#6 Anaheim Ducks – Helge Grans, RHD, Sweden, Malmo (J20)
Once again, the Anaheim Ducks reach for a non-household name and Swedish defenceman. With a little Alexander Edler and a little Mattias Ekholm in him, Grans was unlikely to be there when the Anaheim Ducks select with their selection gained from the Boston Bruins. Or maybe he would have been. Who really knows.
I’m sure Anaheim Ducks fans are probably thinking he’s a terrible choice, given all the highly touted players still on the board. However, I’m here to tell you about the mansplainer who drowned in the puddle. It was a well actually. And well actually, there is a good chance Grans is a better player than most people are imagining he is, and we all know that Anaheim Ducks fans will be sure to jump on the bandwagon right after they bite back their tears of bitter disappointment at not collecting a prime time goal scorer.
The Anaheim Ducks have a lot of needs to fill in this draft, and with this selection, they have managed to fill none of them. However, the Anaheim Ducks did the safe thing knowing that they can’t draft forward talent or goals, and selected a role-playing defenceman that is exactly what they don’t really need.
But hey, reaching for Hampus Lindholm worked out for the Anaheim Ducks, as he’s turned into a steady workmanlike player who almost makes Head Coach Dallas Eakins look like he has a peripheral understanding of defensive structure. Such incredible foresight to make this draft selection, it’d put a horn on a jellyfish. So, this is probably the best draft selection of the decade. Home run selection.
Pre-Draft Grade: A+
#7 New Jersey – Lucas Raymond, RW, Sweden, Frolunda (SHL)
The Devil’s reach for one of the strong Swedes at the top of the draft. It’s hard to find a consensus spot for Raymond, as draft pundits have him all over the place. They just know he fits in somewhere.
An excellent playmaker who will hope to make his money on the offensive end of the ice, yet his greatest skills may be a relentless forecheck and a silky ability to strip the puck from players with the tenacity that the government takes money from your wallet. He’s probably more skilled than Sami Pahlsson ever was, but I can’t help but imagine Raymond lining up as an undersized checker at some point in the future.
The Devils have drafted 10 RW’s in ~70 draft selections going back to 2010 and not a single one of them has been memorable. With recent top selections Jack Hughes, Pavel Zacha, Nico Hischier (he’s ok I guess), and Michael McLeod failing to live up to their lofty draft billings, it seems ridiculous that the Devil’s would once again try to draft a hockey player. They should know better. Hard fail.
Pre-Draft Grade: F