With the season approaching soon, rookie drafts will be held also. Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel headline the draft but there is an immense pool of talented players right behind them. It will be fun to see if this draft year can beat out 2003 as the best of all time.
Top 30 Rookie Rankings
1. Connor McDavid/Center/Edmonton Oilers
Connor McDavid is the next superstar in the NHL. I expect him to come in and produce at a high level right away. He will immediately make Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle even better. He is your top player for the next 15 years.
2. Jack Eichel/Center/Buffalo Sabres
Jack Eichel is going to be a superstar too. He may not produce at the same rate as McDavid early on but he is going to dominate very soon. He and Evander Kane are going to tear up the East. Eichel is the easy choice at number two.
3. Dylan Strome/Center/Arizona Coyotes
Dylan Strome has the potential to become a number one center in the NHL. He isn’t flashy but will put up points. He has a slight edge on Marner because he is a Center. He’ll end up playing with the highly skilled Max Domi which should be fun to watch.
4. Mitch Marner/Right Winger/Toronto Maple Leafs
Size doesn’t matter for Mitch Marner, he will put up points either way. Drawing comparisons to Patrick Kane, Marner has the speed and skills to beat the opponent. He has potential to become a top player in the NHL.
5. Noah Hanifin/Defenseman/Carolina Hurricanes
Noah Hanifin is going to turn into a number one defenseman in the NHL. He is a guy that can log a lot of minutes and still produces. This is where he gets comparisons to Duncan Keith. I believe Hanifin could reach that level one day. He and Justin Faulk could be a deadly combo for the Hurricanes.
6. Ivan Provorov/Defenseman/Philadelphia Flyers
Ivan Provorov has the potential to put up big points in the NHL. He has a little more flair to his game than Hanifin but isn’t as good in the defensive end. I like Provorov’s chances of becoming a number one defenseman though.
7. Matt Barzal/Center/New York Islanders
Matt Barzal is a highly skilled center. He’s a playmaker making the players around him better. I expect him to be a guy that gets 50+ assists each year and around 15-20 goals. He plays a strong two way game and should thrive in New York.
8. Pavel Zacha/Center/New Jersey Devils
Pavel Zacha has the chance to make the Devils roster right of the bat. They lack offensive players and Zacha could be put right into the number one center role. Zacha is a big offensive center that has the potential to be great. He will get his chance early on.
9. Mikko Rantanen/Right Winger/Colorado Avalanche
Mikko Rantanen as high hockey sense and is highly skilled. He makes the players around him better. Rantanen played in the Finnish league the last two years so he is accustomed to playing professionally. He has top line potential.
10. Timo Meier/Right Winger/San Jose Sharks
Timo Meier has no quit in his game and he is always trying to beat the opponent whether it be physically or with his skills. Meier also has the chance to make the Sharks roster right out of the gate. He’s a big skilled forward and I like his potential to become a great player.
11. Zach Werenski/Defenseman/Columbus Blue Jackets
Werenski was the youngest player in the NCAA last year at 17. He should play another year at Michigan before he heads to the pro ranks. He has vision to create plays from the point. With the Blue Jackets on the rise I see Werenski being a big part of it.
12. Lawson Crouse/Left Winger/Florida Panthers
Crouse is a power forward but he has offensive abilities. He uses his big body to forecheck hard and create opportunities for his teammates. He has the chance to be a top line power forward in Florida.
13. Evgeny Svechnikov/Right Winger/Detroit Red Wings
Svechnikov is a great all around player. He has speed, size, and skill to beat the opponent. He has a great shot too. I think Svechnikov went to a good spot in Detroit. They know how to develop their players and I believe Svechnikov isn’t far away from playing in the NHL.
14. Denis Gurianov/Right Winger/Dallas Stars
Gurianov may be a riskier pick but I’m willing to take a chance on his potential. Gurianov never stops moving, always trying to create a play. He’s got a great shot and his quick release deceives goalies. Like I said before there is risk but the reward could be huge.
15. Kyle Connor/Left Winger/Winnipeg Jets
Connor is a very smart player. He is ahead of everyone on the ice. He has speed and a good shot. Connor is off to Michigan next year where he should develop nicely. He has potential to be a top line winger.
16. Jake Debrusk/Left Winger/Boston Bruins
Debrusk is a hard worker willing to do whatever it takes to contribute. He’s a natural goal scorer and creates plays for his teammates. He has top six potential in the NHL and should be a solid contributor on the score sheet.
17. Brock Boeser/Right Winger/Vancouver Canucks
Brock Boeser is a strong forward using his size to his advantage. He plays hard down low creating scoring chances. He has a high potential and could be a sleeper late in your drafts. Boeser is off to Boston College next season.
18. Ilya Samsonov/Goalie/Washington Capitals
Ilya Samsonov is the best Goalie in this draft. He has size and athleticism which make for a great combination. He is signed in the KHL for the next three years which should allow him to fully develop into a number one Goalie before moving to North America.
19. Colin White/Center/Ottawa Senators
Colin White is a solid two way center that makes everyone around him better. He works hard and does anything to help his team win. He isn’t flashy but get the job done. White is headed to Boston College next year but I feel that he should be there for more than one year.
20. Travis Konecny/Right Winger/Philadelphia Flyers
Konecny is a smaller winger but you wouldn’t know that by the way he plays. He’s a grinding forward willing to go to the dirty areas. He has the skills too to come with it. Konecny projects to be a second line winger.
21. Joel Eriksson Ek/Center/Minnesota Wild
Eriksson Ek is a solid two way center. He is accountable in all zones and plays a smart game. He has size and skill to go along with it. He may take longer to develop but if he does he could be a great player.
22. Nick Merkley/Right Winger/Arizona Coyotes
Merkley has a high motor and will go to the dirty areas. He has smarts and skills which are a good combination. Merkley is a versatile being able to play center also. Merkley was a nice pickup for the Coyotes.
23. Jack Roslovic/Center/Winnipeg Jets
Roslovic isn’t a flashy player. He plays a smart game and he is good in all situations. He is versatile being able to play wing too. He projects to be a second or third liner but could have a very productive career.
24. Anthony Beauvillier/Left Winger/New York Islanders
The Islanders traded up to get Beauvillier and it was smart to do so. Beauvillier has very good hockey sense always looking to make plays. He is a hard worker and should be complimentary to any player he plays with. He and Barzal could be a solid duo for the Islanders.
25. Daniel Sprong/Right Winger/Pittsburgh Penguins
Sprong fell in the draft due to some concerns about his character. He is a fantastic player individually, possessing speed, skills, and a great shot. He needs to work better with his teammates which shouldn’t be a problem if he has the chance to play with Malkin or Crosby one day.
26. Jakub Zboril/Defenseman/Boston Bruins
Jakub Zboril is known to be a good puck mover. He has the smarts and is quick at the blue line. He should be on the Bruins soon with the departure of Dougie Hamilton and Zdeno Chara close to retirement. He projects to be second pairing defenseman.
27. Zach Senyshyn/Right Winger/Boston Bruins
Senyshyn, thought to be a reach pick in the draft, possesses good qualities in size, speed, and determination. It was only his first full season in the OHL and he still has room to grow. Iff he continues to progress he has the potential to become a top six forward in the NHL.
28. Christian Fischer/Right Winger/Arizona Coyotes
Fischer is a big forward that plays a smart two way game. He is fundamentally sound in all areas of the game. He uses his big frame to gain an advantage on his opponents, playing with some grit. He is headed to Notre Dame where he should continue to develop. I like his potential late in a rookie draft.
29. Thomas Chabot/Defenseman/Ottawa Senators
Chabot has progressed well throughout his career. He plays a strong two way game and has good mobility. He should continue to progress into a more offensive player which will help his stock. Chabot has potential as a second pairing defenseman.
30. Jeremy Bracco/Right Wing/Toronto Maple Leafs
Bracco was the last pick in the second round of the 2015 NHL draft but that doesn’t deter me from his talent. He’s a speedy and skilled winger. His size doesn’t affect his play. Bracco will likely play a couple of seasons at Boston College before jumping to the pro level.
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