Favorite prospects: The Anaheim Ducks nailed the first round of the draft. Other than the Colorado Avalanche, no one did better in the first round than them. They got Trevor Zegras, who’s a borderline elite playmaker, and Brayden Tracey, who I like a lot as a wing.
Least favorite prospects: Trevor Janicke is going to have to improve his skating quite a bit to be an NHLer.
Grade: B. They had a great first round, but I was underwhelmed by their second day. Still, Zegras and Tracey is a nice haul.
Favorite prospects: I’m not grading the trade up to get him, but there’s a lot to like about Victor Soderstrom. He’s close to being NHL ready and I think he has the potential to be a top-four defenseman. The Coyotes system needs scorers and I think Alexander Daryin could be one.
Least favorite prospects: Daniil Savunov has some attractive tools, but I don’t know if the collective sum of them will be an NHL player.
Grade: B-. The Coyotes added some extremely talented players to their pipeline. Had they added any of the top forwards available in the first round instead of Soderstrom, this grade would probably be a B+.
Favorite prospects: I loved the Jakob Pelletier pick. He’s small, but his skill is off the charts. Pelletier won’t ever be Johnny Gaudreau, but I think he could stick in the NHL in a top-six role. Dustin Wolf was a great seventh-round pick, especially after the Flames lost out on Ilya Konovalov.
Least favorite prospects: Lucas Feuk has a few interesting tools, but his skating significantly limits his upside.
Favorite prospects: Raphael Lavoie was nearly an overager – he missed the 2018 draft cutoff by a few days. He has consistency issues, but when he’s on his game, he can be a difference maker. His QMJHL postseason is proof of that.
Ilya Konovalov turns 21 in July and, though I didn’t count him in my rankings because of his age, if I did, he would have been my best goaltender. Sorry, Spencer Knight, I’ll take a guy who flat out dominated the KHL over you.
Least favorite prospects: Matej Blumel is a decent prospect, but the Oilers reached on him a bit. He’s an overager who didn’t impress me too much, which isn’t a good sign. I didn’t notice any intriguing elements in his game either.
Grade: B. The Philip Broberg selection was baffling, but the Oilers redeemed themselves with a strong second day.
Los Angeles Kings
Favorite prospects: The Los Angeles Kings got Alex Turcotte in the first round. He has the potential to be the next Ryan O’Reilly. Turcotte’s pace is impressive and, though he’s not big, his hockey IQ and skating are both outstanding. Arthur Kaliyev was a steal in the second round – I had him as a fringe top-10 talent. Samuel Fagemo and Jordan Spence were great value picks as well.
Least favorite prospects: Andre Lee is big and has some skill, but his skating could keep him out of the NHL.
Grade: A+. No team had a better draft than the Kings. They got both quantity and quality, which is rare.
San Jose Sharks
Favorite prospects: Yegor Spiridonov could be a diamond in the rough and one of the biggest steals of the draft. He put up nearly a point per game in the MHL and was one of Russia’s best players at the under-18 tournament. Artemi Kniazev could be a beast in the Sharks system.
Least favorite prospects: I have time for Dillon Hamaliuk because his skill set is an attractive one. But he’s coming off a major injury and I have concerns about his skating. That said, Hamaliuk is a big guy with enough skill to be interesting, so he’s got that going for him.
Grade: C+. The Sharks quietly had a good draft. Not sure if they’ll get any NHLers out of it, but if nothing else, general manager Doug Wilson got himself some nice new poker chips for his next blockbuster move.
Favorite prospects: Nils Hoglander was someone I had in the late first round, so the Vancouver Canucks were smart to get him in the second round. His stats don’t jump out at you, but he’s a very effective player who has shown hints of high-end skill. Also, Hoglander has had success against adults, so that’s promising. Ethan Keppen has the potential to be a guy, even if it’s just in a fourth-line role.
Least favorite prospects: Aidan McDonough is big, but that’s about it with him. Also, I wasn’t a fan of the Canucks drafting Vasily Podkolzin. Would have been fine with him five picks later, but not in the top 10 with Boldy and Caufield still on the board. Both have a similar, if not higher, ceiling to Podkolzin and a much higher floor.
Grade: B. Mostly got here due to sheer volume, but Hoglander, Keppen, and Podkolzin have the potential to be NHL players.
Vegas Golden Knights
Favorite prospects: The Golden Knights must have used my draft board. They got my favorite non-elite prospect in Peyton Krebs, who fell because of an Achilles injury. Trust me, he’s going to be great.
Pavel Dorofeyev is a polarizing player, but in the third round, he was a terrific value pick. I know people who had him as a top 30 talent and I don’t disagree. Marcus Kalionkielli’s poor skating is the main reason I didn’t have him as a first-round talent, but his skill and hi shot are both great. If he improves his skating to merely average, he’s got a solid chance of being an NHLer.
Least favorite prospects: I didn’t get to see Layton Ahac play as much as I wanted to, so this could just be a small sample size problem, but I wasn’t that impressed with him.
Grade: A. They drafted three of my favorite players and even added a pretty interesting goalie in Isaiah Saville. That’s a good way to get me to give you a high grade. Though could you please at least ask before using my draft board?