One thing that quickly becomes evident upon reading my draft rankings, is that I like offense. Offensive instincts are damn near impossible to teach and many players develop positional and defensive savvy later into their careers. Draft as much talent as you can and add in size/defensive players/grit later on would be my strategy if I had a vote (spoiler: I don’t).

As I am unable to catch each of these players live, this list is based more upon the research of others opinions as well as analytical work done in the field of prospects. Much like Lowetide’s list, mine heavily relies on NHLE, which although is a crude translation of offensive production certainly advances the discussion.

On Saturday, during rounds 2-7, I predict that we will see a lot of over-sized yet under-skilled players get drafted in favour of severely undersized players who actually put up points.

For the Montreal Canadiens, sorry, the Edmonton Oilers at four, I would much rather see one of the defencemen get taken, in order to address a positional need. Sure the Oilers are flush with left shot defensemen, but are any expected to be legit number one guys? Perhaps Klefbom but that remains to be seen.

As the season wore on I became less and less certain about which D was the top D, and at this point would be thrilled if the Oilers got any of the big 3.

Overall, this draft starts out as above average with three NHL ready prospects but drops off to below average in the 20’s. Nevertheless, like all drafts, there are steals to be had.

1 Auston Matthews, RW, Zurich (NLA)  1
The franchise C that the Leafs have been looking for.
2 Patrik Laine, LW, Tappara Tampere (SM-liiga)  2
Best shooter since Ovechkin? Probably
3 Jesse Puljujärvi, RW, Kärpät (SM-liiga)  3
supposedly better off the rush than Laine. These top three are all excellent.
4 Pierre-Luc Dubois, F, Cape Breton (QMJHL)  5
Big scorer, with a nasty side. Questions about his high PIMs.
5 Mikhail Sergachev, D, Windsor (OHL)  7
After most of the year having Chychrun as the top D, I couldn’t resist the offensive ability.
6 Matthew Tkachuk, LW, London (OHL)  6
Questions about his primary points
7 Jacob Chychrun, D, Sarnia (OHL)  4
Amazing skater, didn’t have the greatest year but has all the tools to be an elite defenseman.
8 Olli Juolevi, D, London (OHL)  9
Best passing D-man among the big 3. Brilliant mind.
9 Clayton Keller, C, US-Under-18 (USAH-NTDP)   14
American Marner? Undersized.
10 Tyson Jost, C, Penticton (BCHL) (18) 18
Canada’s best player at the U18. Shouldn’t be any concerns about him playing in the BCHL this year.
11 Alex DeBrincat, RW, Erie (OHL) 10
Back to back 50 goal seasons cannot be ignored. Very small but has succeeded at every level.
12 Logan Brown, C, Windsor (OHL) 16
Huge C. Had a great second half. Needs to use his shot more.
13 Alexander Nylander, LW, AIK (Allsvenskan) 8
Uber skilled but questions around his production on an Elite line.
14 Dante Fabbro, D, Penticton (BCHL) 13
Needs to get a lot stronger before he’s NHL ready but highly skilled.
15 Charles McAvoy, D, US-Under-18 (USAH-NTDP) 12
Had a great first year in College. Not overly tall but Thick.
16 Jake Bean, D, Calgary Hitmen (WHL) 11
Offensive upside with the best of them but is both short and stringy.
17 Keiffer Bellows, C,  US-Under-18 (USAH-NTDP) 20
The finisher for Keller’s passes this year.
18 Vitali Abramov, RW, Gatineau (QMJHL) 19
Magician with the puck. Corey Pronman loves him others have question about his size.
19 German Rubtsov, C, Vityaz Podolsk HC (Rus Jr) 21
Never seen him play. Scouts say he’s a strong two-way C
20 Luke Kunin, C, Wisconsin 23
Highlight reel potential
21 Michael McLeod, C, Mississauga (OHL) 15
Blazing fast skater but doesn’t adjust his speed to the play according to Mark Edwards
22 Julien Gauthier, RW, Val-d’Or (QMJHL) 17
Massive and thick. Brilliant scorer on a loaded team.
23 Tage Thompson, UCONN, NCAA NR
Huge and has offensive ability
24 Taylor Raddysh, RW, Erie (OHL) 25
Power Forward type
25 Max Jones, LW, London (OHL) 36
Big power forward with consistency issues
26 Nathan Bastien, C, Mississauga (OHL) 41
The third piece on the Steelheads top line. Definitely the third best
27 Adam Mascherin, C, Kitchener (OHL) 22
Small but aggressive and highly skilled
28 Cam Dineen, D, North Bay (OHL) 30
High offensive production.
29 Rasmus Asplund, C, Färjestad BK (Sweden) 38
Pro numbers are hard to suss out for the second wave of European players, but he has a lot of buzz
30 Will Bitten, C, Flint (OHL) 42
Performed well through a tough experience in Flint this year.
31 Brett Howden, LW, Moose Jaw (WHL) 27
Once he fills out could be a force
32 David Quenneville, D, Medicine Hat (WHL) 28
I’m definitely over rating him (This is the highest you will ever see him and he may not even get drafted) but is 5’8″ that much smaller than Spurgeon or Ryan Ellis? Both of whom are top-pairing D-men despite their size. He plays bigger than he is and has a great point shot.
33 Samuel Girard, D, Shawinigan (QMJHL) 34
Gaudy point totals but is undersized, and scouts don’t like his defensive play.
34 Jonathan Dahlen, C, Timra IK (SHL) NR
Good draft for swedish forwards
35 Adam Fox, D, US-Under-18 (USAH-NTDP) 46
Could be a dynamic offensive defenceman. Undersized
36 Tyler Benson, LW, Vancouver (WHL) 29
Never lived up to his high billing and struggled through injuries.
37 Frederic Allard, D, Chicoutimi (QMJHL) 39
Described as a more aggressive Justin Schultz!!
38 Carl Grundström, F, Modo Hockey (SHL) 32
Solid pro numbers. Disappointing at WJC
39 Cameron Morrison, LW, Youngstown (USHL) 43
Solid USHL number and has great size. Surprised there’s not more buzz around him.
40 Luke Green, D, Saint John (QMJHL) 45
Mobile and didn’t get the prime minutes on the Saint John blue line
41 Boris Katchouk, LW, S.S. Marie (OHL) NR
Scouts love his hard-working style. Expect he’ll go a bit higher
42 Pascal Laberge, C, Victoriaville (QMJHL) 33
He needs to get stronger but plays a solid two-way game with high offensive upside.
43 Dillon Dubé, C, Kelowna (WHL) 35
I’m not sure if he’ll be a C at the NHL level but the skills is there.
44 Dmitry Sokolov, F, Sudbury (OHL) NR
Terrible Sudbury team yet he managed to put up solid numbers. 30 goal scorer who dropped from beginning of the year. Could be a home run in the third round.
45 Sam Steel, C, Regina (WHL) 47
disappointing year but had a good playoffs.
46 Noah Gregor, C, Moose Jaw (WHL) 48
Great set of hands. Nephew of Jason Gregor.
47 Logan Stanley, D, Windsor (OHL) 31
Giant with lots of hype. Good straight forward skater, but history suggests defensive D-men in Junior rarely pan out.
48 Maxime Fortier, RW, Halifax (QMJHL) NR
Another smallish forward but the point totals are there.
49 Markus Niemeläinen, D, Saginaw (OHL) 37
Big and strong but also loves to rush the puck. Respectable point totals considering his weak team.
50 Filip Hronek, D, Czech NR
Top rated Euro D-man by Central Scouting. Really slender but can move the puck.
51 Kyle Maksimovich, LW, Erie (OHL) NR
No one can ever accuse me of having a size bias. Over a point per game player deserves a sniff in the second or third round despite 5’9″ size.
52 Janne Kuokkanen, LW, Karpat (Fin-Jr)
Some seem to think that he could be the steal of the draft.
53 Victor Mete, D, London (OHL) NR
Have I gone too far with the undersized mobile defencemen? Should impress in a bigger role with London next year.
54 Jordan Kyrou, C, Sarnia (OHL)
Many have him higher than I do but he does not possess great size or offensive totals.
55 Dennis Cholowski, D, Chilliwack (BCHL)
Another BCHL player. Less impressive offense.
56 Kale Clague, D, Brandon, (WHL)
Had a great second half after falling off on scouts lists.
57 Filip Berglund, D, Skelleftea (SEL) NR
intriguing numbers over in Sweden
58 Tobias Eder, RW, Germany NR
Best player for Germany at U18
59 Sebastian Aho, D, Skelleftea (SHL) NR
Skipped over in previous draft
60 Adam Brooks, C, Regina (CHL) NR
Undersized overager. But the Point totals. May be worth an invite to a prospect camp