NHL Central Scouting has identified 24 potential first-round draft picks in its list of “players to watch” this season.
The list is headlined by American forward Auston Matthews, who, of course, has made the decision to play professionally in Switzerland this season.
The other 23 include defenseman Jakob Chychrun, Finnish forwards Jesse Puljujarvi and Patrik Laine, and Matthew Tkachuk, son of former NHLer Keith Tkachuk
Remember that the 2016 draft lottery will have three draws, for the first, second, and third overall picks, respectively.
The new rules mean that the team that finishes last in the standings could fall to fourth in the order.
That’s different from last season, when the Buffalo Sabres finished last but were guaranteed to draft second. When Edmonton won the lottery for the right to pick Connor McDavid, the Sabres were at least able to get Jack Eichel.
Anyway, here’s the list of 24: