Mike McLeod, Mikhail Sergachyev highlight latest NHL draft rankings

Thursday November 12th, 2015

Franchise center Auston Matthews and top-pairing blueliner Jakob Chychrun continue to hold down the top two spots in the latest 2016 NHL draft rankings issued by the independent North American Central Scouting service, but there’s plenty of intrigue further down the list.

Asked to name a player who has made the most progress since the start of the season, NACS chief scout Mark Seidel pointed to Windsor Spitfires defenseman Mikhail Sergachyev. “I like him better now than I did Ivan Provorov [who went seventh overall to Philadelphia] this time last year,” Seidel said of the 6' 3", 207-pound left-shooting blueliner, who is currently ranked ninth. “He does everything well. He’s so smooth with the puck, he’s incredibly poised and he has some real nastiness in game. Every time I see him, he really stands out.”

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​Seidel also had high praise for Missisauga center Mike McLeod. “We probably have higher than most,” he said of the sixth-ranked skater. “Big kid, loves to create offense. The knock on him coming in was that he was a perimeter guy who relied on his speed and skill. Maybe we were wrong about him, because he goes in all the dirty areas. He's not afraid to stick his nose in there. The kid’s fearless.”

Fourth-rated skater Matthew Tkachuk of the London Knights has lived up to the hype that preceded his OHL rookie season. “That transition from [the US National Team Development Program] can take a bit of time but right from get-go he's been unreal,” Seidel said. “He’s created so much more than his numbers suggest ... if his teammates were finishing more of the plays he’s creating, he’d be putting up three or four points most nights.

“He’s got the whole game, but what he doesn’t have is the nastiness of his dad. He’s not soft by any stretch, but you’d expect the son of Keith Tkachuk to intimidate. But he’s so talented, and has such good finishing skills, much better than his dad (ex-NHLer Keith).”

Seidel also is a big believer in Erie Otters right wing Alex Debrincat. “The knock on him last year was that he's too small (5' 7," 165 pounds) or that anybody could score playing with Connor McDavid, but McDavid’s gone and here he is leading the league with 25 goals.

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​“I’m not saying he’s Brett Hull, but he has that same ability to make himself invisible for second or two, find those seams and when he gets a chance to finish, he does.”

Among the players whose stock is dropping is Sean Day. The Mississauga defender is rated 36th.

“He’s an interesting kid,” Seidel said. “He has all the physical talent in world. He’s easily the best skater I’ve seen since Jay Bouwmeester. And he’s so big, he’s like a linebacker on skates.

“But there’s a lack of urgency in his game that has some teams wondering, does he want to be a player? He’s like the Josh Ho-Sang of this draft. Some teams rate him in the first round because of his potential and others wouldn’t take him if he was available with the last pick in the draft. He’s a very polarizing player.”

It’s been a disappointing run for Day, who in 2013 became just the fourth player—following John Tavares, Aaron Ekblad and Connor McDavid—to be granted exceptional player status by Hockey Canada and allowed early entry into the OHL at 15. That extra year in juniors might not have been the best thing for his draft stock.

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“He’s just 17 but we’ve watched him forever, so we tend to pick him apart,” Seidel admitted. “If he was some kid from Croatia who just came over here, we’d be focusing on the good things.

“The talent is there to be a top-five pick. He just has to show he’s willing to play hard.”

Seidel also pointed at Sudbury winger Dmitry Sokolov (61st) as an early disappointment. “Last year at the U-17 [tournament] in Sarnia, he was probably the best player in the entire tournament. He was just unreal. His start in Sudbury though has been awful. He put on about 30 pounds, and his skating was not that great to begin with. But you know, he’s come over from Russia and it can take some time to adjust, so you have to give him a longer leash.”

Here’s a look at NACS’s top-30 prospects:

North American Central Scouting NHL Draft List as of November 1/2015

Rank/Name Birthdate Team League Pos. Hgt. Wgt.

1. Auston Matthews

Sep 17/97

Zurich ZSC

Swiss

LC

6' 2"

197

2. Jakob Chychrun

Mar 31/98

Sarnia

OHL

LD

6' 3"

214

3. Jesse Pulijarvi

May 7/98

Karpat

FinE

RW

6' 3"

201

4. Matthew Tkachuk

Dec 11/97

London

OHL

LW

6' 2"

195

5. Max Jones

Feb 17/98

London

OHL

LW

6' 3"

208

6. Mike McLeod

Feb 3/98

Mississauga

OHL

RC

6' 3"

190

7. Patrik Laine

Apr 19/98

Tappara

FinE

RW

6' 4"

210

8. Julien Gauthier

Oct 15/97

Val D'or

QMJHL

RW

6' 4"

223

9. Mikhail Sergachyev

Jun 25/98

Windsor

OHL

LD

6' 3"

207

10. Dante Fabbro

Jun 20/98

Penticton

BCHL

RD

6' 

192

11. Kieffer Bellows

Jun 10/98

US-U18

NDTP

LW

6'

188

12. Tyler Benson

Mar 15/98

Vancouver

WHL

LW

6'

200

13. Alexander Nylander

Mar 2/98

Mississauga

OHL

RC

6' 1"

177

14. Otto Makinen

May 21/98

Tappara

FinJrA

LC

6' 1"

182

15. Logan Brown

Mar 05/98

Windsor

OHL

LC

6' 6"

224

16. Clayton Keller

Jul 29/98

US-U18

NDTP

LC

5' 10"

176

17. Olli Joulevi

May 5/98

London

OHL

LD

6' 3"

180

18. Tyson Jost

Mar 14/98

Penticton

BCHL

LC

5' 11"

191

19. William Knierim

Jan 22/98

Dubuque

USHL

RW

6' 3"

210

20. Pierre Luc Dubois

Jun 24/98

Cape Breton

QMJHL

LW

6' 3"

200

21. German Rubstov

Jun 27/98

Rus MHL 98s

RusJr

LC

6' 2"

178

22. Charles McAvoy

Dec 21/97

Boston U

NCAA

RD

6'

205

23. Kale Clague

Jun 5/98

Brandon

WHL

LC

6'

177

24. William Bitten

Jul 10/98

Flint

OHL

RC

5' 10"

175

25. Carl Grundstrom

Dec 1/97

Modo

SweJE

RW/L

5' 11"

190

26. Vojtech Budik

Jan 29/98

Prince Albert

WHL

LD

6' 1"

190

27. Jacob Cedarholm

Jan 30/98

HV71

SweJr

RD

6' 3"

189

28. Jordan Kyrou

May 05/98

Sarnia

OHL

RC

6'

180

29. Alex Debrincat

Dec 18/97

Erie

OHL

RW

5' 7"

165

30. Tim Gettinger

Apr 14/98

Sault St. Marie

OHL

LW

6' 5"

205

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