  Dylan Wells Peterborough (OHL) G 6'1 ½ 187      
89 Linus Lindström Skellefteå (SWE-J20 Elit) C 5'11 164      
90  Linus Weissbach Frolunda (SWE-J20 Elit) LW 5'9 156      
91  Chad Krys USA NTDP (USHL) D 5'11 185      
92 Will Lockwood USA NTDP (USHL) RW 5'11 172      
93  Andrew Peeke Green Bay (USHL) D 6'3 209      
94  Dmitry Sokolov Sudbury (OHL) RW 5'11 220      
95  Otto Mäkinen Tappara (FIN-Jr) C 6'1 178      
96  Jesper Bratt AIK  (SWE-Als) RW 5'10 171      
97 Jeremy Davies Bloomington (USHL) D 5'10 ½ 180      
98  Tanner Kaspick Brandon (WHL) LW 6'0 200      
99  Jacob Cederholm HV71 (SHL) D 6'3 ½ 187      
100  Joey Anderson USA NTDP (USHL) RW 5'11 192