With the 18th pick in the 2018 edition of SBNation’s NHL Mock Draft, The Cannon is proud to select, on behalf of the Columbus Blue Jackets, center Isac Lundeström of Luleå HF of the Swedish Hockey League.
Prior to our selection, this is how the first round has played out:
1. Buffalo - Rasums Dahlin
2. Carolina - Andrei Svechnikov
3. Montreal - Filip Zadina
4. Ottawa - Quinn Hughes
5. Arizona - Brady Tkachuk
6. Detroit - Adam Boqvist
7. Vancouver - Noah Dobson
8. Chicago - Oliver Wahlstrom
9. NY Rangers - Evan Bouchard
10. Edmonton - Martin Kaut
11. Washington (via Islanders) - Jesperi Kotkaniemi
12. NY Islanders - Ty Smith
13. Colorado (via Philly, via Dallas) - Joe Veleno
14. Dallas (via Philadelphia) - Joel Farabee
15. Florida - Bode Wilde
16. Philadelphia (via Colorado) - Rasmus Kupari
17. New Jersey - Barrett Hayton
At the start of the draft, we were leaning towards Vitaly Kravstov. Then, as it got closer to our pick, Site Manager Mike MacLean broke down our choices like this:
We have Philly and New Jersey ahead of us, and here’s where I’m at:
1) There’s a good chance that one of the two teams ahead of us will take Barrett Hayton, who’ll be a solid two-way centre. If he’s available when we pick, I say we go for him, unless the next guy is still on the board...
2) I was leaning toward wanting a skilled winger at this slot, but that is becoming secondary for me to a centre. I really like Isac Lundestrom. He stood out to me at the WJs and he’s known for already being solid in the faceoff circle. The downside for me is he may be potentially a do-over of Wenns. (Is that bad? Not sure)
3) Ryan MacLeod is a burner who put up solid point totals as a centre in Mississauga but I’m not sure he’ll be a winger at the next level. I’d be awfully tempted at 18.
4) Rasmus Kupari and Akil Thomas are solid but not spectacular centres. Both need work but there’s time to polish them. These guys and MacLeod are a tier below Lundestrom and Hayton for me, with two wingers sandwiched between them...
5) Love Vitali Kravtsov. His coming out party was the KHL playoffs, and selfishly I hope he follows the likes of Abramov and German Rubtsov to the CHL. Lots of risk in taking him in terms of reporting and the fact he was hard to scout (bounced around a few teams).
6) Serron Noel is a big monster who can play. I just like him, haha.
7) Bonus - Ty Dellandrea plays centre for Flint but he strikes me as a winger in the pros. Solid point totals.
After all that, here’s my current list for when we pick at 18, knowing there’s two ahead of us:
1 - Isac Lundestrom
2 - Barrett Hayton
3 - Vitali Kravstov
4 - Serron Noel
5 - Ryan MacLeod
6 - Rasmus Kupari
7 - Akil Thomas
8 - Ty Dellandrea
MrSwift13 also liked Dellandrea, but felt he was a reach at #18. I said that my preference was a center or defenseman rather than a winger. When Hayton went off the board at #17, we agreed on Lundestrom as the pick.
It will not surprise any regular readers to know that the Wennberg comparison was very much a draw for me. In fact, one can picture Lundestrom and last year’s top pick, Alexandre Texier, filling in the center depth behind Pierre-Luc Dubois as Wennberg nears the end of his contract.
For our full profile of Lundestrom from yesterday, click here.
What do you all think of the pick? If not Lundestrom, who would you have selected instead, and why? Are there any surprises for you in the mock draft so far? Let us know in the comments