Complete results for the first round of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft
A closer look at the NHL stars of tomorrow!
1. Buffalo Sabres – Rasmus Dahlin – D – Frolunda HC
Dahlin has been the consensus top pick for the 2018 NHL Draft all year long. He has the potential to be a generational talent on the back end and could immediately step into the NHL next season. Dahlin is an all-around defender who possesses excellent skating and puck handling skills. He is great in transition, whether he is leading the rush himself or distributing the puck to someone else. He was also named the top defenseman at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship when Sweden took home the silver medal.
2. Carolina Hurricanes – Andrei Svechnikov – RW – Barrie Colts
Svechnikov is a dynamic winger who possesses great skating and finishing ability. He honed his skills in the OHL during the 2017-18 campaign with the Barrie Colts. Svechnikov led all rookies with 40 goals and 72 points in just 44 games. Svechnikov has the potential to be an impact player at the NHL level thanks to his skating, puck skills, and hockey sense. He also has size at 6-foot-3, 187.
3. Montreal Canadiens – Jesperi Kotkaniemi – C – Assat Pori
Coming off one of the best seasons ever for an Under-18 player in the Finnish league, there’s plenty to like about Kotkaniemi. The center has size at 6-foot-2, 188-pounds and strength to go along with it, which he uses to his advantage whenever he has the puck. That’s far from his only advantage though as he’s a great playmaker with a good shot and can often be credited for good decision making.
4. Ottawa Senators – Brady Tkachuk – LW – Boston University
Tkachuk plays a similar style to his father (Keith) and older brother (Matthew). He can get under the skin of the opposition, while serving contributing offensively as a power forward. Tkachuk plays a strong 200-foot game, protects the puck well and has the hands to finish off his opportunities.
5. Arizona Coyotes – Barrett Hayton – C – Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
There’s a lot to like with Hayton. He’s got a great shot, is aggressive and effective defensively, and has a high hockey IQ. The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds were so deep that Hayton was their third-line center, but even in that role he still ended up with 21 goals and 60 points in 63 games.
7. Vancouver Canucks – Quinn Hughes – D – University of Michigan
Hughes’ speed and decision-making are high-quality assets that fit today’s NHL game to a tee. However, he may need at least another year in college to develop further, particularly in his own end, and get stronger.
8. Chicago Blackhawks – Adam Boqvist – D – Brynas IF Gavle
Boqvist is loaded with offensive potential thanks to his puck-handling skills, vision, skating ability and positional awareness. He takes advantage of the space he creates for himself by finding his teammates for open looks. Boqvist’s escapability allows him to quickly transition to offense, but he still needs some seasoning in his own end. The 17-year-old blueliner missed the cut-off for the 2019 NHL Draft by one month, making him one of the younger players in this class. However, he also possesses tremendous talent and is worthy of a top-10 selection because of his offensive skill set.
9. New York Rangers – Vitali Kravtsov – RW – Chelyabinsk Traktor
Kravtsov is a highly skilled forward that can excel at both setting up goals and finding the back of the net. He stands at 6-foot-2, but he could stand to bulk up from his current 170-pounds. There are also issues about his defensive play that will need to be addressed, which is part of what makes him a project. One thing he does have going for him though over most of the draft class is his experience playing against men. He had four goals and seven points in 35 KHL games with Chelyabinsk Traktor in 2017-18 and then found another level in the playoffs, scoring six goals and 11 points in 16 contests.
10. Edmonton Oilers – Evan Bouchard – D – London Knights
Bouchard is a two-way defender who brings plenty of tools to the table. He plays with intelligence in all areas of the ice and his skill with the puck makes him a dangerous player when he decides to jump into the rush. Bouchard generated 25 goals for the OHL”s London Knights and he led all blueliners in the league with 87 points in 67 games during the 2017-18 campaign. Bouchard isn’t a flashy defender and he doesn’t punish the opposition physically, but he still has good size and has the ability to impact the game with his steadiness, passing skills and high hockey sense. The Knights captain could be NHL-ready as soon as the 2018-19 season.
11. New York Islanders – Oliver Wahlstrom – RW – USMNT
Wahlstrom is a gifted scorer who can create offensive opportunities for himself or his linemates even when a play doesn’t appear to be dangerous. He possesses superb shiftiness with the puck and has great hockey sense. Wahlstrom registered 22 goals and 45 points in 26 appearances with the USNTDP Juniors of the USHL in 2017-18.
12. New York Islanders (from Calgary) – Noah Dobson – D – Acadie-Bathurst Titan
Dobson performs well at both ends of the ice. He is regarded as a superb defensive defender thanks to strong positioning and awareness, but he also plays well in the offensive zone. Dobson contributed 17 goals and 69 points in 67 QMJHL matches during the regular season. He also added 13 points in 20 playoff contests. Dobson played in all situations for the Memorial Cup champion Acadie-Bathurst Titan in 2017-18.
13. Dallas Stars – Ty Dellandrea – C – Flint Firebirds
Dellandrea’s offensive numbers don’t jump off the page (27 goals and 59 points in 67 games) in draft-eligible season with OHL Flint, but the Firebirds were one of the worst offensive junior teams in the country. It’s hard to get a read on how good Dellandrea could be because he hasn’t been surrounded by a lot of talent at the junior level.
14. Philadelphia Flyers (from St. Louis) – Joel Farabee – LW – USMNT
Farabee is coming off a fantastic season where he served as the captain of the US National U18 Team and scored 33 goals and 76 points in 62 contests. He added another four goals and eight points in seven games to lead Team USA to a silver medal in the 2018 World Juniors U18 Championships. Part of his offense comes from his great acceleration and ability to play around the net despite his not terribly impressive 5-foot-11, 165-pound frame. However, you shouldn’t look at him as a strictly offensive player as he actually plays more of a two-way game and has a high hockey IQ
15. Florida Panthers – Gregori Denisenko – LW – Yaroslavl Lokomotiv
There’s no denying that Denisenko has the necessary skill to play at the next level, but whether or not he can develop into a consistent threat is another question. The Russian winger has talent, soft hands and great offensive instincts. Still, he didn’t exactly light up the Russian Junior League, as he accumulated nine goals and 22 points in 31 games.
16. Colorado Avalanche – Martin Kaut – RW – Pardubice HC
Kaut is one of the most experienced players available in this draft class, both because his Oct. 2 birthday makes him one of the older eligible players and because he’s spent the last two seasons playing against men in the Czech league. In 2017-18 he had nine goals and 16 points in 38 contests with Pardubice HC and he stood out in the 2018 World Juniors with two goals and seven points in seven games. He’s strong defensively with a high hockey IQ, which is part of the reason he might not look out of place if he made his NHL debut in 2018-19
17. New Jersey Devils – Ty Smith – D – Spokane Chiefs
Smith has been blessed with plenty of offensive talent as the smallish defenseman had 14 goals and 73 points for a strong Spokane team in the WHL. Smith plays both the offensive and defensive game very well and while he slid down the draft board, it is more that he was passed by others than holes in his game. As most in the early going of the 2018 Draft, Smith is an above average skater and is strong when the puck is in his end.
18. Columbus Blue Jackets – Liam Foudy – C – London Knights
Going into the 2017-18 campaign, Foundy wasn’t regarded as a first-round candidate, but his stock has risen dramatically. The 6-foot-0, 175-pound center is coming off a strong season where he scored 24 goals and 40 points in 65 games with OHL London, up from 15 points a season prior. He’s effective on the penalty kill and can skillfully handle the puck, but the big appeal with him is his skating
19. Philadelphia Flyers – Jay O’Brien – C – Youngstown Phantoms
O’Brien is a smart player with good upside. He played has played for Thayer Academy of USHS-Prep for the last two seasons. The 18-year-old amassed 43 goals and 80 points in 30 contests last year. O’Brien has speed and moves the puck well. He possesess very good hands, whether he is setting up a teammate or finishing off a play himself. He is also viewed as a high-character player, but this may have been a reach.
20. Los Angeles Kings – Rasmus Kupari – C – Karpat
Kupari played in the top Finnish league this season as a 17-year-old and acquitted himself quite well as he had six goals and 14 points in 39 games for Karput Oulu. The center is a terrific skater with speed to fly past others and leave them in his wake. His other skills are just average at best although he is good with the puck and has a strong defensive game. He will likely end up as a second or third line center and should be ready for the NHL in three-four years
21. San Jose Sharks – Ryan Merkley – D – Guelph Storm
Merkley is one of the riskier top prospects in the entire draft. Some scouts see him as an elite puck-moving defenseman, while others will see him as a player that has an attitude problem and major defensive shortcomings. The 17-year-old had an impressive 13 goals and 67 points in 63 games with the OHL’s Guelph Storm. Those are remarkable numbers for a player of his age. If he’s able to figure things out in the defensive zone, he could become an impact blueliner at the next level.
22. New York Rangers (from Pittsburgh via Ottawa) – K’Andre Miller – D – USMNT
Miller is 18-years-old but he already has an NHL build at 6-foot-3, 206-pounds. He uses that size to his advantage and ability to move the puck through traffic. On top of that, he’s got good speed. He had nine goals and 29 points in 58 games with the US National U18 Team in 2017-18 and he added another goal and three points while playing for Team USA in the 2018 World Juniors U18 Championship. One factor to consider with Miller is that he grew up as a forward and while he converted a few years ago, he still has habits from his old position and his defensive play could use some work. It might take some time before he’s NHL ready, but he does have a lot of upside.
23. Anaheim Ducks – Isac Lundestrom – C – Lulea HF
In a year where top centers are lacking in the draft, Lundestrom could be one of the best in 2018. The talented Swede plays a 200 foot game and while he offensive will come around eventually, he had six goals and 15 points in the top Swedish League with Lulea in 42 games. It was Lundestrom’s second year in the top league and that is impressive for an 18-year-old
24. Minnesota Wild – Filip Johansson – D – Leksands IF
Johansson has puck-moving ability but his selection 24th overall is a bit of surprise given his limited offensive production with Leksands under-20 team in the SuperElit in Finland. On the plus side, Johansson has a high hockey IQ and is a solid puck distributor. He also has good size and should be able to handle a top-four defenseman role in the NHL. That said, it is unclear if he will be able to become a top offensive NHL rearguard. Johansson recently signed a two-year contract extension with Leksands, so it is unlikely we will see him in North America anytime soon.
25. St. Louis Blues (from Toronto) – Dominik Bokk – LW – Vaxjo HC
Bokk’s still learning to play in his half of the rink and build consistency in his game, although he appears to possess a high offensive ceiling. But playing in a second-tier junior league in Sweden makes it slightly harder to gauge where that ceiling might be, which is why teams in the top half of the first round aren’t likely to risk a pick on maybe the next Draisaitl.
26. Ottawa Senators (from Boston via NY Rangers) – Jacob Bernard-Docker – D – Okotoks Oilers
The Senators traded down from 22nd and picked up a second-round pick from the Rangers as they loved Bernard-Docker and figured he would still be around four picks later. He was projected to go late in the second round so the Senators must really love the defenseman from the Alberta Junior League. He was the top defenseman in the league and had 20 goals and 41 points in 49 games
27. Chicago Blackhawks (from Nashville) – Nicolas Beaudin – D – Drummondville Voltigeurs
Beaudin has tremendous offensive skills as evidenced by his 69 points with the Drummondville Voltigeurs of the QMJHL last season. That level of production was good enough for Beaudin to be selected as a second-team All-Star. He is a cunning defender with excellent hockey sense and top-tier mobility. The one concern about Beaudin is his size–he is rather diminutive at 172 pounds.
28. New York Rangers (from Tampa Bay) – Nils Lundkvist – D – Lulea HF
Lundkvist is on the smaller side (5-foot-11, 180 pounds) for a defenseman, but he makes up for his lack of size with strong skating ability and terrific offensive vision. Despite playing just 26 games with Lulea HF in the Swedish Junior League, Lundkvist was still named the defenseman of the year. He was eventually promoted to the senior team, where he had two goals and three points in 28 contests. He’ll obviously need to continue overcoming his lack of size, but he has the ability to develop into a top-four defenseman at the next level.
29. Toronto Maple Leafs (from Winnipeg via St. Louis) – Rasmus Sandin – D – Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
The Swedish blueliner left home early in the 2017-18 season and made his way to Sault Ste. Marie where he had 12 goals and 45 points in 51 games. The solid defenseman showed flashes of offensive ability with some end-to-end rushes in the OHL as he has an extra gear, making him an above average rearguard. He is expected to go back to Sweden next season and play in the top division and that will certainly help him progress.
30. Detroit Red Wings (from Vegas) – Joe Veleno – C – Drummondville Voltigeurs
Veleno is an intelligent two-way forward who has the ability to make the players around him better. He was granted exceptional status by Hockey Canada to join the CHL as a 15-year-old. Veleno is the fifth player to earn that honor, following in the footsteps of John Tavares, Aaron Ekblad, Connor McDavid, and Sean Day. He posted 22 goals and 79 points in 64 matches with Saint John and Drummondville last season. Veleno had a slow start with the rebuilding Sea Dogs, but he heated up again as a member of the Voltigeurs with 16 goals and 48 points over 33 appearances.
31. Washington Capitals – Alexandre Alexeyev – D – Red Deer Rebels
Alexeyev has played two seasons in North America since being selected in the CHL Import Draft by the Red Deer Rebels. The Russian blueliner put up seven goals and 37 points in 45 games in the Western League.The 18-year-old is a good skater, he’s a strong puck mover and he has good offensive instincts. He still needs a little more polish in the defensive zone, but that’s something that might come with more experience.
2018 NHL Draft Analysis Via: Rotoworld