Disclaimer: This is not a ranking, this is a mock draft. This is a prediction of how I believe the 2018 draft will go. If you would like to see my latest ranking, click the link below.
June 2018 NHL Draft Rankings
1. Buffalo Sabres, Rasmus Dahlin, D, 6’2″ 183 lbs (Frolunda, SHL)
Dahlin is the consensus first overall selection and gives Buffalo fans the hope that the team will eventually get back into the playoffs in the near future. There’s nothing that hasn’t been said about Dahlin so I’ll just spare you some reading on this one. He’s great, enough said.
2. Carolina Hurricanes, Andrei Svechnikov, RW, 6’2″ 187 lbs (Barrie, OHL)
Carolina will be taking a winger with their second overall selection. I think that Svechnikov has the potential to be a great goal scorer in this league but there is some chatter around the NHL draft community where they say that Zadina or even Tkachuk could be a possibility here. But Svechnikov will be picked by Carolina. I believe he has separated himself from the other wingers in this class. He should be in Carolina’s lineup next year and don’t be surprised if he pots 20 goals as well.
3. Montreal Canadiens, Noah Dobson, D, 6’3″ 179 lbs (Acadie-Bathurst, QMJHL)
It’s rumored that Montreal is looking for either a center or a defenseman with the third overall pick. There’s been talk that they’re looking at Finnish center, Jesperi Kotkaniemi but Elliott Friedman says that could just be a smokescreen and that they’re actually looking to take a defenseman. My gut tells me that Dobson would be their pick. Noah Dobson and the Acadie-Bathurst Titan recently won the Memorial Cup and because of that, Dobson’s stock has skyrocketed and is now in the discussion to be selected in the top five. Dobson was fantastic in the tournament and was a steady riser throughout the season. He has very good size and plays the style of game that every NHL team is looking for out of a defenseman in today’s NHL. He’s fast and can move the puck very well. And on top of that, he’s a right handed shot which is always coveted by NHL teams. I think that they should go for either Zadina or Hughes but Dobson would still be a good pick.
4. Ottawa Senators, Filip Zadina, RW, 6’1″ 192 lbs (Halifax, QMJHL)
Zadina falls right into Ottawa’s lap here and is the easy choice for Pierre Dorion and his scouting staff. Zadina had a great year in Halifax and adjusted to the North American ice very quickly. He’s NHL ready and like Svechnikov, I think he could be a 20 goal scorer in his rookie season. Zadina is one of the best shooters in this draft.
5. Arizona Coyotes, Quinn Hughes, D, 5’10” 174 lbs (University of Michigan, NCAA)
Arizona selects the best skater in the draft in Quinn Hughes. Like many of the other high end defensemen in this draft, Hughes is a great puck moving defenseman and it’s almost like you have a fourth forward on the ice when he’s out there. The Coyotes have been drafting very well since John Chayka has taken over as their GM and I think they’ll continue that trend by selecting Quinn Hughes with the fifth overall pick. They walk away with who I believe to be the second best defenseman in the draft.
6. Detroit Red Wings, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, C, 6’2″ 190 lbs (Assat, Liiga)
Word has been going around that Detroit is pretty high on Jesperi Kotkaniemi so I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they select him here with the sixth pick. Kotkaniemi has had a very good draft year and his production in the Liiga is great for his age and it’s on par with Mikko Rantanen when he was the same age. He also has played well internationally when he’s facing players in his age group. He didn’t play a lot at center for Assat but played center when playing for Finland. I expect that he’d be able to play center at the NHL level with a couple more year of development. He needs to work on his skating but he’s still an amazing prospect.
7. Vancouver Canucks, Brady Tkachuk, LW, 6’3″ 196 lbs (Boston University, NCAA)
Vancouver is rumored to be looking to add a defenseman but with Montreal and Detroit reaching on their picks, I’d go to assume that the Canucks would pick the best player on their list in Brady Tkachuk. Tkachuk doesn’t exactly have that high end speed, skill, or goal scoring ability like a few other players at the top of the draft but I still believe that he’s an elite prospect. I think Tkachuk would be capable of playing in the NHL next year but another year in college would be better for his development.
8. Chicago Blackhawks, Oliver Wahlstrom, RW, 6’1″ 205 lbs (USNTDP)
I can definitely see Oliver Wahlstrom being the steal of the draft if he falls this far. Wahlstrom has the best release in this draft and has the potential to be a dynamic goal scorer at the NHL level. The thought of him playing with Patrick Kane is just scary. He’s set to attend Boston College next year but I think he will be NHL ready for the 2019-2020 season.
9. New York Rangers, Adam Boqvist, D, 5’11” 170 lbs (Almtuna, Allsvenskan)
Boqvist has one of the highest ceilings out of anyone in this draft. His offensive skill set is just so good that he’s been compared to Erik Karlsson throughout the season. When playing against players that are around his age, he has dominated. But he hasn’t quite proven himself against men, which is fine. He will most likely be playing for Brynas in the SHL for the majority of next season. New York is desperately trying to reshape their blueline and if Boqvist can reach his potential, they’re going to have a stud on their hands.
10. Edmonton Oilers, Evan Bouchard, D, 6’2″ 193 lbs (London, OHL)
Rounding out the top ten, Edmonton goes with London defenseman, Evan Bouchard. Bouchard had a great year with the Knights and had over 80 points which is fantastic coming from a draft eligible defenseman. Bouchard has a great point shot as well. He’s not the best skater but I do believe that he can overcome not being an elite skater at the NHL level with all of the skill that he has. Edmonton has also been looking for a quality right shot D for many years now and it just so happens that Bouchard is right handed. Best player available and also filling a position of need is a huge win for the Oilers here at ten.
11. New York Islanders, Joel Farabee, LW, 6’0″ 174 lbs (USNTDP)
New York is getting a great all around player in Joel Farabee. Farabee played a lot this year with the projected first overall pick in 2019, Jack Hughes and projected top ten pick, Oliver Wahlstrom. That line was a force for U.S. Development Team and some will say that Farabee was carried by those two players but it takes a great player to play with great players. Farabee has a very high hockey I.Q., a great shot, and he also has a whole lot of character. I think he’d be great on a line with Mathew Barzal some day.
12. New York Islanders (via CGY), Ty Smith, D, 5’11” 176 lbs (Spokane, WHL)
With the first round pick that they got from Calgary in the Travis Hamonic trade, the Islanders select a dynamic offensive defenseman in Ty Smith. Smith is a former first overall pick in the WHL draft and he hasn’t disappointed in the two years he’s been in the WHL with Spokane. Just like the other defensemen in this draft class, Smith has elite puck moving skills and is a phenomenal skater. If the Isles walk out of this draft with Farabee and Smith, their fans should be really excited because those two guys are great prospects.
13. Dallas Stars, Joe Veleno, C, 6’1″ 195 lbs (Drummondville, QMJHL)
This draft is probably the weakest draft in recent memory when it comes to centermen. Veleno is right up there with Kotkaniemi in my opinion for best center in the draft. Veleno might actually be one of the more underrated prospects this year simply because he wasn’t able to live up to the expectations of being the first ever player to be given exceptional player status in the QMJHL a few years ago. Even though he’s not that elite prospect that people thought he’d become, he’s still very good and showed a lot of improvement when he was traded to Drummondville. I see Veleno as a very good 2-way centerman in the NHL. I don’t think he has the upside to be a number one center, but certainly an excellent number two.
14. Philadelphia Flyers (via STL), Vitali Kravtsov, RW, 6’2″, 183 lbs (Chelyabinsk, KHL)
Kravtsov really made a name for himself after a phenomenal playoff run and he has skyrocketed up the rankings since. Teams are usually very leery about drafting Russian players but the Flyers have shown in the past few drafts that they aren’t afraid to draft Russians. Kravtsov is a high skilled player who I believe has a very high ceiling. I expect that his regular season production will improve next season and also that he is likely to be a big contributor to the Russian world junior team.
15. Florida Panthers, Barrett Hayton, C, 6’1″ 185 lbs (Sault Ste. Marie, OHL)
Hayton hasn’t really been a player who has impressed me a whole lot this season but there’s no doubt that he’s still a good choice to be selected in the top 20 this year. He had a good playoff run with the Greyhounds and they just came up short as they lost to the Hamilton Bulldogs in the OHL final. He is a good all around player and would be a good addition to the Panthers’ system.
16. Colorado Avalanche, Rasmus Kupari, C, 6’1″ 183 lbs (Karpat, Liiga)
The Avalanche get a very skilled player in Kupari at 16. He didn’t produce a whole lot playing against men which isn’t really a surprise. But it was a completely different story for Kupari when playing against players in his age group. He played very well at the U18’s and it’s rumored that he’s looking to develop his game in Finland for another season or two. Kupari could very well play with his countryman, Mikko Rantanen a few years down the line if he’s drafted by the Avs.
17. New Jersey Devils, Bode Wilde, D, 6’2″ 197 lbs (USNTDP)
Wilde seems like he has been sliding down some rankings as of late but I’m still very high on him. He plays that dynamic offensive style of game that many NHL teams are looking for in defensemen now and on top of that, he has the size to go with that. The knock on Wilde is that he may take too many risks but personally, that’s something that doesn’t bother me that much. He’s also a right handed shot which as mentioned before, is highly coveted around the NHL. He’d be a very good fit in New Jersey with the style that they’ve been trying to play since Ray Shero took over as GM. And he’d also fill a hole on their blueline which is a plus.
18. Columbus Blue Jackets, Isac Lundestrom, C, 6’1″ 185 lbs (Lulea HF, SHL)
Lundestrom really caught my eye at the WJC in Buffalo. He plays a complete game and shows some great flashes of skill He already has a couple years of experience playing against men in the SHL so I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes the jump to North America sooner rather than later.
19. Philadelphia Flyers, Rasmus Sandin, D, 5’10” 183 lbs (Sault Ste. Marie, OHL)
Sandin is one of my favorite prospects in this draft class. Again, he’s another dynamic offensive defenseman and he likes to jump up into the rush a lot which is what I like to see out of defensemen. He came over to North America this season and the adjustment time was very minimal, he was a huge part of the Greyhounds blueline especially considering that Conor Timmins missed a significant amount of time due to an injury. He played with Morgan Frost who also happens to be a Flyers prospect. So Philadelphia certainly got to watch Sandin closely this year as they were keeping up with their 2017 first rounder in Frost. If the Flyers could walk out of the draft with Kravtsov and Sandin in round one, their fans should be ecstatic.
20. Los Angeles Kings, Serron Noel, RW, 6’5″ 201 lbs (Oshawa, OHL)
L.A. adds a big power forward in Serron Noel. Noel is a force in front of the net and he scores a lot of his goals when he planted in front of the goal. He’s not a great skater but I think that’s something that he can definately improve upon with another season or two in the OHL.
21. San Jose Sharks, Jared McIsaac, D, 6’1″ 195 lbs (Halifax, QMJHL)
McIsaac wasn’t a guy that I was very high on at all at the begining of the season but after every time I watched him play this season I was just more and more impressed. He’s not flashy at all but he’s just so effective. He’s great all around and is a great passer. It just seems like he does everything right. I believe he’s a pretty safe pick in the sense that he’ll probably be a very good NHL defenseman for many years. I don’t know if his ceiling is that high but I see him being a third pairing defenseman at the very least.
22. Ottawa Senators (via PIT), K’Andre Miller, D, 6’4″ 205 lbs (USNTDP)
If you’ve watched any Ottawa Senators games this season, I think it’s pretty safe to assume that you’ve noticed how terrible their defense corps is outside of Erik Karlsson and Thomas Chabot. I’m a firm believer in best player available but when a team has multipe first rounders, I think that’s where you can start to try to fill holes in your pipeline. K’Andre Miller has kind of flew under the radar for most of the season but lately has been getting a lot of love from the draft community. He’s a smooth skating defenseman that also has a physical side to his game. I think there’s a lot of upside here with Miller.
23. Anaheim Ducks, Dominik Bokk, RW, 6’1″ 179 lbs (Vaxjo, SHL)
Bokk had an unbelievable draft year playing junior in Sweden. He’s a very talented winger with high end goal scoring ability. I’d expect Bokk to spend the full year playing for Vaxjo in the SHL next year. The upside is very high for Bokk and I can see him beig potentially one of the steals of this draft. You can read more about Bokk here in our prospect profile series. Bokk just seems like a player that would fit very well in the Ducks organization.
24. Minnesota Wild, Akil Thomas, C, 5’11” 170 lbs (Niagara, OHL)
Thomas is one of the more underrated prospects in this draft. He led all draft eligible prospects in points from the OHL with 81. He’s a fast skilled player that needs to put on some weight. But he looks like a guy who can be a real gem in the late first round.
25. Toronto Maple Leafs, Ryan Merkley, D, 5’11” 170 lbs (Guelph, OHL)
Merkley seems like a player that Toronto wouldn’t pass on. His storyline is somewhat reminiscent of Timothy Liljegren from last year and for the Leafs to add a player with Merkley’s skillset who also has a right handed shot, it may be too good to pass up on. The real question with Merkley is if he can figure out the defensive side of his game and there are also rumors that he has a bad attitude. There’s a risk of taking Ryan Merkley but if he can figure everything out, he can be a star player in the making.
26. New York Rangers (via BOS), Grigori Denisenko, LW, 5’11” 175 lbs (Yaroslavl, MHL)
The “Russian factor” is real and Grigori Denisenko will be one of the victims this year. He’s a little undersized as well which will only make him fall in the draft even more. He’s a very skilled player and is definately worth investing a late first round pick. He should be in the KHL full time next season.
27. Chicago Blackhawks (via NSH), Jonny Tychonick, D, 5’11” 165 lbs (Penticton, BCHL)
Another one of my favorite prospects in this draft, Tychonick had a great year in the BCHL with Pentiction. He’s an offensive defenseman who was just dominant at times and he controlled play for his team. He obviously needs to put on some weight but I think he could be a real gem here this late in the first round with a couple years of development at the University of North Dakota. Chicago’s blueline is a trainwreck and it’s no secret that they will be looking to pick a defenseman with one of their two first round picks.
28. New York Rangers (via TBL), Jonatan Berggren, RW, 5’11” 183 lbs (Skelleftea, SuperElit)
New York adds a player with amazing talent in Berggren. He had a great year in the Swedish Jr. league and I think he should be ready to step into the SHL full time next season. He really put himself on the map after a great performance at the World U18’s. There’s no doubt that he could be a steal in this draft. He is one of the most skilled players in the draft.
29. St. Louis Blues (via WPG), Mattias Samuelsson, D, 6’4″ 216 lbs (USNTDP)
St. Louis has been loading up on forward prospects in the last few drafts so it would make sense that they’d be looking to add a defenseman here at 29. Samuelsson is huge in comparison to most other first round calibre defensemen. He doesn’t exactly have that excellent offensive game like others in the draft but I think he can still be a solid defenseman at the NHL level. He also plays a pretty physical game as well.
30. Detroit Red Wings (via VGK), Martin Kaut, RW, 6’1″ 174 lbs (Pardubice, Czech)
Kaut is a player that blew everyone away at the World Juniors and he looked great playing with Filip Zadina and Martin Necas. His production in the top league in the Czech Republic is also on par with Necas and Filip Chytl when they were at the same age and those two project to be very good NHLers and in Necas’ case, elite. He’s also a great skater and I can see him doing what Chytil did and going to play in the AHL after being drafted. I believe he wouldn’t look out of place as an 18 year old.
31. Washington Capitals, Ryan McLeod, C, 6’2″ 200 lbs (Mississauga, OHL)
I love McLeod’s game and he kind of reminds me of his brother, Mike McLeod who was drafted by New Jersey in 2017. They’re both really good skaters and that is probably their best attribute. I’m not sure how high his upside will be but I think at the next level he could be a very good second or third line center. He has great hockey I.Q. as well and plays the style of game that teams are really looking for now.
32. Buffalo Sabres, Ty Dellandrea, C, 6’1″ 185 lbs (Flint, OHL)
Ty Dellandrea is the exact type of player that Buffalo should be looking to select with their second round pick. In my opinion, Buffalo has taken the safe pick far too many times in the second round since they’ve started rebuilding. They go for the player who’s odds of being a contributor in the top six are very slim. But with a player like Dellandrea, I think there’s upside to be a very good top six forward who can actually contribute. He’s played in a bad situation in Flint where they’ve been either horrible or mediocre for his whole OHL career and for him to still produce at a high level really says something. He’s the best player on that team and it’s probably not close at all. He has an amazing shot and is just so well rounded in all facets of his game, very fast and is also solid defensively. And on top of that, he’s a great character guy and is a leader. What more could Buffalo ask for with the 32nd pick? He’d be a perfect fit.
Keep it locked in @TheChargingBuf on Twitter and Instagram for more coverage leading up to the draft. You can also find me on Twitter @JoeTCBNHL