Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Starting today, and for the next week or so, I will be bringing you features on the next wave of NHL players. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical draft profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Sports is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Prospects”! For a Complete Listing of all our 2017 Draft Articles Click here. We will be sure to bring similar coverage of the 2018 NHL Draft.
With the CHL season a good eight weeks old, a month or so of NCAA hockey, plenty of games for the US National Team Development Program, the Ivan Hlinka Tournament, an international break in Europe, and the Canada-Russia Series all being played since we last updated our draft rankings, we have gotten a decent overview of what some of the biggest prospects for the 2018 NHL draft are doing this year.
That said, as a staff, we haven’t seen every player yet—it’s quite simply not possible this early in the season. If there is an obvious name left out, we’ll do our best to get a look before the February rankings; as well as before our final rankings that go from April through June.
The group we haven’t seen a lot of our European prospects who, for whatever reason, haven’t had much exposure on the international stage. With the World Juniors, Five Nations, and the Under-18 all to come later in the year, we should get a better look at most of those players.
2018 NHL Draft- November Rankings and Reports #26-31
26.) Jesse Ylonen, Right Wing, Espoo, 6’1″ 168 lbs
Ylonen was dominant at last year’s Under-18 World Championships, putting up four goals and five assists in seven games, helping Finland to a Silver Medal. He has put up five goals and six assists in 19 games for Espoo United this season, playing in the Mestis, Finland’s second division of Men’s hockey.
Ylonen is a strong skater. He has good speed and acceleration. He also has the agility to make quick cuts. This is coupled with good stickhandling skills makes him dangerous off the rush. While he works to protect the puck down low and does a decent job in the cycle game, he could be even better with added muscle mass. Ylonen has a good wrist shot and release, as well as strong passing skills and decent vision. He is a threat as both a goal scorer and playmaker.
27.) Calen Addison, Right Defence, Lethbridge Hurricanes, 5’10” 179 lbs
Addison put up six points in five games for Team Canada in helping his country to gold at this summer’s Ivan Hlinka tournament. The 2nd overall pick of the 2015 WHL Draft, he put up nine goals and 33 points as a WHL rookie. He will likely improve on those numbers this year as he already has six goals and 27 points in 25 games.
Addison is a very good skater who is strong at both ends of the ice. He has very good vision and passing skills, with the ability to start the transition game and play the point on the powerplay. Addison also has a very good slapshot and one-timer. He loves to drive offence and jumps into the play, both off the rush and pinching at the blue line. Defensively, he maintains good gap control and is not afraid to be physical. Addison throws hits in the corners and battles for position in front of the net. His size is an issue though, and he will need to continue to add muscle.
28.) Mattias Samuelsson, Left Defence, US NTDP, 6’4″ 216 lbs
The son of former NHL defenceman Kjell Samuelsson is playing for the US National Team Development Program and has 11 points in 22 games this year. Last year, he had 14 points in 37 games for the Under-17 squad. He’s stepped up his offensive game this season and should be a big part of the Under-18 World Championships team. Samuelsson is committed to play for the University of Michigan next season.
Samuelsson is a big defenceman, who plays a physical game in his own end of the rink. He throws big hits if an attacker comes down his side of the ice, and also battles hard in the corners and in front of the net. He is a good skater for his size, with speed in both directions. However, his acceleration and footwork can improve. Samuelsson likes to join the rush as a trailer. Looking to add extra offence. He has a very good slap shot.
29.) Allan McShane, Centre, Oshawa Generals, 5’11” 190 lbs
McShane has had a strong start to the season. Breaking out as a point per game player with 10 goals and 28 points in 28 games for Oshawa. The 19th overall pick in the 2016 OHL Draft, McShane had a solid rookie season split between the Erie Otters and the Generals. Overall he scored 17 goals and 44 points in 62 games.
McShane has skill as both a shooter and a passer. He has a strong and accurate wrist shot and a good release. As a playmaker, he extends plays with good stickhandling ability and has the vision and passing ability to find an open teammate when the opportunity presents itself. He has good speed and agility and can create plays off the rush. While he uses his body well to shield the puck in the cycle game, he needs to get stronger on his skates as he matures in order to really do damage down low.
30.) Alexander Alexeyev, Left Defence, Red Deer Rebels, 6’3″ 190 lbs
Alexeyev has upped his offensive game this year with 14 points in 21 games for Red Deer. Last year, he had some issues adjusting to North America in his first season away from home, but still, put up 21 points in 41 games. He has played internationally for Russia both the Under-17 and Under 18 levels, winning a silver medal with the 2014-16 U-17 team.
Alexeyev has good vision and passing skills. He can start the play with a good pass out of his own end, as well as quarterback the play from the blue line. Strong skating ability, with good speed in both directions, as well as strong pivots allow him to play an effective two-way games. He also has a hard shot, but must find a way to get it through to the net, and keep it low for teammates to grab deflections and rebounds.
31.) Anderson MacDonald, Left Wing/Centre, Moncton Wildcats, 6’2″ 203 lbs
The 10th overall pick in the 2016 QMJHL Draft, MacDonald scored 29 goals and 41 points in 50 games during his rookie year for Sherbrooke. He was traded to Moncton in the off-season and has 10 goals and 20 points this season. MacDonald is very good in front of the net. He has the quick hands to beat goalies in tight, as well as to get off one-timers. He also has the hand-eye coordination to tip in point shots. MacDonald has a strong wrist shot and can score from further out. He is very smart and can find openings in the defence in order to get open for teammates. He is also a decent passer.
MacDonald’s skating is a bit of a work in progress. He has good balance and lower body strength, making him hard to knock off the puck. MacDonald also has decent agility. However, he can work on lengthening his stride and improving his speed and acceleration.
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