June 22, 2018

FC’s Pre-2018 NHL Draft Scout Survey

Today is the day. 

With the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft getting underway Friday, Future Considerations polled our scouts on several topics to get a feel for what we could expect over the course of the next 48 hours.

Here are the results of that poll.

Is Rasmus Dahlin a generational talent?

“Generational-type talents are the Lemieuxs, Crosbys, Gretzkys and McDavids of the world. I think Dahlin is a superstar and an elite player in the making but not in the same breath as those listed.” Future Considerations head Western scout Justin Froese

“Yes, however, the word generational talent can be understood in different ways. Can he be as good as Erik Karlsson? Yes, I do think so. Is he as good as Crosby, McDavid? No.” – Future Considerations’ European head scout Dennis Schellenberg

“We’ve been spoiled with high-end talent in the last few years, with guys like McDavid, Eichel, and Matthews, and now Dahlin and Jack Hughes in the next couple of years. But while they’re all elite talents, it doesn’t make sense to label all of them “generational.” McDavid is a generational talent, Crosby was. Dahlin is ‘just” elite.’” – Future Considerations scout Janik Beichler (Germany)

“I think this depends on how you define “generational talent” – does Rasmus Dahlin have the potential to become the best defenseman in the NHL? Yes, I think so. Is he the future Crosby of defensemen? I doubt it.” – Future Considerations scout Christoffer Hedlund (Sweden)

“Defensemen are the hardest to project, and it’s unclear if Dahlin will make the leap from star player to franchise-defining talent. I’d happily take Dahlin first overall, but he isn’t on the same level as Connor McDavid or Sidney Crosby.” – Future Considerations scout Joseph Aleong (Ontario)

How much of a gap is there between Dahlin and Andrei Svechnikov, and Svechnikov from the balance of the draft?

“Svechnikov is an elite player in his own right and has all the pieces to put together an all star career. Although tough to pass on, Dahlin’s going to change the face of a franchise with what he’s capable of. As impressive as the top 10 is, there’s a big difference between 2 and 3, this is where Carolina sets the stage for how the dominos fall.” – Froese

“Between Dahlin and Svechnikov, probably not much. Both will be stars in this league and contribute to the teams that draft them from day 1. In terms of the balance of the draft, Svechnikov is a head above any other forward, and a little less than a head above the top defencemen like Hughes and Boqvist.” – Future Considerations head Eastern Scout Dylan Galloway

“To me, the gap isn’t as big as it seems to be to many. Had Svechnikov not missed 24 games and recorded 62 goals and 111 points over a full season, the hype would be bigger. He’s a fantastic offensive talent and will be an NHL star. With the next group, I see a few more question marks but there is some incredible talent to be had.” – Beichler

“I have not seen enough of Svechnikov to judge how big of a gap there is between him and Dahlin, but there seem to be no question that Dahlin should be the No. 1 pick.” – Hedlund

“Not many prospects can make a successful transition to North American hockey from Europe, but Svechnikov has dominated both the OHL and USHL in his time here (with nearly a goal per game this season). Svechnikov is an easy pick for the second-best player in this draft, and with the playmakers already in place in Carolina, he could even make a bigger impact than Dahlin early in their careers.” – Aleong

Where are the ledges in this draft?

“1 and 2 are in a league of their own 3-9 seems to contain the second level of D and some high end forwards. 10-16 has been somewhat constant for most of the season. The draft opens up at 17 and some lists could have players public lists ranked in the 40’s as first rounders. 50 on is a crapshoot with a lot of unknown variables.” – Froese

“Slight step down from Dahlin to Svechnikov for tiers 1 and 2. Bit of a bigger step down for tier 3 with Zadina, Hughes, Boqvist, and Tkachuck. Tier 4 would be the rest of the top 10. Tier 5 is where it starts to get really murky and you’ll see a lot more “rising” and “falling” of those who were suppose to be first round prospects. After that it’s a bit of a guessing game.” – Galloway

“I see it as Dahlin in his own tier, then Svechnikov, then maybe 3-7 as one tier, 8-14, and then that’s where we have a big drop-off. From there, anything can happen.” – Beichler

“For the first round and a half, I would have the ledges like this: No. 1, No. 2, No. 3-10, No. 11-20 and after that there are several players that can go from anywhere between No. 21 down to around No. 45. Based on our rankings I would say that there are about 45 to 50 players that could have arguments as to why they should be picked in the first round.” – Hedlund

“Beyond the top two prospects, picks three through ten could go in a number of different ways. The next seven or eight picks probably range similarly in talent, with most of the prospects available after that (late first round) being viewed as long-term projects (e.g. Noel, Miller) or boom-bust options like Ryan Merkley. There are probably around 10-15 second-round prospects who could draw late first-round interest, including Jake Wise and Jacob Bernard-Docker.” – Aleong

How close are the other defensemen in this draft class to Dahlin, and who is the closest?

“There’s no true competition for Dahlin as he is in another dimension in my eyes. There’s a lot of debate as to who is next in line but I think the upside the Boqvist and Hughes make both an enticing option depending on a team’s taste.” – Froese

“Although it is a great defencemen class, I don’t really think anyone is so close to Rasmus Dahlin. In terms of skill, it is probably Quinn Hughes. He is so good with the puck and an outstanding skater, however, defensively and physically he’s not even close to Dahlin’s game. I just don’t see any defender being so complete and impactful like Rasmus Dahlin.” – Schellenberg

“In terms of upside, it’s Hughes or Boqvist. In terms of NHL-readiness, probably Bouchard or Dobson.” – Beichler

“Since I am based in Sweden and mainly focus on the Swedish prospects I can compare Dahlin to Adam Boqvist, who very well could end up being the second-best defenseman from this draft, and I believe that the gap between them is quite big. Dahlin has a better upside, and I also believe that he is a lot more likely to reach his potential.” – Hedlund

“Dahlin is a breathtaking talent on the back end, an amazing skater who is a perfect fit as a two-way star in the modern NHL. The other defenders in this draft have great upside but some questions about transferring to the professional level (e.g. Hughes, Boqvist), or good skill and physicality but uncertain upside (e.g. Bouchard, Dobson). While it’s possible one of them ends up being an all-situations star, and my money is on Boqvist, there’s no debate as to who’s the best prospect this year.” – Aleong

Which centre, if any, has the potential to develop into a No. 1 center?

“Lots of talk about Kotkaniemi and even though there’s some recency bias with his recent charge up public lists, I have to agree he’s the best on the board with little competition.” – Froese

“Not a lot of top line centres in this draft. Kotkaniemi is probably the closest. Hayton might be a fringe top line center if he can improve his skating.” – Galloway

“If there is a weakness in this draft class next to goaltending, then it is the lack of a high-end center. Not sure we have a No. 1 center this year. Jesperi Kotkaniemi probably has the best chances as he comes the closest to play a No. 1 type of game.” – Schellenberg

“There’s usually a late-round pick that surprises everyone and becomes a star in the NHL, but I don’t see a sure-fire No. 1 center in the first round. Kotkaniemi is the closest, but I see him as a strong second-line option.” – Beichler

“From a Swedish perspective I cannot see any of the center prospects that will turn out to be a given #1 center in the NHL. I think David Gustafsson is the one with the most upside to his game, so if I had to choose one it would be him. Both Isac Lundeström and Jacob Olofsson seem to be better suited to find roles as third or maybe second line centers if they pan out.” – Hedlund

“In my opinion, there isn’t a player who has the skill and projection to become a top-line center, as none really stood out with their production or upside this year. That being said, Kotkaniemi is an advanced two-way forward for his age and Veleno’s skating ability and playmaking vision could make him a dangerous scorer in the professional ranks.” – Aleong

Who is the top goaltender in this draft class?

“Not a lot to brag in my territory this year, as Matt Thiessen was the only one I ranked in Western Canada. Dostal and Skarek are my anticipated front runners for the class.” – Froese

“Tough question as there is no one really standing out. For me it is Olivier Rodrigue, who is slightly ahead of both Czechs Lukas Dostal and Jakub Skarek. Then come Justus Annunen, Amir Miftakhov and Alexis Gravel. Don’t sleep on Akira Schmid and Olof Lindbom who could be nice later rounds picks.” – Schellenberg

“Olof Lindbom had a very impressive World Under-18 Championship, so he would be my pick.” – Hedlund

“Lukas Dostal is a tad undersized, but he has performed well at every international tournament this year and his quickness and penchant for making timely stops should make him a solid option once he puts on more strength.” – Aleong

Who is the player you expect to outperform his Future Considerations draft ranking?

“Loved what Luka Burzan did down the stretch and expect a breakout as early as next season. Jonatan Berggren, Rasmus Sandin and Jacob Bernard-Docker are my runner ups.” – Froese

“Liam Foudy. Great athleticism and a really strong second half have really put the spot light on him. I still think he has room to grow.” – Galloway

“Liam Foudy and the three Swedes David Gustafsson, Filip Hallander and Jonatan Berggren seem to have great upside and I feel like they can become better players than projected in our rankings.” – Schellenberg

“There’s a reason why players ended up where they did, but there are a few guys that would be higher on my personal list: Isac Lundeström, Jonatan Berggren, Liam Foudy, and Cole Fonstad to name a few.” – Beichler

“Jonathan Berggren is the obvious choice for me, he would be my target if I had a pick in the #20-35 range. Berggren’s teammate in Skellefteå AIK, Albin Eriksson, is another player that could have been ranked higher than we have him.” – Hedlund

“Jake Wise fell in the rankings throughout the year due to an injury, but he was electric upon his return, feasting on soft matchups behind 2019 prospect Jack Hughes. His stride and quickness could improve, but his puck skill and awareness could make him a solid top-six centre if all goes well.” – Aleong

Which player do you think has the most potential to end up busting?

“Ryan Merkley is a player that is not worth the risk of an investment. As a guy who values skill, I still think character trumps all. He would be on my no draft list within the first 40 picks. Calen Addison also gets a lot of hype offensively and for his cerebral game but his porous defensive game makes me skeptical.” – Froese

“The obvious answer is Merkley here. He’s got all of the tools to be successful. Landing in the right development system…teams like the Leafs or Tampa Bay with a recent strong history of developing prospects…will be important to his future.” – Galloway

“Ty Dellandrea could be one of the candidates. Also seeing Adam Boqvist as a somehow riskier pic than most project. However, this only if he gets drafted very high and the team picking him obviously expects a top prospect in him with very high expectations. If Vladislav Kotkov goes too high than he is a strong candidate as well.” – Schellenberg

“Ryan Merkley.” -Beichler

”I think Dominik Bokk is a quite clear ‘high-risk, high-reward’ prospect. Based on pure skill and potential I would have him in my top10, but he can look so lacklustre, lazy and have terrible body language at times. He can get away with it playing junior hockey in Sweden but I do not think that attitude will work once he goes to North America to play senior hockey. If he gets everything together he can become a star in the NHL, if he doesn’t, I doubt he will stay in North America for long.” – Hedlund

“Merkley would be the easy answer, but I think Denisenko is another boom-bust player that would really have to end up in a good situation to reach his full potential.” – Aleong

Which highly regarded prospect do you expect to tumble on draft day?

“In the top 10 I think Adam Boqvist is a candidate to slide a little bit, although I still think the future is extremely bright there. Bode Wilde and Jett Woo may not be everyone’s cup of tea and could be superior value picks later than expected.” – Froese

“Boqvist was ranked 3rd going into the season but seems to have lost his lustre a bit, I could see him falling a few spots.” – Galloway

“Jett Woo, Isac Lundestrom, Rasmus Kupari, Nando Eggenberger, Alexander Khovanov and Vladislav Kotkov are some possibilities for that category, I’d say.” – Schellenberg

“Maybe Boqvist, if teams want to make safer picks. Merkley is an obvious one and I could see Wilde as well.” – Beichler

“I could see both Isac Lundeström and Filip Hållander fall a few spots on draft day. Lundeström mainly because his offensive upside has been questioned during the whole season and Hållander missed the World Under-18 Championship and seem to be a bit ‘forgotten’ because of it.” – Hedlund

“Ryan Merkley is one of the more talented defense prospects available, but his inconsistency and clashes with coaching staff and teammates suggest a team would really have to fall in love with the skill to risk a first-round pick on him. He could see an Oliver Kylington-type fall in the draft.” – Aleong

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