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2018 Draft Preview: Top North American Skaters

Get to know the top 10 North American skaters ahead of the 2018 NHL Draft on June 22-23

by Cory Wright WrightsWay / New York Islanders

The 2018 NHL Draft takes place on Friday June 22 and Saturday June 23 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX. The Islanders hold the 11th and 12th overall picks in this year's draft and is getting you set with a look at the top prospects entering the draft. 

This week, we'll be previewing the top North American skaters, the top European skaters and top goalies.

*All rankings according to NHL Central Scouting. 

10 - Serron Noel

Position: RW - Team: Oshawa (OHL) - Height: 6'5 - Weight: 205 lbs. - Age: 17
2017-18 Stats: 62GP 28G 25A 53P

Serron Noel recorded 53 points (28G, 25A) in 62 games for the Oshawa Generals this season, setting career-highs in goals, assists and points while more than doubling his rookie output. 

At 6'5, 209 lbs., Noel has size with room to grow into his body. Athletics run in the Noel family as his father, Dean, played in the Canadian Football League. 

Noel took home a gold medal at this year's Ivan Hlinka tournament and had six points (2G, 4A) in five games at the U18 WJC. 

9 - Barrett Hayton  

Position: C - Team: Sault Ste. Marie (OHL) - Height: 6'1 - Weight: 190 lbs. - Age: 18
2017-18 Stats: 63GP 21G 39A 60P

Barrett Hayton's offense took a big leap forward in his second OHL season, doubling his rookie output as he blossomed into a nearly point-per-game player. 

Hayton totaled 60 points (21G, 39A) in 63 games as a 17 year old, setting new highs across the board. Hayton's scoring pace continued into the playoffs, recording 21 points (8G, 13A) in 24 games as Sault St Marie advanced to the OHL finals. 

Hayton also won a gold medal at this year's Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament and was named the OHL's Scholastic Player of the Year. 

8 - Joseph Veleno

Position: C - Team: Drummondville (QMJHL) - Height: 6'1 - Weight: 193 lbs. - Age: 18
2017-18 Stats: 64GP 22G 57A 79P 

A midseason trade didn't slow down Joseph Veleno's career year, as the Montreal native posted 79 points (22G 57A) in 64 games between Saint John and Drummondville. 

Veleno was traded from Saint John - where he was the team's captain - to Drummondville and exploded offensively with the Voltigeurs, recording 48 points (16G, 32A) in 33 games. Veleno's numbers in Drummondville alone would have accounted for a career-year, but he also added 31 points in 31 games with the Sea Dogs. 

The Montreal, QC, native won a QMJHL championship with Saint John in 2016-17 and captained Canada to a gold medal at this year's Ivan Hlinka tournament. 

7 - Oliver Wahlstrom

Position: RW - Team: USNTDP (USHL) - Height: 6'1 - Weight: 205 lbs. - Age 18
2017-18 Stats: 54GP 40G 43A 83P

Coming up through USA Hockey's National Team Development Program, Oliver Wahlstrom turned heads this season, recording 83 points (40G, 43A) in 54 games. 

Wahlstrom has represented Team USA at two U18 WJCs, winning gold in 2016-17 and silver in 2017-18. Wahlstrom's seven goals at this year's U18s were second-most in the tournament and tops among Americans. 

Wahlstrom has committed to Boston College for next season. 

6 - Quinn Hughes 

Position: D - Team: Michigan (Big10) - Height: 5'10 - Weight: 170 lbs. - Age: 18
2017-18 Stats: 37GP 5G 24A 29P

Quinn Hughes had a pretty successful freshman year at the University of Michigan, getting named to the Big Ten all-rookie and second all-star teams, as well as qualifying for the NCAA Tournament. 

Hughes had 29 points (5G, 24A) in 37 games for Michigan, playing on the same team as Isles 2016 draft pick Nick Pastujov. 

Hughes is the highest-ranked American defenseman in the draft and had plenty of experience playing for the red, white and blue this season. The Orlando, FL, native won a bronze medal at the World Juniors in January and won another bronze medal at the IIHF World Championships in May. 

5 - Noah Dobson

Position: D - Team: Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL) - Height: 6'3 - Weight: 180 lbs. - Age: 18
2017-18 Stats: 67GP 17G 52A 69P

Dobson is the second-rated North American defenseman entering June's draft, anchoring the blue line for the Acadie-Bathurst Titan in the QMJHL. 

Dobson enters the draft fresh off a Memorial Cup victory, winning the top prize in Canadian junior hockey, as well as the QMJHL title en route. The tall, skinny (6'3, 179 lbs.) defenseman was named to the Memorial Cup all-star team after scoring seven points (2G, 5A) in four games. 

Dobson's playoff and Memorial Cup performance were a continuation of a career-year offensively for the 18 year old. The Summerside, PEI, native scored 69 points (17G, 52A) in 67 games, his first point-per-game campaign in the Quebec League. Dobson was the second highest-scoring defenseman in the league, as well as the second-leading scorer on the Titan. 

Internationally, Dobson won a gold medal at this year's Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament and spent the 2015-16 season with RB Hockey Akademie in the Czech Republic. 

4 - Evan Bouchard

Position: D - Team: London (OHL) - Height: 6'2 - Weight: 193 lbs. - Age: 18
2017-18 Stats: 67GP 25G 62A 87P 

Bouchard is the top-rated North American defenseman heading into this year's draft. The London Knights captain had a monster year offensively, scoring 87 points (25G, 62A) in 67 games, leading all OHL defensemen. 

At 6'2, 192 lbs., Bouchard has size with room to grow into his body and is lauded for his skating and offensive instincts. Bouchard previously won an OHL title with London in 2015-16, playing on a team with Toronto forward Mitch Marner, Flames forward Matt Tkachuk and Canucks first-rounder Olli Juolevi. 

This season, Bouchard was named a first-team OHL all-star. 

3. Filip Zadina

Position: RW - Team: Halifax (QMJHL) - Height: 6'0 - Weight: 195 lbs. - Age: 18
2017-18 Stats: 57GP 44G 38A 82P 

Following in the footsteps of 2017 first-overall pick Nico Hischier, Filip Zadina is the next highly-skilled European to come out of the Halifax Mooseheads organization. 

Zadina had 82 points (44G, 38A) in 57 games in his first season in the QMJHL, leading the Mooseheads in goals while finishing second in points. Overall, Zadina - who is teammates with Islanders 2017 draft pick Arnaud Durandeau - finished seventh in league scoring. 

Before coming over to Canada, Zadina had played two seasons for HC Pardubice in the Czech league and the Czech U20 league. 

On the international stage, Zadina scored seven goals in seven games at the World Juniors, finishing second in goals to Isles prospect Kieffer Bellows. Overall, Zadina had eight points (7G, 1A) in seven games for the Czechs. 

2. Brady Tkachuk

Position: LW - Team Boston University (Hockey East) - Height 6'3 - Weight 196 lbs. - Age: 18
2017-18 Stats: 40GP 8G 23A 31P 

Brady is the latest of the Tkachuk linage to break into the NHL. Tkachuk's father Keith scored over 1,000 points, while his brother Matthew just finished his second season as a scoring agitator for the Calgary Flames. 

Brady Thachuk scored 31 points (8G, 23A) in 40 games in his freshman year at Boston University, winning the Hockey East title, making the Hockey East all-rookie team and qualifying for the NCAA Tournament. 

Tkachuk was a force at the World Juniors, scoring nine points (3G, 6A) in seven games as Team USA won a bronze medal. Tkachuk had captained Team USA's U-18 team to a gold medal the year before. 

The big-bodied winger (6'3, 196 lbs.) has committed to a second season at BU. 

1. Andrei Svechnikov 

Position: RW - Team: Barrie Colts (OHL) - Height 6'2 - Weight 188 lbs. - Age: 18
2017-18 Stats: 44GP 40G 32A 72P 

Andrei Svechnikov scored nearly a goal-per-game in his first OHL season, finding twine 40 times in 44 games with the Barrie Colts. Svechnikov was a top-10 goal scorer in the Ontario League this season and was 10 goals off the league lead, despite playing 24 fewer games. 

The Russian winger has spent two seasons in North America, scoring 58 points in 48 games for Muskegon in the USHL last year before posting 72 points (40G, 32A) in 44 games for Barrie this season. 

Svechnikov was a point-per-game passer at this year's World Juniors, dishing five helpers in five games at the junior showcase. Svechnikov posted another eight points (4G, 4A) in four games with Russia's U-18 team. 

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