The draft lottery certainly changes a few things. The Devils are still drafting at #17 and, hopefully, Shero will be able to acquire a pick in the second or third round, as the class of 2018 is heavy on the top organizational need of defensemen. 1 Buffalo LD R. Dahlin a no-brainer if there ever was one, the Sabres are thinner at LD than any team in the NHL and Dahlin could be the top draft-eligible prospect at that position in the 21st century. 2 Carolina RW A. Svechnikov we're all talking about Buffalo, but Carolina has the softest top-6 F group in the NHL and Svechnikov is a huge and fast F with top-end two-way ability, grit and 40+ goal upside. 3 Montreal W F. Zadina a trade down candidate? The Rangers have a top 10 pick and 3 first rounders and Zadina is a future all-star scorer who showed unbelievable chemistry with NYR prospect Chytil at the WJC. Just remember you heard it here first. 4 Ottawa RD A. Boqvist this electrifying D prospect is an offensive whiz who is better in his own zone than many have credited him with being. Plays a similar style to current Sens franchise player Erik Karlsson, who he can learn a ton from very quickly. 5 Arizona LD Q. Hughes the fastest skater in the 2018 draft, he's a one-man breakout machine. Arizona is loaded with young talent at F but need to bolster the organizational pipeline on the blueline. 6 Detroit RD E. Bouchard the Wings 2017-18 blueline could best be described as 'horror-show'. Bouchard lacks the upside of some of the more dynamic 2018 D prospects, but is terrific two-ways, physical, has a cannon of a shot, and is close to NHL ready. 7 Vancouver LD T. Smith while Dahlin is far-and-away the class of the class of 2018, not much separates Hughes/Boqvist/Smith. They are all undersized, extremely fast, extremely smart, extremely skilled. While Smith is seen has having slightly less offensive upside than Hughes or Boqvist, he is the most willing to engage physically and the most advanced defensively. Vancouver is almost certainly drafting for D. 8 Chicago LW B. Tkachuk Keith Tkachuk's most talented son is a true wild card in this draft. He could go as early as #4, especially if Philly offers both of their first rounders to move up to Ottawa's pick (not rumored yet, but trust me). He might not have the pure scoring upside of a Zadina or Farabee, but his old-school mentally and brute physicality combined with his ability to play with top Fs make him a truly intriguing power F prospect. Chicago has lacked a power F with this much upside since they lost Byfuglien. 9 NY Rangers C J. Veleno if they are unable to land Zadina, the Rangers would still be thrilled to get the #1 C they have lacked for years. In a draft that is remarkably thin in high-end pivots, Veleno has it all -- prototypical size, high-end skating skills, top-line vision, outstanding two-way play. There is nothing not to love about this kid. 10 Edmonton RW O. Wahlstrom while there is certainly reasonable speculation that the Oilers will use their 1st rounder to address their blueline, they have a high-upside D prospect arriving next year in Ethan Bear and they need more weapons at wing to surround McDavid and Draisaitl with. Wahlstrom's scoring upside is immense -- he may turn out to be a better scorer than Zadina or Tkachuk. 11 NY Islanders LD N. Dobson the Isles must address the fact that they were last in the league in goals against. Dobson offers prototypical size, physicality and two-way play. Though Bouchard is further along now, many see Dobson as offering more upside due to his excellent speed, the singular trait which Bouchard lacks. 12 NY Islanders C B. Hayton many see Hayton as the second-coming of Patrice Bergeron -- extremely competitive and difficult to play against, a future shut-down pivot, and a kid with 50+ point upside. As noted before, the Isles need to cut down on the goals against. Even if they lose Tavares, Hayton would be an ideal #2C behind burgeoning superstar Mat Barzal. 13 Dallas W D. Bokk Stars GM Jim Nill has shown a propensity to fall in love with skyrocketing European forwards with off-the-charts offensive upside. Nichushkin, Gurianov. No one exemplifies this in the class of 2018 better than Bokk -- a young German with an electrifying arsenal of offensive tools. Seen as a second to third rounder prior to the 2017-18 campaign, Bokk's tantalizing show in the SHL has shot him up into the top-15 conversation. 14 Philadelphia C J. Kotkaniemi as stated before, the Flyers are loaded with top prospects and have a pair of first-rounders in 2018, making them a big candidate to trade up with a team with several holes to fill (Ottawa? Detroit?) to get a high-end prospect ready to make immediate impact. If not, Kotkaniemi is a versatile C/W who plays two-ways and has high-end passing and vision -- could wind up being an ideal and extremely valuable #2C. 15 Florida LW J. Farabee the Panthers future is bright with tons of young talent at C and D. Conversely, they are very thin at LW beyond middle-6 prospect Adam Mascherin. Farabee's skating/vision/playmaking shined this season on a line with Wahlstrom and 2019 top-overall-pick-slam-dunk Jack Hughes. He would also shine on a future top line in Florida with Sasha Barkov and 2017 top pick Owen Tippett. 16 Colorado LD J. McIsaac the Avs are desperate for defense, but last year they they addressed their hole on the right side of the blueline with two outstanding picks of Cale Maker and Conor Timmins. Unfortunately, Colorado is also a threat to take K'Andre Miller at #17, though they have not drafted any player from the US-NTDP since, you guessed it, Will Butcher. 17 NEW JERSEY DEVILS LD K'Andre Miller I know, I know. I keep saying it. But to me, Miller's upside is greater than top-10 candidates Bouchard, Dobson and Wilde -- and if he puts it all together he could be on par with or better than Boqvist/Hughes/Smith. Why? He is an outstanding skater, just an off-the-charts athlete. He can be ferociously physical with a huge hit in his own zone and then lead a dynamic rush in the offensive zone on the very same play. He's a big kid with a big heart and he's extremely smart. Most of the shortcomings in his came are a direct result of having only moved back from the wing a few seasons ago. With good coaching/development, I think K'Andre Miller has superstar, first-pairing upside -- a kid who can be a physical, shut-down guy in his own zone while scoring 50 points per year. As we all know, players like this are rare. 18 Columbus C/LW I. Lundestrom the Jackets keep losing in the playoffs for two reasons -- Tortorella's inability to adjust in-game strategy as a coach, and a lack of star-power up the middle. Lundestrom is a tremendous skater who plays a responsible two-way game which will keep him off Tortorella's #[email protected]%-list. 19 Philadelphia RW V. Kravtsov when your organization is loaded with prospects as GM Hextall has stocked the Flyers with, you need to swing for the fences at the draft. Aside from Bokk, no scoring winger will have more helium at the 2018 draft than Kravtsov, who many see as the Kucherov of this upcoming June. 20 LA Kings RD B. Wilde why do I have Bode lower than K'Andre when virtually every scouting site has them flipped? Because I have been watching them at the IIHF. It's not that I do not like Bode, it's that I love K'Andre. Wilde has ideal size, a penchant for physical play and absolutely jersey-flapping speed. His upside is huge, and the Kings need to bolster an aging blueline with some future prospects. 21 San Jose C/RW R. McLeod certain to be the second sibling of a Devils prospect to be taken in the 2018 first round, Ryan matches his older brother in every aspect of the game except he lacks Mikey's absolutely elite speed. McLeod has a very high floor, I see him as can't miss, and the Sharks need to get younger up front. 22 Ottawa RW S. Noel the Senators' "brain"-trust love the old-school power forwards, and 6'5-210 has been plying his trade for two years in nearby Oshawa. Though Noel's production on the scoresheets has yet to match the unlimited upside of his size/tremendous speed, a team with multiple first-rounders like Ottawa can afford to take such a chance. 23 Anaheim C/LW A. Thomas the Ducks traded us Vatanen for Henrique at a point in the season where they literally ran out of centers due to injury. In the future, Thomas will help them avoid such a dilemma. He's a buzz-saw of a player and impossible not to love -- fearless, smart, skilled with a non-stop motor. Just a dynamic talent who would go top 10 were it not for modest measurements of 5'10-165. 24 Minnesota C R. Kupari despite oozing depth, the Wild have been unable to match the star-power of their opponents in a litany of early playoff exits. They had no one to match the sheer dynamism of Scheifele/Laine/Connor/Wheeler/Ehlers in this year's loss to Winnipeg. While Kupari is a boom/bust type of prospect, his high-end offensive talent trails only Joe Veleno in 2018 draft-eligible pivots. 25 Toronto LD A. Alexeyev I think I've had Alexeyev to the Leafs since the autumn. Why? Loaded with young Fs, Toronto needs D, and Alexeyev is just a tremendous prospect who I believe would be a top-15 candidate were it not for an injury-marred 2017-18 campaign. A big kid, a fantastic skater, a tremendous puck-distributor, and so so smart. Just a perfect match here. 26 Washington LD R. Sandin the Caps window is quickly closing, and they need young help everywhere, especially at D where they could lose UFA John Carlson (hopefully to New Jersey). Sandin is sort of Ty Smith-lite -- smart, extremely mobile, great in the O zone and capable in his own. Many have him in the second round, but Sandin really impressed me every time I watched Sault Ste. Marie this year. 27 Detroit RD N. Lundkvist with the #6 pick overall and then three more picks between 27 and 36, the Wings can afford to take a few chances improving their blueline. Lundkvist has that dynamic skill set of a Samuel Girard or Victor Mete, and possibly even better wheels. 28 NY Rangers RW M. Kaut I know, I have pretty much the entire Czech Republic playing in MSG soon. But we're talking about yet another high end skill here who can one day pour in points in a top 6 role. Kaut really impressed in every international tourney he played in this year. 29 NY Rangers RD R. Merkley the hugest wild card in the 2018 draft, Merkley can look alternately like a top 5 pick and an historic bust, sometimes on the very same shift. His skating and offensive acumen are equal to or better than Boqvist/Hughes, both top 10 locks. But his play without the puck? Well, as anyone who knows me knows, I do not like to denigrate teenagers. So let's just say it needs help. A lot of help. 30 St. Louis LW G. Denisenko every year there is a Russian forward with top-scoring potential who slips through the cracks. This year I think it is Denisenko who drops. Despite elite vision/skating/offensive skill, he is a bit undersized and underscouted in Russia. But he is shifty, quick and smart -- he's got a lot of Panarin in his game. Just imagine that with Tarasenko on the other wing. 31 Chicago LD J. Tychonick this is one of those young, offensive defensemen that could really pay off if you're patient. He can fly and boasts high-end puck skill, and will fill out physically and mentally at a tremendous U. of North Dakota program for the next four years. Just because... 32 Buffalo RD J. Woo 33 Detroit C J. Wise 34 Florida RD C. Addison 35 Montreal C J. Olofsson 36 Detroit LD S. Demin 37 Vancouver RD J. Bernard-Docker 38 Montreal LD K. Bahl 39 NY Rangers C B. Groulx 40 Edmonton LD M. Samuelsson I'd love to hear the comments/commentaries/criticisms.