NHL Draft 2018: Team-by-Team Results, Grades and Analysis

Franklin Steele@FranklinSteeleAnalyst IIJune 24, 2018

Have you ever seen Ken Holland or Kris Draper look more thrilled?
Have you ever seen Ken Holland or Kris Draper look more thrilled?Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press

Anyone who thought that pandemonium would reign supreme during the 2018 NHL draft was sorely let down by the two-day event. Heading into the weekend, we were all under the impression that, as Chris Peters of ESPN tweeted, we should expect the unexpected.

The reality was far more not with a bang but a whimper.

Sure, we got the five-player deal between the Calgary Flames and Carolina Hurricanes. But fans were hoping to see Erik Karlsson traded, not Dougie Hamilton—for the second time in the past four drafts, no less.

SiriusXM NHL Network @SiriusXMNHL

TRADE ALERT - **MAJOR MOVE** CALGARY GETS: Noah Hanifin and Elias Lindholm CAROLINA GETS: Dougie Hamilton, Michael Ferland and Adam Fox #NHLDraft18

After the dust settled, it was clear that the 2018 draft will likely be remembered as the year Rasmus Dahlin was taken first overall. Certain fanbases could be peeved at their respective general managers for reaching past consensus early picks for players who were ranked lower, but that's the case every year.

For a comprehensive look at each and every selection made over the weekend, head over to NHL.com.

Here we will assign each team an overall grade, identify their top selection and then examine the three organizations that gained the most at the draft.

Teams in the A range either had an outstanding player slip to them or managed to select more than one guy well after he was projected. B squads did well with their respective selections when it came to adding value, while there's nothing wrong with earning a C here—that's just average.

Organizations that earned a D of some kind generally traded out of the first two or three rounds or didn't have a pick until later and whiffed it.

We didn't fail anyone because these are all teenagers, and each one of them has a chance to become the next Jamie Benn (129th overall), Henrik Lundqvist (205th), Pavel Datsyuk (171st) or Pekka Rinne (258th in a round that doesn't exist anymore). After all, that's what makes the draft so fun. You just never know.

Feel free to sound off in the comments section and let us know who you think crushed it and who you think got left out in the cold.

DALLAS, TX - JUNE 22:  Brady Tkachuk reacts after being selected fourth overall by the Ottawa Senators during the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center on June 22, 2018 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images


2018 NHL Draft Grades

Anaheim Ducks: B- (Top pick: Isac Lundestrom)

Arizona Coyotes: C+ (Top pick: Barrett Hayton)

Boston Bruins: C (Top pick: Axel Andersson)

Buffalo Sabres: A (Top pick: Rasmus Dahlin)

Calgary Flames: C- (Top pick: Martin Pospisil)

Carolina Hurricanes: A- (Top pick: Andrei Svechnikov)

Chicago Blackhawks: A (Top pick: Adam Boqvist)

Colorado Avalanche: B (Top pick: Martin Kaut)

Columbus Blue Jackets: C+ (Top pick: Liam Foudy)

Dallas Stars: C- (Top pick: Ty Dellandrea)

Detroit Red Wings: A+ (Top pick: Filip Zadina)

Edmonton Oilers: A- (Top pick: Evan Bouchard)

Florida Panthers: B+ (Top pick: Grigori Denisenko)

Los Angeles Kings: B (Top pick: Rasmus Kupari)

Minnesota Wild: D (Top pick: Filip Johansson )

Montreal Canadiens: C+ (Top pick: Jesperi Kotkaniemi)

Nashville Predators: D (Top pick: Jachym Kondelik)

New Jersey Devils: B (Top pick: Ty Smith)

New York Islanders: A+ (Top pick: Oliver Wahlstrom)

New York Rangers: B- (Top pick: Vitali Kravtsov)

Ottawa Senators: C+ (Top pick: Brady Tkachuk)

Philadelphia Flyers: B (Top pick: Joel Farabee)

Pittsburgh Penguins: B- (Top pick: Calen Addison)

San Jose Sharks: B (Top pick: Ryan Merkley)

St. Louis Blues: B (Top pick: Dominik Bokk)

Tampa Bay Lightning: C (Top pick: Gabriel Fortier)

Toronto Maple Leafs: B (Top pick: Rasmus Sandin)

Vancouver Canucks: A (Top pick: Quintin Hughes)

Vegas Golden Knights: C (Top pick: Ivan Morozov)

Washington Capitals: B (Top pick: Alexander Alexeyev)

Winnipeg Jets: D+ (Top pick: David Gustafsson)


Teams That Had Outstanding 2018 NHL Drafts

New York Islanders

It could be argued that no team had a better draft than the New York Islanders. Yes, the Buffalo Sabres and Carolina Hurricanes added legit game-breaking talent with the first two selections, but New York secured a tremendous amount of talent considering where they picked in round one and beyond.

Oliver Wahlstrom was unexpectedly available at No. 11, while the Islanders also managed to snag defensemen Noah Dobson with the 12th overall pick. It's the kind of one-two punch that could pay massive, Stanley Cup-sized dividends.

As teams like the Arizona Coyotes, Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens reached and drafted based on need in the top five, the Islanders were in the perfect spot to catch most of the windfall with pick Nos. 11 and 12.

If Wahlstrom and Dobson were the only sliders who landed in New York's lap, they would probably still get an "A" for the draft. Getting projected first-round pick Bode Wilde a third of the way into Round 2 was just gravy.

Daniel J. Friedman @DanJFriedman

Mark my words: Bode Wilde was the steal of the draft. Great get by the Islanders.

"I don't think we could be more pleased with how it turned out," new general manager Lou Lamoriello told NHL.com following the draft.

Ya don't say, Lou. Ya don't say.


Detroit Red Wings

The Detroit Red Wings were in a more immediate vicinity to Montreal and Arizona reaching for players in the top five, so they ended up getting a forward who could become the best goal scorer of the 2018 draft class in the windfall.

With the No. 6 pick.

Filip Zadina's slide out of the top-three—let alone the top five—was something virtually no one predicted. Yet the winning-culture-starved Senators coveted Brady Tkachuk, Montreal hopes they drafted the center they need in Jesperi Kotkaniemi while the Coyotes continued to march to their own drum by selecting Barrett Hayton.

That left the door open for the Red Wings to add Zadina—an opportunity that their director of amateur scouting, Tyler Wright, said shocked him.

Helene St. James @HeleneStJames

Director of amateur scouting Tyler Wright said he began to think Red Wings could snag get Filip Zadina at 6th when Montreal drafted Jesperi Kotkaniemi at 3rd. Still, it was "a little bit of a shock" to be able to get Zadina.

General manager Ken Holland was also thrilled with the selection, telling the NHL Network the following Friday night (h/t to Ansar Khan of MLive.com for the transcription): "Obviously, we thought Zadina would go in the top five, and we're certainly thrilled to get him. You always need scoring, and then obviously with Joe Veleno, we got great speed. ... So a great draft for us so far in the first round. We're happy with two high-skilled players."

At one point, Veleno seemed destined to be a lottery pick. He was granted exceptional status by the QMJHL, which allowed him to enter the league a year early. Other players who were granted this rare honor include Connor McDavid, John Tavares and Aaron Ekblad, so expectations were clearly high for the center.

While he didn't quite live up to that hype this season, he played much better following a midseason trade, and the Red Wings couldn't pass on him at No. 30. It was the kind of draft that can not only jumpstart a rebuild but push it years ahead of schedule.


Chicago Blackhawks

The 2017-18 season was a disappointing one for the Chicago Blackhawks. They missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008 and had a longer offseason than usual to prepare for this draft.

It seems that the organization has realized that it needs to get quicker and more skilled on the blue line because the Blackhawks selected not one but two possible top-four defenders in the first round.

Mark Potash @MarkPotash

The Blackhawks haven't drafted an eventual top-4 defenseman since Niklas Hjalmarsson in 2005. But they're trying harder than ever: They've now drafted four defensemen in the first two rounds over the past three years, including 17-year-old Swede Adam Boqvist at No. 8 tonight.

Adam Boqvist was another player who slid because of the odd way the top five played out, and Chicago secured his services with the No. 8 pick. He's frequently compared to Erik Karlsson, and that's a ton of upside for a player taken outside of the first few selections.

While fallers forced the Red Wings away from defensemen they likely would have drafted, the way the top 10 unfolded allowed the Hawks to add a potential offensive stud in Boqvist.

They weren't done adding skill to their back end, though, using the No. 27 pick on Nicolas Beaudin. While not as electric as Boqvist, he still knows how to get things done in the offensive zone.

General manager Stan Bowman spoke to Jimmy Greenfield of the Chicago Tribune and had this to say about Beaudin"He really came on strong this year, I thought especially the second half. Had a chance to see him play in the playoffs, and I was impressed with his game. He has a lot of poise, he has a lot of smarts. He can do it all."

With Duncan Keith turning 35 in July and Brent Seabrook struggling to remain effective, the Blackhawks had a dire need to add even more skilled defensemen to their farm system and did just that at the draft.