2018 NHL Draft Rankings
April 2018 Edition
The final stretch drive for draft-eligible prospects, and the opportunity to wow the scouting community is drawing to a close. Many players have had the opportunity to showcase themselves in marquee tournaments. The Ivan Hlinka Memorial, Five Nations, World Junior Championships and the U18’s have provided big stages for these youngsters.
Other players have had to go the hard way. Fighting their way up draft boards from more untapped regions such as New England prep schools, second tier professional circuits, and European U20 leagues. Regardless of where they play, if they shine, the hawks in the stands should have had an opportunity to get a glance.
When putting together my personal rankings, I rely a great deal on the minds and opinions of some more experienced scouts. This has been aided by countless hours of video and live viewings that I log myself.
I place a great deal of emphasis on skating ability, processing skills and an ability to thrive on a consistent basis. These rankings are not intended to mimic how the draft will end up this June. It is a glimpse of how I feel the players will progress as they mature and (hopefully) experience success as NHL players.
If only you people knew the angst and anguish I put on myself while trying to rank these players.— /Cam Robinson/ (@CrazyJoeDavola3) April 27, 2018
It can’t be good for my health pic.twitter.com/VnfUGhlVTv
Regarding tiers, this crop has a clear number one in Rasmus Dahlin. Behind him, Andrei Svechnikov has separated himself enough to form his own single tier. Players in the 3-11 slots would make up the third tier and likely the end of the obvious high-end talent.
The fourth tier is comprised of players in the 12-19 positions, with 20-26 falling into tier five. Tier six is your players from 27-45. Look for players 46-60 to be a grouping in tier seven.
Consider players in the 61-115 range to be in the arena that will have a lot of variance. One list may have a guy 30-plus spots higher than the scout next to him depending on the days they’ve seen them play and the assets they truly value. Each have a skill or two that iare admirable but also feature a troubling deficiency or three.
I’m limited to a degree by not getting to see all these players play consistently all season. That said, I’ve had eyes on each player listed at some point this year. A player like Jay O’Brien intrigues many, myself included, but I was only able to have a handful of viewings and in unique situations.
Remember, these are approximations and not steadfast tiers written in stone. They are meant to give an indication of the levels and groupings that certain players fall into.
You can find my previous rankings here:
- Rasmus Dahlin / LHD / 6’2 181lbs / 04-13-00 (SHL)
We haven’t seen a draft-eligible defender with this level of upside since Drew Doughty. Dahlin’s ceiling is even higher. Effortless skating mixed with size, smarts, and dangles that would make Pavel Datsyuk nod in approval. He’s the entire package and has all the tools to become a game-changing pillar for an organization
- Andrei Svechnikov / RW / 6’2 187lbs / 03-26-00 (OHL)
Physically ready for the NHL, Svechnikov blends world-class finishing ability with hard-nosed and defensively responsible play. A goal scorer who can impact the game in all situations. Terrific blend of speed, power and precision. He’ll be a front-line threat for years to come.
- Quinn Hughes / LHD / 5’10 174lbs / 10-14-99 (NCAA)
A consummate playmaker who boasts the elite speed needed to thrive at his stature. The youngest player in the NCAA this season, his confidence has been building all year. Was tremendous for Michigan down the stretch. The best skater in this class and a one-man breakout machine. He can run a power play with the best of them.
- Filip Zadina / RW / 6’ 190lbs / 11-27-99 (QMJHL)
Uses his size and strength to create space and then delivers electric moves and finishing ability. He’s absolutely lethal from the circles down. A tireless worker who loves the big stage. Need a first line winger? He’s your man.
- Adam Boqvist / RHD / 5’11 170lbs / 08-15-00 (SHL)
Dynamic puck skills, terrific vision, high-end quickness, top 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. Has a big shot and loves to unload it. Far too good for the J20 circuit yet sees too few minutes in the SHL put him in a bit of a tough spot this season. Concluding his season against peers at the U18’s has been exactly what he needed to demonstrate his elite skillset. Oozes potential.
- Oliver Wahlstrom / RW-C / 6’1 198lbs / 06-13-00 (USNTDP)
Owns some of the best pure puck skills in the draft. The goal-scoring forward doesn’t shy away from attacking dangerous scoring areas and boasts strong speed and quick feet. An incredible season with the USNTDP this year, leading the charge from tip to tail. Loves to engage physically almost as much as he loves finding the back of the net. Feasts on the man-advantage.
- Noah Dobson / RHD / 6’3 179lbs / 01-07-00 (QMJHL)
A right-shot defender who has all the tools to be an all-around top-four producer. Had a terrific year with Acadia-Bathurst of the QMJHL, while bringing high-end processing ability, soft hands and a willingness to take calculated risks. A smooth skater. Often logs 30-plus minutes a night with ease. Reminiscent of Alex Pietrangelo
- Ty Smith / LHD / 5’11 176lbs / 03-24-00 (WHL)
The dynamic two-way defender continued to display his full arsenal of weapons with Spokane this season. The former first overall pick in the 2015 WHL bantam draft, Smith is a tremendous skater who demonstrates poise and patience with the puck. His outlets are crisp and his head is always up. He’s a player you fall in love with because he always makes the right play. High ceiling and high floor -What’s not to like?
- Brady Tkachuk / LW / 6’2 194lbs / 09-16-99 (NCAA)
The elder statesman of the 2018 crop missed last year’s draft by a single day. That should and will factor into his evaluation. Had an adequate season as one of the younger players in the NCAA, but his lights out World Junior showing moved the needle for many. His hands are soft, his shot his heavy and he plays an abrasive, pro-style game.
- Joel Farabee / LW / 5’11 148lbs / 02-25-00 (USNTDP)
Slight and slippery, he feasts on oppositions with his vision and his finishing ability. Great skater who works tirelessly in all three zones. Had a tremendous season with the USNTDP this year. He thrived while playing with Wahlstrom and 2019-eligible super-prospect, Jack Hughes, and didn’t miss a beat while anchoring his own line. Needs to add strength but does all the little things that make players successful. Can hurt you during all situations. Getting a high-ceiling player in this part of the draft is a coup.
- Evan Bouchard / RHD / 6’2 181lbs / 10-20-99 (OHL)
A strong puck-moving defender who took on all the tough minutes on a depleted Knights’ squad. Runs the power play with precision, uses his big shot with impunity and finds a way onto the scoresheet most nights. Lacks dynamic skills that jump out at you, so it’s sometimes hard to fall in love with him, but he’s a workhorse and that gets the job done. Improving his skating remains an area of focus.
- Jesperi Kotkaniemi / C/LW / 6’2 190lbs / 07-06-00 (Liiga)
Great puck skills and finishing ability, but skating still a work in progress. Offers an awkward stride that doesn’t generate a ton of top-end power. That hasn’t stopped him from putting up more than respectable numbers Liiga though, albeit from the wing. A strong Five Nations and U18 tournaments while playing the middle of the ice may convince scouts that’s where he belongs long term. May not be flashy, but gets the job done.
- Barrett Hayton / C / 6’1 180lbs / 06-09-00 (OHL)
Improved speed and strength has been the noteworthy traits in his draft season. Quality release, good vision, quick hands, and can play centre or wing. Is very well regarded in his own end. Has flashed game-breaking stuff deep in the OHL playoffs this spring. A safe player.
- Joseph Veleno / C / 6’ 181lbs / 01-13-00 (QMJHL)
A jack-of-all-trades player with a nice tool belt. Great edgework, acceleration, vision and puck-protection skills. Blazing fast in a straight line. The 18-year-old is already a consummate worker in the defensive end and is a very safe selection as he has a pro-level approach. One of the best power play distributors in the CHL.
- Rasmus Kupari / C / 6’ 168lbs / 03-15-00 (Liiga)
Cracked the WJC roster for the Fins and did well in a secondary role. He owns high-end playmaking ability that compliments his quick and elusive style. Small role with a top-level Liiga team limited his production. Will need to continue to build his frame, but is a smart player who defends well.
- Vitali Kravtsov / RW / 6’2 170lbs / 12-23-99 (KHL)
Smooth skater with skill to burn had managed to produce a few points in the KHL as a 17-year-old – no easy feat. He followed that up with an explosion of goals as a go-to option during the playoffs and has seen his stock rightly rise. Lacks exposure due to not being selected for Russia’s international squads but is a highly talented player with soft hands and pro-level release.
- Dominik Bokk / LW-RW / 6’1 179lbs / 02-03-00 (SuperElit)
Agile, quick hands, elusive in the offensive zone and makes a habit of landing on the scoresheet. Destroyed the J20 circuit and received a cup of coffee in the SHL. If you like skill, you’ll love Bokk.
- Ryan Merkley / RHD / 5’11 165lbs / 08-14-00 (OHL)
One of the youngest players in this draft, he’s also one of the most offensively gifted (and enigmatic). The reigning OHL Rookie of the Year boasts elite offensive skills from the back end: Vision, passing, dynamic edges, good top end speed and impressive acceleration. His play in his own zone and decision-making without the puck are still very much a work in progress. Couple that with whispers of off-ice issues and we may see him slide considerably on draft day. However, the right-handed defender has the makings of a dynamic point-producer if he hits. His boom or bust tag has been well earned.
- Grigori Denisenko / LW / 5’10 165lbs / 06-24-00 (MHL)
A creative player with the puck who can dart in and out of the lanes with expert edgework, quick acceleration and creative lines. Slight stature but enjoys engaging. His talent hasn’t always resulted in points but it sure jumps off the page.
- Isac Lundeström / C / 6’0 185lbs / 11-06-99 (SHL)
Skilled puck-distributor has shown very well as a draft-eligible player in the SHL – his second year in Sweden’s top league. His skills are unspectacular, but the nuances to his game are terrific. He’s the type of player you like the more you watch him. In a centre-lite draft, his stock has risen. Saw his role expand in the WJC and thrived with more ice.
- Jonatan Berggren / RW/C / 5’10 183lbs / 07-16-00 (SuperElit)
An absolute wrecking ball of a player who has been posting tremendous numbers in the J20 circuit. Logs miles of ice as he forechecks with impunity, distributes the puck and knows how to finish as well. Terrific international performances at the Hlinka, Five Nations and U18’s offer scouts a glimpse of his skill on some big stages and he’s even looked capable in a 10 game stint in the SHL. Some of the best one-on-one skills in the class. A player his coaches love and his opponents hate.
- Martin Kaut / RW / 6’1 175lbs / 10-02-99 (Czech Extraliga)
A right-shot winger who had his coming out party for the Czechs at the World Junior Championships with seven points in as many games. He’s a late ’99 birthdate so he’s older but has produced very strong numbers in the Czech top league this season – comparable to Martin Necas and Filip Chytil a season ago. He’s quick, elusive and knows how to finish.
- Bode Wilde / RHD / 6’2 194lbs / 1-24-00 (USNTDP)
Terrific skater who owns a big shot and offers strong play in the offensive end. Can step up and make a big hit, but is also guilty of poor decision-making. A high ceiling player with some risk.
- Ryan McLeod / C / 6’2 190lbs / 09-21-99 (OHL)
Speed runs in the family. Isn’t as hard-nosed as older brother, Michael but plays a similar game. Missed the 2017 cut-off by a week so his developmental arc is a little clearer. A pro-style guy.
- Akil Thomas / C / 5’11 165lbs / 01-02-00 (OHL)
A buzz-saw of a player. Needs to add strength, but moves as quick with the puck as he does without. Had a strong year with Niagara. Likely better suited for the wing at the NHL level.
- Nils Lundkvist / RHD / 5’11 174 lbs / 07-27-00 (SHL)
Smooth skating, right-shot defender who has looked comfortable and calm in the SHL as a 17-year-old. Can run a power play, jump of the ice to join the attack and offers reliable positioning in the defensive end. Had a strong Five Nations tournament and has looked capable again at the U18’s. Has been making a charge up the rankings for many.
- Serron Noel / RW / 6’5 201lbs / 08-08-00 (OHL)
A long, fluid stride generates loads of power and speed for such a big man. He’s young for this crop and still quite raw, but the potential for a goal-scoring winger with his size and strength is tantalizing. Already a heavy load in the corners and the paint.
- Jonny Tychonick / LHD / 5’11 165lbs / 03-03-00 (BCHL)
The former 12th overall selection in the WHL Bantam draft decided to go the NCAA route and has been terrorizing BCHL opponents from the backend on the always-powerhouse, Penticton Vees squad. He’s heading to a top-notch program at North Dakota next fall.Mobile, offensively-orientated, and full of hockey smarts. Loves to join the rush. He’s a new-age defender.
- Jake Wise / C / 5’10 185 / 01-02-00
Speed-driven, cerebral and crafty centre who has thrived in a 2C role with the USNTDP this season. Battled injury to begin the year, but has produced top level numbers since returning. Is overshadowed by the likes of Hughes, Wahlstrom and Farabee but has been a solid addition to the top PP unit or as the linchpin on PP2. Has a future as a top-six centre.
- Rasmus Sandin / LHD / 5’11 190lbs / 03-07-00
Transition defender who offers strong vision and crisp passes. A smart player who knows when to pinch and can read the play happening at both ends of the rink. Lacks elite quickness but has a knack for changing gears to create separation while on the attack.
- K’andre Miller / LHD /6’3 192lbs / 01-21-00
Converted to the backend just a few seasons ago, the offensively-inclined defender demonstrates tremendous skating ability for his size. Prone to the odd poor decision, he can frustrate. The potential is massive though and worth the swing.
- Nicolas Beaudin / LHD / 5’10 161lbs / 10-07-99
- Alexander Alexeyev / LHD / 6’3 200lbs / 11-15-99
- Jacob Olofsson C / 6’2 193lbs / 02-08-00
- Calen Addison / RHD / 5’10 179lbs / 04-11-00 (WHL)
- Jakub Lauko / C / 6’1 172lbs / 03-28-00
- David Gustafsson / C / 6’1 194lbs / 04-11-00
- Niklas Nordgren / RW / 5’9 170lbs / 05-04-00
- Jay O’Brien / C / 6’ 174lbs / 11-04-99
- Filip Hallander / RW / 6’ 180lbs / 06-29-00
- Blake McLaughlin / C-LW / 5’11 161lbs / 02-14-00
- Ty Dellandrea / C / 6’1 181lbs / 07-21-00
- Cameron Hillis / C / 5’11 163 lbs / 06-24-00
- Mattias Samuelsson / LHD / 6’3 205lbs / 03-14-00
- Jared McIsaac /LHD / 6’2 209lbs / 03-27-00
- Kirill Marchenko / W / 6’3 168lbs / 07-21-00
- Jesse Ylonen / RW / 6’ 159lbs / 10-20-99
- Kevin Bahl / LHD / 6’6 225lbs / 06-27-00
- Jack McBain / C / 6’3 183lbs / 01-06-00
- Benoit-Olivier Groulx / C / 6’1 176lbs / 02-06-00
- Liam Foudy / C / 6’ 161lbs / 02-04-00
- Sampo Ranta / LW / 6’1 192lbs / 05-31-00
- Adam Ginning / LHD / 6’3 192lbs /01-13-00
- Jett Woo / RHD / 6’ 201lbs / 07-27-00
- Jacob Bernard-Docker / RHD / 6’1 172lbs / 06-30-00
- Aidan Dudas / C / 5’7 165 lbs / 06-15-00
- Johnny Gruden / LW / 5’11 172 / 05-04-00
- Axel Andersson / RHD / 6’ 174lbs / 02-10/00
- Alexander Khovanov / C / 5’11 179lbs / 04-12-00
- Allan McShane / C / 5’11 190lbs / 02-14-00
- Milos Roman / C / 5’11 194lbs / 11-06-99
- Cole Fonstad / C/LW / 5’10 161lbs / 04-24-00
- Oscar Bäck / C/RW / 6’2 198lbs / 03-12-00
- Dmitri Zavgorodny / RW / 5’9 161lbs / 08-11-00
- Curtis Hall / C / 6’2 194lbs / 04-26-00
- Vladislav Kotkov / LW / 6’4 198lbs / 01-28-00
- Kody Clark / RW / 6’1 176lbs / 10-13-99
- Filip Johansson / RHD / 6’1 187lbs / 03-23-00
- Tyler Weiss / LW / 5’11 159lbs / 01-03-00
- Filip Kral / LHD / 6’ 168lbs / 10-20-99
- Jack Drury / C / 5’11 175lbs / 02-03-00
- Ivan Morozov / C / 6’1 179lbs / 01-05-05
- Giovanni Vallati / LHD / 6’1 185lbs / 02-21-00
- Martin Fehérváry / LHD / 6’1 190lbs / 10-06-99
- Marcus Westfält / C / 6’3 205lbs / 03-12-00
- Kyle Topping / C / 5’11 185lbs / 11-18-99
- Blade Jenkins /C / 6’2 194lbs / 08-11-00
- Scott Perunovich / LHD / 5’10 170lbs / 08-18-98 *
- Danila Galenyuk / LHD / 6’1 201lbs / 02-11-00
- Albin Eriksson / LW / 6’4 205lbs / 07-20-00
- Philipp Kurashev / C / 6’ 183lbs / 10-12-99
- Yegor Sokolov / W / 6’3 223lbs / 06-07-00
- Gabriel Fortier / LW / 5’10 190lbs / 02-06-00
- Linus Karlsson / C / 6’1 180lbs / 11-16-99
- Kirill Nizhnikov / RW / 6’1 190lbs / 03-29-00
- Jan Jenik / F / 6’1 154lbs / 09-15-00
- Toni Utunen / LHD / 5’11 172lbs / 04-27-00
- Samuel Fagemo / RW / 5’11 195lbs / 03-14-00
- Ruslan Iskhakov / F / 5’7 152lbs / 07-22-00
- Adam Samuelsson / LHD / 6’5 240lbs / 06-21-00
- Lukas Dostal / G / 6’1 158lbs / 06-22-00
- Stanislav Demin / LHD / 6’1 190lbs 04-04-00
- Sean Durzi / RHD / 6’ 190lbs / 10-21-98 *
- Bulat Shafigullin / F / 6’1 163lbs / 12-29-99
- Amir Miftakhov / G / 6’ 160lbs / 04-26-00
- Jacob Pivonka / C / 6’ 190lbs / 02-28-00
- Jordan Harris / LHD / 5’11 179lbs / 07-07-00
- Joey Keane / RHD / 6’ 185lbs / 07-02-99 *
- Riley Sutter / RW / 6’3 205lbs / 10-25-99
- Alexis Gravel / G / 6’3 220lbs / 03-21-00
- Alec Regula / RHD / 6’2 161lbs / 08-06-00
- Tyler Madden / C / 5’10 152lbs / 11-09-99
- Luka Burzan / C / 6’ 185lbs / 01-07-00
- Jack Perbix / RW /6’1 175lbs / 09-13-00
- Xavier Bernard / LHD / 6’2 176lbs / 01-06-00
- Jakub Skarek / G / 6’3 196lbs / 10-11-99
- Alexander Zhabreyev / C / 5’7 152lbs / 03-24-00
- Jacob Ingram / G / 6’3 181lbs / 06-10-00
- Nathan Dunkley / C / 5’11 185lbs / 05-03-00
- Curtis Douglas / C / 6’8 201lbs / 03-06-00
- Gavin Hain / C / 5’11 194lbs / 04-03-00
- Kevin Mandolese / G / 6’3 181lbs / 08-22-00
- Xavier Bouchard / RHD / 6’2 176lbs / 01-28-00
- Nando Eggenberger / LW / 6’2 185lbs / 10-07-99
- Anderson MacDonald / LW / 6’2 205lbs / 05-16-00
Here’s where you get your say. Hit me up in the comments or on Twitter @CrazyJoeDavola3 with verbal abuse for having player x higher than player y. Or maybe, just maybe, a thumbs up!