2018 NHL Draft: OHL has Impact on First Round in Dallas

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Andrei Svechnikov
DALLAS, TX - JUNE 22: The Carolina Hurricanes draft Andrei Svechnikov in the first round of the 2018 NHL draft on June 22, 2018 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The 2018 NHL Draft is officially in the books.

78 players from the Canadian Hockey League found new NHL homes in Dallas. 13 of them heard their names called in the first round. Of those numbers, 35 of those names came from the Ontario Hockey League. The OHL also supplied seven first rounders.

Of those players, a select few will find themselves in the NHL next year. Most of them will be expected to play key roles for their clubs.

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the seven first-rounders from the OHL with our monthly power rankings as our jumping off point.

Player Pick
Andrei Svechnikov, Barrie Colts 2nd overall, Carolina Hurricanes
Barrett Hayton, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 5th overall, Arizona Coyotes
Evan Bouchard, London Knights 10th overall, Edmonton Oilers
Ty Dellandrea, Flint Firebirds 13th overall, Dallas Stars
Liam Foudy, London Knights 18th overall, Columbus Blue Jackets
Ryan Merkley, Guelph Storm 21st overall, San Jose Sharks
Rasmus Sandin, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 29th overall, Toronto Maple Leafs

2018 NHL Draft: OHL has Impact on First-Round in Dallas

2nd overall Andrei Svechnikov (Barrie Colts) – Carolina Hurricanes

Final TI Score: 103.5

Months in Top 10: October, DecemberJanuary, February, March

It was no surprise that the Carolina Hurricanes took the Barrie Colts forward second overall. Then it leaked that he was in Carolina for promo photography ahead of the draft. From the moment they found out they were picking second, the Hurricanes were locked in on Svechnikov and for good reason. He’s been a dynamic playmaker all year long, dominating any and all competition. He’ll score goals in bunches, and he’ll be fun to watch while doing it. If he was healthy all year long, he likely would’ve topped the power rankings each month. His 1.63 points-per-game average would have resulted in a 111 point outburst over a 68 game regular season.

(Way too early) Will he be back: Unless something truly surprising happens, he’s Carolina bound.

5th overall Barrett Hayton (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds) – Arizona Coyotes

Final TI Score: 86.5

Months in Top 10: October, November, December, January, February, March

The Arizona Coyotes made a bit of a shocking move when they picked up Hayton at fifth overall. Hayton never had an overly dominant stretch this season, but putting up 60 points in 63 games on a stacked Soo team is impressive. He has a bigger frame that will fill out well, and with increased ice time next year his production should skyrocket. His faceoffs need work (50% last year), but that’s another aspect of his game that will get better with an increased role next year.

(Way too early) Will he be back: There isn’t any real reason to push him through the system. The Coyotes were patient with OHL alum Dylan Strome and that should pay off in 2018/19. Other young forwards block his way, and he’d benefit from at least another season in junior.

10th overall Evan Bouchard (London Knights) – Edmonton Oilers

Final TI Score: 123

Months in Top 10: November, December, January, February, March

Bouchard was the most dominant player in our monthly power rankings. He was a slow starter, missing out on the top ten in the first month. After that though, he was unstoppable. He scored a 20 or higher on the TI index in four out of the last five months. He also owned a stranglehold on number one. He’s used to being the feature guy in London, playing a ton of minutes each night. His offensive game overshadowed his work in his own end, but there’s no doubt he’s the best all-around blueliner coming out of the OHL this season.

(Way too early) Will he be back: This is interesting. The biggest thing Bouchard has going for him is his maturity. His late birthday meant he got three years of junior before being draft eligible. That could ultimately help him make the Oilers this year. At this point, he looks like a prime candidate for a nine-game test.

13th overall Ty Dellandrea (Flint Firebirds) – Dallas Stars

Final TI Score: 63.5

Months in Top 10: October

Speaking of surprises, Ty Dellandrea may be one of them. He may also be the perfect example of a quality talent, overshadowed by a struggling team. Dellandrea was dangerous in all aspects of the game for Flint. He was two points (59) shy of the team lead, while leading the Firebirds in goals (27). He was second among draft eligibles in shorthanded points (5), 5th in goals, and 10th in power play points (19). His numbers were ultimately hindered by a team that was two points shy of last in the OHL. His -30 also contributed to his lower TI Score.

(Way too early) Will he be back: Odds are that Dellandrea finds himself back in the OHL for at least another season. Whether or not that’s in Flint though could be an interesting conversation. He should garner some heavy interest on the trade market, and would be a high-end get for a Memorial Cup contender.

18th overall Liam Foudy (London Knights) – Columbus Blue Jackets

Final TI Score: 55

Months in Top 10: None

This one was a head-turner too, but Columbus may just be ahead of the curve. Foudy has the lowest TI Score of any player selected in the first round. In fact, he wasn’t even able to crack the honourable mentions. However, Foudy had one of the most dramatic improvements over the second half of the season. Foudy scored two goals in the first month of the season and finished November with three goals and two assists. His scores over the first three months of the season? -0.5, 2 and 6. He jumped to 22 in January, doubled it the next month, and finished the season at 55. His seven shorthanded points paced all draft eligibles and finished the year with 24 goals and 40 points after his slow start. There will be a lot of attention paid to his development next year.

(Way too early) Will he be back: Maybe Foudy’s astronomical rise continues. If it does, what a story. Right now though, the smart money is on him being back in the Green and Gold.

21st overall Ryan Merkley (Guelph Storm) – San Jose Sharks

Final TI Score: 71.5

Months in Top 10: October, November, December, January, February, March

The curious case of Ryan Merkley is well-documented. He’s a top talent in the 2018 NHL Draft. That much is undeniable. If you were drafting on skating and skill,  I’m convinced he would have gone in the top five. But character concerns and off-ice questions have followed him since his draft-eligible season began. When he went first overall in his OHL Draft, Merkley compared going to Guelph to being drafted by Detroit in the NHL. While they haven’t had the same success as the Wings, San Jose offers similar things in terms of structure. That structure starts with head coach Pete DeBoer and assistant Steve Spott. People sometimes forget that these players are still just 18 years old. It’s unfair to write anyone off in any walk of life at such a young age, and Merkley has the perfect opportunity ahead of him to change how people view him.

(Way too early) Will he be back: No matter what he shows in development and training camp, Merkley needs a chance to mature among players his own age. He’ll learn a thing or two from Joe Thornton and Brent Burns in San Jose during camp, and hopefully, he can apply that back in junior.

29th overall Rasmus Sandin (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds) – Toronto Maple Leafs

Final TI Score: 72.5

Months in Top 10: December, January, February, March

Talk about stealing the show. After coming over to the OHL in late October, Sandin was a fixture in the power rankings and on the Soo’s blueline. He was a constant point producer on the blueline, filling a big role for the Greyhounds. In January, when some first-year players may slow down, Sandin kept pushing, soaking up big minutes in Conor Timmins‘ absence. He showed some signs of slowing with just six points across the Western Conference and OHL Final, but he still has the potential to be a steal at 29. Don’t discount the intel that Kyle Dubas likely got from his old stomping grounds either.

(Way too early) Will he be back: The Maple Leafs are looking for solutions on their blueline, but they’re after mature ones. They’ll let Sandin develop at his own pace, whether that’s in the Soo or Sweden. There seems to be conflicting reports on where at his point.

 

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