Fantasy Hockey Ranking The 2018 NHL Entry Draft

Peter Harling

2018-01-21

If your fantasy season is in the tank and you are going to be a trade deadline seller this year, you are going to be building for the future, and that means prospects and draft picks. We give you plenty of coverage on already NHL drafted prospects every day here at DobberProspects, and we also give a fair amount of attention to NHL Draft eligible prospects as well. Sure you can find lots of excellent NHL Draft Rankings and we recommend visiting MY NHL Draft for a one-stop-shop for the best in the business. (you can find ours on our NHL Draft page here)

The only problem with these lists is they are not focused on Fantasy Hockey, so here at DobberProspects we have exactly what all the fantasy GM’s are looking for, the Fantasy Ranking the NHL Draft.

I reached out to some friends in the business, and with their help, along with some of the senior writers from DobberProspects I have complied this year’s first edition of the fantasy rankings for the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.

The following criteria were considered to compile the rankings:

  • Based on points only keeper leagues
  • Projected upside
  • How quickly they may develop into an NHL player and contribute to your roster
  • Probability of success, both in reaching the NHL and achieving full potential

We invited the following nine writers to contribute to this ranking

Adam Kimelman ( @NHLAdamKimelman) – NHL.com and Co-host of DraftCast

Russ Cohen (@sportsology) – Sportsology and Co-host of Hockey Prospect Radio

Steve Kournianos (@TheDraftAnalyst) – Draft Analyst

Scott Wheeler (@scottcwheeler) – The Athletic

Brock Otten (@BrockOtten) – OHL Prospects

Cam Robinson (@CrazyJoeDavola3) – DobberProspects Associate Editor – Vancouver Canucks

Pat Quinn (@FHPQuinn) – Dobber Prospects Associate Editor – Washington Capitals

Zachary DeVine (@zakkthebear) – DobberProspects Senior Writer – San Jose Sharks, The AthleticSF

Kevin Wickersham (@KWcrosscheck) – Dobber Prospects and DobberHockey Senior Writer – Columbus Blue Jackets, Managing Editor Goalie Post

Will Scouch (@Scouching) – DobberProspects Writer – Minnesota Wild

Peter Harling (@pharling) – DobberProspects Managing Editor, Co-Host DobberProspects Radio (@DPR_Show)

Each writer was asked to provide their own ranking of the top 31 prospects for Fantasy Hockey and the consensus overall rankings are what this article provides.

 

1. Rasmus Dahlin, D – Frolunda (SHL)

The best draft talent has been described as a talent who can provide franchise-defining play at defense the way Auston Matthews and Connor McDavid did as centers. – Adam Kimelman

Dahlin is a pure power-play quarterback who doesn’t rely on playing the point as his only means of generating offense. He is always in attack mode and you can count on him to make multiple dashes to the net in every game.  Dahlin is very comfortable letting shots go from near the blue line, and his scoring pace as a 17-year-old defender in Sweden’s top league is enough of an impression to consider him a future top-scoring rearguard in the NHL. – Steve Kournianos

Dahlin is going to be a star in the NHL and it’s going to come more naturally to him than it will for any of the other prospects in this ranking. Position aside, that should make him your go-to pick in any fantasy draft format. – Scott Wheeler

He has all the tools to become a game-changing pillar for an organization. His effortless skating and offensive ability make you swoon while his defensive game grows with each passing contest. One of the best stick handlers in the draft who already makes professionals look silly on a regular basis. A threat to push for a point-per-game from the backend at some point. Borderline generational talent. – Cam Robinson

2. Andrei Svechnikov, RW – Barrie (OHL)

Svechnikov has been dominant; if he was healthy he’d lead rookies in scoring and be among the league leaders in goals. He’s got NHL-ready size and a skill set that could have him producing in the NHL next season. – Adam Kimelman

Impacts the game on so many different levels. Plays a power game and uses his size offensively. But is also a terrific playmaker who exhibits more poise and patience than your average power winger. Additionally, he’s already a committed three zone player. It has been an absolute joy to watch him in the OHL this year. – Brock Otten

Svechnikov is the best pure goal scorer in the class and that should give him fantasy longevity. He’s the clear No. 2, even after Zadina’s rise. – Scott Wheeler

From a purely fantasy point of view, it’s hard to justify bypassing the premier goal scorer of his class who not only can rack up assists, but is a huge shot generator and plays with enough bite to post significant PIM totals. – Steve Kournianos

3. Filip Zadina, RW – Halifax (QMJHL)

He believes he can go as high as second in the draft. With the pro one-timer he has and coming off an amazing 2018 WJC performance, he will be in the discussion – Russ Cohen

The fastest riser in this class, you can now feel confident taking Zadina anywhere in the top-5. He’s so dynamic that he may become a perennial all-star. – Scott Wheeler

Zadina’s an exceedingly dangerous, alert, cerebral offensive weapon who has excelled in international play. The 6-0, 198-pound Zadina impressively skates through often-overmatched traffic, using his hustle and contagious energy to regularly beat defenders into the offensive zone, but isn’t afraid to patiently wait for plays to develop before actingKevin Wickersham

Zadina is a 200-foot beast that knows how to finish, plus sees plenty of ice time on both the power play and on the penalty kill. This will lead to inflated totals on special teams in addition to being among his team leaders in every traditional statistical category. – Steve Kournianos

His ability to find gaps in defensive coverage, and step into those gaps at precisely the perfect time in combination with his lethal shooting ability makes him a goal scoring threat the likes of Brett Hull, Alex Ovechkin and Patrick Laine. – Peter Harling

4. Brady Tkachuk, C/LW – Boston U. (NCAA)

There’s nobody else like him in this draft. He has size, finesse, a temper and the ability to “blow things up” in a good way which puts a lot of stress on the opposition. He’s top 5 but he could go higher – Russ Cohen

After a slow start he’s scoring nearly at a point-per-game basis. His 200-foot game will give him a great shot to play in the NHL next season, and his offensive game should give him a chance to succeed as a middle-six forward. – Adam Kimelman

Even more of a loose cannon than his older brother or NHL all-star father, Brady still brings talent with his pestering style of play. Already playing for the Boston Terriers with 16 points in 22 games as a true freshman and nine points in seven WJC contests. Already a pro-ready frame. Could be a scary player in the NHL as he matures, I’d put him at No. 2 in a multi-cat. – Zachary DeVine

 

The elder statesman of the 2018 crop missed last year’s draft by a single day. That advanced age will help him transition to the pros sooner than other prospects. Many see Tkachuk as a centre at the next level, but I feel he needs a distributor to feed him and will be a winger long term. His hands are soft, his shot his heavy and he plays an abrasive and pro-style game. Will be a load to handle as a net front presence on a top unit down the line. – Cam Robinson

 

 

5. Adam Boqvist, D – Brynas (SHL)

The scouting report on this swift-skating Swede is simple – He loves to skate and shoot. Boqvist will let shots go from just about anywhere, and his release is quick enough that he rarely needs to wait for opening. He isn’t physical and at this point can’t be trusted on the penalty kill, but don’t be surprised when he accumulates high totals in both goals and assists, especially on the power play. – Steve Kournianos

Dynamic puck skills, terrific vision, speed, smarts, and a heavy shot. His late birthday means he is just a month away from being eligible for the 2019 class further illustrating how massive his potential is, but also likely means the wait time is extended. Destined for a top power play unit and gaudy point totals. – Cam Robinson

An outstanding but not flashy passer, Boqvist’s a nimble, fast, smooth skater that handles the puck amid offensive zone traffic masterfully. Owns an accurate and extremely hard shot he fires liberally with an impressively rapid release that presages future power play quarterback success. – Kevin Wickersham

6. Oliver Wahlstrom, RW – (USNTDP)

He already has man strength. He is a goal scorer first but he can make a great pass as well. Already 205 pounds, smart and humble – Russ Cohen

A dynamic offensive player with 20-goal, top-line potential. Can play and create above the circles and is strong enough to be effective below the dots. – Adam Kimelman

Sniper or a playmaker, centre or winger, he does it all. – Pat Quinn

A true goal-scorer with impressive playmaking ability, Wahlstrom moves the puck like he owns it, manipulating it at will while deceiving opponents with quick bursts of speed and defender-jarring stops. Sees the ice very well and uses his keen sense for the game to detect gaps and capitalize on goalies even momentarily out of position or obscured – Kevin Wickersham

7. Quinton Hughes, D – U. of Michigan (NCAA)

Size might keep him in college hockey a bit longer, but his offensive skills and ability to control the game will make him a big-time point producer in the NHL. – Adam Kimelman

He’s not the best defenseman in this draft but he could be the smartest. He’s always thinking a step ahead. His two-way game is solid but he has elite offensive talent. He has top-10 talent. – Russ Cohen

Skating, Skating, and more skating. This guy is just so explosive through the neutral zone on the attack. He’ll need to learn to pick his spots better to avoid getting caught up ice, but if we’re talking about potential, this guy has an insane amount. – Brock Otten

 

Something about this kid just screams top talent to me, I fear he will drop in the draft because #Size but don’t let him fall too far in your prospect draft. – Pat Quinn

8. Ryan Merkley, D – Guelph (OHL)

Merkley is a fantasy dream if you play in a league that builds predominantly on points. He doesn’t have the defensive aptitude of some of the other defencemen in this class but his offensive gifts are world class. – Scott Wheeler

Ultimate boom or bust prospect. The skating ability and vision on the powerplay are elite. Opens up lanes by how well he turns and can change pace/direction. But the defensive shortcomings are legitimate. If we’re doing a ranking on pure fantasy potential though…this guy needs to be ranked highly. In reality though, there’s no way that I’d have him this high, at least at this point. – Brock Otten

Ryan Merkley will probably score a ton of points if he can get focused to play a bit more reliably defensively. Not sure there is a case of DeAngelo-Murphy Syndrome. Great passer, great puck mover, controls offensive pace well, but defensive play needs work. – Will Scouch

An offensive blueliner, Merkley’s a slick puck handler that’s adept at leading teammates with accurate passes and setting up high-percentage scoring opportunities. Not huge at 5-11, 165-pounds, Merkley positions himself well and can skillfully slow attackers with his stick, but is developing in his own zone. – Kevin Wickersham

9. Joel Farabee, LW – (USNTDP)

Slight and slippery, he feasts on oppositions with his vision and his finishing ability. Great skater who works tirelessly in all three zones. Seems to elevate his game next to highly skilled players. – Cam Robinson

He has great speed, scoring ability and a solid two-way game. He’s still just 17. – Russ Cohen

The captain for a lethal U18 NTDP squad, has NHL success written all over him. Hockey IQ and above-average skater with a good motor. Perhaps not the highest offensive upside but a lock for the next level who earns points the way you often have to in the NHL. – Zachary DeVine

 

His playmaking ability has been fantastic this year. Pat Quinn

10. Calen Addison, D – Lethbridge (WHL)

Loved his game at the Hlinka as I thought he was Canada’s best defender. Lack of size is going to be an issue, but he’s a true competitor and has everything you’d look for in an elite offensive blueliner for the next level. If Brannstrom can go as high as he did last year, why can’t Addison? – Brock Otten

 

Small, dynamic right-shot defender needs to thicken up and improve positioning to handle stronger players but knows how to create offense. – Cam Robinson

The draft is full of undersized, dynamic offensive defensemen and Addison is exactly that. He is posting over a point per game offense in his draft year and can bring the offensive skills, transition offense, possession style the NHL demands. – Peter Harling

11. Ty Smith, D – Spokane (WHL)

Smith isn’t the biggest (or best) defender, but the offensive toolbox is complete. His skating is silky smooth and is in the mix in the second tier of defenders. His ability in his own zone is improving. – Zachary DeVine

 

A dynamic two-way defender continues to display his full arsenal of weapons with Spo