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The RoundUp

2018 NHL Draft first-round results, analysis

Complete breakdown of selections from American Airlines Center

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

The first round of the 2018 NHL Draft presented by adidas is complete, 31 young men took another step toward fulfilling his dream of playing in the NHL.

Here are the picks, analysis, sights and sounds from American Airlines Center:

 

Pick-by-pick results | 2018-19 NHL Trade Tracker

 

Video: Recapping Day 1 of the 2018 NHL Draft

 

1. Buffalo Sabres - Rasmus Dahlin, D, Frolunda (SWE)

NHL Central Scouting: No. 1 (International skaters)

Dahlin (6-foot-2, 181 pounds) becomes the second Sweden-born player chosen No. 1 in the NHL Draft, joining forward Mats Sundin by the Quebec Nordiques in 1989. Dahlin, who turned 18 on April 13, had 20 points (seven goals, 13 assists) in 41 games. The left-hander is the highest-scoring under-18 defenseman in the history of the Swedish Hockey League, the country's top professional league, with 23 points (eight goals, 15 assists) in two full seasons. He was named best defenseman at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship, when he had six assists for Sweden, and was the youngest player by seven years on his country's roster for the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics.

NHL.com analysis: The Sabres get the best player in the draft. He will not only earn a roster spot out of training camp but play in a top-four role, average 15-20 minutes a game, and benefit from the instruction of coach and Hockey Hall of Fame defenseman Phil Housley.

Video: Sabres draft D Rasmus Dahlin No. 1

 

[RELATED: Fantasy projection for Dahlin]

 

2. Carolina Hurricanes - Andrei Svechnikov, RW, Barrie (OHL)

NHL Central Scouting: No. 1 (North American skaters)

The left-handed shot may be the only other NHL-ready player in the draft after Dahlin. Svechnikov (6-2, 188), named the Canadian Hockey League Top Prospect of the Year, had 72 points (40 goals, 32 assists), nine power-play goals, six game-winning goals, and a plus-26 rating in 44 regular-season games as an Ontario Hockey League rookie. He had 59 points (30 goals, 28 assists) in 34 games after returning to the lineup from a hand injury sustained Oct. 14. He was voted No. 1 in the best skater category and second for best shot in the OHL Eastern Conference coaches poll for the regular season, and finished with 24 multipoint games. Svechnikov had 11 points (five goals, six assists) in eight OHL playoff games.

NHL.com analysis: He will join other young offensive players in Carolina and become a key player among its top six. Svechnikov has great strength driving the net, a fantastic shot, and is extremely tough to contain along the boards. Barrie coach and Hockey Hall of Fame center Dale Hawerchuk said Svechnikov reminds him of Hockey Hall of Fame right wing Glenn Anderson in the way he comes in wide and cuts to the middle to generate a scoring chance.

Video: Hurricanes draft F Andrei Svechnikov No. 2

 

[RELATED: Fantasy projection for Svechnikov]

 

3. Montreal Canadiens - Jesperi Kotkaniemi, C, Assat (FIN)

NHL Central Scouting: No. 6 (International skaters)

Playing center and left wing, Kotkaniemi (6-2, 181) averaged 15:35 of ice time in 57 games for Assat in Liiga, Finland's top professional league, in 2017-18, when he had 29 points (10 goals, 19 assists) and won 44 percent of his face-offs. He's a playmaker with good hockey sense, good compete, a quick release and a nose for the net. Kotkaniemi, who turns 18 on July 6, was third in scoring for gold medal-winning Finland with nine points (three goals, six assists) in seven games at the 2018 IIHF World Under-18 Championship.

NHL.com analysis: The Canadiens find a player they hope can develop into a No. 1 center. Kotkaniemi already has experience playing against men in Liiga, Finland's top professional league.

Video: Canadiens draft F Jesperi Kotkaniemi No. 3

 

4. Ottawa Senators - Brady Tkachuk, LW, Boston University (H-EAST)

NHL Central Scouting: No. 2 (North American skaters)

Tkachuk (6-3, 191) finished fourth in scoring for Boston University with 31 points, was second with a plus-15 rating, and was first with 23 assists and 131 shots on goal as a freshman in 2017-18. Considered the best power forward of this draft by NHL scouts, Tkachuk had three goals and six assists in seven games at the 2018 WJC to help the U.S. win a bronze medal. He is the son of U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame forward Keith Tkachuk and brother of Calgary Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk.

NHL.com analysis: Tkachuk is physical in all areas of the ice, a prototypical power forward who can make his linemates bigger because of his hockey sense, size and strength. He's always around the net which creates time and space for his teammates and is also dependable in his zone.

Video: Jackie chats with Brady Tkachuk

 

5. Arizona Coyotes - Barrett Hayton, C, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)

NHL Central Scouting: No. 9 (North American skaters)

Whether playing center or on the wing, Hayton (6-1, 190), a left-hand shot, reads the game very well and is aware of his responsibilities with or without the puck. He was awarded the Bobby Smith Trophy as the OHL scholastic player of the year this season, when he had 60 points (21 goals, 39 assists) in 63 games and won 49 percent of his face-offs. Hayton can be used on the power play or penalty kill, and he has good hockey sense and a high compete level.

NHL.com analysis: A bit of a surprise from the Coyotes with Hayton, No. 9 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters. He's a versatile center who played a checking role with Sault Ste. Marie but has the skills to produce offensively. As one NHL scout said, "He's the kind of player you win with."

Video: Coyotes draft F Barrett Hayton No. 5

 

6. Detroit Red Wings - Filip Zadina, RW, Halifax (QMJHL)

NHL Central Scouting: No. 3 (North American skaters)

Zadina (6-0, 196) won the Michael Bossy Trophy as the top professional prospect in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in 2017-18, his first season in North America, after finishing first in rookie scoring with 44 goals and 82 points in 57 games. He finished second in scoring for the Czech Republic at the 2018 WJC with eight points (seven goals, one assist) in seven games.

NHL.com analysis: Zadina had a seamless adjustment to the small ice from his native Czech Republic. He's a dynamic goal-scorer from anywhere on the ice, and an underrated passer and playmaker.

 

7. Vancouver Canucks - Quintin Hughes, D, University of Michigan (Big Ten)

NHL Central Scouting: No. 6 (North American skaters)

Hughes (5-10, 173), a left-hand shot, has great hockey sense and is always looking one or two plays ahead of his opponent. Once he became familiar with the college game, his poise and patience really showed, exhibiting a good transition from defense to offense with his feet or with a quick pass. Hughes was third in scoring for Michigan with 29 points (five goals, 24 assists) in 37 games as a freshman in 2017-18 and eighth with 35 blocked shots.

NHL.com analysis: Hughes' elite skating ability allows him to control the pace of a game. With the Canucks' corps of young forwards, adding a defenseman who can lead the rush or start the breakout with an accurate, smart pass fills a big need.

Video: Canucks draft D Quintin Hughes No. 7

 

8. Chicago Blackhawks - Adam Boqvist, D, Brynas Jr. (SWE-JR)

NHL Central Scouting: No. 2 (International skaters)

Boqvist (5-11, 165), a right-hand shot, is extremely skilled with excellent vision and plenty of room to grow. He had 24 points (14 goals, 10 assists) and a plus-6 rating in 25 regular-season games in 2017-18, and three goals and two assists in three playoff games. Boqvist, who turns 18 on Aug. 15, had six points and led defensemen in the 2018 IIHF World U-18 Championship with three goals and 29 shots on goal for bronze medal-winning Sweden.

NHL.com analysis: Boqvist is cut from the same mold as Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson, with elite skating and offensive skill. With Duncan Keith (34) and Brent Seabrook (33) getting older, this is the right time for the Blackhawks to add young skill to their defenseman prospect pipeline.

 

9. New York Rangers - Vitali Kravtsov, RW, Chelyabinsk (RUS)

NHL Central Scouting: No. 3 (International skaters)

As one of the youngest players in the Kontinental Hockey League this season, Kravtsov (6-3, 184), a left-hand shot, had four goals and three assists in 35 games for Traktor Chelyabinsk. He made his mark in the playoffs with 11 points (six goals, five assists) in 16 games. Named the KHL rookie of the year, Kravtsov plays a mature, strong game as a power forward. When he matures and fills out, he'll be extremely difficult to contain.

NHL.com analysis: The right wing didn't see much ice time during the regular season in the KHL, but his season took off during the KHL playoffs with 11 points (six goals, five assists) in 16 games. He could be a strong complement to centers Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil, the Rangers first-round selections in the 2017 NHL Draft.

 

10. Edmonton Oilers - Evan Bouchard, D, London (OHL)

NHL Central Scouting: No. 4 (North American skaters)

After Dahlin, Bouchard (6-2, 195) might be the next sure thing among defensemen in the 2018 draft after three seasons in the OHL. A right-hand shot, he was tied for seventh in the OHL with 87 points (25 goals, 62 assists) in 2017-18, the first defenseman to finish among the top 10 scorers since Windsor's Ryan Ellis (Nashville Predators) was tied for fourth with 101 points in 2010-11. In the Western Conference OHL coaches poll, he was first for hardest shot, second for best shot and third for smartest player.

NHL.com analysis: Bouchard gives the Oilers the right-shot defenseman general manager Peter Chiarelli said Edmonton needed. He's an offensive force who finished in the top 10 in the OHL in scoring, and could be ready to play in the NHL next season.

 

11. New York Islanders - Oliver Wahlstrom, RW, USA U-18 (USHL)

NHL Central Scouting: No. 7 (North American skaters)

Wahlstrom (6-1, 208), who played at Shattuck-St. Mary's School (Minnesota) and has committed to Boston College, led the United States National Team Development Program with 94 points (48 goals, 46 assists), 13 power-play goals, six game-winning goals and 288 shots on goal in 62 games this season. He has good hockey sense, is tough to handle 1-on-1, and already can shoot a one-timer as well as some NHL players.

NHL.com analysis: Wahlstrom is a pure goal-scorer who can put the puck in the net from anywhere on the ice. He's strong and skilled enough to produce down low, and he can score from distance with a hard, accurate wrist shot.

Video: Islanders draft F Oliver Wahlstrom No. 11

 

12. New York Islanders - Noah Dobson, D, Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL)

NHL Central Scouting: No. 5 (North American skaters)

Dobson (6-3, 176) was named a QMJHL First-Team All-Star after setting career highs in goals (17), assists (52), points (69), power-play goals (11) and shots on goal (276) in 2017-18, his second season in the league. A right-hand shot who can support the rush and is good under pressure, he had 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) and 75 shots in 20 playoff games to help Acadie-Bathurst to a league championship.

NHL.com analysis: Dobson being available for the Islanders here is a surprise, but one they should be very happy about. The right-shot defenseman is an outstanding skater with a strong two-way game. Maybe most impressive was his game continued to get better the longer his season went, culminating with a Memorial Cup championship.

 

13. Dallas Stars - Ty Dellandrea, C, Flint (OHL)

NHL Central Scouting: No. 25 (North American skaters)

Dellandrea (6-0, 183) led Flint with 59 points (27 goals, 32 assists) in 67 regular-season games in 2017-18. He has plenty of speed and is known for his scoring ability and puck pursuit. Dellandrea, who turns 18 on July 21, also led Flint in power-play goals (10) and shots on goal (239), and won 50.6 percent of his face-offs.

NHL.com analysis: Dellandrea was a bit overlooked as Flint finished 19th of 20 teams in the OHL, but he raised his game in big moments. He scored two goals in the CHL Top Prospects Game and was one of Canada's top players at the 2018 IIHF World U-18s. Scouts also love his high character.

Video: Stars draft F Ty Dellandrea No. 13

 

14. Philadelphia Flyers - Joel Farabee, LW, USA U-18 (USHL)

NHL Central Scouting: No. 12 (North American skaters)

Farabee (6-0, 161) has a quick release and can snap the puck in stride. Committed to Boston University, he is strong on the puck 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 the USNTDP in 2017-18.

NHL.com analysis: Farabee is a high-IQ playmaker and goal-scorer who played on the top line for the USNTDP. He can also kill penalties, an area the Flyers have struggled in the past few seasons. 

 

15. Florida Panthers - Grigori Denisenko, LW, Yaroslavl 2 (RUS)

NHL Central Scouting: No. 7 (International skaters)

Denisenko (5-11, 171), who turns 18 on Sunday, spent most of the season on Loko, Yaroslavl's junior team in Russia's MHL, and had 22 points (nine goals, 13 assists) in 31 regular-season games, and five goals and two assists in 12 playoff games. He's one of the most skilled players of this draft class, with good offensive instincts in traffic.

NHL.com analysis: A fearless, physical two-way forward who can play center or on the wing. He needs to get bigger and stronger, but he'll get the chance to play against men full-time next season in the KHL.

 

16. Colorado Avalanche - Martin Kaut, RW, Pardubice (CZREP)

NHL Central Scouting: No. 4 (International skaters)

Kaut (6-1, 176) has performed well at every level as an exceptional skater with great acceleration and speed to create odd-man rushes. He has good hockey sense and is a two-way competitor with soft hands and a quick release. He had 16 points (nine goals, seven assists) in 38 regular-season games in the Czech League in 2017-18 and three goals and two assists in seven playoff games. He had two goals and five assists in seven games for fourth-place Czech Republic in the 2018 WJC.

NHL.com analysis: A strong skater with speed to create odd-man rushes, Kaut has good experience playing against men in the top professional league in the Czech Republic. The Avalanche must not be concerned about a heart issue that came up during testing at the NHL Scouting Combine.

 

17. New Jersey Devils - Ty Smith, D, Spokane (WHL)

NHL Central Scouting: No. 14 (North American skaters)

Smith (5-11, 176), a left-hand shot capable of working well in traffic to maneuver his team out of danger, has 107 points (19 goals, 88 assists) in 137 Western Hockey League games over three seasons. Good at dissecting a forecheck, he set career highs in goals (14), assists (59), points (73), plus/minus (plus-44) and power-play points (27) in 2017-18.

NHL.com analysis: The Devils need to add youth and skill to their defenseman group, and Smith should be a strong addition. The left-shot defenseman is smart, skilled, can carry the puck out of his zone and create in transition.

Video: Devils draft D Ty Smith No. 17

 

18. Columbus Blue Jackets - Liam Foudy, C, London (OHL)

NHL Central Scouting: No. 19 (North American skaters)

Foudy (6-0, 173) made one of the biggest jumps in NHL Central Scouting's final list of North American skaters, jumping from No. 91 at the midterm. He had 40 points (24 goals, 16 assists), four game-winning goals and five shorthanded goals, and won 47 percent of his face-offs in 65 games. He has good speed, quickness, hockey sense and a consistent work ethic to play an effective two-way game.

NHL.com analysis: Skating is his strongest asset, and he used it to score five shorthanded goals. His speed comes naturally; his mother, France, won a silver medal for Canada in the 4-x-100 relay at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. When given more ice time in the second half of the season, Foudy had 33 points (20 goals, 13 assists) in his final 30 games.

 

19. Philadelphia Flyers - Jay O'Brien, C, Thayer Academy (HIGH-MA)

NHL Central Scouting: No. 32 (North American skaters)

The right-handed O'Brien (5-10, 185), No. 32 in Central Scouting's final list of North American skaters, led all players in New England Prep Schools with 80 points (43 goals, 37 assists) in 30 games for Thayer. O'Brien, who won the John Carlton Memorial Trophy given by the Boston Bruins to high school seniors who combine hockey skills with academic excellence, is committed to Providence College.

NHL.com analysis: The Flyers reached for the No. 32 player on Central Scouting's final ranking, but GM Ron Hextall said he liked O'Brien's potential as a center. His best traits are his strong shot and his hockey sense, and he'll continue to develop at Providence College starting next season.

 

20. Los Angeles Kings - Rasmus Kupari, C, Karpat (FIN)

NHL Central Scouting: No. 11 (International skaters)

Kupari (6-1, 188), a right-hand shot, has been compared to Hurricanes forward Sebastian Aho. He is versatile, capable of playing wing or center, and a good skater who is good with the puck. His best asset might be his acceleration with the puck on his stick. Kupari had 14 points (six goals, eight assists) in 39 games playing for Karpat in Liiga in 2017-18. He was held without a point in five games for Finland at the 2018 WJC.

NHL.com analysis: Kupari has experience playing against older competition in Liiga, Finland's top professional league. His skating is close to elite, and the Kings will be patient in allowing him to develop and add consistency to his game.

 

21. San Jose Sharks - Ryan Merkley, D, Guelph (OHL)

NHL Central Scouting: No. 45 (North American skaters)

Merkley (5-11, 167), who worked with Coyotes skating coach Dawn Braid for many years, is one of the best offensive defensemen in the draft. He was third among OHL defensemen with 67 points, second with 54 assists and fifth with a 1.06 points-per game average in 63 games. Merkley, who turns 18 on Aug. 14, has 122 points (25 goals, 97 assists) in 125 OHL games.

NHL.com analysis: The right-shot defenseman has top-end offensive skills, but there are questions about his defensive play and off-ice approach. The Sharks are banking on Merkley growing out of any immaturity. 

 

22. New York Rangers (from Ottawa Senators) - K'Andre Miller, D, USA U-18 (USHL)

NHL Central Scouting: No. 23 (North American skaters)

Miller (6-3, 198) started playing defenseman three seasons ago when his coach at Minnetonka High School (Minnesota) suggested he try it to strengthen their defense. He had 29 points (nine goals, 20 assists), two shorthanded goals, a plus-23 rating and 103 shots on goal for the USNTDP in 2017-18. Committed to the University of Wisconsin, Miller has the skill set to be an elite defenseman; he is long and rangy, has a good defensive stick, and is a solid skater.

NHL.com analysis: The Rangers traded up with the Senators to select Miller, who has one of the highest ceilings of any player in the draft. He's only been a defenseman for three seasons, and he'll continue to develop at the University of Wisconsin.

 

23. Anaheim Ducks - Isac Lundestrom, C, Lulea (SWE)

NHL Central Scouting: No. 8 (International skaters)

With a good combination of speed, skills and offensive instincts, Lundestrom (6-0, 183) had 15 points (six goals, nine assists) and a plus-7 rating in 42 games in the SHL in 2017-18. He averaged 16:04 of ice time. Lundestrom scored two goals in a bottom-six checking role to help Sweden to a silver medal at the 2018 WJC.

NHL.com analysis: As Anaheim stalwarts Ryan Getzlaf (33), Corey Perry (33) and Ryan Kesler (33) get older, the Ducks need to add skilled, young forwards to support them. Lundestrom has a smart, strong two-way game with a good finishing touch.

Video: Ducks draft F Isac Lundestrom No. 23

 

24. Minnesota Wild - Filip Johansson, D, Leksand Jr. (SWE)

NHL Central Scouting: No. 10 (International skaters)

Johansson (6-1, 175), No. 10 in Central Scouting's final list of International skaters, split time between Leksand of the SHL and their junior team and had nine points (four goals, five assists) in 29 junior games. He won a bronze medal at the 2018 Ivan Hlinka Memorial, when he had four points (one goal, three assists) in five games, and at the 2018 U-18 World Championship, when he had two points (one goal, one assist) in seven games.

NHL.com analysis: Wild general manager Paul Fenton made drafting defensemen a priority during his time as assistant GM of the Nashville Predators, and he sticks with that position in his first draft with Minnesota. Johansson, No. 10 on Central Scouting's final ranking of International skaters, is a right-shot defenseman with a solid two-way game. He got a bit of experience in the SHL this season, and should get even more next season.

 

25. St. Louis Blues (from Toronto Maple Leafs) - Dominik Bokk, RW, Vaxjo Jr. (SWE-JR)

NHL Central Scouting: No. 12 (International skaters)

Bokk (6-1, 176) had 41 points (14 goals, 27 assists) in 35 regular-season games as a rookie in Sweden's SuperElit in 2017-18 and 11 points (five goals, six assists) in eight playoff games to help Vaxjo reach the championship game. Bokk, who was born in Schweinfurt, Germany, is a finesse-type forward who is strong on his skates and looks to shoot. He could play in the SHL next season if he opts to stay in Europe.

NHL.com analysis: The Blues traded up to select the German forward, who excelled against tougher competition in Sweden. He's got solid 1-on-1 skills and could come to North America to play junior in the CHL next season.

Video: Blues draft F Dominik Bokk No. 25

 

26. Ottawa Senators (from New York Rangers) - Jacob Bernard-Docker, D, Okotoks (AJHL)

NHL Central Scouting: No. 33 (North American skaters)

Bernard-Docker (6-0, 187), No. 33 in Central Scouting's final list of North American skaters, is a right-shot defenseman who had 41 points (20 goals, 21 assists) in 47 games in the Alberta Junior Hockey League. Bernard-Docker is a strong skater who is able to create time and space for himself and get off a strong, accurate shot. He'll continue his development next season at the University of North Dakota.

NHL.com analysis: The Senators liked Bernard-Docker's offense, skating and right-handed shot and were willing to slide back and then reach a bit to select him. They'll give him all the time he needs to develop at the University of North Dakota, but he should be a solid addition to their defenseman group.

 

27. Chicago Blackhawks - Nicolas Beaudin, D, Drummondville (QMJHL)

NHL Central Scouting: No. 31 (North American skaters)

Beaudin (5-11, 172), a smooth skater with a left-hand shot, has the confidence to jump into the rush and assist in transition when needed. He was tied for second among QMJHL defensemen with 69 points and tied for first with 57 assists and 28 power-play assists in 68 regular-season games in 2017-18. Beaudin has 111 points (17 goals, 94 assists) in 158 QMJHL games for Drummondville.

NHL.com analysis: The Blackhawks add another young, offensive-minded defenseman after choosing Boqvist at No. 8. He has elite-level puck skills and outstanding mobility. 

 

28. New York Rangers - Nils Lundkvist, D, Pitea (SWE)

NHL Central Scouting: No. 14 (International skaters)

Lundkvist (5-11, 172), No. 14 in Central Scouting's final list of International skaters, is a right-shot defenseman who had 14 points (three goals, 11 assists) in 26 games in Sweden's junior league and earned his first chance to play against men in the SHL as a 17-year-old. He skates well enough to carry the puck deep into the offensive zone and has the speed to track back on defense in transition. He moved up from No. 41 in NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking.

NHL.com analysis: Lundkvist shot up the Central Scouting rankings because of his high-end offensive game, going from No. 41 among International skaters in the midterm to No. 14. The Rangers added three young defensemen before the trade deadline in Ryan Lindgren, Yegor Rykov and Libor Hajek, and now with Miller and Lundkvist in the first round of the draft, New York has done a solid job adding depth at the position.

 

29. Toronto Maple Leafs (from St. Louis Blues) - Rasmus Sandin, D, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)

NHL Central Scouting: No. 11 (North American skaters)

Sandin (5-11, 185) had 45 points (12 goals, 33 assists), a plus-35 rating and 94 shots on goal in 51 games as a rookie in 2017-18, his first season in North America. He is elusive, mobile and capable of effectively working the point on the power play. Sandin, born in Uppsala, Sweden, has tremendous upside because he'll add strength and weight.

Video: Maple Leafs draft D Rasmus Sandin No. 29

NHL.com analysis: The Maple Leafs were able to trade back and select a left-shot defenseman ranked No. 11 among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting. Sandin has a solid all-around game, great hockey sense, and will nicely complement the Maple Leafs solid forward group.

 

30. Detroit Red Wings - Joseph Veleno, C, Drummondville (QMJHL)

NHL Central Scouting: No. 8 (North American skaters)

Veleno (6-1, 191) was the first player from the QMJHL granted exceptional status to play as a 15-year-old. He had 31 points (six goals, 25 assists) in 31 games in his third season with Saint John before being traded to Drummondville on Dec. 19. He had 48 points (16 goals, 32 assists) in 33 regular-season games with Drummondville and 11 points (five goals, six assists) in 10 playoff games. Veleno, who won 46 percent of his face-offs this season, skates well, is aggressive on the attack, and plays with confidence.

Video: Red Wings draft F Joe Veleno No. 30

NHL.com analysis: No single part of Veleno's game will blow you out of your seat, but he's strong in all areas of the game. He's skilled offensively and diligent defensively. After taking Zadina at No. 6 and Veleno at No. 30, the Red Wings appear to have done a solid job upgrading their skill at forward.

 

31. Washington Capitals - Alexander Alexeyev, D, Red Deer (WHL)

NHL Central Scouting: No. 22 (North American skaters)

Alexeyev (6-4, 195), from St. Petersburg, Russia, had 37 points (seven goals, 30 assists) in 2017-18, his second WHL season. Projected as a two-way defenseman, he's smart with the puck, is a strong skater and has a good shot. Alexeyev was limited to 45 games after sustaining a lower-body injury against Regina on Jan. 20. He returned to the lineup in February and had five points (two goals, three assists) and seven shots on goal in three WHL playoff games.

NHL.com analysis: With the trade of Brooks Orpik and John Carlson's future in Washington uncertain, the Capitals picked the right time to add on defense. Alexeyev is a big, smart, left-shot defenseman who might not need a lot more development before he's ready to play in the NHL.

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