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2016 NHL Draft: Mid-Term Draft Rankings

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Claus Andersen/Getty Images

NHL Central Scouting is set to release their mid-term rankings for this summer's NHL Draft sometime next week. In the meantime, I thought I would post my personal list that I've been keeping throughout the season for the upcoming draft.

As per usual. I'm only ranking players that I've seen and felt comfortable ranking. To give some idea of where I think these guys would go in the actual Draft, it breaks down like this:

1-26: First Round

27-41: Second Round

42-50: Third Round

50-70: Late Rounds

Without further ado, here is what my NHL Draft list looks like at the midway point of the season

Rank Player Position Team League
1 Auston Matthews F ZSC Swiss
2 Jesse Puljujarvi F Karpat Liiga
3 Patrik Laine F Tappara Liiga
4 Jakob Chychrun D Sarnia OHL
5 Max Jones F London OHL
6 Alex Nylander F Mississauga OHL
7 Matthew Tkachuk F London OHL
8 Mikhail Sergachev D Windsor OHL
9 Clayton Keller F US NTDP USHL
10 Dante Fabbro D Penticton BCHL
11 Julien Gauthier F Val D'Or QMJHL
12 Kieffer Bellows F US NTDP USHL
13 Michael McLeod F Mississauga OHL
14 Olli Juolevi D London OHL
15 Pierre-Luc Dubois F Cape Breton QMJHL
16 Chad Krys D US NTDP USHL
17 Logan Stanley D Windsor OHL
18 Tyson Jost F Penticton BCHL
19 German Rubtcov F Vityaz Podolsk RUS
20 Kale Clague D Brandon WHL
21 Alex DeBrincat F Erie OHL
22 Carl Grundstrom F Modo SWE
23 Riley Tufte F Blaine HS/Fargo USHS/USHL
24 Tyler Benson F Vancouver WHL
25 Charlie McAvoy D Boston University Hockey East
26 Logan Brown F Windsor OHL
27 Jake Bean D Calgary WHL
28 Jacob Cederholm D HV71 SWE
29 Sam Steel F Regina WHL
30 Jordan Kyrou F Sarnia OHL
31 Dilon Dube F Kelowna WHL
32 Luke Kunin F Wisconsin Big Ten
33 Victor Mete D London OHL
34 Samuel Girard D Shawinigan QMJHL
35 Ryan Lindgren D US NTDP USHL
36 William Bitten F Flint OHL
37 Joey Anderson F US NTDP USHL
38 Trent Frederic F US NTDP USHL
39 Tim Gettinger F Sault Ste Marie OHL
40 Brett Howden F Moose Jaw WHL
41 Adam Fox D US NTDP USHL
42 Vojtech Budik D Prince Albert WHL
43 Dmitri Alexseyev D Tractor Chelyabinsk RUS
44 Jacob Moverare D HV71 SWE
45 Griffin Luce D US NTDP USHL
46 Tage Thompson F Connecticut Hockey East
47 Graham McPhee F US NTDP USHL
48 Sam Rossini D Waterloo USHL
49 Nick Pastujov F US NTDP USHL
50 Jesper Bratt F AIK SWE
51 Will Lockwood F US NTDP USHL
52 Max Zimmer F Chicago USHL
53 Michael Graham F Eden Prairie HS/Fargo USHS/USHL
54 James Sanchez F US NTDP USHL
55 Keenan Suthers F US NTDP USHL
56 Mitchell Mattson F Grand Rapids HS/Bloomington USHS/USHL
57 JD Greenway D US NTDP USHL
58 Jack Lafontaine G Janesville NAHL
59 Mikael Hakkarainen F Brookings NAHL
60 Garrett Wait F Waterloo NAHL
61 Anthony Salinitri F Sarnia OHL
62 William Fallstrom F Omaha USHL
63 Tyler Johnson G Topeka NAHL
64 Zach Walker F US NTDP USHL
65 Casey Staum D Hill-Murray USHS
66 Scott Perunovich D Hibbing USHS
67 Jordan Klehr D Nebraska Omaha NCHC
68 Zach Osburn D Michigan State Big Ten
69 Ty Farmer D Youngstown USHL
70 Vincent de Mey F Shattuck-St. Mary's USHS

Notes:

-Boy those Finnish kids were impressive at the World Juniors. But I still think it's Auston Matthews at the top and then everybody else. Matthews didn't have a lot of highlight reel plays that ended with goals, nor did he have big production when the US really needed it, but I thought he did a lot of little things that were quietly impressive.

I did move Puljujarvi and Laine up into the second and third spots, and I think there's a bit of a gap between them and Chychrun at four.

-I've been steadfast that Max Jones is a top five pick all season, though that wasn't consensus opinion. He probably had the best World Juniors of anyone that didn't go to the World Juniors. With London's big guns in Finland, Jones started to show the offensive production one would hope from a top pick with the increased ice time. He also did this. That's a top-5 guy.

-It was a tough decision ranking the top defensemen in the draft. Chychrun is still at the top for me, but it's becoming more of a discussion, and I don't think he'll be the top D on every team's list. A lot of people are high on Juolevi after a really great World Juniors, but I really like what Sergachev and Fabbro bring to the table.

-I'm a bit higher on Clayton Keller than most. The way he has been scoring this year is at Kane/Eichel/Matthews level. I think he'll be a special player despite his size. If he was putting up 2+ points per game in the CHL--and if he's scoring 2/game against NCAA competition, he would doing that or more in the CHL--he'd be talked about as a top-five guy.

-I was one of the last people to hop on the Riley Tufte bandwagon. In fact, prior to Christmas, I was telling people I wouldn't take him in the first two rounds of the Draft. But here he is in my first round. What changed? First, there's been a progression in his play. The stats are always going to be there for him at the high school level, but in recent viewings, it seems like he's made a more concerted effort to use his size and drive the net aggressively, and my biggest concern was always his tendency to only play on the perimeter. The other thing was that after seeing a little more of what else was out there for this year's Draft, there just weren't that many players I'd take over Tufte head-to-head. Of course, all that positive momentum could vanish if he goes back to the USHL after the high school season and doesn't produce again. I'd love to see him get a chance to play with the US at the World U18s this spring.

-On the flip side, the other two Minnesota high school players that came back from the USHL--Michael Graham and Mitchell Mattson-- have fallen considerably. Graham hasn't looked nearly as impressive this year when playing on a different line as Casey Mittelstadt.

Mattson had a couple very underwhelming performances when Grand Rapids came down to the Twin Cities in December. Some people still seem willing to gamble on his long-term potential, but he's going to have to develop something that isn't there yet to play at the next level.