Canada's new favorite national holiday, the NHL Draft Lottery, is this weekend, and in advance of the event, TSN hockey insider Bob McKenzie has released a new set of NHL Draft rankings of the top 15 players available for the Draft.
McKenzie's rankings are based entirely on a survey of NHL scouts, so they're always the most accurate(or at least closest to the current hivemind).
For comparison's sake, here's how I have the first round ranked.
McKenzie's scout-sourced top 15 looks like this:
1. Auston Matthews
2. Patrik Laine
3. Jesse Puljujarvi
4. Matthew Tkachuk
5. Pierre-Luc Dubois
6. Alex Nylander
7. Olli Juolevi
8. Mikhail Sergachev
9. Jakob Chychrun
10. Clayton Keller
11. Tyson Jost
12. Jake Bean
13. Logan Brown
14. Charlie McAvoy
15. Michael McLeod
1. The top three seems pretty set.
Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine, and Jesse Puljujarvi have pretty well established themselves as the top three players in the Draft. Matthews has been #1 all year, but Laine played well enough down the stretch--he was MVP of the Finnish Liiga's playoffs--that the upcoming World Championships, where both Matthews and Laine will be playing, might decide who goes first overall. I think teams will be happy with any of the three though.
2. Fourth overall is less clear.
I went with Clayton Keller fourth overall on my list, fully realizing I was differing from conventional wisdom. I'll lay out my full case for that at some point in the future. Tkachuk stayed atop McKenzie's list, but I don't think there's a ton of consensus for that.
3. The top defenseman is still a toss up.
I wrote last week about the tight race for the best available defenseman in the Draft. Jakob Chychrun finally seems to have fallen from his consensus top spot. I'm a little surprised Dante Fabbro isn't in the conversation more after the U18s. Fabbro did get one vote for fifth overall and top D in the draft, but other scouts weren't as ready to jump on board. He was essentially the 16th player in the rankings.
It's interesting that McKenzie said only two out of the ten scouts surveyed had any defenseman in their top-5. The fact that nobody seems to be able to separate themselves from the pack seems to be dragging them down collectively.
4. The U18s had an effect, but not a huge one
McKenzie notes that Clayton Keller and Logan Brown, who were both fantastic at the recent World U18s made a jump up from the mid-term rankings, while Canada's Michael McLeod dropped, consistent with what I had in my list of risers and fallers from the tournament. I was a little more aggressive in how much I had Keller and Brown rise, and how much McLeod fell, however.