Seeing the Chicago Blackhawks outside the playoffs was weird but not unexpected. Several years of Stanley Cup runs, including three championship victories – catches up to you eventually. It also doesn’t help that Stan Bowman lost it a little last offseason with the Brandon Saad and Niklas Hjalmarsson trades, but that’s another conversation.
The 2018 Draft will be a good way to add some youth and incredible skill and it should start with Wahlstrom. He’s a natural goal scorer who put up 22 and 48 goal performances in the USHL and USDP respectively. The things he is able to do with the puck are indicative of the kind of confidence he has.
Wahlstrom’s play in his own zone will need some improving, as what comes with all young players, but there is a lot to like about him.
Yet another European first-rounder for the Rangers, who have transitioned from a perennial contender to a team who will be building up their farm system and continue to develop their young players.
The Rangers aren’t going to go through your typical strip it down and build it back up type rebuild, but instead will attempt to rebuild on the fly like the Boston Bruins have successfully done.
With young pieces like Lias Andersson, Pavel Buchnevich, Mika Zibanejad, Brady Skjei and Vladislav Namestnikov, the Rangers are in a position to own the draft floor with their bevy of young picks and youngsters, and wouldn’t be shocked if this pick was in play.
But if they stay here, look for them to use the pick on the Finnish centre who is flying up draft boards. A two-way centre, Kotkaniemi reminds me of former Ranger Artem Anisimov.
Boqvist is on the board still at this point. But tell me that Smith doesn’t have Oilers pick written all over him?
The Lloydminster, SK. native would be loved by the Western Canadian fanbase. On top of that, he is a very skilled defender who played with 2017 Oilers pick Kailer Yamamoto in Spokane and wore a letter for the team.
Peter Chiarelli has said that the Oilers need a power-play ace. But they are likely to address that need through a trade.
It’s a toss-up as to whether they will even keep the pick. But if they do, the Oilers should be looking to help the blueline.