17th Overall: Vegas Golden Knights
The Knights find themselves in a position that I would never have predicted leading up to the expansion draft. They’ve gone on a roller-coaster ride and find themselves in quite a pickle as they now are in some cap trouble, currently sitting with the least cap space among all NHL teams and they have a couple of players who seem pretty crucial to re-sign.
I think it’s entirely possible they keep all their keep pieces if they make a couple of shrewd moves but they’re certainly in a tricky situation. Part of that is due to Mark Stone who was acquired mid-season from the Ottawa Senators and immediately signed to a massive (well earned) contract. It, unfortunately, came at the expense of their best overall prospect Erik Brännström and I think they’ll use this pick to recoup some of that loss.
Picking up one of the safer picks in my eyes, Victor Söderström, who won’t wow you with his play but will quietly do his job and do it very well. A good two-way defender who can play physically even if it’s not necessarily his bread and butter.
Söderström isn’t the level of prospect that Brännström is, at least not right now, but I feel confident in saying at the very very least, Söderström will be an everyday NHL defender in the future and I could comfortably see him being a top 4 defender.
18th Overall: Dallas Stars
The Stars are relatively set with a young defensive core centered around Esa Lindell, John Klingberg, Jamie Oleksiak and Miro Heiskanen (who was a revelation this year.) They also have Julius Honka who has shown flashes of promise. They also took Jake Oettinger in the first round in 2017 to be their goalie of the future. They have a couple of forward prospects worth being excited over including Ty Dellandrea who was a first-round pick last year, as well as Jason Robertson who’s brother, is a prospect in this draft (and honestly wouldn’t be that much of a stretch to take him with this pick either.)
But, they don’t have a truly standout center who I feel could end up being a top line center in the NHL. Dellandrea I feel is better suited on the 2nd line or at worst the 3rd line but I don’t see top line center from him.
There’s a lot to like out of Philip Tomasino. He’s one of the more dynamic offensive players outside of the Top 10, and he’s a shifty player with good skating ability and a solid shot. He has a habit of ending up in the right place at the right time which makes him a playmakers dream linemate. Overall, I think Tomasino brings a lot to the table and learning from Tyler Seguin would be a big plus for him. He could end up being a big-time player for Dallas were they to pick him here.