The 2018 NHL Draft is right around the corner, but before Friday we will take a look at which prospects might rank based on their positions. This piece looks at wingers.
#1.) Andrei Svechnikov, Barrie Colts (OHL)
The consensus first forward that will be drafted come Friday. There is no situation in which Svechnikov cannot create a scoring chance from. A tremendous shot that allowed him to score 40 goals in 44 games this past season with Barrie along with his smooth stick work that fools everyone on the ice.
#2.) Filip Zadina, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
Zadina is another playmaker that just seems to find a way to get the puck on net. Whether it is from his wicked shot, or from a effortless separation move that results in open ice not only for him but for his teammates as well.
#3.) Oliver Wahlstrom, U-18 (USNDTP)
A dynamite skater that has terrific scoring ability. Knows what he is doing with the puck before it hits his stick. Lateral movement is fantastic and uses it to his advantage in tight spaces and down low. Has a knack for scoring goals and producing points.
#4.) Joel Farabee, U-18 (USNDTP)
Farabee put up big numbers with the U.S Development team as a high energy winger. His 76 point season was large in part due to his fight to get to the outside and blaze past sleeping defenders, or set up teammates with strong tape-to-tape saucers from tough angles.
#5.) Brady Tkachuk, Boston University (HE)
Tkachuk has received a lot of heat during the latter half of the year but that does not stop him from ranking as a first round prospect. He is a strong power forward that does create a lot of scoring chances with his determination and hands. Does not have the best stride and skating ability but keeps up with competition during hard shorthanded minutes.
#6.) Dominik Bokk, Vaxjo J20 (Superelit)
It is too bad for Sabres fans that Bokk has recently caught hype from the hockey community. If he is available at 32, the team could potentially pick up a delightful winger that has a lethal shot and blows by the defense on the outside. Makes defenders dizzy with some truly fascinating moves.
#7.) Grigori Denisenko, Loko Yaroslavl (MHL)
Another offensive dynamo at the early rounds of the draft. Quick, deceptive, soft hands that open things up for his teammates. Powerful legs on the offensive side of the puck. May be considered one dimensional but is dominant in that facet of the game at times.
#8.) Vitali Kravtsov, Chelyabinsk (KHL)
Fast moving winger that uses his frame to separate himself in the offensive zone. Blasts pucks on net with a very quick release. Heavy on the forecheck but is late the other way at times.
#9.) Martin Kaut, Pardubice (Extraliga)
Kaut was at his best during the World Juniors this past season. It was there that we saw the powerplay specialist showcase his playmaking ability. Finds a way to find the open man no matter what.
#10.) Serron Noel, Oshawa Generals (OHL)
A power forward that takes advantage of a huge 6’5” and 209lb frame. Mashes on the forecheck and then finds the open ice in order to cash in scoring chances. In transition he can move with speed after some strides and that is with or without the puck.
#11.) Blake McLaughlin, Chicago Steel (USHL)
Decent production with the Chicago Steel was because of McLaughlin’s vision and silky smooth hands that find the open man and lead teammates to open spaces. He be playing at the University of Minnesota next year which will aid him in his physical game and develop his skating as well.
#!2.) Jonatan Berggren, Skelleftea J20 (Superelit)
This Swedish playmaker put up really good numbers at the Superelit level this past season. 18 goals and 39 assists in 38 games for Skelleftea J20 for a small, but speedy skater that acts as a consistent set-up man.
#13.) Jesse Ylonen, Espoo United (Mestis)
Ylonen has a tremendous set of hands and feet that create scoring chances either in the zone or even on the rush. Always moving and looking for the open spaces. Fantastic in transition and will even finish from time to time.
#14.) Matej Svoboda, Kometa Brno U20 (ELJ)
Svoboda caught steam during the latter half of the year as a power forward that intimidates the opposition with his physical side but also his offensive skills. Holds a very strong shot that can be used from distance.
#15.) Dmitry Zavgorodniy, Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL)
Makes big time plays at both ends of the ice. Pots pucks with his super accurate shot and plays a physical game despite the small frame. Not afraid to share the puck even through tight spaces. Contributes when shorthanded. A very creative hockey mind. Could be a steal this year.
#16.) Ivan Muranov, HK MVD (MHL)
A strong skating power forward that is strong on the forecheck in order to cause turnovers. Gets to the open spots on the attack and waits to finish. Puts power on his shot that comes from a lightning quick release.
#17.) Cole Fonstad, Prince Albert Raiders (WHL)
Cole Fonstad had a breakout year in Prince Albert this season with 73 points in 72 games. Fonstad has a really smooth stride and his all around intuition in-game is what puts him ahead of the competition. His soft hands complement his passing ability.
#18.) Michal Kvasnica, Trinec U20 (ELJ)
A two-way winger that plays a rather quiet but effective game. Can be powerful on the boards but also makes plays with his stick at both ends of the ice. Gets up and down the ice quickly, but needs some strides.
#19.) Blade Jenkins, Saginaw Spirit (OHL)
A heavy winger with a very good shot from close and medium distances. Goes hard into the boards to disrupt on the forecheck, Finds open ice to finish.
#20.) Nando Eggenberger, Davos (NLA)
Eggenberger is not only armed with one of the deadliest names in the draft, but he has a deadly shot to boot. Really plays the position well at both ends of the ice. Creates turnovers but has had troubles getting up in transition.
#21.) Jonathan Gruden, U-18 (USNDTP)
A good two-way winger that really shows what he is all about on special teams. Plays on the penalty kill and can be effective and plays on the powerplay where he acts as a very creative and consistent set-up man. Loves to make the intriguing yet effective play to create a scoring chance.
#22.) Kirill Marchenko, Mamonty Yugry (MHL)
Quick feet and power are what make Marchenko successful. Really gets to the right angles to fire off hard, accurate shots. Goes in hard on the forecheck. Confident in transition.
#23.) Niklas Nordgren, HIFK (Liiga)
A raw but skilled winger that beats defenders with a flurry of dekes and agility. Can go to the outside and perhaps look for a set-up, but can also make a defender look silly and blow to the inside. Lacks skating ability that others in the draft have.
#24.) Gustav Lindberg, Vasteras J20 (Superelit)
A shooter that finds the openings he needs to pick corners with his quick feet. One dimensional, but could stand out as a prospect that can score a lot of goals with the right people.
#25.) Vladislav Kotkov, Chicoutimi Sagueneens (QMJHL)
A towering body on the outside. Makes some creative and unexpected stickhandles from time to time. More of a two-way forward than a power forward, but does position himself well on the penalty kill. Uses a long stick to create turnovers. If he can develop his shot he could become a really intriguing prospect.