AD's Top 25 American Players for the 2018 NHL Draft

This year is a strong year for the Americans overall. I can see anywhere from 6-8 players taken in the first round (4 possibly top 10-12) and a...
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  1. AmericanDream Adopted Canadian

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    Well, it is about that time I put out my annual top draft eligible list of Americans that I will surely be wrong on half of them lol!!

    I do want to add that this year is a strong year for the Americans overall. I can see anywhere from 6-8 players taken in the first round (4 possibly top 10-12) and a strong second round as well that should add another 8-10 names possibly getting their names called in June.

    This is a very strong draft for the USHL especially at forward. It has been a while since I have seen this many highly skilled forwards coming out of the USHL that are Non USNDP kids. Very impressive group IMO and a good sign of spreading out the talent throughout the league.

    Now to the good stuff, the list:

    #1. Oliver Wahlstrom - 6'1 205lbs - F - He is the top American player for me hands down. I understand the love for Tkachuk or those that think Hughes could be one of the most dynamic players for this draft, but for me, it is this kid that has wow'd me for years. Simply put, I feel he is one of the top 2 snipers in this draft. His skillset is off the charts, his vision, elite hands, and wheels are all star level. He is just a complete player for me. He wasn't getting ranked nearly as highly as he should have been early on last year, but now the secret is out and he seems to be right around #5 overall, but wouldn't surprise me if he went right after the big 3.

    #2. Brady Tkachuk - 6'3 196 lbs - F
    - Brady has his fair share of haters and fans on this board. Those that strictly look at stats are missing out on a hell of a player. I have no doubts he will be in the NHL either this coming season or the following. He has the size, character, and tenacity to be a pro player- he is a pain in the ass to play against but also has such nice hands and scoring ability that has gone so underrated. He goes top 5 in this draft, great start for USA Hockey to have him and Wahlstrom as future stars on the wing.

    #3. Joel Farabee - 6'0 164 lbs - F - Joel seems to be the odd man out typically in discussions on the USNDP, but make no mistake about it, this dynamo can do it all on the ice. He has been consistently ranked right around the top 10-12 all season long, and for good reason. Such a high IQ offensively, the player that makes his linemates better around him. He just does it all extremely well- a 200ft player that has elite skills and elite shot. He can play up tempo or grind it out, perfect player for today's game.

    #4. Quinn Hughes - 5'10 174 lbs - D - This is the player that will draw the most debate IMO when his name is called. Some "old school" fans are going to say a kid this size cannot be a top defensemen in the league. I like many others are going to argue that his IQ, vision, speed and balance are elite for a player of his size. The game is changing, and players like this are now in demand. I believe he goes top 10, and some might say that is too high, there are others who think he should go top 5...we all know about his brother Jack but don't sleep on this kid, he has some growing to do, but his skillset is elite.

    #5. Bode Wilde - 6'2 197 lbs - D - Bode has been a man amongst boys the past few years. Simply put just a physical specimen since the age of 13. He has all the skills you could want for a #1 dman in today's game but has some issues to work on. His IQ has left me wanting more, his pinching at the wrong times and errant outlet passes at times has put his overall game in question. But what he does bring to the table is tantalizing if put together. So much raw ability here, strong shot, strong balance, solid passing and vision for a bigger dman. This kid is going to go high and the likely first of the USNDP defenders taken IMO.

    #6. Mattias Samuelsson - 6'4 217 lbs - D - Simply put, he has been a rock out there all year for the USNDP. He has been their most consistent dman this year but has made some errors and some growing pains as well. He is such a big body in the mold of a Derek Forbort, the ceiling is through the roof for this kid who likely makes it as a shut down defender at the NHL level. Top 20-25 pick.

    #7. Blake McLaughlin - 6'0 162 lbs - F - This is the start of many USHL forwards listed for me. Blake has had a magnificent year so far and the Minnesota native has not failed to impress at all. Seems ranked in the top 45 everywhere, I think he has a solid shot at a top 31 ranking as his tool set is just amazing. He has the vision, hands, and wheels that we are seeing more and more out there. Headed to Minnesota next year, this kid will have a very solid role and likely there for just 2 years. This kid can snipe with the best of them as well, he has such a promising future.

    #8. K'Andre Miller - 6'3 206 - D - The wild card player here. He can easily go in the top 30 if scouts are buying all in on his upside. He is raw, very raw. A forward for most of his career, defense has been a learning experience for him this year, but you can clearly see why scouts love his upside. He is that star/flop type player that if he hits, he can be an absolute home run. He comes with risk though which is why I safely see him in the 30-40 range.

    #9. Jake Wise - 5'10 -170 lbs - F - The one time potential #1 overall pick, Jake has battled inconsistent play last year and an injury to start the season to finally getting on the ice and being a ppg player behind that powerful #1 line. Wise hasn't really grown much the past few seasons which has hurt him IMO, but the hands, speed, vision are all there for him to take his time, find his stride and be a top player again. Rankings are putting his name back in the top 45, if he has the U18 tourney I expect he will be another riser to focus on in June.

    #10. Jack Drury - 5'11 175 lbs - F - Where to begin with this kid? Talk about your risers. Such a smart cerebral player that has great bloodlines and a hockey IQ that is off the charts. This kid has the ability to be a top scorer as well as he has been on one amazing run this year. To me, he is a Joe Pavelski type player that just does everything above average and can carve out a 10 year career at the NHL level. He has been rising on many lists to the point where some say he might go in the first round. I am conservative with him as I see him in that 2nd round range, but he clearly has all the skill and smarts you could want to sneak into the top 31.

    I will work on more bios for the remaining players, but for now, here are players #11 through 25.

    11. Slava Demin - 6'2 190 lbs - D
    12. Blade Jenkins - 6'1 195 lbs - F
    13. Curtis Hall - 6'2 197 lbs - F
    14. Tyler Madden - 5'10 155 lbs - F
    15. Ryan O'Reilly - 6'2 201 lbs - F
    16. Ty Emberson - 6'0 195 lbs - D
    17. Jay O'Brien - 5'10 185 lbs - F
    18. Jacob Pivonka - 5'11 198 lbs - F
    19. Jonathan Gruden - 6'0 172 lbs - F
    20. Patrick Giles - 6'4 203 lbs - F
    21. Adam Samuelsson - 6'6 240 lbs - D
    22. Tyler Weiss - 5'10 158 lbs - F
    23. Alec Regula - 6'3 201 lbs - D
    24. Alex Steeves - 5'10 180 lbs - F
    25. Jaxon Nelson - 6'4 208 lbs - F


    HM: T.J. Walsh - 5'9 170 lbs - F - hurt for most of the season

    I am sure there will be some debate here and I welcome it. I just have fun with this stuff and view players skills over others like any one does. This is a solid and deep group for USA Hockey, I think more names are rising on this list then falling - should be a real good draft for the Americans.

    So who am I missing that you think deserves to be here??? I left a few names off, I have an idea who will be talked about as needing to be on this list.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2018
  2. Brock Registered User

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    Tyler Weiss was probably my favourite minor midget player in his OHL draft year. Just a treat to watch. How has his year been? I've seen from social media that he plays on the 2nd line a fair amount.
     
  3. Frk It From Z to Z

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    Really hard group of guys to rank. I actually think I might like Wahlstrom the best of the bunch too, which I’m sure most people would disagree with. Tough call though. I like Tkachuk and Hughes a lot too.

    Gavin Hain might be a name worth having on here, over some of the last few you have at least.
     
  4. AmericanDream Adopted Canadian

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    yep, loved him as well. he is just tiny weight wise Brock, he simply hasn't grown as well in a few years. he plays the second line/3rd line at times as well.

    It was Jake Wise, Tyler Weiss, and T.J Walsh as the big 3 W's before Wahlstrom really stepped up...Wise, Weiss, and Walsh were the three highest rated forwards at one time for this draft for the US - all 3 just haven't come close yet to their expectations.

    Weiss should have a great year next year at BU, that team will be absolutely loaded.
     
  5. AmericanDream Adopted Canadian

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    ding, ding, ding..

    this is one of the 2 names I knew someone would bring up.

    I like Hain, originally had him on my 25 until I retweeked it and he fell off. can certainly make a case for him as well even though he hasn't been that great this year, solid pedigree though
     
  6. Teemu Trick question?

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    I'm liking Marc Del Gaizo so far among names not on your list

     
  7. canucklax Registered User

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    Alec Regula is a guy I've seen get praise around these parts with his impressive rookie season in the OHL. He seems to project in the 2nd or 3rd round, but looks lower than that on your list. What's your take on him?
     
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  8. Habs76 Registered User

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    Jay O'Brien seems to be this un-scoutable prospect that no one gets the opportunity aside from when he's with the NTDP... what scouting report could you give on him? Strengths? Weaknesses? Playing style? Massachussets high school hockey is awfully obscure league.
     
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  9. Juxtaposer Outro: Divina Comedia

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    Good stuff AD. Agree with you on Wahlstrom and Farabee.
     
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  10. tony d Registered User

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    Didn't know Wahlstrom was American, that's interesting, not sure if I'd rank him #1 though, maybe #2 or 3.
     
  11. Bonin21 Registered User

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    Nelson over Hain is surprising. Miller probably goes round 1.
     
  12. canuck2010 Registered User

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    Pretty decent list. Unfortunately I haven't seen Wahlstrom play so I'm in for a bit of a treat.

    Is Wilde a bit to high here?
     
  13. Dux917 Registered User

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    Here is a good article on Jay O'Brien from a few months ago. He is by far the best player in prep-school hockey this year, could of easily played for NTDP or in USHL - if he had wanted.

    Thayer's Jay O'Brien: His own path
     
    Last edited by moderator Samkow: Feb 22, 2018
  14. Dux917 Registered User

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    Michael Callahan a strong D playing in the USHL for Youngstown, is also very highly thought of. Played prep last year in the Boston area.
     
  15. Habs76 Registered User

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    Thanks! I understand he can't play full time with the program as an overager, but I see on EP he's listed on the Youngstown Phantoms of the USHL. Any reason he's not playing for them?
     
  16. Dux917 Registered User

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    He could have - but seems it was important to him to finish his senior year at his school (it is a highly thought of academic prep school) with his friends/teammates. No one would argue that the USHL wouldn't be better competition - but the coach at Thayer is ex-NHL'er Tony Amonte, and Thayer has produced a ton of NHL players (Jeremy Roenick, Ryan Whitney, etc) - so he is getting the coaching and still playing against good players. After the prep season ends, he could still join up with Youngstown or NTDP to finish their seasons.

    BTW, a New England Hockey publication lists/ranks the following New England players for the draft:

    1. Oliver Wahlstrom (Quincy, Mass.)
    2. Jay O'Brien (Hingham, Mass.)
    3. Jordan Harris (Haverhill, Mass.)
    4. Michael Callahan (Franklin, Mass.)
    5. Jake Wise (North Andover, Mass.)
    6. Riley Hughes (Westwood, Mass.)
    7. Nolan McElhaney (Natick Mass.)
    8. Michael Kesselring (New Hampton, NH)
     
  17. Goldenhands Registered User

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    Personally I have Miller easily over Samuelsson, I like his game and upside much better.. M.Samuelsson has too many moments where he has trouble to handle hard forecheck, flumbles when its coming too fast on him..
     
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  18. Andrei79 Registered User

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    Great work AD. Realy great work.

    Wahlstrom's a guy I could see play center as well if the team who drafts him goes that way. He has so many offensive tools and uses his teammates well. He's my number 1 american for the draft, too.

    I have Hughes over Tkachuk and Wilde after, but above Farabee, but that said I rank my players in groups moreso than a pure 1-31 ranking.

    Like you said, this is a real deep group for the US. They're scary to watch together, lots of skill, smarts and chemistry. I'm a fan.

    He did very well at the five nations. Not as well as Jack Wise, but he stood out just about every game and was my 5th best forward for the US. I don't have him in my top 60, but he's ranked too low by central scouting and I can see him developping fairly well in the NCAA.

    Lots to be excited about for US fans.

    And for those who missed the 5 nations, Jack Hughes was absolutely dominant. The best player by far.
     
  19. AmericanDream Adopted Canadian

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    I have seen a lot of names over the years like Regula, big and mobile but fail to make it for whatever the reason out of the OHL. A guy like Brian Lashoff is what I view Regula as, but a bit more gifted. Regula being a right handed shot helps as well, just not sure of his true upside to be honest.

    I got to see him a bit last year with the Steel, he was solid, not fleet of foot but a bigger body with upside. Players like this usually get drafted higher due to their size and raw ability, would it surprise me if he goes 2nd/3rd round? Nope, not at all, just not that big of a fan of him as compared to others as he is ranked around a 3rd rounder on my list (as all 25 are inside the top 93 for me) so not too far off.
     
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  20. AmericanDream Adopted Canadian

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    is Slava Demin playing with the USNDP now, or just did a fill in?

    that would be great for him to get in with this group and play at the u-18 in April...this could really help him rise up the ranks.
     
  21. AmericanDream Adopted Canadian

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    thank you sir.
     
  22. AmericanDream Adopted Canadian

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    I just haven;t been too impressed with Hain this year, been very vanilla in what games I have seen. Nelson has the size and raw ability that I usually bite on..hahaha we will see, I have each player ranked 2 spots away from each other. I know you have followed them for years out of Minny, maybe I am just missing it with Hain.
     
  23. canucklax Registered User

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    Thank you for the insight
     
  24. McMozesmadness 5-14-6-1

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    Good read AD,

    Can you offer some insight into Jacob Pivonka? From the small sample I've seen, I've been impressed. What is your take?
     
  25. Dux917 Registered User

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    Demin is in the BCHL with Wenatchee. He'll be at Univ. of Denver next year.
     

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