If you know hockey, then you know that the NHL Draft is always a huge deal. Even though it’s not until June, there have already been speculations of who is going where and who will ultimately be drafted first overall. In 2015, it was Canadian superstar Connor McDavid who went first overall to the, at the time, struggling Edmonton Oilers. Then, it was the American phenom from Arizona, Auston Matthews, who went to the also struggling Toronto Maple Leafs. Finally, in June, it was the forward from Switzerland, Nico Hischier, who surprised everyone when he beat out Canadian Nolan Patrick as the No. 1 selection and went to the New Jersey Devils.
So, who’s it going to be this upcoming year? Everyone has their predictions, but whether they’re right or wrong, we won’t know until June 22 when Dallas hosts one of hockey’s most important events. Now, let’s take a look at the candidates for this year’s draft.
According to Sportsnet, Rasmus Dahlin, a defenseman from Sweden who plays in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) is ranked No. 1 as of Oct. 3. The 6-foot-2-inch 183-pounder possesses every element necessary to become a top-pairing NHL defenseman, according to the Sportsnet panel.
Next is Andrei Svechnikov, a right-winger who plays for the Barrie Colts in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). He has the ability to impact each shift in a variety of ways, according to Sportsnet.
Brady Tkachuk, a center-man from the Boston University Terriers of the NCAA, also appears on this list. According to Sportsnet, the pain-in-the-butt comparisons to brother Matthew, who plays for the Calgary Flames, are legit, and so is the assertion he’ll end up going higher than his brother.
Quinn Hughes, a defenseman from the University of Michigan, is another noteworthy prospect. He was a top contributor with the United States National Team Developmental Program (USNTDP) as an under-ager last season.
Another top prospect eligible for the draft is Filip Zadina, a right-winger from the Halifax Mooseheads in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Zadina hopes to follow in the footsteps of fellow Halifax successes Timo Meier, Nik Ehlers, Nico Hischier and Jakub Voracek, who were all top-10 NHL first round picks last year, according to Sportsnet.
Next is another Canadian prospect, Jack McBain, who is a center-man for the Toronto Junior Canadiens of the Ontario Junior Hockey League, a Tier II league in Ontario. He will be moving to the NCAA for the 2018-2019 season.
Joel Farabee, a left-winger from the USNTDP, is considered a fine skater with excellent vision and has risen steadily from the U-18 program in April, according to Sportsnet.
Another potential top-10 prospect is Finnish center-man, Rasmus Kupari. He is considered to be a top-six forward who is highly skilled with smooth hands. However, he seems to be inconsistent at times, and will need to show he can string productive games together.
So, there you have it. These potential top-10 drafted players are all looking to be drafted first overall by a team that has high expectations of them as NHL players. The draft may be a while away, and these rankings could obviously fluctuate as players continue to dominate with their current teams or as injuries could occur, but for now, these players are the best of the best in their age group.