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NHL Draft 2019: Final Mock

1. New Jersey Devils


Nick


Jack Hughes - C (USNTDP)


The American Centre has been touted as the number 1 pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft for years. Despite the hype around Kappo Kakko as of late, Hughes is the best player in this draft and will go first overall to the Devils. While former 1st overall pick Nico Hishier hasn’t quite taken the league by storm yet, Hughes certainly will, as the shifty, smart, and creative centre has all the tools to become an elite #1 centreman at the NHL level. For a comparable, think Nathan MacKinnon, minus some of the top-end speed but add some creativity.


Mack


Jack Hughes - C (USNTDP)


Hughes is the most dynamic and exciting player in the entire draft. He has the highest potential as a franchise centreman. He’s been recognized as the coveted number one overall pick for more than two years now and that hasn’t changed going into Friday’s draft day.


2. New York Rangers


Nick


Kappo Kakko - RW (TPS, Liiga)


Kakko was outstanding for Team Finland at the World Championships, and is definitely not a bad consolation prize. Everybody likes to compare drafts to the Taylor vs Tyler, McDavid vs Eichel, and Matthews vs Laine drafts, and I feel confident in saying both Hughes and Kakko fall right in line with these superstars. In my eyes, Kakko is a more complete and better puck handling version of Patrik Laine, minus the overpowering shot.


Mack


Kaapo Kakko - RW (TPS, Liiga)


Kakko has played his way into a 1B option for the NHL Draft. He is regarded as the most NHL-ready player in this draft because of his size and skill. He is another Finnish player in a fury of Fins in the last few years; joining the likes of Barkov, Laine and Rantanen.


3. Chicago Blackhawks


Nick


Alex Turcotte - C (USNTDP)


Is Alex Turcotte the best available player here? No, not in my mind. However, rumour has it that Chicago is searching for a forward with Adam Boqvist and several other young D in the prospect pool already. Turcotte is a two-way centre, who is a strong leader both on and off the ice, and has some nice offensive upside. My line of thinking is always taking the best player available, which would be Bowen Byram, and personally I would rather a potential elite #1 defenceman over a great #2 centre. However, Turcotte has been compared to Jonathan Toews (though I see him less offensively gifted), is from Chicago, and apparently had a great interview with the Blackhawks, so this seems like the likely pick at #3.


Mack


Alex Turcotte - C (USNTDP)


Turcotte has been noted in this draft as the most complete two-way centre. However, he has already committed to the University of Wisconsin for next year. His play, his success and the way he is coming into the league… are largely comparable to current ‘Hawks captain, Jonathan Toews. He should be ready to slot into the third line centre role behind Toews and Strome, potentially by the end of next season, if not, to start the following year.


4. Colorado Avalanche


Nick


Kirby Dach - C (Saskatoon Blades, WHL)

Again, Bowen Byram should be the pick here. However, with Girard, Barrie, Zadorov, and most importantly Makar on the blueline, the Avs are also rumoured to be interested in a forward. Likely, this will be Kirby Dach. The 6’2” centreman is a skilled offensive player with very good hands and nice vision. Great at using his size to protect the puck and win battles, he also has a solid 200 foot game. As for a comparable, think a less physical but better skating Ryan Getzlaf, and again a great #2 centreman, not a #1.


Mack


Bowen Byram - D (Vancouver Giants, WHL)


Byram is far and away the best and most talented defenceman in this years draft. He has the ability to play both ends of the ice well and showed his offensive flare this year with 71 points in 67 games. He will add to a super talented blue line in Colorado, especially with Barrie currently on the trade block.


5. Los Angeles Kings


Nick


Bowen Byram - D (Vancouver Giants, WHL)


Rob Blake sprints to the stage to take Bowen Byram. The “offensive defenceman” is not just offensive, and often gets slighted on credit for his defensive responsibly. He will need another year in the WHL likely, which is fine because the Kings certainly won’t be contending next season. Byram is an elite skater and puck mover, the prototype for modern defenceman, and could realistically put up upwards of 100 points in the WHL next season.


Mack


Kirby Dach - C (Saskatoon Blades, WHL)


This is a player that has the size and skill to be able to slot in nicely down the middle on a rebuilding Kings team. They will be looking to get younger, so don’t be surprised if there are draft day deals made with the Kings. Dach has a package that doesn’t often come along; having excellent vision, size and skating ability. He is a player that can benefit from shooting the puck more to create more chances, but uses his body well in all aspects of the game.


6. Detroit Red Wings


Nick


Dylan Cozens - C (Lethbridge Hurricanes, WHL)


At the mid season rankings, I had Cozens ahead of Dach. I still feel that he is the more offensively talented of the two, yet Colorado will be attracted to Dach’s two-way game, leaving Cozens for Detroit to scoop up. A better shooter and skater than Dach, but lower hockey IQ and not near as physical. Perhaps a Sean Monahan light, but again I think he is a great #2 centre, not a true #1.


Mack


Trevor Zegras - C (USNTDP)


Zegras is an above average playmaking centre that has the ability to make a dynamic duo between himself and last year’s first round pick, Filip Zadina. He brings a lot of confidence and swagger to his game and could be a great first pick for Steve Yzerman.


7. Buffalo Sabres


Nick


Trevor Zegras - C (USNTDP)


A very skilled playmaker who projects to play centre at the next level, though he did spend time on the wing this year. He has a decent 200 foot game already, and has some of the best playmaking vision in the draft. I think he projects to be a player similar to Evgeny Kuznetsov. Can slide between the wing and middle, is a great #2 centre, and can slide up to the first line if you really need.


Mack


Cole Caufield - RW (USNTDP)


The best goal scorer in the draft, that has a lot of comparables to Blackhawks forward, Alex DeBrincat. The Sabres need more scoring to play alongside Eichel or Reinhart, and Caufield should be that guy for them. He is a super positive player, never without a smile around the rink, and could bring a ton of positive energy to a franchise that is at a low point.


8. Edmonton Oilers


Nick


Cole Caufield - RW (USNTDP)


So the Oilers have a decent centreman named Connor McDavid who needs someone to actually score on all the absurdly creative passes he feeds them, and Caufield can be that guy. A small but speedy player, who is a pure goal scorer, is a great pick at #8. Goals are what every team is looking for, and Caufield scored 72 last year. As for as comparable, I think Alex Debrincat is a natural comparison, but also Viktor Arvidsson draws some similarities.


Mack


Dylan Cozens - C (Lethbridge Hurricanes, WHL)


Cozens is a big goal-scoring centre who has elite speed and plenty of skill. He also has the size, standing at an impressive 6’3”. He has slipped slightly coming into the draft but should make for an impressive third line centre behind McDavid and Draisaitl coming into next season. He’s a player that has the potential to make an immediate impact for an Oilers team on the brink of the playoffs… however, with Ken Holland now in charge, the Oilers will use an older lineup if they can.


9. Anaheim Ducks


Nick


Peyton Krebs - C (Kootenay Ice, WHL)


Krebs is yet another centre from the WHL, this time much smaller and speedier though. He has great edges and straight away speed, and some of the best passing skills and IQ in this draft. He has been all over draft boards up until this point in the year, but I think Anaheim gets a real good #2 centre here with Krebs. Trying to find a comparable is difficult, but I would look along the lines of Nick Schmaltz, maybe with more offensive upside.


Mack


Matthew Boldy - LW (USNTDP)


Boldy has climbed the draft boards all year long, proving along the way that he can use his size to his advantage to create opportunities for his great hands. He does an amazing job putting the puck in the back of the net, and is known to keep prevent them just as successfully. He’s a guy that scouts still look for… a skilled, two-way forward with good size and good presence.


10. Vancouver Canucks


Nick


Matthew Boldy - LW (USNTDP)


Boldy is a big strong winger who works the cycle game and protects the puck as well as anyone in the draft. He has been shooting up the rankings all year, and could certainly go higher than 10 if a team sees more scoring upside in him than I do. Overall, he could be the 3rd wheel on a 1st line, or a very good 2nd line winger in the near future, with comparables of a much lesser Blake Wheeler. Could be a nice compliment to Horvat on the 2nd line.


Mack


Peyton Krebs - C (Kootenay Ice, WHL)


The Canucks faithful will certainly like this pick, if they decide not to trade up in the draft. He has an extremely high potential, and his leadership will be noticed the minute he puts on a Canucks jersey. All-in-all, Peyton Krebs is an exciting mix of speed, skill, smarts, and competitiveness in all three zones.


11. Philadelphia Flyers


Nick


Arthur Kaliyev - RW (Hamilton Bulldogs, OHL)


Kaliyev is a very interesting prospect in the draft. The offensive dynamo who plays on his off wing had 51 goals and 51 assists this year in the OHL, which is absurd for a draft eligible player. He could crack the top 10, or fall into the 20’s, all depending on what teams think of his 200 foot game and his compete level. These were the knocks on him early on in the season, however, the offensive upside entices the Flyers in my mind, a team who in recent memory has drafted several skilled International born players. As for a similar player, think high risk high reward, somewhat like Alexander Radulov.


Mack


Vasily Podkolzin - RW (Neva St.Petersburg, VHL)


An impressive two-way winger with unlimited potential for his career. He should really be a top three pick, but like Klim Kostin, he has two more years in his KHL contract and therefore will not be available to come to the NHL until 2021-22. However, the Flyers have a good enough forward group already, they can afford to wait for this elite winger. He should be ready for the NHL after two full seasons playing against men in the KHL for the next two full seasons.


12. Minnesota Wild


Nick


Phillip Broberg - D (AIK, Allsvenskan)

A really inconsistent year, but Broberg could be a star in the future. While the Wild have a good d-core at this point in time, an aging Ryan Suter and the looming expansion draft could drastically alter that, and Broberg would instantly be the best defensive prospect in the Wild’s system. He is a superb skater and thus can jump into the rush, break the puck out, and get in strong defensive positioning with ease. For a comparable, I would look towards his potential future teammate Jonas Brodin.


Mack


Phillip Broberg - D (AIK, Allsvenskan)


Broberg was once ranked as high as #4 on the draft board. He has had a very, very up and down season but has shown signs of being a world-class defenceman. The Wild have a depleted prospect system on the back-end, this will help. He will probably need another year in Sweden, followed by a year in the AHL to adjust to North American ice… but will be more than ready to make the jump to the ‘State of Hockey’ when the time comes.


13. Florida Panthers


Nick


Vasily Podkolzin - RW (Neva St.Petersburg, VHL)


Podkolzin has been sliding down draft boards rapidly, but not necessarily due to his own play. While he hasn’t been overly impressive lately, it is more due to other players hitting their stride and increasing their own draft stock. Podkolzin is a great two-way player with a powerful stride and hard shot. As Mack mentioned earlier, he must stay in the KHL for the next 2 seasons, hurting his draft stock more. At 13 the Panthers could get a real good future player here though, picture a less creative and skilled Jamie Benn or Rick Nash type.


Mack


Spencer Knight - G (USNTDP)

The Panthers have a need to fill up their prospect list with a future goalie… Knight is widely regarded as the best goaltending prospect in the past ten years. That seems to be a good match for both parties. The Panthers are a front runner for Sergei Bobrovsky, most likely on a 4-5 year deal, this will give Knight time to develop in the minors against men and then serve as ‘Bobs’ backup for a season before taking over around the age of 22-24.


14. Arizona Coyotes


Nick


Alex Newhook - C (Victoria Grizzlies, BCHL)


Alex Newhook is one of my favourite players in the draft class. One of the best skaters, an elite puck handler, and the owner of a quick release, Newhook is a great offensive talent. Arizona needs offensive help and Newhook could provide this in a few years. Picture a less dynamic Mat Barzal.


Mack


Philip Tomasino - RW (Niagara Ice Dogs, OHL)


Tomasino is the ultimate workhorse type of player that brings grit, goal-scoring and energy to a lineup. He is willing to do whatever it takes to get to the high danger areas and use his elite hands to bury the puck. 14th overall might be a stretch for Tomasino, but the Coyotes could use an energy guy like this that will also add to their offensive game.


15. Montreal Canadiens


Nick


Moritz Seider - D (Mannheim, DEL)


Seider has been climbing rankings all year, impressing in every situation he was thrown into this year. The right-handed 6’4” defenceman is one of my favourite players in the draft, and could end up being a steal at 15. He skates very well for a big body, can throw the body, although sometimes gets lost looking for the hit, and can play the powerplay with smart and heavy shots from the point. For a comparison, his high end is likely somewhere between a Zack Werenski and Mattias Ekholm, but he could very well be less of a defensive weapon than those two.


Mack


Arthur Kaliyev - RW (Hamilton Bulldogs, OHL)


Kaliyev is ranked all over the board around expert mock drafts… ranking as high as 11 and as low as 34. I think his ability to bury the puck as the drafts most natural goal scorer, will intrigue a team like Montreal that has lacked in scoring for a while now. His shot is highly elite and he has the ability to find soft spots in the offensive zone, ready for a quick snap at all times. He has been known to lack the drive to win and be a little lazy coming back into his own end.


16. Colorado Avalanche


Nick


Victor Soderstrom - D (Brynas, SHL)


The right-handed smooth skating defenceman is a strong pick for the Avs after taking a skilled forward with their 4th overall pick earlier in the night. He makes great breakout passes, long and short, and is a real cerebral player. He has an effective stick in his own end, and makes strong pinches. Needs to add strength and work on the d-zone, but the Avs get a real good project defenceman for post expansion draft and as Erik Johnson starts to slow down. Think Travis Dermott esque, with likely some more offensive production.


Mack


Alex Newhook - C (Victoria Grizzlies, BCHL)


Since I have the Avs taking Byram at #4, they will look to add to their offensive strength with Alex Newhook. An explosive skater at his best when the puck is on his stick. He is an offensive threat every second he is on the ice… he had a great season in the BCHL and will look to mature at Boston College next season, before hopefully making the jump into the Avs lineup in fall of 2020.


17. Vegas Golden Knights


Nick


Spencer Knight - G (USNTDP)


The first goalie off the board. Vegas has Fleury between the pipes now, and guys like Subban, Fucale, and Dansk in the system, but no real clear cut future starter. Knight projects to be an elite goalie, with a similar play style to Carey Price. Knight will be the 1st goalie chosen in the top 20 since Andrei Vasilevskiy in 2012, and could be just as important to Vegas in the future.


Mack


Cam York - D (USNTDP)


A mobile, puck moving defenceman that can play well at both ends of the rink. He has the ability to play on the powerplay and the skating ability to make up for any mistakes. His style reminds me of Keith Yandle, a good skater that can use hockey IQ to beat the forechecker.


18. Dallas Stars


Nick


Philip Tomasino - RW (Niagara Ice Dogs, OHL)


Tomasino was one of my favourite players to watch this year. He is an electric skater, and very creative with the puck. One of the best stick handlers in the class, he makes elite passing plays. He is weak and gets knocked off the puck easily, which will escalate at the NHL level unless he puts on some muscle, but he looks to be a few years away anyway. Dallas gets a real good player here, somewhere along the lines of a Jonathan Drouin with less finish.


Mack


Ryan Suzuki - C (Barrie Colts, OHL)


Suzuki isn’t as talented as his older brother, Nick. However, he does boast a high hockey IQ and his skating and playmaking abilities will translate nicely once he gains some strength. Niklas Backstrom would be a good comparison in terms of style of game, but lacks the top end talent to become that #1 centre like Backstrom.


19. Ottawa Senators


Nick


Thomas Harley - D (Mississauga Steelheads, OHL)


Harley is one of the more intriguing defensive prospects in this draft. He’s a big body that skates well and makes crisp first passes. He had upwards of a point per game in the OHL this year, and worked well in his own zone with solid gap control and stick work. He is not far off of the other defenceman selected before him, aside from Byram, and could very well be chosen earlier based off team desires and needs. He compares to a Thomas Chabot type, although a lot less jumping into the rush.


Mack


Rafael Lavoie - C/RW (Halifax Mooseheads, QMJHL)


Lavoie brings a lot to the table coming out of Halifax. A player that has a Rick Nash’ish style to his game, although a little bit behind Nash on the talent end of things. He has an elite release and has the size to bully his way into dangerous scoring areas.


20. Winnipeg Jets


Nick


Rafael Lavoie - C/RW (Halifax Mooseheads, QMJHL)


Lavoie is a good skater for a big 6’4” winger who has the combination of power forward and sniper qualities. He’s got quick hands in tight, a flat and hard shot from further out, and is great at working the walls in the offensive zone. James Neal (from prior to this year) is likely the type of ceiling Lavoie has, after another year or two in junior hockey. Winnipeg can afford to wait a little for a power forward like him, as they have some very big and skilled forwards up front currently.


Mack


Brett Leason - RW (Prince Albert Raiders, WHL)


It took Leason a couple of years to develop since his first year of draft eligibility, and it would be interesting to see where he would go if he was just 18 instead of 20. He has a workhorse mentality and has the ability to put the puck in the back of the net. His hard-nose style allows him to play similarly to Mathew Tkachuk, which should boast well in Winnipeg as they traded their trouble-maker, Lemieux. Leason is also an interesting pick here because he has the mans, twenty year-old body that allows him to come into the NHL right away.


21. Pittsburgh Penguins


Nick


Cam York - D (USNTDP)


He’s a great skater but doesn’t have the best speed, instead uses his edges and stride to win battles and escape forecheckers. He has a great mind for the game and uses this in both the offensive and defensive zone to position himself accordingly. He’s a few years away, but Pittsburgh gets a potential powerplay defenceman, whom, at worst, will be a top 6 puck moving defenceman. A nice pick to replace Maatta in the future and learn from an aging Kris Letang. Picture a lesser Samuel Girard.


Mack


Victor Soderstrom - D (Brynas, SHL)


Soderstrom is an excellent skater and an even better puck-moving defenceman. He projects to be a solid two-way d-man, with a potential to be a top four guy and an upside of a top two pairing player. He uses his high IQ to read the play well and is a very mature player who has already logged plenty of minutes in the SHL.


22. Los Angeles Kings


Nick


Ryan Suzuki - C (Barrie Colts, OHL)


He’s dropped a little in my mind, as his hockey IQ was seemingly less impressive as the year went on. His point totals were still good, he’s a great passer and a good skater for a big centreman. His positioning and all around game needs a lot of fine tuning, but his natural skill is enough to entice the Kings to draft the young centreman after taking Byram with their 1st pick. The absolute ceiling for him is likely a Logan Couture style playmaking centre.


Mack


Moritz Seider - D (Mannheim, DEL)


At this point in time, Seider is a project. He has an unlimited ceiling that could lead to him becoming a franchise defenceman. He uses a mixture of his size, skill, physicality and mobility to play an all-around good style of game. His style is linked to a mixture of Seth Jones and Zach Werenski… and could reach that potential with patience and development.


23. New York Islanders


Nick


Connor McMichael - C (London Knights, OHL)


McMichael doesn’t do anything exceptionally, but he does everything really well. He’s a strong skater and has a quick stride, has a good wrist shot, and is a very smart player. He already has a strong two-way game, and has enough strength that he could possibly step into the Islanders lineup after another year in London. His ceiling could be like Brayden Schenn, with a little more shoot first mentality.


Mack


Thomas Harley - D (Mississauga Steelheads, OHL)


Harley has the ability to become a high-end offensive defenceman that can quarterback a strong powerplay, something the Isles will need down the road. With a little bit of patience to develop his defensive skills and allow him to gain some size, you could be looking at a player with a similar style to Thomas Chabot. (as Nick mentioned)


24. Nashville Predators


Nick


Samuel Poulin - RW (Sherbrooke Phoenix, QMJHL)


Poulin is speedy but could work on his stride a bit, as he accelerates and turns slowly. He has a nice hard shot, drives the net frequently, and isn’t afraid to work the body down low. Nashville takes him as a bit of a project, but with the raw skills to become a real good player. Picture an Alex Steen style of player, if he puts it all together.


Mack


Matthew Robertson - D (Edmonton Oil Kings, WHL)


Robertson is not a player that will jump off the television screen at you, however, he is a very consistent all-around d-man with a very high ceiling. He has the ability to play big minutes because of his size, mobility and high hockey IQ and has a style that resembles the model of consistency, Marc-Edouard Vlasic.


25. Washington Capitals


Nick


Ville Heinola - D (Luuko, Liiga)


A very good skater, an above average puck mover, and a smart player. A bit of a project in his own zone, but has real potential to be an NHL defenceman. At the highest, I could see him being a Samuel Girard type, but more likely ends up as a Matt Grzelyck type player who plays in the bottom pairing on but can provide some offense for the Capitals.


Mack


Connor McMichael - C (London Knights, OHL)


McMichael is a very safe pick here for the Capitals. He isn’t a player that is going to fill the scoresheet, but can provide a good amount of offence. However, he is a player that you can rely on to shut down an opposing first line on any given night. He is a very smart and technical player that has a defence first mentality, allowing him to be an excellent penalty killer. A lower-end Sean Couturier would be a good comparison.


26. Calgary Flames


Nick


Matthew Robertson - D (Edmonton Oil Kings, WHL)


A big, hard hitting, yet smooth skating defenceman who makes great choices on the ice. He knows when to jump into the rush, when to pinch, and when to attack in the corners. He puts up points in junior, and makes good passes, but projects as much more of a defensive defenceman than a playmaker. Think of a Josh Manson type player, with a little more cerebral play.


Mack


Bobby Brink - RW (Sioux City Musketeers, USHL)