It’s official. The Rangers officially slipped one spot from eighth overall to ninth overall in the 2018 NHL Draft. The Rangers stay in the top ten, and while they don’t get the coveted Rasmus Dahlin, they can still land a potential top line forward or top pairing defenseman with that pick.
The best part of the draft is that someone is going to reach. Brady Tkachuk, who is probably more of a top-ten than a top-five, could go in the top five. Depending on how highly GMs rate some of the defensemen, there’s a chance someone like Oliver Wahlstrom, currently the fifth ranked skater, could fall four spots to nine.
Wahlstrom is one of five forwards ranked in the top ten, and he’s also the most likely of the bunch to fall to the Rangers at nine. The 6′, 205 lb center currently plays for the US NDTP team, and he put up 22-23-45 in 26 games. He is a shooter with an elite level shot, something the Rangers sorely need. I mean, the kid can put the puck anywhere with a hard, accurate shot with one of the quickest releases in the draft.
Beyond his shot, Wahlstrom is very strong on the puck, using his size to his advantage. He doesn’t steamroll his opponents, but he’s very difficult to move off the puck. When you couple that with his stickhandling ability, you have a potential offensive dynamo. He can skate, manage the puck extremely well, create offense, and of course use that lethal shot of his.
He isn’t a speedster, but when Wahlstrom gets going, he’s a little like Juggernaut. He’s tough to stop and he can be a freight train. His vision on the ice is at elite levels as well, and when you combine it with his raw talent, there’s the potential for a top line player. He just reads the game so well. It’s why he’s not a pure shooter, which is easy to predict and shut down. He’s an all around offensive force.
Assuming the Rangers can’t get into the top three, Wahlstrom is the guy I want them to target in the top-ten. There’s a chance he can fall to Rangers if some of the teams ahead of the Blueshirts reach for someone outside the top ten, or if they just become enamored with the oodles of defensemen projected to go in the top-ten. That said, even if they miss out on Wahlstrom, there are those oodles of other guys who are worthy of a top-ten pick.