Some players from the 2018 NHL Entry Draft are starting to make an impact around the league. Others have failed to meet the expectations of a first round pick. 3 years after the draft we’re starting to get a better idea of which teams nailed their draft picks, which, in retrospect, gives us an idea of which players should have been off the board way earlier than they actually were. I’ve gone ahead and redrafted the top 10 the way I see it in hindsight. It’s a fun way to think about what could’ve been if these players had ended up with different teams. The players original draft position is next to his name in parentheses.
#1 Buffalo – Andrei Svechnikov (2)
Svechnikov is the most potent offensive threat from this draft, having scored at least 20 goals in his first two regular seasons, as well as 7 goals and 12 points in 15 playoff games. At just 20 years old he’s already a trendsetter, the first NHL player to score the lacrosse style “Michigan” goal, and the only one to do it twice. He’s the first and only player drafted in 2018 to score 100 NHL points so far.
#2 Carolina – Quinn Hughes (7)
The second most potent offensive threat from 2018 is a defenseman. Hughes doesn’t score goals like Svechnikov but he piles up assists. He has 64 of them in 91 career games. In last years playoff, he was the most valuable Canucks player in the bubble, posting 16 points in 17 contests. If the Canucks are to turn this year around, Hughes will be the catalyst, and he could very well jump Svechnikov on this list.
#3 Montreal – Rasmus Dahlin (1)
The first overall pick falls to number three here. He just hasn’t been quite as impressive as Hughes, but is an extremely productive blueliner in his own right. He has 87 points, more than Hughes, but also significantly more games played with 151. He has no NHL playoff experience.
#4 Ottawa – Brady Tkachuk (4)
Brady stays put at number four, as he has proven to be an identity player for the Senators. The Scottsdale, AZ native is closing in on 100 career points, currently sitting at 99 just 17 games into this year. The hard working, hard hitting winger has 206 PIMS in 159 games, and no NHL playoff experience.
#5 Arizona – Joel Farabee (14)
The biggest mover in this re-draft, Farabee has had ups and downs in his young career but has managed to hold a roster spot in a very deep Flyers forward group. With 33 points in 65 regular season games, the American forward has shown top 6 scoring talent and a strong two way game. He collected 3 goals and 5 points in 12 games in the 2020 playoff bubble.
#6 Detroit – Jesperi Kotkaniemi (3)
Falling three spots here, Kotkaniemi has shown flashes of brilliance through 130 games with Montreal, but the streaky forward’s 49 points isn’t enough to displace the forwards that come before him in this re-draft. Continued improvement for this young center will find him higher on this list as time goes on.
#7 Vancouver – Noah Dobson (12)
Canadian defenseman Noah Dobson has fit in well with the Islanders at this stage in his career. He plays a sound game in his own end like the rest of his team, and he’s chipped in a fair share offensively with 13 points in 47 regular season games. He dressed for one playoff game in 2020, failing to record a point.
#8 Chicago – Adam Boqvist (8)
Boqvist once again checks in at number eight. The smooth skating Swedish rearguard isn’t quite as defensively sound as Dobson, but has higher offensive upside. The coveted RHD has only collected 3 assists since the NHL returned last year, and failed to record a point in 8 playoff games, but as the Blackhawks improve around him, Boqvist’s numbers will resume climbing.
#9 Rangers – Filip Zadina (6)
Czech winger Filip Zadina torched the QMJHL in his draft year with 44 goals and 82 points in 57 games. His offensive touch hasn’t quite translated to the NHL yet, but his defensive game is rounding out well this season. With 22 points in 46 career games and a plus rating this year, Zadina is one of the few bright spots on the Detroit roster.
#10 Edmonton – K’Andre Miller (22)
I called Farabee the biggest mover because this is more of a biased pick, but I have watched every game Miller has played in the NHL and there is no way he is only the 22nd best player from this draft. For one thing he made it to the NHL before fellow Ranger selection Vitali Kravtsov, who was the actual 9th overall pick. He’s shown impeccable hockey IQ through 14 games so far and has collected his first career goal and 3 assists. He’s fast, he’s strong, and I whole heartedly believe we could look back at this draft 10 years from now and seriously debate if Miller is better than Hughes. It’s a small sample size but Miller looks like a future Norris Trophy winner so far, and may prove to be the steal of the 2018 Draft.
Two honorable mentions who were middle round picks that have shown promise in their young careers are Blackhawks C Philipp Kurashev (120) and Devils C Yegor Sharangovich (141). Kurashev has 5 goals and 8 points in 16 games with Chicago (He just dangled on a breakaway as I’m finishing this up) and Sharangovich has 2 big goals and an assist in 10 games for New Jersey. These two clubs have maybe found the best value for the picks in the whole draft. These two rookies look just as talented as names in the top 10 at times.