Insights into the 2018 Draft: Part I

With which players does the Potato agree with the consensus for the 2018 draft?

I have been asked a few times if I could post the potato-rankings for the 2018 draft. I do have this data ready, but generally speaking I dislike rankings because they tend to lead to the lowest form of discourse on the Internet. No matter what you do to try to stop it, whenever you post a list or a ranking the discussion always boils down to people griping that you ranked so-and-so over so-and-so and what a joke that such-and-such bias etc. Rankings basically perpetuate a false sense of precision that I don't really like, because realistically speaking there is no real difference between the guy at #10 and the guy at #15.

Having said that, I am happy to compare the list generated by the potato-model to the hallowed "consensus" and offer any insights into areas where they differ. Here are a few scattered thoughts on a few players who differ between the scouts and the potato.

  1. Are Quinn Hughes and Ty Smith tall enough?

Since 2012, only 5 defenders listed at 5'10" and under have been drafted in the top 50 of the NHL draft:

  1. Julius Honka (14th overall, 2014 draft, 5'10"
  2. Erik Brannstrom (15th overall, 2017 draft, 5'9")
  3. Anthony DeAngelo (19th overall, 2014 draft, 5'10")
  4. Samuel Girard (47th overall, 2016 draft, 5'9")
  5. Mario Ferraro (49th overall, 2017 draft, 5'10")

These guys have had varied success at the NHL level, but for the most part defenders who are this short are generally a big risk and are not selected very highly. As a result, the potato discounts them fairly heavily. This means that despite Hughes being a top-10 ranking by almost all scouting publications, is only about 45th in the potato rankings. It will be interesting to see if the scouts were able to correctly identify a player who can overcome his height limitations.

Quinn Hughes is ranked #7 by ISS and Ty Smith at #11. Both are well outside the potato's top-20.

  1. Is Filip Zadina really in a separate tier?

The potato likes Zadina a lot, and like most scouting lists has him as the #2 forward after Svechnikov, but he is not really in his own tier based on production. Zadina's production in the QMJHL is good, but not quite so elite to clearly separate himself from a few guys who are producing decent numbers in men's leagues, like Isac Lundestrom and Filip Hallander, as well as other CHL players like Akil Thomas and Joe Veleno. It will be interesting to see if the scouts were right in putting this player in his own tier. I can't help but be reminded a bit of the 2016 draft when everyone agreed that Puljujarvi was clearly in his own tier above forwards like Matthew Tkachuk and Pierre-Luc Dubois. The potato didn't agree with that either.

  1. Who is Einar Emanuelsson?

One name that caught my eye is a guy that nobody seems to know about. Einar Emanuelsson is a 21 year old player playing in the SHL and entering the 2018 draft as his final season of draft eligibility. There is so little written about this player that I can't find any scouting reports about him, and, in fact, can't even find very many English articles that mention him. I have tried to gather some information from some Swedish websites Google-translated into English but really I don't know anything more about him than does the potato. He is ranked in the top 20 based on his production even after accounting for his age and smallish height, so it will be interesting to see if he gets drafted at all, whether or not he could be a good late-round snag for someone. If you know anything about this player feel free to tell us what we are missing. I would be fascinated to know.

In Part II I will comment on a few more players and perhaps provide a ranking.

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