#11 Jaret Anderson-Dolan, C, Spokane (10/18/2017)

vs. Moose Jaw (WHL)

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This is a complex clip that encapsulates Los Angeles Kings prospect Jaret Anderson-Dolan’ game: efficiently skilled two-way center with attacking mentality and some offensive limitation creatively. As a center, he’s naturally going to swoop through the middle and present as a pass option for his D to break the puck out. However, the D unit has a ton of confidence in JAD, and he was noticeably reliable here throughout the game. He transitions through the neutral zone with a good handle, but loses the puck when the attack converges on him. Can’t ding him there really, but there were other opportunities in one-on-one situations where he wasn’t able to escape either so worth monitoring development there. Despite losing the puck, you see his competitiveness when he gets it right back, grinds up the boards through a check, and hits his point man with a pass.

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JAD starts the play causing yet another turnover, this time in the neutral zone, and takes off as F2. They eventually lose the puck, but he circles back and takes a stretch pass into a breakaway scenario. He almost splits the D, but jumps to the outside and loses the handle where he ends corralling it around the boards to the other side of the ice. Without the puck, you see his hockey sense to support the play and find a pocket – that is until he can’t restrain himself from giving the closest PK’er a light, distracting push!

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You’re looking at a pro play right here with the puck behind the net. JAD battles behind the cage where he emerges with possession, protects the puck well giving him space to get the pass off the boards to the point man. His hard work results in a teammate’s center point shot, as well as another’s rebound shot. This screams NHL handiwork.

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#18 Filip Kral, D, Spokane (10/18/2017)

vs. Moose Jaw (WHL)

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2018 NHL Draft prospect Filip Kral slips two checks as the defender who initiated a clean, well executed breakout. On the missed pass reception, you see his feet limit him ever so slightly despite the safe dump in.

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Smooth handle, smooth delivery cross ice. Might not be the best pure skater out there, but he looks very confident on the move with the puck (and time).

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Kral eventually finds himself in a tenuous spot in the L corner boards after fellow 2018 draft eligible Luka Burzan tracks him down. The play is progressed out of the zone only because of his D partner, who he’s lucky circles behind their net and provides support in the right spot. This clip shows slight shortcoming in terms of anticipation as well as, again, skating ability.

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Right off of the faceoff, Kral takes off with the puck and shows a tight grip on it as he goes exit to entry. Here he is able to create a scoring chance on his own and show desire offensively.

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Kral shows the same exiting burst only this time on the PK where he kills off time. He has a knack for pouncing on loose puck opportunities and translating them into plus plays because of his hands.

2018 NHL Draft Ranking – October Final

  1. Rasmus Dahlin, D, Frölunda HC (SHL)
  2. Andrei Svechnikov, RW, Barrie (OHL)
  3. Brady Tkachuk, LW, Boston University (NCAA)
  4. Filip Zadina, C, Halifax (QMJHL)
  5. Adam Boqvist, D, Brynäs IF (SUPERELIT)
  6. Ty Smith, D, Spokane (WHL)
  7. Rasmus Kupari, C, Oulun Kärpät (LIIGA)
  8. Joel Farabee, LW, NTDP U18 (USDP)
  9. Ryan Merkley, D, Guelph (OHL)
  10. Quinton Hughes, D, Michigan (NCAA)
  11. Oliver Wahlstrom, C, NTDP U18 (USDP)
  12. Joe Veleno, C, Saint John (QMJHL)
  13. Jesperi Kotkaniemi, C, Ässät (LIIGA)
  14. Bode Wilde, D, NTDP U18 (USDP)
  15. Serron Noel, RW, Oshawa (OHL)
  16. Isac Lundeström, C, Luleå HF (SHL)
  17. Jack McBain, C, Toronto (OJHL)
  18. Barrett Hayton, C, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
  19. Jacob Olofsson, C, Timrå IK (ALLSVENSKAN)
  20. Akil Thomas, RW, Niagara (OHL)
  21. Noah Dobson, D, Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL)
  22. Calen Addison, D, Lethbridge (WHL)
  23. Ryan McLeod, C, Mississauga (OHL)
  24. Jett Woo, D, Moose Jaw (WHL)
  25. Allan McShane, C, Oshawa (OHL)
  26. Jesse Ylönen, RW, Espoo (MESTIS)
  27. Jared McIsaac, D, Halifax (QMJHL)
  28. Vitali Kravtsov, LW, Traktor (KHL)
  29. Benoit Olivier-Groulx, C, Halifax (QMJHL)
  30. K’Andre Miller, D, NTDP U18 (USDP)
  31. Nando Eggenberger, RW, HC Davos (NLA)

2014 NHL Draft Re-Rank [Draft+3]

It is often said that it takes five years to truly grade a draft and properly assess if a prospect has reached his potential or not. Each year I like to re-rank the drafts in an exercise that forces a re-evaluation of player development along the way from each draft year I have produced a draft guide. 2014 was the inaugural draft guide for DraftBuzz Hockey, so I am building out a refreshed top 100 from that draft class. Each year the list gets harder to grade, and this one has been the hardest as more and more prospects land with split pro time in the NHL/AHL on top of others playing in Europe and some still with junior experience only. NHL production is still King, with the assessment being a hybrid of production vs. upside, and identifying how much of that upside has been realized. At this point, selection begins to have less importance though greater weight may be given to a higher pick in a close call. Consider these ranks fluid, and likely in ranges. For instance, Nylander and Ehlers is a toss up for me. In a perfect world, this list is published prior to the start of the season so hot 2017-2018 starts (small sample) will not have a huge effect on the list.

Here is the top 50:

Rank – Player – Position – Team – Selected

  1. Leon Draisaitl, C, EDM, 3
  2. David Pastrnak, RW, BOS, 25
  3. William Nylander, C/RW, TOR, 8
  4. Nikolaj Ehlers, LW, WPG, 9
  5. Aaron Ekblad, D, FLA, 1
  6. Dylan Larkin, C, DET, 15
  7. Sam Reinhart, C, BUF, 2
  8. Viktor Arvidsson, RW, NSH, 112
  9. Robby Fabbri, C, STL, 21
  10. Brayden Point, C, TBL, 79
  11. Sam Bennett, C, CGY, 4
  12. Nick Schmaltz, C, CHI, 20
  13. Christian Dvorak, C, ARI, 58
  14. Kevin Fiala, LW, NSH, 11
  15. Nick Ritchie, LW, ANA, 10
  16. Brendan Perlini, LW, ARI, 12
  17. Jakub Vrana, L/RW, WSH, 13
  18. Jake Virtanen, RW, VAN, 6
  19. Julius Honka, D, DAL, 14
  20. Michael Dal Colle, LW, NYI, 5
  21. Anthony DeAngelo, D, NYR, 19
  22. Josh Ho-Sang, RW, NYI, 28
  23. Jared McCann, C, FLA, 24
  24. Kevin Labanc, RW, SJS, 171
  25. Ivan Barbashev, C, STL, 33
  26. Brandon Montour, D, ANA, 55
  27. Ondrej Kase, C, ANA, 205
  28. Nikolay Goldobin, LW, VAN, 27
  29. Sonny Milano, LW, CBJ, 16
  30. Adrian Kempe, LW, LAK, 29
  31. Travis Sanheim, D, PHI, 17
  32. Kasperi Kapanen, RW, TOR, 22
  33. Alex Tuch, RW, VGK, 18
  34. Vladislav Kamenev, C, NSH, 42
  35. John Quenneville, C, NJD, 30
  36. Danton Heinen, LW, BOS, 116
  37. Nikita Scherbak, RW, MTL, 26
  38. Gustav Forsling, D, CHI, 126
  39. Igor Shestyorkin, G, NYR, 118
  40. Anders Bjork, LW, BOS, 146
  41. Nikita Tryamkin, D, VAN, 66
  42. Haydn Fleury, D, CAR, 7
  43. Devon Toews, D, NYI, 108
  44. Oskar Lindblom, LW, PHI, 138
  45. Ilya Sorokin, G, NYI, 78
  46. Kyle Wood, D, ARI, 84
  47. Lucas Wallmark, C, CAR, 97
  48. Michael Amadio, C, LAK, 90
  49. Samuel Blais, C, STL, 176
  50. Thatcher Demko, G, VAN, 36

51-100 to follow…

#14 Jared McIsaac, D, Halifax (9/30/17)

vs. Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL)

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Rangy 2018 NHL Draft defensive prospect Jared McIsaac shows he has no shortage of confidence in his ability to make opponents miss. Scooping up the puck behind his net, he uses a very slick delay on the attacking forward making him think he was caught. Bursting right past him took guts, and skill, but it was very risky. Volatile seems to be the name of the game with McIsaac.

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Here McIsaac shows classic defensive zone puck movement that is crisp until he puts it diagonally on the tape of teammate Barrett Dachyshyn. Dachyshyn bungles forward progress by bringing the puck back into his own zone and flinging an errant pass. Thankfully, McIsaac comes to his aid along the R boards, collects the puck, and jams it out. This is a plus sequence for McIsaac who shows fluid in stride mobility/hands with the puck as well as composure to clean up his teammates mistake.

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Keep your eye on the eventual one-on-one matchup where McIsaac gets taken wide and beaten by a step to the middle of the ice. Atoning for his open ice misplay, he doesn’t give up using his stickwork to prevent the shot from getting off. With the play driving to the corner boards, he makes no mistake on finishing his check off aggressively.

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Entrusted as the lone D on the PP formation, McIsaac shows some unsteadiness in pass delivery sending one puck into Max Fortier’s skates, and the other lands as a slap pass that doesn’t have enough steam for the amount of finesse it lacked.

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All is well until the shot is taken, where McIsaac proceeds to get pushed lightly and loses his man in front of the net who ends up scoring.

#19 Benoit-Olivier Groulx, C, Halifax (9/30/17)

vs. Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL)

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2018 NHL Draft top prospect Benoit-Olivier Groulx takes a lead pass from his D man and goes exit-to-entry with significant steam in an impressive pro display. We see him release a shot in the slot, but what’s going to excite scouts is how he stops at the net and gets his own rebound and jams it home. That, friends, is an NHL caliber goal. With size, more speed, and more skill, he might just be what we all wanted Max Comtois to be last year.

#1 Alexis Gravel, G, Halifax (9/30/17)

vs. Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL)

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Despite teammate and fellow 2018 NHL Draft prospect Jared McIsaac getting turned inside out badly, Alexis Gravel is fascinatingly still as he waits for the Titan’s Truchon-Viel to take the direct path/shot he’s waiting for. Gravel’s presence screams top prospect as he stays square, uses minimal effort on the L pad kick, and pushes off smoothly and quickly into standup facing his redirect.

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Again, it’s not chaotic flair that catches you, it’s the fact that Gravel has such calm mannerism when surveying the developing play. He navigates the play around his zone, and is more than ready when that point shot is taken. Gravel makes a really difficult R leg kick save on a close range shot look easy.

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This is a real simple frame demonstrating Gravel’s poise with Acadie-Bathurst bringing the puck and bodies at the net full force. He keeps his position with opponents barreling at him, and makes a easy L pad save.