Okay, let’s get right down to brass tacks: This year’s NHL draft depth is bad.
There, we said it. Don’t get us wrong — we love the grouping in the top 10; even the next dozen or so down to No. 22 on Red Line Report’s list list offer considerable promise.
But there’s a steep decline in talent in the mid-20s, and then things drop off a cliff around the middle of the second round.
We are struck by the comparison of the players we had ranked in the 20s through the mid-40s in 2015 to now. It’s not pretty Once you get past the mid-20s in 2016, there are a lot of warts and no sure bets.
Let’s focus on the positive for now. The top tier is probably a two-man group of Auston Matthews (who we all knew heading into the year would be in this discussion) and Patrik Laine (who has seemingly overcome his maturity and coachability issues from previous years to let his wondrous natural gifts take over).
It can certainly be argued that any of the three members of Red Line’s second tier — Jesse Puljujärvi, Matthew Tkachuk, and Jakob Chychrun — should be…