The SBNation NHL mock draft continued yesterday with picks six through eight. Over the next eight days, the network of NHL sites here at SBN will run through the first round deciding who they think their teams should pick. The Lightning don’t have a first round pick this year, so we won’t be included. Even so, we’ll be keeping an eye on the proceedings so that you know what to expect come Friday, June 22nd when the draft starts.
Up to this point in the draft, things have gone pretty much as expected. We’re getting into the range now where scouts’ draft rankings start to vary significantly. I don’t see a consensus for these spots so we’re going to start to see some interesting picks.
Today’s picks feature three players who are all in the appropriate range but one who slipped a little further than I expected. This article will cover the Red Wings picking Adam Boqvist via Wingin’ it in Motown, the Canucks picking Noah Dobson via Nucks Misconduct, and Chicago picking Oliver Wahlstrom via Second City Hockey.
The Sixth Pick - Adam Boqvist
In discussing their pick of Boqvist, the WIIM crew wrote,
He’s the shifty, offensively-creative defenseman that could turn out to be a stud in the NHL.
Not only does Adam Boqvist have shift skating skills, he’s got explosive power. His numbers at the combine for the Wingate Cycle Ergometer Test were among some of the best. The Wingate Test measures the anaerobic power of the lower body. Boqvist ranked #2 for mean power output, and tied for #2 for peak power. Combine numbers should always be taken with a grain of salt, but his athletic ability should not be.
Boqvist scored 24 points in 25 games this season playing junior hockey in Sweden. He also played well internationally scoring nine points in eight games for the U18 team including six points in six games at the World Juniors. While his offense is impressive, his defense is also improving according to HEOTP:
It has been clear that the defender’s youthful enthusiasm has been a weakness when he has played at a higher level, leading him out of position in his zone. His impetuous charges when he makes a play on the puck rather than the opponent also shows that his reads in the defensive zone aren’t up to a professional level just yet.
But Boqvist seems to have improved his defensive awareness and stabilized himself a little bit when he played at the junior level as the year went on, something that should bode well for his future.
The Seventh Pick - Noah Dobson
I can’t quibble too much with the Boqvist pick but this is where things start to get a little dicey for me. According to our consolidated rankings at Raw Charge, Dobson is the 10th best player while Wahlstrom who was still on the board is ranked 5th.
Nucks misconduct shared some of their thoughts on Dobson here including the idea that Vancouver has a positional need on defense.
The most attractive part of Dobson’s game is his ability to play in all three zones. He’s been capable in his own end for the Titans in his first two QMJHL seasons. Aside from scoring at almost a point-per-game, he was a major contributor defensively on a team that allowed the second-fewest goals in the QMJHL.
At 6’3”, 179 pounds, Dobson presents himself as more of the complete package compared to guys like Adam Boqvist and Quinn Hughes. While that matters less in today’s NHL, Dobson does have a similar skill set in terms of his speed and passing ability. He’s not as dynamic as a Boqvist or a Hughes, but his overall package should be enticing for any team with the chance to draft him.
Dobson scored 69 (nice) points in 67 games this season for Memorial Cup Champion Arcadie-Bathurst Titan. While he’s likely to be a very good player, I think this is a couple picks too early for him. Even if positional need is a factor, which I don’t think it should be this early, Evan Bouchard who scored 87 points in 67 games for the London Knights is still on the board.
I wouldn’t call this a bad pick but I do think this is the first spot where we could have a spirited discussion about the options. I would have gone a different direction but the Nucks crew went with Dobson.
The Eighth Pick - Oliver Wahlstrom
The previous pick of Dobson created an interesting choice for the Second City crew at eighth overall. Wahlstrom or Bouchard? Both would be great picks and they decided to go with the forward.
Wahlstrom put up 48 goals with the US National Team Development Program and has one of the best pure shots in the draft. Chicago gets great value at their pick here which, as a Lightning fan, I object to strongly.
Here’s what Second City wrote about their hopes for Wahlstrom.
Prior to knowing who was selected I figured the top available players for the Hawks would be Dobson, Wahlstrom and Finnish center Jesperi Kotkaniemi. Each player would fill a need for the Hawks, and the team would be smart to pick any of them.
I decided to go with Wahlstrom and his goal scoring prowess with the hope that he could step into the Hawks lineup as the team’s No. 2 right winger behind Patrick Kane. A similar path to Brandon Saad’s is what I’m hoping for, but Wahlstrom being two seasons away is probably more realistic like Vancouver’s Brock Boeser.
Projected top-6 with Wahlstrom for 2019-20 season and each player’s age:
Alex DeBrincat (21) - Nick Schmaltz (23) - Patrick Kane (30)
Brandon Saad (27) - Jonathan Toews (31) - Oliver Wahlstrom (18)
And with that, we’re through the top eight picks of the draft. We’re still mostly on track but Evan Bouchard still being on the board is a surprise.