With the New York Rangers holding three first-rounders, this 2018 NHL Entry Draft is an exciting one. Here’s ESNY’s mock.
It’s finally here. It’s arrived. We, after months of speculation, have traveled through time to the date of Friday, June 22, 2018.
The 2018 NHL Entry Draft is set to take place in Dallas, Texas.
With the New York Rangers holding three first-round selections and Lou Lamoriello now heading up the Islanders, much anticipation has gone into this specific draft. Now that it’s here, we can hardly contain ourselves.
Here’s ESNY’s first-round mock of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft:
1. Buffalo Sabres: Rasmus Dahlin, D (Sweden)
Come on … this one was set in stone the minute the Sabres won the draft lottery. Rasmus Dahlin is a two-way minute-crunching defenseman with slick skating ability and size. Generational talent. There’s a really nice core starting to develop in Buffalo.
2. Carolina Hurricanes: Andrei Svechnikov, RW, Barrie (OHL)
The most exciting combination of power and playmaking ability, Andrei Svechnikov dominated the OHL while missing time due to injury. Carolina has nice assets on the wings, (Sebastian Aho, Elias Lindholm and Teuvo Teravainen) but a chance to pass up on this one will be too hard.
However, does this pick make someone like Jeff Skinner available for trade?
3. Montreal Canadiens: Jesperi Kotkaniemi, C, Assat (Finland):
Montreal cannot keep kidding themselves with what’s arguably the weakest center depth in the league. Philip Danault and Jonathan Drouin just aren’t top six complete centers.
It’ll be tough to pass on Filip Zadina, but they need to think about what they actually need. A big, strong two-way center who’s the cream of the crop when it comes to centers just might do it.
4. Ottawa Senators: Filip Zadina, LW, Halifax (QMJHL)
Ottawa is a nightmare right now, but moving Mike Hoffman was a step in the right direction. At this point, this team has needs at about every slot on the depth chart. So Ottawa goes best available and takes the hard working sniper Zadina.
5. Arizona Coyotes: Noah Dobson D, Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL)
The Coyotes did well by addressing some center issues by adding Alex Galchenyuk via trade. With Derek Stepan and Galchenyuk forming a respectable one-two punch down the middle, it’s time to think defense now.
Dobson, a smooth, big and strong right-handed D could slot well next to newly signed Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Round that out with young Jacob Chychrun, and veterans like Jason Demers and Niklas Hjalmarsson and suddenly, that’s a good looking D corps.
6. Detroit Red Wings: Quinn Hughes D University of Michigan (NCAA)
Staying in the state of Michigan, Detroit looks to add offense from their defense with the pick of Hughes. Hughes dominates at the NCAA level as a small, smooth skating offensive defenseman. It may take him a year or two, but with no power-play quarterback other than aging Mike Green, it’s a good fit.
7. Vancouver Canucks: Brady Tkachuk, LW, Boston University (NCAA)
The Canucks will be entering a season without two household names, Daniel and Henrik Sedin. Already paper thin in terms of scoring wingers, Brady Tkachuk will slot in nicely with Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser. Add in a mean streak with his deft skill and that’s a nice player.
8. Chicago Blackhawks: Evan Bouchard, D, London (OHL)
Chicago needs a whole lot of everything in terms of support pieces. But why not go for the best remaining defenseman in the draft.
Duncan Keith is past his prime and Brent Seabrook saw tons of time in the press box as a healthy scratch. Connor Murphy proved to be more of a depth guy than a go-to guy. Evan Bouchard is the fit. The kid’s a mature slick skating defenseman with size and can add offense—87 points in 62 games, to be exact.
9. New York Rangers: Oliver Wahlstrom, RW, USNTDP (Boston College)
The self-proclaimed “best shooter in the draft,” Wahlstrom is a threat to score anywhere on the ice. He possesses a sniper’s mentality in a power forward frame makes for a great combination and something the Rangers haven’t had in some time. A pure sniper is also something a Ranger power play hasn’t seen since the Jaromir Jagr days.
With good center depth, a nice piece on the wing is a good move for the Blueshirts. Heading to the NCAA next season will make the ability to relate to new head man David Quinn that much easier.
10. Edmonton Oilers: Adam Boqvist, D, Brynas (Sweden)
Already some comparisons to Erik Karlsson for Adam Boqvist, the Oilers add a power play specialist who will fit in nicely next to Adam Larsson, Darnell Nurse and Oskar Klefbom, all more stay-at-home guys.
11. New York Islanders: Joel Farabee, LW, USNTDP
The New York Islanders always seem to have issues with their wings so to add the next best available in Joel Farabee seems like a no-brainer. He plays a complete 200-foot game, showcases offensive instincts, a terrific shot and playmaking ability that will be a great fit in that top six.
12. New York Islanders: Barrett Hayton, C, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
The Islanders also need to start thinking about if a certain someone does not return to the Island. Barrett Hayton is another complete 200-foot player who brings effort each and every night—someone who could slot in nicely behind sensation Mathew Barzal.
13. Dallas Stars: Joe Veleno, C, Drummondville (QMJHL)
The Stars address their center depth issues with Jason Spezza nearing the end. Joe Veleno is a high-end playmaker with compete and smarts to go along with it. Dallas is always fun to watch offensively making this a great landing spot for Veleno.
14. Philadelphia Flyers: Serron Noel, RW, Oshawa (OHL)
Not sure there’s a guy in the draft who fits in better with the Flyers than Serron Noel. A raw power forward with tantalizing physical attributes, Noel draws so much attention. A bit of a reach at 14, but would doubt he’s still there when Philadelphia picks again.
15. Florida Panthers: Vitaly Kravtsov, RW, Chelyabinsk (KHL)
Florida looks to add to their firepower on the wings after what must’ve been a very disappointing season (missing playoffs, watching former coach make a run). This Russian sniper has size, skating ability and the ability to shoot the puck with the best of them.
16. Colorado Avalanche: Rasmus Kupari, C, Karpat (Finland)
The Avalanche need to start adding center depth behind Nathan MacKinnon and selecting a high offensive threat from Finland will solve those woes. The Avs are loaded with bottom-six centers, so it’s time to upgrade the top six. Tyson Jost is still young and there’s plenty of time, but Rasmus Kupari is almost too good to pass up at 16.
17. New Jersey Devils: Ty Smith, D, Spokane (WHL)
An undersized but successful major junior defenseman, Ty Smith was the first overall pick of the WHL draft. If Smith was 6-foot-2, he’d be in the top-five conversation.
Nevertheless, Smith and the New Jersey Devils can take their time developing him as there might not be an immediate need next season, there will be the following.
18. Columbus Blue Jackets: Grigori Denisenko, LW, Loko Yaroslavl (MHL)
Columbus goes forward route here as they could stand to add some secondary scoring and already have really nice defensive pieces. Grigori Denisenko is a high octane skater who won’t stand out with his size, but will not shy away. Crafty and skilled.
19. Philadelphia Flyers: Dominik Bokk, RW, Vaxjo (Sweden)
The Flyers continue to add on the offensive side of the puck again, as they’re chock full of defensive prospects and roster players. Dominik Bokk takes on the comparison of Leon Draisitl, mainly because of the German background, but slick hands and skill to boot may remind some of Leon.
20. Los Angeles Kings: Bode Wilde, D, USNTDP
A strong-skating defenseman who can Power play a quarterback and shut down opposing team’s top players, Bode Wilde moves very well for his size. Add a hint of offensive flair and were talking a bonafide top four defenseman.
Wilde withdrew his commitment to the University of Michigan next fall and is exploring major junior routes.
21. San Jose Sharks: Isac Lundestrom, C/LW, Lulea (Sweden)
Isac Lundestrom plays a strong 200-foot game that every team craves. The team is aging at center, and Joe Thornton may not be back. Not the flashiest center here in the draft, but plays strong and can slot nicely behind Logan Couture and others.
22. Ottawa Senators: Ryan Merkley, D, Guelph (OHL)
Huge risk, but potential for huge reward. Defensive awareness and off-ice conflicts make him a risky pick, but if he pulls it together someone has a home run here. The Sens could be prepping themselves to potentially lose Erik Karlsson and a wizard with the puck from the blueline could be the way to go.
23. Anaheim Ducks Mattias Samuelsson, D, USNTDP
Second generation defenseman (his father is ex-NHL giant Kjell Samuelsson). Mattias Samuelson won’t wow with point totals or big rushes up the ice, but a steady defensive defenseman might help the Ducks and their aging defense corps.
24. Minnesota Wild: Jonatan Berggren, LW, Skelleftea J20 (Superelit)
The Wild need to add some speed as evidenced after getting bounced by the much faster Winnipeg Jets. Jonatan Berggren is a tough competitor with burners. Slick one on one player.
25. Toronto Maple Leafs: Rasmus Sandin, D, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
Picked up the slack and the minutes when teammate and Colorado draft pick Connor Timins went down with an injury. Named rookie of the year for the Greyhounds, Rasmus Sandin plays a well-rounded game and can help both offensively and defensively. The Leafs are loaded up front, time to think blueline.
26. New York Rangers: Martin Kaut RW, Dynamo Pardubice (Czech)
Adding another Czech to go along side Filip Chytil might not be the worst thing. Martin Kaut is a playmaking puck possession offensive player who is also willing to get to the dirty areas of the ice.
27. Chicago Blackhawks: Blake McLaughlin, LW, Chicago (USHL)
Hawks stay local with this USHL product heading to the University of Minnesota next season. Smart puck possession forward, knows how to find ice in the offensive zone and take advantage of it. Known more for his playmaking ability.
28. New York Rangers: Jay O’Brien, C, Thayer HS (Mass.)
Coming from the prep circuit in New England is not one of the more well known areas but seeing that both head coach David Quinn and GM Jeff Gorton both stem from that branch, this could be a fit. Displays high end speed and loves to fire the puck.
29. St. Louis Blues: Ty Dellandrea, C, Flint (OHL)
A mature center who’s shown all-around ability in carrying the load for a bad Flint Firebirds team. Nice two-way centerman who will do just about whatever is asked of him.
30. Detroit Red Wings: Jacob Olofsson, C, Timra (Sweden)
A smart two-way player who can produce offense (hmmm … doesn’t that sound familiar). The Red Wings love their European prospects and this can could be a great late round steal for the Wings.
31. Washington Capitals: Jared McIsaac, LHD, Halifax (QMJHL)
McIsaac is super mobile and can deliver a big hit. The Capitals have some questions surrounding the immediate future (new coach, John Carlson decision). Adding this defenseman will help stabilize the prospect cupboard on the blueline.