TSN’s Craig Button has released his updated 2018 draft rankings, and though Rasmus Dahlin remains at the top there are some other changes near the top of the board. Boston University’s Brady Tkachuk has climbed to number two in the ranking, while Evan Bouchard of the London Knights is all the way up to fifth. Tkachuk will try to keep BU alive in the National Championship race this weekend, while Bouchard will try to help London surprise the field in the OHL playoffs.
Some of the more interesting ranks on the list though fall at the bottom of the first round, where Ryan Merkley, Joe Veleno, Ryan McLeod and Benoit-Olivier Groulx all find themselves between 26-31. For four players all long ticketed for the first round, their falls have been somewhat surprising. Teams that are trying to compete for the Stanley Cup this year will hope Button is right, and snatch up talent like that with their late-round picks. In a draft that has vacillated between strong and week in the eyes of pundits, the first round should bring a lot of excitement.
- The Vancouver Canucks won’t be signing Will Lockwood this spring because he’s headed back to school, but that’s not the case for Jakob Stukel. He won’t be signed at all by the Canucks according to Rick Dhaliwal of News 1130, meaning he’ll become an unrestricted free agent on June 1st. Stukel was selected in the sixth round two years ago, but Vancouver has decided he’s not worth a pro contract at this point. The recently turned 21-year old led the Calgary Hitmen in scoring this season with 64 points but has a long road ahead of him if he’s to ever make the NHL. More likely he’ll sign some sort of minor league deal in an organization and try to prove that he’s worth an ELC down the road.
- Speaking of the Hitmen, goaltender Nick Schneider has been assigned to the Stockton Heat of the AHL now that his season is over. The Calgary Flames prospect signed his entry-level deal way back in 2015 after going undrafted, and actually has already played nine games for the Heat in the past. Now that his junior career is over, Schneider can join the impressive pipeline of talent that the Flames have amassed in goal, with players like Tyler Parsons, Mason McDonald and Jon Gillies already making their mark.