Giving a concise and well-thought abstract of the highest gamers for an upcoming draft is an endeavor that requires extra than simply selecting the prospects with the very best stats. Hours of each video and reside protection flip into days; days into weeks; and weeks into months. The time was used to judge puck abilities like shot accuracy and traits like hockey sense, which NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau considers to be made up of playmaking, self-discipline, anticipation and play beneath strain.

None of those may be discovered just by combing via field scores, regardless of how dependable or resourceful instruments like superior statistics and historic knowledge may be. You’d be amazed at what else one can uncover just by isolating a prospect during a recreation or two.  

MOCK DRAFT 1.0: Avs thank Sens for Jack Hughes; Flyers, Kings take wings

Since final August, a whole bunch upon a whole bunch of eligible youngsters for the 2019 NHL Draft have been assessed, evaluated, in contrast, scrutinized and red-penned. The accompanying rankings are the results of the work that goes into giving even essentially the most informal fan a normal concept of which gamers have the very best probability on changing into impression gamers on the NHL stage. It’s not meant to be a definitive useful resource, neither is it set as much as predict how the NHL Draft will unfold.

Under you’ll discover a itemizing of 31 prospects who’ve impressed essentially the most beneath quite a lot of normal and nonstandard situations. However first, let’s take a big-picture glimpse on the composition of the 2019 class and its areas of energy and weaknesses.

Facilities galore

This draft is extremely deep at heart ice. It differs from the 2018 group that was heavy on each defensemen and wingers. Actually, solely eight facilities had been chosen in that first spherical, a pointy lower from the 16 pivots drafted in 2017.

Main this yr’s proficient group of facilities is Jack Hughes, a speedy playmaker from the U.S. Nationwide Group Improvement Program. Born and raised in a hockey household with deep roots within the recreation, Hughes is the favourite to change into the seventh American-born participant to go first general on the draft.

What’s fascinating about Hughes is that he seemingly gained’t be the one heart on his group who will get drafted within the high 10. This yr’s NTDP arguably is the very best in this system’s 22-year historical past, and teammates Alex Turcotte and Trevor Zegras are two the reason why.

THE HYPE ABOUT JACK HUGHES
U.S. NTDP’s newest star product has the NHL’s consideration

Whereas Hughes has been non-committal about his plans after this system, each Turcotte (Wisconsin) and Zegras (Boston College) are thought of two of the very best collegiate recruits within the nation. Turcotte missed practically two months with an damage however has been on a roll since returning in mid-December, recording 11 factors in eight video games in opposition to each USHL and ranked NCAA competitors.

It additionally must be a rebound draft yr for Canada’s Western Hockey League, which final yr didn’t see its first heart taken till the third spherical. That actually modifications in 2019, as a trio of WHL facilities have been wonderful on each the worldwide stage and through common season play.

Lethbridge energy ahead Dylan Cozens had robust showings on the under-18 Ivan Hlinka event and the U20 CHL-Russia Tremendous Collection, however he’s been an actual workhorse and chief for the Hurricanes. Cozens at the moment sits eighth in WHL scoring with 56 factors in 40 video games, together with 32 in his final 18 contests.

Not far behind Cozens are fellow WHL facilities Peyton Krebs and Saskatoon’s Kirby Dach. Krebs is a sturdy, three-zone playmaker with management traits who performs an identical fashion to the Blackhawks’ Jonathan Toews. Dach is a big-bodied passing aficionado with the imaginative and prescient of Joe Thornton and the flexibility to keep up management of the puck within the tightest of areas.

MORE: Greatest draft risers, fallers after 2019 World Juniors

A spread within the wing

As electrifying and dynamic because the aforementioned facilities have been, specializing in the draft’s top-heavy group of elite wingers isn’t such a nasty concept.

Robust arguments may be made for Finland’s Kaapo Kakko to not solely be the primary winger chosen, however some really feel he’s the higher selection for the highest general spot. Scoring a gold medal-winning tally on the World Juniors actually helped him within the publicity division. But it surely’s been Kakko’s adult-level manufacturing as an adolescent within the Finnish SM-Liiga that’s reinforcing simply how particular a expertise he already is. Massive, robust, deceptively fast and blessed with distinctive imaginative and prescient and stickhandling, Kakko could be a rewarding comfort prize if a group selecting second or third misses out on Hughes.

As nice as Kakko has been, nonetheless, there isn’t a draft prospect within the pool who affords what risky but cerebral winger Vasili Podkolzin brings. The younger Russian was the very best participant at each the Ivan Hlinka and December’s World Jr. A Problem, and his heady 200-foot play on the World Juniors revealed to the hockey world that he can impression a recreation each shift, no matter whether or not he is scoring.

MORE: SN’s high 50 NHL prospects | 2018-19 farm system rankings

Podkolzin’s mixture of nastiness and talent makes him the unicorn of the 2019 draft, and his admitted want to remain in Russia till he decides he’s NHL prepared is probably not sufficient to dissuade an NHL GM from making him the primary Russian league prospect picked within the high 5 since Evgeni Malkin in 2004.

To not be forgotten is U.S. NTDP’er Matthew Boldy, who at some point could wind up as the very best winger taken. Blessed with unimaginable hockey sense and one of many softest set of palms you’ll see on a giant flanker, Boldy has been constantly productive and impactful regardless of a carousel of fixing facilities and linemates. Very similar to Kakko and Podkolzin, the Boston School-bound Bay Stater is a favourite to go within the high 10.

Protection not as deep as 2018

You gained’t discover as many expert two-way defensemen on this yr’s first spherical as in 2018, however the higher tier of 2019-eligible rearguards has a couple of with franchise-changing potential.

Bowen Byram, a bodily puck mover for the WHL’s Vancouver Giants, is beginning to pile up the factors whereas serving because the anchor to their protection corps. He competes exhausting and can battle tooth and nail earlier than conceding territory. However it’s the calmness and poise Byram shows whereas controlling or carrying the puck that what makes him the very best defender accessible.

The following few blueliners after Byram additionally possess strong puck abilities, however Germany’s Moritz Seider comes the closest to matching his full arsenal. He’s a gentle contributor within the German elite league, the place he logs top-four minutes and sees power-play time. It was on the latest Division 1A U20 championship the place Seider as group captain was dominant in all three zones from wire to wire to assist the Germans win the event and earn a berth in subsequent yr’s WJC within the Czech Republic.

MORE: What went unsuitable for Canada on the 2019 World Juniors?

Swedish defenseman Victor Soderstrom shook off an early-season damage bug and has been an efficient two-way defenseman for Brynas within the SHL — the identical program which final yr produced Blackhawks high decide Adam Boqvist. Soderstrom’s defensive-zone play and determination making is effectively forward of the place Boqvist was a yr in the past, however he too skates extraordinarily effectively in all instructions and passes the puck with precision.

The remaining puck movers to maintain tabs on are Finland’s Anttoni Honka, Kingston’s Billy Constantinou and Group USA’s Cam York, who runs the NTDP energy play as a result of his excellent shot and quick-strike mentality.

Depth within the web

You need to go all of the again to Carey Worth in 2005 to search out the final goalie picked within the high 10. Though that streak seemingly continues after 2019, this yr’s draft is loaded with goaltenders who’re distinguishing themselves whereas logging main minutes.

Opinions range on which netminder is the prize inside this extraordinarily proficient group, however the NTDP’s Spencer Knight is a protected wager to be the primary one off the board. Massive, cool, calm and technically sound, Knight’s dimension, superior web consciousness and willingness to appropriate deficiencies ought to lighten the workload for his eventual goalie coach.

Very similar to its heart depth, “The Dub” will present the draft with an assortment of high quality goaltenders.

One candidate for the primary spherical is Denmark’s 6-7 goalie Mads Sogaard, who must shake off a nightmarish displaying on the latest World Junior Championship and get again to the dominant play he displayed earlier than the event for the Drugs Hat Tigers. Dustin Wolf is a local Californian who has confirmed to be a worthy substitute in Everett for stud Flyers prospect Carter Hart. The WHL additionally has further early-round candidates in Vancouver’s Trent Miner, Saskatoon’s Nolan Maier and Prince George’s Taylor Gauthier

NHL Draft 2019: Massive board, participant rankings

1. Jack Hughes, C, U.S. NTDP

Not sufficient superlatives to explain simply how thrilling a phenom he’s to observe. Hughes makes one thing occur each shift and competes exhausting to change into the very best participant on the ice.

2. Vasili Podkolzin, LW, SKA-Neva (VHL)

Abrasive and artistic, Podkolzin has the potential to be a present-day Doug Gilmour. His record of enemies already spans two continents and grows by the sport.

3. Kaapo Kakko, RW, TPS Turku (SM-Liiga)

Swish but highly effective, Kaako’s golden purpose on the world juniors is only a small a part of a powerful pre-draft resume that features near point-per-game manufacturing as an adolescent in Finland’s SM-Liiga.

4. Alex Turcotte, C, U.S. NTDP

Dominant play in Jack Hughes’s absence solidified his standing because the draft’s finest two-way heart. He must be close to the highest on each group’s draft board.

5. Trevor Zegras, C, U.S. NTDP 

Superior playmaking and imaginative and prescient has stored Zegras on the NTDP’s high line, even when it means enjoying on Hughes’s wing the place he excels as each a finisher and set-up man.

6. Bowen Byram, D, Vancouver (WHL)

High draft-eligible defender can log huge minutes and dictate the stream of a recreation with physicality or his puck-moving abilities.

7. Matt Boldy, LW, U.S. NTDP

Sensible winger with dimension can play a twin position as finisher or playmaker. Develops instantaneous chemistry with linemates.

8. Dylan Cozens, C/W, Lethbridge (WHL)

Cozens is all hustle and performs with a team-first angle, however it’s his shot and physicality that makes him a deadly choice near the purpose.

9. Alex Newhook, C, Victoria (BCHL)

Boston School-bound playmaker is main the BCHL in scoring and might end in quite a lot of methods.

10. Peyton Krebs, C, Kootenay (WHL)

Not sufficient love being given to this coach’s dream, who can remedy any drawback in any zone. Krebs is carrying a weak group on his again however handles the strain like a professional.

11. Kirby Dach, C, Saskatoon (WHL) 

A latest scoring hunch adopted by a lower-body damage has cooled discuss that Dach may problem for the highest spot. He’s a superb playmaker who lacks a fast first step.

12. Victor Soderstrom, D, Brynas (SHL)

An injury-plagued begin to his draft yr is now a distant reminiscence, as Soderstrom is enjoying like the highest teenage defenseman in Sweden. All sides of his skating are excellent.

13. Raphael Lavoie, RW, Halifax (QMJHL) 

Few greater forwards within the 2019 group can motor and deal with the puck in addition to Lavoie, who performs with confidence whereas controlling the puck. He’s a sound determination maker and might rating objectives from nearly wherever within the offensive zone.

14. Nils Hoglander, RW, Rogle (SHL)

Hoglander is a pesky waterbug who is aware of the right way to immediately flip opposing turnovers into high quality probabilities. He’s established himself as an on a regular basis contributor.

15. Ryan Suzuki, C, Barrie (OHL)

A focus on Barrie’s thinning assault, Suzuki has been in a position to maintain it collectively because the Colts began gutting the roster. His wonderful imaginative and prescient and playmaking skills will likely be put to the check within the second half, however you’d additionally prefer to see him use his underrated shot much more.

16. Anttoni Honka, D, JyP (SM-Liiga)

A subpar WJC shouldn’t erase all of the qualities he’s displayed whereas constantly managing strain in opposition to older competitors. Honka may be very sensible, and his skating and imaginative and prescient make him ideally suited to quarterback an influence play.

17. Moritz Seider, D, Adler Mannheim (DEL)

This big-bodied puck mover with limitless potential performs a clear, mature recreation in Germany’s high league. His dominance on the Division I world juniors bolstered the assumption that he actually was too good for junior hockey.

18. Matthew Robertson, D, Edmonton (WHL)

One other stud prospect who like Byram can lead by setting the precise instance in all three zones. It’s not typically you see veteran forwards defer to a draft-eligible defender as typically as they do with Robertson, who can execute a clear breakout in a number of methods.

19. Cam York, D, U.S. NTDP

Slick offensive defenseman with NHL bloodlines and a sick shot is the go-to choice to jumpstart the assault and quarterback the NTDP energy play.

20. Cole Caufield, RW, U.S. NTDP

Greater than only a finisher, this Wisconsin-bound sniper has acute hockey sense and exploits opposing errors with impunity.

21. Yegor Spiridonov, C, Stalnye Lisy (MHL)

Two-way heart with a pleasant contact across the web who has been carrying a talent-rich line whereas logging minutes in each conceivable state of affairs.

22. Connor McMichael, C, London (OHL)

Offensive dynamo who can wire the puck in addition to he can dish it. McMichael’s discovered a solution to stand out on a deep London squad and drive head coach Dale Hunter to play him as typically as doable.

23. Pavel Dorofeyev, LW, Stalnye Lisy (MHL)

Sturdy winger with smooth palms and wonderful imaginative and prescient is much like Boldy in that he can execute an odd-man rush with precision. His chemistry with Spiridonov was instantaneous and the duo in open ice makes quick work of opponents.

24. John Beecher, C, U.S. NTDP 

Buried behind the NTDP’s ridiculous heart depth is that this highly effective two-way heart within the mildew of David Backes. Beecher is unimaginable to knock off the puck, and his shot is so heavy it might probably knock a goalie off his skates.

25. Vojtech Strondala, RW, Trebic (Probability Liga)

One of many extra underrated prospects when it comes to manufacturing validating the talent set, Strondala is an undersized finesse ahead with a lightning-quick change of tempo and elusiveness that pulls opponents out of place.

26. Arthur Kaliyev, LW, Hamilton (OHL)

Proprietor of one of many deadliest pictures you’ll discover on this draft class, the Staten Island-born Kaliyev has developed right into a well-rounded scorer and is beginning to use his thick body to his benefit. He’d be a top-five decide if he performed with extra depth.

27. Billy Constantinou, D, Kingston (OHL)

A swish puck rusher with phenomenal edgework and agility, Constantinou’s been thrown to the wolves after his commerce to the bottom-dwelling Frontenacs. Though each recreation of his appears like a curler coaster trip, his potential for stardom stays.

28. Philip Broberg, D, AIK (Allsvenskan)

A beautiful skater with dimension and sharp instincts, Broberg at this stage of his growth stays an enormous swing for the fences if he goes excessive within the first spherical. He checks all of the block on offense, however his protection leaves quite a bit to be desired.

29. Michal Teply, LW, Liberec (Extraliga)

One of many higher two-way forwards within the draft, Teply is a pupil of the sport who offers you a constant effort in all three zones and is a wonderful on-ice communicator. 

30. Drew Helleson, D, U.S. NTDP)

One other NTDP’er whose vital contributions are masked by the dynamic forwards he precisely feeds the puck to. Helleson erases points in protection and has a fast stick to show a puck battle into a direct counterattack. 

31. Ryder Donovan, C/W, Duluth-East (HS-Minn.)

A dual-threat ahead with dimension who can play heart or wing, Donovan performs an identical fashion to Rangers’ ahead Kevin Hayes. 

Honorable point out

Jakob Pelletier, LW, Moncton (QMJHL): Smaller winger makes a huge impact because of his nonstop motor and ferocity on the puck

Jamieson Rees, C, Sarnia (OHL): In-your-face playmaker with pace is an intense competitor

Jordan Spence, D, Moncton (QMJHL): Offensive defender is a having a superb rookie season 

Robert Mastrosimone, LW, Chicago (USHL): One of many draft’s purest purpose scorers

Leevi Aaltonen, LW, Kalpa (SM-Liiga): Blazing pace and a lethal wrister to match it

Ryan Johnson, D, Sioux Falls (USHL): Craig’s son is a lockdown defender with wonderful footwork

Antti Saarela, C, Lukko (SM-Liiga): Laborious-nosed pivot is the entire package deal and producing in opposition to adults

Isaiah Saville, G, Tri-Metropolis (USHL): Native Alaskan has frozen opposing offenses

Marshall Warren, D, U.S. NTDP: Great wheels and a risk within the offensive zone

Travis Treloar, C/W, Chicago (USHL): Swedish import is flexible and sensible. He paced the offense whereas huge names had been away

Steve Kournianos is the founding father of TheDraftAnalyst.com, a weblog devoted to the NHL Draft. He’s a former prospects author for ESPN.com and labored briefly for the Related Press and McKeen’s Hockey. He additionally coated the Boston Bruins, the AHL and Hockey East for SportsTicker, and was a minor league baseball editor for Howe SportsData.

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