The Whyhockey 2018 NHL Draft Guide

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Not ready for the whole guide yet? Here’s our Draft Intro from our Draft Guide….

Whyhockey’s draft philosophy encourages selecting the player available with the most value. And while position and physical size factor into the value a player holds, talent and IQ contribute a much greater portion. Rather than focus on strictly production or results, prospects are judged mainly on their tools that would lead to a productive career in the NHL down the line.

Given the league wide focus on building through the draft, picks should be utilized to identify unique skill sets or players that are hard or impossible to acquire cost effectively outside the Draft. An example of this would be drafting a riskier offensive forward instead of a more sure-thing role winger whose potential tops out as a depth player. This is most significant in the top 62 picks but should be applied as much as possible through all seven rounds.

A clear bias in this list exists towards the European leagues and raised players. For one, the skills dominant, puck possession game that is growing in favor here matches the development Europe has pushed for decades. European leagues offer better development options post draft for players too skilled for junior. Also, N. Am leagues and players are naturally over-scouted given the proximity to NHL teams’ and scouting staffs’ home bases. Preparing more thoroughly on the other side of the pond pays off in later rounds, though more and more teams are catching on to that exploited inefficiency.

Headlined by a potential franchise defenseman, the 2018 Draft boasts a more talented Top 20 than last year, though by the 40s on this list, it’s hard to judge which year holds bigger promise. Overall, it is an average draft class. The Top 20 and potential scoring wingers are a tick above average in our estimation but that is counterbalanced by the lack of top end centers which could ultimately pull the class below average.

Finish the Intro inside the Draft Guide.

Not only because of the Dahlin factor, attention is being focused on defenders in the first round of the draft heavily because of the trend towards defenseman with more forward-like skillsets. The growing trend is overdue but also creates higher demand than necessary early on.
Adam Boqvist, Ty Smith, Noah Dobson, Evan Bouchard, and Quinn Hughes comprise the main group of defenders expected to go early on Friday. All of these defenders possess high end offensive potential and puck skills. Yet they don’t rate significantly higher than last year’s first round group, and likely do not progress to top pair duty. A second rounder may have similar payoff.

As teams line up to dig deeper down the available defender list, they will be able to pick off forwards who are closer to the top of their draft class than the defenders. Expect one or two top end forwards to fall a few spots because of the priority of defenseman, and some lucky team to prosper.

Andrei Svechnikov and Filip Zadina sit above the rest of the goal scorers but Oliver Wahlstrom, Rasmus Kupari, Dominik Bokk, and Vitali Kravtsov have the shooting prowess to pan out just as prolific. Swede Filip Hallander might be a surprise addition to this group for everyone but the team that calls his name. Overall, the draft class is deepest in offensive creativity and scoring potential.

Though no big name center is available early, like Nolan Patrick or Nico Hischier were last year, Barrett Hayton and Jesperi Kotkaniemi are making headlines as possible Top 5 picks. But Kupari should be garnering more consideration from those lottery teams. Liam Foudy, Carl Wassenius, and Mathias Emilio Pettersen are mid round sleepers.

There are six tiers among the pool of 69 skaters on the list. Each drop off is signified with the start of a new tier. A decline from one tier to another is based on a gap in skill or an increase in the risk profile. The tiers are not listed in the guide but fall in these ranges:
Tier 1 – Franchise – #1-1
Tier 2 – Elite – #2-8
Tier 3 – Players with Elite Tool(s)- #9-20
Tier 4 – High Risk High Reward – #21-31
Tier 5 – Similar to Tier 4 W/ Lower Ceiling – #32-41
Tier 6 – Potential to Exceed Value – #42-69

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