Chris Ransom follow @DraftUtopia Last Updated: June 23, 2018.
Buffalo Sabres: Matias Samuelsson, D, USNTDP (USHL) A Grade
- Samuelsson has the slap shot power, slap shot accuracy, wrist shot power, wrist shot accuracy, passing, offensive awareness, defensive awareness, and hockey IQ you want in a skater. Samuelsson may end up needing multiple years to develop at Western Michigan, but will be their best hockey player the day he steps on Western Michigan's campus.
- Rasmus Dahlin adn Rasmus Ristolainen will anchor the top line in Buffalo. Samuelsson could become the man who anchors Buffalo's second line down the road once he develops at Western Michigan. This isn't the best defender on the United States National Team Developmental Program, but a very good pick.
Detroit Red Wings: Jonatan Berggren, C, Skelleftea A.I.K. (Elitserien) B Grade
- I had this guy at 35 on my board. Detroit took him at 33 and other NHL Scouts had a late first round grade on him. Detroit has a very good hockey scout who scouts a lot of talent in Sweden so I'll give the Red Wings a B grade because its a solid value pick to take a guy with the ceiling of a line 2 center in case you want to move Veleno to the wing, but I felt like the Red Wings should have drafted a defender cause Detroit is loaded at wing and center thanks to last nights NHL Draft.
Florida Panthers: Serron Noel, RW, Oshawa Generals (OHL) A+ Grade
- The 6-5 209 lb Serron Noel had 28 goals, 25 assists, and 53 points this season taking his biggest leap yet. Despite being a good skater with great size, he's still a defensive liability despite having the tools to be a player who can be a 25/25 player in the NHL as far as goals and assists go. He's going to need two more years to develop, but the upside to be a line 1 right winger is there. Florida probably should have took Noel at 15 to be honest. This was a way better pick for the Panthers then Gregori Denisenko.
Montreal Canadiens: Jesse Ylonen, RW, Espoo Blues (SM Liiga) B- Grade
- I had this guy going to the Vegas Golden Knights at 61. Other scouts and NHL Mock Drafts had Ylonen sneaking into the late first round. It feels like a reach, but it isn't as big of a deal as Montreal reaching for Jesperi Kotkaniemi at 3 so I'll give Montreal a B- grade here.
Detroit Red Wings: Jared McIsaac, D, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL) A+ Grade
- I mocked McIsaac to the Islanders at 12. I clearly mocked him too high, but that doesn't change the fact that Detroit got premium value here at 36.
- The 6-2 209 lb Jared McIsaac was drafted second overall by the Halifax Mooseheads in the 2016 QMJHL Draft after Halifax traded up to get him. The slap shot power, wrist shot power, passing, defensive awareness, checking, ability to play quarterback on the power play, penalty killing, and ability to block shots is all there on tape. McIsaac has such a powerful shot that he could break a glass wall or a brick wall simply by shooting the puck.
- Shooting accuracy with his slap shot accuracy and wrist shot accuracy is something McIsaac needs to correct this season. He also needs to be more alert on plays. His offensive awareness and hockey IQ need to get better. Sometimes he won't recognize a guy coming his way to cause a take away on tape. That's why McIsaac was the Mooseheads' #4 defender playing a complimentary role on the second line last season.
- McIsaac had 4 goals, 28 assists, 32 points, and a +7 +/- ratio during the regular season last season. He struggled during the 2017 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Playoffs. McIsaac is a scrappy player sometimes he knocks guys down and other times he gets knocked down.
- McIsaac had 9 goals, 38 assists, 47 points, and a +14 +/- ratio during the regular season this season. McIsaac was a guy who got top 5 hype heading into the season so Detroit has to be thrilled about getting him here.
Vancouver Canucks: Jett Woo, D, Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL) A Grade
- The 6-1 200 lb Jett Woo sounds like an extra in a Bruce Lee movie. In all seriousness, the fourth overall pick in the 2015 WHL Draft is a player that I viewed as a top 5 talent on tape heading into the season.
- Jett Woo had 5 goals, 17 assists, 22 points, and a +12 +/- ratio in 67 regular season games. Woo had 3 assists in the 2017 WHL Playoffs before the Moose Jaw Warriors got eliminated in 7 games during the opening round.
- Jett Woo has the skating, explosive speed, slap shot power, slap shot accuracy, wrist shot power, wrist shot accuracy, passing, checking, offensive awareness, defensive awareness, hockey IQ, and the ability to block shots effectively on tape. Woo is someone who can play the quarterback on the power play or penalty killing to develop into a line 1 defenseman.
- He was also team captain for Canada on their Under 17 team at the World Cup of Hockey last fall showing leadership as well. If he shows he can maintain all of these skills in his draft year, he's someone who could easily creep into the top 10 maybe even the top 5 because outside of Rasmus Dahlen this was the only player that checked out all the boxes when watching Woo's tape.
- Woo only played in 44 games compared to his 65 games last year. He only improved marginally statistically too with 9 goals, 16 assists, 25 points, and a +29 +/- ratio this season. Woo is someone who should have gone a lot higher then 37, but Vancouver will get a steal with Woo if they look past the injuries that caused him to miss time this season.
Montreal Canadiens: Alexander Romanov, D, SKA Saint Petersburg (KHL) F Grade
- This guy wasn't even in the top 80 on our board. Somehow the Canadiens managed to get a bigger reach then Jesperi Kotkaniemi. Too add insult to injury with Montreal, Chicago got Jake Wise in the third round before getting Niklas Nordgren who both would have been better selections then Romanov. Way to waste a second round pick that the Blackhawks traded to you Montreal.
New York Rangers: Olof Lindbohm, G, Djurgardens IF (Elitserien) F Grade
- Olof Lindbohm projects as a backup goalie. He's not a player you draft over every other goalie in the draft. New York just wasted this pick and they are getting an F grade here.
Edmonton Oilers: Ryan McLeod, C, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL) A+ Grade
- Edmonton got a player that was projected to go first overall in the 2018 NHL Draft back in 2015 at 40. I had a first round grade on Ryan McLeod and he gives Edmonton another prospect to stash in their system.
- Back in 2015, many thought Ryan McLeod may be the top pick in the 2018 NHL Draft because he won the OHL Cup MVP on his Midget Hockey League team where he was teammates with 2017 draft pick Matthew Strome. The Flint Firebirds were an expansion franchise and they took him third overall.
- The 6-2 190 lb center got traded from the Flint Firebirds to his hometown team in Mississauga. He would be re-united with his older brother Michael McLeod a first round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft as well as team captain of the Mississauga Steelheads.
- Ryan McLeod had 7 goals, 13 assists, and 20 points in his rookie season. McLeod had 9 goals, 33 assists, and 42 points. He also improved his +/- ratio from -6 as a rookie to +12 in his second season. McLeod also had 5 goals, 15 assists, 20 points, and a +13 +/- ratio during the 2017 OHL Playoffs.
- McLeod has the slap shot power, slap shot accuracy, wrist shot power, wrist shot accuracy, passing, vision, offensive awareness, defensive awareness, vision, hockey IQ, and the ability to win face offs. McLeod is a special player. I think the only thing holding him back from a top 5 grade is the fact that he plays on Mississauga's second line behind his older brother. McLeod would probably be a first line player on any other OHL team.
- McLeod broke out this season with 26 goals, 44 assists, and 70 points. He even got promoted to an alternate captain role for showing more leadership. The Oilers have to be thrilled about getting McLeod at 40 here.
New York Islanders: Bode Wilde, D, USNTDP (USHL) A+ Grade
- The Islanders got Wahlstrom and Noah Dobson with their firt two picks. Then they add another steal with Bode Wilde here who could be a future Islander in a few years perhaps as early as 2020 or 2021. The Islanders getting three of the top 16 players is absolutely huge for them. If Tavares re-signs with the Islanders then I see this team winning a Stanley Cup in five years if Barry Trotz sticks around.
- The 6-2 197 lb defenseman had 12 goals, 29 assists, and 41 points for the USNTDP Team in the USHL. Wilde is going to Michigan in 2018 following this years NHL Draft and he will either take over for Quinn Hughes on the top line next season or become his line mate with Michigan potentially having one of their bet rosters in years if they get Wilde and both Hughes brothers on the top line. Wilde's USNTDP teammate is going to be mocked next and spoiler alert he's going to play for one of Michigan's Big 10 Rivals once his College career starts.
Carolina Hurricanes: Jack Drury, C, Waterloo Blackhawks (USHL) A+ Grade
- Waterloo has had great captains over the past few years from Brock Boeser to Shane Bowers. Now they got another team captain who has first round tape with Jack Drury and his uncle is Chris Drury.
- Jack Drury has the speed, skating, slap shot power, slap shot power, slap shot accuracy, wrist shot power, wrist shot accuracy, offensive awareness, defensive awareness, vision, and hockey IQ NHL teams covet. Drury had 24 goals, 41 assists, and 65 points with Waterloo after succeeding both Boeser and Bowers as a team captain in Waterloo. Carolina got Andre Svechnikov and Jack Drury.
New York Islanders: Ruslan Iskhakov, RW, SKA Saint Petersburg (KHL) C Grade
- This was a reach here. The reason I'm sparing the Islanders from an F grade is strictly due to the fact that the Islanders got premium value with their first three selections by obtaining three of the top sixteen players in this years NHL Draft. New York also made up for this by getting a steal with Blade Jenkins in the fifth round.
Dallas Stars: Albin Eriksson, LW, Skelleftea A.I.K. (Elitserien) A Grade
- Albin Eriksson has the upside to be a line 2 winger down the road. This was a great pick by Jim Nill and probably the only promising player that Dallas got during the entire draft. The current NHL Draft is in the fifth round as I'm typing this grade and getting Eriksson is still the peak of the NHL Draft for my favorite team the Dallas Stars.
St. Louis Blues: Scott Perunovich, D, Minnesota-Duluth C Grade
- Scott Perunovich wasn't in my top 80. He was a bright spot on Minnesota-Duluth's College hockey team and is a player that is a solid value pick here. This is a deep blue line class so the worst grade I'll give this is a C grade. I'm okay with this selection for St. Louis even though they could have done better.
Washington Capitals: Martin Fehervary, D, HV71 (Elitserein) C- Grade
- This is a reach considering that Fehervary isn't the best player on HV71. That being said its a really deep blue line class so the worst grade the Capitals will get for reaching for a defender is a C- grade.
Washington Capitals: Kody Clark, RW, Ottawa 67s (OHL) F Grade
- Kody Clark wasn't even the best prospect on the Ottawa 67's. This pick is getting an F grade.
Ottawa Senators: Jonathan Tyconick, D, Penticon Vees (BCHL) A Grade
- I had Jonathan Tyconick falling to Pittsburgh a few picks later. Ottawa obtains great value with this pick though. The 6-0 183 lb two-way defenseman is a fantastick value pick. Ottawa also got Kevin Mandolese one of the top three goalies on my board in the sixth round so the Senators have put together a really strong NHL Draft on day 2.
Columbus Blue Jackets: Kirill Marchenko, RW, Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk (KHL) C grade
- Columbus took our top third round prospect in the first round and our worst second round player in the second round. This is a reach, but not as big of a reach as taking Liam Foudy at 18 so this pick gets a C grade.
Philadelphia Flyers: Adam Ginning, D, Linkopings HC (Elitserien) A Grade
- Adam Ginning gives the Flyers another future defender to develop. Some had Ginning in the first round so this is a fantastic value pick by the Flyers at 50.
Los Angeles Kings: Akil Thomas, C, Niagara IceDogs (OHL) A+ Grade
- Akil Thomas had 21 goals, 27 assists, and 48 points in 61 regular season games. The -23 +/- ratio is concerning. He also didn't get a point in the 2017 OHL Playoffs and had a -6 +/- ratio during the 2017 OHL Playoffs.
- Akil Thomas has the slap shot power, slap shot accuracy, wrist shot power, wrist shot accuracy, passing, offensive awareness, and ability to win face offs that NHL teams covet. He has good instincts and reaction timing as well. He mirrored the goalie and kept adjusting on tape.
- Thomas needed to add more muscle and improve his defensive play in 2017-2018 if he was going to improve his draft stock from a top 25 pick to going higher.
- The 5-11 170 lb Akil Thomas had 22 goals, 59 assists, 71 points, and a +6 +/- ratio this season making major improvements from his 48 point campaign the previous season. I had Thomas ahead of Rasmus Kupari in my mock draft and the Kings took Kupari at 20.
- Los Angeles also got Bulat Shafigullin who has been compared to Jamie Benn in the third round and Aiden Dudas in the fourth round. The Kings got four of my top 41 players in this draft including three players I had first round grades on in rounds 1-3 so I think they will compete another Stanley Cup at some point with Gabe Vilardi from last years draft in addition to the talent they added in the 2018 NHL Draft. It won't be next season, but it will be at some point in 2020 or beyond thanks to the stability the Kings got in this draft.
- Drew Doughty is 28-years-old and does not turn 29 until December so the Kings will be a contender for the next decade thanks to this draft. I see Doughty winning one or two more Stanley Cups before his career ends in large part due to how the Kings have drafted the last two years.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Sean Durzi, D, Owen Sound Attack (OHL) B Grade
- Solid pick. I had a third round grade on him. This pick feels like a reach, but other scouts had a second round grade on him and its a deep blue line class and Toronto needs defense so this pick gets a B grade.
Pittsburgh Penguins: Calen Addison, D, Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL) A+ Grade
- Pittsburgh got a huge steal with a top 50 player at 53 in Calen Addison who some believe was the best offensive defender in the entire NHL Draft. Addison had 11 goals, 54 assists, and 65 points. The 5-10 177 lb defender also had 7 goals, 12 assists, and 19 points in 16 WHL Playoff games this season. The Penguins can develop him as long as they want and they get a huge steal here with this 5-10 ofensive defender at 53.
Anaheim Ducks: Benoit-Olivier Groulx, C, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL) A+ Grade
- The 6-1 176 lb Benoit-Olivier Groulx had 17 goals, 14 assists, 31 points, and a -18 +/- ratio in 62 games. Benoit-Olivier Groulx had 1 goal, 1 assist, 2 points, and a +3 +/- ratio in the 2017 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Playoffs where he improved defensively. The top pick in the 2016 QMJHL Draft is a player Chicago can get at 27.
- Benoit-Olivier Groulx has the slap shot power, slap shot accuracy, wrist shot power, wrist shot accuracy, vision, and offensive awareness, defensive awareness, and hockey IQ to thrive in the NHL down the road. You'd like to see him develop more as a passer in the QMJHL, but he was a great passer on his midget team where he was an alternate captain with 30 assists before Halifax took him first overall in the 2016 QMJHL draft. You'd also like to see Benoit-Olivier Groulx show the versatility to play left wing or right wing with his size.
- I wouldn't call Benoit-Olivier Groulx a complete player yet as a prospect. I want to see how he does on the top line now that Nico Hischier is gonna be on the Devils plus there are a few tweaks he can make to his game. He had 28 goals, 27 assists, 55 points, and a +9 +/- ratio on the top line taking over for Nico Hischer. He didn't have the same impact on that top line that Hischier had, but he still played well enough to warrant a late first or second round selection, and he will do much better on a team like Anaheim where he will never have to worry about being the line 1 center as long as Ryan Getzlaf is there which gives him more time to develop and a better chance to succeed.
Arizona Coyotes: Kevin Bahl, D, Ottawa 67s (OHL) C Grade
- Kevin Bahl is a defensive defender. What keeps the Coyotes draft from being an absolute disaster is that they got Liam Kirk from England in round 7. That was their best pick in the entire draft. Chyka had a very strong draft in 2015 and 2016, but has followed that up with two extremely horrendous drafts.
Montreal Canadiens: Jacob Olofsson, C, Timra I.K. (Elitserien) A Grade
- This was Montreal's best value pick. That's kind of sad when you put things into hindsight.
Boston Bruins: Axel Andersson, D, Djurgardens IF (Elitserien) C Grade
- Solid pick by the Bruins. Their best pick was Jakub Lauko in the third round.
Pittsburgh Penguins: Filip Hallander, C, Timra I.K. (Elitserien) B Grade
- Pittsburgh traded a third and fifth rounder to Colorado to move up for Filip Hallander who could be a good fouth line center behind Crosby, Malkin, and Rust down the road with the right development. Hallander has third line to second line center upside, but he will be a prospect that the Penguins can patiently develop long-term.
Tampa Bay Lightning: Gabriel Fortier, LW, Baie-Comeau Drakkar (QMJHL) C Grade
- This pick is a reach. I still have more confidence in Steve Yzerman then I do in someone like Doug Wilson or Jim Nill so this pick could pan out.
Winnipeg Jets: David Gustafsson, C, HV71 (Elitserien) B- Grade
- I had a third round grade on this player. He's a top 80 player and a solid prospect for the Jets to develop.
Vegas Golden Knights: Ivan Morozov, C, Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk (KHL) B Grade
- Vegas already has Cody Glass and Nick Suzuki in their system. Ivan Morozov is a solid value pick who I had an early third round grade on. I've seen him mocked in the second round. He's a player who could be the face of the Chicago Wolves down the road. Potentially a third or fourth line center to anchor the back 6 on the Vegas Golden Knights down the road.
Edmonton Oilers: Olivier Rodrigue, G, Drummondville Voltigeurs (QMJHL) A+ Grade
- Edmonton traded up for the top goalie in the draft. They had one of the stronger drafts.
- The 6-1 159 lb Olivier Rodrique had a 2.54 GAA and a .903 save percentage this season. He also had a 2.50 GAA in 10 QMJHL Playoff games. Many consider him the top goalie in the entire 2018 NHL Draft and the Edmonton Oilers are one team that can develop him. He can add 40 lbs of muscle and be ready to start for the Islanders by 2021 when they move into their new stadium. There is a reason he was drafted third overall in the 2016 QMJHL Draft and he started right away that year.