It’s almost World Junior Championship time, which means that for a brief period, the hockey world is going to take a much more intent look at young prospects, the future of the game. For the most part, the focus is on older prospects, but there are plenty of draft eligible players to look at as well. That brings some increased interest in rankings for the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.
Today we’ll look at how the various public services are ranking the prospects available next June. This is the first time I’ve done this so far this season, and I’d like to go over a few things before you get into it.
These consolidated rankings are strictly to lay out how the prospects are perceived by the public scouting industry at large. They do not count as Canucks Army’s rankings, nor do they significantly influence my individual rankings. After the kerfuffle last season with Draftbuzz, I feel compelled to inform or remind readers that consolidated rankings are for the benefit of the readers – we are plenty capable of coming up with our own lists. In fact, if all goes according to play, I plan on publishing my personal list for December within the next few days.
With that out of the way, let’s get into those lists. Here are the ten services that have been included:
|Service||Future Considerations||Hockey Prospect||ISS Hockey||McKeen’s||TSN Industry||TSN Craig’s List||Sportsnet||The Athletic||ESPN||Dobber Prospects|
|Author||Staff||Staff||Staff||Staff||Bob McKenzie||Craig Button||Sam Cosentino||Cory Pronman||Chris Peters||Peter Harling|
|Date||Nov 6th||Nov 7th||Dec 6th||Dec 8th||Sep 17th||Nov 14th||Dec 6th||Sep 17th||Oct 31st||Oct 3rd|
Some of them are either partially (HockeyProspect.com) or fully (The Athletic) behind pay walls, and so I won’t be revealing the specific rankings of those players that haven’t been posted for free, but they are still included in the averages.
Feast your eyes on the consolidated top 31 prospects as of December:
Between now and Christmas, I’ll get into some of these prospects in greater detail, including some that I think are overrated and underrated as of now, and of course I’ll drop my own individual list (you can see my last version, from August, here). For now, we can make note of a couple of trends.
Even though I haven’t published a consolidated ranking yet this season, I have still been keeping track. That’s why you see an October ranking in the second column of the above chart, and the movement from then until now. Most of the movement is pretty minor, but there have been some big jumps, as there often is early in the season.
The biggest jump in this grouping is clearly QMJHL defenceman Noah Dobson, jumping up 17 spots since October’s average. Up to 31 points in 32 games so far this season, Dobson has exploded onto the draft scene and is now ranked as high as 6th (Sportsnet) while averaging a rank of 16.8 across the six services that listed him (the four lists that didn’t have him in their top 31 were all from September and October). He’s not just making fans among the traditional scouts either. He’s 11th in SEAL adjusted scoring by first time eligible defencemen, has a pGPS expected likelihood of success of 35%, a 5-on-5 goals-for percentage of 62%, and is averaging four shots on goal per game (that’s 128 shots already this season). He is a legitimate mid-first round candidate at this point.
Now let’s take a look at how the first round is tiered so far.
Rasmus Dahlin and Andrei Svechnikov are the clear top of the class, virtually untouched at their respective positions. Dahlin is ranked first across the board, and just one list had Svechnikov lower than second – that would be known-hot-taker Craig Button, who has Svechnikov 3rd and Adam Boqvist at no. 2 in his stead.
Speaking of Boqvist, he leads a second tier that is also populated by Brady Tkachuk, Filip Zadina and Quinton Hughes. Zadina is trending upwards at the moment; the Czech forward is having a dominant rookie season in the QMJHL. Inversely, Tkachuk was trending downwards a little bit, getting off to a bit of a slow start on a stacked Boston University team in the NCAA, but has put up four goals and nine points in his last nine games. Having turned 18 on September 16th, Tkachuk is one of the oldest players available in the draft.
The next several tiers are cut pretty roughly, and the players are still fairly interchangeable at this point. USDP standout Oliver Wahlstrom, U17 hero Rasmus Kupari, and former CHL exceptional player Joseph Veleno comprise the third tier, along with Ty Smith, a WHL defenceman who is shooting up the rankings following a highly productive start to the season with the Spokane Chiefs.
We’ll get more into this class in the coming weeks, with more content coming shortly. Stay tuned, and drop your initial thoughts on this class in the comments below.