With Philadelphia being deep at center throughout their organization with players such as Giroux, Couturier, Konecny, Schenn, Rubtsov, and Laberge, they pass on Nolan Patrick and select the best all around defenseman in the draft. He’ll be a nice 1-2 punch with former 7th overall pick, Ivan Provorov.
3.) Dallas: D Cale Makar
In a tough decision, Dallas selects Makar at #3 overall. He’s a future top pairing defenseman with loads of offensive skill. Makar has drawn some comparisons to Erik Karlsson. Dallas is tempted to take Patrick, but ultimately selects their potential franchise #1 defenseman.
4.) Colorado: C Nolan Patrick
Unlike the first 3 teams, Colorado won’t pass on Patrick and select the best available player. He’ll provide a deadly 1-2 up the middle with former #1 overall pick Nathan MacKinnon. Patrick likely plays in the NHL next season filling in Matt Duchene’s skates as Colorado deals him for blueline help.
5.) Vancouver: C/W Gabe Vilardi
Vancouver adds to their young forward group by selecting Vilardi at #5 overall. The Sedin’s still have 2-4 really good seasons left in the tank. By that time, forwards such as Boeser, Vilardi, Goldobin, etc will be ready to take over Vancouver’s offense.
6.) Las Vegas: C Cody Glass
The NHL’s newest team is looking to build through the draft and they’ll start by selecting their potential #1 center, Cody Glass. Glass has the puck skills, hockey IQ, and offensive awareness to become a future #1 C.
7.) Arizona: RW/LW Kristian Vesalainen
Vesalainen would round out an already very impressive future forward core for the Yotes. He’s big and very skilled, a perfect fit in Arizona.
8.) Buffalo: C Casey Mittelstadt
Buffalo selects Mittelstadt at 8 overall, potentially a great pick. Already loaded with future offensive threats, Mittelstadt will be a good asset value to the franchise.
9.) Detroit: C Martin Necas
Detroit painfully needs to add good, young forwards to their franchise. Necas will be a great fit in motor city. Arguably the best skating forward in the draft.
10.) Florida: C Michael Rasmussen
Rasmussen, who could potentially evolve into a winger in the NHL, will provide size and offensive talent up front for the Cats.
11.) Los Angeles: C Elias Pettersson
LA desperately needs more youth in their organization. Pettersson is a potential top 6 center that could slide to the wing. He’ll fit in LA nicely.
12.) Carolina: C Robert Thomas
With the 12th slection in the draft, the Canes take Thomas. Thomas will be a good two way center in the NHL. I see him as a top 6 center in the future.
13.) Winnipeg: C Nick Suzuki
Suzuki adds to a great, and I mean great, crop of Winnipeg prospects. They will be a high powered offensive team for years to come in the very near future, Suzuki will help to contribute to that.
14.) Tampa Bay: RW Owen Tippett
Tampa selects Tippett at 14 overall; a steal considering most mock drafts had him going top 5 throughout this season.
15.) NY Islanders: D Jusso Valimaki
Valimaki is an offensive defenseman with a good shot. Likely a potential top 4 defenseman in the NHL, Isles select a versatile defenseman at 15.
16.) Calgary: D Timothy Liljegren
The smooth skating defenseman was supposed to be a top 3 pick at the beginning of the season but after a few setbacks this year, Calgary snags him at 16. Future QB of Calgary’s PP for years to come. One of, if not, the best skater in the draft.
17.) Toronto: D Conor Timmins
Toronto adds one of the best defenseman in the CHL to their origination at 17. Give him 2 years and he’ll be ready to be on the cup contending Leafs.
18.) Boston: C Ryan Poehling
Poehling is a typical Bruin, big, tough, and has a solid 2 way game. This pick is a lock at 18.
19.) San Jose: D Urho Vaakanainen
Battling with Liljengren throughout the season, Vaamanainen eventually gets picked at 19. San Jose is a good fit for him as a player. He’s likely to be a top 4 defenseman, but there is upside to become a top pairing guy.
20.) St. Louis: C Lias Andersson
Andersson’s size makes him slip due to his style of game. The 5’11 center plays a physical, all around game and possesses good offensive skill. Andersson fits an orginizational need for STL at center and will fit nicely.
21.) NY Rangers: C Josh Norris
This American center has a potential top 6 center skill set. Going into his freshman season at Michigan, there’s no rush for Norris to develop.
22.) Edmonton: D Cal Foote
The 6’4 defenseman has offensive talent, producing 57 points last year in the WHL. Foote is a good defender that will fit well in Edmonton and he’ll be NHL ready in time for their potential dynasty begins.
23.) Arizona via MIN: D Erik Brannstrom
One of my personal favorites in the draft, the 5’9 offensive defenseman lands in Arizona at #23. His offensive upside is through the roof. If he can round out his defensive game (see Ryan Ellis), Brannstrom could be a very good defender for years to come.
24.) Columbus: RW Eeli Tolvanen
The USHL sniper was thought to be a top 10 pick before the season. C’bus steals him st 24 overall. Adds to the growing youth talent up front for the jackets.
25.) Montreal: C Morgan Frost
A lot of offensive skill for a center drafted 25 overall. Still light but once he gains his weight, Frost will be a good player in the NHL.
26.) Chicago: C Filip Chytil
The 6’2 center will add needed offensive skill to a group of Blackhawks prospects.
27.) St. Louis via WSH: RW/LW Klim Kostin
In what could potentially be the steal of the draft, the Blues select a potential 1st line winger, Klim Kostin. The risk in this is the fact that if things don’t go as planned, Kostin could return to the KHL faster than Patrick Kane’s cab driver spells the word “help”.
28.) Ottawa: LW Isaac Ratcliffe
The 6’6 winger still needs to develop his raw skill set, but could become a force in the future.
29.) Dallas via ANA: G Jake Oettinger
Safe pick here, many scouts believe the best goalie in the draft will start in the NHL in the future.
30.) Nashville: RW Jesper Boqvist
Boqvist could potentially fit right in for the Preds. Solid forward with good awareness.
31.) Pittsburgh: D Nicolas Hague
Huge defenseman with a huge shot. Pittsburgh seems set up front for years to come, Hague looks to compliment the future D core of the Pens.
Thanks for reading my 2018 NHL Mock Draft. Let me know all of your thoughts, opinions, and comments by tweeting me @Palazzola_RTN.