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Photo Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Mock Draft 2.0 – Post Combine Edition

With both the draft lottery and draft combine now behind us it’s officially mock draft season. The combine is a great opportunity for both teams and media to get a closer look at these teenagers but I’m not sure it really changes much. Rasmus Dahlin is still going to go first. Andrei Svechnikov is still going to be drafted second. There will still be at least four defensemen selected in the top ten. So why do another mock draft? My theory is to take as many shots as you possibly can and you may just hit something.

I may be exaggerating on this but no mock draft in the history of mock drafts has ever perfectly mocked the draft. Here’s my second attempt at the 2018 draft in Dallas, which I’m looking forward to covering for the fine folks here at The Nation. 

1. Buffalo Sabres – Rasmus Dahlin (D)

I could do a fresh mock draft every single day and this pick is never going to change. The Sabres got screwed over when they missed out on McDavid but got lucky this year hanging on to the pick needed to land franchise blueliner Rasmus Dahlin. Would be an all-time knucklehead move to pass on this kid.

2. Carolina Hurricanes – Andrei Svechnikov (RW)

I know some people are expecting significant changes in Carolina and that may involve a little bit of craziness but not with this pick. Svechnikov has the game-breaking ability the Hurricanes have been desperately lacking. This pick isn’t as much of a lock as Dahlin at one, but it should be.

3. Montreal Canadians – Jesperi Kotkaniemi (C)

Time to start getting crazy. I had Jesperi Kotkaniemi at six in my first mock draft so the Habs taking him at three doesn’t seem like a huge reach to me. The Canadiens have been looking for a big first line center for the last 25 years. Kotkaniemi tested extremely well at the combine and has worked his way into being a surefire top ten selection. If he develops into a similar mold as countryman Alex Barkov the Habs will have found the center they’ve been desperately lacking. The Kotkaniemi hype train is rolling full steam ahead right now.

4. Ottawa Senators – Filip Zadina (RW)

Zadina didn’t test overly well at the combine but he has too much skill for the Sens to pass up at this point. Zadina is dynamic offensive force that absolutely torched the QMJHL as a rookie in Halifax this past season. The Senators would be very happy to see Zadina on the board at four and will have a player to develop their offense around moving forward.

5. Arizona Coyotes – Noah Dobson (D)

Prior to selecting Pierre Oliver-Joseph in 2017 the Coyotes had used five consecutive first round picks on forwards. With Oliver Ekman-Larsson, a first rounder in 2009, always rumoured to be on the move it’s probably time to take another stab at a possible replacement. Dobson was terrific at the Memorial Cup with seven points in four games helping the lead the Titan to a championship.

6. Detroit Red Wings – Quinn Hughes (D)

In the past ten years the Wings have only used one first round pick on a defenseman. That changes this year. Hughes already has a year in college and a trip to the World Championships on his resume. He was the youngest player in college hockey and it showed with a slow start. By the second half of the season he was controlling games from the backend. This Wolverine is probably only one year away from being ready to contribute on the Wings blueline.

7. Vancouver Canucks – Brady Tkachuk (C/W)

I could see the Canucks being tempted by both Bouchard and Boqvist but one of Tkachuk or Wahlstrom seems like the smart pick here. Tkachuk will be returning to Boston University next year but after that he could be ready to make an impact on the West Coast. Tkachuk will play in the NHL for the next ten years it’s just a matter of what his upside looks like.

8. Chicago Blackhawks – Oliver Wahlstrom (RW)

I had Wahlstrom landing in the same spot in Mock Draft 1.0. I just can’t see him falling any lower. His offensive upside is outstanding. He is heading to Boston College in the fall but I’d be surprised if the Hawks leave him there for more than one season. Wahlstrom would be an excellent offensive compliment to Kane and DeBrincat. Chicago ends up in the top ten for the first time in a long time and they get an offensive stud.

9. New York Rangers – Evan Bouchard (D)

The Rangers have three picks in the first round, which makes them a real threat to move up if they want to. Evan Bouchard seems like a safe pick at nine. He put up 87 points in 67 games with the London Knights. He is a workhorse who is just as reliable in his own end as he is in the offensive zone. He is not afraid to shoot the puck, leading all OHL defensemen in shots on goal by a significant margin.

10. Edmonton Oilers – Adam Boqvist (D)

I’m sure the Oilers will be tempted to select Ty Smith but in the end I’d like to see them take the d-man with a higher offensive upside. Boqvist has a booming shot from the point, shoots right and is excellent on the power-play. He checks off all the boxes for an Oilers team searching for a true offensive d-man. Boqvist still has some work to do in his own end and has dealt with some injury issues; which is the only reason he’d still be on the board at ten. He torched the Swedish Junior league but didn’t get much opportunity when playing with the Senior team in Byrnas.

OTHER OPTIONS AT TEN

Ty Smith (D) – Well rounded d-man that the Oilers will be very familiar with.

Barrett Hayton (C) – Has more offensive upside than we’ve seen so far in the OHL.

Vitali Kravtsov (RW) – Excellent skater with high-end skill.

Bode Wilde (D) – Smooth skater, shoots right and put up some nice numbers.

Joe Veleno (C) – More of a complimentary player with 3 years of QMJHL experience.

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  • TKB2677

    I keep hearing Ty Smith. I know Lowetide loves him. The question I would have is WHY would the Oilers want to draft another left handed dman. At 5’10, 176 lbs, realistically he is 3+ years away from maybe being in the NHL. Assuming Chia doesn’t go crazy, the Oilers in 2-3 yrs will have Klefbom and Nurse as their top 2 lefties. Both would be under 26 and in their prime. Then you have Jones and Lagesson who are also lefties. Sounds like the chances of Lagesson being an NHLer are pretty good. Who know’s about Jones. So where does Smith fit in? The Oilers have needed a right shooting offensive dman for years, Smith is a leftie.

    • Craig1981

      In the last 11 year the Oilers have drafted 27 Defencemen (24 out of the first round). Nurse and Klefbom have been solid, both 1st round. Of the 24 out of the 1st, only Davidson has played over 100 games.

      Counting on both Jones AND Lagesson to be such sound NHLers that no more depth is needed is an error in judgement. Too much depth isn’t a bad problem, worst case it allows you cap flexibly to trade away older players.

      Remember the price went 5th, but the Canadians had Theodore…turned out well. Depth is never a bad spot

  • dsanchez1973

    I’d be hesitant to bring in any young shifty defenseman to this market who doesn’t have obvious measurables to compensate. Players like this seem to get eaten alive in Edmonton as the MSM continues to bleat for toughness and grit and size and heavy hockey. Yamamoto as a winger may slide by on this, but I have my doubts that Edmonton would ever really give a 5-10 168lb defenseman a fair shake unless he came in and blew the doors off immediately. Think I might rather take Bode Wilde in this spot than Boqvist.

  • OiLNATION

    The players taht would best fit oilers if they were to drop are respectively dobson, wahlstrom, and kotkaniemi. Many people are doubting boqvist alot lately.

  • PCL

    The Oilers still have very good options at #10. Players like Smith, Kravsoft, Kotkaniemi should still be there and perhaps a guy like Dobson could fall who knows? All this of course is if the Oilers don’t trade the pick.

  • TKB2677

    What I want to know is why is Bogvist dropping so fast? Not long ago he was in the top 5. Then he slipped past the top 5. The we was in the #10 range, now Craig Button has him listed at #12. Dobson was the last guy to play hockey not quite 2 weeks ago, the rest of these kids haven’t played in months. What has happened to make this kid drop like this so fast?

    • crabman

      I would guess size and the fact that he is somewhat one dimensional. By all accounts he is highly skilled but the rest of his game needs developing.
      His situation reminds me of Barzal. The year before his draft he was considered a top 5 pick. Then his draft year came around and between an injury, and being considered a smaller, one dimensional player he dropped as the year went on.
      The thing is the one dimension they each share is high level skill and offence. The hardest thing to acquire and the part of the game you can’t teach.
      I’d take him at 10 without hesitation.

    • TruthHurts98

      Injury issues and concussions. He’s small and didn’t get as much playing time in the top Swedish league. I think teams are concerned he might be injury prone and susceptible to more concussions. And he’s not great defensively and with a small frame that makes it tougher. Roll the dice on some of these prospects and hope you make the right choice.

      • A-co

        So it was concussions that have slowed him down…if that’s the case and he’s one dimensional that could be a pick that blows up in your face..#10 is not the spot to roll the dice

        • Elasmus

          I don’t know if it’s that, I think it’s more on other prospects like Dobson and Bouchard raising their stock over Boqvist. Boqvist would still be a player I take in a heartbeat.

      • crabman

        @TruthHurts98,

        do you have a link to an article about his concussions and injuries? I took a quick look and the only mention I found of concussions was in the comment section of hfboards, not exactly reputable. If it is true I could see the concern.

    • crabman

      I just listened to an interview with Craig Button. He talks about Dobson, Bouchard, and Hughes separating themselves from Boqvist in his mind. He references him not rising to the level of competition when given the opportunity to play in the Swedish elite league. And says he didn’t do well when challenged and goes as far as saying, “well guess what you are going to be challenged every night of you want to make it in the NHL.” I respect Button’s opinion on draft eligible players on a whole but disagree with his take here. Boqvist is one of the youngest players in the draft and dominated players his own age. Being 17 years old his entire draft year, August 2000 birthday, and under sized it should be no surprise he had problems playing against men. The defencemen he is being compared to are 6 months to almost a year older and playing against their peers not a men’s professional league. Hughes was one of the youngest players in the NCAA this year and was still 18 for the entire season. Again Boqvist will still be 17 on draft day and is being faulted for not excelling against fully grown men.
      Pronman only has Dahlin, and Hughes as better defenceman prospects. And only Merkley in the same class as Boqvist with all the rest in groups bellow. Pronman puts more stock in skill and potential upside/star potential and also takes age into consideration. 6 months to a year older at this point in development make a very big difference.

  • What-a-Mike

    I have 4 such great prospect kids I really like for #10…. Tkachuk, Wahlstrom, Kotkaniemi, and Bouchard. Honorable mention would be Hayton, Farabee, and then Boqvist. I hear Boqvist is dropping because he has been having concussion/injury issues already and because his defending needs a bit of more work. Now with Tkachuck, he is an excellent prospect for top 6 with toughness and abilities…a top value power forward who would be great with either McD or Draisaitl. IMO, I do not want Vancouver to get this kid at #7, especially if Detroit is willing to trade the 6th for the 10th and say Caleb Jones. The Oilers have Nurse, Klefbom, Larsson as young top defence with already Ethan Bear, Mantha (if eye injury will heal), Lagesson, Berglund, Joel Persson, Samorukov, etc., all on the way within 2 to 3 more years. Take Tkachuk would be my goal (if Oiler GM) if Detroit doesn’t ask for too crazy a trade down to 10th. Also, Tkachuk on the Oilers vs the Flames Tkachuk would bring some excellent agitating power forward moments with the BOA for years. If the Oilers don’t trade up for Tkachuk or get him at #10, and it sounds like MTL wants Kotkaniemi, I would still be very happy with any of Wahlstrom, Bouchard, or Boqvist, or Farabee.

  • OilersGM

    I don’t see Tkachuk falling to 7.
    If Wahlstrom is available I would take him over the right D, I know we need that PP right shot defenceman but Wahlstrom is intriguing. I hear he could be the best goal scorer in the draft now Svechnikov and Zadina might have to say something about that but even to be in a class with those two than it could be a steal at 10th.

  • OilersGM

    This draft reminds me of 2012 with so many D-man in the top 10 well few teams are disappointed of that draft let’s not mention who went at 4 but at 8 penguins took Darrick Pouliot and lightning took Koekkoek at 10. I believe just like 2012 some teams will regret their choice 2-3 years down the road.

  • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

    What I like about Edmonton picking 10th is that they get a top 10 pick and are under no pressure to rush them into the NHL. People forget the plan wasn’t to rush Kailer, but he showed so much at camp that he pretty much forced Edmonton to give him a look at th NHL level. Drafting Boqvist at 10 solves their need for a RHD who can quarterback a PP and they can send him back to junior to work on his defensive game. As it stands, Nurse, Klefbom, and Benning can man our PP. There is no need to rush Adam. I say take Boqvist at 10

  • ponokanocker

    BPA at #10. The player shouldn’t be in the league for at least 2 years, and then likely a couple of years to make a solid impact. This isn’t the NFL where draft picks typically make an impact in the first year, unless it’s a top 3 pick. I know the organization makes some questionable moves but they aren’t picking a player at #10 to be their RHD on the powerplay anytime soon.

  • Big Nuggets

    Only conclusion I can draw is that it is a really deep draft and it would be foolish to trade the pick. I could see trading up if tye scouts have someone they are really high on, or trading down and getting an extra first rounder while still acquiring q prospect like Wilde. I’m a little weary of overvaluing a couple of these guys though. When I hear a defenseman has good size and a good shot but his skating is in question, like Bouchard, it sets off a few red flags. I get visions of Alex Plante, but my fears could be unfounded. As far as Boqvist the concussion is a bad sign, but if we can get him at 10 I think he’s worth the risk.

    Flames fans are probably choked that they don’t have their 1st.

    • crabman

      @Bug Nuggets,

      do you have a link to an article or video talking about Boqvist injuries or concussions? I’ve been looking and haven’t found anything. Numerous commenters have mentioned it so the information must be out there. any help would be appreciated.