In another thread I saw Seneca talking about Jesse Puljujarvi being the next Evgeni Malkin, which gave me the idea of making a forum to make bold predictions for the prospects of the upcoming 2016 NHL Draft. This will be something I'll revisit this time next year, and will continue to do so in subsequent years as well, as we make bold, and probably baseless, predictions. A couple of rules when making predictions:
1.) They must be bold. Saying that Patrik Laine will have more goals than Auston Matthews is not bold. Saying that Alex DeBrincat will have more goals than Matthews is bold. Try to go out on a limb, and provide rationale about why you did so.
2.) You can make them for the upcoming year, but also try to make longer term projections as most of these prospects won't be NHL regulars for 2-5 years. It'll be fun to see what happens every year.
3.) Make 3 predictions: one player you're really high on, one player you're very low on, and one player who is kind of obscure who you have high hopes for. Saying 4 players are all going to hit, and then one of them does and bragging about it, is no fun. Try to see who will be good, who will be bad, and stick to your guns!
My Bold Predictions:
1) Clayton Keller will put up more points than Jack Eichel did at BU next year, and we'll all be kicking ourselves we didn't draft him as he becomes the 4th best prospect from this draft, and ends up winning the Calder in 2017-18.
Rationale: He's going to BU with Brian Bellows and Charlie McAvoy. He'll have a much better finisher on his line than Eichel did, he can create, he can score, and his only knock on him is size at the moment. While Tyson Jost and Logan Brown are getting their fair share of second tier forward love...Keller will blow them both out of the water in terms of production and we'll be sitting here wondering why on earth we drafted Jakob Chychrun.
My bold prediction regarding Keller: Calder winner 2017, and outproduces everyone outside of Laine/Matthews in a p/60 basis once he enters the league.
2) Dante Fabbro will be the best defensemen drafted in 2016
Rationale: This one is going to go two-fold.
First, is that he showed the type of prospect he is during the U18s this past year and, like Jost, showed the BCHL stigma may not apply to him in devaluing him as a prospect.
Second, he'll be able to develop his two-way game against older competition over the course of the next two years. I believe he shows glimpses of brilliance this year, and in 2017 will be among the finalists for the Hobey Baker award.
While we continue to harp about the Sabres needing a LHD, perhaps it is the RHD Fabbro we should be coveting. His ability to drive play on the offensive end while adding bulk to his frame could mean for some serious upside, and in my belief, more upside than the consensus top 3 defenders going into this draft (Chych, Olli Juolevi, Mikhail Sergachev).
Bold prediction: better point production and advanced stats than any other defensemen when he enters the league.
3) Victor Mete will be Torey Krug 2.0
Victor Mete: 5'10, 174... Krug: 5'9, 186. Both skate like the wind, both have significant size differentials to be considered elite top 4 potential, but Krug has made himself a valuable PP specialist and effective-enough 5v5 defenseman to warrant his $3.4 mil salary. Mete is one player that impressed me no matter when I saw him, and his willingness to jump into the fray, and his ability to skate better than most people on the ice made up for some of the gambles he'd take. With a 2nd/3rd round selection I feel like we could see significant returns from him.
What are your big, bold predictions?