Somehow, some way, the 2017-18 NHL regular season will come to a close in less than a week, bringing in the offseason for almost half of the league.
For the first time this decade, there will not be a team from New York in the playoffs as both the Islanders and Rangers are wrapping up disappointing seasons. As for the team in western New York, the Buffalo Sabres, they are among the worst teams in the NHL, which could yield one of the biggest rewards this summer.
While a month has passed since we released our first mock draft, we (nor anyone else) has changed our views on Swedish defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, the overwhelming favorite to be taken first overall in June.
The talented two-way defenseman, who doesn’t turn 18 until Apr. 13, has drawn comparisons to some of the best defensemen in the league right now, including Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson.
Speaking of those Senators, the franchise that was competing in the Eastern Conference finals last year is right there with the Ottawa Senators for the worst record in the league, making their chances of nabbing the No. 1 pick in the draft just as high.
It all depends on how the ping pong balls fall in the lottery, but here is how we see the first round shaping up:
2018 NHL first-round mock draft: Version 2.0
1. Buffalo Sabres- Rasmus Dahlin, D, Frolunda (SHL)
2. Ottawa Senators- Andrei Svechnikov, RW, Barrie Colts (OHL)
3. Arizona Coyotes- Brady Tkachuk, LW, Boston University (NCAA)
4. Montreal Canadiens- Filip Zadina, RW, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
5. Vancouver Canucks- Oliver Wahlstrom, RW, USNTDP (USHL)
6. Detroit Red Wings- Adam Boqvist, D, Byrnas Jr. (Sweden)
7. New York Islanders- Noah Dobson, D, Acadie-Bathurst Titan (QMJHL)
8. Edmonton Oilers- Evan Bouchard, D, London Knights (OHL)
9. Chicago Blackhawks- Isac Lundestrom, C, Lulea (SHL)
10. New York Rangers- Bode Wild, D, USNTDP (USHL)
11. Carolina Hurricanes- Joel Farabee, LW, USNTDP (USHL)
12. New York Islanders (via Calgary)- Grigori Denisenko, LW, Yaroslavl Jr. (MHL)
13. Dallas Stars- Barrett Hayton, C, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)
14. Florida Panthers- Joe Veleno, C, Drummondville (QMJHL)
15. Colorado Avalanche- Quinn Hughes, D, University of Michigan (NCAA)
16. New Jersey Devils- Serron Noel, RW, Oshawa Generals (OHL)
17. Philadelphia Flyers (via St. Louis)- Ty Smith, D, Spokane Chiefs (WHL)
18. Philadelphia Flyers- Rasmus Kupari, C, Karpat (Finland)
19. Columbus Blue Jackets- Jesperi Kotkaniemi, C, Assat (Finland)
20. Los Angeles Kings- Ryan McLeod, C/LW, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)
21. Ottawa Senators (via Pittsburgh)- Jett Woo, D, Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)
22. Anaheim Ducks- Alexander Khovanov, C, Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL)
23. Minnesota Wild- Jacob Olofsson, C, Timra (Allsvenskan)
24. San Jose Sharks- Rasmus Sandin, D, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)
25. Toronto Maple Leafs- Jared McIsaac, D, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
26. St. Louis Blues (via Winnipeg)- Benoit Olivier-Groulx, C, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
27. New York Rangers (via Tampa Bay)- Dominik Bokk, LW, Vaxio (SHL)
28. Washington Capitals- Ryan Merkley, D, Guelph Storm (OHL)
29. Detroit Red Wings (via Vegas)- Akil Thomas, C, Niagara Ice Dogs (OHL)
30. New York Rangers (via Boston)- K’Andre Miller, D, USNDTP (USHL)
31. Chicago Blackhawks (via Nashville)- Martin Kaut, RW, Pardubice (Czech Republic)