The 2018 NHL Entry Draft will not have much drama at the top. It would take something pretty monumental for Swedish defenseman Rasmus Dahlin to go anywhere but No. 1. The soon-to-be Olympian is one of the best defensive prospects in recent memory and has the look of a franchise-altering player.
After Dahlin goes, things might get a little jumbled. Barrie Colts winger Andrei Svechnikov seems to be a popular No. 2 choice around the scouting community, but others (including me) won’t rule out the chance for Filip Zadina of the Halifax Mooseheads or Brady Tkachuk to take the No. 2 spot.
One thing that appears to be even clearer than it was when we put together our early-season draft rankings: If your team is looking for a surefire No. 1 center, this is probably not the draft for you. However, teams that are looking for puck-moving, productive defensemen or high-scoring wingers will have a much better selection. Led by Dahlin, I have 13 defensemen in my top 31, and there’s at least two more that I could see potentially moving into that group by season’s end.
At this point, there are no goalies in the top 50. It’s not by design, so much as it is dictated by the class. At best, there may be one or two goalies who could go as early as the late second round, but even that may be a stretch. Besides, teams have been finding a lot of value in mid-round goalie picks in recent years.