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Jun 19, 2018

TSN Hockey Mock Draft: The intrigue starts with the Habs

2018 NHL Mock Draft

By Craig Button

Trying to forecast the way the first round of an NHL Entry Draft will go is always a difficult task, but it’s made a little easier when you can start your mock with an absolute lock.

The Buffalo Sabres will get things started Friday night in Dallas by selecting Swedish defenceman Rasmus Dahlin first overall, adding an elite blueliner who has the ability to change the fortunes of the franchise.

It also seems certain that the Carolina Hurricanes have decided to take Barrie Colts winger Andrei Svechnikov with the second pick. The Canes currently lack difference makers, but they believe Svechnikov and last year’s first-round pick, Martin Necas, can bring a dynamic offensive element to the lineup for years to come.

The third pick, property of the Montreal Canadiens, is where things get interesting.

There’s little separating the next eight players in the draft in terms of potential. There’s everything from power forwards to two-way centres and offensive defenceman available.

It’s difficult to acquire top-line centres, so look for Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin to take Jesperi Kotkaniemi, the smart and talented Finn who has a game that is similar in style to Los Angeles Kings captain Anze Kopitar.

That leaves the Ottawa Senators with a lot of options in the fourth spot, but Halifax Mooseheads winger Filip Zadina makes the most sense. With Mike Hoffman’s 22 goals dealt to San Jose (and then Florida) on Tuesday, Pierre Dorion will be looking to add skill. Zadina is a huge offensive talent who could be ready to step into the lineup next season.

Brady Tkachuk heads to Arizona to round out our top five, edging his older brother, Matthew, for the distinction of being the highest drafted Tkachuk. Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet is going to like having the rugged and skilled Brady on his team. He becomes another St. Louis-area player drafted by Arizona after Clayton Keller, their first-round pick in 2016.

Elsewhere in the top 10, the Vancouver Canucks take a defenceman to complement their crop of good, young forwards. Adam Boqvist is a dynamic offensive blueliner with the potential to be an elite player.

The Oilers go a similar route with pick No. 10, taking London Knights defenceman Evan Bouchard. A top-pair, right-shot offensive defenceman who can run a power play, Bouchard might eventually help Connor McDavid be even more dangerous offensively.

Later in the first round, the Sens use their second first-round pick (No. 22) on Jared McIsaac, a solid two-way defenceman from the Halifax Mooseheads. The Toronto Maple Leafs use the No. 25 pick on Rasmus Sandin, a Swedish defenceman for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds who adds the type of game that Josh Morrissey plays with the Winnipeg Jets.

Here’s a full look at our projected first round:

 

Craig Button's Final Edition Mock Draft

Buffalo Sabres
1. Rasmus Dahlin

Defence | Frolunda (SHL) | 6'3 | 185 lbs. | Apr. 13, 2000

2017-18 Statistics

  • GP
    41
  • G
    7
  • PTS
    20

Scouting Report:

"He has a long, long way to go to earn favourable comparisons to arguably the greatest Swedish defenceman ever - Nicklas Lidstrom - but Dahlin already demonstrates much of the same ease and three-zone impact as the Hall of Famer." - Bob McKenzie MORE...

Carolina Hurricanes
2. Andrei Svechnikov

Right Wing | Barrie (OHL) | 6'2 | 192 lbs. | Mar. 26, 2000

2017-18 Statistics

  • GP
    44
  • G
    40
  • PTS
    72

Scouting Report:

"Svechnikov has size, speed and skill. He can play a power game or a finesse game, make plays or score goals any way they can be scored - off the rush, one timers from far out, getting his nose dirty in front of the net or off the cycle." - Bob McKenzie MORE...

Montreal Canadiens
3. Jesperi Kotkaniemi

Centre | Assat (SM Liiga) | 6'2 | 181 lbs. | July 6, 2000

2017-18 Statistics

  • GP
    57
  • G
    10
  • PTS
    29

Scouting Report:

"His strong performance at the World Under-18 Championships in April has vaulted him into the top five and provided this draft with something that it seemed to be missing all season long - a potential No. 1 centre." - Bob McKenzie MORE...

Ottawa Senators
4. Filip Zadina

Right Wing | Halifax (QMJHL) | 6'0 | 197 lbs. | Nov. 27, 1999

2017-18 Statistics

  • GP
    57
  • G
    44
  • PTS
    82

Scouting Report:

"Zadina has quick hands and feet, he thrives in tight spaces and small spaces and is able to get off an incredible release on a shot that is arguably the best in the draft, as his 44 goals in 57 games would attest." - Bob McKenzie MORE...

Arizona Coyotes
5. Brady Tkachuk

Left Wing | Boston U (NCAA) | 6'3 | 192 lbs. | Sept. 16, 1999

2017-18 Statistics

  • GP
    40
  • G
    8
  • PTS
    31

Scouting Report:

"Tkachuk is a lot less refined and less polished than the other elite picks but the big raw-boned winger plays a hard driving, aggravating power and agitation game." - Bob McKenzie MORE...

Detroit Red Wings
6. Quinn Hughes

Defence | Michigan (NCAA) | 5'10 | 173 lbs. | Oct. 14, 1999

2017-18 Statistics

  • GP
    37
  • G
    5
  • PTS
    29

TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button says:

"He plays a go-go-go offensive game, at times more like a rover than a defenceman. He’s fearless, not afraid to make high risk, high reward but also high danger plays." MORE...

Vancouver Canucks
7. Adam Boqvist

Defence | Byrnas (SWE-J20) | 6'0 | 165 lbs. | Aug. 15, 2000

2017-18 Statistics

  • GP
    25
  • G
    14
  • PTS
    24

Scouting Report

"At a shade under six feet tall, the Swede is a dynamic offensive defenceman. He started and finished the season on extremely high notes - he was the best defenceman at the Ivan Hlinka U-18 tourney last August and again at the Under-18 World Championship in April."  - Bob McKenzie MORE...

Chicago Blackhawks
8. Noah Dobson

Defence | Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL) | 6'3 | 177 lbs. | Jan. 7, 2000

2017-18 Statistics

  • GP
    67
  • G
    17
  • PTS
    69

TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button says:

"Dobson is a strong skater with a high degree of creativity, vision and offensive prowess. Scouts feel we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg here." - Bob McKenzie MORE...

New York Rangers
9. Oliver Wahlstrom

Right Wing | USA NTDP (USHL) | 6'1 | 208 lbs. | Jun. 13, 2000

2017-18 Statistics

  • GP
    62
  • G
    48
  • PTS
    94

Scouting Report:

"He’s an elite shooter and goal scorer. Some say he’s somewhat one dimensional - “he needs a good centre to get him the puck because he’s not good at getting it himself,” one scout said - but what a dimension to have because scouts project him as a potential first-line scoring winger in the NHL." - Bob McKenzie MORE...

Edmonton Oilers
10. Evan Bouchard

Defence | London (OHL) | 6'2 | 196 lbs. | Oct. 20, 1999

2017-18 Statistics

  • GP
    67
  • G
    25
  • PTS
    87

Scouting Report:

"The heady 6-foot-2 blueliner is arguably the best passer in the game. Long bombs, short outlets to get the attack started, he can do it all. " - Bob McKenzie MORE...

New York Islanders
11. Barrett Hayton

Centre | S.S. Marie (OHL) | 6'1 | 190 lbs. | Jun. 9, 2000

2017-18 Statistics

  • GP
    63
  • G
    21
  • PTS
    60

TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button says:

"Very smart two-way centre who contributes in all areas of the game and has potential to be a very key player." MORE...

New York Islanders
12. Ty Smith

Defence | Spokane (WHL) | 5'10 | 175 lbs. | Mar. 24, 2000

2017-18 Statistics

  • GP
    69
  • G
    14
  • PTS
    73

TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button says:

"Smooth skating with intelligence and efficiency. Exudes a quiet, yet strong confidence on the ice. Looks like a 15-year NHLer." MORE...

Dallas Stars
13. Joel Farabee

Left Wing | USA NTDP (USHL) | 6'0 | 162 lbs. | Feb. 25, 2000

2017-18 Statistics

  • GP
    62
  • G
    33
  • PTS
    76

TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button says:

"Plays all situations in the game with full understanding and has the skills to contribute offensively." MORE...

Philadelphia Flyers
14. Serron Noel

Right Wing | Oshawa (OHL) | 6'5 | 204 lbs. | Aug. 8, 2000

2017-18 Statistics

  • GP
    62
  • G
    28
  • PTS
    53

TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button says:

"Big, strong, smart, and can play the game with skill, smarts and power. Just keeps getting better." MORE...

Florida Panthers
15. Joe Veleno

Centre | Drummondville (QMJHL) | 6'1 | 191 lbs. | Jan. 13, 2000

2017-18 Statistics

  • GP
    64
  • G
    22
  • PTS
    79

TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button says:

"Very industrious, diligent centre who doesn’t possess elite skills but will find ways to contribute in multiple areas." MORE...

Colorado Avalanche
16. Isac Lundestrom

Centre | Lulea (SHL) | 6'0 | 183 lbs. | Jan. 24, 2000

2017-18 Statistics

  • GP
    42
  • G
    6
  • PTS
    15

TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button says:

"Very versatile and can adapt to different positions and play in different slots in the lineup. Very smart with good skill." MORE...

New Jersey Devils
17. Ryan McLeod

Centre | Mississauga (OHL) | 6'2 | 206 lbs. | Sept. 21, 1999

2017-18 Statistics

  • GP
    68
  • G
    26
  • PTS
    70

TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button says:

"Excellent skating playmaker. Drives play with his speed and creates opportunities for his team and headaches for opponents." MORE...

Columbus Blue Jackets
18. Grigori Denisenko

LW | Yaroslavl (MHL) | 5'11 | 172 lbs. | June 24, 2000

2017-18 Statistics

  • GP
    31
  • G
    9
  • PTS
    22

TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button says:

"Highly skilled, very dynamic offensive player who is a very dangerous player and capable of quick strike scoring." MORE...

Philadelphia Flyers
19. Bode Wilde

Defence | USA NTDP (USHL) | 6'2 1/2 | 198 lbs. | Jan. 24, 2000

2017-18 Statistics

  • GP
    61
  • G
    12
  • PTS
    41

TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button says:

"All the elements to be a very good defenceman. Skates, handles puck, good shot and can be a physical force." MORE...

Los Angeles Kings
20. Dominik Bokk

Right Wing | Vaxjo (SWE J20) | 6'1 | 176 lbs. | Feb. 3, 2000

2017-18 Statistics

  • GP
    35
  • G
    14
  • PTS
    41

TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button says:

"A hungry scorer who likes to shoot the puck and gets himself into scoring spots and has a very good shot." MORE...

San Jose Sharks
21. Martin Kaut

Right Wing | Pardubice (CZE Extra) | 6'1 1/2 | 176 lbs. | Jan. 24, 2000

2017-18 Statistics

  • GP
    38
  • G
    9
  • PTS
    16

TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button says:

"All the skill to be a top six winger who is capable of scoring and being a playmaker." MORE...

Ottawa Senators
22. Jared McIsaac

Defence | Halifax (QMJHL) | 6'1 | 189 lbs. | Mar. 27, 2000

2017-18 Statistics

  • GP
    65
  • G
    9
  • PTS
    47

TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button says:

"Very effective and efficient defenceman. Moves the puck, competes defensively and can add some offence." MORE...

Anaheim Ducks
23. Akil Thomas

Right Wing | Niagara (OHL) | 5'11 | 177 lbs. | Jan. 24, 2000

2017-18 Statistics

  • GP
    68
  • G
    22
  • PTS
    81

TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button says:

"Can play centre or wing and plays with a balance of skill, will and a very strong sense of what needs to be done at any time." MORE...

Minnesota Wild
24. K'Andre Miller

Defence | USA NTDP (USHL) | 6'3 | 199 lbs. | Jan. 21, 2000

2017-18 Statistics

  • GP
    58
  • G
    9
  • PTS
    29

TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button says:

"Strong skating, puck carrying defenceman who can quickly get the play moving forward. Athletic with excellent potential." MORE...

Toronto Maple Leafs
25. Rasmus Sandin

Defence | S.S. Marie (OHL) | 5'11 | 186 lbs. | Mar. 7, 2000

2017-18 Statistics

  • GP
    51
  • G
    12
  • PTS
    45

TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button says:

"Not big in stature but he plays a strong game in all areas. Skates, thinks, makes plays with puck and competes." MORE...

New York Rangers
26. Jay O'Brien

Centre | Thayer (USHS) | 5'11 | 176 lbs. | Nov. 4, 1999

2017-18 Statistics

  • GP
    30
  • G
    43
  • PTS
    80

TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button says:

"Smart with a quick mind and very good hands where he can make a play or finish a play. Improvement as good as any player." MORE...

Chicago Blackhawks
27. Ty Dellandrea

Centre | Flint (OHL) | 6'0 | 180 lbs. | Jul. 21, 2000

2017-18 Statistics

  • GP
    67
  • G
    27
  • PTS
    59

TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button says:

"Very strong two-way centre who plays all situations and can contribute offensively and defensively. Terrific improvement." MORE...

New York Rangers
28. Vitali Kravtsov

Right Wing | Chelyabinsk (MHL) | 6'3 | 184 lbs. | Dec. 23, 1999

2017-18 Statistics

  • GP
    35
  • G
    4
  • PTS
    7

TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button says:

"A classic Russian scoring winger with skating ability to break free and hands to finish." MORE...

St. Louis Blues
29. Rasmus Kupari

Centre | Karpat (SM Liiga) | 6'1 1/2 | 189 lbs. | Mar. 15, 2000

2017-18 Statistics

  • GP
    39
  • G
    6
  • PTS
    14

TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button says:

"Foundation of his game is skating and he plays with a tenacity and intensity to find ways to contribute in all areas." MORE...

Detroit Red Wings
30. Liam Foudy

Centre | London (OHL) | 6'0 | 174 lbs. | Feb. 4, 2000

2017-18 Statistics

  • GP
    65
  • G
    24
  • PTS
    40

TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button says:

"Great speed that creates opportunities for his team and makes life uncomfortable for opponents. Catalyst type player." MORE...

Washington Capitals
31. Nils Lundkvist

Defence | Lulea (SHL) | 5'11 | 172 lbs. | July 27, 2000

2017-18 Statistics

  • GP
    28
  • G
    2
  • PTS
    5

TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button says:

"Acquitted himself very well in the Swedish top league as a 17-year old. Smart and knows how to take advantage of his skills." MORE...