As expected the horse Rasmus Dhalin landed in Buffalo first overall, the second pick went on par with how we all thought it was going to with Andrei Svechnikov to Carolina but basically from there on it was a bit of a roller coaster. Here are some of the biggest winners and losers of the 2018 NHL draft first round.
New York Islanders: Islanders steal Oliver Wahlstrom and Noah Dobson back to back is a huge grab for the young and upcoming franchise. The Islanders capitalized on the Rangers stretch and will hope that their top first-round picks come to haunt the Rangers in years to come.
Buffalo Sabres: Walking away with a generational talent and franchise defenseman is a win in anyone’s books. Dahlin going to the Sabres is huge for this organization as they now have Eichel, Mittlestadt, Ristolanien, and Dahlin to be the face of this franchise.
Detroit Red Wings: Stealing Zadina at number 6 as he was projected to be a #3 overall choice is huge for the Red Wings. As they now receive an elite goal scorer and projected top three forward, the Red Wings are happy for sure. As well as snagging Joel Veleno at number 30 was a win, Veleno was expected to be a top ten pick but his draft stock rapidly as the draft went on. A huge win for Detroit here.
Surprises of the top ten…
Out of the first round the biggest surprise had to be Jesperi Kotkaniemi to Montreal although they did say they were going to go after him it was a bit odd they did not wait on him a bit as he may have been later in the draft. Along with the Coyotes drafting yet another center in Barrett Hayton passing on Filip Zadina and other solid wingers in this draft. The biggest surprise in the top ten was the Rangers drafting KHL rookie Vitali Kravstov, while Noah Dobson and Oliver Wahlstrom were still on the board. A stretch of a pick two years in a row by the Rangers, somebody better hope these Rangers scouts know something none of us know about their last two top ten draft picks because if they do not pan out it will look almost as bad as the Dylan Mclirath and Al Montaya picks.
Ottawa Senators: Ottawa stretched big time in the first round with Jacob Bernard-Docker, not something you want to see out of Ottawa after everything that is going on with this team. Luckily they walk away with Brady Tkachuk but still, they could have waited on Docker a bit.
Philadelphia Flyers: Joel Farabee was a solid choice as he is going to be a very solid addition to their forward group but Jay O’Brien 5 picks later was not what many expected the Flyers to do. A big stretch from the Flyers but luckily O’Brien has some upside.
New York Rangers: Taking Vitali Kravstov at 9 was not what anyone in the world expected, passing on two sure talents and proven prospects in Wahlstrom and Dobson may come back to bite the Rangers. Luckily there is a lot of upside to Kravtsov and they did hit the mark on K’Andre Miller but also did again stretch a bit with their 28th overall choice taking Nils Lundkvist. It was clear the Rangers had one thing on their mind going into yesterday’s first round, they wanted upside and to take gambles. See how it works out.
Noticeable players left on the board…
Serron Noel- RW out of OHL Oshawa General tallying 53 points in 62 games. Also playing for Canada’s U18 team this past World Juniors. Noel was ranked 19 by Bob McKenzie and within the top 20 by other scouts but landed out of the first round now.
Bode Wilde- D out of USA U18 National team scoring 41 points in 61 games as a defenseman is quite the mark. Wilde also played for USA U18 World Juniors this past year. Wilde was ranked to be within the top-20 this draft but fell out of the first round.
Ryan McLeod- C out of Mississauga Steelheads of the OHL scoring 70 points in 68 games with 26 goals. McLeod brother of Mike (New Jersey Devils prospect) was projected to go within the 20-31 range but fell as well.
Mattias Samuelsson- D out of USA U18 National team playing in 58 games scoring 31 points as well as playing for the U18 team at the World Juniors tallying only 2 points in 7 games. Samuelsson is a Western Michigan University commit as he will play for them in the 2018-19 season. Samuelsson was a projected second-round pick but could have been a stretch for some. Still, he holds a ton of talent with his 6’4 frame and heavy lefty shot.