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 one of the best stats. Hours of each video and reside protection flip into days; days into weeks; and weeks into months. The time was used to guage puck expertise 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 below strain.

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


Since final August, tons of upon tons of 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 basic concept on which gamers have one of the best probability on changing into affect 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.

Beneath you’ll discover a itemizing of 31 prospects who’ve impressed essentially the most below a wide range of normal and nonstandard circumstances. However first, let’s take a big-picture glimpse on the composition of the 2019 class and its areas of power 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. In truth, 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 Crew Improvement Program. Born and raised in a hockey household with deep roots within the recreation, Hughes is the favourite to develop into the seventh American-born participant to go first general on the draft.

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

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 one of the 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 ought to 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 glorious on each the worldwide stage and through common season play.

Lethbridge energy ahead Dylan Cozens had robust showings on the under-18 Ivan Hlinka match and the U20 CHL-Russia Tremendous Sequence, however he’s been an actual workhorse and chief for the Hurricanes. Cozens presently 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 type to the Blackhawks’ Jonathan Toews. Dach is a big-bodied passing aficionado with the imaginative and prescient of Joe Thornton and the power to keep up management of the puck within the tightest of areas.

MORE: Largest 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.

Sturdy arguments will be made for Finland’s Kaapo Kakko to not solely be the primary winger chosen, however some really feel he’s the higher alternative 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 a youngster 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.

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As nice as Kakko has been, nonetheless, there isn’t any draft prospect within the pool who provides what unstable but cerebral winger Vasili Podkolzin brings. The younger Russian was one of the 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 affect a recreation each shift, no matter whether or not or not he’s 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 need to remain in Russia till he decides he’s NHL prepared will not be 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 might wind up as one of the best winger taken. Blessed with unbelievable hockey sense and one of many softest set of arms you’ll see on a giant flanker, Boldy has been constantly productive and impactful regardless of a carousel of adjusting 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 number 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 struggle 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 one of the best defender obtainable.

The following few blueliners after Byram additionally possess stable puck expertise, 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 energy 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 match and earn a berth in subsequent yr’s WJC within the Czech Republic.

MORE: What went incorrect 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 Crew 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 possible continues after 2019, this yr’s draft is loaded with goaltenders who’re distinguishing themselves whereas logging main minutes.

Opinions fluctuate on which netminder is the prize inside this extraordinarily proficient group, however the NTDP’s Spencer Knight is a secure wager to be the primary one off the board. Massive, cool, calm and technically sound, Knight’s dimension, superior web consciousness and willingness to right 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 exhibiting on the latest World Junior Championship and get again to the dominant play he displayed earlier than the match for the Medication 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 extra early-round candidates in Vancouver’s Trent Miner , Saskatoon’s Nolan Maier and Prince George’s Taylor Gauthier

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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 look at. Hughes makes one thing occur each shift and competes exhausting to develop into one of the best participant on the ice.

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

Abrasive and inventive, 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 a youngster 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 ought to 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 saved Zegras on the NTDP’s high line, even when it means taking part in on Hughes’s wing the place he excels as each a finisher and set-up man.

6. Bowen Byram, D, Vancouver (WHL)

Prime draft-eligible defender can log huge minutes and dictate the circulate of a recreation with physicality or his puck-moving expertise.

7. Matt Boldy, LW, U.S. NTDP

Sensible winger with dimension can play a twin function as finisher or playmaker. Develops on the spot chemistry with linemates.

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

Cozens is all hustle and performs with a team-first angle, nevertheless 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 a wide range of methods.

10. Peyton Krebs, C, Kootenay (WHL)

Not sufficient love being given to this coach’s dream, who can resolve any downside 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 droop adopted by a lower-body damage has cooled speak 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 taking part in like the highest teenage defenseman in Sweden. All aspects of his skating are excellent.

13. Raphael Lavoie, RW, Halifax (QMJHL) 

Few larger 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 learn how 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 glorious imaginative and prescient and playmaking talents shall be put to the check within the second half, however you’d additionally wish to see him use his underrated shot much more.

16. Anttoni Honka, D, JyP (SM-Liiga)

A subpar WJC mustn’t erase all of the qualities he’s displayed whereas constantly managing strain in opposition to older competitors. Honka could be very good, and his skating and imaginative and prescient make him best 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 usually you see veteran forwards defer to a draft-eligible defender as usually as they do with Robertson, who can execute a clear breakout in a number of methods.

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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 scenario.

22. Connor McMichael, C, London (OHL)

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

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

Sturdy winger with smooth arms and glorious imaginative and prescient is just like Boldy in that he can execute an odd-man rush with precision. His chemistry with Spiridonov was on the spot and the duo in open ice makes brief 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 will possibly knock a goalie off his skates.

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

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

26. Arthur Kaliyev, LW, Hamilton (OHL)

Proprietor of one of many deadliest photographs 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 journey, his potential for stardom stays.

28. Philip Broberg, D, AIK (Allsvenskan)

An exquisite 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 lots to be desired.

29. Michal Teply, LW, Liberec (Extraliga)

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

30. Drew Helleson, D, U.S. NTDP)

One other NTDP’er whose important 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 type to Rangers’ ahead Kevin Hayes. 

Honorable point out

Jakob Pelletier, LW, Moncton (QMJHL): Smaller winger makes a huge impact due to 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 glorious footwork

Antti Saarela, C, Lukko (SM-Liiga): Onerous-nosed pivot is the whole bundle and producing in opposition to adults

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

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

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

Steve Kournianos is the founding father of, a weblog devoted to the NHL Draft. He’s a former prospects author for 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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