This article is part of our Prospects Analysis series.
With the 2016-17 season fast approaching, this is the second of a two-part series that will coverage the top-100 prospects in the game heading into the year.
(Note: All players with 25 games or more of NHL regular season experience are not eligible for this list)
1. Auston Matthews, LW, Maple Leafs: While Matthews is one of the safest prospects in the entire league (I would be shocked if he was anything less than a productive second-line center), it's his scary ceiling that earns him the top spot. Matthews is big (6-foot-2, 215), moves well for a kid his size, and has great shot. He has performed immensely well under pressure the past two years with the eyes of the entire hockey world on him. I don't have advocate many eighteen-year olds playing professionally in Europe instead of junior hockey in North America, but Matthews had nothing to gain by spending this season playing against overmatched kids and I think the decision to play in Zurich will benefit him in the long run. Expectations for Matthews are going to be through the roof because of the market that he is playing in, but he has the ability to live up to them. The Leafs will probably miss the playoffs again this season, although I doubt they will have problems scoring goals. Coach Mike Babcock may try to limit the burden on Matthews this coming season, but I expect him to be the Leafs number one center by the start