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Craig Button

TSN Director of Scouting

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Swedish blueliner Rasmus Dahlin is the undisputed best player available in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. In fact, there’s no other player close to him.

The Frolunda HC blueliner is to this draft and to teams looking for an elite No. 1 defenceman what Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews were to their respective drafts as elite No. 1 centres. When you watch him play it’s easy to forget he’s just 17 because his command of the game is so complete.

His participation in the Olympics may have looked like a long shot at the beginning of the season, but his play in the Swedish Hockey League and, most recently, with the Swedish national team at the Karjala Cup make it look more and more like a very real possibility.

Fellow Swedish defenceman Adam Boqvist remains in the second spot in our rankings. The top five is rounded out by injured Barrie Colts right wing Andrei Svechnikov (No. 3), who is recovering from wrist surgery, Boston University left wing Brady Tkachuk (No. 4) and Halifax Mooseheads right wing Filip Zadina, who jumps to No. 5 from No. 10 in our September rankings after racking up 16 goals and 30 points in his first 21 games this season.

Elsewhere in the top 10, Bode Wilde of the U.S. National Team Development Program vaults up to No. 6 from No. 25 in September. The defenceman was a bit under the radar at the start of the season, but there’s nothing he can’t do on the ice. His confidence is increasing, which has translated to a great command of any game he plays in.

This is not shaping up to be a banner year for Canada in the top half of the draft. While the quantity is very good, the quality in the top 10 includes just one Canadian player – Barrett Hayton of the Sault St. Marie Greyhounds (No. 9). While not putting up gaudy numbers (8-8-16 in 19 games), he’s a very good two-way centre who is productive in a manner similar to Boston Bruins star Patrice Bergeron.

Ryan Merkley of the Guelph Storm (No. 13) is a gifted defenceman who has magnificent creativity and poise with the puck that allows him to do things as the play evolves. When you watch him play, he looks like the type of defenceman that is having success in today’s NHL. He could find himself in the top 10 of the draft when it’s all said and done. Merkley (6-18-24 in 19 games) continues to make strides and will be a very interesting player for NHL teams to monitor as the season progresses.

Saint John Sea Dogs centre Joe Veleno (No. 25) was granted exceptional status in the QMJHL as a 15-year-old. While his skills are good (4-17-21 in 22 games), there isn’t a level of play that is in the same class as previous exceptional status players John Tavares, Aaron Ekblad and McDavid, who were all selected first overall in their respective NHL drafts.

 

Craig's List - November Ranking

 
RK Player Team POS HT WT GP G P
1 Rasmus Dahlin Frolunda (SHL) D 6'2 181 16 3 7
2 Adam Boqvist Brynäs (SWE J20) D 5'10 ¾ 168 13 5 11
3 Andrei Svechnikov Barrie (OHL) RW 6'1 ½ 188 10 10 14
4 Brady Tkachuk Boston U (NCAA) LW 6'2 194 12 0 8
5 Filip Zadina Halifax (QMJHL) RW 6'0 198 21 16 30
6 Bode Wilde USA NTDP (USHL) D 6'2 ½ 197 17 3 13
7 Quinn Hughes Michigan (NCAA) D 5'9  167 10 1 6
8 Rasmus Kupari Kärpät (SM Liiga) C 6'1 ¼ 183 17 3 4
9 Barrett Hayton S.S. Marie (OHL) C 6'1 186 19 8 16
10 Oliver Wahlstrom USA NTDP (USHL) C 6'0 ¾ 195 17 12 24
11 Joel Farabee USA NTDP (USHL) LW 5'11 152 17 11 21
12 Jack McBain Toronto (OJHL) C 6'3 ¼ 196 25 11 34
13 Ryan Merkley Guelph (OHL) D 5'11 170 19 6 24
14 Isac Lundestrom Luleå (SHL) C/LW 5'11 ¼ 178 16 3 7
15 Jacob Olofsson Timra (SWE-Als) C 6'2 185 15 4 5
16 Ryan McLeod Mississuaga (OHL) C/LW 6'2 190 19 7 23
17 Noah Dobson Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL) D 6'2 ½ 178 22 1 18
18 Ty Smith Spokane (WHL) D 5'10 ¼ 176 20 3 21
19 Jared McIsaac Halifax (QMJHL) D 6'1 195 20 0 10
20 Evan Bouchard London (OHL) D 6'1 ½ 190 18 4 19
21 Jett Woo Moose Jaw (WHL) D 5'11 ¾ 205 18 6 17
22 Jesperi Kotkaniemi Ässät (SM Liiga) C 6'1 ½ 188 21 5 9
23 Filip Hallander Timra (SWE-Als) C/LW 6'0 178 15 4 10
24 Benoît-Olivier Groulx Halifax (QMJHL) C 6'0 ¾ 192 21 11 18
25 Joe Veleno Saint John (QMJHL) C 6'1 195 22 4 21
26 Akil Thomas Niagara (OHL) RW 5'11 169 18 5 19
27 Mattias Samuelsson USA NTDP (USHL) D 6'3 ¼ 209 16 4 9
28 Dmitri Zavgorodny Rimouski (QMJHL) LW 5'9  161 20 8 17
29 Adam Ginning Linköping (SHL) D 6'2 ¾ 196 9 0 0
30 Albin Eriksson Skellefteå (SWE J20) LW 6'4 ¼ 207 15 7 14
31 Allan McShane Oshawa (OHL) C 5'10 ½ 190 20 8 4
32 Rasmus Sandin S.S. Marie (OHL) D 5'10 ¾ 183 7 1 6
33 Curtis Hall Youngstown (USHL) C 6'2 194 12 6 10
34 Alexander Khovanov Moncton (QMJHL) C 5'11 187      
35 Serron Noel Oshawa (OHL) RW 6'4 200 16 10 14
36 David Gustafsson HV 71 (SHL) C 5'11 ½ 196 15 1 2
37 Jonatan Berggren Skellefteå (SWE J20) LW 5'10 181 18 8 19
38 Blake McLaughlin Chicago (USHL) LW 5'11 156 11 4 15
39 Calen Addison Lethbridge (WHL) D 5'9 ¾ 179 18 4 18
40 Tyler Weiss USA NTDP (USHL) C/LW 5'10 ¼ 143 17 4 8
41 Xavier Bouchard Baie Comeau (QMJHL) D 6'3 ¼ 191 20 0 5
42 Alexander Alexeyev Red Deer (WHL) D 6'3 ½ 184 11 1 9
43 Kryštof Hrabik B. nad Jizerou (CZE WSM2) LW 6'3 209 18 1 7
44 Grigori Denisenko Yaroslavl (MHL) LW 5'11 163 17 2 10
45 Axel Andersson Djurgarden (SWE J20) D 5'11 ¾ 178 18 2 14
46 Olivier Rodrigue Drummondville (QMJHL) G 6'0 ¼ 155 17 2.74 0.891
47 Jakub Lauko Chomutov (CZE Extra) LW 6'0 169 18 1 3
48 Nando Eggenberger Davos (SUI NLA) LW/RW 6'2 185 15 2 4
49 Filip Johansson Leksands (SWE J20) D 6'0 ½ 174 20 4 4
50 Giovanni Vallati Kitchener (OHL) D 6'1 176 17 2 10
51 Jonathon Tychonick Penticton (BCHL) D 5'11 ¼ 166 19 5 11
52 Kevin Bahl Ottawa (OHL) D 6'5 ¾ 225 21 0 9
53 Gabriel Fortier Baie Comeau (QMJHL) LW 5'9 164 20 10 22
54 Adam Samuelsson USA NTDP (USHL) D 6'5 ¾ 240 17 3 1
55 Oskar Back Färjestads (SWE J20) C 6'2 ¼ 192 15 3 11
56 Luka Burzan Moose Jaw (WHL) C 5'11 ¾ 185 19 2 9
57 K'Andre Miller USA NTDP (USHL) D 6'3 ½ 194 17 0 3
58 Kody Clark Ottawa (OHL) RW 6'0 ¾ 172 21 9 17
59 Declan Chisholm Peterborough (OHL) D 6'0 ¼ 183 21 1 10
60 Jesse Ylonen Espoo (FIN) RW 5'11 ¾ 160 12 2 5
61 Nico Gross Oshawa (OHL) D 5'11 ¾ 183 17 2 6
62 Lukas Wernblom Modo (SHL) LW 5'9 154 14 0 0
63 Lukáš Dostal Brno (Cze Jr) G 6'0 ¾ 158      
64 Philipp Kurashev Quebec (QMJHL) RW 5'11 ½ 181      
65 Gavin Hain USA NTDP (USHL) C 5'11 ¼ 190      
66 Alexis Gravel Halifax (QMJHL) G 6'2 ½ 226      
67 Jake Wise USA NTDP (USHL) C 5'9 ¾ 185      
68 Ty Dellandrea Flint (OHL) C/RW 5'11 ¾ 180      
69 Jay O'Brien Thayer (USHS) C 6'0 175      
70 Anderson MacDonald Moncton (QMJHL) LW 6'1 ½ 205      
71 Adam McMaster North Bay (OHL) C 5'10 ½ 165      
72 Carter Robertson Ottawa (OHL) D 6'2 178      
73 Riley Sutter Everett (WHL) C 6'2 ¾ 202      
74 Philippe Lapointe Lincoln (USHL) RW 5'10 ½ 193      
75 Alec Regula London (OHL) D 6'3 201