While 16 teams will vie for the chance to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup in the coming weeks, the rest of the NHL’s 30 teams eagerly await the 2016 NHL draft lottery, which will determine who will get a shot at the class’s elite authentic jerseys for cheap
prospects.The 2015 draft featured a pair of generational talents in Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid and Buffalo Sabres stud Jack Eichel, and although it is unclear if anyone in the 2016 class will reach that level, there are plenty of players worth getting excited about.As the draft process starts to pick up steam, here is a closer look at some of the top prospects that promise to come off the board early in the 2016 NHL draft at First Niagara Center in Buffalo, New York. 1 overall pick.The United States National Team Development Program product took an interesting route to the draft by passing on both college hockey and Canadian juniors in favor of playing professionally for Zurich of the Swiss NLA during the 2015 16 campaign.The 18 year old native of Scottsdale, Arizona, didn’t disappoint as he registered 24 goals and 46 points in 36 games to go along with three points in four playoff contests. He’s had a great season, but there have been a lot of ups and downs. He made the All Star team and finished second in MVP voting. On the other hand, there was the World Junior loss and the disappointment of our playoffs. You learn a lot from adversity. He’s much more worldly. He hung around with an older crowd like [former NHL players] Ryan Shannon and Marc Andre Bergeron. He was around an older group. When I was 18, I was, well, 18. But Auston comes across as a young adult. But I know he’ll be a complete player in the NHL. A great player.While Matthews almost certainly would have found himself in the NHL immediately regardless of what route he took, he figures to be well prepared to produce right away after his stint in Switzerland.At 6’3″ and upwards of 200 pounds, Puljujarvi is great at shielding the puck and remaining strong on his skates, but he also has incredible hands, which helped him post 17 points at the World Junior Championships en route to winning the MVP award.Puljujarvi spent the 2015 16 season with Karpat of SM Liiga in Finland and posted 13 goals and 28 points in 50 games.While that may seem like somewhat modest production on the surface, the Finnish league is among the best in the world outside of the NHL, and it tends to be defensive in nature, which can make things difficult on a 17 year old player.Even so, Puljujarvi put up some points, and he proved in the WJC that he is among the elite players in his age group.Puljujarvi may not quite possess the same all around skill set as Matthews, but he is a supreme offensive talent with top line potential at the NHL level.A few players can stake claim to the No.While Puljujarvi was the better player in the World Junior Championships, the 6’3″, 200 plus pound Laine actually enjoyed a more productive regular season in SM Liiga. As one of Tappara Tampere’s top contributors, Laine netted 17 goals and totaled 33 points in 46 contests. 2 overall behind Matthews.Both Finns have superstar potential, and the team that ends up with the third overall pick isn’t likely to be broken up about having to settle for one of them.In terms of pure excitement and dynamism, Laine may be tops in the draft class, which could make him the ideal selection for a team that needs to energize its fanbase in 2016 17 and beyond.