2018 draft deep in tal­ent

The Detroit News - - Nhl - BY TED KULFAN The Detroit News

Ras­mus Dahlin, 6-foot-2, 181 pounds, de­fense­man, Frol­unda (Swe­den):

The fran­chise-chang­ing player in this draft. Nick­las Lid­strom said Dahlin is a bet­ter player at this age than Lid­strom was. Some team is go­ing to be very for­tu­nate.

Has size, speed, good at both ends, and plays with edge.

Filip Zad­ina, 6-foot-1, 196 pounds, right wing, Hal­i­fax:

One scout com­pared Zad­ina to Bren­dan Shanahan. A pure sniper, a goal-scorer who can pick his spot and place the puck. Zad­ina has some size, too, but it’s that ac­cu­rate shot that will make him a high-end se­lec­tion. An­drei Svech­nikov, 6-foot-3, 186 pounds, right wing, Bar­rie:

The younger brother of Red Wings for­ward Evgeny Svech­nikov. An­drei, though, will be drafted higher than Evgeny was (19th). Scouts feel this Svech­nikov has the size and tem­per­a­ment to step right into the NHL.

Brady Tkachuk, 6-foot-3, 196 pounds, left wing, Bos­ton Uni­ver­sity:

Son of for­mer NHLer Keith Tkachuk, some scouts feel Brady is bet­ter than his older brother Matthew (Cal­gary Flames). He has more of­fen­sive skill than his older brother, but can ir­ri­tate op­po­nents just as well. That’s not a bad thing.

Adam Bo­qvist, 5-foot-11, 170 pounds, de­fense­man, Bry­nas Jr. (Swe­den):

Not as big phys­i­cally as Dahlin, but Bo­qvist is an elite skater, puck mover, and gets the puck to the net. Needs to get a lit­tle stronger, but his feel for the game is some­thing that can’t be taught.

Noah Dob­son, 6-foot-3, 180 pounds, de­fense­man, Acadie-Bathurst:

Dob­son has been roar­ing up the draft charts, thanks to an ex­plo­sive right-hand shot. An­other right-handed shot who can skate the puck out of trou­ble, but he’s sound de­fen­sively, too.

Quinn Hughes, 5-foot-10, 174 pounds, de­fense­man, Michi­gan:

He isn’t the big­gest player in this draft, but it doesn’t mat­ter. Maybe no player is as good a skater, and Hughes has the cre­ativ­ity that has left tal­ent eval­u­a­tors im­pressed. Elite shot, and fine puck han­dler.

Evan Bouchard, 6-foot-2, 193 pounds, de­fense­man, Lon­don: An­other elite de­fense­man avail­able in the top end of this draft. A great puck mover, scouts also like Bouchard’s lead­er­ship qual­i­ties. Big, right-handed shot de­fense­men are dif­fi­cult to find.

Oliver Wahlstrom, 6-foot-1, 205 pounds, right wing, USA-Un­der-18: A key of­fen­sive player on the USA na­tional team, Wahlstrom has the size and skill level which likely will make him a top-10 pick. Can play in tight quar­ters, gets his shot off with a quick re­lease, and has good strength.

Isac Lun­de­strom, 6-foot, 185 pounds, cen­ter, Lulea (Swe­den): Lun­de­strom grades out high in many dif­fer­ent ar­eas. One scout com­pared him to Bos­ton’s Pa­trice Berg­eron. Not nec­es­sar­ily flashy, but should be a very good pro for a long time.

Bar­rett Hay­ton, 6-foot-1, 185 pounds, Sault Ste. Marie:

Fo­cused, hard-work­ing, sin­gle-minded, Hay­ton has many of the char­ac­ter­is­tics that scouts felt Michael Ras­mussen, last year’s Red Wings’ top pick has. Does a lot of things well, though not spec­tac­u­lar in any one area. Ras­mus Ku­pari, 6-foot-1, 163 pounds, cen­ter, Karpat (Fin­land): Speedy player who cre­ates all sorts of

2009: Lan­don Fer­raro, C, Red Deer (WHL), sec­ond round, No. 32 over­all

2011: To­mas Jurco, LW, Saint John (QMJHL), sec­ond round, No. 35 over­all

2015: Evgeny Svech­nikov, RW, Cape Bre­ton (QMJHL), first round, No. 19 over­all

of­fense de­spite lack of size. Didn’t play a lot at the world cham­pi­onships, but has shown his of­fen­sive in­stincts and great hands of­ten enough to con­vince scouts. Can also play on the wing.

Ty Smith, 5-foot-11, 176 pounds, de­fense­man, Spokane:

Like Michi­gan’s Hughes, not the big­gest player in the draft, but it doesn’t mat­ter, when you play with Smith’s type of speed. Smart player, too, and plays with a lot of poise. Has shown the abil­ity to play a ton of min­utes, too.

Joe Ve­leno, 6-foot-1, 195 pounds, cen­ter, Drum­mondville:

A sound two-way player who has shown the abil­ity to cre­ate of­fense, but can keep the puck out of his net, too. Scouts like his work ethic and lead­er­ship abil­ity.

Bode Wilde, 6-foot-3, 195 pounds, de­fense­men, USA-Un­der-18:

Top of­fen­sive de­fense­man on the na­tional team, Wilde has a great shot. Needs to im­prove de­fen­sively, but plays with an edge, he likes to play phys­i­cally. Fine skater who can skate the puck out of trou­ble.

Joel Farabee, 6-foot, 165 pounds, left wing, USA-Un­der-18: Con­tin­u­ing a trend of small, skilled play­ers who are en­ter­ing the NHL with the abil­ity to dom­i­nate of­fen­sively. Don’t be hes­i­tant about the size —Farabee has high­end tal­ent. Has a quick re­lease shot and his in­stincts are off the chart.

Ser­ron Noel, 6-foot-5, 201 pounds, right wing, Oshawa:

There’s al­ways one guy like this in the draft. A big, raw winger who has im­proved the last cou­ple of years, and has a way to go. Some­one will gam­ble on his po­ten­tial. Has great hands, and good enough speed.

Ryan Merkley, 5-foot-11, 170 pounds, de­fense­man, Guelph: Merkley prob­a­bly has the of­fen­sive abil­ity to be a top-10 se­lec­tion. It’s the other end of the rink that Merkely’s game has plenty of room to im­prove. High-risk, high-re­ward type of guy.

Akil Thomas, 5-foot-11, 170 pounds, cen­ter, Ni­a­gara:

Made a big im­pres­sion this sea­son but there’s a lot of room yet to im­prove, a lot of po­ten­tial to reach. Has a big mo­tor, doesn’t let up. Thomas has elite level speed. A lot of scouts call him re­lent­less.

Ryan McLeod, 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, cen­ter Mis­sis­sauga:

A smooth play­maker who has good size but still raw in ar­eas. Scouts like his vi­sion on the ice and his abil­ity in the face-off cir­cle. Brother Michael was a first-round pick of New Jer­sey in 2016.

Jeffrey T. Barnes/As­so­ci­ated Press

United States for­ward Brady Tkachuk is the son of for­mer NHLer Keith Tkachuk. Some scouts feel Brady is bet­ter than his older brother Matthew (Cal­gary Flames).

Dale G. Young/Detroit News

Michi­gan fresh­man de­fense­man Quinn Hughes isn’t the big­gest player in this draft, but tal­ent eval­u­a­tors like his cre­ativ­ity, elite shot, and puck han­dling.

Claus An­der­sen/Getty Im­ages

Lon­don’s Evan Bouchard is an­other elite de­fense­man avail­able in the top end of this draft. A great puck mover, scouts also like Bouchard’s lead­er­ship qual­i­ties.

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