January 2018 NHL Draft Rankings

Go check out the previous 2018 draft rankings to see how they’ve shifted over the course of a month
November Rankings
December Rankings

 

  1. Rasmus Dahlin, D, 6’2″ 183 lbs (Frolunda, SHL): Dahlin may, in fact, be the best defenseman prospect to come out of the draft since 2008 when Drew Doughty and Erik Karlsson were drafted. Dahlin is already being compared to Erik Karlsson but many scouts will tell you that Dahlin is far better than Karlsson at the same age. He’s without a doubt a franchise changing defenseman and he put on a show at the World Juniors in Buffalo. Whoever wins the draft lottery will be a very, and I mean, very lucky team. He can step into the NHL on day one and be an impact player.
  2. Andrei Svechnikov, RW, 6’2″ 187 lbs (Barrie, OHL): Despite missing a significant amount of time this season with a hand injury, Svechnikov is still having a great season with the Barrie Colts of the OHL. It’s very unusual for a 17-year-old to crack the Russian world junior team and Svechnikov was an exception to the trend of mostly 19-year-olds on the Russian roster. Even though he was extremely underutilized and didn’t get a whole lot of ice time, Svechnikov still managed to get 5 points in 5 games. He didn’t have a great tournament like Filip Zadina or Brady Tkachuk but for me, Andrei Svechnikov is still the number 2 prospect in this draft.
  3. Filip Zadina, RW, 6’1″ 192 lbs (Halifax, QMJHL):  Zadina is doing a great job of adjusting to the North American game this season in Halifax. He currently has 51 points in 35 games for the Mooseheads this season and he’s 2nd in the Quebec league in scoring despite missing time playing in the WJC. Zadina was fantastic at the World Juniors. He had 8 points, 7 of which were goals all in 7 games. He has a lethal shot and his skillset is just remarkable. If there’s anyone that has the ability to challenge Andrei Svechnikov for the 2nd overall pick, it’s Filip Zadina. They’re pretty much neck and neck as far as I’m concerned.
  4. Adam Boqvist, D, 5’11” 170 lbs (Almtuna, Allsvenskan): Boqvist is the forgotten prospect in this draft. The rest of the elite prospects in the draft in Dahlin, Svechnikov, Zadina, Hughes, and Tkachuk all went to the WJC played well when they had the spotlight on them and Adam Boqvist, unfortunately, didn’t crack the Swedish roster this season. But that doesn’t mean that it should lower his draft status in any way. Boqvist is a very talented offensive defenseman and Craig Button of TSN even describes him as an Erik Karlsson “clone”. He started the season off in the under 20 league in Sweden and has recently joined Almtuna in the Allsvenskan. His skating ability and awareness of the ice is just remarkable. He’s a slam dunk top 5/6 pick in this draft.
  5. Quinn Hughes, D, 5’10” 174 lbs (University of Michigan, NCAA): Quinn Hughes is another one of what you’d call the modern day NHL defensemen that are in this draft. He’s not the biggest player but he can absolutely fly out there and might even be one of if not the best skaters in the draft. He had an impressive WJC with team USA. He had his struggles but at many times in the tournament, he really showcased his great skating ability as well as how well he can move the puck. He’s also putting up some impressive numbers at the University of Michigan for a freshman (13pts in 19 games. Hughes is right there with Adam Boqvist for being the second best defenseman in the draft.
  6. Brady Tkachuk, LW, 6’3″ 196 lbs (Boston University, NCAA): Tkachuk was a standout for Team USA at the WJC. It seemed like he had instant chemistry with Buffalo prospect, Casey Mittelstadt. Lots of people are gonna be shocked that Tkachuk is 6th on my list after his impressive WJC but I just don’t think he’s as skilled as any of the other players above him in this ranking. Tkachuk can easily be picked in the top 5 but I value the skill and speed of Hughes, Boqvist, Zadina, and Svechnikov more than what Tkachuk has to offer. Don’t get me wrong, Tkachuk is a really good prospect and if the Sabres were to end up drafting him I would be very excited and welcome him into the organization with open arms. Tkachuk is taking a different path to the NHL than his brother, Matthew. Tkachuk is at Boston University currently and he got off to a slow start with them. But maybe after a good WJC, we’ll see Tkachuk step up his game with the Terriers.
  7. Oliver Wahlstrom, RW, 6’1″ 205 lbs (USNTDP): Wahlstrom has been in the spotlight ever since he scored a beautiful lacrosse-style goal during the intermission of a Bruins game when he was just 9 years old. Unlike most youtube sensations, Wahlstrom isn’t a flash in the pan and he’s actually the real deal. He’s currently playing on a line with Joel Farabee and Jack Hughes for the USNTDP and is having a very good season being a point per game player. He has a whole lot of talent, skill, hockey sense, and he can put the puck in the back of the net.
  8. Noah Dobson, D, 6’3″ 179 lbs (Acadie-Bathurst, QMJHL): The first Canadian on the list. Dobson is by far the fastest riser for the 2018 draft and is putting together a very nice season with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan this season (41pts in 44 games). He’s a good skater and is one of the best two-way defensemen in the 2018 draft. He’s also a right-handed shot and we all know how much teams covet good right-handed shot defensemen. It’ll be interesting to see if Dobson can rise any higher in the draft ranking going forward.
  9. Evan Bouchard, D, 6’2″ 193 lbs (London, OHL): Another riser in this edition of the draft rankings. Evan Bouchard got pushed into a situation that probably wasn’t expected for him this season. With Olli Juolevi going back to Finland and Victor Mete making the Montreal Canadiens out of camp, Bouchard immediately became the Knight’s number one defenseman. And in that role, he has excelled. The London Knights haven’t had the season that they would’ve hoped for and now they’re going in a rebuild mode now that their core players like Cliff Pu, Robert Thomas, and Max Jones have all been dealt. Bouchard is now the main guy on this Knights team. He can be a power play quarterback at the NHL level.
  10. Bode Wilde, D, 6’2″ 197 lbs (USNTDP): Like the other defensemen in the top 10, Bode Wilde is a really good skater and has significant offensive upside. The thing that separates Wilde and Bouchard from many of the other defensemen in this draft is their size. General Managers must be salivating over the possibility of drafting a player with Wilde’s size coupled with the fact that he’s a really good skater. Wilde is committed to the University of Michigan next year. If Quinn Hughes doesn’t go pro, it’s possible that the Wolverines can have a pairing of Hughes and Wilde on their blueline next season and that’s exciting to think about.
  11. Joel Farabee, LW, 6’0″ 174 lbs (USNTDP):
  12. Rasmus Kupari, C, 6’1″ 183 lbs (Hermes, Mestis):
  13. Barrett Hayton, C, 6’1″ 185 lbs (Sault Ste. Marie, OHL):
  14. Ty Smith, D, 5’11” 176 lbs (Spokane, WHL):
  15. Joe Veleno, C, 6’1″ 195 lbs (Drummondville, QMJHL):
  16. Ryan Merkley, D, 5’11” 170 lbs (Guelph, OHL):
  17. Isac Lundestrom, C, 6’1″ 185 lbs (Lulea, SHL):
  18. Jack McBain, C, 6’3″ 196 lbs (Toronto, OJHL):
  19. Jared McIsaac, D, 6’1″ 195 lbs (Halifax, QMJHL):
  20. Jett Woo, D, 5’11” 205 lbs (Moose Jaw, WHL):
  21. Ryan McLeod, C, 6’2″ 200 lbs (Mississauga, OHL):
  22. Jacob Olofsson, C, 6’1″ 192 lbs (Timra, Allsvenskan):
  23. Grigori Denisenko, LW, 5’11” 175 lbs (Yaroslavl, MHL):
  24. Serron Noel, RW, 6’5″ 201 lbs (Oshawa, OHL):
  25. Akil Thomas, C, 5’11” 170 lbs (Niagara, OHL):
  26. Jesperi Kotkaniemi, C, 6’2″ 190 lbs (Assat, Liiga)
  27. Benoit-Oliver Groulx, C, 6’1″ 192 lbs (Halifax, QMJHL):
  28. Alexander Alexeyev, D, 6’3″ 184 lbs (Red Deer, WHL):
  29. Rasmus Sandin, D, 5’10” 183 lbs (Sault Ste. Marie, OHL):
  30. Martin Kaut, RW, 6’1″ 176 lbs (Pardubice, Czech):
  31. Filip Hallander, C, 6’0″ 178 lbs (Timra, Allsvenskan):

Thanks for checking out this month’s rankings. A new draft ranking will be posted every month leading up to the 2018 NHL Draft in June.

Follow the Charging Buffalo on Twitter and Instagram @TheChargingBUF. Follow us on Soundcloud @TheChargingBuffalo. And subscribe to our YouTube channel as well. You can also find me on Twitter @JoeTCBNHL

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