The all-star break is over and teams are getting ready to sell for the trade deadline, so let’s look ahead at this year’s draft class. Each team has different needs to get back to relevancy, but usually teams try and draft the best player available. Every team has a guy they like, so here’s a look at how the top ten picks of the 2018 draft could play out.
Top Prospects: Dylan Strome, Kyle Wood, Adin Hill
Organizational Needs: A Saviour
Who they Should Take: Rasmus Dahlin
Who they Will Take: Rasmus Dahlin
The Arizona Coyotes have been trying to become competitive for quite a few years now. Last year they tried to shake things up by trading their 7th overall pick for Derek Stepan and Antti Raanta, but they find themselves at the bottom again. Rasmus Dahlin can change that. Dahlin is the consensus number one pick and it isn’t even close. He is considered the best defensive prospect since Victor Hedman and has been described as someone who can change the course of an entire franchise. Whoever has the first pick will draft Dahlin without hesitation.
Top Prospects: Casey Mittelstadt, Alexander Nylander, Brendan Guhle
Organizational Needs: Defender
Who they Should Take: Adam Boqvist
Who they Will Take: Brady Tkachuk
The Sabres need help on the blue line that’s clear, but drafting a defender usually takes time and the Sabres don’t have time. They’ll be calling Brady Tkachuk’s name thanks to his chemistry with Casey Mittelstadt at the World Juniors. This big bodied winger is the most NHL ready player other than Dahlin in this draft. He’s the oldest player in this draft and missed the 2017 draft class by one day. Expect him to replace Evander Kane as Buffalo’s sandpaper and haunt Atlantic division rivals for years to come.
Top Prospects: Thomas Chabot, Colin White, Logan Brown
Organizational Needs: Scoring Left winger/ Speed on Forward
Who they Should Take: Filip Zadina
Who they Will Take: Adam Boqvist
The Ottawa Senators have to give up their draft pick this year or next due to the horrendous Duchene deal. The Sens are reportedly shopping Mike Hoffman meaning they will have a gaping hole on the left side. They should replace him by drafting the best left winger in the draft, but they won’t. Instead they’ll draft Adam Boqvist. Boqvist has a game that compares to Erik Karlsson so how can they not draft him and hope he develops to a Karlsson 2.0. Drafting Boqvist would give the Sens a safety net if Karlsson walks in free agency.
Top Prospects: Elias Petersson, Thatcher Demko, Nikolay Goldoibin, Olli Juolevi
Organizational Needs: To take the player with the highest ceiling
Who they Should Take: Filip Zadina
Who they Will Take: Filip Zadina
Yeah, the Canucks are going to get this one right. Their rebuild has yielded some high end prospects, and they’ll stay right on track picking Filip Zadina the talented Czech winger from the Halifax Mooseheads. Zadina was the best player on the Czech World Junior Team and has an amazing release that is lethal anywhere below the blue line. Vancouver fans can get goosebumps thinking about Zadina, Petersson and Boeser running a powerplay together.
Top Prospects Henrik Borgstrom, Owen Tippett, Samuel Montembeault
Organizational Needs : Speed
Who they Should Take : Quin Hughes
Who they Will Take : Andrei Svechnikov
The Florida panthers are a very slow team, that is clear. Having someone to take minutes off Aaron Ekblad and someone that can distribute the puck would be ideal. But Dave Tallon isn’t going to let a talent like Svechnikov slide anymore. The Russian, who is playing in Barrie, is hitting close to a goal per game this season and has been compared to Marian Hossa or a bigger Vladimir Tarasenko. He’s going to be a better Owen Tippet. This kid is legit.
Top Prospects: Noah Juulsen, Charlie Lindgren, Ryan Poehling
Organizational Needs: Any kind of talent
Who they Should Take: Best Player available
Who they Will Take: Joe Veleno
The Bergevin era has brought pain to Montreal fans and the Canadiens have been looking for their franchise center for 6 years. They should really draft the highest skilled player and reap the rewards, but in all honesty, I don’t see them passing up a Montreal born Center. Veleno is no slouch, just there’s better players around him. Veleno was the first player ever to have exceptional status in the QMJHL. Not Crosby or Mackinnon, Veleno. But unfortunately, he’s been mediocre since his arrival. Unfortunately, the ceiling is too high on the French-Canadian forward for Bergevin to pass him by. Expect his name to be called in June and immediately be painted as the saviour of Montreal.
Top Prospects: Evgeny Svechnikov, Filip Hronek, Michael Rasmussen
Organizational Needs: Defenders
Who they Should Take: Quin Hughes
Who they Will Take: Quin Hughes
Detroit is fast and they know they’ll need to be fast to return to their glory years. Quin Hughes is the best skater in the draft and will improve the Detroit blueline that is expected to lose Trevor Daley and Mike Green. His smaller size at just 5’9 will keep him out of the NHL for a few years but I’m sure Ken Holland won’t mind. Expect Detroit to be a bottom team next year and get a crack at Quin’s brother Jack in the 2019 draft
Top Prospects: Kailer Yamamoto, Tyler Benson, Ethan Bear
Organizational Needs: Someone to keep his stick on the ice for McDavid
Who they Should Take: An NHL ready player
Who they Will Take: Oliver Wahlstrom
After trading away Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle for slower, less talented players, Peter Chiarelli is looking to upgrade his wings. Enter Oliver Wahlstrom. Wahlstrom is destroying the USNTDP and is headed to Harvard in the fall. He’ll make the jump a year after Yamamoto and quickly become one of the best wingers on the Oilers squad.
Top Prospects: Julien Gauthier, Jake Bean, Martin Necas
Organizational Needs: Centerman
Who they Should Take: Anyone but a defender
Who they Will Take: Ty Smith
Carolina is a bubble team by every definition of the word. They continue to build a contending defence through the draft, but should start looking at some higher level forward talent. Having said that, Ron Francis is going to go with another defender this year. Ty Smith was the first defender taken in WHL bantam draft and his ceiling will be too high for Carolina to pass. Still with so many defenders in the pipeline, expect this pick to be a trade chip for a legit forward come June.
Top Prospects: Dylan Sikura, Henri Jokiharju, Luc Snuggerrud
Organizational Needs: Young Talent
Who they Should Take: Noah Dobson or Evan Bouchard
Who they will take: Barret Hayton
The Chicago Blackhawks have been the ideal rebuild model for franchises hoping to build a contender. But after years of winning they need to restock the cupboards with talent. Barret Hayton could be a guy who slots into the lineup as early as 2019. Hayton is a point per game player on the Grey Hounds, the best team in the OHL. The center has a game comparable to Patrice Bergeron, he doesn’t have a lot a flash but he plays a well rounded game and can be a solid center behind Toews.