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5/18/2016 5:48 pm  #1

2016 CHL 2nd Round Mock Draft

23. Vancouver Canucks
RW Vitalii Abramov (Gatineau Olympiques, QMJHL): Abramov is a superior stickhandler with electrifying moves and edge work he clearly spends countless hours perfecting. He’s listed at 5’9, but his puck control and skating ability allow him to target and attack bigger opponents with extreme confidence. And not every move up ice involves a dangle or spin-o-rama — he will take direct routes with speed straight to the cage.
24. Detroit Red Wings
LW Alex DeBrincat (Erie Otters, OHL): This diminutive winger is far too explosive to ignore early in the second round, and he’s made a strong case for being a best-player-available type even sooner. DeBrincat crushed the OHL for the second straight year to a tune of 51 goals — 38 at even strength or shorthanded — and 101 points. But there’s far more to his game than just offense — he’s a tireless worker who competes every shift and will battle for (and win) positioning against any player, regardless of size. Not only does he possess the softest hands of any draft-eligible peer, but he plays a disciplined game to boot.
25. Florida Panthers
G Carter Hart (Everett Silvertips, WHL): The Panthers like to take big swings with their top picks, but the writing is on the wall after their postseason– if you’re going to run an up-tempo offense, you need a low-maintenance goalie to preserve leads. Hart, who won the WHL’s Goaltender of the Year award, is still a few years away, but he’s technically superior to any netminder in this class. He’s a classic butterfly goalie with good net awareness but even better tracking ability and his size (6’1) shouldn’t be a problem at higher levels.
26. Philadelphia Flyers
C Rasmus Asplund (Farjestad BK, SHL): Dependable two-way center with very good speed and a willingness to get dirty. He’s a bit of a pest and uses his quickness to hound defenders on the fore-check. A workhorse with a good wrist shot, Asplund has two full SHL seasons under his belt, so he’ll be in the CHL sooner than the majority of his draft peers. He can also contribute in the dot — he won over 65% of his combined draws for Team Sweden and 50% against older SHL competition.
27. Philadelphia Flyers (via Washington Capitals)
C Sam Steel (Regina Pats, WHL): Steel is a power play specialist who played a big role in Regina’s playoff push, scoring points in 10 of 12 games. He finished the season on a tear to help his draft stock, but he convinced us well before that he was a first-round talent. Fast and elusive with a very good shot and quick release, Steel is a pivot to be used in any situation, and he’s a constant threat from anywhere on the ice.
28. Chicago Blackhawks (via St. Louis Blues)
C/W Brett Howden (Moose Jaw Warriors, WHL): A crafty yet undervalued two-way center with excellent vision, Howden’s point totals would be way higher had he not taken a back seat to Moose Jaw star vets like Brayden Point and Dryden Hunt. He can also play wing, kill penalties, and has absolutely no problem running a power play. Howden isn’t as fast as brother Quinton (25th overall in 2010), but he makes up for it with smart positioning, a soft touch and strong all-aroung hockey sense.
29. Anaheim Ducks
C/LW Tyler Benson (Vancouver Giants, WHL): A cyst removal followed by a groin injury limited this fierce competitor to less than half a season. But when Benson played, he certainly lived up to his pre-draft standing as one of Western Canada’s top prospects. The trips to sick call bumped him down from a likely lottery selection, but all reports indicate he’s ready for June’s draft combine, where his elasticity and leg drive will be looked at with extreme interest. A mature lad with leadership qualities, Benson is an excellent finisher and an all-around offensive force who like to play physical.
30. Colorado Avalanche
LHD Libor Hajek (Saskatoon Blades, WHL): Underappreciated blueline stalwart who (all things considered) did a stellar job helping a rebuilding Saskatoon club from getting steamrolled every night. Big, quick and consistently sound with his positioning, Hajek is an excellent option for a top-pairing support role. He doesn’t have the best shot in the world, but more times than not he’ll can make plays out of nothing.
31. Detroit Red Wings (via Chicago Blachhawks)
LHD Cam Dineen (North Bay Battalion, OHL): The talk around draft circles is the first three defensemen picked in 2016 will not only come out of the OHL, but could all be top-10 picks. But history’s shown us that being a high-profile pick doesn’t guarantee a thing, which is why drafting a sound puck mover like Dineen after Day One’s fireworks could end up as one shrewd move for the Leafs. The Toms River, NJ native bested all his OHL peers in scoring with 59 points in 68 games while used in all situations. He’s not big or overly physical, but he’s silky-smooth with the puck and maintained his consistency even after opposing coaches realized how big of a three-zone threat he was.
32. Toronto Maple Leafs
LW Givani Smith (Guelph Storm, OHL): The Leafs could use a security blanket for both their forward prospect depth so drafting this freight train of goal scorer should yield results in bunches. Smith had the misfortune of playing for a doormat, but he was the team’s second-leading goal scorer and led the OHL with 146 penalty minutes. An excellent skater with the power of a bulldozer, the chiseled winger is a menace around the net and has good enough hands to bury the gimme chances.
33. Colorado Avalanche (via Winnipeg Jets)
LW/RW Boris Katchouk (Sault Ste Marie, OHL): Katchouk has the reputation as being one of this draft’s hardest workers, and it doesn’t take long into a game to realize it. His instant energy from shift to shift can be both infectious and momentum-swinging, and it’s rare to see a prospect seemingly enjoy working hard all the time. But make no mistake — this kid is no grinder. Katchouk was tasked with top-six minutes in all situations, and delivered with 24 goals in 63 games and a spot on Team Canada’s U18 squad in April.
34. Buffalo Sabres (via New York Rangers)
C Will Bitten (Flint Firebirds, OHL):  We can almost guarantee he’ll become a fan favorite. He’s a fast playmaker with a team-first mentality who took control of a crumbling off-ice situation in Flint, leading his Firebirds in both goals and assists, and playing an all-around game. Bitten is extremely slippery and shifty, and he combines excellent vision with sound instincts to make the most out of his shifts. More impressive is that he maintained his level of play as he ran the gauntlet of the high-profile pre-draft events.
35. New Jersy Devils (via Montreal Canadians)  
C/LW Noah Gregor (Moose Jaw Warriors, WHL): Gregor is a three-zone roadrunner who screams sleeper, as he bounced back from an injury-plagued rookie season to distinguish himself among Moose Jaw’s forest of elite forwards. He is easily at or near the top of a very talented group of draft-eligible penalty killers, but what makes him worthy of a significant leap-frog is his versatility. Gregor is ridiculously skilled, making plays at high speed and taking advantage of his linemates’ strengths.
36. New Jersey Devils
LW Adam Mascherin (Kitchener Rangers, OHL): This power forward’s overall numbers are impressive — only Matt Tkachuk (107) and Alex DeBrincat (101) had more points than Mascherin (81) among OHL first-year eligibles. Short but solid (5’9, 200), he’s an excellent playmaker and stickhandler who makes up for a lack of overall foot speed with patience and man strength. The poor kid has issues accelerating, but again, his lethal shot and vision make him too good a prospect to pass on.
37. San Jose Sharks
RW Carl Grundstrom (Frolunda, SHL): Everyone knows the Sharks have a tremendous collection of firepower within their organization. But it doesn’t hurt to add the responsible types, which is exactly the category Grundstrom falls under. Quick and relentless on the forecheck, he’s made a name for himself by combining his speed with assertiveness — he was one of the SHL’s top hitters. Grundstrom’s proclivity for forcing turnovers yields a high amount of shot opportunities for both him and his linemates. His ability to make smart, accurate passes within tight quarters is what separates him from your run-of-the-mill sandpaper types.
38. Calgary Flames (via Dallas Stars)
LHD Samuel Girard (Shawinigan Cataractes, QMJHL): The Stars  organization could use a power play quarterback, so we recommend nabbing the best one from this draft class. Girard is neither physical nor big (5’9), but boy can he slide and glide with the puck. He’s not a classic end-to-end burner, but his footwork and lateral mobility is top notch. Nobody walks the line and hits his teammates on the tape like Girard, who makes up for his size disadvantage with smart, subtle plays to evade pressure.
39. Detroit Red Wings (via Los Angeles Kings)
C Cam Morrison (Youngstown Phantoms, USHL): You might as well start calling him Mr. Touchdown, because watching this South Bend-bound monster on the ice is reminiscent of a bruising tight end who always finds the end zone. Morrison was named the USHL’s top rookie after winning the OJHL Rookie of the Year in 2015. He’s a classic power forward with a strong desire to get to the net and position himself to receive the puck in optimal scoring areas. Morrison, who boasts a heavy, accurate shot, plays like a bull in a china shop, but it’s generally done while under control and with his head up at all times.
40. Calgary Flames
RHD Adam Fox (U.S. NTDP):  This dynamic playmaker was named top defenseman at the 2016 U18 worlds. Fox set the single-season NTDP scoring mark for defensemen with 59 points and basically took the No. 1 role away from Chad Krys. Graceful and extremely creative, he’s headed to Harvard in the fall, so being an Ivy Leaguer may mean he’ll be there for a while. Still, his view of the ice is already pro-level, and he’d give the Av’s yet another offensive weapon.
41. Boston Bruins
LW Riley Tufte (Fargo Force, USHL): Don’t bank of Tufte going this low — many see him as a surefire first round pick thanks to his freakish combination of size (6’5) and skill. Tufte was the top pick in the 2014 USHL Futures Draft, and then won the state of Minnesota’s famed “Mr. Hockey” award after starring for Blaine High School this season. He didn’t have the best season for Fargo, but you can see how big of a home run he’d be if all things pan out. Tufte is an excellent skater for a big man and his goal-scoring acumen is reminiscent of a young John Leclair from his Vermont days. His decision to quit the USHL and head back to high school still doesn’t sit well with us, but who are we to stop the young man from making life choices.
42. Detroit Red Wings
RW Taylor Raddysh (Erie Otters, OHL): Goal-scoring power forward with an CHL-ready build who may be a bit undervalued playing alongside Erie’s notable talent the last two seasons. He was able to rack up assists playing on the Otters’ top line with Dylan Strome and Alex DeBrincat, but keep in mind that his speed and tenacity on the forecheck created scoring opportunities without the benefit of getting his name of the scoresheet. Raddysh is a very good skater with good closing speed, which he combines with a long reach to force turnovers.
43. Winnipeg Jets (via Edmonton Oilers)
LW Jonathan Dahlen (Timra, Allsvenskan): Predatory winger with an excellent touch around the net, much like his father Ulf who played over a dozen CHL seasons as a grind-it-out power foward. Jonathan’s game differs from his father’s in that he’s a bit quicker and more flashy but not nearly as physical. He had an outstanding season for Timra, with solid showings at both the U18 Hlinka and U19 Five Nations.
44. Winnipeg Jets (via Carolina Hurricnaes)
LHD Kale Clague (Brandon Wheat Kings, WHL): A wiry two-way blueliner with quickness and an exceptional understanding of his position, Clague had a strong enough second half to finish among the WHL’s top scoring draft-eligible rearguards. Even more impressive is that he did so without the benefit of logging big minutes, as he took a back seat to older prospects Ivan Provorov and Macoy Erkamps. The Wheaties may be a stacked team, but there were periods when Clague was the back end’s calming presense, which in our view says a lot about his upside. He can break out with hard, accurate stretch passes or a smooth, calculated rush up ice.


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