With the 2019 NHL Draft looming in a few days, it’s time to take an updated look on a mock draft now that the picture is becoming slightly clearer. This draft in particular, however, is difficult to predict, because everything can change after the New York Rangers select Kaapo Kakko at the second pick. It will be very interesting to see how it shakes out to say the least.
The numbers in the parentheses are the movement of the prospects up and down the board from our previous mock draft, which can be seen here. The updated version is below.
1. New Jersey Devils – JACK HUGHES (–)
Analysis: Hughes has been the go-to guy for the first overall pick this year for plenty of time. He exhibits elite skating and playmaking abilities, and he would provide a dynamic one-two punch down the middle with Nico Hischier for years to come. Kakko certainly had to make Ray Shero and his brass think, but Hughes is too much of a gamechanger at center to pass up.
2. New York Rangers – KAAPO KAKKO (–)
Analysis: Kakko put on an absolute clinic as an 18-year-old at the World Championships in May. The big-bodied winger is ready to step right in to an NHL role. As an elite playmaker and finisher, Kakko can seemingly do it all. It is a fantastic consolation prize for New York.
3. Chicago Blackhawks: ALEX TURCOTTE (–)
Analysis: The Blackhawks need more depth down the middle, and a homegrown player in Turcotte can do just the trick. There is no single thing in Turcotte’s game that is bad — he is the perfect all-around center to mimic off of Jonathan Toews.
4. Colorado Avalanche – BOWEN BYRAM (+1)
Analysis: Byram had an amazing WHL season and is too good of a player for Colorado to pass up in this position despite an already strong back-end. He’s an elite puckmover from the blue line and found his game as a 17-year-old in the WHL.
5. Los Angeles Kings – TREVOR ZEGRAS (+2)
Analysis: Zegras is an elite playermaker and puckhandler in this draft. The Kings have an aging roster and could use the creativity and speed of Zegras for the future. Although Byram does not slip to the here as they would have hoped, the Kings get a nice consolation prize with amazing vision.
6. Detroit Red Wings: VASILI PODKOLZIN (–)
Analysis: New general manager Steve Yzerman has never strayed from picking Russians in the draft, so bringing Podkolzin into the fold should come as no surprise. Podkolzin is a nice player who is strong on the puck and can dish it well. Detroit has a lot of needs, and scoring is one in which Podkolzin can assist in. There is a lot of rhetoric going around right now that Podkolzin could slip to the teens, however. I think that is possible if Detroit passes here on him.
7. Buffalo Sabres: MATTHEW BOLDY (+4)
Analysis: Boldy is a jack-of-all-trades player that would fit nicely into the future top-six of Buffalo. He possesses the skill to put up a reasonable amount of points in the league while also holding his own defensively.
8. Edmonton Oilers: COLE CAUFIELD (–)
Analysis: This is the most controversial player and pick of the draft. Caufield can go anywhere from third overall to the late teens — mainly because he sits at 5-foot-7. Still, he is an elite shooter even at his size and age. His shot next to Connor McDavid would be a sight to behold and certainly an experiment worth taking a risk on.
9. Anaheim Ducks: DYLAN COZENS (-5)
Analysis: Cozens slipping here due to a variety of factors, mainly the parity of the draft, would be a win for Anaheim. The Ducks already have a respectable group of young forwards and Cozens, a top-five talent, adds to that.
10. Vancouver Canucks: KIRBY DACH (-1)
Analysis: Dach is another well-rounded center, and you can never have too many of those. In the future, Pettersson-Dach-Horvat sounds very nice,
11. Philadelphia Flyers: PEYTON KREBS (+2)
Analysis: Krebs is a hard working winger who is, admittedly, a little bit away from the NHL. He fits the Alain Vigneault and Philadelphia mold, though.
12. Minnesota Wild: PHILLIP BROBERG (–)
Analysis: Broberg has been criticized for his lack of hockey IQ when leading up to the draft, but his skill makes him a worthy risk. The Wild have never shied away from European defensemen and they should have faith that their management group can turn Broberg into the top-four talent which he can be.
13. Florida Panthers: MORITZ SEIDER (+3)
Analysis: Seider had a fantastic World Championships run with Germany. He will not blow you away with anything — but he gets the job done. Reminds me a lot of Ryan Suter, which is something tht Joel Quenneville will love.
14. Arizona Coyotes: ARTHUR KALYIEV (+4)
Analysis: Ah, Arthur Kalyiev, if only he worked a little harder. He has one of the best scoring touches in this draft, yet the rest of his game is flawed. Someone is going to take him around here, so why not the goal-starved Coyotes?
15. Montreal Canadiens: CAM YORK (+1)
Analysis: A puck-moving defenseman that Montreal and its fans seem enamored with.
16. Colorado Avalanche: ALEX NEWHOOK (+1)
Analysis: If this happens, Colorado should be praising the hockey gods. Newhook possesses top-10 talent, but his value has fluctuated in this draft. He has not faced major competition yet, however, which could raise some red flags moving forward.
17. Vegas Golden Knights: THOMAS HARLEY (+5)
Analysis: Harley is a smooth-skating, polarizing defenseman. He can be anywhere from a top-four powerplay specialist to a fringe bottom-pair guy in his career. It is a high-risk, high-reward pick for Kelly McCrimmon.
18. Dallas Stars: PHILIP TOMANSINO (+6)
Analysis: It is never a bad idea to draft centers, especially ones with the scoring touch as good as Tomansino. Not a superstar, but perfect for Dallas’ future middle-six with Roope Hintz.
19. Ottawa Senators (via CBJ): VICTOR SODERSTROM (-9)
Analysis: To be fair to Soderstrom, the fall of nine spots from our previous mock draft is not a slight against him. Scouts are mixed on him, so he can go in a number of spots. Still a great defenseman.
20. Winnipeg Jets (via NYR from WPG): VILLE HEINOLA (+11)
Analysis: The biggest riser in the draft thus far. Heinola is a consistent, quick defender that the Jets could use to offset some of their big bodies.
21. Pittsburgh Penguins: NICHOLAS ROBERTSON (–)
Analysis: The Penguins love players who can drive play and offensive possession, and Robertson brings just that.
22. Los Angeles Kings (via TOR): SPENCER KNIGHT (+6)
Analysis: Knight has been rated very highly by scouts and fans alike after a dominating combine performance, but I think teams will still be reluctant to take a goalie high in the first round. Knight can be the heir to the throne (pun intended) from Jonathan Quick. The Kings not taking a defenseman with either pick is concerning, but at a certain point in your rebuild, you have to go best player available.
23. New York Islanders: BOBBY BRINK (+2)
Analysis: Brink has an amazing scoring touch and hockey sense but lacks on the skating category. He will definitely fall in the draft, and the Islanders have a reputation of taking risks in the draft. There are few tandems better than Barry Trotz and Lou Lamoriello in straightening players out, so they could have a gem here.
24. Nashville Predators: TOBIAS BJORNFOOT (N/R)
Analysis: Had a good run for Sweden in its amateur tournaments. Good puckmover that would add nicely to an established core plus Dante Fabbro.
25. Washington Capitals: NILS HOGLANDER (+2)
Analysis: Hoglander is extremely creative and exactly what teams look or in players nowadays. The Capitals love this prototype, too.
26. Calgary Flames: RAPHAEL LAVOIE (-7)
Analysis: Yeah, I know this is low for Lavoie. He’s one of those guys that can go in a number of places. Regardles sof where he goes, whatever team that gets him is getting a well-rounded player from the QMJHL.
27. Tampa Bay Lightning: ALEX VLASIC (-4)
Analysis: Vlasic needs seasoning but he is a monstrous defenseman with a knack for the game. He will be a good asset for Tampa Bay should they find themselves in a crunch on the blueline after next season.
28. CAROLINA HURRICANES: RYAN SUZUKI (-14)
Analysis: Needs to grow but has the skill to make it in the league. Carolina needs more help up front, albeit this will not be an immediate addition. The drop here is not a knock on his ability.
29. Anaheim Ducks (via BUF from SJS): SAMUEL POULIN (+1)
Analysis: A hard-nosed, workhorse of a player. The Ducks can add more strength up front in this situation.
30. Boston Bruins: MATTHEW ROBERTSON (-10)
Analysis: Won’t put up many points in the NHL, but he is a solid defenseman. He can hold the fort down and that is exactly what the Bruins love.
31. Buffalo Sabres (via STL): CONNOR McMICHAEL (-5)
Analysis: A small player with skill and a number of other range of tools. The Sabres could go a number of directions here, however.
Previously rated and dropped: Patrik Puistola
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