Editor’s Note- Before I turn it over to Sens97, I just wanted to take a moment to thank him for his incredible work on these last two articles. For those that missed it, you can see the first submission here. The time and effort that goes into putting this posts together should not be underestimated and it is very much appreciated during an otherwise quiet time of the year.? We can only hope that the Ottawa’s Scouting Staff is putting in this kind of work into their final list. Thanks again, Sens97!
Time for the second edition of an in-depth look at the 2018 draft. In this edition well be looking at the players expected to go around where the Sens will pick at 22nd and a few names in the later rounds.
While there’s always a chance they acquire additional picks in the draft, as of this morning they are currently holding the 22nd, 95th, 126th, 157th, 188th and 194th picks. Let’s take a closer look at some of their options with each of those picks.
1st Round (22nd overall)
Niagara Ice Dogs, OHL
Thomas I will admit is one of my favourite prospects of the 2018 NHL Entry draft. He’s a very interesting prospect because he is an elite play-maker however he still has a very good shot. His biggest strength is his vision of the ice and passing ability. Thomas has great mobility with the puck, good acceleration and really good skater. Thomas has very strong edge work and can control the puck at higher speeds or stick handle in tight situations. He does very well on the power play down low and can run in in a way that resembles Backstrom. Thomas does have his weaknesses. His overall play needs to be a bit more consistent through the regular season. He had a weak U18 World Championship with Canada and was hurt after only four games. Thomas could add more muscle and strength before he hits the pro level and could probably use another two seasons in the OHL before transitioning to the pro level. These are issues that I would consider small fixes that can be addressed before transitioning into the NHL. They tend to come with maturation, guidance and coaching from an NHL developmental staff. One last fun fact about Akil Thomas is that he has actually created and helps run a successful clothing line company called Zale Apparel with a friend.
Traktor Chelyabinsk, KHL
I know what you’re thinking- the Sens haven’t drafted a Russian player since 2007. Well it’s time for that to change in 2018. Kravtsov is a big strong winger who had become more dominant in the KHL playoffs surpassing his KHL regular season point totals of 7 points in 35 games. Kravtsov is a dynamic talent. He has a fantastic shot that is both hard and accurate. He has very good straight line speed and generates good scoring chances on breakaways or two on ones. He may not be a household name now because he wasn’t selected by the Russian Olympic National team or the World Junior team but make no mistake he’s an extremely skilled player that is only scratching the surface of his potential. If he is still on the board at 22 the Senators should think long and hard about drafting Vitali Kravtsov.
V?xj? Lakers HC J20, Super Elite
An extremely skilled winger who is originally from Germany but is currently playing in the Swedish hockey system. Bokk has played in the Swedish junior league and put up fantastic numbers for a player in his first season in Sweden. He didn’t put up the same numbers as a guy like Jonatan Berggren however that’s to be expected as this is his first season in a much more competitive league. He played well enough to get 15 games in the SHL this season. Bokk has great hands and skill with the puck, his skill is very dynamic and fun to watch. Bokks weakness is his lack of physicality and his defensive game could use some work. He may be more of a longer term prospect that could use three more years of development before getting games at the NHL level. I believe Bokk can be a top six forward at the NHL level who can play on the power play and in an offensive role.
Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, OHL
Rasmus Sandin came over at the beginning of the 2017/2018 from R?gle BK in the SHL to join the power house Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Sandin is a two-way defenseman who maintains a real good gap control when defending in the neutral and defensive zone. He’s strong defensively but also is very good offensively. Sandin has great vision and poise with the puck allowing him to set his teammates up with quality passes. He makes quick decisions with the puck allowing his teammates to get the jump on unsuspecting goalies by making crisp tape to tape passes to teammates in high danger scoring areas. His skating isn’t elite however I don’t think it will be an issue transitioning to the pro level. His shot is very good from the point and I believe he could be a fine addition to an NHL power play at some point. I believe Sandin projects to be a top four defenseman with good offensive upside, however he`ll be more of a supporting player rather than a number one guy.
Honourable mentions to K`Andre Miller, Alexander Alexeyev, Calen Addison and Jonathan Berggren.
4th Round (95th Overall)
Baie-Comeau Drakkar, QMJHL
Fortier is a left wing two way winger playing in the QMJHL. He’s only 5’10” and didn’t put up fantastic numbers in the Q this past season (59 points in 66 games) however the skill is there. Fortier is a very good goal scorer finishing third on his team in goals and knows where to be around the net to get good chances. His shot is good and his skating is pretty good. I believe Fortier will be a middle six forward at the NHL level but will need a few years to develop.
Honorable mentions to Blake McLaughlin, Pavel Gogolev and Jakub Skarek.
5th Round (126th overall)
Sheffield Steelers, EIHL
Left Wing/ Center
Liam Kirk is the only player projected to be draft this coming draft that actually comes from England. Kirk is a skill forward who finished his first pro season coming out of the EIHL, a pro league in London. He has silky smooth hands and a fantastic shot with a quick release. Kirk is more of a scorer and an offensive player. His defence could use some work and he could put on some more strength however I think the raw skill is there to overcome his minor weaknesses. Kirk plans on coming to the CHL next season if he is selected in the import draft. Ottawa actually interviewed Kirk at the draft combine so he may be one to watch in the mid to late rounds of the draft.
Honorable mentions Aidan Dudas and Axel Andersson.
6th Round (157th overall)
Bryn?s IF J20, Super Elite
I have to be honest I doubt Samuel will still be around this late into the draft however if he is the Sens could have an absolute steal. Samuel is a goalie out of Sweden and is the 7th ranked European goalie from Central Scouting. Goalies in the draft tend to be very unpredictable and can pretty much be drafted anywhere. Samuel is a very interested goalie because he has pretty fantastic stats going back his entire career in Sweden. He started all the games for his J20 club except six. He’s very positionally sound and plays mostly at the edge of his crease. He’s very calm and poised the net and doesn’t often overreact. If Samuel does indeed fall this far the Sens should seriously consider taking this net minder.
7th round (188th and 194th overall)
Okotoks Oilers, AJHL
Austin Wong, a Harvard commit, is a very interesting prospect for a late round pick. Wong has skill and put nearly a point per game as a 17 year old in the AJHL. He’s a pretty good two way player but what makes him so interesting is his feistiness and grit. While Wong has the skill as he put up 25 goals in 55 games but he also finished with 235 penalty minutes. He’s not afraid to get under the opposing teams top players skin and drop the gloves against. I’ve heard him been compared to guys like Gallagher or Darcy Tucker because of his height and skill set. In the 6th or 7th round he might be worth a gamble on.
Krasnaya Armiya Moskva, MHL
Iskhakov is a small (5’7”) skilled winger from the MHL in Russia. He has very good hands and hockey sense. Iskhakov put up pretty decent MHL numbers and finished 6th in scoring on his team with 30 points in 33 games. Iskhakov is likely to fall this far for a couple of reasons, he’s extremely undersized, and he’s playing in Russia. I believe the skill is there to be an NHL player and in the 7th round I wouldn’t mind seeing the Sens take a gamble on a player whose very low risk but could be high reward with the right development.