NHL Central Scouting released their preliminary players to watch for the upcoming 2018 NHL Draft season on Tuesday morning. With it came a brief look at the top prospects coming into the season.
At the top of the list are the obvious standouts including highly regarded Swedish defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, as well as Andrei Svechnikov (import), Joseph Veleno, and Ty Smith, all former number one overall selection from respective CHL leagues.
2018 NHL Draft: Standouts From Central Scouting’s Players to Watch List
Clearly, those are skaters that were bound to end up on the top of the list based on reputation alone. There are other top prospects that didn’t quite make it into the spotlight. These are skaters that do not have an “A” rating from Central Scouting, but could potentially rise to that level in the coming season.
Bode Wilde (D, USNTDP)
Bode Wilde may be 6’2″ and 195 lbs, but for a defenceman, he has the incredible agility and quick feet of a first-round prospect. The Michigan commit has room to grow on the offensive side of possession. In his own zone and on the breakout he is already very comfortable.
Playing with the US National Team Development Program allows him to face steady competition. This will hopefully push him into growing a bit more as a puck mover and complete defenceman.
Jett Woo (D, Moose Jaw Warriors, WHL)
Not only is Jett Woo an A+ name, but his playmaking ability should also receive straight As. He has tremendous hands and is a really underrated puck mover. He is smaller for a defenseman at 5’11”, but packs a punch with his 205 lbs, as listed by NHL Central Scouting.
Woo also seems to be developing a high caliber shot which could turn him into a quality power play quarterback. He is bound to have a breakout year with Moose Jaw, so maybe Woo, too, can jump to round one potential, instead of round two… My apologies for the alliteration.
Jack McBain (C, Toronto Jr. Canadiens, OJHL)
It is a little puzzling that power forward Jack McBain couldn’t nab an “A” grade from Central Scouting. He already has a solid frame. He has a nice shot and creates room for himself to use it.
His skating is a trait that can be improved, as McBain has admitted to Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News, and unfortunately for him, it is a trait that is highly regarded by scouts. Fortunately, McBain has the power to improve on acceleration with ease. Look for him to rise high in the midterm rankings.
Nando Eggenberger (LW, HC Davos, Swiss)
Another large framed forward in Nando Eggenberger was left off of the “A-list” from Central Scouting but is poised to make a jump when the midterm rankings come around. Eggenberger, who is not far behind Jett Woo in the 2018 NHL Draft name rankings, put up decent numbers last season with Davos as a rookie and should but combining his skill and size to rack up even more this season.
He has a nice set of hands and quick feet but still room to improve on decision making. An impressive season could set him up for a chance to be a first-round selection.
Linus Nassen (C, Frolunda, SHL)
Not to be confused with the defenseman Linus Nassen, who was taken in the 3rd round of the 2017 NHL Draft; Frolunda property Linus Nassen had a bit of an underrated appearance for Sweden in the 2016 U17 World Hockey Challenge. He scored a big goal when he opened the scoring for the Swedes in the gold medal final.
Nassen is undersized and lacking defensive skills, but he has tremendous offensive ability and instinct. If he can build on his strength and stability he should be a potential steal in the draft.
It is way too early to make decisions on final rankings for the 2018 NHL Draft; however, this should provide some information on prospects that were not at the top of the list and that could make headlines later in the season.
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