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Craig Button Final 2016 NHL Draft Rankings Reaction

TSN director of scouting and former NHL general manager Craig Button released his final list for the upcoming NHL Draft, featuring his thoughts on the top 100 players available for this year's Draft.

It's a very well done list and it's rare to see such attention paid outside of the top-30 in the Draft.  I've listed out his top-100 with a few of my own thoughts on how he has certain players ranked.

1. Auston Matthews

2. Patrik Laine

3. Jesse Puljujarvi

This is exactly in line with the general consensus for the top three. Button comes to his decision between Matthews and Laine in the same way I would. It's tight between Matthews and Laine, and there's certainly a chance Laine ends up the better player, but when it's that close, you always have to give the nod to the guy that can center and be a more versatile piece.

4. Pierre-Luc Dubois

5. Matthew Tkachuk

6. Clayton Keller

7. Logan Brown

Button is one of the few ranking Keller inside the top ten, which I absolutely agree with. As I've said before, I'd go even farther put Keller fourth overall, but it's tough to argue with the seasons Dubois and Tkachuk put together. There's a little more risk involved with taking Keller over those two, but I think the reward is potentially much higher.

Button has been big on the Logan Brown since the World U18s, as have I. Really the only disagreement we have here is that I have Alex Nylander inside this group of the top 7 as well.

8. Mikhail Sergachev

9. Olli Juolevi

We're also in agreement on how we rank the top two defensemen in the draft, and where we'd rank them. Really, are top tens are remarkably similar save one big exception, which we'll get to later.

10. Alex Nylander

11. Tyson Jost

12. Jake Bean

13. Kieffer Bellows

14. German Rubtsov

15. Dante Fabbro

16. Charlie McAvoy

17. Jakob Chychrun

This is the first list I've seen in a long time that rates Dante Fabbro ahead of Jakob Chychrun, and putting a player that started the year #2 on most boards down at 17 is sure to raise some eyebrows, but I absolutely think it is the right decision. I like Chychrun as a player, but I thought it was pretty clear that Fabbro outplayed him at the World U18s, and if that's the case, what is the argument for Chychrun? He's been the same 6'2" 200 lbs. behemoth since he was 13--he may have been born like that for all know. The odds of him taking a big jump forward in development seem unlikely, whereas Fabbro still seems to have potential to tap. The Draft is a mile marker in a marathon, and if two guys are even, I'm taking the one speeding up over the one slowing down every time.

I'm not as much a fan of putting McAvoy that high, but I can see a similar argument in that McAvoy's potential upside is higher than Chychrun, even if I'm not sure McAvoy will be able to put it all together.

18. Brett Howden

19. Michael McLeod

Michael McLeod is a really tough player to peg for this Draft. He's a guy that does everything right but score, and I've gone back and forth a number of times on where he should go in the first round. Button seems to lean towards the lower end of his projection, even putting him below Howden, who I believe is a similar, but slightly less effective player. I have McLeod a few spots higher than this, betting that with some better luck, the offensive numbers might come along.

20. Luke Kunin

21. Alex DeBrincat

22. Cam Dineen

23. Vitali Abramov

24. Carter Hart

25. Will Bitten

26. Dennis Cholowski

27. Samuel Girard

28. Dilon Dube

29. Jordan Kyrou

30. Logan Stanley

The last 10-12 picks of the first round are where things are going to go crazy. There's a big drop-off in talent from the first two-thirds of the first round, and there seems to be very little consensus. Of the guys on this section of the list that I've seen, I can't argue with any of them. There are certainly players I'd take before some of these guys, but I don't think anybody is listed more than 5-10 spots from where they should go in the Draft.

31. Janne Kuokkanen

32. Tage Thompson

33. Matthew Phillips

34. Henrik Borgstrom

35. Pascal Laberge

36. Rasmus Asplund

37. Mitchell Mattson

Kuokkanen is an interesting choice that high. He played an incredible game in the World U18 championship alongside Jesse Puljujarvi. 31 feels like a stretch, but I have him 41st on my list, so not much of a stretch. Definitely a name not getting a lot of attention, but a good player.

Tage Thompson is one of the players I think Button(and most everybody else) has rated way too high. His goal total as an NCAA freshman was impressive, but I still have major concerns about his skating and ability to create opportunities.

The other big disagreement in this section is with Mitchell Mattson. There's such a big divide in opinion between the people that saw him play a game or two this year and the people that watched him regularly. I don't know of anyone that watched him regularly and came away that impressed. This is way, way too high, especially when you consider some of the names later on this list that Mattson is ranked ahead of.

38. Adam Fox

39. Tyler Parsons

40. Taylor Raddysh

41. JD Greenway

42. Max Jones

43. Julien Gauthier

44. Tyler Benson

45. Riley Tufte

Here are most of the aforementioned "How can they be lower than Mattson?" guys. I've always been a big fan of Max Jones--I still have him in my top ten. I understand the concerns about his offensive production, but putting him this low just feels like he's being graded on a much tougher curve than some other prospects.

Gauthier is probably a bit of a surprise this low, but I can understand that decision. Many people see very limited upside there and a potential third or fourth liner, in which case, 43 is actually probably a little high. Tyler Benson is another player that I'm not quite sure what to do with. I thought he really turned a corner this summer at the Ivan Hlinka Tournament, but injuries really slowed him down this year. NHL teams will have a better grasp on his health and if his issues should affect him long-term.

Tufte is another player I have in my first round. Again, I can see the argument for putting him that low, questioning whether he has the toughness and offensive instincts to be effective at the next level, but not when he's seven spots below Mattson. That's absurd.

46. Brayden Burke

47. Cameron Morrison

48. Noah Gregor

49. Boris Katchouk

Boris Katchouk is a name I'm seeing a lot of people put in their top-30, which kind of surprised me based on what I thought was a rather 'meh' World U18s. I think Button is closer to the mark here.

50. Lucas Johansen

51. Givani Smith

52. Aapeli Rasanen

53. Adam Brooks

54. Jonathan Dahlen

55. Kale Clague

56. Sam Steel

57. Adam Mascherin

58. Artur Kayumov

59. Markus Niemelainen

60. David Quenneville

61. Wade Allison

Quenneville and Allison are two of the biggest late-risers in this year's Draft, and I think late-second round is where they'll probably end up.

62.. Joseph Woll

63. Luke Green

64. Simon Stransky

65. Jacob Moverare

66. Nolan Stevens

67. Carl Grundstrom

Grundstrom is considerably lower here than he is on many other lists, but I can see the argument for the lack of high-end upside.  Moverare is a player I've really struggled to rank. I like a lot of things that he does, but I really question if his skating will hold up in the pros.

I really like Nolan Stevens this high. I think he might be one of the more underrated players in this whole draft.

68. Filip Gustavsson

69. Rem Pitlick

70. Maxime Fortier

71. Mikey Eyssimont

72. Trent Frederic

A couple interesting guys that have already been passed over before in the Draft in Pitlick and Eyssimont. I've already profiled both Pitlick and Eyssimont, and while I think they're probably a tad high here, both are definitely worthy of being drated.

73. Josh Anderson

74. Cliff Pu

Pu has drawn a lot of hype, especially since the Memorial Cup, because of his size and great skating. I think Button's ranking is more accurate however than people putting him late-first/early-second because I just don't think there's much else to his game besides that pretty skating.

75. Frederic Allard

76. Jack Walker

This is the same Jack Walker that played at Edina many years ago before leaving for the WHL and now in his final year of draft eligibility.

77. Ryan Lindgren

78. Victor Mete

I have a tough time imagining two smart defensemen that can skate as well as Lindgren and Mete do lasting this long into the Draft.

79. Tarmo Reunanen

80. Evan Fitzpatrick

81. Kyle Maksimovich

82. Nathan Bastian

83. Ty Ronning

84. Libor Hajek

I've seen a few people throwing Hajek into that mix of guys that could go late in the first round. I can understand some of the concerns about his ability with the puck on his stick, but like Lindgren and Mete, I still can't see a guy with his skating ability belonging this low on the list.

85. Dylan Gambrell

86. Filip Hronek

87. Brandon Gignac

88. Dylan Wells

89. Linus Lindstrom

90. Linus Weissbach

91. Chad Krys

This is quite a drop for Krys, who started the year ranked in the first round, but at this point, I don't think I can argue with it.

92. Will Lockwood

93. Andrew Peeke

94. Dmitry Sokolov

95. Otto Makinen

96. Jesper Bratt

97. Jeremy Davies

Davies is a Northeastern commit that hasn't drawn a lot of attention, but had a very nice year. Nice to see him getting some mention here.

98. Tanner Kaspick

99. Jacob Cederholm

100. Joey Anderson

Joey Anderson this low is one that feels crazy to me. He was overshadowed by Keller and Bellows--who wouldn't?--but he was really, really good in his own right. I think he's closer to the first round than he is to the triple digits.