Published by hockeybuzz.com, 6-9-2018
1. Buffalo Sabres--LHD, Rasmus Dahlin. Even with the top pick, which happens to be a franchise defensemen, the Buffalo media still feels the need to spend hours fueling an alternative view. Josh Allen isn't a franchise QB, the Bills ain't the Pats, the Sabres ain't the Leafs, and ownership still won't talk to us. The tank, ticket prices, and the ghosts of Ted Black/Russ Brandon, Rex Ryan, Ralph Wilson, Marv Levy, Whaley, Murray, Mularkey, Marrone, Regier, Quinn, Lucic and Rolston are all collectively embedded deep within the bowles of studios and news rooms throughout Buffalo and continue to haunt the Buffalo sports scene. The last 17 yrs. of football and seven years of hockey may have bruised the collective synapses of producers, editors, writers and personalities beyond repair and only Rick Jeanneret remains sane thanks to a nip and some regular quips at the expense of Rob Ray. At the podium to announce the first-overall pick by the Buffalo Sabres, the 75 yr. old Jeanneret clears his throat before getting the Rasmus' mixed up as he mistakes Ristolainen for Dahlin. He recovers by raising the roof and yelling "May Day! May Day! May Day!" Buffalo fans go wild. All is well in Western New York.
2. Carolina Hurricanes--RW, Andrei Svechnikov. New Hurricanes owner Thomas Dundon promised a major shakeup when taking over the team. Out with the old in GM Ron Francis and in with the...old...as in Don Waddell, who was the general manager in Atlanta for all but the last season of the defunct Thrashers franchise (1999-2010.) In the final year before their move to Winnipeg, Le Thrash bumped Waddell up to president and brought in GM Rick Dudley who is now Senior Vice President of Hockey operations for...the Carolina Hurricanes. The wheels on the bus... Good news for 'Canes fans, Waddell will not be drafting a Patrick Stephan with his first-ever pick in Carolina. Nope, as luck would have it the Carolina made a huge jump from No. 11 to No. 2 thanks to the lottery and will have an Ilya Kovalchuk-type waiting for them there in Svechnikov. And no, Buffalo, the 'Canes will not be trading this pick for Ryan O'Reilly.
3. Montreal Canadiens--LW, Filip Zadina. There's a song in there somewhere (Zadina, Zadina, where ya been so long?) GM Marc Bergevin had an Eastern Conference Finals team in 2013-14 lead by captain Brian Gionta, who would leave for the Sabres at the end of that season. The Habs have been singing the blues since that season as it's pretty much been downhill. Despite former Sabres forward Nic Deslauriers channeling Martin LaPointe for a brief stint, the Habs were done-in last season by poor goaltending and injuries as well as inadequacies down the middle. Their reward for a 28th-place finish was the third-overall pick which happens to be a pure goal scorer in Zadina, who happens to be a winger, a position their well stocked at for now. And no Buffalo, you're not getting this pick for Ryan O'Reilly.
4. Ottawa Senators--RHD, Noah Dobson. The Sens are in a pickle with Norris Trophy-winning defenseman Erik Karlsson. They want to believe the 28 yr. old will re-sign with the team and they want to believe they'll get him at less than an eight-figure salary, although that might still be too much for the cost-conscious Senators even if he does want to stay in Ottawa. When owner Eugene Melnyk starts throwing phrases like “change in approach,” “difficult decisions,” and being “dedicated to be an even larger part of Ottawa's fabric" in a letter to the fan base, those are really euphemisms for "grab your ankles and kiss your ass goodbye." Luckily for Ottawa, Dobson, who was a key member of the Memorial Cup-winning Acadia Bathurst Titans, has an intriguing NHL package of skating, skill and hockey sense that can ease the pain of the probable loss of Karlsson.
5, Arizona Coyotes--LW, Brady Tkachuk. Even though a right-handed defenseman would be a good fit here, it's going to be hard to pass on Tkachuk, a player many had starting the third tier of prospects ever so close behind Svechnikov and Zadina. And Tkachuk kinda flows with Chayka, as in 'Yotes GM John. (Catch the beat--Chaka, Tkachuk; Chaka, Tkachuk; Chaka, Tkachuk.) Arizona is very interested in the 6'3" 196 lb. Tkachuk who has size, speed, and skill packaged with a powerforward's mentality. Plus he's NHL ready. Brady's father Keith played for the Coyotes and the 18 yr. old is said to be a bit better prospect than his older brother Matthew who's doing great things with the Calgary Flames.