Ramblings: My take on the 2018 Top 5 Draft picks, Sunday’s action and more (Apr 30)


I had planned to provide in-depth commentary on what Rasmus Dahlin will mean to his new team the Buffalo Sabres, but after reading Ian’s take yesterday (here) there is really nothing more to add. I think he nailed it. The Cole’s notes: don’t expect immediate miracles; do expect Rasmus Ristolainen to lose PP time but improve his plus/minus; do expect Dahlin to round into a top-scoring NHL defenseman eventually.

So let’s discuss Andrei Svechnikov’s impact on the Hurricanes. This team will already have two of the following three prospects making the jump: Martin Necas, Warren Foegele and Valentin Zykov. All three impressed during cups of coffee this past season, but I don’t believe an established team like Carolina will have four rookie forwards. I think you can cap it at two and maybe a third rookie join in the middle of the season. If all three of them just won’t be denied, I think there’s a chance that Svechnikov could be this year’s Jonathan Drouin. That is to say, there is a chance that he just rips up junior for another season and makes the jump a year later. That risk exists – he’s not a shoe-in. The ‘Canes will be saying goodbye to Lee Stempniak and possibly Derek Ryan. Joakim Nordstrom is an RFA but I wonder if he’s even worth qualifying, given the talent that’s on the way. If Svechnikov makes the team, my hunch is that he won’t be shooting out the lights en route to a 60-point Calder-worthy season. Instead, something conservative in the mid-40s. This is just the wrong team for him to make an early impact – Montreal would have been better for first-year results.

So the Habs are looking at Quinn Hughes, a lefty rearguard with high-end wheels who can run a power play. Just what the doctor ordered for this team. And despite all the jokes going around the Internet – Marc Bergevin has learned his lesson about trading young high-end defensemen. He’ll keep this one. Normally I would say, on about 20 other teams, that they would push to get him signed and turn pro. One thing to keep in mind here is that Quinn’s younger brother Jack is looking to play for Michigan and so the possibility of playing a year with his brother is a factor here. But that aside, many teams would push for him to turn pro and put him straight on their team. Montreal? Look at Mikhail Sergachev and Noah Juulsen – both players had to go back to their respective leagues for at least another year. Would the Habs guarantee a roster spot to Hughes? With that track record I wonder. And without the guarantee, the temptation to play a year with his brother may be too tempting.


After the Top 3, the next two are likely either Filip Zadina (RW) and Adam Boqvist (RHD), at least according to Cam Robinson’s wonderful draft ranking. He has Zadina ranked fourth, but since it’s Ottawa’s pick and Erik Karlsson is likely entering his final season there (I’m not yet ready to commit to his being dealt at the Draft, I think it will be midseason), it’s time to draft the heir-apparent. And before we say that “he could never produce anything close to Karlsson”, keep in mind that Boqvist is only 17 years old. So his potential is through the roof. We won’t truly get a handle on his ceiling for another two years, so far all we know he could be exactly that. Hell, we didn’t think this 18-year-old kid drafted 15th overall in 2008 could produce what Erik Karlsson is producing either. But that actually was Erik Karlsson! Given Boqvist’s age, he will season in the SHL for a year and make the jump in 2019-20. A seamless transition from the Karlsson era to the Boqvist era?

Ottawa fans – you slipped from second down to fourth. But to be honest, I like this fourth pick for your team a lot better. You can take solace in that. Yes you can. Shut up, you can. Trust me.

That leaves Zadina for Arizona at five. After the Top 3, I don’t think any of the players make the jump next season. I’m not saying none will – I’m only saying I wouldn’t bet on it, even if the odds were very favourable.


You can get all the deets on prospects in my Fantasy Prospects Report, which is out on June 1 and available for presale this coming Tuesday. I’m writing over 190 of the player profiles myself, with Peter Harling, Cam Robinson and 14 other writers filling in the other 300 or so drafted and draft-eligible players. From a fantasy hockey standpoint. If you’re in a keeper league, I don’t know how you do without this.


One thing the Penguins can do to stop the Capitals is to ask Matt Murray to stop giving up a goal two seconds in all the time. At least, that’s what it seems like. Just 1:26 into Sunday’s game, and I believe it was 17 seconds into the first game. Murray gave up a goal 2:15 into the sixth game against the Flyers, too.

Lars Eller picked up three assists and now has five points in eight games. That puts him sixth on the team in scoring. Not a bad little throw-in I grabbed in February just for the playoff help, and will drop in September.

The stars have come to play for the Caps in these playoffs – Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Nicklas Backstrom and John Carlson each have more than a point per game. And Braden Holtby is boasting a 1.95 GAA and 0.932 SV% in seven games. There can’t be any complaints in that department, the stars are shining. It’s the postseason, so points-per-game averages generally drop. But these stars have each watched those averages rise and the goaltender’s numbers are great. If they lose the series, they just got beat by a better team.

I noticed Zach Aston-Reese a lot in the game. Was surprised to see he had just 7:35 of ice time, as I would have guessed 12 or 13 minutes easily. He was noticeable in a good way. He had three SOG and four Hits, each good for second among forwards. Plus a blocked shot. I wonder if he can steal Conor Sheary’s spot? They deserve to swap. Playoff hockey is not for little Sheary at all.

Brian Dumoulin left the game after taking this hit from Tom Wilson. He is questionable for Game 3:

If Dumoulin is out, Jamie Oleksiak will take over as Kris Letang’s D partner and Matt Hunwick will draw back into the lineup.

Evgeni Malkin practiced with the Penguins and was on their PP unit Saturday. So he’s clearly very close to returning.


Pekka Rinne stopped 46 of 50 shots to help Nashville win in double OT. The Jets tied it with a minute left. I bring this up because the Jets managed only 19 shots in the first game, so they were no longer stifled.

Nashville needs to put a guy on Brandon Tanev. Scoring machine! Seriously though, as if the Jets don’t have enough firepower now they have one of their depth guys putting pucks in the net. Tanev has goals in three straight games.

Mathieu Perreault is closing in a return to action and I suspect we will see him in Game 3. He was knocked out of the first game of the playoffs with a UBI.

The Victor Arvidsson – Ryan JohansenFilip Forsberg line struck for eight points. Now that his sophomore campaign is over, one which I consider a “slump”, I expect Arvidsson to have a big year next season. Jake Guentzel is another one – these guys are coming off weak seasons (versus expectations) and I think in 2018-19 they meet those expectations.


The Jacob Josefson era is finally over. He signed to play in the SHL next season. Initially had promise – I remember a guy in my league held him in such high regard he practically built a shrine for him. But injuries happened to him at the worst time, plus he was probably rushed into the NHL. And that stunted whatever potential he had.


And finally, huge announcement: Eric Daoust has now made live the amazing player profile pages. I invite you to click a name above and see the NEW easy-to-navigate profile pages. These have all the info you need to research a player quickly for your fantasy hockey league. It really does have it all – and now the info is easy to sift through and lightning-quick to load. We're only just getting started – this summer is going to see lots of great upgrades and fixes to the Dobber Sports Network!


See you next week