Prospect Ramblings: Lessons from a 2016 Prospect Draft

Hayden Soboleski






In 2016, the (then) DobberProspects writers team held a prospects draft in a dynasty league. The league continues to evolve but it remains a cap league where every penny counts, making prospects on ELCs incredibly valuable. For this reason, there was lots of variation on draft day. Some of us wanted players already cracking the league to fill some cheap roster spots, while some of us preferred high-upside projects that did or didn’t turn out. Looking back a few years later, let’s try and learn from certain writers’ successes and mistakes.


Full disclosure – I am Colorado in this draft. I won’t tell which current writers were involved at the time, but feel free to ask them ;)



1: New Jersey Devils – Auston Matthews 13: Buffalo Sabres – Matt Murray
2: Montreal Canadiens – Jesse Puljujarvi 14: Arizona Coyotes – Christian Dvorak
3: WInnipeg Jets – Patrick Laine 15: Chicago Blackhawks – Matt Barzal
4: LA Kings – Mitch Marner 16: Columbus Blue Jackets – Zach Werenski
5: Florida Panthers – William Nylander 17: Colorado Avalanche (via CGY) – Thatcher Demko
6: Washington Capitals – Dylan Strome 18: Ottawa Senators – Nick Ritchie
7: San Jose Sharks – Matthew Tkachuk 19: Calgary Flames (via COL) – Jon Gillies
8: Tampa Bay – Sebatian Aho 20: Toronto Maple Leafs – Shea Theodore
9: Dallas Stars – Kyle Connor 21: St. Louis Blues – Stephen Johns
10: Pittsburgh Penguins – Mikko Rantanen 22: San Jose Shaks (via CAR) – Timo Meier
11: Edmonton Oilers – Pierre-Luc Dubois 23: Minnesota Wild – Pavel Zacha
12: Vancouver Canucks – Ivan Provorov 24: Nashville Predators – Jakub Vrana


  • On average, the forwards made an impact faster than the defense, which were faster than the goalies. Murray barely qualified for the prospects draft so he is an outlier, and Demko and Gillies are yet to pay off.
  • Don’t go crazy with a top pick. At the time there was some reasoning for taking Puljujarvi ahead of Laine based on projected linemates. That was a mistake.



25: Nashville – Brett Ritchie 37: Vancouver – Jakub Chychrun
26: Minnesota – Mikhail Sergachev 38: Edmonton – Jake Bean
27: Carolina – Clayton Keller 39: Pittsburgh – Travis Sanheim
28: St. Louis – Julius Honka 40: Dallas – Brandon Montour
29: Toronto – Lawson Crouse 41: Tampa Bay – Travis Konecny
30: Columbus (via COL) – Esa Lindell 42: San Jose – Tyson Jost
31: Ottawa – Mike Matheson 43: Washington – Ryan Pulock
32: Calgary – Brock Boeser 44: Florida – Logan Brown
33: Columbus – Alex Nylander 45: LA – Anthony DeAngelo
34: Chicago – Olli Juolevi 46: Winnipeg – Michael Dal Colle
35: Arizona – Colin White 47: Montreal – Juuse Saros
36: Buffalo – Oliver Bjorkstrand 48: New Jersey – Malcom Subban



  • Gambling on defence was a mixed bag. Sergachev and Montour are obvious fantasy assets now, Pulock maybe as he takes more PP time. Lindell, Sanheim and Chychrun are fringe depending on the pool stats counted. Juolevi, Honka, Bean are still in development so time will tell. So I guess the lesson is, prepare to be patient!
  • The same can be said for forwards. Keller and Boeser were obvious steals in hindsight, but we still dont know the fortune of most names. Bjorkstrand and Jost and Konecny are still climbing up the depth charts, while White, Brown, Nylander, Dal Colle haven’t seen NHL duties yet. 



49: New Jersey – Kerby Rychel 61: Buffalo- Daniel Sprong
50: Montreal – Nick Schmaltz 62: Arizona – Danton Heinen
51: Colorado (via WPG) – Jimmy Vesey 63: Chicago – Joel Eriksson Ek
52: LA – Andreas Athanasiou 64: Colorado (via CLB) – Josh Morrissey
53: Florida – Thomas Chabot 65: Washington (via CGY) – Ilya Samsonov
54: Calgary (via WSH) – Kevin Fiala 66: Ottawa – Anthony Mantha
55: San Jose – Sonny Milano 67: Winnipeg (via COL) – Madison Bowey
56: Tampa Bay – Brendan Guhle 68: Toronto – Adrian Kempe
57: Dallas – Frank Vatrano 69: St. Louis – Mike Reilly
58: Pittsburgh – JF Berube 70: San Jose (via CAR) – Haydn Fleury
59: Edmonton – Drake Caggiula 71: Minnesota – Jake DeBrusk
60: Vancouver – Max Jones 72: Nashville – Michael McLeod



  • We drafted better in the 3rd than the 2nd, and I’m trying to figure out why. Maybe it was luck, or maybe its because by the 3rd, people felt safe enough to swing for the fences a little more. Guys like Schmaltz, Fiala, Heinen, and Kempe were all smaller players who were lighting it up and had obvious talent, but their NHL chances seemed unsure at the time. Now, they are key players in their respective teams’ top-six. Similarly, Mantha and DeBrusk were noted goal-scorers in their respective leagues, but people weren’t sure if this would translate as they made the jump to pro. These gambles paid off big, and are the reason why this 3rd round list looks way better than the 2nd round list.  So – don’t be afraid to swing big for guys you believe in. They make you look real smart. 



Thanks for reading, and best of luck as fantasy season begins! Feel free to reach out with any questions during your preparation or during the season.

Hayden Soboleski






Name Fantasy Upside NHL Certainty
Tristan Luneau 7.5 8.0
Zachary Nehring 4.5 5.0
Jacob Julien 5.5 5.0
Antti Tuomisto 4.5 6.0
Aku Räty 5.8 5.0
Miko Matikka 6.5 6.5
Nathan Smith 6.2 6.0
Jan Jenik 7.2 6.5
Ilya Fedotov 6.0 3.0
Noel Nordh 6.5 7.0