NHL draft Big Board: Updated top-32 rankings following under-18 championships, draft lottery

Sports

The Stanley Cup playoffs are in full swing, the lottery balls have been pulled, and the draft order is nearly set. More than half of the NHL teams have turned their attention to preparing for the NHL draft and free agency.

For many fan bases, interest has spiked in a number of prospects in the upcoming draft. More than in most years, this is a class where after the No. 1 spot, every team’s list seems to be vastly different. One player is ranked as high as sixth by one team and that same player is ranked 19th by another. The discrepancy in how these players are being viewed is more vast than usual.

As discussed in the March rankings, there are a lot of quality defensemen available at the top of the draft. As many as six could go in the top 10, and all are expected to be top-four defenders at the NHL level.

The difference between these rankings and the ones in March is that the model is weighted less heavily in favor of scouting reports and viewings. While the model is the driving factor in the rankings and provides guardrails for tiers of players, adjustments are made for the “eye test.” Industry whispers are not considered, and these rankings are 75% model-based and 25% scouting-based. The final rankings that will come out the week of the draft will be closer to 50-50 and include adjustments for industry intel, combine testing and positional value.

As it pertains to public rankings, it is not the job of the public to suss out who should and shouldn’t be on a list based on team culture, fit with organizations and overall draft strategy. That rests with individual teams, and is why the mock draft will vary significantly from the rankings. There are a few players who some teams value higher than the public for various reasons, and there are always a few that are considered “do not draft” by teams because they are perceived to not fit with the organization for one reason or another.

There is no “fit” with a public ranking; the public doesn’t have a team. However, where these caveats apply, an explanation will be included.

Here is the updated list with six weeks to go before the draft, which will be held in Las Vegas at the Sphere on Friday, June 28 (7 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN+) and Saturday, June 29 (11:30 a.m. ET, ESPN+).

1. Macklin Celebrini
F, Boston University (NCAA)

Previous ranking: 1

A franchise cornerstone center who will be immediately impactful. Celebrini is the prize of the NHL draft class, and for good reason. He is a 200-foot player capable of making a difference at both ends of the ice. He’s a play driver and was one of a handful of true freshmen to win the Hobey Baker award as college hockey’s top player.

Offensively, he drives the middle of the ice, cuts through defensive schemes and finds passing lanes that others cannot see. His ability to protect the puck and willingness to play through contact, spin off defenders and stick with the play are translatable to the NHL. Off the puck, he remains a threat to score because of his ability to find open spaces, keep his stick away from defenders and release the puck quickly. His hockey sense and vision are high end and have me believing he will be a solid two-way player who is elite in transition.

He’s not generational, but he is transformative for a franchise and will be a rebuild expediter.


2. Ivan Demidov
F, SKA St. Petersburg (MHL)

Previous ranking: 2

If there were assurances about his contract situation, Demidov would be the second player selected — and he still might be. He’s the complete package offensively and projected to be a top-six difference-maker for a team at the NHL level. He’s dynamic with his ability to create offense and brings a blend of elite puck skill, excellent hockey sense and an elite release. For my money, it is the best release in the draft.

He isn’t as good as Matvei Michkov was in the 2023 draft, but he is not far behind, and it became more apparent as the season wore on. He’s capable of driving play offensively and consistently took over games in the playoffs, winning the MVP award. He ranks in the top five percentile of shooting and passing metrics, and is dangerous in transition. He takes pucks from the outside and drives the middle, consistently puts his team in the dangerous parts of the ice, and is always a threat to score.

Demidov is a versatile offensive player who could be a 40-goal, 40-assist producer in the NHL, and he should not be overlooked based on KHL contract status.


3. Artyom Levshunov
D, Michigan State University (NCAA)

Previous ranking: 3

The Belarusian prospect is the consensus best defender in the draft class and impressive in many aspects. A right-shot defenseman who physically imposes himself on the game and dictates plays offensively. He has developed at light speed, leading scouts to believe he could be an impactful two-way defenseman at the NHL level in short order. He makes a good first pass, finds shooting lanes and can take over a game from the blue line.

He’s raw defensively but has a ton of upside with his physical package, excellent skating ability and puck battle success rate. He’s engaged in every viewing and is consistently a driver of play at both ends of the ice in the sense that he can shift momentum in his team’s favor. Levshunov has the potential to be a top-pairing NHL defenseman who dictates play in all areas.


4. Cayden Lindstrom
F, Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL)

Previous ranking: 4

Lindstrom is the full package of speed, size and skill. He’s dominant at the junior level because he knows how to use his 6-4 frame to protect pucks, win battles and play through contact in the harder areas of the ice.

His physical tools combined with his skating make him a nightmare to deal with off the rush, and if he can continue to develop his ability to play through contact in the hard areas of the ice, he will be a lot to handle at the NHL level. His speed allows him to back off defensemen, and he can change gears to create space.

Without the puck, he reads off his linemates effectively and get to open areas. He’s a versatile offensive player who understands when to physically impose himself to create a scoring chance or hold the puck and set up in the offensive zone. His injury troubles are concerning, but the model projects Lindstrom to be a second-line center with 70-point potential over a long period of time.


5. Zayne Parekh
D, Saginaw Spirit (OHL)

Previous ranking: 5

Parekh is the best offensive defenseman in the draft, full stop. His numbers and model projections jump off the page and are well ahead of his North American-based counterparts, except for Levshunov. The gap between Parekh’s projected value and Levshunov’s is closer than any other defenseman is to Parekh.

He is clearly in the top tier of defensemen based on his projection as a top-four offensive catalyst with a more than an 80% chance of playing 200-plus games in the NHL. Right-handed offensive dynamos are rare and are almost never available via trade. Parekh has all the makings of a quality power-play quarterback and even-strength play driver who can score upward of 60 points in the NHL.

He had one of the best draft-eligible seasons in the history of the CHL, and that shouldn’t be overlooked. His skating is high end, with excellent edgework and agility, allowing him to shake opponents and create space with ease. His defensive game took positive steps over the course of the OHL season. While it isn’t as sound as many would like, he has the skating and hockey sense to understand how to defend at the NHL level.

The offensive instincts he has are not teachable tools, and his play-driving offense, skating ability and willingness to engage are an intriguing package. His ceiling is the highest of the defenseman in the draft, and he confidently projects to be an impactful top-four defenseman for a lengthy NHL career.


6. Anton Silayev
D, Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod (KHL)

Previous ranking: 6

The first thing you notice is Silayev’s size. The hulking, 6-7 defender is playing meaningful minutes on one of the KHL’s better teams, which is extremely rare at age 17, and his projection benefits from it. He’s not projected to be dynamic in the NHL, but showing developable offensive attributes has given scouts hope there is a 35- to 40-point producer there.

He skates very well and shows good edgework and agility in the way he defends in transition and walks the line in the offensive zone. He seems to be scratching the surface of his potential with his talents and physical gifts.

If he’s able to add strength without losing mobility, he could be a minute-munching defenseman at the NHL level who shuts down the opponent’s best players. His floor Is higher than the other defensemen at the top of the draft because of his demonstrated ability to play in the KHL and have success. If his offensive game doesn’t develop, he is more than likely a fourth or fifth defenseman who is a primary penalty killer and solid even-strength defender at the NHL level.


7. Zeev Buium
D, University of Denver (NCAA)

Previous ranking: 10

An excellent skater with above-average puck skill and competitiveness to burn, Buium profiles as a top-four defenseman in the NHL. He’s consistently noticeable because he activates in the rush, defends well in transition and is a quality man-on-man defender in his own zone. His game is built on skating, where he can shake defenders, beat players up ice, walk the line with ease and skate himself out of trouble.

Defensively, he’s able to keep a tight gap, adjust to changes of pace and use great edgework to prevent getting beat in tight situations. He has great puck skill that he combines with a variety of head and shoulder fakes to create space and passing lanes. He elevates his play as the games get tougher and was one of the USA’s best players at the IIHF world junior championship as an underage player, as well as a key cog on the NCAA-champion Denver blue line.

Buium has all the makings of a play-driving, momentum-shifting defenseman in the NHL and could be ready to make the jump at the end of the 2024-25 college season.


8. Tij Iginla
F, Kelowna Rockets (WHL)

Previous ranking: 14

If the last name is familiar, it should be. The second generation of the Iginla family has arrived in the NHL, and Tij has seen his stock rise steadily over the course of the season.

A high-end skater with agility and capability to beat opponents in a straight line or change pace to catch defenders off balance, Iginla is a menace to deal with in the offensive zone. He’s as dangerous with the puck as he is without it, and when you combine natural offensive instincts with a dangerous wrister, you have the making of a serious goal-scoring threat.

When he has the puck, Iginla shows off quality handling, strong puck protection and a release that catches goaltenders by surprise. Off the puck, he finds open spaces, forechecks with tenacity and has the competitiveness his father showcased for years.

He’ll need to round out his play on the defensive side of the puck, but the package of skating, puck skill, tenacity and shot should see him contribute consistently in a top-six role.


9. Sam Dickinson
D, London Knights (OHL)

Previous ranking: 9

The 6-3 lefty is an above-average skater whose game has developed consistently on both sides of the puck this season. He’s playing a leading role on the Memorial Cup favorite London Knights and is a key cog on their superb power play. His shot has developed at the junior level, and his offensive projection has risen as a result.

The model sees him as a top-four defenseman, albeit with less confidence than those above him. The package of size and skating gives him a fair chance of being a second-pairing defenseman, but scouts have reservations about his decision-making, and he strikes me as more of a game manager than difference-maker at the NHL level.

Dickinson has the skating ability to be more proactive than reactive in his defense and more effective in transition play. If he can develop better decision-making on and off the puck, activate more, and play in a structured system, he can be effective on a second pair.


10. Cole Eiserman
F, United States U18 (NTDP)

Previous ranking: 8

The best pure scorer in the draft, Eiserman is someone no one seems to agree on.

There is no way to ignore his goal totals with the U.S. national team development program, but he often left me wanting more. He has the most accurate shot in the draft, and the model sees him as capable of putting up 35 to 40 goals if he hits his ceiling.

Another very young player in the class, he has a long runway to iron out his decision-making and frustrating habits. Habits are fixable, and skating can be improved. Scoring instincts and the ability to catch and release a puck from awkward positions are not; you have them or you don’t, and he is elite in both facets.

Eiserman is often guilty of trying to do too much when he has the puck, leading to turnovers and forced shots — young habits that frustrate scouts and coaches. There is no denying that he possesses the most sought-after skill in the NHL, and if he is developed with patience, he has a real chance to be a 40-goal scorer. The model is confident he will produce at the NHL level in a top-six role. He has the talent and toolbox to be an impact player, a power-play dynamo and a difference-maker.


11. Berkly Catton
F, Spokane Chiefs (WHL)

Previous ranking: 7

Catton is an exciting player that gets fans out of their seats and is a nightmare to defend.

The much-debated, skilled forward has many wondering if he can stick at center in the NHL. He’s got the smarts to play the middle of the ice at the next level, and his statistical profile projects him to be a point producer in a top-six role. A slippery playmaker who identifies open spaces and darts towards them or gets the puck to open areas for his teammates, Catton is a dual threat in the offensive zone. Defenders cannot cheat to his playmaking ability, because he can quickly change gears and open space to fire his quick wrister.

He uses his skating and body position to deceive defenders and takes advantage of their vulnerable positions and postures. When the puck is on his stick, he’s one of the most dangerous players in the draft, creating chances and distributing the puck with precision. If he’s going to stick at center, he’ll need to improve on the defensive side of the puck, but the awareness is there, and he should be able to develop that side of his game.


12. Konsta Helenius
F, Jukurit (Liiga)

Previous ranking: 12

The statistical profile is an impressive one, with similarities to Kaapo Kakko in his draft year. He was a standout player in Finland’s top professional league, which is the main reason the model gives him a confident NHL projection as a middle-six player with a decent chance of contributing in a top-six role. He’s versatile, and can play both center and wing at the NHL level.

Offensively, Helenius possesses excellent spatial awareness, good ability to manipulate defenders to create passing lanes and showcases quality puck protection skills. He can drive a line on his own by facilitating opportunities for himself and his linemates.

Defensively, his hockey sense and stick skill allow him to forecheck and create turnovers at a higher rate than most in the draft class. He is very clearly one of the smartest players in the class, and uses his toolbox to take advantage of gap coverage, create offense and drive play in transition. He’s got all the makings of a difference maker on both sides of the puck at the NHL level, where he is likely to be trusted to produce and keep the other team’s best players off the scoresheet.


13. Carter Yakemchuk
D, Calgary Hitmen (WHL)

Previous ranking: 13

A driver of offense from the blue line, the big, right-handed defenseman put up 30 goals and 71 points in the WHL. For context, there are only two defenseman in recent history who have put up similar goal totals to Yakemchuk as 18-year-olds, Bowen Byram and Josh Morrissey. Not only did he put up gaudy totals, but his penalty minute total (120) also raised eyebrows.

Yakemchuk skates downhill, drives the middle, identifies gaps in defensive coverage and utilizes his lethal shot from the point. Offensively, he’s capable of running a power play in the NHL, and his shot is an attractive quality. Defensively, Yakemchuk lacks the ability to defend well in transition, and makes questionable decisions in his own zone. While some of that is likely related to playing 30 minutes per game, his defensive game and skating will need to improve for him to be an effective NHL defender.

His size, handedness and offensive tools give up the tools to earn a long runway with plenty of chances to develop into an NHL defender, and the model projects a ceiling of a second-pairing defender, with a floor of a borderline NHL player.


14. Beckett Sennecke
F, Oshawa Generals (OHL)

Previous ranking: 24

The biggest riser of the draft class, Sennecke has been a driving factor in Oshawa’s success this season. The Generals struggled without him in the playoffs when he missed games, making his value more pronounced.

The puck follows him around the ice, and it sticks to him when he’s got it because of his elite individual skill. He is guilty of holding the puck too long sometimes, but he’s shown the ability to read defensive coverage and pick it apart. As he develops into an NHL player, he’ll need to use that ability more often because he has the talent to become a quality playmaker at the NHL level.

His projection skyrocketed due to the weight placed on the back half of the season, where he has been a top player in the OHL. The model sees him as a middle-six player with confidence, with the ceiling of a top-line winger. If he adds some strength and uses his teammates more effectively instead of resorting to individualistic play, he’s got the talent to be an impactful point producer at the NHL level.


15. Michael Hage
F, Chicago Steel (USHL)

Previous ranking: 18

One of the USHL’s top forwards this season, Hage is a dual-threat player with a pro frame and above-average skating. He improves every line he’s on because of his awareness and ability to play off his linemates.

When Chicago needed momentum shifted in their favor this season, they turned to Hage. He can do it himself, play a give-and-go style, find open spaces off the puck and protect the puck to sustain pressure in the offensive zone. He’s deceptive with his puck handling and catches defenders by surprise with his ability to execute passes and create scoring chances through traffic.

Hage needs to round out his physical frame to hit his ceiling of a second-line center at the NHL level.


16. Adam Jiricek
D, HC Plzen (Czechia)

Previous ranking: 16

A polarizing player in this draft in large part due to multiple knee injuries, the younger Jiricek (his brother David was the No. 6 pick in 2022) possesses many attractive tools.

He’s got room to mature physically, but the 6-2, right-handed defenseman has shown he belongs in pro hockey at young age, making his projection stronger than others in his age group. The lack of playing time means the model’s projection is volatile, but he effectively lost a year of development due to injury and is more raw than other defensive prospects.

He skates very well, with excellent agility and edgework, and good speed. He’s got great spatial awareness, understands when to jump and when to hold his ground. His rush play will benefit from his skating as he develops, and he’s got decent offensive instincts. He’s competitive on the puck, physical when necessary but doesn’t get caught chasing the play to be physical.

The package of size, skating, competitive play and instincts are intriguing and it wouldn’t surprise me if he becomes a top-four defenseman in the NHL.


17. Liam Greentree
F, Windsor Spitfires (OHL)

Previous ranking: 11

Greentree has a confident NHL projection, with varying outcomes.

He lacks the numbers and dynamic offense that would make him a top-six forward. He finds a way to impact the game when he isn’t contributing offensively, making him projectable as a player who will find a spot in an NHL lineup, even if it isn’t in a scoring role. The blend of size, individual skill and above-average shooting mechanics are an intriguing package for NHL teams. His skating needs work to be an offensive producer at the NHL level, but his details are pro level, winning puck battles, forechecks effectively and effectively using his body to shield pucks.

There is a potential middle-six forward in there, but his most likely projection is a third-line player.


18. Ryder Ritchie
F, Prince Albert Raiders (WHL)

Previous ranking: 20

A dynamic playmaking winger whose highlight reel is longer than many in this draft class. He’s projected to be a second-line offensive contributor with fair confidence.

He has good straight-away speed, and is one the better players in this draft at changing gears, allowing him to beat defenders with ease. He’s slippery and plays a well-rounded offensive game, preventing defenders from cheating to the pass or shot. Ritchie is one of the younger players in the class, and has projectable qualities, a longer development runway and all the tools to be a top-six contributor at the NHL level.


19. Trevor Connelly
F, Tri-City Storm (USHL)

Previous ranking: 19

Connelly is a highly skilled playmaker who shows flashes of being a difference maker, particularly in one-on-one situations. He’s got flashy skill to burn, and a swagger that oozes into his play style.

There are concerns about Connelly’s behavior, whether it is a selfish penalty at a critical point, or off-ice concerns detailed earlier this season. Connelly has the talent to be a middle-six contributor at the NHL level if he adds strength to be stronger on the puck, and execute the plays his hockey sense allows him to see.


20. Michael Brandsegg-Nygard
F, Mora IK (Hockey AllSvenskan)

Previous ranking: 15

Brandsegg-Nygard is an enigma, in the sense that it is quite rare to see a Norwegian playing in Sweden during their draft year.

He’s a dependable player that consistently brings standout work ethic and good skating ability. He lacks the dynamism of other forwards above him, but he possesses a well-rounded package of skill, skating, hockey sense that are plus attributes to pair with an above-average shot. The model gives him a fair chance of becoming a middle-six winger, with his most likely outcome as a third-line winger.


21. Igor Chernyshov
F, Dynamo Moskva (MHL)

Previous ranking: 17

Chernyshov fits the mold of a new-age power winger who plays a straightforward game utilizing good skating, a deceptive release and average skating. He’s not explosive, but he’s deceptive in his rush play, attacking defenders and using his size and puck skill to beat defenders.

His promotion to the KHL was earned, and while he didn’t produce, he didn’t look out of place either. The right-handed winger plays his off side, making him a versatile option for teams. The model projects him to be a middle-six forward with a reasonable prospect of playing 200 NHL games.


22. Terik Parascak
F, Prince George Cougars (WHL)

Previous ranking: 27

Parascak is a fun player to unpack because his production didn’t truly take off until he was moved to the top line. He immediately caught fire and made his line of the WHL’s best. His ability to play with other top-end players and fit seamlessly into an offensive role was impressive.

He finds open space, and is the definition of a player who is consistently in the right place at the right time. He gets to the net with effectiveness, and possesses good hands in tight to capitalize on the scoring chances that present themselves. He isn’t dynamic, won’t beat defenders with pure speed or turn them inside out, but he will be two and three steps ahead with how he thinks the game. He sees plays develops at an elite level, allowing him to get to spots, play off his linemates and create scoring chances.

The model projects him to by a middle-six forward, but his elite hockey sense could see him become a reliable Swiss-army knife who can put up points if he gets on a line with other skilled players.


23. Nikita Artamonov
F, Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod (KHL)

Previous ranking: 21

It is rare that a player will consistently play in the KHL during their draft year, and Artamonov’s statistical profile is buoyed by that and his MHL playoff performance. He’s got a decent shot to be a top-six winger in the NHL based on his profile.

Artamonov is on the smaller side, but he’s got excellent spatial awareness and understands how to attack defenders with slick hands and decent speed. He is consistently noticeable, and doesn’t overextend himself to make the flashy play. He plays off his linemates well, and if he can continue to develop his goal-scoring ability, he’s got the tools to be a 50- to 60-point producer in the NHL.


24. Emil Hemming
F, TPS (Liiga)

Previous ranking: 23

Hemming has a pro frame at 6-1 and 201 pounds, and is stronger than most players in his group. Understanding how to use his size to protect pucks, play through contact and drive the net could see him become a scoring threat on a more consistent basis.

He can beat defenders on the rush with his speed, and possesses above-average hands, but his standout skill is his shot. He’s got excellent shot mechanics in his wrist shot, one-timer and, catch and release motions. He’s a threat to score whenever he’s on the ice, and if he can develop a passing game to blend with his size and shot, he’s got the makings of a power forward in a middle-six role at the NHL level.

The model is fairly confident that he’ll make the NHL, but less confident in what he will be once he gets there.


25. Sacha Boisvert
F, Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL)

Previous ranking: 26

Boisvert’s statistical profile is an impressive one, with a relatively confident projection as a middle-six center in the NHL. He’s a blend of individual skill, a quick release, and competitive two-way play.

Once he fills out his 6-2 frame with muscle, he’ll be more difficult to deal with on both sides of the puck. His skating is average, and should improve with added strength and a more powerful stride base. He understands how to play at different paces and in tight areas, which will only develop further and open more opportunities to use his NHL-ready release.

He’ll need a few years to mature physically, but the tools are there to be an effective contributor in the middle of an NHL lineup.


26. Jett Luchanko
F, Guelph Storm (OHL)

Previous ranking: Outside top 32

Luchanko’s production exploded this season with an elevated role in Guelph, and he has shown positive development over the course of the season. His above-average skating and puck skill with the instincts in all three zones to match.

The model is confident that Luchanko will be an NHL player, albeit a bottom-six forward type. Given the versatility of his toolbox, his competitiveness on the puck, excellent instincts and skating, and being one of the youngest players in the draft, Luchanko’s development runway is longer than others, and he should be a dependable NHL player.


27. Aron Kiviharju
D, HIFK (Liiga)

Previous ranking: 28

A hot-button topic for a few years now, Kiviharju is a small defenseman that lost a significant portion of his season to an ACL injury.

He is unequivocally one of the most cerebral players in the draft, with an excellent first pass, quality transition play, and the ability to comfortably play both sides. His diminutive stature (listed at 5-10, 172 pounds) is an obvious concern, and his NHL projection is boom or bust, with less confidence than other defensemen in the draft. Effectively losing a year of development hurts his case, but if a team is patient and Kiviharju can grow an inch or two, he has the highest ceiling of the players in this tier of the draft.


28. EJ Emery
D, United States U18 (NTDP)

Previous ranking: Outside top 32

Emery’s one-on-one defense and ability to manage transition play, combined with his size, make him an intriguing prospect.

The 6-3, right-handed defenseman has been the program’s best defender this season in large part because of his skating. He isn’t flashy and doesn’t have elite offensive attributes, but he’s shown flashes of developable offensive tools. He’s disruptive when defending the rush, and has room to fill out a frame to be a punishing two-way force. His first pass ability steadily improved once he started to use his skating to create space.

Once he fills out his frame and adds a little snarl, there is belief that he’ll be an effective shut-down defender in the NHL.


29. Andrew Basha
F, Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL)

Previous ranking: 25

Basha has seen his stock rise over the course of the season by showing his ability to drive a line offensively. An average skating ability gives me pause, but it does not prevent him from getting to the right spots, creating scoring chances and being effective on the forecheck.

He’s on the smaller side, but his effectiveness on the forecheck, ability to get under opponent’s skin and play through contact have the makings of a middle-six player at the NHL level.


30. Miguel Marques
F, Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL)

Previous ranking: 22

Marques’ production has steadily improved over his WHL time, and his role has expanded as a result. He reads the play at a high level, understanding when to attack defenders with speed off the rush and when to be patient and let plays develop. He’s a good skater with a great set of hands, allowing him to effectively forecheck and create turnovers.

He isn’t able to execute all the plays he sees and tries to force plays, but he’s a tenacious competitor with a fairly high ceiling.


31. Teddy Stiga
F, United States U18 (NTDP)

Previous ranking: Outside top 32

Every time I’ve run the model this season, Stiga’s stock has improved. That’s a strong sign of a projectable development curve.

Watching him play, that tracks. He isn’t big and isn’t dynamic, but he gets the job done. Every line he plays on is made better by his presence, in large part due to his ability to play off his teammates and read the game. A good skater who consistently competes on pucks, and an underrated finisher who possesses a quality set of hands. He stands out because he tilts in the ice towards the offensive zone, is unafraid to engage and makes things happen.


32. Maxim Massé
F, Chicoutimi Saguenéens (QMJHL)

Previous ranking: 30

A well-rounded forward who has proven his ability to be an all-situations player.

He’s effective in every area of the game, possesses above-average puck skill and a variety of shot types in his toolbox. His skating is concerning, and the lack of a major jump in production leads the model to have a less confident NHL projection. However, if his skating can improve, he has the tools to be a Swiss-army knife in an NHL lineup because he has good habits, decent offensive instincts and brings value on the defensive side of the puck.

Honorable mentions

Note: Players listed in alphabetical order.

Dominik Badinka, D, Malmo (SHL)
Cole Beaudoin, F, Barrie Colts (OHL)
Harrison Brunicke, D, Kamloops Blazers (WHL)
Ben Danford, D, Oshawa Generals (OHL)
Charlie Elick, D, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)
Alfons Freij, D, Vaxjo (J20 Nationell)
Tanner Howe, F, Regina Pats (WHL)
Dean Letourneau, F, Saint Andrew’s College (U18 AAA)
Leo Sahlin Wallenius, D, Vaxjo (J20 Nationell)
Marek Vanacker, F, Brantford Bulldogs (OHL

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