Disclaimer: It will be years before we can determine if each pick was a success or not. Everything here is based off what we believe the day after the draft.
The following is a bulleted list of our thoughts on the first round of the 2016 NHL Draft.
- Toronto gets their franchise player. Auston Matthews was the consensus #1 pick for most of the past few years. The Maple Leafs, in the midst of a rebuild, pick up the most important piece- a franchise #1 center. They've got a deep prospect pool with multiple potential star players, a great coach, and seemingly capable management. Toronto has a bright future.
- How about Columbus picking Pierre-Luc Dubois at #3 over Jesse Puljujarvi? It was rumored for a while that Columbus was looking for a center and willing to trade the pick, but no one thought they would stay at #3 and draft Dubois. Bold move, that may or may not backfire in the future. Nevertheless, it looks like they'll play Dubois at center, and he's a fantastic prospect in his own right.
- Edmonton was extremely fortunate/lucky to draft Jesse Puljujarvi at #4. It looked like they were destined to take Matthew Tkachuk; but then walked away with the consensus #3 player in the draft. McDavid-Puljujarvi could be a lethal combo. Now they just need to trade a Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or another one of their top-6 forwards for some defense. We've seen the Oilers get some high-end forwards for years now but it's time to improve the blueline.
- Columbus taking Dubois threw a wrench in the top-9 picks. Vancouver opted to go defense in Olli Juolevi over winger Matthew Tkachuk. I understand that they need D more than wingers, but don't think any defenseman this year is worthy of a top-5 selection. Maybe Juolevi proves me wrong. Calgary had Matthew Tkachuk drop right into their laps, and their forward group becomes even more well-rounded and dangerous. Arizona went high skill and upside center Clayton Keller, and then Buffalo took Alex Nylander. Mikhail Sergachev, the best defenseman in this draft in my opinion, went to Montreal at 9.
- As a Sharks fan, I'm not too thrilled with the top-end forwards that just joined the Pacific Division. Jesse Puljujarvi, Matthew Tkachuk, and Clayton Keller are fantastic prospects and if they pan out, could terrorize San Jose for a long time.
- I love Tyson Jost to Colorado at #10. I don't like Michael McLeod to New Jersey at #12.
- Good to see Arizona's new GM John Chayka, the youngest in NHL history, make some noise in his first draft. After selecting Keller, Chayka traded up for Jakob Chychrun, taking on Pavel Datsyuk's contract in the process. He may have overpaid, but if they were that high on Chychrun then they believe it will be worth it. They add Keller to their already elite group of young forwards and then adding Chychrun gives them a quality defensive prospect. The work is far from over, but Arizona is quickly turning into one of the better up-and-coming teams in the league.
- Detroit looks to be clearing room for Steven Stamkos. They do need a superstar talent, and at this point I think Stamkos leaves Tampa. Yzerman did not sound confident when asked about negotiations during the draft.
- Nashville adds Dante Fabbro, whose favorite team was the Predators and favorite player Shea Weber. Perfect match.
- Do not like Winnipeg trading up and losing a second round pick to select Logan Stanley at #18. Brutal pick. Those types of players rarely pan out.
- Another quietly solid draft for the Islanders. They got Mathew Barzal as a faller last year and select Kieffer Bellows who was sliding this year. Excellent pick at #19.
- Gotta love what Philadelphia has done in the last few years. They traded down while adding a second and still got a top-20 prospect in German Rubtsov. Between Travis Sanheim, Ivan Provorov, Travis Konecny, and now Rubtsov, the Flyers look to be in great shape going forward. A top defensive pool and some impressive forwards.
- Not much else excitement. This draft was kind of a letdown for me. The Sharks were silent and didn't have a first round pick. After seeing the results, I believe this is one of the weaker first rounds in recent years. The top guys are good, but after that it's a bit below-average.
- There are some very interesting names left as we prepare for Day 2 and Rounds 2-7. Some guys I expect to go early in the second, and wouldn't mind if Doug Wilson traded up for, are Vitaly Abramov, William Bitten, Rasmus Asplund, and Pascal Laberge. There are still a lot of good players left and very little separation between picks 26-60. I don't think anyone would have batted an eye if Trent Frederic went in the late second or early third. There are gems on the board, it's up to Wilson and co. to find them.
- I'm excited to see who the Sharks will be adding to their organization today!