• Keith Walsh

NHL Draft Preview and Predictions

Photo Credit:(NHL.com)

The 2019 NHL Draft will take place on June 21st and 22nd from Vancouver, British Columbia. It’s one of the most exciting times of the year as it kicks off the start of the offseason for the NHL. It is always exciting to see where some of the top prospects will end up.

This is will be a pretty lengthy post with a lot of information so I hope you enjoy it.

Let’s start this off by taking a look at the final rankings for this years draft from 1-35:

Rank: Name: Position:Team:Height:Weight:

1.Jack Hughes: Center: USNTDP: 5’10”: 170lbs

2.Kaapo Kakko: Right Wing: TPS(Liiga): 6’2”: 190lbs

3.Alex Turcotte: Center: USNTDP: 5’11”: 185lbs

4.Bowen Byram: Defense: Vancouver(WHL): 6’0”: 194lbs

5.Kirby Dach: Center: Saskatoon(WHL): 6’4”: 198lbs

6.Trevor Zegras: Center: USNTDP: 6’0”: 168lbs

7.Dylan Cozens: Center: Lethbridge(WHL): 6’3”: 181lbs

8.Matthew Boldy: Left Wing: USNTDP: 6’2”: 192lbs

9.Peyton Krebs:Center/Right Wing: Kootenay: 5’11”: 181lbs

10.Cole Caufield: Right Wing: USNTDP: 5’7”: 163lbs

11. Cam York: Defense: USNTDP: 5’11”: 176lbs

12.Arthur Kaliyev: Right Wing: Hamilton(OHL): 6’2”: 190lbs

13.Alex Newhook: Center: Victoria(BCHL): 5’11”:190lbs

14.Vasili Podkolzin: Right Wing: St.Petersburg(KHL) :6’1”:190lbs

15.Victor Soderstrom: Defense: Brynas(SHL): 5’11”: 179lbs

16.Thomas Harley: Defense: Mississauga(OHL): 6’3” :187lbs

17.Raphael Lavoie: Right Wing: Halifax(OMJHL): 6’4”: 198lbs

18.Phillip Broberg: Defnese: Aik(Allsvenskan): 6’3”: 203lbs

19.Phillip Tomasino: Center/Right Wing: Niagara: 6’0”: 181lbs

20.Matthew Robertson: Defense: Edmonton(WHL): 6’4”: 201lbs

21.Ryan Suzuki: Center :Barrie(OHL) :6’0”: 176lbs

22.Nils Hoglander: Left Wing: Rogle BK(SHL): 5’9”: 185lbs

23.Moritz Seider: Defense: Mannheim(DEL): 6’4”: 198lbs

24.Ville Heinola: Defense: Lukko(Liiga): 5’11”: 181lbs

25.Jakob Pelletier: Left Wing: Moncton(QMJHL): 5’9”: 161lbs

26.Bobby Brink: Right Wing: Sioux City(USHL): 5’10”: 163lbs

27.Samuel Poulin: Left Wing: Sherbrooke(QMJHL): 6’2”: 207lbs:

28.Brett Leason: Center: Prince Albert(WHL): 6’4”: 201lbs

29.Nick Robertson: Left Wing: Peterborough(OHL): 5’9”: 161lbs

30.Spencer Knight: Goalie: USNTDP: 6’3”: 198lbs

31.Connor McMichael: Center :London(OHL) : 5’11” :174lbs

32.Nathan Legare: Right Wing: Baie-Comeau(QMJHL): 6’0”: 201lbs

33.Anttoni Honka: Defense :JYP(Liiga): 5’10”: 176lbs

34.Jamieson Rees: Center :Sarnia(OHL): 5’10”: 172lbs

35.Lassi Thomson: Defense :Kelowna(WHL): 6’0”: 190lbs

This draft is not as deep as years past but it should still produce some great talent.The top two of Jack Hughes and Kappo Kakko have shown how great they can be all year long. Kappo Kakko was really impressive at the World Championships, while Hughes didn't look as great but still showed signs of potential. Out of the two of them, I believe that Kakko has the advantage as he's gone up against the tougher competition by playing in the Finnish Elite League. Kakko had a solid year with his team TPS as he played in 45 games and had 38 points. As for Jack Hughes he played for the USA Hockey National Team Development Program. Hughes had a great year and I mean a great year for the USNTDP, he played in 50 games and had 112 points. Absolutely bonkers with how ridiculous his season was and he 100% deserves to be the top ranked prospect. Both of these two should be great players for years to come but after watching a lot of their games against NHL level talent Kakko has looked a lot better than Hughes. Keep in mind they are both only 18 and still have to develop but if i'm the Devils i'm thinking long and hard about which one of these I take first overall.

Photo Credit:(NJ Times)

Now let’s take a look at the NHL Draft order:

1. New Jersey Devils

2. New York Rangers

3. Chicago Blackhawks

4. Colorado Avalanche(From Ottawa Senators)

5. Los Angeles Kings

6. Detroit Red Wings

7. Buffalo Sabres

8. Edmonton Oilers

9: Anaheim Ducks

10. Vancouver Canucks

11. Philadelphia Flyers

12. Minnesota Wild

13. Florida Panthers

14. Arizona Coyotes

15. Montreal Canadiens

16. Colorado Avalanche

17. Vegas Golden Knights

18. Dallas Stars

19. Ottawa Senators(From Columbus Blue Jackets)

20. New York Rangers(From Winnipeg Jets)

21. Pittsburgh Penguins

22. Los Angeles Kings(From Toronto Maple Leafs)

23. New York Islanders

24. Nashville Predators

25. Washington Capitals

26. Calgary Flames

27. Tampa Bay Lightning

28. Carolina Hurricanes

29. Buffalo Sabres or Anaheim Ducks(From San Jose Sharks)

30. Boston Bruins

31. Buffalo Sabres or Anaheim Ducks (From St.Louis Blues)

Draft Day Trades

Photo Credit:(Grantland)

Now, every year for the most part there are trades made on the day of the draft. There has been plenty of rumors floating around about which teams are willing to move their first round pick.This is one of the hardest things to predict when it comes to the draft. So, for this part of the post I am going to throw out a few trades I could see happening in the first round. These will be all of my own trade ideas based off of each teams needs.More than likely none of them will happen but that's what makes this stuff fun.

For those who don't know me, I am a Flyers fan until the day I die. So, while I could see the first trade they make involve the 11th overall pick, as their GM Chuck Fletcher has already said he would be willing to move it. The trade I have come up with has them holding onto the pick. The Flyers need a scoring winger badly, more than anything else.I believe there is still a way they can hold on to the 11th pick, and get the scoring winger they desperately need. They have plenty of cap space to use as well. So here's a trade that makes sense to me for the Flyers:

Flyers get Mike Hoffman from Florida Panthers in exchange for Flyers 2nd and 3rd round picks.

Why this makes sense? Many people probably won't agree with this trade, but it actually makes a lot of sense when you think about it. Florida is going all in on two free agents this year and they are Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky. They are gonna need to clear cap space and while Hoffman had a great year last year, he has one year left on his contract while getting paid over $5 million a year. So, this trade would help both teams as the Panthers can clear more space for their top two targets in free agency and it also helps reload their farm system. All the while the Flyers get a scoring winger to play along with Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux.

Photo Credit:(NHL.com)

Another team with some cap issues and a great asset to trade is the Toronto Maple Leafs. They have a lot of young talent that have contracts expiring and need to get paid. There is one guy who seems to be expendable and has even requested to be traded, that is defenseman Nikita Zaitsev. His name has been all over trade rumors as of late and I believe that draft day is when we see him traded. There's one team that keeps coming into my mind when I think of a trading partner for the Maple Leafs, and it's the New Jersey Devils. No, the Devils aren't trading the first overall pick but they have three 2nd round picks in this years draft. Now, Zaitsev is worth a little more than a 2nd round pick and that's why I see the trade going like this:

Devils get Zaitsev from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for picks 34,55, and the Devils first round pick in 2020(Top 3 protected).

Why this makes sense? The Devils have some great talent on the offensive side, what they lack though is strong defense and a solid goaltender.Them trading for Zaitsev would help stabilize their back end on top of getting another offensive threat in Hughes or Kakko.The Maple Leafs would free up the cap space they need to sign their key players while also, getting two more draft picks inside of the top 60.

Other than maybe some pick swapping trades I don't believe this years draft will have a lot of trade activity. Of course, I could be completely wrong but again that's what makes this so great it is almost impossible to predict this stuff.

Photo Credit:(The Athletic)

First Round Mock Draft:

Now lets jump into the actual picks, this does not include any of the predicted trades in the previous part. This will be a mock draft for the first round where every team stays in its current draft position. This is also my own opinions based off of research and team needs not just taking a mock draft from someone else.

1. New Jersey Devils-Kappo Kakko-Right Wing

2. New York Rangers-Jack Hughes-Center

3. Chicago Blackhawks-Bowen Byram-Defenseman

4. Colorado Avalanche-Cole Caufield-Right Wing

5. Los Angeles Kings-Dylan Cozens-Center

6. Detroit Red Wings-Kirby Dach-Center

7. Buffalo Sabres-Trevor Zegras-Center

8. Edmonton Oilers-Vasili Podkolzin-Right Wing-

9. Anaheim Ducks-Trevor Zegras-Center

10. Vancouver Canucks-Alex Turcotte-Center

11. Philadelphia Flyers-Peyton Krebs-Center/Right Wing

12. Minnesota Wild-Cam York-Defenseman

13. Florida Panthers-Victor Soderstrom-Defenseman

14. Arizona Coyotes- Matthew Boldy-Left Wing

15. Montreal Canadiens-Phillip Broberg-Defenseman

16. Colorado Avalanche-Raphael Lavoie-Right Wing

17. Vegas Golden Knights-Alex Newhook-Center

18. Dallas Stars-Ryan Suzuki-Center-

19. Ottawa Senators-Samuel Poulin-Left Wing

20. New York Rangers-Thomas Harley-Defenseman

21. Pittsburgh Penguins-Arthur Kaliyev-Right Wing

22. Los Angeles Kings-Matthew Robertson-Defenseman

23. New York Islanders-Connor McMichael-Center

24. Nashville Predators-Ville Heinola-Defenseman

25. Washington Capitals-Jakob Pelletier-Left Wing

26. Calgary Flames-Bobby Brink-Right Wing

27. Tampa Bay Lightning-Moritz Seider-Defenseman

28. Carolina Hurricanes-Spencer Knight-Goalie

29. Buffalo Sabres/Anaheim Ducks-Nathan Legare-Right Wing

30. Boston Bruins-Anttoni Honka-Defenseman

31. Buffalo Sabres/Anaheim Ducks-Jamieson Rees-Center

The Draft is always an exciting night and a great way to kick off the start of the NHL offseason. You can watch the first round of the draft on Friday, June 21st on NBCSN at 8pm EST. As for Rounds 2-7, you will be able to watch them on the NHL Network Saturday, June 22nd starting at 11am EST.


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