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Mike’s 2018 NHL Mock Draft

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My annual somewhat-educated dart-throwing exercise

2018 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Four Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Folks, I present the annual exercise that is my final mock draft. I’ve fired one of these up on the site since 2007, prior to migrating to SBNation. As usual it’s the culmination of a year’s worth of reading and analyzing other people’s hard work, sprinkled in with observations from my own eyes.

We know there will be a bunch of movement with respect to the draft order come tomorrow night, but the mock below represents the draft order at the time of writing, and does not take into account any hypothetical trades. I’ve researched team needs and recent draft trends to finalize my draft, and without further ado let’s hit it:

  1. Buffalo Sabres: D Rasmus Dahlin, Frolunda SHL - Stud. Buffalo gets a LOT better.
  2. Carolina Hurricanes: RW Andrei Svechnikov, Barrie Colts OHL - Sure there will be some trade talk, but the reality is Don Waddell needs a rock to build around up front. The ‘Canes have that great defense and Sebastian Aho, but Svechnikov will be the star.
  3. Montreal Canadiens: C Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Assat FIN - This is where things get interesting. The Habs need help up the middle, and Kotkaniemi has had a meteoric rise up the rankings. If the Habs are intent on fixing the middle of the ice they grab Kotkaniemi here, but could they slide down a few slots and still get him?
  4. Ottawa Senators: D Quinn Hughes, Michigan Wolverines NCAA - The Sens have taken just one defenseman in the past two drafts, and that was 5th rounder Maxime Lajoie in 2016. If/when Erik Karlsson is traded, the blueline is downright gross after Thomas Chabot. Hughes gives them a new stud to market to a defeated fan base.
  5. Arizona Coyotes: RW Filip Zadina, Halifax Mooseheads QMJHL - Take a look at the ‘Yotes right wing depth chart. Not only is Zadina BPA here, but he’s precisely what Arizona needs.
  6. Detroit Red Wings: D Noah Dobson, Acadie-Bathurst Titan QMJHL - Dobson’s coming out party was the Memorial Cup, cementing himself as one of the best available defensemen in the draft. It’s been a while since the Wings were in a position to draft this high, but they need a guy like Dobson to anchor their blueline of the future.
  7. Vancouver Canucks: D Adam Boqvist, Brynas Jr. SWE-JR - The Canucks have some solid young forwards but Olli Juolevi will need a partner down the road.
  8. Chicago Blackhawks: RW Brady Tkachuk, Boston University NCAA - The slide comes to an end! It’s funny, the ‘Hawks have one down year and they still manage to get a kid that was top-three on a lot of boards. Less about Tkachuk falling and more about the guys ahead of him rising or being better fits. There would very likely be a team looking to trade up if Tkachuk starts to slide.
  9. New York Rangers: D Evan Bouchard, London Knights OHL - The Rangers haven’t taken a defenseman higher than the third round since Brady Skjei in 2012. It’s time they introduced a high-end prospect to the defense pool.
  10. Edmonton Oilers: RW Oliver Wahlstrom, USNTDP USHL - This is classic BPA here, combined with the fact the Oilers need a talent boost on the wings.
  11. New York Islanders: C Barrett Hayton, See Greyhounds OHL - This pick and the next represent serious trade currency for the Isles, who need both a goaltender and a sweetener on the wing for John Tavares. If they keep the pick, Hayton gives them insurance up the middle if Tavares bolts, and a future compliment at center if he sticks around.
  12. New York Islanders: RW Vitali Kravtsov, Chelyabinsk MHL - With their second first rounder the Isles can draft a player with some risk. Kravtsov is a trigger man that could put up big points in the NHL.
  13. Dallas Stars: LW Grigori Denisenko, Yaroslavl MHL - The Stars’ left wing depth after Jamie Benn is thin. Denisenko is a live wire, but with some discipline he can be a productive winger. He’ll be well-insulated for North American adjustment with Alexander Radulov and Denis Guryanov and it’s been reported that Valeri Nichuskin is returning to Dallas next season.
  14. Philadelphia Flyers: D Ty Smith, Spokane Chiefs WHL - The Flyers have loaded up on forwards in the past couple of drafts, Smith joins a future stud group on the back end consisting of Shayne Gostisbehere, Ivan Provorov, Travis Sanheim, Samuel Morin and Robert Hagg.
  15. Florida Panthers: RW Serron Noel, Oshawa Generals OHL - Noel seems to be a Dale Tallon player, and though he may be going a touch high here the big winger seems like a good fit with Florida.
  16. Colorado Avalanche: LW Joel Farabee, USNTDP USHL - An all-around forward that will compliment the skill guys on the Avs roster. He’s reminded me of Gabriel Landeskog all year so why not put the two together as mentor and pupil.
  17. New Jersey Devils: D Bode Wilde, USNTDP USHL - It’s no secret the Devils need to improve the skill and depth on the back end. Wilde is best available blueliner in this slot.
  18. Columbus Blue Jackets: C Joe Veleno, Drummondville Voltigeurs QMJHL - Veleno slipped a bit, and the CBJ will gladly take him to give another skill option at center behind Pierre-Luc Dubois and Alexander Wennberg.
  19. Philadelphia Flyers: C Rasmus Kupari, Karpat FIN - You can never have too many options at center, and Kupari is a bit of a BPA situation here.
  20. Los Angeles Kings: RW Martin Kaut, Pardubice CZE - The Kings need scorers. Kaut does that. They may be in on Ilya Kovalchuk, but Kaut gives them a long term option.
  21. San Jose Sharks: D Rasmus Sandin, Soo Greyhounds OHL - After Brent Burns there’s a dearth of skill on the back end in San Jose. Sandin will help that solve that problem in a big way.
  22. Ottawa Senators: C Isac Lundestrom, Lulea SHL - After grabbing Hughes earlier, the Sens can give themselves a boost up the middle with Lundestrom. He’s a safe pick that reminds me of Alexander Wennberg.
  23. Anaheim Ducks: C Ryan MacLeod, Mississauga Steelheads OHL - The Ducks centers aren’t getting any younger, the burner MacLeod joins Sam Steel as the future pivots in Anaheim.
  24. Minnesota Wild: D K’Andre Miller, USNTDP USHL - The Wild could use a bit of everything, but Miller gives them a skilled former forward to add to their future defense corps.
  25. Toronto Maple Leafs: RW Dominik Bokk, Vaxjo SWE J20 - The Leafs will need to surround their expensive star forwards with skilled, young (read:inexpensive) linemates; enter Bokk.
  26. New York Rangers: C Ty Dellandrea, Flint Firebirds OHL - The best player on a bad team. I can’t wait to see him get traded to an OHL contender next season to see what he can do in a winning situation.
  27. Chicago Blackhawks: D Mattias Samuelsson, USNTDP USHL - The defense is aging in Chicago, and Samuelsson gives the ‘Hawks a stay-at-home partner for last year’s first rounder Henri Jokiharju in the future.
  28. New York Rangers: RW Akil Thomas, Niagara IceDogs OHL - The Rangers return to the podium for the third time to draft Thomas in a BPA scenario. This pick is just asking to be traded to either Vegas or in a move-up scenario for the Habs.
  29. St. Louis Blues: C Liam Foudy, London Knights OHL - Foudy is a great skater and is a special-teamer. Foudy played in London with the Blues’ 2017 first rounder Robert Thomas, who’s since been traded to Hamilton of the OHL.
  30. Detroit Red Wings: C Jacob Olafsson, Timra Allsvenskan - Olafsson is a solid two-way player who was named top junior-aged player in the Allsvenskan. He just fits that Red Wings mold.
  31. Washington Capitals: D Jared McIsaac, Halifax Mooseheads QMJHL - The Caps will need to potentially offset the loss of John Carlson to free agency, but even if he remains the Caps could use the talent boost on the back end.