Once upon a time, it seemed the eventual winner of the 2016 NHL draft lottery wouldn’t have to think twice about selecting Auston Matthews. He was regarded as the slum-dunk pick because of the combination of his elite skill set, imposing frame and complete game.
On the eve of the lottery, however, Finnish star Patrik Laine’s strong play has pushed scouts to question the status quo. He’s not only put some space between himself and fellow countryman Jesse Puljujärvi, who is favoured to go third overall at June's NHL draft in Buffalo, but he’s also made a case to challenge Matthews as the draft’s top prospect.
Although the No. 1 draft slot seems to be Matthews to lose, some scouts believe Laine has the potential to leapfrog the Scottsdale, AZ., native at the upcoming IIHF World Championship tournament May 6 -22 in Russia.
“I was pretty sure about (Matthews) him going first overall for nearly all the season, but now I'm not so sure and think the World Championship in Russia will finallyRead More »from NHL scout: “(Patrik) Laine has the biggest upside in the draft”