Here are the lastest consensus rankings (gathered from five different sources) for the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. Although the Sharks do not have a first round pick, we will continue our tradition of previewing a few players each month leading up to the draft. Click here for the preliminary 2016 draft rankings.
November Consensus Rankings
The top five is forming a clear tier above the rest. Auston Matthews, Jakob Chychrun, Jesse Puljujarvi, Matthew Tkachuk, and Patrik Laine stand out from the crowd. They are all having good seasons so far in various leagues around the world. These players will be the crown jewels of the new lottery system, which the Sharks will almost certainly not be apart of. Nevertheless, here is some information on a few 2016 draft prospects.
C Auston Matthews, Zurich (NLA)
The projected number one pick in 2016, Matthews has not missed a beat in his transition to Switzerland. An unconventional route for most draft prospects, Matthews is living in Switzerland, making a ton of money, and playing against men in his draft year. He leads his team in goals with 10, and is first in points per game as well. He is currently out of the lineup with an upper body injury, but should return soon. Matthews has a near-generational combination of size, speed, and scoring ability. He has dominated his peers and plays a strong two-way game as well. His overall game is clearly the best in this draft class.
RW Jesse Puljujarvi, Karpat (Liiga)
Puljujarvi is another player who has been on most people's radars for years. He is likely the best goal scorer in this draft, plain and simple. A big, powerful winger, Puljujarvi was one of Finland's best players as a 16 year old in last years World Junior Championship. He is not off to the greatest start with Karpat in the Liiga, a notoriously difficult league for young players to pile up points. Still, his physical tools and impressive skill set have him in the top-3 discussion in 2016.
D Jakob Chychrun, Sarnia (OHL)
Chychrun is often described as a "man child". One of the most physically dominant 17 year old hockey players on the planet, Chychrun is anchoring a rejuvenated Sarnia Sting team, and he's doing a fine job. He plays a very fast game, possessing elite offensive and defensive abilities. A terrific skater with a hard shot, Chychrun's game has few holes. He has the potential to be a franchise #1 defenseman.
LW Matthew Tkachuk, London (OHL)
Son of former NHLer/Hall of Fame forward Keith Tkachuk, Matthew is having a monster year so far with the London Knights. He leads the team with 34 points in 18 games. London is stacked with 2015 first round pick Mitch Marner, some fellow 2016 first round prospects such as Olli Juolevi and Max Jones. A long playoff run and Memorial Cup visit could be in store. Tkachuk is a complete winger who isn't afraid to get involved in the corners and lay the body. His pure offensive skill and power forward type game make him one of the most desirable prospects in this years draft.