With hockey season getting underway, it’s time for scouts to start focusing on the 2018 NHL Draft. Future Considerations has piled up the scouting reports and here is a look at the top five skaters to play in Europe last season, heading into 2018.
Rasmus Dahlin, D, Frolunda HC (SHL), 6’2”, 181, 04-13-2000
Dahlin, the top skater in Future Considerations’ Preliminary ranking for the 2018 NHL Draft, is the early favorite to be the first overall pick at the next NHL Draft. Dahlin recorded 22 points in 24 games in the Swedish U20 league, and added three points in 26 games for Frolunda in the Swedish Elite League last season. “He has adapted to pro-hockey exceptionally well, and is very poised and confident with the puck,” Future Considerations’ scout Dennis Schellenberg said. “Dahlin can play a physical game as well, and has a lot of hockey smarts. He is a very intriguing prospect.”
Filip Zadina, LW, HC Dynamo Pardubice (Czech), 6’0”, 198, 11-27-1999
Zadina, third in Future Considerations’ preliminary ranking and the second-ranked European skater, is set up to have a great season in his draft year. While playing in the Czech U20 league last season, Zadina recorded 18 points in 20 games, and added two points in 25 games in the Czech Elite League. “He possesses good size, very good puck skills, and above average offensive skills,” said Schellenberg. “He has strong playmaking skills, and above average vision which helps him set up plays. He’s a strong puck handler too, he uses his long reach to create turnovers and protect the puck.” Zadina will make the jump to the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL as a likely replacement for Nico Hischier, who was selected first overall by the New Jersey Devils in the 2017 draft.
Adam Boqvist, D, Brynas IF J20 (SuperElit), 5’11”, 170, 08-15-200
Boqvist, ranked 14th, scored four goals and added 12 assists in 18 games for Brynas IF J20 last season. “He was probably one of the top players at the Hlinka Memorial tournament,” Schellenberg said. “He has outstanding puck moving skills, hockey smarts and an overall understanding of the game. He is also a very strong skater, shows great mobility, is smooth on his skates and possesses a good top speed with which he can escape from opponents with just few quick strides.”
Alexander Khovanov, C, Irbis Kazan (MHL), 5’11”,179, 04-12-2000
Khovanov, ranked 16th, scored eight goals and 14 assists in 29 games last season and will remain in Russia another season. “Khovanov possesses silky smooth hands and can handle the puck with above-average skill,” Schellenberg said. “He makes smart plays with the puck and has the ability to both set up and finish off plays, he is very patient and has the ability to thread the needle with the puck through traffic.”
Vladislav Kotkov, LW, Krasnaya Armiya Moskva (MHL), 6’4”, 198, 01-08-2000
Kotkov, ranked 20th, recorded three points in 19 games played in the MHL last season and has the potential to make a big splash heading into 2018. “He is a big, strong prospect who plays the power forward type of game,” Schellenberg said. “He protects the puck nicely using his big frame, and likes to throw around his body delivering crunchy hits. He likes to create havoc in the crease where it is difficult to jostle him around because of his strong balance.” Kotkov will look to use his physicality and size to help him dominate the QMJHL as he will be joining the Chicoutimi Sagueneens for the upcoming season.