2018 NHL draft position preview — Defensemen


We conclude our 2018 NHL draft position previews with a look at the top draft-eligible defensemen. We’ve already looked at centers, left wingers and right wingers. While the Flyers will likely draft a goaltender at some point, we are not previewing that position. It is highly unlikely they would select one in the first round with either of their two selections.

Rasmus Dahlin, 6-2/181, Frolunda (SHL)
Prospects like Dahlin come around once every so often and there is no question where the 18-year-old will be drafted. Dahlin will be a member of the Buffalo Sabres and become the first player born in 2000 drafted into the NHL. Dahlin is a special player with dynamic offensive ability and creativity. Dahlin will become just the second Swedish-born player ever drafted No. 1 overall, joining Mats Sundin, who was the first overall pick in 1989. Dahlin registered seven goals and 20 points in 41 games this season with Frolunda playing top-four minutes. He was an Olympian at 17 years old. His highlight reels have some bonker plays on them.

Draft projection: No. 1 overall

Quinn Hughes, 5-10/170, University of Michigan (NCAA)
Finishing as the sixth-best North American skater by NHL Central Scouting, Hughes is one of the top defensive prospects in a defense-heavy draft class. He should join a respectable list of Wolverines defensemen drafted high in the first round — Zach Werenski, Jacob Trouba and Jack Johnson. Had five goals and 29 points in 37 games during his freshman season at Michigan and has plenty of Team USA experience coming up in the USA National Team Development Program. An all-around defenseman who is an excellent skater and puck-mover.

Draft projection: Between Nos. 4-9

Adam Boqvist, 5-11/168, Brynas Jr. (SuperElit)
Another Swedish defenseman, Boqvist checks in as the second-best European skater by Central Scouting. The younger brother of Jesper Boqvist, who the Devils drafted with the 36th overall pick last year, Adam Boqvist has high-end offensive skill with a ton of potential. A little bit away from coming overseas and more of a long-term play but could blossom into a star blueliner. He averaged nearly a point per game with Brynas’ junior team, recording 24 points in 25 games and led the junior league among defensemen with 14 goals.

Draft projection: Between Nos. 4-9

Evan Bouchard, 6-2/193, London (OHL)
The OHL veteran finished as the fourth-rated North American skater by Central Scouting. Bouchard, in his third season with the Knights, had 25 goals and 87 points in 67 games this season. His 87 points led all OHL defensemen and was eighth among all players. He’s a right-handed shot who can quarterback the power play and owns a wicked slapper. Has decent size and strength and has a good hockey IQ.

Draft projection: Top 10

Noah Dobson, 6-3/180, Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL)
Dobson finished as the fifth-best North American skater by Central Scouting, a three-spot climb from the midterm rankings. A right-handed shot, Dobson has been entrusted by the Titan to play against teams’ top players. He’s a strong two-way defenseman with good size, though he’s not a great skater. He had 69 points in 67 games with Acadie-Bathurst in the regular season, and while his points were down in the playoffs, he’s helped the Titan reach the Memorial Cup.

Draft projection: Between Nos. 8-15

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