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Photo Credit: Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports

The 6-10th overall picks from the 2016 NHL Draft

With the Oilers picking in the 8-hole on Friday night at NHL Draft, I thought it would be interesting to take a trip down memory lane and look at the players selected between 6-10 over the past few years to see if we can learn any lessons about what type of players gets picked around that slot. Today, our series takes us back to the 2016 NHL Draft.

It seems fitting that I’m going through the 2016 Draft today after further reports came out this morning that Jesse Puljujarvi wants out of Edmonton and might be willing to spend a year in Europe to make that happen. With the benefit of hindsight, it’s all kinds of interesting to see how that draft year played out. I remember being at our draft party and having the whole bar erupt in cheers as Puljujarvi made it past Columbus to the Oilers at fourth overall, thinking we had just stolen the money and gotten away with it. Now, here we are three years later and it looks like the Puljujarvi era is coming to an end already.

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#6 – Matthew Tkachuk – LW – Calgary Flames

Rookie Season (2016-17) – 76GP: 13G, 35A = 48 points
2018-19 Season w/ Calgary – 80GP: 34G, 43A = 77 points

Pre-Draft Scouting Report:

A multi-dimensional energy winger who plays a pro-style, adaptive game. Well-versed as a guy who can consistently put up points, but also as an agitator who plays with a little bit of bite and nastiness. Skates with excellent balance and speed, outclassing many in his age range. No lack of offensive instincts and knows how to score in many different ways. Confidence in his abilities and playing to the extent of his capabilities strengthens his work ethic and creativity. All-in-all, a unique and effective forward who defines his own limits and seeks to exceed them, along with all on-ice expectations.

I hate to say it because he’s an annoying turtle boy, but Matt Tkachuk is a hell of a hockey player and the fact that he’s a Calgary Flame makes it even worse. Not only can Tkachuk score, but the kid also hits, stirs shit up, and plays the game like a menace to society basically every time he’s on the ice.

#7 – Clayton Keller – C – Arizona Coyotes

Rookie Season (2017-18) – 82GP: 23G, 42A = 65 points
2018-19 Season w/ Arizona – 82GP: 14G, 33A = 47 points

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Pre-Draft Scouting Report:

Clayton Keller is an offense first forward who uses his high end skating and excellent puck control to be a dangerous player in the offensive zone. With exceptional on-ice vision, Keller has the ability to make defenders look foolish on a nightly basis with shifty dangles, a lethal wrist shot, and deadly accurate passing. He has excellent situational awareness which enables him to also play a sound two-way game and be used in all situations, including on the penalty kill. Diminutive in stature but not shy in traffic, Keller will need to grow into his body and show that he can withstand a long season against larger forwards before he can cement a job in the NHL.

After having a hell of a rookie season, Clayton Keller wasn’t quite able to match that same output in his sophomore year, but that’s not to say that he was some schlub out there either. I mean, the Oilers desperately need scoring up front and Keller’s 47 points would have landed him fourth in overall team scoring. Could last year be a case of a sophomore slump for the former seventh overall pick? We’ll get the answer to that question in a few short months, but I’m betting that young Keller will be able to bounce back.

#8 – Alex Nylander – RW – Buffalo Sabres

Rookie Season (NA)
2018-19 Season w/ Buffalo Sabres & Rochester Americans – AHL – 49GP: 12G, 19A = 31 points, NHL – 12GP: 2G, 2A = 4 points

Pre-Draft Scouting Report:

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Nylander’s game is all about skill. Blessed with exceptional hockey sense, technical skills and overall offensive awareness. Very creative and shifty player with speed and soft hands. Furthermore, he has a great release, a good scoring touch and the ability to do the unexpected with the puck. On the downside, there are some consistency issues and intensity could be better. Some room for improvement when it comes to his defensive game as well.

Like his brother, the book on Alex Nylander is that he has plenty of skill but still needs to work on consistency, which is not uncommon for a young player trying to make his way. Over the past three seasons, Nylander has had a cup of coffee with the Sabres before being returned to the AHL where he has yet to be a point-per-game player. The jury is still out on the younger Nylander.

#9 – Mikhail Sergachev – D – Montreal Canadiens

Rookie Season (2017-18) – 79GP: 9G, 31A = 40 points
2018-19 Season w/ Tampa Bay – 75GP: 6G, 26A = 32 points

Pre-Draft Scouting Report:

A dominant two-way defenceman whose tenacity and competitiveness characterize his style of play. Plays with a poise and confidence that facilitates his creativity with the puck as well as split-second decision making. Naturally fluid skater who is always looking to be engaged, if not the center, of each unfolding play. All-in-all, a diligent two-way defenceman who excels at finding ways to be a difference-maker in games.

Tomorrow morning, Cam is going to have an article about the Drouin for Sergachev trade that happened a couple of years ago and I can’t help but wonder if the Oilers can learn a few lessons from how the Lightning handled their asset when it comes to Puljujarvi. Yes, I fully understand that Puljujarvi hasn’t been able to match Drouin’s output before Yzerman moved him for Sergachev but maybe some patience on Holland’s part might work to our advantage here. Maybe? Who knows. Either way, Sergachev is a hell of a player and it’s pretty incredible that Tampa was able to land him for a guy that didn’t want to be there.

#10 – Tyson Jost – C – Colorado Avalanche

Rookie Season (2017-18) – 65GP: 12G, 10A = 22 points
2018-19 Season w/ Colorado Avalanche and Colorado Eagles – NHL: 70GP: 11G, 15A = 26 points, AHL: 8GP: 4G, 1A = 5 points

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Pre-Draft Scouting Report:

Tyson Jost is a crafty goal-scorer who carries out plays as quickly as he envisions them. As someone who thinks and plays at a fast tempo, it comes as no surprise that he creates a lot of energy as an offensive catalyst. He sees the ice very well and has the willingness and determination to win battles in the tough areas. All-in-all, a dynamic offensive forward with top-6 potential at the next level.

So far, Tyson Jost hasn’t quite been able to live up to the ‘dynamic offensive forward’ tag that was placed on him leading into the draft, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it can’t still happen. Looking at his stats and games played, it seems like the Avs are playing it slow with him a little bit and I wonder what it must be like to have that kind of patience with your prospects.

THE WRAP…

As we’ve seen in each of our countdown articles in this series so far, there always seems to be a nice little mix of skill throughout the 6-10 picks which is making me feel pretty good about where the Oilers will be at on Friday night. I know there are plenty of hits and misses every year at the draft, but within this range, it seems like there are more wins than losses and it will be up to Keith Gretzky to make sure his team makes good on this pick. With Ken Holland stating that the Oilers are going to slow-play prospects under his watch, I’m hoping the Oilers step up to the podium and pick up the best player available and give him the time needed to turn into an actual player. With the Puljujarvi rumours at the front of mind, I can’t help but think that some extra time in the minors/Europe would have benefitted him greatly. Either way, a bunch of guys from the 2016 draft class are already making their way in the NHL and that gives me hope that we’ll be able to see the same thing with whoever gets taken on Friday night.

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