With the 2018 NHL Entry Draft now just days away, there is plenty of trade chatter around the league with regards to draft positions. General managers looking to move up in the draft to secure their preferred selection will be working the phones very hard over the next five days.
TSN insider Bob McKenzie recently broke down all the scenarios on his most recent epode of The TSN Bobcast podcast and also dropped a bomb on what was believed to be the order of selections for this weekend’s draft. For over a calendar year, it’s been clear that defenseman Rasmus Dahlin would be the #1 selection at the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. The Swedish blue liner has superstar potential and the ability to step into the NHL and control the game from the get go as an 18 year old rookie. There’s little doubt that Dahlin will go first overall to the Buffalo Sabres.
Beyond Dahlin however, things get a little more interesting. Most NHL scouts have Russian sniper Andrei Svechnikov of the Barrie Colts in the second spot, but it’s worth noting that Czech winger Filip Zadina of the Halifax Mooseheads has been in neck and neck in rankings with Svechnikov all season. That is… until now, just days before the draft. You see, McKenzie reports that Zadina, who put up 44 goals and 82 points in just 57 games with the Mooseheads this season, has fallen from the 2nd/3rd spot in the draft all the way OUT of the top five.
Check it out:
Bob McKenzie: “Multiple scouts have Zadina falling out their top 5 now, I don’t think it’s cause he has done anything wrong with his game, but I think it’s cause the centremen (Kotkaniemi, Hayton) and d-men (Boqvist, Hughes, Bouchard, Dobson) have really stepped up”.
Interesting. It’s also worth noting that the Montreal Canadiens are in possession of the 3rd overall selection and seem to be eyeing either center Jesperi Kotkaniemi or big winger Brady Tkachuk. Beyond that the Ottawa Senators and Arizona Coyotes select 4th and 5th, respectively. While it may seem unlikely that Zadina falls that far in the draft, each of those teams could be more interested in nabbing a defenseman like Quinn Hughes, Noah Dobson or Evan Bouchard.
It remains to be seen when and where Zadina goes in the draft, but one thing’s for sure: whoever lands him will not be disappointed. The 18 year old Czech scores goals in bunches and can absolutely electrify a hockey game. Just take a quick look at some of his highlights from the 2017-18 season.