In the days leading to the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center in Dallas on June 22-23, NHL.com will break down the top prospects by position. Today: The top left wings available.
Brady Tkachuk, No. 2 in NHL Central Scouting's final list of North American skaters eligible for the 2018 NHL Draft, has a good chance at becoming the highest-drafted NHL player born in St. Louis.
Hockey Hall of Fame center Pat LaFontaine was chosen No. 3 by the New York Islanders in the 1983 NHL Draft. LaFontaine was born in St. Louis on Feb. 22, 1965 before his family moved to Michigan seven years later.
[RELATED: Top 10 Right Wings | Tkachuk's bond with family | Complete Draft Coverage]
Tkachuk is not only the best left wing available in the 2018 draft, but the best American-born player. He excels in many areas and has a knack for coming up big in tough spots. University of Minnesota coach Bob Motzko, who coached the 2018 United States National Junior Team for which Tkachuk played a significant role, said he is the type of player you notice every shift.
"He's one of those guys who plays with tremendous energy," Motzko said. "He wants to put a footprint in that game and make an impact in it. That's the way you want your players to play hockey."
Here are NHL.com's top 10 left wings available for the 2018 draft:
1. Brady Tkachuk, Boston University (H-EAST)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 2 (North American skaters)
Tkachuk (6-foot-3, 196) finished fourth in scoring at Boston University with 31 points, and was first with 23 assists and 131 shots on goal. He had nine points (three goals, six assists) in seven games at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship to help the U.S. win a bronze medal.
Video: Mike Morreale evaluates prospect Brady Tkachuk
2. Grigori Denisenko, Yaroslavl 2 (RUS)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 7 (International skaters)
Denisenko (5-11, 176), who turns 18 on June 24, spent most of the season with Loko, the Yaroslavl junior team in Russia's MHL. He had 22 points (nine goals, 13 assists) in 31 regular-season games and seven points (five goals, two assists) in 12 playoff games. He's one of the most skilled players of this draft class who has good offensive instincts in traffic.
3. Joel Farabee, USA U-18 (USHL)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 12 (North American skaters)
Farabee (5-11, 164) has a quick release and can shoot the puck with pace. Committed to Boston University in Hockey East, Farabee is strong on pucks in all areas of the rink, has a high hockey IQ with good offensive instincts, and sets a good example with hard work and team play. He had 76 points (33 goals, 43 assists), five shorthanded goals and a plus-41 rating in 62 games for USA Hockey's National Team Development Program under-18 team.
4. Sampo Ranta, Sioux City (USHL)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 18 (North American skaters)
Ranta (6-1, 190) has spent the past two seasons in the United States Hockey League. He had career highs this season in goals (23), assists (14), and points (37) for the Musketeers. Born in Naantali, Finland, Ranta is good in transition, has a terrific slap shot and exhibits good strength along the boards. He's committed to the University of Wisconsin in 2018-19.
5. Blake McLaughlin, Chicago (USHL)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 24 (North American skaters)
McLaughlin's good skating ability enables him to create offensive opportunities for himself and teammates. McLaughlin (6-0, 162) ranked second in scoring for the Steel with 52 points (23 goals, 29 assists) and first with two shorthanded goals in 54 games. He'll attend the University of Minnesota in 2018-19.
6. Blade Jenkins, Saginaw (OHL)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 26 (North American skaters)
Jenkins (6-1, 195) had a solid rookie season in the OHL with 44 points (20 goals, 24 assists) and 140 shots on goal in 68 games for the Spirit. He's an effective passer, has good hockey sense and compete, and can play physical when needed. Jenkins is at his best when keeping things simple, fighting for rebounds and deflections in the slot.
7. Gabriel Fortier, Baie-Comeau (QMJHL)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 49 (North American skaters)
Fortier (5-10, 170) has great acceleration and refuses to lose puck battles. He had 59 points (26 goals, 33 assists) and 20 power-play points (seven goals, 13 assists) in 66 games and was also an effective penalty-killer, leading Baie-Comeau with three shorthanded goals. He ranked second with four game-winning goals.
8. Dmitry Zavgorodniy, Rimouski (QMJHL)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 69 (North American skaters)
An elite skater who is more than capable of keeping opposing defensemen honest. He exhibits a strong, accurate shot and can produce turnovers in the offensive end with his relentless attitude. Zavgorodniy (5-8, 173), a right-hand shot, had 47 points (26 goals, 21 assists), nine power-play goals, six game-winning goals and two overtime goals in 62 games as a rookie in the QMJHL.
9. Carl Jakobsson, Farjestad Jr. (SWE-JR.)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 42 (International skaters)
A hard worker who has a desire to create offense and win battles. Jakobsson (6-1, 165), who turns 18 on July 13, is still raw in terms of offensive ability but has a good understanding of the game and is reliable. He had 27 points (14 goals, 13 assists) in 41 games for Farjestrad junior in the SuperElit and played 11 games for Farjestad in the SHL.
10. Nando Eggenberger, Davos (SUI)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 48 (International skaters)
He had three goals and five points in 36 games against men for Davos of National League A in Switzerland's top division, his second full season in the league. Eggenberger (6-2, 198), considered a power forward, was captain for Switzerland at the 2018 World Junior Championship. He has a good shot and is one of the more intriguing prospects of this draft class.