In an NHL Draft class as deep as this one in 2018, there was always going to be some surprises on the first night of the draft. Draft boards across the league varied greatly, with some scouts having players ranked as mid-first round talents that others had at the bottom of the second round. This showed on Friday night, as Barrett Hayton (ARI), Ty Dellandrea (DAL), Liam Foudy (CLB), Filip Johansson (MIN), and Jacob Bernard-Docker (OTT) were all selected higher than many expected, while the Detroit Red Wings (Filip Zadina, Joe Veleno) and the New York Islanders (Oliver Wahlstrom, Noah Dobson) both collected a pair of talented players who unexpectedly fell. Now, the second round is also filled with player who many expected to be first-round picks as well. Here is who to watch for early on today:
Position: Right Defense
Team: U.S. National Development Program (USHL)
ISS Ranking: #23
Scouting Report: It is hard to imagine that many teams expected Wilde to still be here today. Although some have speculated that behavioral concerns and streaky play have hurt his draft stock somewhat, Wilde has a skill set that trumps many defenseman already selected. The big righty can both skate and check at a high level and has next-level awareness that allows him to make great passes without making many mistakes. Expect Wilde to be one of the first picks in Round Two.
Position: Right Wing
Team: Oshawa Generals (OHL)
ISS Ranking: #14
Scouting Report: At 6’5″, 205-lbs., Noel is bigger than any player selected in the first round, nevertheless forward. However, don’t let the size deceive you; Noel is a powerful skater and has great hands for someone of his stature. He obviously plays a strong checking game as well. Noel likely fell into the second round due to his very raw talent and some doubts that he could ever be anything more than a complementary player and net-front presence.
Team: Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)
ISS Ranking: #26
Scouting Report: Few doubt that McLeod is a high-skill forward, but there are questions as to whether he can be a player who drives play. McLeod had been projected as a potential top ten pick prior to this season due to great skating, quick passing, a good shot, and impressive overall offensive instincts, but he somewhat stalled in his development and did not take advantage of his chances to show he can be an offensive leader. McLeod is likely to be a player who can score a ton with other talented players, but not exactly a centerpiece-type prospect.
Position: Right Wing/Center
Team: Niagara Ice Dogs (OHL)
ISS Ranking: #27
Scouting Report: A versatile, two-way forward, there is not much to dislike about Thomas’ game. In fact, it’s a big surprise that no team fell in love with Thomas enough to select him in the first round. A multi-talented athlete who possesses high-end play-making ability at one end and elite defensive awareness at the other, Thomas is one of the few forwards in this class that could play an immediate role on both the power play and penalty kill when he reaches the NHL. It could be that scouts were simply looking for that next level of offense and a more dangerous goal-scoring game, both of which could develop with time.
Position: Left Defense
Team: Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
ISS Ranking: #21
Scouting Report: Like Wilde, McIsaac has an all-around two-way ability that one would have expected would make him a first-round pick over several blue liners who have already been selected. An outstanding skater who carries the puck well and is dangerous with both his outlet pass and point shot, McIsaac is an asset on offense who could be a power play quarterback at the next level. Yet he also has the size and speed to smother opponents on defense and is hard to beat one-on-one. McIsaac in the second round is a great value.
Position: Left Wing/Right Wing
Team: Skeleftea AIK (SuperElit)
ISS Ranking: #30
Scouting Report: Berggren has flown under the radar for much of this year, but his draft stock has greatly improved as scouts have taken note of his elite puck-handling. Beggren is a small, shifty forward who is extremely creative with his passing and can evade checks and create scoring chances. He may not be anything more than a complementary player, but has a skill set that can make the players around him much more dangerous.
Position: Right Defense
Team: Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL)
ISS Ranking: #48
Scouting Report: Addison was the odd-man-out in the run of undersized, puck-moving defensemen at the end of the first round. Addison plays with speed and vision and can lead a rush like few others in the class. Like many small defensemen, there are concerns about his ability to play defense against older, stronger competition. However, while many try to do their best to alleviate those concerns by playing tough despite their size, Addison is very passive and that could be disappointing scouts. Addison is likely an offensive specialist on the blue line in the NHL who cannot be relied on for major ice time or in key defensive situations.