Last week I dove into my choices for the top 10 picks of the 2018 NHL draft. While some of you may have been surprised about Brady Tkachuk going second overall or Oliver Wahlstrom dropping all the way ninth, things may get even stranger for the next 10 picks of the draft. This week, I’m taking aim at picks 11-21.
11. New York Islanders- C Joseph Veleno
The Islanders have back to back picks to start their draft, so they could go with two starting caliber players if they so choose. Veleno, in my opinion, is deemed a high risk, high reward pick. Although he is one of the top players in this year’s draft, nobody really knows what to expect from him. His defensive play is fantastic and he is mature beyond his years, but his biggest knock is his lack of creativity when it comes to scoring goals. If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. . . right?
12. New York Islanders- D Bode Wilde
The Isles addressed the center position and now they need a true number one defender for their team. In comes Wilde, who has a huge upside. We may not see him right away but he has the size (6,2, 195) and skill to become quite the addition in 2020 for the Islanders.
13. Dallas Stars- D Noah Dobson
The Stars need help defensively more than they do offensively and with an aging group of guys Dobson is a no-brainer. Right up there with the likes of Quinn Hughes, Adam Boqvist and Evan Bouchard, Dobson will be able to make an immediate impact for the Stars and help to replace some of the older defensemen the Stars have. If he adds 10/20 lbs, he can be a force to be reckoned with on the back end for the Stars for many years to come.
14. Philadelphia Flyers- D Ty Smith
No Barrett Hayton here, no way. The Flyers already have a gajillion centers on their roster and they could benefit from having a defenseman outside of Shayne Gostisbehere and Ivan Provorov. Not to say their back end is bad, but they could definitely improve from Johnny Oduya.
15. Florida Panthers- C Barrett Hayton
The Panthers need some help offensively. Just last year, Jamoir Jagr was their leading point getter. Aleksander Barkov and Vincent Trocheck can’t do everything. Hayton could immediately fit in as a third/fourth line center and offer some stability for the Panthers lower half. After losing Jonathan Marchessault and Jamoir Jagr in the same offseason, they need to replenish.
16. Colorado Avalanche- D Rasmus Sandin
Currently the Av’s are a potential playoff team every year. With the insane amount of talent they have on the front end mixed with having one of the youngest rosters in the NHL, the only place they can go is up. However, they need someone that is going to grow with the team defensively. They have some young talent but Erik Johnson isn’t getting any younger and give it a few years and they’ll need all the help they can get. Sandin could step in as early as next year and become part of the prime years of the Avalanche’s rise tog lory.
17. New Jersey Devils- C/LW Issac Lundestrom
The Devils need help both defensively and offensively, but I decided to go offense here. The Devils had the Taylor Hall show last yearm but this year, they’ll add to their firepower of the future by taking Lundestrom.
18. Columbus Blue Jackets- C Rasmus Kupari
A hidden gem maybe Kupari needs some help absolutely, but he also can absolutely rip shots from anywhere on the ice. Imagine the Jackets having another sniper next to Panarin. Anyone remember the Kane/Panarin saga in Chicago and how glorious it was? The Jackets find their combo with Kupari.
19. Philadelphia Flyers- W Domink Bokk
Do you remember how I said the Flyers had five billion centers? Yeah, me too. It was five picks ago. Here, they take a winger, because why not add some serious offensive upside to an aging core group of guys. Bokk wouldn’t play this season but give him a few years and he has a chance to be a remarkable talent. The Flyers will need that once their aging core of players take the down turn of their careers. In steps Bokk, ready after a few year of polishing at the lower levels.
20. Los Angeles Kings- C/RW Jonatan Berggren
The Kings somehow find their way into the playoffs every year for some obscene reason. This year, however, they were blown up by a much younger, faster and overall better Las Vegas Golden Knights team. The Kings need to get younger. . . a lot younger. Much like the Blackhawks last year, the Kings are going to have to ALMOST start from scratch. Berggren may not be ready right this second but give him a year or two and start selling guys for way above market value (like the Hawks and Hartman) and the Kings could find themselves with a quick turnaround with Berggren paving the way for the future.
21. San Jose Sharks- C Ty Dellandrea
The biggest issue for the Sharks right now is getting younger. They were one of the oldest teams in the NHL this past season at 27.9 years old average. Dellandrea would help the Sharks when Joe Thorton finally decides to call it quits. The Sharks made the playoffs and were successful, but to get over the hump they need somebody like Dellandrea waiting in the wings to take over.
There you have it, picks 11-21 for the 2018 NHL draft. Next week we’ll cover the rest of the first round. For now, chomp at the bit waiting for the grand finale of the Chin Bin’s 2018 NHL draft picks.