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Bob McKenzie: The List

For me, whether it was in the days when I was up to my eyeballs covering the Edmonton Oilers with the dailies or now, when I’m sitting at my kitchen table more than an arm’s length away from those truly in the know, Bob McKenzie’s final NHL draft ranking list has always set the standard for what we can expect to unfold when teams step to the podium.

In some ways, that holds more true these days when anybody with a laptop and an internet connection can get their best guesses out there whether they’ve talked to a single scout or not. I’ve lost track of the number of “insiders” offering up the skinny, or their version of it, as draft day, this year in Dallas, approaches. There’s no harm in that, really, because websites, be they MSM-based or fan sites just getting their take out there, are looking to generate discussion and traffic.

If getting an accurate read matters to you, this is the time when access to hockey-ops people, from GMs down through directors of scouting and their staffs, really matters. While those who don’t have access sometimes downplay it during the course of a season – “you guys don’t ask tough questions anyway” – the ability to take or make a text to those making the decisions provides an inside track. Without it, you can make an educated guess as to what you think could or should happen, but that’s all it is – a guess. This is when access and relationships matter most.

There’s only a handful of media guys who have that inside track to information on a national level. I think of people like Pierre LeBrun, Nick Kypreos and Darren Dreger. For me, McKenzie, who has spent decades working the phones, hotel lobbies and rinks building relationships with those who call the shots, produces the list best reflecting how NHL scouting staffs have things sized up. His 2018 edition is out today and you can find it right here.

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AT THE TOP

Here’s McKenzie’s final top 15 (April 27 list in parenthesis) and profiles from MyNHLDraft.com mock draft:

  1. Rasmus Dahlin (1)
  2. Andrei Svechnikov (2)
  3. Brady Tkachuk (4)
  4. Filip Zadina (3)
  5. Jesperi Kotkaniemi (10)
  6. Noah Dobson (8)
  7. Evan Bouchard (5)
  8. Quinton Hughes (9)
  9. Oliver Wahlstrom (7)
  10. Adam Boqvist (6)
  11. Barrett Hayton (12)
  12. Vitali Kravstov (16)
  13. Ty Smith (13)
  14. Joe Veleno (11)
  15. Grigori Denisenko (15)

Kotkaniemi and Kravstov are the big risers on McKenzie’s final list. Boqvist dropped four spots. From an Oilers’ perspective, I profiled Dobson, Bouchard, Wahlstrom, Hayton and Smith over the last week or so as possible picks with the 10th selection based on fit and possible availability. I saw Dobson, Bouchard and Wahlstrom as longshots for the Oilers because they’d have to drop.

The same holds true today, although with Wahlstrom at No. 9, I wonder if the Oilers might get a crack at him. Hayton and Smith looked like the best bets a week ago because they’d likely still be on the board and that remains the same. The interesting change-up there, of course, is that McKenzie now has Boqvist in the No. 10 spot where the Oilers pick. Lots of people have had Boqvist sliding and McKenzie’s list today reflects it.

On the face of it, Boqvist is a perfect fit for the Oilers as a rights-hot D-man with plenty of skill and offensive upside. So, what’s the real issue? Are a couple of concussions the reason he has dropped? Is there more? I don’t know. More important is where the Oilers have him ranked. Would they see him as a gift pick at 10th based on where he has been listed or do they say “no thanks” and choose to go with Hayton or Smith?

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There’s been plenty of discussion and debate in the last couple of weeks and that will only intensify between today and when we get going in Dallas. It’s been suggested by some, including Oilers Now host Bob Stauffer, Smith would be a solid fit here. I think that’s true. Hayton is also seen as a safe pick who will definitely be an NHL player. The question is his ceiling. Now, Boqvist sits in the 10-spot on the list of the MSM guy I trust most. If it’s up to you, do you take Boqvist over Smith or Hayton at 10th no question?

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  • OriginalPouzar

    Lets not forget, this isn’t McKenzie’s opinion, this is the “consensus list”. McKenzie gets the “final” list from scouts from 10 NHL teams and basically conglomerates them with a point system to come up with the final rankings.

    He gives no credence to draft order.

    He did mention on Friday that the draft has morphed, it used to be “1-3-4”:

    1 – Dahlin
    2 – the three forwards (Svechnikov, Zadina, Tkachuk)
    3- the four d-man (Boquist, Dobson, Bouchard Hughes)

    Its now:

    1 – Dahlin
    2 – Svechnikov
    3 – a cluster all the way through 12.

    He said ever single player ranked in the top 12 was ranked in the top 5 by at least one of the scouts on the final lists.

    That shown has prominent of a prospect we are going to get.

    That tier is huge – much longer than originally though.

  • That's My Point

    Boqvist had 3 assists in 22 games this season. No offence here.
    HockeyDB has him at 5’9″ and only 154 lbs. No size here.
    What on earth are the scouts basing the #10 in the draft rankings on?

    • Marshall Law

      McKenzie’s list shows him as 5’11” and a half and 165 lbs.
      It also shows that he had 24 points in 25 games, including 14 goals from the blue line. He also had 6 points (3g 3a) in 6 games at the world juniors for Sweden. Those are impressive numbers, and he also has the always coveted right-handed shot.
      So that’s probably why they rank him so high. Those are impressive numbers.

      • Daryl Katz

        If Boqvist is still available at #10, the Oilers should just take him and not overanalyze the pick. I’m pretty sure that Boqvist has a pretty bright future in the NHL if he can stay healthy and we would be the beneficiary of his talent.

        • Marshall Law

          Absolutely. It sounds like he has one of the highest ceilings of any prospect in the draft. The only question is his floor. He’s little bit risky, but I don’t mind swinging for the fences on a guy who most prospect sources say has superstar potential if he learns how to tidy up his defensive game.

    • TruthHurts98

      Watch some of his highlights and games. He’s good and very creative offensively. I believe he missed the 2019 draft by 3 weeks so he’s one of the youngest in the draft. Worth the “risk” in my opinion if he falls to ten.

  • TKB2677

    My worry about Boqvist is the concussions but also how competitive is he? I believe smaller guys can play in the NHL now but if you are smaller, you need to be competitive especially if you are a dman.

  • ROILYDoGG$

    Months ago Boqvist was the #2 after Dahlin. I believe he dropped for 2 reasons
    1-age, 17 youngest in the 1st round, one month later and he would be eligible for next years draft. He will fill out and possibly grow taller so size shouldn’t be an issue in a year. Could play Ahl because he played in Europe, to get used to smaller ice surface.

    2- Two concussions in a year. A bit scary but doesn’t mean he is done his career before is starts.