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Draft Guide Preview

NHL Draft Guide Preview

by Michael Finewax
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Rotoworld's 2018 NHL Draft Guide is ready!


It is loaded with tools to help you dominate drafts, covering every league depth and format including Dynasty and Auction drafts. Subscribers get access to exclusive top-150 rankings with stat projections, 600-plus player profiles, schedule grids, position tiers, mock drafts and injury reports.


New this season is Rotoworld's exclusive DFS Toolkit! We're proud to offer the Lineup Optimizer, crunching the numbers to help you build the best rosters for the most popular DFS sites. Customized projections allow subscribers to tweak optimizations to reflect their own strategies, and the 'Next Man Up' feature highlights players who will benefit from teammates' injuries -- an all-too-common factor during the NHL's busy schedule. Get it as part of the NHL’s All-In package right now!


Rotoworld's NHL crew has written 20+ columns and counting, covering a wide variety of topics including:


Schedule Grid & Analysis


Overvalued Players


Blocked Shots

Face offs


Enforcers Tiering

Injury Reports

Prospects Report (Eastern and Western Conference)

Goaltending Battles

Top 50 Goalies

Top Power Forwards

Multiple mock drafts…and much more!!!


A one-time payment under $20 grants full access to the Guide, which can be bundled with the NHL Season Pass, and DFS Toolkit. Doing so grants you access to year-long Player Trackers, weekly stat projections, customizable email updates, playing time reports, the power play report, minor league reports and much more. Get the Guide right here.


Mock drafts are already available for Dynasty, Regular and Auction Drafts, showing you how experts view the league. Is Connor McDavid default No. 1 pick this year? (By the way the answer is yes). Where is Carey Price going this year after a tough 2017-18 campaign? We'll analyze our drafts round-by-round, to help you win yours.


Below are excerpts from six columns you'll find in the Draft Guide. The paragraphs quoted are a sliver of each column. Enjoy!



Sleepers and Undervalued Players


Corey Abbott (@coreabbott)


Identifying sleepers early can have a tremendous impact on your fantasy squad and the later rounds of your draft is typically the spot to take some chances. However, you shouldn’t forget that even if they aren't drafted right away there are always players who slip under the radar.  If someone comes out firing when the season starts don’t hesitate to pick them up because they could very well be the next big surprise performer.  Look for players who will getting more opportunities and have the talent to break through.


Some players who could be undervalued because of previous injuries or a rough year the season before are included here as well because their situations will be better and they may slip in drafts. 

Kyle Connor(WPG) - Connor was a player who mostly operated under the radar last season despite spending the majority of 2017-18 on Winnipeg’s top line.  He produced 31 goals and 57 points in 76 games as a rookie.  Connor also had 11 power-play points, while skating on the Jets’ number one unit.  Riding shotgun with Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler will likely be the case for him again in 2018-19.  Connor has already earned the trust of bench boss Paul Maurice after he averaged nearly 17 minutes per game as a 21-year-old.  He should be able to top 200 shots on goal this campaign after he registered 2.53 shots per game a year ago.  Connor is part of a deep Winnipeg offensive attack. He could get lost in the shuffle after poolies snag fellow Jets forwards Scheifele, Wheeler, Patrik Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers.  Take advantage of that by snatching Connor up, as he will probably be a great value pick on draft day.  

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (EDM) - Nugent-Hopkins was never going to have much fantasy value as Edmonton’s third-line center behind Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, but that didn’t stop him from having some success in that role when he was healthy last year.  His outlook improved considerably in March when he was shifted to left wing and placed in the top combination alongside McDavid.  He exploded for 17 points, including eight goals, in the final 16 games of the year.  Nugent-Hopkins was held off the scoresheet just five times during that span.  He was limited to 62 games last year, but notched 24 goals and 24 assists.  Edmonton has been searching for linemates for McDavid since the superstar center entered the league.  He has played with a variety of players and expressed some frustration during the offseason over the rotating cast.  McDavid wants a chance to build with stable wingers alongside him and Nugent-Hopkins has the potential to occupy one of those spots.  They had more success together at the 2018 IIHF World Championship when Nugent-Hopkins generated eight points (five goals, three assists) in 10 matches.  Ty Rattie was the third member of the combination in 2017-18 and should get another look as well.  There is chemistry there, especially between Nugent-Hopkins and McDavid, which gives RNH tremendous upside going into the season.  


Top Rookies


Ryan Dadoun (@RyanDadoun)


Casey Mittelstadt (BUF) – Taken with the eighth overall pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, Casey Mittelstadt attended the University of Minnesota last season and had a great freshman season.  He scored 11 goals and 30 points in 34 NCAA games, solidifying the idea that one season in college was enough.  He signed an entry-level contract with Buffalo in March and made a great first impression with a goal and five points in six games.  There’s a good chance he’ll begin the 2018-19 campaign in a top-six role and might even get regular minutes with Jack Eichel part due to that, there’s a strong argument to be made that he should be higher on this list and the fact that I have Mittelstadt at fourth speaks to how optimistic I am about Donato and Tolvanen.

Elias Pettersson  (VAN) – Much like Mittelstadt, a strong argument can be made that Elias Pettersson deserves to be higher on this list.  He’s a top-tier prospect coming off an amazing season in the Swedish league where he scored 24 goals and 56 points in 44 regular season games and another 10 goals and 19 points in 13 postseason contests.  Those 19 points also tied him for the second-highest playoff total among U20 players in the SHL with the Sedin twins, which is sure to excite Canucks fans as they enter the post-Sedin era.  It will be very interesting to see how Pettersson is utilized this season, but certainly the ideal would be for him to play on a line with another one of the Canucks’ rising stars, Brock Boeser.


Enforcers Tier


Michael Finewax (@mfinewaxhockey)


This is the ninth season that we are ranking the top penalty minute producers in tiers for the upcoming campaign. Things certainly have changed since the first column as there were 43 players who had 100 penalty minutes or more including a whopping 307 from Zenon Konopka. Last year only seven players hit the 100 minute mark with Micheal Haley leading the way at 212.

As always, we remind you that it’s always better to get your PIMs from forwards who can also score (Evgeni MalkinBrad MarchandWayne SimmondsNazem Kadri, Perry, Evander KaneGabriel LandeskogMatthew Tkachuk) and offensive-minded defensemen (Dustin ByfuglienAaron Ekblad). Another successful strategy is to draft a defenseman enforcer (although they are now few and far between) which is far less  damaging to your team’s offense than tying up a forward slot by choosing a winger or center sin bin regular. Mark Borowiecki and Alex Petrovic are really the only examples of defensemen who are penalty minutes only fantasy players. Now on to the prime penalty minute producers in the game today.

Tier One – (Micheal HaleyTom Wilson)

Whereas I wrote that Konopka had 307 minutes a mere eight years ago, Haley and Wilson likely won’t make it to 200. Haley supplies the Panthers with a physical presence and that enables stars such as Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau extra room to move. Tom Wilson has provided a steady diet of penalty minutes for fantasy owners during his early career with Washington and has now added some offense to his game.


Eastern Conference Prospects


Daniel E. Dobish (@danieledobish)


Boston Bruins: Grade B-

1)    Ryan Donato – Center – 22 years old – 56th overall pick from 2014

The feisty Donato could open the season as a top-six forward after some major turnover up front in Beantown.

2)    Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson – Center – 21 years old – 45th overall pick from 2015

JFK surprised with 15 goals and 17 assists in 58 games for Providence of the AHL. He might be a year away from the NHL.

3)    Urho Vaakanainen – Defenseman – 19 years old – 18th overall pick from 2017

Vaakanainen still need some seasoning, but he is a tremendous two-way player who is very cerebral.

4)    Anders Bjork – Left Wing – 21 years old – 146th overall pick from 2014

Bjork played 30 games for the big club in 2017-18, registering four goals and 12 points in 30 games. He has great vision as well.

5)    Trent Frederic – Center – 20 years old – 29th overall pick from 2016

Frederic is a winner at the University of Wisconsin, Team USA at the World Juniors and in his first taste of the pros at Providence. He'll be middle-six in the NHL soon.


Buffalo Sabres: Grade A-

1)    Rasmus Dahlin – Defenseman - 18 years old – 1st overall pick from 2018

The No. 1 overall pick in 2018 is a ridiculous skater who will get stronger, not only playing in the NHL, but playing at an All-Star level for many years.

2)    Casey Mittelstadt – Center – 19 years old – 8th overall pick from 2017 

Mittelstadt finished up at the University of Minnesota last season, and debuted with a goal and five points in six games for the Sabres. He is the top offensive prospect in Buffalo.

3)    Victor Olofsson – Left Wing – 23 years old – 181st overall pick from 2014

Olofsson has the potential to break through with the big club, and playing with fellow countryman Dahlin might make the sniper more comfortable.

4)    Brendan Guhle – Defenseman – 21 years old – 51st overall pick from 2015

Guhle rolled up eight goals and 26 points with Rochester of the AHL, and he continues to get stronger. He is just scratching the surface.

5)    Rasmus Asplund – Center – 20 years old – 33rd overall pick from 2016

Asplund showed well in Sweden's top league, and the strong skater will be a solid, yet unspectacular player for years to come.



Michael Finewax

Michael Finewax is entering his 16th season as the Senior Hockey Writer and Editor for Rotoworld. You can follow him on Twitter @mfinewaxhockey.