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2018 Draft rankings: Dahlin still the darling

The Swedish defenseman hasn’t been dethroned, but there is movement elsewhere. Check out our top 40 NHL draft prospects as the 2018 class moves into the second half.

‘Tis the season for draft rankings, as Central Scouting released its mid-term list, while other sources are expected to follow suit. I am no different, so I’ve put together my top-40 for your perusal. Why 40 names for a draft that typically features 31 picks per round? Simple: when talking to scouts, I often find players classified as being in the 25-40 range. Those players might be first-rounders, but they may also slip into the second. Since fans will often ask me about kids who appear to have been snubbed as first-rounders on my list, this is a way to show the overflow.

The following rankings are based off of conversations I’ve had with scouts so far this season – a process that will ramp up as we get closer to June and the actual draft in Dallas. I try to form my rankings based on what I think will happen, You will also notice that there are no goalies in my top-40. So far, it’s been a bad year for netminders and right now I don’t see any going that high. With that all established, let’s get to the list.

  1. Rasmus Dahlin, D, Frolunda (Swe.): The world juniors confirmed what had already become obvious: Dahlin is a game-changing blueliner who can make intelligent moves in his own end and dazzling plays on offense. We haven’t seen a defensive talent like this in a long time and Sweden’s Olympic team agrees.
  2. Andrei Svechnikov, RW, Barrie (OHL): Though the big Russian had a quiet world juniors, he could only play the role that was given to him. Nathan MacKinnon actually had a similar experience with Canada back in the day. With Barrie, Svechnikov has been a force, combining size, skill and a well-rounded game that will see him compete for an NHL job next year.
  3. Brady Tkachuk, LW, Boston U. (Hockey East): Choosing between Tkachuk and Filip Zadina was tough, but Tkachuk just has such a complete game already that I gave him the nod. He’s tough, he’s talented and he’s responsible enough to be trusted in the last minute of a game when his team is protecting a lead.
  4. Filip Zadina, LW, Halifax (QMJHL): He’s been one of the top scorers in the ‘Q’ all season and his world juniors performance for the Czechs was sublime. Zadina is a scintillating producer with good size and he never stops working out there.
  5. Adam Boqvist, D, Brynas (Swe.): An excellent offensive threat from the blueline, Boqvist is also pretty good on the defensive end. Very much a new-school D-man, where mobility trumps size, Boqvist was recently loaned to Almtuna in Sweden’s second tier, the Allsvenskan.
  6. Oliver Wahlstrom, C, U.S. NTDP (USHL): A game-breaker and the leading scorer on the NTDP right now, Wahlstrom has an NHL shot and will go to the hard areas to get his points. Committed to Harvard, he could also play in the Quebec League next season.
  7. Quinn Hughes, D, Michigan (BigTen): It’s always impressive when a draft-eligible defenseman is playing college hockey and Hughes has been a sparkplug for the Wolverines. He’s an elite puckmover and his skating is a sight to behold.
  8. Barrett Hayton, C, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL): Nearly a point-per-game player on a deep, veteran Soo squad that is No. 1 in the CHL, Hayton is strong on the puck, very smart and has great leadership traits. Tons of upside here.
  9. Evan Bouchard, D, London (OHL): Bouchard’s contributions to the Knights will get even bigger in the second half since the team shed talent at the deadline. He’s shooting a lot more this year and that’s great, because he’s an offensive driver from the blueline.
  10. Isac Lundestrom, C, Lulea (SHL): Could be another Lias Andersson. Lundestrom is smart, talented and demonstrates a great two-way game. Led Sweden’s most consistent line at the world juniors and is seen as a can’t-miss selection.
  11. Joel Farabee, LW, U.S. NTDP (USHL)
  12. Bode Wilde, D, U.S. NTDP (USHL)
  13. Noah Dobson, D, Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL)
  14. Rasmus Kupari, C, Karpat (Fin.)
  15. Ty Smith, D, Spokane (WHL)
  16. Ryan McLeod, C, Mississauga (OHL)
  17. Benoit-Olivier Groulx, LW, Halifax (QMJHL)
  18. Jett Woo, D, Moose Jaw (WHL)
  19. Grigori Denisenko, LW, Loko (Rus.)
  20. Joe Veleno, C, Drummondville (QMJHL)
  21. Akil Thomas, C, Niagara (OHL)
  22. Jacob Olofsson, C, Timra (Swe.)
  23. Jared McIsaac, D, Halifax (QMJHL)
  24. Jesperi Kotkaniemi, C, Assat (Fin.)
  25. K’Andre Miller, D, U.S. NTDP (USHL)
  26. Ryan Merkley, D, Guelph (OHL)
  27. Martin Kaut, RW, Pardubice (Cze.)
  28. Dominik Bokk, LW, Vaxjo (SHL)
  29. Serron Noel, RW, Oshawa (OHL)
  30. Vitali Kravtsov, LW, Traktor (KHL)
  31. Jack McBain, C, Toronto (OJHL)
  32. Jakub Lauko, C, Chomutov (Cze.)
  33. Mattias Samuelsson, D, U.S. NTDP (USHL)
  34. Philipp Kurashev, C, Quebec (QMJHL)
  35. Blake McLaughlin, C, Chicago (USHL)
  36. Sampo Ranta, LW, Sioux City (USHL)
  37. Filip Johansson, D, Leksand (Swe.)
  38. Rasmus Sandin, D, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
  39. Adam Ginning, D, Linkoping (Swe.)
  40. Jesse Ylonen, RW, Espoo United (Fin.)
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