Whyhockey December Prospect Rankings

The 2018 NHL Draft, hosted by the Dallas Stars, is free of the “weak” stigma that surrounded the 2017 Draft. This is, of course, because of the headliners. Swedish Defenseman Rasmus Dahlin and Russian scorer Andrei Svechnikov are two franchise prospects. That’s been the case since this draft class started receiving marks from scouts and I’d be shocked if it would change.

Maybe a third prospect, like Adam Boqvist or Filip Zadina, takes the next step during the season and joins them in the top tier but it is unlikely the first or second slot will change this year. It is without drama.

Dahlin is getting quite the generational hype, not without merit. However, one would be mistaken to think the gap between one and two is a reflection on Svechnikov. The younger brother of Evgeny (Detroit first rounder), Andrei is a prolific goal scorer just coming back from a wrist injury. Neither Dahlin’s hype nor his injury should deter his second half.

It is still early in the draft season, so everything below here should be considered with a grain of salt, and open to revision and interpretation.

We already talked about how the top 2 at the draft alone makes 2018 a sexier draft class than 2017. Last year, Whyhockey was reluctant to label the class below average. Early returns show that patience may have been correct. While not excellent, the top end has intriguing names and more picks had a cup of coffee in NHL than expected this year. Draft class perceptions change over months; or weeks.

Way too early feeling is that the top 5 prospects in this draft are a good deal better than in 2017, while the Top 10 are noticeably better. After that, it really is about how the depth should fill out as the year goes along.  Again, lot of time remains but if I am a team whose main goal it is to get best draft pick possible this year, I want to be in the Top 5-8 picks at year’s end, so even if teams behind you move up in Lottery, you are likely to remain Top 10. There is likely a drop-off at this range (which isn’t atypical).

The theme of this draft, unsurprisingly, is offensive defensemen.  It makes sense: Dahlin is the number one prospect; offensive defenseman are the hot new NHL commodity; and smaller blueliners are getting more scouts’ eyes.

Adam Boqvist (a.k.a. The Other Swede) is the clear second best defender and only a few challengers could attempt to threaten that spot. Boqvist’s IQ is elite, as is his ability to score. Quick hands and game processing skills allow Boqvist the ability to score from far out or work his way in close for the scoring chance.

Those challengers to Boqvist are also offensively slanted. Quinn Hughes and Ty Smith might be the next two defenders in high end skill despite their different trajectory. Hughes is already in NCAA at Michigan while Smith is riding the bus through the Western Hockey League. Evan Bouchard, Noah Dobson, Jett Woo, and Ryan Merkley are just a few other worthy candidates.

Another theme of this draft is the continued European feel in the first round. Or is it just the lack of Canadians up top that intensifies the very Euro vibe? Exceptional Status Joe Veleno is the first Canadian at #9 but the country makes up for it with 11 more through 31, currently.

Sixteen of the Top 31 are European, and the number would be higher if there were less scouts watching US development team trounce a thin USHL squad and more scouts watching [pick a league in Europe]. We, for one, welcome our new European overlords. This is definitely an European biased blog, and we aggressively rate European prospects that flash top end talent in one or more areas, or rate good in all aspects. It is why Isac Lundestrom notched ahead of Ryan McLeod.

But don’t get to hung up on who is just above or below who. We expect wide variety of movement ranking to ranking. This early its just trying to differentiate between shades of grey inside tiers, or tier to tier. The first tier, we discussed. That’s pretty set. Tier 2 is a group of seven prospects, three or four of which could *potentially* slip into tier 1 if everything falls in line. Tier 3 is the tier we expect the most movement in, and would be ‘good bets’ to hang around Top 20 in June. Tier 4 comprises of players who have Tier 3 talent but for one reason or another there is more uncertainty that they are first round or Top 50 picks. The Honorable Mentions are players with late first or second round skills that deserve a call out.

In the table below you will find the Whyhockey December Rankings for the 2018 NHL Draft.

***Please note, a column for NHLe is used. NHLe is a formulaic way of finding an NHL season’s equivalency for outside NHL production. This is included as more as a fun reference at this juncture. NHLe has cons on it’s own (goals aren’t weighted more than assists, not enough data from all the leagues, US National Program skews everything with gaudy numbers in weaker junior league, etc.) but adding in small sample of a quarter of a teenager’s draft season… it can be problematic. That is why the NHLe wasn’t even calculated until after we had our rankings worked out and put into this nice table.

Some leagues do not have a lot of data points  (players who played in that league and in the NHL). If you use the linked calculator below you will see an asterisk next to the league name of those with smaller sample sizes. Some leagues aren’t included like the junior Swedish and Finnish leagues. Instead, other junior leagues were substituted. Since we aren’t using NHLe for decision making, we didn’t need exact translation for the league multipliers, and they carry an asterisk and note in the table below. So enjoy.

(For reference, you can use the NHLe calculator and find out more information on it and what it entails here.)***

Whyhockey Periodical Podcast : Prospectivus for the Rest-of-us Episode Coming Soon!

Tier Rank Name Position League GP G Pts NHLe
1 1 Rasmus Dahlin D SHL 26 5 11 20
1 2 Andrei Svechnikov RW OHL 13 11 17 33
2 3 Adam Boqvist D SuperElit 17 11 18 21*using QMJHL multiplier
2 4 Filip Zadina LW QMJHL 32 24 46 29
2 5 Rasmus Kupari C/W Liiga 19 3 4 8
2 6 Jesperi Kotkaniemi C/W Liiga 32 6 14 16
2 7 Quinn Hughes D NCAA 16 1 10 15
2 8 Oliver Wahlstrom C/RW USHL 7 6 10 32
2 9 Joe Veleno C QMJHL 31 6 31 20
2 10 Brady Tkachuk LW NCAA 19 4 14 23
3 11 Jacob Olofsson C Allsvenskan 24 5 10 12
3 12 Evan Bouchard D OHL 30 10 36 30
3 13 Ty Smith D WHL 30 5 29 23
3 14 Benoit-Olivier Groulx C QMJHL 32 15 25 16
3 15 Philipp Kurashev LW/C QMJHL 33 8 31 19
3 16 Akil Thomas C OHL 30 8 31 26
3 17 Joel Farabee LW USHL 7 5 11 35
3 18 Noah Dobson D QMJHL 32 4 31 19
3 19 Ryan Merkley D OHL 30 9 38 32
3 20 Jesse Ylonen RW Mestis 22 6 13 17*using Allsvenskan multiplier
4 21 Rasmus Sandin D OHL 18 2 15 21
4 22 Alexander Alexeyev D WHL 23 1 15 16
4 23 Jett Woo D WHL 18 6 17 23
4 24 Isac Lundestrom C/LW SHL 24 3 10 20
4 25 Ryan McLeod C OHL 31 7 31 25
4 26 Jonatan Berggren C/RW SuperElit 26 13 34 26*usingQMJHL multiplier
4 27 Barrett Hayton C OHL 30 11 26 22
4 28 Bode Wilde D USHL 7 1 4 13
4 29 Calen Addison D WHL 29 6 33 27
4 30 Marcus Karlberg W SuperElit 21 10 26 25*using QMJHL multiplier
4 31 Sampo Ranta LW USHL 19 8 12 14
HM HM Axel Andersson D SuperElit 25 3 22 18*using QMJHL multiplier
HM HM Grigori Denisenko LW MHL 19 3 11 9
HM HM Ryan O'Reilly C/RW USHL 20 13 15 14
HM HM Jere Jokinen F/D(!) Jr. B SM-Liiga 28 19 36 16*using AJHL multiplier
HM HM Mattias Samuelsson D USHL 7 1 5 16
HM HM Serron Noel RW OHL 27 14 23 21
HM HM Vili Laitinen D Jr. A SM-Liiga 35 3 16 9*using QMJHL multiplier
HM HM Filip Hallander C/W Allsvenskan 24 5 13 16
HM HM Dmitri Zavgorodny C QMJHL 29 10 20 14
HM HM Marcus Westfalt C/LW SHL 19 1 3 8
HM HM Adam Ginning D SHL 15 0 0 0
HM HM Dominik Bokk W SHL 9 1 1 5

*all numbers as of December 11th noon. Source: http://www.eliteprospects.com/ 


Tags: , , , ,