Everyone knows Dahlin is going to Buffalo at one but here’s a look at some prospects that Buffalo will have an opportunity to select at 32 as well as how I think the first two rounds will end up looking like.
1. Buffalo Sabres, Rasmus Dahlin, D, 6’2″ 183 lbs (Frolunda, SHL)
No explanation needed here…
2 Carolina Hurricanes, Andrei Svechnikov, RW, 6’2″ 187 lbs (Barrie, OHL)
Don Waddell pretty much already confirmed that the Hurricanes will be selecting Svechnikov. Svechnikov has become the consensus second overall selection in this year’s draft. He’ll be in the NHL next year and I believe that he’s capable of making an immediate impact, probably will score 20 goals too.
3. Montreal Canadiens, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, C, 6’2″ 190 lbs (Assat, Liiga)
Here’s where the draft starts, the Montreal Canadiens are rumored to select Finnish center, Jesperi Kotkaniemi. Kotkaniemi has been one of the biggest risers in the draft, and for good reason. He had a great World U18 tournament and was able to produce for Assat as an 18 year old. He’s fast and has a really solid two way game and he’s even been compared to Alex Barkov from the Florida Panthers. After watching a lot of film on Kotkaniemi lately, I’m not so sure that this will be a big reach as previously thought but I still believe that Filip Zadina would be the best option for Montreal with the third pick. Kotkaniemi is probably a year away from being NHL ready but he’s the only center in this draft that has the upside to become a number one center in my opinion.
4. Ottawa Senators, Brady Tkachuk, LW, 6’3″ 196 lbs (Boston University, NCAA)
It’s a coin toss between Tkachuk and Zadina here for Ottawa but my gut tells me that Ottawa will select Brady Tkachuk out of Boston University. Ottawa is a complete and utter mess right now so hopefully for their fan base, selecting a player like Tkachuk will help jump start their inevitable rebuild.
5. Arizona Coyotes, Filip Zadina, RW, 6’1″ 192 lbs (Halifax, QMJHL)
This is a pretty easy choice for John Chayka and the Arizona Coyotes at five with Czech winger, Filip Zadina falling right into their lap here. I really like what Arizona is starting to become and adding two players like Alex Galchenyuk and Filip Zadina this offseason will help them get closer to reaching the postseason for the first time in a while.
6. Detroit Red Wings, Quinn Hughes, D, 5’10” 174 lbs (University of Michigan, NCAA)
Hughes seems like the very obvious pick here for the Wings. They are in desperate need for help on the blueline and Hughes has already played under Jeff Blashill and Dan Bylsma at the World Championships last month. Detroit walks away with who I believe to be the second best defenseman in the draft. This is a critical draft for the Red Wings as they have four picks in the top 36.
7. Vancouver Canucks, Noah Dobson, D, 6’3″ 179 lbs (Acadie-Bathurst, QMJHL)
It’s rumored that Jim Benning is looking to draft a defenseman at seven and they have a few options but at this point in time, Noah Dobson makes the most sense for Vancouver. He had a great season this year and the performance that he had at the Memorial Cup was just the cherry on top. They couldn’t go wrong with selecting Evan Bouchard or Adam Boqvist but I believe that Dobson is the best all round defenseman out of the three of them.
8. Chicago Blackhawks, Oliver Wahlstrom, RW, 6’1″ 205 lbs (USNTDP)
Chicago has needs everywhere in my opinion so they just have to pick the best player available and I believe the best available here is Oliver Wahlstrom. Wahlstrom has one of the best shots in the draft and is set to go to Boston College in the fall. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s in the Hawks’ lineup come the end of the season like Casey Mittelstadt. Like Mittelstadt, hockey fans will be wondering how in the world Oliver Wahlstrom slid that far. He’s going to be an unreal player.
9. New York Rangers, Adam Boqvist, D, 5’11” 170 lbs (Brynas, SuperElit)
The Rangers select a defenseman who has one of the highest ceilings in the draft in Adam Boqvist. He ended the season off on a high note at the World U18s and I expect that he should be a regular in Brynas’ lineup in the SHL next year. He’s probably a couple years away but if he hits his ceiling, Boqvist could potentially be a number one defenseman in the NHL.
10. Edmonton Oilers, Evan Bouchard, D, 6’2″ 193 lbs (London, OHL)
The situation with Evan Bouchard kind of reminds me of what happened with Gabe Vilardi last year. He slid down because of skating and I won’t be surprised if that happens with Bouchard this year. He’s not a bad skater by any stretch, but he’s not as good as Boqvist, Dobson, or Hughes. I find it hard to believe that Edmonton will pass on one of those three defensemen at ten.
11. New York Islanders, Barrett Hayton, C, 6’1″ 185 lbs (Sault Ste. Marie, OHL)
The Islanders have back to back picks here at 11 and 12 and they will probably go in the direction of selecting a forward and a defenseman. With their first pick, I believe that Barrett Hayton will be the selection.Hayton has been getting a lot of love as of late and according to Bob McKenzie of TSN, Hayton is even getting some consideration to be a top five pick. I’m not that high on Barrett Hayton but I will say this, he’s going to be a very effective centerman in the NHL. I’m just not sure how much upside is there.
12. New York Islanders (via CGY), Ty Smith, D, 5’11” 176 lbs (Spokane, WHL)
Ty Smith would be a home run pick for the Isles at 12. He’s one of my personal favorites in this draft class and I think he’s a joy to watch. He has a very good offensive game but isn’t the biggest guy which is probably the big reason why he’s slid down this far for some teams. I think he is deserving of being a top ten pick and the Isles can’t go wrong with picking Ty Smith out of Spokane.
13. Dallas Stars, Joel Farabee, LW, 6’0″ 174 lbs (USNTDP)
Dallas is hosting the draft this weekend and I can’t think of a better pick for them than Joel Farabee out of the U.S. Development Program. I think he’s one of the more underrated players in this draft class. He’s a leader and has great character. He strikes me as the type of player that would be a captain in the NHL. His game really took off when he played with Oliver Wahlstrom and Jack Hughes this year. Now some will say that he could be a product of playing with two elite level prospects but I say that it takes great players to play with great players. Farabee is the total package as a player and would be a great pick for Dallas.
14. Philadelphia Flyers (via STL), Vitali Kravtsov, RW, 6’2″, 183 lbs (Chelyabinsk, KHL)
The Flyers have shown in recent years that they are not afraid to take Russians and that might not change this year. The Flyers have a loaded prospect system and have been one of the best drafting teams as of late so I think they can just take the best player available and at this point, that player is Russian winger Vitali Kravtsov. Kravtsov had a remarkable playoff run in the KHL which led to him skyrocketing up draft rankings. Like Barrett Hayton, Kravtsov is also getting top five consideration by some NHL teams but I’d be suprised ifnhe goes that high. He’s a fun player to watch and I think he can make an impact in the NHL sooner rather than later. Look for him to be on the Russian world junior team next season after not getting any time with the national team in his young career.
15. Florida Panthers, Joe Veleno, C, 6’1″ 195 lbs (Drummondville, QMJHL)
Best player available here is Joe Veleno and he is the right pick for Florida. Veleno has been very underrated in my opinion. This could probably be attributed to the fact that he hasn’t lived up to his exceptional player status that he received in 2015. But none the less, Veleno still has the upside to be a very good top six forward in the NHL.
16. Colorado Avalanche, Dominik Bokk, RW, 6’1″ 179 lbs (Vaxjo, SuperElit)
Another one of my favorites this year, Dominik Bokk had an incredible year in Sweden this year with Vaxjo. The German sniper would certainly look great on a line with Nate MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen down the road. Bokk is one of the best shooters in the draft and has been getting a lot more love from draft experts as of late. I think he’s the best fit for Colorado at 16. Adding another dynamic winger to the Avalanche’s prospect pool would be great for their organization. Read more about Bokk Here
17. New Jersey Devils, Bode Wilde, D, 6’2″ 197 lbs (USNTDP)
No pun intended here but Bode Wilde plays a wild style of game for a defenseman. And the knock on him is that he may take too many risks but with a player as talented as him, I’m okay with him taking a lot of risks moving up into the offensive zone. He’s been falling down draft boards as of late but I really don’t see how a team like New Jersey would pass on him. Their blueline as of right now is definately their weakest part of their team and their defense prospects aren’t that great either. New Jersey definately goes defense at 17 and if Wilde is still there, I think he’ll be the pick
18. Columbus Blue Jackets, Grigori Denisenko, LW, 5’11” 175 lbs (Yaroslavl, MHL)
I can see Columbus taking the speed and skill route here at 18 and Russian winger, Grigori Denisenko has a whole lot of speed and skill. Densienko had a solid year in the MHL this season and I think he will be a regular in the KHL next year. He needs to put on sme weiaght but I think Denisenko can be a really good NHL player in a few years.
19. Philadelphia Flyers, Isac Lundestrom, C, 6’1″ 185 lbs (Lulea HF, SHL)
Philly goes with a very safe pick in Lundestrom. He is a very good two way centerman and he already has two years of pro experience in Sweden. Lundestrom may be able to make the jump to North America soon because of that. He was a standout for me at the WJC in Buffalo and if the Flyers can walk out of the draft with Vitali Kravtsov and Isac Lundestrom, Flyers fans should be really excited.
20. Los Angeles Kings, Rasmus Kupari, C, 6’1″ 183 lbs (Karpat, Liiga)
The Kings are in dire need to add speed and skill up front. I think Rasmus Kupari fits the bill if they want to bring in more speed and skill to their organization. It has been rumored that Kupari will probaby stay in Finland for a couple more years before signing to play in the NHL but I don’t forsee that being a problem for his development. He played for Finland at the WJC in Buffalo but didn’t have a role where he could have suceeded in. He will certainly have a greater role next season for Finland along with Jesperi Kotkaniemi.
21. San Jose Sharks, K’Andre Miller, D, 6’4″ 205 lbs (USNTDP)
Miller is the biggest defenseman that I have slated to get drafted in the first round. But he’s not the protypical big defenseman that can’t skate and just is out there to defend and make big hits. K’Andre Miller plays a style of game similar to the other defensemen at the top of this draft. He’s a very smooth skater and can create offense.
22. Ottawa Senators (vis PIT), Serron Noel, RW, 6’5″ 201 lbs (Oshawa, OHL)
I heard somewhere that Ottawa would probably have interest in selecting Serron Noel if he was still on the board. Ottawa needs help everywhere and I think that Noel would be a great value pick here at 22. Noel was a riser throughout the season but I think that he will go in the early to mid 20s. Noel is a big power forward that is a good skater and can score goals.
23. Anaheim Ducks, Martin Kaut, RW, 6’1″ 174 lbs (Pardubice, Czech)
Anaheim has been one of the better drafting in recent memory and Kaut would continue that trend of great drafting. Kaut looked great for the Czech Republic at the WJC playing on a line with Martin Necas and Filip Zadina. Kaut’s production in the Czech league stacks up nicely against many of the other top prospects to come out of the Czech Republic in the last few years. He could be a steal in the late first round.
24. Minnesota Wild, Ryan McLeod, C, 6’2″ 200 lbs (Mississauga, OHL)
The writing is on the wall that Minnesota will need a high end center going forward with Mikko Koivu getting close to the end of his career. McLeod would be a great option for the Wild here at 24. McLeod is one of the fastest players in the draft and he reminds me of his brother, Mike McLeod who was drafted by New Jersey in 2016. McLeod has shown solid improvement over his three seasons in the OHL with Mississauga.
25. Toronto Maple Leafs, Jared McIsaac, D, 6’1″ 195 lbs (Halifax, QMJHL)
Toronto goes with a safe pick in Jared McIsaac at 25. I love McIsaac’s game, he’s a great two way defenseman that can pass the puck very well. The more I watch of him, the more I grew to appreciate his game. He will be a top six defenseman in the NHL for a very long time for the Leafs.
26. New York Rangers (via BOS), Rasmus Sandin, D, 5’10” 183 lbs (Sault Ste. Marie, OHL)
Sandin is a player that I just can’t envision the New York Rangers passing on at 26. He’s a player that I have ranked much higher in my final rankings but because of a disappointing performance in the OHL final against the Hamilton Bulldogs, he is kind of sliding down draft boards. He’s a pleasure to watch and the rebuilding Rangers could use a solid building block on their defense like Sandin.
27. Chicago Blackhawks (via NSH), Ryan Merkley, D, 5’11” 170 lbs (Guelph, OHL)
Ryan Merkley is the biggest wildcard in this draft and at this point, I’d say that there’s a very very low chance for him to get drafted in the first round. But with teams like the Blackhawks and Rangers who have multiple first rounders, they are in a better position to take a gamble on Merkley. Chicago is in dire need of a player like Merkley and if he can grow up and get better defensively, Merkley will be an amazing NHLer.
28. New York Rangers (via TBL), Jonatan Berggren, RW, 5’11” 183 lbs (Skelleftea, SuperElit)
Berggren was the biggest riser in my final draft ranking and it was for good reason. He’s a very dynamic winger who had a great draft year which was culminated with an exceptional showing at the World U18s. The skillset with this player is off the charts and would fit very well into the Rangers’ rebuild. In this mock, the rangers walk away with Boqvist, Sandin, and Berggren. Those three Swedes would have a huge future in New York if the draft pans out this way.
29. St. Louis Blues (via WPG), Akil Thomas, C, 5’11” 170 lbs (Niagara, OHL)
Akil Thomas is a slam dunk pick in the later portion of the first round. He led all draft eligble players from the OHL in points this year and he is a very skilled player. He obviously needs to put on some weight but I think he has all the tools to become a very effective top six forward in the NHL, whether that is at center or wing.
30. Detroit Red Wings (via VGK), Ty Dellandrea, C, 6’1″ 185 lbs (Flint, OHL)
Last mock I had Dellandrea slated to go to Buffalo at 32 but after watching more of him lately, I don’t see any way that he would be available at that spot. Dellandrea has an unreal shot, great character, and a good two way game. He also plays for Flint so you know that Detroit has had plenty of opportunity to see him play this season. He makes a lot of sense here at 30. Read more about Dellandrea Here
31. Washington Capitals, Mattias Samuelsson, D, 6’4″ 216 lbs (USNTDP)
Yet another product of the U.S. Development Program, Samuelsson is a guy that I’ve been on the fence of being a first rounder all season long. He’s solid defensively but I’m not sure how much offensive upside is there for him. But Washington could definately use a defenseman at 31 here and I wouldn’t be shocked if they draft for need here.
I’m not gonna put descriptions for all of the players for the second round here but I will for the players that I could see Buffalo picking at 32.
32. Buffalo Sabres, Jay O’Brien, C, 6’0″ 174 lbs (Thayer, USHS)
Up until I saw him at the combine, Jay O’Brien wasn’t a player that I was even aware of. But after watching film from some of his games, it was pretty easy to see that this is a player worthy of being taken in the top 40. And his skill set is so good that I wouldn’t even be surprised if he went in the first round. Yes, he played for a high school team this year and I don’t have any problem with that at all. If O’Brien was playing in major junior, he’d be putting up fantastic numbers and would no doubt be regarded as a first rounder. Buffalo has interest in O’Brien and I wouldn’t be surprised if they select him if he’s still there at 32. And we all know, Buffalo isn’t afraid to take a kid straight out of high school, Casey Mittelstadt…
33. Detroit Red Wings (via OTT), Liam Foudy, C, 6’0″ 180 lbs (London, OHL)
Foudy’s role with London expanded a lot when the likes of Robert Thomas, Cliff Pu, and Max Jones were traded by the London Knights at the trade deadline this season. And with that expanded role, Liam Foudy’s production really increased and went from being a projected third round pick, to a prospect who may even be up in the first round. Detroit needs more skill and I believe that Foudy would offer that to them.
34. Florida Panthers (via ARI), Jesse Ylonen, RW, 6’0″ 183 lbs (Espoo, Mestis)
Ylonen is a player that I’ve started to like a lot more as we inch closer to the draft. He had a great showing at the World U18s last year and really showcased his speed and skill. He needs work on the defensive side of his game but with him playing for the Pelicans in the Finnish Liiga next year, I think he will have plenty of opportunities to do that as well as put some weight on. This is the pick that Florida got for Lawson Crouse and let’s just say that Ylonen would be a great choice considering he’s practically the opposite of Crouse.
35. Montreal Canadiens, Jacob Olofsson, C, 6’2″ 192 lbs (Timra IK, Allsvenskan)
Olofsson has been regarded as a first round pick for most of the season but has slipped a bit over the last couple months. Personally, I’m not exactly sure what his upside looks like. He strikes me as more of a top nine winger than a top six winger. I still am very high on Olofsson but I’d like to see what he can do in the SHL next season and see where his game goes. Montreal will be looking for centers and defensemen in this draft and I think Olofsson makes a lot of sense for the Habs.
36. Detroit Red Wings, Jonny Tychonick, D, 5’11” 165 lbs (Penticton, BCHL)
If you listen to our podcast, you know how high I am on Jonny Tychonick. he was a catalyst on the Vees’ blueline. Yes, he’s not playing in a great league but he was just dominant at points in the BCHL. The last few seasons are proof that teams don’t shy away from players that are playing junior A that are set on going to college. Look at Dante Fabbro and Tyson Jost for example, those are great young players that took the same route. I don’t see Tychonick being as good as Fabbro but still a great prospect and probably better than Dennis Cholowski who also took the BCHL path in 2016. Tychonick is set to go to North Dakota and I think he will do very well there. I don’t think he’ll get past Detroit at 36.
37. Vancouver Canucks, Filip Hallander, LW, 6’2″ 185 lbs (Timra IK, Allsvenskan)\
There’s no doubt that Hallander is on Vancouver’s radar considering he played with Jonathan Dahlen in Timra, who also happens to be a Canucks prospect. Hallander’s production in the Allsvenskan this year was very impressive and stacked up nicely to players that have been drafted lately that played in that league. He’s a very skilled and well rounded player and I would be kind of surprised if Vancouver passed on him with their second round pick.
38. Montreal Canadiens (via CHI), Alexander Alexeyev, D, 6’3″ 191 lbs (Red Deer, WHL)
Montreal drafts the solid Russian defenseman in Alex Alexeyev. His ceiling is probably more of a second pairing guy but I think his floor is definitely a solid third pairing defenseman. So it’s pretty safe to say that Alexeyev is a safe pick. He has the size which is very nice and I don’t think he has the flare in his game like other defensemen in this draft but I’d say that he certainly gets the job done.
39. New York Rangers, Calen Addison, D, 5’10” 179 lbs (Lethbridge, WHL)
The Rangers get a defenseman that I’m very high on in Calen Addison. He’s undersized but he plays a dynamic game from the backend that will help create offense. Read more about Addison Here
40. Edmonton Oilers, Benoit-Oliver Groulx, C, 6’1″ 192 lbs (Halifax, QMJHL)
Groulx is an extremely safe pick in my opinion. I really don’t see much more potential than a very good bottom six forward in all honesty. He seems like a player that Edmonton would take here at 40 just for that reason. Read more about Groulx Here
41. New York Islanders, Jack McBain, C, 6’3″ 197 lbs (Toronto, OJHL)
McBain started off the season as a can’t miss prospect that was supposed to even slot into the top 20 or so. But he has been consistently sliding down rankings all year due to disappointing performances in the OJHL. He’s going to Boston College next year and maybe playing with Oliver Wahlstrom will help his development.
42. Carolina Hurricanes, Jake Wise, C, 5’10” 190 lbs (USNTDP)
One of my favorites this year, Jake Wise a prospect that I heard about going back about three years ago. He was compared to Jack Eichel and was projected to be a very high pick in this draft. So what happened? Injuries happened and when he was healthy, he was very good for the U.S. Development Team. From a Sabres perspective, I think they should trade down from 32 to around 38 or so and pick up an asset or two and draft Jake Wise.
43. New York Islanders (via CGY), Nils Lundkvist, D, 5’11” 180 lbs (Lulea HF, SHL)
44. Dallas Stars, Jett Woo, D, 6’0″ 205 lbs (Moose Jaw, WHL)
45. St. Louis Blues, Nicolas Beaudin, D, 5’11” 179 lbs (Drummondville, QMJHL)
46. Washington Capitals, Aidan Dudas, C, 5’8″ 167 lbs (Owen Sound, OHL)
47. Colorado Avalanche, Jacob Bernard-Docker, D, 6’0″ 181 lbs (Okotoks, AJHL)
48. New York Rangers (via NJD), Blake McLaughlin. LW, 6’0″ 162 lbs, (Chicago, USHL)
49. Columbus Blue Jackets, David Gustafsson, C, 6’2″ 196 lbs (HV 71, SHL)
50. Philadelphia Flyers, Niklas Nordgren, RW, 5’9″ 169 lbs (HIFK, Liiga JR.)
51. Los Angeles Kings, Allan McShane, C, 5’11” 190 lbs (Oshawa, OHL)
52. Toronto Maple Leafs (via SJS), Cole Fonstad, C, 5’10” 157 lbs (Prince Albert, WHL)
53. Pittsburgh Penguins, Kirill Marchenko, LW, 6’3″ 168 lbs (Yurgry, MHL)
54. Anaheim Ducks, Jakub Lauko, C, 6’0″ 169 lbs (Chomutov, Czech)
55. Arizona Coyotes (via MIN), G, 6’1″ 159 lbs (Drummondville, QMJHL)
56. Montreal Canadiens (via TOR), Adam Ginning, D, 6’3″ 196 lbs (Linkoping, SHL)
57. Boston Bruins, Sean Durzi, D, 6’0″ 195 lbs (Owen Sound, OHL)
58. Colorado Avalanche (via NSH), Cameron Hillis, C, 5’10” 168 lbs (Guelph, OHL)
59. Tampa Bay Lightning, Martin Fehervary, D, 6’1″ 190 lbs (Oskarshamn, Allsvenskan)
60. Winnipeg Jets, Milos Roman, C, 6’0″ 188 lbs (Vancouver, WHL)
61. Vegas Golden Knights, Sampo Ranta, RW, 6’2″ 190 lbs (Sioux City, USHL)
62. Montreal Canadiens (via WSH), Kevin Bahl, D, 6’6″ 231 lbs (Ottawa, OHL)
Thank you for following along with our draft coverage this season. Follow TCB on Twitter and Instagram @TheChargingBUF and you can also follow me @JoeTCBNHL.