Draft Order NHL: 2018 NHL Draft Order: Round 1: 1. Buffalo Sabres: 25-45-12 62 points, 2. Carolina Hurricanes: 36-35-11 83 points, 3. Montreal Canadiens: 29-40-13 71 points, 4. Ottawa Senators: 28-43-11 67 points, 5. Arizona Coyotes: 29-41-12 70 points, 6. Detroit Red Wings: 30-39-13 73 points, 7. Vancouver Canucks: 30-41-11 73 points, 8. Chicago Blackhawks: 33-39-10 76 points, 9. New York Rangers: 34-39-9 77 points, 10. Edmonton Oilers: 36-40-6 78 points, 11. New York Islanders: 35-37-10 80 points, 12. New York Islanders (from Calgary Flames): 37-35-10 84 points, 13. Dallas Stars: 42-32-8 92 points, 14. Philadelphia Flyers (from St. Louis Blues): 44-32-6 94 points, 15. Florida Panthers: 44-30-8 96 points, 16. Colorado Avalanche: 43-30-9 95 points, 17. New Jersey Devils: 44-29-9 97 points, 18. Columbus Blue Jackets: 45-30-7 97 points, 19. Philadelphia Flyers: 42-26-14 98 points, 20. Los Angeles Kings: 45-29-8 98 ponts, 21. San Jose Sharks: 45-27-10 100 points, 22. Ottawa Senators (from Pittsburgh Penguins): 47-29-6 100 points, 23. Anaheim Ducks: 44-25-13 101 points, 24. Minnesota Wild: 45-26-11 101 points, 25. Toronto Maple Leafs: 49-26-7 105 points, 26. New York Rangers (from Boston Bruins): 50-20-12 112 points, 27. Chicago Blackhawks (from Nashville Predators): 53-18-11 117 points, 28. New York Rangers (from Tampa Bay Lightning): 54-23-5 113 points, 29. St. Louis Blues (from Winnipeg Jets): 52-20-10 114 points, 30. (Vegas Golden Knights): 51-24-7 109 points, 31. Washington Capitals: 49-26-7 105 points

2018 NHL Mock Draft: Final Mock 2 Rounds

Round 1 Picks 1-15

The 2017-2018 NHL Season is over. We now know the official NHL Draft order for all 31 NHL teams.

Chris Ransom follow @DraftUtopia Last Updated: June 22, 2018.

  1. Buffalo Sabres: Rasmus Dahlin, D, Frolunda Indians (Elitserien)

    This is my first mock since before the start of the NHL Regular Season. A lot has changed since then, but the NHL's worst team in 2017-2018, the Buffalo Sabres won the 2018 NHL Lottery meaning they get the first pick despite being the NHL's worst team last season.

    I expected Buffalo to be picking in the top five and they got the top pick after getting screwed out of Aaron Ekblad and Connor McDavid. What hasn't changed is that Rasmus Dahlin is still the top prospect after being the top prospect for us heading into the preseason.

    The 6-2 181 lb Rasmus Dahlin was 161 lbs heading into last season, but he added 20 lbs of muscle and beat out Timothy Liljegren for the final spot on Sweden's World Junior Championship team at the age of 16.

    Rasmus Dahlin checked out all the boxes that I look for in a defender on tape. Dahlin has the skating, physical tools, durability, size, slap shot power, slap shot accuracy, wrist shot power, wrist shot accuracy, passing, deking, stick handling, offensive awareness, defensive awareness, hockey IQ, checking, ability to play in a zone to defend the neutral zone on the ice, can be a quarterback on the power play, does well at penalty killing, and the shot blocking that NHL teams covet on tape. He's a very aggressive player, but he's also very calm mentally on the ice which is what you want in a defenseman.

    You'd like to see him add more muscle, but I can live with a defender at 6-2 181 lbs since that's bigger than either defender that went in the top 5 of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. Dahlin also got the Frolunda Indians to the 2017 SHL Semifinals in Sweden where the Frolunda Indians lost to Brynas IF with home ice in game 7 of the SHL Semifinals. Dahlin had 7 goals, 13 assists, and 20 points in 41 regular season games in the SHL in 2017-2018 before losing in the quarterfinals of the 2018 SHL Playoffs.

    There is an outside chance Dahlin may return to Frolunda in 2018-2019 according to Elite Prospects which has arguably the best content on NHL Draft prospects out there, but number one picks usually make the jump to the NHL right away.

    Buffalo needs a line 1 defenseman that can anchor their blue line, be a leader and compliment the teams star line 1 center Jack Eichel. Buffalo brought in a lot of talent last year, but they lacked that blue line player who would compliment Eichel and now they will finally have that with Rasmus Dahlin assuming he plays on the top line right out of the gate for the Sabres come October of 2018.

    I also have a film session of Rasmus Dahlin on my Youtube Channel. Dahlin placed his stick a bit too high at times, but that's something he will correct with coaching and he's someone who can be an immediate difference maker for the Buffalo Sabres.

  2. Carolina Hurricanes: Andrei Svechnikov, RW, Barrie Colts (OHL)

    Philadelphia jumped from 13 to 2 in the 2017 NHL Draft. Carolina had a similar leap moving from 11 to 2 in the 2018 NHL Draft after having the eleventh worst record.

    This team had the talent to be a playoff team based on the season preview I did, but did not put things together which is why Don Wondell, a former Penguins scout is replacing Ron Francis as the GM. It's also why former Hurricane Rod Brind'Amour is the new head coach.

    Once I knew Carolina was picking second, I figured Andrei Svechnikov would be the second overall pick. I really considered Filip Zadina here at 2 after hearing reports that Carolina preferred him over Svechnikov, but I've also heard that Carolina loved Svechnikov's interview at the 2018 NHL Combine and that they showed Svechnikov better body language from the interview which was the biggest reason I mocked Nico Hischier to New Jersey at 1.

    The 6-2 187 lb Andrei Svechnikov is the little brother of Detroit Red Wings 2015 first round pick Evgeny Svechnikov. Andrei isn't as big as his brother.

    Like his brother, he has the speed, vision, passing, offensive awareness, defensive awareness, hockey IQ, wrist shot power, wrist shot accuracy, and versatility is all there with Andrei Svechnikov on tape.

    Andrei Svechnikov's versatility is the biggest question mark. Some scouts believe he can play left wing, center, or right wing and brings more to the table versatility wise than his older brother Evgeny Svechnikov. Other scouts believe he's a pure right winger. I need to see what Andrei does this season versatility wise.

    His instincts as a forward are simply off the charts. Adding more muscle and improving his slap shot are the only things Andrei needs to work on.

    One positive about Andrei is that he's a better defender than his brother was at this point in terms of development. That's why should join his older brother in the NHL in 2018 as Evegeny is set to make his NHL debut with the Red Wings in 2017 after leading the Grand Rapids Griffins to a Calder Cup in the AHL.

    Andrei Svechnikov had 29 goals, 29 assists, 58 points, and a +29 +/- ratio with the Muskegon Lumberbacks in 48 regular season games in the USHL getting them to the opening round of the 2017 Clark Cup Playoffs in the USHL.

    He got picked first overall in the 2017 CHL Import draft though and will play for the Barrie Colts in the Ontario Hockey League in 2017-2018. Svechnikov needed a big year to beat out Rasmus Dahlin for the top pick, but he did not do enough to supplant Dahlin.

    I love what Andrei does on tape for the most part. Andrei Svechnikov had 40 goals, 32 assists, and 72 points in 44 OHL games with the Barrie Colts and unlike Muskegon, he got the Barrie Colts to the second round of the 2018 OHL Playoffs improving on his previous season in the USHL. Svechnikov had dinner with Carolina Hurricanes team owner Thomas Dundon who basically said that if we are staying put at second that we are taking Svechnikov and that it's not even close.

    Translation Carolina is taking Svechnikov at 2 unless the Sabres take him at 1 and in that scenario the Hurricanes would draft Dahlin, but I think Dahlin to Buffalo at 1 and Svechnikov to Carolina at 2 are locks now. Carolina would probably put Svechnikov on the second line as a line 2 right winger even though the upside to be a first line player is there. I see them starting him on the second line behind Teuvo Teravainen who has the line 1 right wing role locked up.

    I also have a film session of Andrei Svechnikov on my Youtube Channel. Svechnikov checked out a lot of boxes on tape. He hesistated on one play defensively, but I'm willing to look past that since he can do so much offensively.

  3. Montreal Canadiens: Jesperi Kotkaniemi, C, Assat (SM Liiga)

    Montreal had a good squad in terms of talent heading into the season. The injuries to Shea Weber and Max Pacioretty are honestly the biggest reason why this team did as bad as they did in my personal opinion. Montreal had the fourth worst record among NHL teams, yet moved into the top 3 of the 2018 NHL Draft during the lottery.

    Filip Zadina is the clear cut third best player avaialble. Yet Montreal's inept front office is ignorning this because the team is desperate for a line 1 center. One player who has gained a ton of momentum is Jesperi Kotkaniemi who is now the favorite to go third overall after he began gaining momentum as of Friday after someone tweeted that sources close to the Canadiens now favor Kotkaniemi. Bob McKenzie of TSN also believes that he will be the pick so at this moment I have to believe he's now the favorite for Montreal at 3 given how desperate Montreal is for a first line center.

    Jesperi Kotkaniemi did awesome interviewing with teams during the 2018 NHL Combine. There are as many as five teams in the top 15 that are rumored to have Kotkaniemi as their top ranked center including the Montreal Canadiens, Detroit Red Wings, Arizona Coyotes, Dallas Stars, and Philadelphia Flyers. I didn't think Montreal would consider a center at 3, but you know how quickly things can change.

    Some of the other teams in the top 10 like the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks are taking a second look at Kotkaniemi so Arizona could reach for him at 5 if he's the top center on their entire draft board since this class doesn't have an NHL ready center which is a rarity.

    Jesperi Kotkaniemi is a 6-2 190 lb center with the versatility to play left wing, center, or right wing. Kotkaniemi has 3 goals, 4 assists, 7 points, and a +3 +/- ratio. The wrist shot power, wrist shot accuracy, slap shot power, and slap shot accuracy is there. This guy can pass the puck and win face offs. Awareness on both offense and defense needs improvement which is why Kotkaniemi was a late first round pick heading into the 2017-2018 Season for me even though a lot of boards mocked him in the top 15 at the beginning of the year.

    Jesperi Kotkaniemi improved his offensive awareness and defensive awareness in 2017-2018 answering a lot of questions about him that I had on tape heading into the season. He also had 10 goals, 19 assists, and 29 points. He also became the line 1 center on Assat's top line as well as their line 1 guy on both the power play and Assat's penalty killing unit showing outstanding offensive awareness and defensive awareness at both ends. His hockey IQ has skyrocketed and now you can make the case for Kotkaniemi as early as three.

    Despite a sluggish World Junior Championships performance, Kotkaniemi rebounded down the stretch nearly checking out all the boxes on tape for Assat this season. He also impressed at the 2018 NHL Combine in both the performance drills as well as the interview process which has caused his draft stock to skyrocket to the point where he could go as early as three if Montreal has him as their top graded center on their board, and they might with Kotkaniemi's power play ability and penalty killing improving drastically this past season. Kotkaniemi will play in Assat next season, but could be NHL ready as early as 2019 if he improves with Assat next season in Finland's SM Liiga league.

    I also have a film session of Jesperi Kotkaniemi on my Youtube Channel. Kotkaniemi checked out a lot of boxes on tape. He may be the only player in this entire draft who could be a line 1 center with the right development showing flashes of Alexander Barkov and Anze Kopitar when watching the tape.

    Previous Pick: Filip Zadina, LW, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)

  4. Ottawa Senators: Filip Zadina, LW, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
    Ottawa will have their pick between Filip Zadina and Brady Tkachuk at 4. They brought in both Filip Zadina and Brady Tkachuk for private interviews. My thought process is that Ottawa will take Zadina and draft the best player on the board at 4.

    Filip Zadina only had 1 goal, 1 assist, 2 points, and a -9 +/- ratio in 25 games in the Extraliga league. Zadina will play for Halifax in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League after being drafted tenth overall by the Halifax Mooseheads in the 2017 CHL Import Draft.

    NHL scouts believe that after Rasmus Dahlin, Zadina has the best work ethic of any international player. Nothing about the 6-1 190 lb Zadina impressed me on tape before he arrived on Halifax. Zadina had 44 goals, 38 assists, and 82 points at Halifax. He also had 5 goals, 7 assists, and 12 points in the 2018 QMJHL Playoffs even getting Halifax to the 2018 QMJHL Quarterfinals where Charlottesville swept the Mooseheads.

    Scouts were right about Zadina's work ethic because when you watch his tape before Halifax and then watch the growth he had with the Mooseheads you can really make a case for Zadina to be in the same conversation as Rasmus Dahlin and Andrei Svechnikov as one of the sure fire top 3 players in this years NHL Draft. Some people even believe Zadina deserves to go ahead of Svechnikov and you can definitely debate he's worthy of going second after Dahlin.

    Ottawa can start out Zadina on the second line as early as next season. Zadina will help Ottawa turn things around if they can somehow keep Karlsson on the blue line without trading him.

    I also have a film session of Filip Zadina on my Youtube Channel. Zadina checked out a lot of boxes on tape. Instead of providing commentary I posted a film session of Zadina versus 2018 Memorial Cup Champion Acadie Bathurst-Titan.

    Previous Pick: Brady Tkachuk, LW, Boston University

  5. Arizona Coyotes: Brady Tkachuk, LW, Boston University

    Arizona should take one of the two College Skaters at 5 whether its Brady Tkachuk or Quinn Hughes. Both are line 1 ready and both can step up. However, Arizona is happy with the top 4 on their blue line with Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Niklas Hjalmarsson will anchor the top line once again with Alex Goligoski and Jacob Chychrun anchoring the second line. I've also heard reports that Arizona intends to select a forward over Hughes at 5.

    Arizona should take one of the two College Skaters at 5 whether its Brady Tkachuk or Quinn Hughes. Both are line 1 ready and both can step up. However, Arizona is happy with the top 4 on their blue line with Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Niklas Hjalmarsson will anchor the top line once again with Alex Goligoski and Jacob Chychrun anchoring the second line. I've also heard reports that Arizona intends to select a forward over Hughes at 5.

    Arizona is moving Alex Galchenyuk from left wing to center meaning he will probably be the line 2 center. Arizona can still draft Keith Tkahcuk's second son as a line 2 left winger and bring him up right away at 5.

    Brady Tkachuk is the best player on the board at 5. The 6-2 195 lb forward is more versatile than his father who could play left wing or right wing in Keith Tkachuk and he's even more versatile than his brother since Brady Tkachuk can play left wing, center, or right wing. He's not as big or as skilled as his father or older brother though.

    He's a better skater than Matthew, but he's not the skater Keith was and he lacks that explosive speed on the ice that Matthew possesses. He may get picked ahead of his older brother because he's more dynamic. Tkachuk was 24 hours away from being NHL Draft eligible for the 2017 NHL Entry Draft where he would have been a top 20 pick.

    Brady Tkachuk has the slap shot power, slap shot accuracy, wrist shot power, wrist shot accuracy, passing, offensive awareness, defensive awareness, deking, stick handling, hockey IQ, and ability to win face offs consistently. Tkachuk was also team captain for USA's Under 18 team at the World Junior Championships last year.

    Brady Tkachuk's 8 goals, 21 assists, and 31 points are underwhelming to a degree, but he was a top line player for Boston University showcasing line 1 skill and leadership as a true freshman at all three forward spots. I think he can be a line one winger in the NHL, but not a line one center cause he didn't win face offs consistently at Boston University like he did on Team USA in the USHL when he was the captain of the United States Mens National Developmental Team.

    Tkachuk showed me he could make an immediate jump to the NHL when I watched him in his final game of the year versus Michigan where he intercepted Quinn Hughes on one play where the puck was intended for Hughes on a pass. He set up his teammate for a game-tying assist in that game.

    Brady Tkachuk seems like someone who is NHL ready right now like his older brother. He should be Boston University's highest draft pick since Jack Eichel back in 2015.

    He reminds me a lot of a more durable Alex Galchenyuk teams will knock him for the lack of points, but he's a better fit at the wing and should have success as a top 6 winger in the NHL right away assuming the team that takes him at 5 offers him a contract to leave Boston University to sign with an NHL team because Tkachuk is open to that and will discuss his future with his family after getting drafted. The fact that he's already on the top line only helps his case and with him moving from center to wing, that only strengthens this winger class and weakens the center group that much more if he moves from center to winger in the NHL.

    I also have a film session of Brady Tkachuk on my Youtube Channel. Tkachuk checked out a lot of boxes on tape. You have to love the attitude and unselfishneess that Tkachuk showed versus Michigan.

    Previous Pick: Jesperi Kotkaniemi, C, Assat (SM Liiga)

  6. Detroit Red Wings: Quinn Hughes, D, Michigan

    Detroit will go defense at 6. The only immediate impact defender in this class that can be the number one defender on the top line right out of the gate is Rasmus Dahlin. He's off the board, but the Red Wings have their pick of the liter of the four defensemen that will round out the top 9 of this years class. The odds of Detroit getting someone NHL ready at 6 are stacked against them with all of these defenders having flaws on tape.

    There are four defensemen that Detroit can consider here with local Quinn Hughes out of Michigan who is a two-way defender who plays like Tyson Barrie offensively and Noah Hanifin defensively despite being undersized. He's a line one player on Michigan, who anchored Michigan's blue line as their number one defender. He's got the best floor of any prospect, but projects as a number two defender on a first line or someone who anchors the second line which limits his ceiling to a degree.

    Adam Boqvist has the best offensive ability of any defender in the 2018 NHL Draft. He's such a project defensively and many people believe he's the Jakob Chychurn boom or bust prospect of the class even though he's got offensive upside that is nearly identical to Erik Karlsson. How he develops defensively is going to determine how quickly Boqvist can transition to the NHL, but he's probably the only player outside of Dahlin with the upside of a number one defender that can anchor the blue line.

    Evan Bouchard may have the best stats of any two-way defender in this class. The London Knights team captain may possess the best leadership and work ethic of any defender and is probably the most likely to crack an NHL roster this year when you first examine him. After re-watching his tape, he missed a lot of assignments in London's playoff series versus the Owen Sound Attack and will falter if he does not get more time to develop in the juniors because his hockey IQ and decision making on both ends is extremely inconsistent despite his incredible season.

    Noah Dobson led Acadie-Bathurst Titan to the 2018 Memorial Cup. He may be the best defensive defender not named Rasmus Dahlin on tape. He's raw offensively and he lacked enthusiasm in his interviews at the 2018 NHL Combine so I'm not confident about drafting him at 6.

    After breaking down these four defensemen extensively, Detroit has to decide whether to draft based on floor or upside. I've always preferred drafting for upside. This really is one of the toughest draft decisions the Red Wings have had to make because if you draft Hughes and can get a defender in Free Agency you could be a playoff team as early as next season however, I see Boqvist as the guy who is more likely to help the Red Wings win a Stanley Cup long-term even if he's not ready to play on the Red Wings until 2020.

    Detroit was 25th on the power play and 23rd in penalty killing. That's why I would take Boqvist. With 5 out of 7 scouts for teams picking in the top 7 preferring Hughes, its hard to see the Red Wings passing on the Michigan Wolverines defenseman with this pick at the end of the day.

    Many consider Quinn Hughes a top 5 player because of his ability on offense believing he can be a quarterback on the power play. He's got the best skating and athleticism of any player in the class. That's a valid argument, but the 5-10 178 lb defender may spend a second season at Michigan like Zach Werenski before making the leap to the NHL.

    Quinn Hughes has the speed, skating, slap shot power, slap shot power, slap shot accuracy, wrist shot power, wrist shot accuracy, offensive awareness, defensive awareness, vision, and hockey IQ NHL teams covet. The only knock on Hughes game is his size and if you look past that you could be getting a special defender once he adds more muscle. Hughes entered the year at 5-9 168 lbs, but grew an inch and added 10 lbs of muscle to get up to 178.

    Hughes had 5 goals, 24 assists, and 29 points in 2017-2018 during his freshman year at Michigan. He may end up being teammates with his younger brother Jack Hughes who is expected to be the top pick in the 2019 NHL Draft as Jack will either join his brother in Michigan or play for Mississauga next season in the OHL.

    Hughes parents want to be patient with their kids and want to keep them grounded so even if Detroit took him at 6, he's not guaranteed to make the jump to the NHL right away for this reason. His dad coached players that jumped to the NHL too early and failed as a result so his family is keeping a close eye on Jack's development and will make sure not to rush Quinn before he's ready even if he's selected by the Detroit Red Wings at 6 which I believe is his best overall fit as far as development goes.

  7. Vancouver Canucks: Adam Boqvist, D, Brynas I.F. (Elitserien)

    The Vancouver Canucks are losing the Sedin Brothers Henrik Sedin their team captain and Daniel Sedin to retirement. Even with Brock Boeser's promising rookie season, this Canucks team is in a total rebuild with help needed everywhere. It also hurts Vancouver that no NHL ready players are on the board. Vancouver has 200 players on their board more then any other team in the top 10 and the only team in the 6-9 range without multiple first round picks.

    I feel like Vancouver will either trade this to the Islanders or Flyers since both teams have multiple first round picks, plus both teams may want to move up in the draft whoever is willing to give Vancouver more. The Islanders have 11, 12, and John Tavares if they are dumb enough not to pay him as assets while the Flyers have pick 14. Clearly the Islanders have way more to offer the Canucks in terms of value.

    I don't project trades in mock drafts though. Vancouver was leaning towards a forward at 7. I'm not buying that now since Elias Petersson last years top 5 draft pick is expected to jump to the NHL. Brock Boeser may have to transition from right wing to center as well given how depleted the Canucks roster is without the Sedin brothers.

    Since there is no NHL ready player on the board at 7, I'll keep this simple and mock the best player available to Vancouver on my board. That player at this pick is Adam Boqvist who may not be ready until 2020, but has Erik Karlsson upside. Vancouver won't be able to contend until 2020 with all of their holes at the earliest so I feel like they got nothing to lose and everything to gain by taking a flyer on Adam Boqvist at 7.

    Adam Boqvist checked out all the boxes that I look for in an offensive defender on tape. Boqvist has the skating, durability, slap shot power, slap shot accuracy, wrist shot power, wrist shot accuracy, passing, deking, stick handling, offensive awareness, hockey IQ, and can be a quarterback on the power play. He's the best offensive defenseman in Sweden even though he's not as complete as Rasmus Dahlin defensively along with not being the two way defender Dahlin is on tape. The 5-11 170 lb offensive defender could become Vancouver's version of Erik Karlsson if the Canucks remain patient with him. He's not aggressive enough defensively and his defensive awareness is inconsistent at times.

    Adam Boqvist only had 1 point on the Brynas I.F. main roster in the SHL from an assist. He needs more time to develop, but the upside to be an elite offensive defender who anchors a top line down the road is certainly there which is why I can't see Boqvist getting past the Canucks at 7.

    The upside to be a 25 goal defenseman with 50 assists per year is there and the Canucks simply do not have the luxury to pass on an offensive defender with Erik Karlsson upside since they are gonna be in a rebuild and can mold this project defenseman into the next Karlsson. I can't see the Canucks passing on Boqvist unless they move this pick in a trade.

  8. Chicago Blackhawks: Noah Dobson, D, Acadie-Bathurst Titan (QMJHL)

    Chicago bolsters their blue line at 8. The 6-3 190 lb Noah Dobson dominated this year with 17 goals, 52 assists, 69 points, and a +33 +/- ratio. Dobson had 3 goals, 10 assists, and 13 points in the 2018 QMJHL Playoffs. He also led Acadie-Bathurst Titan to their first Memorial Cup in team history something even Mario Lemieux didn't accomplish at Acadie-Bathurst.

    Chicago adds a future defenseman to develop along with their 2017 first round pick Henri Jokiharju. Noah Dobson is the best player on the board for the Blackhawks at 8 and they've had dinner with him already. Dobson is the best defensive defender in this draft not named Rasmus Dahlin. He sounded sort of nervous in the interviews at the NHL Combine, but he's more effective as a two-way defender on tape then Evan Bouchard which is why I think Dobson will be the Blackhawks selection at 8.

  9. New York Rangers: Evan Bouchard, D, London Knights (OHL)

    New York needs a defender after losing Ryan McDonagh even after getting Kevin Shattenkirk in Free Agency last year. This Rangers team may need to draft multiple defenders at 9. One player that could make the jump to the NHL right away still on the board is Evan Bouchard who has great stats along with a very inconsistent hockey IQ. He dominated the regular season statistically, yet got outplayed by the Owen Sound Attack in this years 2018 OHL Playoffs depsite showcasing the work ethic and leadership to get promoted to team captain.

    Evan Bouchard had 2 goals, 15 assists, 17 points, and a +15 +/- ratio in his rookie season. Last season Bouchard had 11 goals, 33 assists, 44 points, and a +30 +/- ratio. He had 2 assists in the 2016 OHL Playoffs. He had 7 points in the 2017 OHL Playoffs.

    Bouchard has the wrist shot power, wrist shot accuracy, passing, and ability to block shots on tape. His puck handling is exceptional. That's why Bouchard is a top 25 prospect. Bouchard may be talented enough to make the NHL right away if he can develop a slap shot this season.

    Evan Bouchard had 25 goals, 62 assists, 87 points, and a +23 +/- ratio this season. Bouchard even got voted team captain of the London Knights displaying outstanding leadership. I don't see someone with the Hockey IQ to anchor a top line, but with Kevin Shattenkirk locked up all Bouchard has to do is work hard and learn under Shattenkirk which is why I think the Rangers are the best fit for Bouchard here at 9 since he can produce and refine his Hockey IQ in the NHL.

  10. Edmonton Oilers: Ty Smith, D, Spokane Chiefs (WHL)

    Edmonton gets the best defender on my board at 10 here. Ty Smith played on the Spokane Chiefs top line in the WHL for two years in a row in Spokane and I really believe he's worthy of a top 10 pick.

    Smith finally worked his way up to top line on the Spokane Chiefs last season. He played on the first line with Kailer Yamamoto and had 5 goals, 27 assists, and 32 points in 66 games. The downside is he had a -12 +/- ratio. The upside is he will have two years of experience on a first line next season.

    The slap shot power, slap shot accuracy, passing, and offensive awareness is there. Smith can be a quarterback on the power play and is a clutch player who can step up offensively in critical situations.

    There are some questions with Smith though. Smith is only 5-11 175 lbs. He hasn't developed a good wrist shot yet in terms of power or accuracy meaning he relies on his slap shot. He also needs to improve his ability to play physical on defense, become more of a defensive defender, and improve his hockey IQ.

    I think Ty Smith can be a first round prospect. Especially if he was taken first overall in the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft. The problem with Smith is he is a boom or bust prospect with six pros and six cons to his game. That's the big objection with Adam Boqvist as well.

    Smith had a strong 2017-2018 season with 14 goals, 59 assists, and 73 points, and a +44 +/- ratio. Smith corrected all of his weaknesses on tape so he may end up being NHL ready for Edmonton at 10. Also, the Oilers drafted Yamamoto so he'd be re-united with Edmonton's 2017 first round pick while not only being my best player on the board, but also filling Edmonton's biggest need on defense.

  11. New York Islanders: Oliver Wahlstrom, C, USNTDP (USHL)

    I had the Islanders picking at 11 back before the start of the regular season. Coincidentally, that's where they ended up.

    The Islanders finally got the most out of Matthew Barzal who I had a top 6 grade on back when the 2015 NHL Draft took place. John Tavares enters a contract year and Oliver Wahlstrom is a top 10 pick according to most scouts. My issue with him going in the top 10 is that he won't make that immediate jump to the NHL despite having immense upside and I like Adam Boqvist more on tape so Wahlstrom goes to Boston College for a year and then goes to the Islanders in 2019 where he can replace John Tavares.

  12. New York Islanders: Jared McIsaac, D, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)

    New York got this pick from Calgary. The Islanders go with a defensive player after addressing offense early.

    The 6-2 209 lb Jared McIsaac was drafted second overall by the Halifax Mooseheads in the 2016 QMJHL Draft after Halifax traded up to get him. The slap shot power, wrist shot power, passing, defensive awareness, checking, ability to play quarterback on the power play, penalty killing, and ability to block shots is all there on tape. McIsaac has such a powerful shot that he could break a glass wall or a brick wall simply by shooting the puck.

    Shooting accuracy with his slap shot accuracy and wrist shot accuracy is something McIsaac needs to correct this season. He also needs to be more alert on plays. His offensive awareness and hockey IQ need to get better. Sometimes he won't recognize a guy coming his way to cause a take away on tape. That's why McIsaac was the Mooseheads' #4 defender playing a complimentary role on the second line last season.

    McIsaac had 4 goals, 28 assists, 32 points, and a +7 +/- ratio during the regular season last season. He struggled during the 2017 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Playoffs. McIsaac is a scrappy player sometimes he knocks guys down and other times he gets knocked down.

    McIsaac had 9 goals, 38 assists, 47 points, and a +14 +/- ratio during the regular season this season. McIsaac is no longer someone being mentioned in the top 5 or the top 10, but he's still someone that could get picked by the New York Islanders here.

  13. Dallas Stars: Joe Veleno, C, Drummondville Voltigeurs (QMJHL)

    As much as I'd like to see my favorite NHL team get another defenseman, I just don't think its going to happen. John Klingberg and Esa Lindell is a reliable first line for defense. Dallas will still have Stephon Jones anchoring the second line with last years third round pick Miro Heiskanen pushing both third line defenders Mark Methot and Julius Honka for that spot on the second line next to Jones where Heiskanen will probably replace Hamhuis.

    General Manager Jim Nill and his team of scouts for the Dallas Stars have been interviewing the centers in this class extensively with Tyler Seguin and Jason Spezza both set to be Free Agents in 2019. Dallas has interviewed 15 different players that they believe will be in play for the Dallas Stars at 13 and honestly I can see any of them on Dallas at 13.

    Some of the players that Nill interviewed included Joe Veleno who I mocked to Vancouver at 7 last week who is still available at 13, Adam Boqvist who I mocked to the Canucks at 7 this week, Jared McIsaac who I just mocked to the Islanders at 12 with the first rounder they got from Calgary, Jesperi Kotkaniemi who I mocked to Arizona at 5, Bode Wilde, K'Andre Miller, Akil Thomas, Serron Noel, Rasmus Kupari, Matias Samuelsson, Benoit-Olivier Groulx, Ty Dellandrea, Jake Wise, Vitali Kravtsov, and Bulat Shafigullin. So looking at this from a numbers game standpoint Dallas spoke with 7 centers, 5 defenseman, and 3 right wingers about potentially going to Dallas at 13.

    The Dallas Stars use this pick to get the best player on the board who I had a top 10 grade on last week. I saw Veleno to Dallas in a lot of mocks and felt like it was too good to be true at first. Now I can see this pick happening. If Brady Tkachuk converts to the wing, then Joe Veleno can become the top center in this class if he improves his face off percentage to at least 50 percent in the QMJHL next season.

    The 6-0 181 lb Joe Veleno did alright as rookie with 13 goals, 30 assists, 43 points, and a +7 +/- ratio as a rookie. Veleno was the first Quebec Major Junior Hockey player to gain exceptional status entering the QMJHL Draft at the age of 15. The Saint John Sea Dogs drafted Veleno first overall in the 2015 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Draft.

    Veleno only had 13 goals, 27 assists, 40 points, and a +8 +/- ratio last season. As far as tape goes Veleno has the slap shot power, slap shot accuracy, wrist shot power, wrist shot accuracy, passing, deking, stick handling, offensive awareness, defensive awareness, and hockey IQ you look for.

    Veleno was expected to get promoted from the second line on the Saint John Sea Dogs to the first line after guiding them to the 2017 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoffs where he had 11 points on a second line in the playoffs guiding the Saint John Sea Dogs to the 2017 Memorial Cup as their team captain.

    Veleno had 22 goals, 57 assists, and 89 points in 2017-2018. He had his best year in his draft year despite being traded from Saint John to Drummondville for three first round picks and two second round picks.

    Veleno only won 36 percent of his face offs a rookie after being the first Quebec Major Junior Hockey League player to enter Quebec's junior league a year early. He improved that number to 44 percent when the Saint John Sea Dogs made the 2017 Memorial Cup before trading Veleno. This season, Veleno only won 46 percent of his face offs.

    Veleno has the ceiling of a line 1 winger on either side and a line 2 center. He will never be a top line center with his abysmal face off percentage, but he could be a very good number two center behind Tyler Seguin down the road when Spezza's contract runs out as early as 2019 if he finally shows he can win fifty percent of face offs because he checks out every other single box on tape which is why Dallas should take Joe Veleno at 13.

  14. Philadelphia Flyers: Joel Farabee, LW, USNTDP (USHL)

    The Flyers got this pick from the Blues. Joel Farabee is someone with a line 1 left wing ceiling despite being raw on tape prior to this season.

    Joel Farabee has first round talent on tape with 12 goals, 11 assists, 23 points, and a 0 +/- ratio last season. Farabee had 15 goals, 25 assists, 40 points, and a +26 +/- ratio this season.

    The reason he fell to the Flyers is he's still a project and needs two years at Boston University in 2018-2019 as well as 2019-2020. The fact that Farabee needs two years in the NCAA before making the jump to the NHL is why this top 10 talent according to most scouts slides to 14 where the Flyers are loaded with centers and defenders, but need more depth with wingers on the back 6.

  15. Florida Panthers: Barrett Hayton, C, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)

    The Florida Panthers pick at 15. Barrett Hayton had 21 goals, 39 assists, and 60 points this season with a huge season. Hayton also had 8 goals, 13 assists, and 21 points in the 2018 OHL Playoffs helping Sault Ste. Marie get to the championship round of the OHL Playoffs where they lost 4-2 to the Hamilton Bulldogs. Hayton cemented his top 15 status with a huge season, and I'm surprised Dallas isn't interviewing him since he's someone who deserves to be in the conversation at 13.

    Florida gets the best player on the board and a potential steal at 15 thanks to Nill's terrible scouting as the Stars General Manager and thanks the Flyers surplus of centers with Giroux, Couturier, and Patrick. The sad part is Dallas hired Nill when Jim Rutherford was still a director of scouting with the Hurricanes before the Penguins got Rutherford as their GM, but let's resume our discussion about the Panthers drafting Barrett Hayton at 15 because Hayton is here is quite a haul. Hayton may need another two seasons in the OHL, but the upside to help Florida down the road is there.

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