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TSN Director of Scouting

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Fresh off an impressive performance at the World Junior Hockey Championship, Frolunda defenceman Rasmus Dahlin remains atop the prospect pile in the January edition of Craig’s List ahead of the 2018 NHL Draft.

Dahlin won’t have a challenger to his status as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NHL draft. Last season we saw Nico Hischier use the World Juniors as a springboard to being the top selection at the entry draft. Dahlin, who had six assists and a plus-7 rating in seven games to help Sweden win silver in Buffalo, will do the same.

He is a franchise-defining defenceman with an unprecedented ability to control the game in all areas. The last blueliner I saw with that capability at this age was Victor Hedman. Dahlin joins another first- overall pick in the NHL draft, Gord Kluzak (1982), as the only 17-year-olds to be selected as the best defenceman at the World Juniors.

Dahlin remains one spot ahead of fellow Swedish blueliner Adam Boqvist, who plays for Brynas IF, in my rankings. Boqvist’s resemblance to Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson is marked. The high skill, brilliant creativity and daring that allow Karlsson to command a game and capture the attention of his audience are present in Boqvist’s game.

Three wingers round out the top five. Boston University left wing Brady Tkachuk, who had three goals and six assists in seven games to help Team USA win bronze in Buffalo, moves up one spot from our November rankings to sit at No. 3.

Tkachuk manages to put himself in the thick of every significant play. While there is much talk about his intangibles, his intelligence, savvy puck skills, physical presence and ability to make others better are all qualities NHL teams covet.

He flips spots with Barrie Colts right wing Andrei Svechnikov, who had five assists in five games for Russia at the World Juniors. Svechnikov missed as significant portion of the first half of the OHL season with a hand injury, but still has 15 goals and eight assists in 18 games with the Colts this season.

Svechnikov has a game that reminds me of Marian Hossa. He’s an excellent scorer and a strong playmaker. He’s also smart, quick to recognize opportunity and is comfortable playing in tight areas and in traffic.

Halifax Mooseheads right wing Filip Zadina, who had seven goals in seven games for the Czech Republic in Buffalo, remains at No. 5. Zadina sits second in the QMJHL scoring race, with 48 points (25 goals, 23 assists) in 33 games.

Zadina is a determined and hungry scorer. He has the ability to score in multiple ways between the dots and from the top of the circles in the offensive zone. He possesses an excellent release that makes it very hard for goalies to get a read on his shot.

Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds centre Barrett Hayton jumps three spots to No. 6 as the highest-rated Canadian in my rankings. The Peterborough, Ont., native has 39 points (16 goals, 23 assists in 39 games) for a squad that just had a 23-game win streak snapped last week.

Hayton can play and contribute in all situations. He reminds me of Boston Bruins star Patrice Bergeron in the sense of being complete, strong and able to produce whatever play is necessary to win. Like Bergeron, there’s not a lot of flash to his game, but winning teams will always value players with Hayton’s skills.

A trio of American players occupies the next three spots - defenceman Quinn Hughes from the University of Michigan at No. 7, USA Hockey National Team Development Program defenceman Bode Wilde at No. 8 and USA NTDP centre Oliver Wahlstrom at No. 9.

Evan Bouchard, a right-shot defenceman with the OHL’s London Knights, makes a significant jump up the rankings from No. 20 in November to No. 10. Bouchard has excellent sense and feel for the game, complimented by a poise that makes you think his heart rate is 40 beats per minute. 

A great passer, Bouchard has the ability to push the level of his game higher when required and makes the tough plays look easy. Hall of Fame defenceman Larry Murphy played a similar style, and while not always appreciated, he was a key contributor to four Stanley Cups.

Editor's Note: On Tuesday, we corrected an errant omission - we should have included Guelph Storm centre Cam Hillis at No. 47 and he's now there, making it a 76-player list.

 

Craig's List - January 2018 Ranking

 
RK Player Team POS HT WT GP G P
1 Rasmus Dahlin Frolunda (SHL) D 6'2 181 26 5 11
2 Adam Boqvist Brynäs (SWE J20) D 5'10 ¾ 168 17 11 18
3 Brady Tkachuk Boston U (NCAA) LW 6'2 194 20 4 14
4 Andrei Svechnikov Barrie (OHL) RW 6'1 ½ 188 18 15 23
5 Filip Zadina Halifax (QMJHL) RW 6'0 198 33 25 48
6 Barrett Hayton S.S. Marie (OHL) C 6'1 186 39 16 39
7 Quinn Hughes Michigan (NCAA) D 5'9  167 17 1 11
8 Bode Wilde USA NTDP (USHL) D 6'2 ½ 197 29 5 17
9 Oliver Wahlstrom USA NTDP (USHL) C 6'0 ¾ 195 29 19 34
10 Evan Bouchard London (OHL) D 6'1 ½ 190 40 15 49
11 Noah Dobson Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL) D 6'2 ½ 178 41 7 39
12 Ryan Merkley Guelph (OHL) D 5'11 170 39 10 45
13 Jacob Olofsson Timra (SWE-Als) C 6'2 185 28 5 12
14 Rasmus Kupari Kärpät (SM Liiga) C 6'1 ¼ 183 19 3 4
15 Joel Farabee USA NTDP (USHL) LW 5'11 152 29 13 29
16 Isac Lundestrom Luleå (SHL) C/LW 5'11 ¼ 178 24 3 10
17 Rasmus Sandin S.S. Marie (OHL) D 5'10 ¾ 183 27 4 24
18 Jack McBain Toronto (OJHL) C 6'3 ¼ 196 37 15 42
19 Grigori Denisenko Yaroslavl (MHL) LW 5'11 163 21 3 12
20 Ty Smith Spokane (WHL) D 5'10 ¼ 176 40 6 42
21 Jared McIsaac Halifax (QMJHL) D 6'1 195 39 5 24
22 Filip Hallander Timra (SWE-Als) C/LW 6'0 178 31 8 19
23 Akil Thomas Niagara (OHL) RW 5'11 169 38 11 44
24 Serron Noel Oshawa (OHL) RW 6'4 200 35 16 31
25 Joe Veleno Drummondville (QMJHL) C 6'1 195 37 6 36
26 Jesperi Kotkaniemi Ässät (SM Liiga) C 6'1 ½ 188 39 7 18
27 Mattias Samuelsson USA NTDP (USHL) D 6'3 ¼ 209 27 5 13
28 Benoît-Olivier Groulx Halifax (QMJHL) C 6'0 ¾ 192 41 18 34
29 Albin Eriksson Skellefteå (SWE J20) LW 6'4 ¼ 207 24 13 26
30 Adam Ginning Linköping (SHL) D 6'2 ¾ 196 19 0 0
31 Jett Woo Moose Jaw (WHL) D 5'11 ¾ 205 25 7 20
32 Jacob Bernard-Docker Okotoks (AJHL) D 6'0 181 43 13 30
33 Calen Addison Lethbridge (WHL) D 5'9 ¾ 179 39 7 44
34 Axel Andersson Djurgarden (SWE J20) D 5'11 ¾ 178 25 3 22
35 Ryan McLeod Mississuaga (OHL) C/LW 6'2 190 40 11 42
36 David Gustafsson HV 71 (SHL) C 5'11 ½ 196 28 2 3
37 Gabriel Fortier Baie Comeau (QMJHL) LW 5'9 164 38 16 34
38 Jonatan Berggren Skellefteå (SWE J20) LW 5'10 181 26 13 34
39 Allan McShane Oshawa (OHL) C 5'10 ½ 190 40 10 35
40 Jonathon Tychonick Penticton (BCHL) D 5'11 ¼ 166 29 5 24
41 Alexander Khovanov Moncton (QMJHL) C 5'11 187 7 1 4
42 Blake McLaughlin Chicago (USHL) LW 5'11 156 22 11 25
43 Sean Durzi Owen Sound (OHL) D 5'11 ½ 195 35 15 47
44 Curtis Hall Youngstown (USHL) C 6'2 194 23 11 19
45 Nicolas Beaudin Drummondville (QMJHL) D 5'10 ½ 175 41 8 36
46 Alexander Alexeyev Red Deer (WHL) D 6'3 ½ 184 32 4 24
47 Cameron Hillis Guelph (OHL) C 5'9 ½ 168 39 14 35
48 Filip Johansson Leksands (SWE J20) D 6'0 ½ 174 25 4 6
49 Giovanni Vallati Kitchener (OHL) D 6'1 176 38 3 16
50 K'Andre Miller USA NTDP (USHL) D 6'3 ½ 194 29 5 14
51 Dmitri Zavgorodny Rimouski (QMJHL) LW 5'9  161 35 14 26
52 Kody Clark Ottawa (OHL) RW 6'0 ¾ 172 34 14 29
53 Tyler Madden Tri-City (WHL) C/RW 5'10 152 23 10 18
54 Xavier Bernard Drummondville (QMJHL) D 6'2 ½ 208 39 10 22
55 Martin Kaut Pardubice (CZE Extra) RW 6'1 ½ 176 24 3 6
56 Tyler Weiss USA NTDP (USHL) C/LW 5'10 ¼ 143 29 5 13
57 Oskar Back Färjestads (SWE J20) C 6'2 ¼ 192 23 4 17
58 Kevin Bahl Ottawa (OHL) D 6'5 ¾ 225 39 1 1
59 Carter Robertson Ottawa (OHL) D 6'2 178 28 1 6
60 Martin Fehervary Oskarshamn (SWE-Als) D 6'1 190 24 0 4
61 Adam Samuelsson USA NTDP (USHL) D 6'5 ¾ 240 29 4 15
62 Declan Chisholm Peterborough (OHL) D 6'0 ¼ 183 29 2 14
63 Jesse Ylonen Espoo (FIN) RW 5'11 ¾ 160 29 10 18
64 Lukáš Dostal Brno (Cze Jr) G 6'0 ¾ 158 15 2.57 .913
65 Olivier Rodrigue Drummondville (QMJHL) G 6'0 ¼ 155 34 2.74 .896
66 Nico Gross Oshawa (OHL) D 5'11 ¾ 183 31 4 9
67 Kryštof Hrabik B.n Jizerou (CZE WSM2) LW 6'3 209 19 2 8
68 Vladislav Kotkov Chicoutimi (QMJHL) LW 6'4 ¼ 202 35 11 31
69 Sampo Ranta Sioux City (UHSL) RW 6'0 ¾ 192 26 9 15
70 Jakub Lauko Chomutov (CZE Extra) LW 6'0 169 28 2 5
71 Lukas Wernblom Modo (SHL) LW 5'9 154 14 4 10
72 Alexis Gravel Halifax (QMJHL) G 6'2 ½ 226 21 3.04 .902
73 Alec Regula London (OHL) D 6'3 201 40 4 11
74 Jay O'Brien Thayer (USHS) C 6'0 175 N/A N/A N/A
75 Philipp Kurashev Quebec (QMJHL) RW 5'11 ½ 181 36 10 37
76 Anderson MacDonald Moncton (QMJHL) LW 6'1 ½ 205 34 18 31