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Photo Credit: @DetroitRedWings

2018 NHL Entry Draft Preliminary Rankings: 6-31

If you missed my 1-5 rankings, I highly suggest you go ahead and read that first before moving on to the conclusion of my preliminary rankings. The following will be rankings 6-15 with a quick description of the player, and the remaining 16-31 will be listed afterwards.

6. Quinton Hughes

It’s Quinn Hughes’ world and we’re just living in it! That’s how it feels when you watch this kid play. An extremely gifted skater who commands the game from the back end, he can single-handily dominate the game like no other. Despite being small in stature (5’10) he plays without fear and with heart. His awareness is incredible as he dishes out beautiful tape-to-tape passes and, similar to Wayne Gretzky (please don’t take this as a comparison to Gretzky), he can see further into the play and find guys no one else knew were open. If this 5 assist game he had in the USHL doesn’t tell you how good he is, I don’t know what will:

7. Oliver Wahlstrom

Wahlstrom is one of the few pure goal scorers in this draft. You know the cliche “the puck finds the good players”? That’s what comes to mind when you watch Wahlstrom. His intelligence and hockey sense help him track down the puck, and when he gets it on his stick, oh man are you in trouble! His shot is just straight up stupid, as he can pick the corner when ever he wants, thanks to his excellent release. He’s also a natural talent with high end skill, just watch this insane goal he scored at the age of 9:

 8. Jared Mcisaac

The best all-around defenseman in the draft not named Rasmus Dahlin is Jared McIsaac. Mcisaac is a smooth skating two-way defender who takes care of business in his own end and can also lead a rush. He plays calm and with confidence, which can be intimidating for his opponents. Offensively, he’s still developing, but the tools are all there for him to reach his potential. This may come across as a safe pick, but his ceiling is higher than what you’d expect as he can be someone who can log a good 25 minutes a game and make it look easy.

9. Akil Thomas

Thomas is a highly skilled forward with a cannon of a shot. He’s always got some silky little dangle up his sleeve, and at this point, his talent is seen in his play naturally. He’s doesn’t have to pull off some fancy toe drag (which he can do with ease) for his offensive abilities to be noticed, you can just see he’s special from his hand speed and the way he handles the puck. Always in the right position, he finds a plethora of scoring opportunities with his shot, and most of the time in leads to a goal with his quick and accurate release.

10. Rasmus Kupari

In what looks to be a weak draft for Finland, Kupari has been a clear standout for them up front, especially since Finland has been a defenseman factory the past few years. Think less Patrik Laine, and more Sebastian Aho for Kupari. A talented puck handler who makes smart reads and has a very underrated highlight reel. More play-maker then sniper, his soft hands and quick bursts of speed make him very unpredictable. His 5 point game at the U18’s should give you an idea of what he’s capable of:

11. Jacob Olofsson

Olofsson is a big body center who has a variety of strengths to his game. A good skater for his size, Olofsson has a lethal shot that will surprise most goaltenders. His vision is top notch, as he can recognize when his line-mates are in a good scoring area, and he has the skill to get them the puck from the more difficult areas. He drives to the net hard and can battle it out for loose pucks. However, he does have a tendency to disappear once in a while, if he’s not making eye catching plays, he’s often unnoticeable.

12. Joe Veleno

Once a consensus top-3 pick, Veleno has failed to live up to expectations, but that shouldn’t take away from the potential he has. He thinks the game at a high level and executes at a high level. Brilliant reads on defense make him a force with the puck. If you give him a good look, you’re going to regret it, as he can bury shots to the back of the net like its nothing. There is still potential for him to rise in the rankings, but for that to happen, we’re going to need to see more production from him.

13. Dimitri Zavgorodny

Zavgorodny is looking like he’ll be this years Eli Tolvanen, very small player listed at 5’9 with a shot that’s out of this world. His shot is so powerful, there are numerous occasions where defenders try to avoid his shot, rather then block it. There are times I wonder if the goalie wants to get out of the way too. Don’t let size fool you about what this kid can do, outside of his shot he has smooth hands and superb vision.

14. Ty Smith

Another defenseman on the smaller size, Smith plays a strong game at both ends of the ice. Offensively, he does a nice job of getting shots through and creating rebounds in front of the net. One of the better puck movers in the draft, you don’t often see him making mistakes. Defensively, he’s aggressive, but also smart. He understands the right moments to try and creats a play or takes away space, but doesn’t abandon his position in front of the net like some other defensemen would. His skill isn’t what got him ranked so high, it’s him smart decision making and two-way play that did.

15. Noah Dobson

Dobson has slowly been rising up my rankings for a while. I like to think of him as a bad skating Victor Hedman, mainly due to Dobson’s ability to make plays in a big body. He can find anyone on the ice with long stretch passes, and he also likes to jump into the rush to create some offense. However, like I said he is not the best skater, which I think needs to be his main focus in terms of what to improve. The skating was the major thing holding him back on my rankings for so long, but I feel he’s really starting to utilize his abilities to the max.

 

16. Ryan Merkley

17. Barret Hayton

18. Ryan Mcleod

19. Joel farabee

20. Lukas Wernblom

21. Isac Lundestrom

22. Jesperi Kotkaniemi

23. Jack Mcbain

24. Evan Bouchard

25. Giovanni Vallati

26. Anderson Macdonald

27. Jesse Ylonen

28. Calen Addison

29. Benoit-Olivier Groulx

30. Bode Wilde

31. Mattias samuelsson