The second day of the draft was underway Saturday in Dallas, and here are some of the picks to keep an eye on, potential sleepers and some interesting stories from the other six rounds of selections.
The 2018 Draft is now in the books and there is a lot to go over. The following is a quick look at some of my favorite selections per round, plus some themes and fun little anecdotes from the day. As always, the real work is just about to begin for all the kids drafted and for those who didn’t hear their names called, this is not the end of the road. Let’s do this round by round.
The Ottawa Senators gave themselves a nice little narrative in the second round by selecting Jonny Tychonick from BCHL Penticton. The Sens already had fellow blueliner Jacob Bernard-Docker from late in the first and the Alberta Jr. A product happens to be good friends with Tychonick. They’ve played together in tournaments as a pairing and both are committed to the University of North Dakota next season.
“I think Ottawa did that as plan,” Tychonick said. “I don’t know…I hope. Next year we’re going to the same school and now we’re drafted by the same team. Coincidence? I don’t know.”
Washington had two selections in a row and I feel like they didn’t get enough value in those positions. For a team with a weak system (which is fine right now since they just won the Stanley Cup, but still), I don’t see Martin Fehervary and Kody Clark as home runs.
Tampa Bay has made a habit of finding diamonds in the draft and I have to wonder if Gabriel Fortier is another steal. Fortier is an undersized battler with great speed who plays for Baie-Comeau in the QMJHL. Could be a nice middle-six winger in a few years.
Colorado did some nice work in Round 3, starting with netminder Justus Annunen. The big Finn was hot at the world under-18s, helping Suomi to the gold medal. He also fills a big need for the Avs, who don’t have much in their netminding pipeline. Later on, Colorado got some nice value in USHLer Sampo Ranta, a potential first-rounder bound for the University of Wisconsin. Ranta is a blazing skater who just needs to learn the game on a higher level.
Hometown stories are always fun and Detroit got one in defenseman Alec Regula, a big defenseman with OHL London who ended up on a pairing with first-rounder Evan Bouchard. Regula’s father is a dentist who actually worked with the Red Wings in the past. So, is he cool with his son playing hockey?
“Yeah, he’s cool with me playing hockey,” Regula said with a laugh. “As long as I have my mouthguard.”
Alexander Khovanov was one of the more intriguing picks this year, as the Russian import brought a lot of skill, but not necessarily a lot of effort to the ice. His season was also shipwrecked by a summer vacation that saw him contract Hepatitis, costing him a ton of games with Moncton, his new team. Minnesota took the plunge at No. 86 and I’m sure they hope the rewards outweigh the risks. At least Khovanov is returning to Moncton next year – this isn’t a Kirill Kaprizov situation (yet).
Calgary caught my eye in the fourth round by drafting Minnesota high schooler Demetrios Koumontzis. The Arizona State commit doesn’t have a ton of size, but he’s sturdy and wins battles, plus he can put up big points. He’s a long-term prospect of course, but worth the pick.
One of my favorite Minnesota high schoolers this season was Jack Perbix, who combines nice skills with a nasty disposition. Anaheim snagged the Notre Dame commit’s rights.
Host team Dallas had a strong draft, too. In Round 4, they got behemoth center Curtis Douglas from OHL Windsor, a player who is still on a steep incline. They also grabbed more of a known quantity in re-entry pick Adam Mascherin, who turned down a contract from the Florida Panthers. Will the Stars have better luck?
Two-way defenseman Wyatte Wylie of the WHL’s Everett Silvertips went to Philadelphia and brought a cool tie-in, as he played some of his minor hockey in Dallas, just like Red Wings pick Ryan O’Reilly. Wylie is from Everett, Wash., originally, and joining the Dallas Stars Elite program was a big step in his development.
“I was 15 and it was my first time away from home,” Wylie said. “It was nerve-wracking, but the family I stayed with turned into my second family. I visit all the time, so it was a good experience.”
Spencer Stastney was a favorite of mine this year, but I wasn’t sure if I just saw his best games. He’s a physical D-man with some offense committed to Notre Dame. Nashville ended up grabbing Stastney 131st and I think Preds fans are going to like him.
Big run on goalies in the sixth round, including Kevin Mandolese, Jared Moe and Alexis Gravel. Jacob Ingham also heard his name called after a really tough season with OHL Mississauga. Ingham has a great frame and athleticism, but this will be a big summer for him. His draft year really seemed to be a mental grind.
“It taught me a lot of resiliency,” Ingham said. “Coming off a previous season where we went to the OHL final, then losing in the first round, it was tough. It was a lot of ups and downs for myself and it taught me a lot.”
New Jersey got a nice potential sleeper in center Mitchell Hoelscher. The Ottawa 67s center is a smart puck distributor who will take on a bigger role next year and really came on this season.
The seventh round was all about the good stories. British national Liam Kirk found an NHL home with Arizona, making history for his country in the process. Elsewhere, big Jakov Novak from NAHL Janesville was scooped up by Ottawa. Novak is a Bentley commit and from my recollection, the first ever to be drafted by an NHL franchise.
Another cool storyline was the Krygier twins, Christian and Cole. The two bruising blueliners are the sons of former NHLer Todd Krygier and ended up being taken by the Islanders (Christian) and Panthers (Cole) just a few picks apart.
In terms of value, I love Calgary getting Rimouski’s Dmitry Zavgorodny. He’s a smaller guy, but with his smarts and will, there could be something there in a few years.
I also loved Austin Wong going to Winnipeg. He was another favorite of mine and even though his skating mechanics need work, he’s a terror on the ice. The Harvard commit is physical, agitating and he can score.
The final pick went to Washington, who scooped up Saskatoon’s Eric Florchuk at No. 217. We had him top-100 in Draft Preview and he’s got sneaky-good speed.