Ask any NHL scout to predict the draft order of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft and you’ll almost certainly get a unanimous decision on selection #1: Rasmus Dahlin. The 18 year old Swedish defenseman looks like a superstar in the making and will almost certainly end up a member of the Buffalo Sabres when general manager Jason Botterill steps to the podium to make his first overall pick.
Beyond Dahlin though, things gets a little more complicated. Most scouts have Russian sniper Andrei Svechnikov as the second ranked available player, while others maintain that Czech winger Filip Zadina is more deserving of the spot directly behind Dahlin. Both Svechnikov and Zadina spent their draft season playing junior hockey in Canada, for the Barrie Colts and Halifax Mooseheads, respectively. Svechnikov managed an incredible 40 goals and 72 points in just 44 games with the Colts, while Zadina put up 44 goals and 82 points in 57 games with the Mooseheads.
The Carolina Hurricanes, of course, won the 2018 NHL Draft Lottery and moved up from the 11th overall selection to the 2nd overall selection, the Montreal Canadiens moved up from the 4th to the 3rd selection, as well. So, while the Hurricanes are technically in position to make the decision for themselves, Zadina himself seems to have some inside knowledge of how things will go down on on draft day.
Check it out:
Interesting comment from Filip Zadina pertaining to #Habs in @Michael_Traikos story: “Montreal, I know very well. I’ve been to the city many times and they’re fans are awesome. But I think they’re looking for a centre or a D.”
Interesting… this means that one of Svechnikov or Zadina could fall to the Ottawa Senators at the 4th overall spot. If Zadina’s account of things is accurate this means that the Habs could be looking at taking either Brady Tkachuk or Oliver Wahlstrom at center or Evan Bouchard or Quinn Hughes on defense.
Tkachuk seems to be the most debated prospect in this year’s draft and there’s no doubt that he’d be a divisive choice within the Habs’ fanbase were GM Marc Bergevin were to select him over a player like Zadina. The 6’3”, 200 pound Tkachuk, brother of Calgary Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk and son of legendary NHLer Keith Tkachuk, put up an impressive eight goals and 31 points in 40 games as a freshman with Boston University this past season. The big, power forward is versatile in that he can play center or wing, much like Svechnikov.