Express Land Top-Ranked Canadian at Draftby J.J. Jameson | September 18, 2016, 1:35 PM ET
It has been ten years since the Express made ten selections at an entry draft; in 2006 they made eleven picks. Like in 2006, this year they made six of those picks in the first three rounds so expectations were high that the team would add a pile of talented futures. The day did not disappoint.
- 1st Round (6th Overall) - Pierre-Luc Dubois (C/LW): With the top three selections basically going to script, it was somewhat of a surprise that this top-ranked North American skater fell out of the top-5. Dubois is a future star of the SICHL and an all-around player who can generate scoring chances as well as he can shut down other teams' top lines. "We were elated that Dubois fell to us at six" said GM Mark MacRae.
- 2nd Round (34th Overall) - Alex DeBrincat (RW): Elite-level scroing skills like DeBrincat's are uncommon in a second round selection. Many had him ranked in the first round (ESPN predicted he'd go 15th overall), so why did he fall? He's only 5'7". "In today's game, we aren't overly concerned about his size." said MacRae "His puck skills are off the charts and he put up incredible numbers in Erie this year - even higher than when he was playing with (last year's #1 overall pick: Connor) McDavid"
- 2nd Round (45th Overall) - Nathan Bastian (RW/C): With three picks in the second round, the Express used their second second to select a player who had been described as someone who "won't impress you with any particular skill". But the big power-foward plays an effective two-way game and seems a safe bet to make it as a pro. Most likely as a 2nd or 3rd line grinder with offensive potential.
- 2nd Round (50th Overall) - Jordan Kyrou (C): Five picks later, we nabbed yet another forward and another one who plays a two-way game. Kyrou was one of the best skaters available in the draft, but his average offensive output project him only as a top-9 forward someday at the pro level.
- 3rd Round (62nd Overall) - Ryan Lindgren (D): With the system stacked with defensemen it was not a surprise that it took until their fifth pick of the draft to select a blueliner. Lindgren looks to be a solid defensive-minded product of the US National Team Development Program with some offensive upside. Scouts praise his hockey vision on both sides of the puck. He may need some years to develop, but the Express can afford to wait.
- 3rd Round (63rd Overall) - Filip Hronek (D): The second of back-to-back early third round selections, and the second d-man taken by the Express, Hronek was ranked as the top draft-eligible prospect playing in the Czech Republic. Of course many of his fellow countrymen played this year in North America, but he appears to have potential as a pro-level offensive blueliner. He has an excellent first pass and looked good at the 2016 WJHC
- 5th Round (118th Overall) - Jacob Moverare (D): With no fourth round selection, it was a long wait until the Express took their next pick: a third (and final, as it turned out) defenseman. One half of the consensus top-2 defensemen to come out of Sweden this year named Jacob, Moverare is big, mobile and as MacRae stated following the pick: "We felt he would be picked in the late third round, so to have him fall this far to us felt like a real steal"
- 6th Round (146th Overall) - Connor Bunnaman (C): At this point in the draft, things seemed to degenerate into schoolyard antics between the teams. After the Schooners announced their late 5th-round selection (Tim Gettinger), Express GM MacRae threw a nerf ball at Eric Schneider, apparently expecting the player to drop to this spot. Then when MacRae selected Bunnaman, Spartans GM Sean Gallagher flipped his table over and stormed off for a time out. The GMs are very passionate about their late-round gems. Bunnaman projects to be maybe a journeyman-type pro.
- 6th Round (163rd Overall) - Dylan Wells (G): The fifth goaltender selected in the sixth round, Wells checks off the box of "Try to select one goalie every year and hope one pans out" for the Express. With a slew of young talent in net ahead of him, don't expect Wells to see any time in Fredericton soon if ever.
- 7th Round (174th Overall) - Eetu Tuulola (RW): Rounding out the draft, the Express selected a big Finnish forward with a good shot who looked good at the U18 World Juniors. Also a great name.