The full Top 100 final ranking is available here: https://www.draftineu.com/product/2018-draft-guide/
To start with the obvious, the diamond at the top of the 2018 NHL Draft class is Rasmus Dahlin. As soon as we launched Draftin Europe in the Summer of 2016 we released a Top 5 for this year’s draft that had (back then) little known Rasmus Dahlin on top, despite the hype already surrounding Russian winger Andrei Svechnikov (Svechnikov at the time was still playing in Europe and ranked 2nd on our list). After scouting 15-year-old Dahlin the previous season we couldn’t wait to bring him up to the attention of anyone interested in our project. Since then, the Swedish defenseman has only separated himself further from the rest of the pack, and that has little to do with Svechnikov’s departure to North America.
Unlike Dahlin, Jesperi Kotkaniemi didn’t seem to pick up a lot of hype until the very end of the year. We were a little perplexed at some of his lower rankings by various sources until late in the season, as he has been placed 2nd on our board for the whole year with little chance of ever sliding lower than that after Filip Zadina left for North America, but after his strong showing at the U18s in April it seems like our evaluation is now shared by most.
Things got more interesting after the first two spots. Grigori Denisenko, who was ranked 5th in our 2017 Draft Guide, in the end slotted into the third spot. Another Russian who was high on our board last year fought his way up to 4th place. Vitaly Kravtsov improved with each viewing we had and finished the year with an explosive performance in KHL playoffs. While we ultimately opted for Denisenko at 3, there was quite a discussion about who to place higher between the two.
Completing the top 5 is Martin Kaut who, while already part of our Top 15 last year, continued to see his stock rise in our eyes more and more as the season got along.
Next on the list is Adam Boqvist. We were never as high on him as compared to the consensus, we obviously like his tremendous talent level but we feel there are question marks about his game, most notably in the defensive zone with lack of intensity and sub-par compete level, which has resulted in a slightly lower rank for him. At the end of the day, what hurts Boqvist in our overall value assessment (a generic “1st round”) is that we wouldn’t feel comfortable recommending him on draft table as an early selection.
One of the big risers of this draft season has been for us Jan Jenik. The competitive Czech forward started making a strong case for himself at the Hlinka Memorial tournament and, despite several injuries and not ideal offensive production, his trajectory has kept pointing firmly upwards for us from that point on.
Skilled Finnish winger Niklas Nordgren significantly eased our concerns about his skating the more the season went by and eventually edged out a couple of other talented forwards to complete our Top 10.
As a whole, aside from being Dahlin’s year, from an Euro-based perspective this is the class of skilled wingers (that becomes clearer moving further along our ranking). Most come with some question marks, but the amount of talent available on the wing is outright impressive, and that’s despite A.Svechnikov’s and Zadina’s early departure to North America.
As a final note, the first overager in this year’s ranking comes in at #20, last year was Linus Olund at #36.
Full write-up, along with the complete Top 100 ranking, in-depth profiles*, stats, ratings etc are available in our Blue Dispatch Draft Guide .
*that’s also where you can get more specific reasons for the players’ rankings.