The 2016 NHL Entry Draft inches closer as we enter the new year. Here is the fourth edition of our consensus rankings. Past: Preliminary | November | December
January Consensus Rankings
Historic World Junior Championship performances have moved Jesse Puljujarvi and Patrik Laine to the #2 and #3 spots, respectively. Puljujarvi was named MVP of the tournament, while Laine was tied for first in goals with Auston Matthews. The Finn forwards led their country to a Gold Medal in front of the home crowd in Helsinki.
C Michael McLeod, Mississauga (OHL)
Teammate of offensive dynamo Alexander Nylander with the Steelheads, McLeod brings a slightly different style to his game. He has drawn some comparisons to Sharks forward Logan Couture, in that he possesses an elite all-around game. McLeod plays the game with a lot of speed and great puck control. His skating is one of his best assets. He can be relied upon to take a key defensive zone faceoff in a crucial moment of the game, and also will be on the ice when his team needs a goal. McLeod possesses all the tools to be a top-6 center in the NHL.
D Mikhail Sergachev, Windsor (OHL)
Sergachev is a defenseman who has been steadily increasing his stock all season. His transition to North American ice has been nearly flawless in his first year in the OHL after coming over from Russia. Sergachev can be defined as an outstanding all around defenseman. He plays well in all three zones, makes quick decisions, oozes skill and confidence, and has the ability to dominate a game. Sergachev is currently the #2 ranked defenseman in the 2016 draft behind Jakob Chychrun. He will likely be a top-10 pick come June.
C German Rubtsov, Team Russia U18 (MHL)
The opposite of what you think of when someone says "Russian forward", Rubtsov is one of the best two-way players in this draft. He is one of the younger players in this draft but already has an impressive combination of size and mobility. Rubtsov is the type of player that is a coach's dream. He is a natural born leader and is not afraid to throw his body around. His stock is somewhat lower due to him playing in Russia, but don't be surprised if he ends up being a steal wherever he is selected.
LW Max Jones, London (OHL)
Jones is definitely an intriguing, controversial prospect. He is a skilled power forward who plays the game with some attitude. He will frequently get under his opponent's skin, often taking it too far and putting his team on the penalty kill. The physical tools are there, and if he puts it all together he has the potential to be a star. It's the toolbox that is lacking. Jones does not think the game as well as most other prospects vying for a top-10 selection. He is more of a shooter than a passer, and scouts question how well his playmaking will translate to the next level.