Prospects Analysis: NHL Draft First-Round Review
Prospects Analysis: NHL Draft First-Round Review

This article is part of our Prospects Analysis series.

With the 2016 NHL Entry Draft complete, it's time to take a look at how this season's first-round picks shook out and how they're expected to impact their new NHL franchises.

1. Toronto Maple Leafs: Auston Matthews (C, Zurich-Switzerland): As soon as the Leafs made it clear that they weren't interesting in trading this selection, there was a zero percent chance that this pick would be anyone other than Matthews. I've said before that I don't think Matthews is of the caliber of either Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel, but he is a darn good prospect and in my opinion easily the top player available. Matthews' decision to spend this past season in Switzerland was a smart one – the Swiss league is perennially underrated, and his game wouldn't have improved if he was playing collegiate or junior hockey against overmatched competition. Matthews is ready to play in the NHL from both a physical and skill point of view, and I expect him to serve as Toronto's second-line center next season. The Leafs could very easily be a lousy hockey team again next year (mostly due to the defense), but I don't think they're going to have any problems scoring goals. They have established and talented veterans such as Nazem Kadri, Tyler Bozak and James van Riemsdyk, while top prospects Mitch Marner and William Nylander figure to spend the majority of the year in the NHL. The Matthews-Marner-Nylander trio should terrorize the league for the next decade-plus.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jon Litterine
Jon Litterine is RotoWire's lead MMA Writer and MMA Editor. He has covered numerous MMA events live. He's also RW's NHL Prospect Analyst. Jon has been writing for RotoWire since 2005. He is a graduate of U Mass-Lowell.
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