This Top 5 is a ‘primer’ of the Top 20 ranking that we will release in the upcoming month of October. It will be our first ranking of the season and the first update since the list we released in June with the Blue Dispatch 2017 draft guide, when we had Rasmus Dahlin at #1, Jesperi Kotkaniemi at #2 and Filip Zadina at #3
For those who are not familiar yet with our rankings, we point out once again that they pertain only to prospects playing in Europe. This means Zadina (and Zavgorodny) will not appear anymore in this season’s rankings.
The upcoming Top 20 will be the first one for the 2018 draft to provide an overall assessment for the ranked players. We can already disclose Swedish defenseman Rasmus Dahlin will receive a #1 overall projection. That was probably easy to predict, even more so considering we had him ahead of Svechnikov already before the start of the 2016/2017 season (Early look at Europe’s best for the 2018 NHL Draft), when the Russian winger was still playing in Europe.
Finnish forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi didn’t have a sparkling performance at the Hlinka Memorial, but his early play at the Liiga level this season confirmed our feelings about him being currently the most promising forward in this European class.
Adam Boqvist is one of the main risers of the start of the season. He has been on par with the high expectations with the puck on his stick and his early play has also been encouraging with reference to the shortcomings that were noticeable last season.
The last two spots of the top 5 remain a close affair between Russian forward Grigori Denisenko and Swedish center Jacob Olofsson.
Denisenko had the start of his season slowed down by an injury suffered at the end of the first Russia game at the Hlinka, but brings undeniable skills and we have been liking his development through 2017.
Olofsson is a solid pro prospect who recently scored his first goal at the senior level (Allsvenskan) for Timra after shining as an underager at the U18 World Championships back in April.