2018 draft eligible prospects draft years are in full swing, which makes it a perfect time for preliminary rankings! We’ll cover the top 31 prospects with details on the first 15. This specific post will have an in-depth look at the top 5, and will then be followed with the remaining rankings.
Also, while I see him as a top 15 talent, Alexander Khovanov will not be included due to him missing the majority of his draft year because of health reasons.
1. Rasmus Dahlin
The Swedish sensation is in a class of his own and is the clear choice to go 1st overall. Dahlin caught a lot of attention when he became the first 16-year old to play for Sweden at the WJC and only the 15th player in WJC history. He’s also playing a prominent role for the Frolunda Indians in the SHL against men. Many fans will know him for his offensive prowess, but he is also a defensive stud. The 6’2 defenseman plays a physical style and his hits will stick with his opponents for the rest of the game. He’s positionally sound and plays strong in puck battles. Dahlin is that horse that can play in every situation and can log a boatload of minutes. It also helps that he might be the most gifted offensive player from the backend since Ray Bourque, and dare I say Bobby Orr? Okay, obviously not Orr and Bourque is probably a stretch, but it’s hard to not get ahead of yourself with plays like this…
I’ll just leave it at that.
2. Andrei Svechnikov
The younger brother of Red Wings prospect Evgeny Svechnikov, Andrei is the undisputed top forward in this draft class. Last season, Svechnikov was named USHL rookie of the year after finishing 6th in league scoring (29 goals and 58 points in 48 games.) He’s currently lighting up the OHL as he’s currently tied for most goals (10 goals) and tied in 6th for points (14 points). He’s even registered a hat trick in his young OHL career.
What makes him so deadly is his laser of a shot and a very underrated part of his game is puck protection, as it’s almost impossible to strip him of the puck. He doesn’t need much space to make a team pay, and he has the ability to take over a game. His offensive instincts are second to none, as he’s creative in so many ways. Not an elite skater, but not bad by any stretch of the imagination, and why care when he can put the puck in the net from any where on the ice? Oh, and by the way, all you Wings fans may want to see this:
Andrei Svechnikov 👀 pic.twitter.com/Jd2S0YvKkc
— Cameron (@AthanasiouLater) July 8, 2017
3. Adam Boqvist
The younger brother of Devils prospect Jesper Boqvist, Adam is an exceptional talent on the blue line that hasn’t gotten enough recognition. While on the smaller side, Boqvist possesses similar traits to Erik Karlsson (i.e. being an artist of the stretch pass) and overall superb vision. His high end skill and tremendous hockey IQ makes him dangerous and difficult to contain when he’s on his game and he might be the best skater in the entire draft. Watching him skate up the ice with the puck is breathtaking for fans, and terrifying for defenders. He’s without question the best puck-mover in the draft when you take into account skating, decision making, and playmaking abilities. He’s not to shabby in his own end either, although his small 5’11 frame does make it easy sometimes for opponents to push him around. He was a standout for Sweden at the Ivan Hlinka tournament, notching 8 points in 5 games and had some impressive highlights, like this one:
4. Brady Tkachuk
Hey look, another younger brother! This time it’s Brady Tkachuk, the younger brother of Flames forward Matthew, and son of former NHLer Keith, and if you know anything about how the Tkachuks play, well Brady is no exception. A nasty player with a tremendous work ethic, Tkachuk plays with heart and is fearless. Tkachuk is a tough customer, and the last thing you want to do is piss him off, because, mark my words, he will get revenge. While not the most creative or elusive player, he still has the abillity to turn a game around, whether that’s with a big hit or a drive to net, he’s willing to do anything to win, and in my opinion is the best leader in this draft class. He’s an incredible 2-way player as well, if you couldn’t already tell. In Nazem Kadri-like fashion, you can have him shadow the other teams best players and shut them down. His shear talent offensively isn’t anything that will leave your jaw hanging but he can still make some nice plays with the puck, One example being:
5. Filip Zadina
Filip Zadina is one of those players like Patrick Kane or Alexei Kovalev where you can picture him in practice just working on these ridiculous puck tricks that most players can only dream of doing. He’s got a filthy pair of mitts and he will bring you out of your seat more often then not. With a large arsenal of moves, he’s creative and dangerous even when not given a lot of space, and he’s willing to try any move that comes to mind. He’s also got a knack for scoring goals with his quick release and isn’t afraid to head to the net. However, like most power-forwards, skating is his weakness. He’s going to need to see some improvement for him to stay this highly ranked, as there are a plethora of other players who could then surpass him. He’s currently off to a hot start in the QMJHL, so far amassing 10 goals (tied for 1st) and 18 points in 10 games. Here are some clips of 2 goals he scored this season:
Stay tuned for rankings 6-15 coming later this week!