NHL draft 2016: Dreams will be made this weekend


Every year, the NHL Entry Draft becomes more diverse. At the
1979 NHL entry draft 126 players were drafted and 111 of them (88%) were Canadian. At last year’s draft only 37.8% (80) of the 211 players drafted hailed from Canada. The NHL has changed a lot in 26 years, and for kids growing up in Canada the dream of getting drafted, and then playing in the NHL, is becoming harder by the day.

Getting drafted is a huge honour, and whether you are drafted
in the first round tonight or in the seventh round on Saturday, the young men and
their families should take a few days to celebrate a wonderful accomplishment.

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This weekend players should focus on all the hard work and
commitment it took to get them here. There will be a lot of time to worry
about the next steps needed to become an NHL player, but they should take a moment to enjoy this
important first step.

Based on a CBC report from 2014, there is approximately 48,000 seventeen year-old boys playing organized hockey. So the 80 who were drafted make up 0.0016% of the boys playing. Being drafted is an incredible achievement. Congratulations in advance to all the players worldwide who will hear their name called today and tomorrow.

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I have watched many of the Edmonton and area 1998 born kids
since they were in bantam AAA, and a few of them even earlier, because I went
to many of my nephew’s games. I’ve never done a draft rankings because I don’t
feel comfortable ranking players I’ve never seen play live. You can
only glean so much from watching games on line, and often the camera angles and
feeds don’t let you see enough of the game.

I won’t do a draft ranking, but here are my thoughts on some of the Edmonton and area
players who could have their name called this weekend in Buffalo.

Tyson Jost

He’ll be the first local player drafted. He could crack the top-ten,
but if not he won’t be waiting long to hear his name tonight. He played minor
hockey in Fort Saskatchewan, but he played bantam, midget and junior in
BC. He’s improved every
year since he was thirteen. He lit up the BCHL this season, scoring 104 points in 48 games. He was the captain for
Canada at the U18 tournament this past April, and he proved not playing major junior
didn’t hurt him at all. He is dynamic offensively, but also very solid
defensively. He is hard to knock off the puck and he’s always moving his feet.
He is going to the NCAA, but I will be surprised if he stays the full four
seasons. I could see him turning pro after one or two years in college.

I’d be very
surprised if he doesn’t play in the NHL.

                                                 GP G-A-PTS  PIM
Penticton Vees

Penticton Vees

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Tyler Benson

Benson dominated Bantam AAA playing for the South Side Athletic Club (SSAC). He broke the league scoring record and he was a
physical force at 14 years old. I’d say he is the safest bet to become a
regular NHL player. He has an outstanding work ethic, and he’s very consistent.
I don’t see him as a high-end offensive player though. Unfortunately, some
circumstances out of his control have placed some unrealistic expectations on

Some saw
his stat line in bantam, 57-89-146 in 33 games, and felt he was worthy of playing in the WHL at 15. Thankfully
his family is very grounded and his parents didn’t apply for special status. He
debuted in the WHL at 16 and had a solid rookie season.

In Vancouver, his owner made a few ridiculous claims about
being a generational player and they handed him the captaincy at 17. None of
this phased Benson. He is an incredibly level-headed young man, and teammates and
opponents speak very highly of him.

I don’t see him as a high-end offensive player in the NHL, but he has good vision, an incredible
work ethic and he is solid in both ends of the ice. He is strong on his skates, and a good, but not great, skater. Injuries have
lowered his draft ranking, but in my eyes they (injuries) are the only thing that might
hold him back from having a solid NHL career.

He will be drafted late in the first round or early in the second round.

                                                    GP G-A-PTS  PIM
Vancouver Giants
Vancouver Giants

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Sam Steele

I first saw Steele in atom. He wore a gold and blue helmet
playing for Strathcona/Ardrossan and I watched him battle the Beaumont Braves in atom and peewee, and then in bantam and midget AAA he played for Sherwood
Park. Steele has always been a dynamic offensive player. He always had the puck
and it helped him hone his skills.

He’s had two productive seasons with the Regina Pats in the
WHL. He has top-six skill. He’s an excellent passer, stickhandler, with very
good instincts down low in the offensive zone and is a good skater. He’s quite
competitive, which he’ll need due to his small frame. He needs to get stronger,
and he if can improve his shot he’ll be much more of an offensive threat. Look
for him to score 90-100 points in the WHL next season.

He is ranked between #30-#55, depending on which ranking you read, and he is likely to hear his name called in the second round.
                                           GP G-A-PTS  PIM
Regina Pats
Regina Pats

Carter Hart

He’s one of the top-three ranked goalies in the draft. He played one year of Bantam AAA in Fort Saskatchewan and the next year in Sherwood Park. He wasn’t the dominant goalie in the league in bantam, but he’s improved every year and he grew, now standing 6’1″. He is one of the youngest players in this year’s draft, turning 18 on August 13th.

The goaltending position is bordering on a height bias. If a goalie isn’t at least 6’1″ their chances of playing in the NHL are shrinking yearly. Hart’s instincts, rebound control and fundamentals are excellent. It must be frustrating to be a goalie nowadays if you aren’t tall. Smaller forwards and defencemen have always had to battle the size concerns, but the NHL has openings for smaller, skilled players. It seems the goalie position is the one hit hardest by height.

Hart is rated to go in the second round and he should look at the success of Jonathan Quick if he has any concerns about height.

                                                  GP  MIN  GAA  W-L-OTL  SV%
Everett Silvertips
30 1648 
Everett Silvertips
63 3693 

Josh Mahura

He only played two regular season games this year due a knee injury early in the season, but he played in the playoffs and the Memorial Cup with the Red Deer Rebels. He’s expected to be selected late in the second, or most likely in the third round, and is a promising young defender.

He played bantam AAA in St. Albert, but played midget in Okanagan. He has a good, hard shot, skates well and he has a lot of room to physically mature. It is a testament to his ability that he’ll be drafted in the top 100 despite missing 70 regular season games. He was invited to the NHL combine even though the scouts had limited viewings of him this year.

                                                  GP G-A-PTS  PIM
Red Deer Rebels
Red Deer Rebels

Brayden Burke

He wasn’t drafted last season, likely due to his size and being injured, but
he got the scouts’ attention this year. He had an outstanding season in
Lethbridge, scoring 109 points in 72 games. He is so dynamic offensively teams would be foolish
not to draft him. We are seeing an increase in smaller, skilled players in the
NHL and Burke is exactly that. He’ll need to get stronger of course, all
players do, but he is a very good play maker and teams would be foolish to pass on the former Canadian Athletic Club (CAC) product.

He should hear his name between the fourth and sixth rounds.

                                                          GP G-A-PTS  PIM
Lethbridge Hurricanes
Lethbridge Hurricanes
27-82-109 36

David Quenneville

He is a dynamic offensive defenceman. He had 72 points in 32 games as a Dman for the SSAC club in bantam AAA. He moves the puck well, is a great skater and he’s competitive. His biggest challenge will be his size. He’s only 5’8″, but he’s hopeful he can add another inch or two. He’d be the third player in his family drafted since 2013. Older brothers Peter (seventh round to Columbus in 2013) and John (New Jersey Devils first round pick in 2014) have already been drafted.

It is amazing to have three brothers drafted. What a thrill for their parents. Skilled, puck moving defenders are a hot commodity in the NHL, and if he can grow a bit he’ll have a shot to make it. Tyler Spurgeon and Tyson Barrie are great examples of smaller defenders who can excel in the NHL.

                                                      GP G-A-PTS  PIM
Medicine Hat Tigers
Medicine Hat Tigers

Colby Sissons

Played bantam in Red Deer, but he played midget AAA in Edmonton for
MLAC (Maple Leafs Athletic Club). He is still very slender but has a lot of potential upside. He needs to
improve his leg strength, but he looks to be an ideal candidate to become a
late bloomer.

At 6’2 and 178 pounds he has a lot of room to fill out and he will. You can’t
change your DNA and some people just mature later, but he had a strong rookie
season with Swift Current and he looked better every game I watched. His size
and skating ability combined with his raw potential will likely see him being selected somewhere
in the 4th and 6th rounds.

                                                        GP G-A-PTS  PIM
Swift Current Broncos
Swift Current Broncos
71 3-19-22  

Nolan Volcan

He might go in the later rounds. He’s been one of my
favourite players to watch since bantam AAA. He has a similar build to Brad
Marchand, except he’s thicker. He’s not very tall, but he plays hard. I
remember watching him bowl over guys at Bill Hunter Arena will playing for MLAC.
He has decent hands, but he’d be a grinding, energy guy in the NHL.

                                                        GP G-A-PTS  PIM

Seattle Thunderbirds
Seattle Thunderbirds

Noah Gregor

Obviously I know his game the best. He was always one of the
smallest players on his team growing up, but he was the best skater. In his
first year in bantam AAA he was 5’3”. Luckily he had a massive growth spurt and
he measured 6’0” at the combine in May. He is 179 pounds now, but he will fill
out and be close to 190-95 when he is 20 or 21, just like his father. He is very
strong, especially his lower body. He squatted 385 pounds in reps of five last
summer. He’s an offensive player. He led midget AAA league in scoring as a 15 year
old, but he broke his clavicle (twice) in his rookie season in the WHL and only
played ten games.

He was a rookie in the WHL this year and totaled 73 points in 72 games. He has
an excellent snap shot, and skating is his best asset. He needs to become more
consistent. In his words, “I had too many shifts where I did nothing.” He is
lucky to have Tim Hunter as his coach in Moose Jaw. Hunter coaches an attacking
style and he encourages his players to make plays.

Hunter used him on both special teams units, and putting him on the PK midway
through the year made him more aware defensively. He played wing half of this
past season, but he’s a natural centre and Hunter plans to use him and his
roommate Brett Howden (rated to go in first round this year) there next year.

highly competitive, excellent on the PP as both a shooter and playmaker, and an outstanding skater. Once he learns to play fast more often he’ll become even more

He might sneak into the late second round, but he’s likely a third round selection.

                                                      GP G-A-PTS  PIM
Moose Jaw Warriors
Moose Jaw Warriors


Wrap Up Win 7

I’ve always enjoyed the draft, but this year it will be
extremely enjoyable. I know many of these players and I’ve met their
families. It will be a thrill to see so many kids rewarded for all their hard
work over the years. I haven’t cheered in the pressbox in 15 years, but Saturday afternoon I won’t have any problem cheering and clapping when Noah’s name is called. It will be a thrill for our entire family, and I’ll be happy to see him rewarded for all his hard work and dedication.

The next steps will be even more difficult, but this weekend will be just about watching him have a dreamed fulfilled.

Enjoy the draft.

The following players are all Vimy Hockey Academy Alumni, a proud partner of the Nation Network. Check them out at www.vimyedmonton.ca/hockey

  • Carter Hart – Goalie – Everett Silvertips
  • Tyler Benson – Forward – Vancouver Giants
  • Sam Steel – Forward – Regina Pats
  • David Quenneville – Defense – Medicine Hat Tigers

Recently by Jason Gregor:   

  • Justino

    I can feel it calling in the air tonight.. oh lord! and I’ve been waiting for this moment for all my life.. oh lord!
    Could today be the day we see a RH top defensman land in Edmonton? I really believe so. Nuge, Yak, and our 4th for Subban and Montreal’s 9th? I can dig it even if we have to pay alittle more

  • FireScorpion

    I wonder who the next unfortunate crop will be drafted into the Oiler organization.

    Edmonton Oilers – more effective at destroying teenage lives than pregnancy, drugs or alcohol

    • As oppose to… the Flames organization? Hey how is Jankowski working out? “Best player in the draft!”

      Follow up question, how is the goalie situation in Calgary looking?

      Follow up question, who is Glen Gulutzan? Is he a Jack Adams winner like the former coach who was fired one year after being named the best coach in the NHL?

      Follow up question, with the “best defence in the league,” why were the flames so terrible?

      Are you a little jealous of Conner McDavid?

      • FireScorpion

        Janko entering first year as pro. 21st overall hardly cries best player in draft. (Feaster’s remark foolish and literally no one else thought that, than or now)

        Goalie situation, Treliving is on it.

        Who is Gulutzan? Google is your friend. Guess we should have went for a name HC like MacLellan eh? That 29th place finish was outstanding.

        8th best in the league at shots allowed..Goaltending league worst should answer that.

        Jealous? Nah what for? Johnny Hockey still the best player in Western Canada (Not bad for a 4th rounder eh?)

        • 8th best in league at shots allowed? Ha! What a sad stat.

          From Flames Nation: The Flames finished 22nd overall in Score Adjusted Fenwick percentage (48.2%), and 27th overall in Corsi Against (56.8), and 27th overall in High Danger Scoring Chances Against…

          The Flames don’t allow shots on goal simply because Hartly plays a system with a lot of shot blocking, collapsing to the net, and lane clogging. The trade off being his team has and has had some of the worst possession metrics in the league.

          They get badly out shot, badly out played, and don’t have the puck much. Great they have a new coach, maybe he’ll turn systems around.

          However, if you’re willing to admit Fester made stupid comments, I don’t think you’ll find a single Oiler fan here who wasn;t happy with the previous front office. But now the Oilers have Nicholson, Chirelli, and McLellan. It’s a far cry from Lowe, Mac T, and Tambalinni.

          While I get it’s fun to troll, I think you just gotta see the writing on the wall and maybe admit to yourself this is not the same organization. And with a player like McDavid, it’s not going to be the same team.

          If you want to laugh at how badly an organization is run, I would suggest going over to Canucks Army, but the fans do not care about hockey so that site has almost zero commenters.

          • FireScorpion

            A far cry from MacT, Lowe, and Tambo indeed and yet, the results are the same even with the great Conner. The more things change, the more they stay the same it would appear

          • Yes, things were exactly the same. Except for the part about how the team had significant injuries to key players throughout the year. I mean, are you really going to discount the fact the Oilers did not even ONCE have all the following players on the ice at the same time: Hall, Nuge, Yak, Eberle, Pouliot, McDavid, Nurse, Draisaitl, Klefbom, Talbot, Maroon?

            The more things change is just untrue, because the Oilers never got to actually ice the new changed team at any one time last year.

            Nuge: 55 GP
            McDavid: 45 GP
            Klefbom: 30 GP
            Eberle: 69 GP
            Pouliot: 55 GP
            Maroon: 16 GP (as an Oiler)
            Yakupov: 60 GP
            Draisaitl: missed 10 games
            Nurse: missed 13 games
            Davidson: 51 GP

            But sure, things were totally the same.

            I’m cool with the trolling, but at least be honest with yourself. Don’t be THAT Calgary fan. Like that Lethbridge guy who just makes Flames fans look dumb.

            Oh, and by comparison the Flames most significant injury was to TJ Brodie who missed all of 12 games.

            Honestly, I’m surprised the Oilers didn’t finish lower given that type of devastation to key guys. Hell the Canadians suffered ONE major injury to only ONE key player and they plummeted. Imagine what SIX major injuries to six major players would do to a team.

            But the Flames had their ENTIRE team pretty much all year. The same team that beat the Canucks in the first round of the finals, PLUS the help of Hamilton AND Frolik. So I ask, what’s their excuse?

          • Sure, but don’t kid yourself into thinking one year prior the team had good goal tending.

            Last year in 52 games he had .918. That is only slightly above league average.

            This year he was below .900 but only played 22 games.

            Ramo last year played 34 with a .912, this year played 37 with a .909.

            As an Oiler fan I know it’s impossible to win with sub .900 goal tending. And I can admit that the Flames would have had a better season with better tending. Can you admit the Oilers would not have placed 29th without so many key injuries? Or you gonna just say Flames had an excuse, Oilers didn’t?

            My concern with the Flames’ goal tending is the defence got ‘better’ but the goal tending got worse? How does that happen?

            At any rate, if you wanna believe Flames are just a goal tender away, then all the best. If you want to believe the Flames are an organization better run than the Oilers, all the best. The simple fact is both the Oilers and the Flames have both only been as far as a cup final in the last 15 years. And since there are no banners or trophies for playoffs, I really don’t think debating something as arbitrary as who has the better / worse run organization is really gonna make either of us feel better about our respective teams.

            But maybe that’s the kind of thing you need for a boost. I don’t know.

          • Indeed. In standings, it’s low. But in points, they actually improved over last year. In wins they improved. In goals against they improved. So even with all the injuries, the team was better in points, wins, and goals against.

            Thus, there were other key areas outside of standings they could have done worse in.

          • HardBoiledOil 1.0

            completely glossing over the fact that the new management and coaches were left with a hell of a mess to clean up that couldn’t be fixed in just one season. are you sure you understand the hockey world?

    • IRONman

      Who’s Calgary got?? Oh ya the player Edmonton pick first


      Flames will never go anywhere. Always in the middle of the pack

      Oilers bottom to stock pile talent

      Today you will see the plan man

      • FireScorpion

        I think you meant,

        Oilers bottom because they blow.

        I guess we’ll see, BOLD moves right? I hope Chiarelli does something. This I want to see..personally I have a feeling he doesn’t have the sack and won’t trade 4th even though he should. Than we will get the press conference how the right deal wasn’t there. We will know in 6-7 hours

    • Keepyourstickontheice

      Not sure how you trolls do it, but pregnancy creates lives up here in Edmonton. Maybe you use the Flames go to method for everything else, pulling it out of your a$$.

  • I am Batman

    Congratulations to Jason Gregor and all your family for this weekend, it is when all the sacrifices pay their reward. 3 years ago a dear friend of mine was fortunate to get his nephew drafted first overall (Nate Mackinnon), the draft was huge for all his family (understandably so), but also for the other families of the other picks.

    Now to a couple of pressing issues:

    1. Is PK an Oiler already?

    2 Why is FireScorpion allowed to comment here? He is violating almost every single rule of the code as per the Nation’s rule book

  • #1 overall waivers pick

    We need Ariel Helwani to do some hockey reporting.

    He would tweet all the big trades before any official announcement.

    Fans would love him, managers would hate him.

  • Danoilerfanincalgary

    Responding to trolls is like adding wood to a fire. Don’t feed the trolls let them live in silence and obscurity do not respond. Oiler fans need to be bigger than that.

    • CMG30

      Not necessarily. A goodly number of trolls are simply the unpleasant people you would meet once and and never invite back to a party. On the internet you’re stuck with them.

      The sad reality is that you can ignore or engage but the troll will continue to be unpleasant because that’s the kind of person they are.

      The solution to this problem that the internet is coming to is real names to comments or going so far as to completely shut down commenting. IMHO, the Nation Network HAS gotten better since anonymous commenting ended but it still has a ways to go.


        I’m shocked that the trolls aren’t instantly banned from On and other sites. Moderators freak out at true fans comments now and then, yet they allow the trolls to insult us, try pissing us off and make comments for the sole purpose of causing a riot online. Where is the logic ON? Please explain.

  • usetobewise

    I watched Noah at the U18 and thought there is some understated potential in him. I think if the NHL had a 19 y.o draft instead he would be an early second rounder. He is a late bloomer and will be an absolute steal if he falls within the third round. He has a great work ethic and I’ll bet on that over pure skill all day long.

    • I’ve said it before that any trade involving Hall is not one CHi is going to win. But, it mught be a step to winning the overall war.

      Not many D men are going to be better than Hall straight up. But if CHi also lands Lucic. Well then I do think Lucic and whatever Hall returns is better than Hall.

      Sum of parts could equal win. No way in hell Chi ever wins the Hall trade in the minds of Oiler fans.

  • 99CupsofCoffey

    Remember last year when McDavid picked PK’s pocket like he was a blind man and raced down the ice and scored?

    Yeah, i don’t see PK being worth that much.

    Sure, he’s charismatic, funny, and a great offensive defenceman, but we need puck movers from our own zone.

  • Hockeyfan

    Sorry Oil fans, if any deal is done in oilerland a severe overpay is required. With Chia being absolutely desperate a one sided deal will get done. Don’t forget eggshell and nugget want out as well as Yak. No Subban for you, pure speculation. No Hamilton for you. Tell you what, wides + 6 for oil 4. Take it, he would be your best dman next year. or maybe pay Demers 6 mil. HAHAHA.

  • Brez10

    Definitely a day where dreams are realized but at the same time so many hearts are broken. Hopefully the ones that aren’t drafted continue to pursue their dreams and work their way up!

  • gongshow

    Not usually my thing to float dream trade scenarios, but this occurred to me this afternoon and it seems like a different approach than any I’ve read so far…

    With Benning hot and heavy for Subban as well, how about a 3 way deal that sends the 4th (guarantees PLD) to Habs, Oilers get Tanev and 5th and Canucks get Subban and 9th. Add whatever other pieces you need to make this work for the Habs.

    Does RHD Chris Tanev at $3M fit the bill for the Oil’s needs? Save $6M over PK, give up fewer assets, keep a high expansion draft protected prospect…

    Go Pete Go!

    Add Yak (Or other second tier Forward from the Oilers) to the deal and the trade looks more like this:
    Oil get Tanev and 5th,
    Canucks get Subban,
    Habs get 4th (Dubois), Yak and keep 9th pick.

    • Harry2

      The Canucks dont have anywhere near the assets to compete with Edm. Does anyone honestly think Van would part with the 5th overall Horvat Tanev and most likely Virtnanen aswell for Subban!? Not a chance and even if they were willing to part with their entire future its simply not enough for MTL to make the trade.

      More BS from a terrible GM in Jim Benning

    • pkam

      So at the end the Habs will trade away their #1D Subban, a top 10 defense in the league, for Yak and #4 overall.

      You think Bergevin will be this dumb?

      Even if Bergevin is dumb enough to trade away Subban for Yak and #4 overall, why do we need to involve the Canucks? Not saying Yak and #4 for Tanev and #5 is bad, but if we can get Subban, why would we want Tanev and #5? Is Chiarelli this dumb too?