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Craig Button

TSN Director of Scouting

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By now you know all about Swedish defenceman Rasmus Dahlin and why he’s the clear top prospect ahead of the 2018 National Hockey League Draft.

With the first pick on June 22 the Buffalo Sabres have an opportunity to select a player who very well may be the best blueliner entering the draft since Denis Potvin went first overall to the New York Islanders in 1973. Dahlin is a franchise-defining, elite defenceman who should eventually become a mainstay on a top pairing.

While Dahlin is in a class all on his own, there has been a season-long race to fill out the rest of the top four between Boston University left winger Brady Tkachuk, Barrie Colts right wing Andrei Svechnikov and Halifax Mooseheads right wing Filip Zadina.

Svechnikov is the clear winner in the June edition of Craig’s List, riding the strength of a 40-goal season (in just 44 games played) to second spot in our rankings. The 6-foot-2, 192-pound Russian has a game modelled after likely Hall of Famer Marian Hossa and has shown the kind of offensive skill that translates well at the pro level.

Zadina edges Tkachuk for third spot in our final rankings after leading all QMJHL rookies in goals (44) and points (82) this season. While Zadina is a natural scorer, Tkachuk has more of a physical presence and all the tools to be an effective power forward. Both guys project as top-line players at the NHL level.

The first centre on the board is Finland’s Jesperi Kotkaniemi, who had 10 goals and 19 assists in 57 games playing against men with Assat Pori in the SM-Liiga. Kotkaniemi’s stock has been rising since mid-season and his game is reminiscent of Los Angeles Kings star Anze Kopitar.

Small but skilled USA Hockey National Team Development Program defenceman Quinn Hughes ends the season at No. 6 in our rankings, followed by Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds two-way centre Barrett Hayton, who will draw comparisons to Boston Bruins stalwart Patrice Bergeron.

Acadie-Bathurst Titan right-shot defenceman Noah Dobson sits at No. 8, followed by London Knights captain Evan Bouchard, who had 87 points (25 goals, 62 assists) in 67 games to lead all OHL defenceman in scoring this season.

The top 10 is rounded out by USA Hockey National Team Development Program right wing Oliver Wahlstrom, who might be the best pure goal scorer available in this draft.

Ryan Merkley is a name to watch in the first round. The Guelph Storm defenceman sits at No. 23 in our final rankings, but his elite offensive skill is undeniable. He had 55 points in 62 games during his rookie season, and then followed that up with 67 points in 63 games this year. But there are questions about his defensive play and maturity. Merkley dropped from No. 21 in the Central Scouting mid-season ranking to No. 45 on the final list.

Merkley could be this draft’s ultimate wild card. He has his supporters and his detractors and will certainly be a person of interest on draft night.

 

Craig's List - Final Edition

 
RK Player Team POS HT WT GP G P
1 Rasmus Dahlin Frolunda (SHL) D 6'2 181 41 7 20
2 Andrei Svechnikov Barrie (OHL) RW 6'1 ½ 188 44 40 72
3 Filip Zadina Halifax (QMJHL) RW 6'0 198 57 44 82
4 Brady Tkachuk Boston U (NCAA) LW 6'2 194 38 8 29
5 Jesperi Kotkaniemi Ässät (SM Liiga) C 6'1 ½ 188 57 10 29
6 Quinn Hughes Michigan (NCAA) D 5'9  167 34 4 28
7 Barrett Hayton S.S. Marie (OHL) C 6'1 186 63 21 60
8 Noah Dobson A-Bathurst (QMJHL) D 6'2 ½ 178 67 17 69
9 Evan Bouchard London (OHL) D 6'1 ½ 190 67 25 87
10 Oliver Wahlstrom USA NTDP (USHL) RW 6'0 ¾ 195 51 39 78
11 Joel Farabee USA NTDP (USHL) LW 5'11 152 51 26 60
12 Adam Boqvist Brynäs (SWE J20) D 5'10 ¾ 168 25 14 24
13 Grigori Denisenko Yaroslavl (MHL) LW 5'11 163 31 9 22
14 Serron Noel Oshawa (OHL) RW 6'4 200 62 28 53
15 Rasmus Sandin S.S. Marie (OHL) D 5'10 ¾ 183 51 12 45
16 Bode Wilde USA NTDP (USHL) D 6'2 ½ 197 50 10 35
17 Akil Thomas Niagara (OHL) RW 5'11 169 68 22 81
18 Ty Dellandrea Flint (OHL) C/RW 5'11 ¾ 180 67 27 59
19 Isac Lundestrom Luleå (SHL) C/LW 5'11 ¼ 178 42 6 15
20 Nicolas Beaudin Drummondville (QMJHL) D 5'10 ½ 175 68 12 69
21 Filip Hallander Timra (SWE-Als) C/LW 6'0 178 40 9 20
22 Ty Smith Spokane (WHL) D 5'10 ¼ 176 69 14 73
23 Vitali Kravtsov Chelyabinsk (MHL) RW 6'2 170 35 4 7
24 Ryan Merkley Guelph (OHL) D 5'11 170 63 13 67
25 Jacob Olofsson Timra (SWE-Als) C 6'2 185 43 10 21
26 Jared McIsaac Halifax (QMJHL) D 6'1 195 65 9 47
27 Rasmus Kupari Kärpät (SM Liiga) C 6'1 ¼ 183 39 6 14
28 Joe Veleno Drummondville (QMJHL) C 6'1 195 64 22 79
29 Ryan McLeod Mississuaga (OHL) C/LW 6'2 190 68 26 70
30 Dominik Bokk Vaxjo (SWE J20) RW 6'1 180 35 14 41
31 K'Andre Miller USA NTDP (USHL) D 6'3 ½ 194 47 7 22
                 
32 Jonatan Berggren Skellefteå (SWE J20) LW 5'10 181 38 25 51
33 Mattias Samuelsson USA NTDP (USHL) D 6'3 ¼ 209 47 9 28
34 Adam Ginning Linköping (SHL) D 6'2 ¾ 196 28 1 2
35 Blake McLaughlin Chicago (USHL) LW 5'11 156 46 20 45
36 Albin Eriksson Skellefteå (SWE J20) LW 6'4 ¼ 207 38 22 40
37 Jack Drury Waterloo (USHL) C 5'11 175 47 19 51
38 Jay O'Brien Thayer (USHS) C 6'0 175 30 43 80
39 Jan Jenik B.n. Jizerou (CZE 2) C 6'1 171 30 4 11
40 Liam Foudy London (OHL) C/LW 6'0 175 65 24 40
41 Ivan Morozov M. Yugry (MHL) C 6'1 178 30 11 23
42 Jake Wise USA NTDP (USHL) C 5'9 ¾ 185 27 7 32
43 Olivier Rodrigue Drummondville (QMJHL) G 6'0 ¼ 155 53 2.54 .903
44 Calen Addison Lethbridge (WHL) D 5'9 ¾ 179 68 11 65
45 Nils Lundqvist Lulea (SHL) D 5'11 172 28 2 5
46 Cameron Hillis Guelph (OHL) C 5'9 ½ 168 60 20 59
47 Martin Kaut Pardubice (CZE Extra) RW 6'1 ½ 176 38 9 16
48 Filip Johansson Leksands (SWE J20) D 6'0 ½ 174 29 4 9
49 Jack McBain Toronto (OJHL) C 6'3 ¼ 196 39 5 24
50 Jacob Bernard-Docker Okotoks (AJHL) D 6'0 181 49 20 41
51 Alexander Alexeyev Red Deer (WHL) D 6'3 ½ 184 45 7 37
52 Jett Woo Moose Jaw (WHL) D 5'11 ¾ 205 44 9 14
53 Benoît-Olivier Groulx Halifax (QMJHL) C 6'0 ¾ 192 68 28 55
54 Jonathon Tychonick Penticton (BCHL) D 5'11 ¼ 166 48 9 47
55 David Gustafsson HV 71 (SHL) C 5'11 ½ 196 45 6 12
56 Alexander Khovanov Moncton (QMJHL) C 5'11 187 29 9 28
57 Allan McShane Oshawa (OHL) C 5'10 ½ 190 67 20 1
58 Kody Clark Ottawa (OHL) RW 6'0 ¾ 172 56 18 39
59 Niklas Nordgren HIFK (SM Liiga) LW/RW 5'9 169 36 16 52
60 Gabriel Fortier Baie Comeau (QMJHL) LW 5'9 164 66 26 59
61 Sean Durzi Owen Sound (OHL) D 5'11 ½ 195 40 15 50
62 Kevin Bahl Ottawa (OHL) D 6'5 ¾ 225 58 1 18
                 
63 Martin Fehervary Oskarshamn (SWE-Als) D 6'1 190 42 1 7
64 Aidan Dudas Owen Sound (OHL) C/RW 5'7 ½ 162 68 31 65
65 Lukáš Dostal Brno (Cze Jr) G 6'0 ¾ 158 20 2.43 .921
66 Justin Almeida Moose Jaw (WHL) C 5'9 ¼ 158 72 43 98
67 Luke Henman B-Boisbriand (QMJHL) C 5'11 ¼ 150 61 9 47
68 Oskar Back Färjestads (SWE J20) C 6'2 ¼ 192 38 10 32
69 Tyler Madden Tri-City (WHL) C/RW 5'10 152 46 15 33
70 Axel Andersson Djurgarden (SWE J20) D 5'11 ¾ 178 42 6 31
71 Jon Gruden USA NTDP (USHL) C 5'11 ½ 172 50 22 44
72 Stanislav Demin Wenatchee (BCHL) D 6'1 ½ 190 57 9 45
73 Kirill Marchenko M. Yugry (MHL) RW 6'3 187 31 8 16
74 Curtis Hall Youngstown (USHL) C 6'2 194 48 12 27
75 Tyler Weiss USA NTDP (USHL) C/LW 5'10 ¼ 143 21 3 11
76 Matej Pekar Muskegon (USHL) C 6'0 170 56 14 54
77 Ty Emberton USA NTDP (USHL) D 6'0 200 61 4 27
78 Akira Schmid Langnau (SUI Jr) G 6'4 165 32 n/a n/a
79 Alec Regula London (OHL) D 6'3 201 67 7 25
80 Nico Gross Oshawa (OHL) D 5'11 ¾ 183 58 4 14
81 Jakub Lauko Chomutov (CZE Extra) LW 6'0 169 42 3 9
82 Sampo Ranta Sioux City (USHL) RW 6'0 ¾ 192 47 18 29
83 Giovanni Vallati Kitchener (OHL) D 6'1 176 65 3 26
84 Jesse Ylonen Espoo (FIN) RW 5'11 ¾ 160 48 14 27
85 Jakub Skarek Jihlava (CZE Extra) G 6'3 192 21 2.41 .913
86 Adam Samuelsson USA NTDP (USHL) D 6'5 ¾ 240 51 4 22
87 Luka Burzan Brandon (WHL) C 5'11 ¾ 185 72 15 40
88 Cole Fonstad Prince Albert (WHL) C 5'10 159 72 21 73
89 Dmitri Zavgorodny Rimouski (QMJHL) LW 5'9  161 62 26 47
90 Kristian Reichel Red Deer (WHL) C 6'1 176 63 34 57
91 Milos Roman Vancouver (WHL) C/LW 5'11 ¾ 188 39 10 32
92 Paul Cotter Lincoln (USHL) C 6'0 191 51 18 39
93 Riley Sutter Everett (WHL) C/RW 6'3 203 68 25 53
94 Nicolas Guay Drummondville (QMJHL) C 5'11 174 68 29 55
95 Carter Robertson Ottawa (OHL) D 6'2 178 57 5 18
96 Declan Chisholm Peterborough (OHL) D 6'0 ¼ 183 47 3 20
97 Santeri Salmala KooKoo (Sm Liiga) D 6'1 ¼ 194 31 0 1
98 Olof Lindbom Djurgarden (SWE J20) G 6'0 ½ 173 20 3.10 .897
99 Alexis Gravel Halifax (QMJHL) G 6'2 ½ 226 39 3.38 .890
100 Blade Jenkins Saginaw (OHL) LW 6'1 195 68 20 44