It’s trade season in the NHL, but here at the Rick List, we are looking ahead to June. While the No. 1 selection is all but confirmed for this year’s draft, the rest of the order is anyone’s guess.
With 31 teams now, there will be 62 players picked in the first two rounds of the draft. For our February edition, let’s look at who those top 62 are as of now.
1. Rasmus Dahlin, D, Frolunda (Sweden)
The unquestioned No. 1. A generational talent on the back end. Not only has he been compared to Nicklas Lidstrom, Victor Hedman and Erik Karlsson at this age…he’s supposedly even better.
2. Andrei Svechnikov, RW, Barrie (OHL)
An incredible skater who can be a game-changer on offense. Seems to be a step ahead of his opponents in the OHL, blowing by defenders in the neutral zone and creating tons of scoring opportunities.
3. Filip Zadina, RW, Halifax (QMJHL)
The type of pure goal-scoring winger that all teams crave. Zadina is the definition of a sniper and he has taken his game to new heights this season.
4. Adam Boqvist, D, Brynas (Sweden)
At 5-foot-11, Boqvist is a bit small for a defenseman. However, size in today’s hockey game is not quite all it’s cracked up to be. Boqvist makes up for it with his ability in both the offensive and defensive zones.
5. Quinn Hughes, D, University of Michigan (NCAA)
An incredibly mature and cerebral defenseman, Hughes has all sorts of raw talent (especially in the skating department) and knows when to step up and drop back.
6. Oliver Wahlstrom, RW, USA NTDP
Remember this kid? That’s Oliver Wahlstrom. He’s still got sick hands and can shoot darts. A prototypical goal-scoring winger similar to the aforementioned Zadina.
7. Evan Bouchard, D, London (OHL)
Steady in his own zone, but Bouchard’s strength is on offense. He possesses an absolute cannon of a slap shot from the blue line and has 67 points (18 goals) in 53 OHL games this year.
8. Brady Tkachuk, RW, Boston University (NCAA)
His father, Keith, was a great NHL player and his older brother, Matthew, is beginning to carve out quite a career for himself. Brady has hockey in his blood and is a big, physical winger with a scoring touch. I’ve got him a little lower than most, but this is purely a testament to those above him.
9. Barrett Hayton, C, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
The top center in this year’s draft. Hayton plays a 200-foot game and excels at leading rushes up the ice.
10. Noah Dobson, D, Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL)
Dobson has shot up the ranks this year after seeing a dramatic improvement in his game. He’s averaging more than a point per game thanks to a wicked wrist shot and the ability to elevate the play of everyone around him.
11. Joe Veleno, C, Drummondville (QMJHL)
Veleno has failed, by some standards, to live up to expectations due to being granted rare exceptional status in the CHL. He’s not a top-three pick like he was thought to be three years ago, but he is still a terrific playmaker chock full of raw talent. He is a strong skater who can stickhandle his way out of a phone booth.
12. Ryan Merkley, D, Guelph (OHL)
There are some holes in Merkley’s defensive game and a minus-19 rating doesn’t look great, but his offensive prowess makes him an eye-opening prospect.
13. Joel Farabee, LW , USA NTDP
It’s easy to see how much hockey sense Farabee has whether he has the puck or not. He makes crisp, accurate passes to his teammates and creates havoc in front of the net.
14. Ty Smith, D, Spokane (WHL)
Smith is another example of a player considered “undersized” by defenseman standards, but he is also an example of how skating ability trumps size in today’s game. His skill more than makes up for his size, and he can run a power play well.
15. Jesperi Kotkaniemi, C, Assat (Finland)
His skating is a bit of a drawback, but Kotkaniemi plays an incredibly unselfish game and has keen playmaking abilities. He truly thrives setting up scoring chances on the power play.
16. Ryan McLeod, C, Mississauga (OHL)
An offensive dynamo whose brother, Michael, was a first-round pick of the New Jersey Devils in 2016. Great playmaking abilities and senses as well as a well above-average wrister.
17. Isac Lundestrom, C, Lulea (Sweden)
He’s not flashy, but Lundestrom gets the job done. He’s a smart player in the offensive zone, has experience playing against professionals, and can add a touch of physicality to his game. He also has the advantage of being a center in a draft that is uncharacteristically low in that department.
18. Rasmus Kupari, C, Karpat (Finland)
The other Rasmus in this year’s draft. Kupari may be a bit of a project because of his strength and frame, but the upside is through the roof. A team who can afford to see his development through could hit the jackpot.
19. Jared McIsaac, D, Halifax (QMJHL)
Solid two-way player with a decent shot. McIsaac is a throwback who plays with a bit of grit and nastiness, making him a tough defender to go up against.
20. Jett Woo, D, Moose Jaw (WHL)
One of the safest picks in this year’s draft in terms of projectability. Woo isn’t going to put up huge offensive numbers, but he can be a shutdown blue liner that can step in and contribute in any given situation.
21. Bode Wilde, D, USA NTDP
Skates well for his size and has a quick, accurate wrist shot that can hit corners from long distances. Wilde is a two-way defenseman who can make things happen in the offensive zone and stop opposing forwards.
22. Akil Thomas, C, Niagara (OHL)
Terrific skater with a pass-first mentality. Thomas has racked up nearly an assist per game this season due to his playmaking skills, and his hands give him the ability to finish plays nicely as well.
23. Martin Kaut, RW, Paradubice (Czech Republic)
Another smart, alert playmaker who plays a mature game and makes smooth passes. Looked great with Martin Necas and Filip Zadina at the World Juniors and is excelling against pros this season.
24. K’Andre Miller, D, USA NTDP
An outstanding skater on the blue line, Miller uses his feet to make all sorts of positive contributions in the defensive zone, offensive zone and neutral zone.
25. Jacob Olofsson, C, Timra (Sweden)
Steady with the puck, smart in the offensive zone and possesses a lightning-quick release. Just a consistent player across the board.
26. Grigori Denisenko, LW, Yaroslavl Jr. (Russia)
Another guy knocked because of his size, which is a bit warranted because he can get knocked around pretty easily. Still, Denisenko is an exceptional skater and is dynamic in the offensive zone.
27. Mattias Samuelsson, D, USA NTDP
Big 6-foot-4 defenseman who plays a gritty game and has a bit of a scoring touch. Brings some definite sandpaper to any blue line.
28. Rasmus Sandin, D, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
A smart all-around d-man who knows just when to turn on the offensive switch and jump into a play. Has been a stellar power play quarterback in the Soo this season.
29. Benoit-Olivier Groulx, C, Halifax (QMJHL)
The Halifax Mooseheads keep churning out NHL prospects, and Groulx is just another in a long, long line. He has a strong backcheck for a forward and consistently drives the net when his team has the puck.
30. Serron Noel, LW, Oshawa (OHL)
A 6’5 power forward who can skate well and score goals is always enticing. Noel has some fine-tuning to do, but the talent is certainly there and he has the tools to be an impact player with time.
31. Alexander Alexeyev, D, Red Deer (WHL)
A big 6’3 Russian defenseman who can move the puck and make nice breakout passes. Also a strong skater who can be relied upon in his own zone.
32. Calen Addison, D, Lethbridge (WHL)
Acute offensive awareness when it comes to moving the puck and shooting it. There are some concerns about his stature and shakiness in his own zone, but the offensive upside is too good to ignore. Similar to Ryan Merkley without question marks about his character.
33. Philipp Kurashev, C, Quebec (QMJHL)
Offensive-minded Swiss center who drives the net hard and makes good, deceptive passes. Averaging just over a point per game for the Quebec Remparts this season.
34. Dominik Bokk, LW, Vaxjo (Sweden)
A German winger who decided to take his talents to the SHL and play against professionals this season. It has paid off, as Bokk is rising up draft boards thanks to his goal-scoring ability. A definite high-ceiling player.
35. Blake McLaughlin, C, Chicago (USHL)
Not nearly as many USHL prospects early in the draft compared to last year, but McLaughlin deserves to be at least this high. He is a goal-scoring machine with a lethal wrist shot.
36. Adam Ginning, D, Linkoping (Sweden)
Loves to move the puck and can generate a lot of offense from the blue line. Also has some experience against pros in the SHL even though he has not turned any heads yet.
37. Allan McShane, C, Oshawa (OHL)
Reliable in the faceoff dot, McShane’s stock could see itself rise as he has picked up his play in a big way lately.
38. Filip Hallander, C, Timra (Sweden)
An incredibly aware offensive talent with a nose for the net. Good skater, good hands, great hockey sense in the offensive zone.
39. Adam Samuelsson, D, USA NTDP
Nothing too flashy about the other Samuelsson on the USA U-18 team’s blue line, but Adam is a steady rearguard who gets the job done.
40. Johnny Tychonik, D, Penticton (BCHL)
Will be a player to watch next year at North Dakota as he makes the leap to college hockey. Decent in his own zone, Tychonik can quarterback a power play well and jump into the play to add some offense.
41. Jesse Ylonen, RW, Espoo United (Finland)
A creative goal-scorer with slick hands and an NHL bloodline. His father, Juha, played five NHL seasons.
42. Alexander Khovanov, C, Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL)
Khovanov is a small Russian forward with a sleek set of hands. He has picked up his game in the past month and a half, finding his name on the scoresheet at least once in each of Moncton’s past 10 games.
43. Albin Eriksson, LW, Skelleftea (Sweden)
A hulking 6-foot-4 Swedish power forward. Forechecks hard, makes things happen in the offensive zone and has a quick release on his wrister.
44. Dmitri Zavgorodniy, LW, Rimouski (QMJHL)
Somewhat of a polarizing prospect. Saw his stock soar after an incredible Ivan Hlinka tournament, but has been inconsistent with his numbers in Rimouski. He has the skills set to be another steal of an undersized forward if development goes right.
45. Ty Dellandrea, C, Flint (OH)
Offensive threat both as a scorer and a playmaker. Has managed to average nearly a point per game for a Flint Firebirds team that finds itself in the basement of the OHL. It should be interesting to see what Dellandrea can do with more of a supporting cast.
46. Jack McBain, C, Toronto Junior Canadiens (OJHL)
A power forward who stands at 6’3 and could still add a bit more weight and strength. Has carved out a nice season in the OJHL, but there are concerns due to a lack of competition compared to other prospects in more prestigious leagues.
47. Vitali Kravtsov, LW, Traktor (KHL)
Skating is his biggest strength, and Kravtsov has had some success playing against professionals and some NHL talent in the KHL.
48. Milos Roman, C, Vancouver (WHL)
Could drop because of his size, but Roman is a talented forward who can set up plays and score goals with an accurate wrist shot. Has been improving since getting healthy in his WHL rookie season.
49. Jakub Lauko, C, Chomutov (Czech Republic)
Lots of Czech forwards making their way through the ranks. Lauko plays with a ton of emotion and loves to score goals – something he has a talent for. Certainly no concerns as far as effort is concerned.
50. Sampo Ranta, LW, Sioux City (USHL)
This will be the second year in a row Sioux City has a high draft pick who is a Finn with a wicked shot. Eeli Tolvanen fell to late in the first round last year, and the Nashville Predators sure seem to have gotten a bargain. Ranta is more about his wrist shot while Tolvanen boasts a lethal clapper, but he is a pure goal scorer that should see his shot translate well at the next level.
51. Filip Johansson, D, Leksands (Sweden)
Offensive-minded, right-handed Swedish defenseman with an accurate shot. Has put up impressive offensive numbers for a rearguard at several levels.
52. Jacob Bernard-Docker, D, Okotoks (AJHL)
Offensive defenseman who has an accurate shot and is aggressive on scoring plays. Can quarterback a power play. Concerns due to the skill level he is up against, but last year’s No. 4 selection, Cale Makar, came from the same league. Clearly not as talented as Makar, but could generate some scoring from the blue line at the next level.
53. Jonatan Berggren, C, Skelleftea (Sweden)
Creates some nice chemistry with the aforementioned Albin Eriksson. Not the biggest player, but a strong skater with good hands and a knack for offense.
54. Nicolas Beaudin, D, Drummondville (QMJHL)
Is putting up forward-like numbers in the QMJHL this season and has seen his defensive game improve dramatically. Should continue to rise as the season progresses.
55. Nando Eggenberger, LW, Davos (Switzerland)
Swiss winger who can play both sides. Goes hard to the net and has a knack for taking his game up a notch in big games.
56. Kody Clark, RW, Ottawa (OHL)
Drafting sons of former NHLers has been a trend in recent years, and it has certainly worked out in plenty of cases. The son of Wendel Clark will be another name to add to the list, and he has put together a good season in Ottawa to add to his case.
57. David Gustafsson, C, HV71 (Sweden)
Swedish goal scorer who stations himself in front of the net. Loves going to the backhand and is very good at it, which is always a plus.
58. Sean Durzi, D, Owen Sound (OHL)
Putting up video game numbers for a defenseman – 10 more points this season than games played. Could shoot up draft boards based on just numbers alone. The concern is that he is a year older than most players in this year’s draft.
59. Vladislav Kotkov, LW, Chicoutimi (QMJHL)
Excels on the power play and stands at 6-foot-4. Sees the ice well and has experienced a slight uptick in his game as of late.
60. Olivier Rodrigue, G, Drummondville (QMJHL)
In a draft year that is incredibly thin on goaltending, Rodrigue is probably the best one and will be the first to come off the board.
61. Kevin Bahl, D, Ottawa (OHL)
Definitely has some work to do and could take some time to develop, but it’s tough to ignore a physical defenseman who stands at 6-foot-6.
62. Jachym Kondelik, C, Muskegon (USHL)
6-foot-6 forward who has dropped in the rankings a bit since injuries have hindered him this season, but there is some definite projection and upside. Will be playing college hockey at UConn next year.