Just about everyone around the National Hockey League has been predicting that 18 year old Auston Matthews will be the first player picked in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, but now that perception is starting to shift for some.
Amateur scout Grant McCagg revealed that he has Finish winger Patrik Laine as the number talent in his draft, and even went so far as to suggest that a player of Laine's talent has the potential to be a 60 goal scorer in the NHL. Laine also has the advantage of being the bigger man, both men are roughly the same age, but Laine is taller and heavier than Matthews, something that will be viewed favorably by NHL teams.
While McCagg is not the only man expressing this point of view, in fact it's gaining more and more traction as the draft draws closer, there is one issue here, talent at center is currently worth it's weight in gold in the NHL. Because of the value of true #1 centers in the league, it's hard to imagine Matthews not going at number one, but even with that said Mcagg still believes, unless a team is in dire need of a center, that Laine should be picked first.
"I have him ranked first. If there was a dire need at center I'd consider Matthews..but Laine may be a 60-goal scorer."
It will be very interesting to see if any of the lottery teams are leaning more towards Laine come draft time.