With the NHL Draft less than a week from now, the draft boards are changing rapidly. Today we take a look at picks 6 through 10. Leading the way with pick number 6, the Detroit Red Wings.
Detroit Red Wings: Quinn Hughes
The Red Wings are in a massive decline in recent years. After an NHL Record 26 straight playoff appearance, Detroit has missed the playoffs in each of the last 2 years. GM Ken Holland will desperately be looking to add some speed to a team with cap issues and aging veterans. Quinn Hughes is a strong fit for the Detroit Rebuild. Hughes had strong freshman season, helping lead the Michigan Wolverines to the National Championship. The 5’10 defenseman is highly skilled defensively thanks to his incredible skating ability and hockey IQ. Hughes is currently playing with Team USA at the World Championship and his draft stock is rising after proving himself against some of the NHL’s best. The Red Wings could pick Quinton at 6 to re-alter the Wings franchise alongside former Michigan Wolverine, Dylan Larkin.
Vancouver Canucks: Oliver Wahlstrom
The Canucks have suffered quite a lot over the past few years. With the Sedins now gone, they must rely on the skills of Brock Boeser and other youthful talent. Vancouver fell 1 spot in the draft lottery and I ended up with pick 7. I think the Canucks will select Oliver Wahlstrom from the US Development Program, a program that has groomed players like Auston Matthews, Clayton Keller, and Charlie Mcavoy. Wahlstrom has lit up the USHL with 22 goals while playing the RW alongside the 2019 Projected 1st Overall Pick Jack Hughes (Yes, Quinn Hughes’ little brother). The Harvard hockey commit is a natural goal scorer with perhaps the best shot release of anybody in this draft. If he lands to Vancouver, his big stature could tie in well with other young guns like Adam Gaudette and Brock Boeser. It will be interesting to see how he does in the NCAA if he isn’t signed in year 1. Oh, and don’t forget, Wahlstrom was a viral sensation by the age of 9.
Chicago Blackhawks: Evan Bouchard
The Blackhawks are coming off of the team’s worst year in over a decade. The Hawks have 2 picks in the first round of this draft and could look at both forward and defense at pick 8. Stan Bowman has racked up quite an impressive pool of defensive prospects in the past 3 or 4 drafts but I don’t think they stray away here. If Evan Bouchard slides to number 8 like I expect, the Hawks are being gifted a guy who can do it all. Bouchard has every quality to be a standout NHL defenseman. Standing at 6’2, Evan is the captain and leading scorer of the London Knights. Bouchard was 2nd on the Knights in goals last season with 25... as a defenseman. Overall, he led London with 87 points while consistently improving his draft stock. Even with such good prospects on D, the Hawks CAN NOT and WILL NOT stray away from Bouchard. Lucky number 8 might be the best spot for the Hawks, as pick 8 has produced Casey Mittlestadt, Alex and William Nylander, and Zach Werenski, just to name a few from recent years.
New York Rangers: Noah Dobson
After trading away their top defenseman in Ryan Mcdonagh, NYR has no chance at picking anybody but a defenseman. At pick 9, Noah Dobson is the go-to. Dobson is reliable and consistent on both sides of the ice. Strong right-handed defenseman alone are already pretty rare, but Dobson is right handed AND 6’3. Even with his size, Dobson plays a quick, up-tempo game. That play style is something that the league is quickly adjusting to. If Lundqvist can handle a few more years in the spotlight as an elite goalie, Dobson could eventually be an essential piece in a Rangers cup run.
Edmonton Oilers: Joel Farabee
Assuming Peter Chiarelli does something right for the first time in his career, Edmonton could land the much needed winger for Connor Mcdavid. At pick 10, the Edmonton Oilers select Boston University commit, Joel Farabee. Farabee is the exact type of guy that Mcdavid needs. The USNTDP captain can play both sides of the puck with exquisite beauty. A lot like Mcdavid, Farabee can used his leg to make something happen on almost every shift. With no more Taylor Hall and Leon Draisaitl back at center, Farebee may be their guy on the first line wing. The 18 year old had 15 goals in the USHL on top of strong defensive play. The only downside for Farabee is his 168 pound frame at 6’0. If he can put on 15 to 25 pounds of muscle while at Boston University, JF could be a late year 1 or year 2 bloomer.