Prospect Ramblings: 2018 Draft and Fantasy Rankings, Tolvanen is Coming, and Elias Pettersson Chasing History

Cam Robinson

2018-03-02

 

Before we delve into the 2018 class and where some of these talented youngsters should go in your fantasy drafts next fall, I want to talk about a kid who isn’t going to hear his named called until June 2020 but is quickly becoming the talk of the CHL.

 

When the Rimouski Océanic selected Alexis Lafrenière first overall in last season’s QMJHL Bantam Draft, they were expecting to add a dynamic player that could help them win in a couple of seasons.

 

 

Lafrenière was a dominant major midget player who exhibited high-level processing skills, great skating ability and equally deft playmaking and finishing skills. However, I’m guessing even the Océanic brass weren’t expecting what has happened thus far.

 

Through 54 games as a newly turned 16-year-old (his October birthdate prohibits him from being a part of the 2019 draft by less than a month), Lafrenière has torched the QMJHL competition to the tune of 41 goals and 76 points.

 

That mark has him sitting fourth overall in Q scoring and his 41 tallies ranks second – ahead of Filip Zadina, Vitali Abramov, and everyone not named Alex Barré-Boulet (more on him later).

 

The level that Lafrenière has been playing at is a near-historical rate for the Quebec circuit.

 

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Through two periods of play Alexis Lafrenière has 1+1. That brings his season total to 75 points (40+35) in 54 QMJHL games. <br><br>He’s the first U17 Q player to hit 40 goals since Crosby (54) in 2003-04, and just the third guy to do it since 1990. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/2020NHLDraft?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#2020NHLDraft</a></p>&mdash; /Cam Robinson/ (@CrazyJoeDavola3) <a href="https://twitter.com/CrazyJoeDavola3/status/969036469691011073?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 1, 2018</a></blockquote>

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js{/source}

 

Being in the same breath as Sidney Crosby is never a bad thing. For those wondering, Vinny Lecavalier was only other U17 player to score 40 or more since 1990 when he popped 42 back in 1996-97.

 

At this point, there is no one who is rivalling Lafrenière for the first overall selection in 2020 but of course, we have an enormous amount of hockey left to be played and we’ve had numerous draft-mnus one and draft-minus two kids have big starts only to run into injury issues or plateau early so we won’t count our chickens early here.

 

That said, Lafrenière is showing the skill needed to potentially be a game-changing asset for an NHL team down the line.

 

{youtube}tiWhxZ48nI0{/youtube}

 

 

**

 

Alright, let’s dig into the 2018 class.

 

This group has been dubbed "The Deep Defender Draft" by many (or maybe just me… I’m not great at dubbing). The first round will be littered with blue liners and if my rankings hold true, there could be as many as seven players from the back en