I’m not sure if you heard, but the NHL Entry Draft was held Friday and Saturday. DobberProspects and DobberHockey had feet on the ground at the event to give you some pretty fantastic coverage as the picks rolled in, you can check those articles out here:
As we grade team’s drafting performances, we all know Rule #1: Don’t draft for need, draft the best player available.
The same rule usually applies in fantasy hockey, but that being said, an inferior player in a superior spot in a depth chart can be a much better fantasy own. With that in mind, let’s look at which 1st-round-picks ended up in perfect locations for their skills to be put to use sooner rather than later:
Rasmus Dahlin, D, BUF
This one is too easy. A franchise defenseman on a roster desperately needing exactly that. Dahlin would have been successful anywhere he went, but there will be no limiting factors to his performance in Buffalo. Big minutes, PP, PK, whatever he decides he can handle.
Quintin Hughes, D, VAN
We suspected Vancouver would take a top defenseman with their pick, but we didn’t expect Hughes to still be available. He wants to turn pro asap, and the Canucks need a powerplay d-man asap. Despite going lower than some expected, I think his fantasy value is now higher than expected as he projects to end up on the same powerplay as Brock Boeser and Elias Petterson.
Evan Bouchard, D, EDM
I promise this list isn’t only defense (actually, its pretty darn close). But these teams needed it dearly and Edmonton got their man with Bouchard. The right-shot blueliner is one of the most physically mature in the draft and isn’t far away from an NHL spot. He can rack up points in a good situation, and now he could be on a powerplay unit with McDavid. A great example of how team fit often dictates fantasy value more than raw player talent.
Martin Kaut, RW, COL
One look at a Colorado depth chart tells you all you need to know about the Avs up front. Rantanen, Kerfoot, and Compher are all full-time NHLers now and because of that the cupboard of forwards looks mighty bare on the right side. Kaut fixes that and brings all-around potential that they need to continue their upward trend as an organization.
Nicolas Beaudin, D, CHI
The LHD depth on Chicago lacked offensive upside before this pick. He isn’t pro-ready by any means, but he fills an important need which means the team will make sure he doesn’t get impeded on his pro development path.
Vitali Kravtsov, RW, NYR
He would have made the list without an asterisk if not for the KHL contract factor. If he comes to North America rather than stay in Russia, he becomes a dangerous player on the right side in a depth chart with top talent coming on the left side and down the middle in Chytil and Andersson. Both the prospect and NHL lineups are weak at RW so there’s very little barrier to entry here.
Remember to check in during our July and August 31-in-31 Series, where we will once again be doing full run-downs of each team’s draft, depth charts, and current state of prospect affairs!
Also keep an eye our for an announcement of a DobberProspects new look! We get a makeover any day now and I have a feeling it will be very well received!