2019 NHL Draft: Mock Draft

Better late than never!  It’s been a busy year for yours truly.  Normally by now I’ve put out four mock drafts with my fifth ready to go tomorrow.  However, due to a busy schedule, this is the first of the year.  I need to find an easier way to do these, however, I pride myself on my mock drafts being the best you’ll read.

 

I really do mean that.  While I can destroy anything else I write or do for podcasts, these mock drafts are the best.  They’re the most well thought out, I’d challenge anyone else who does them to have a more accurate track record over the last four years, and in the last two years (for sure, could be more) my mock drafts have got more guys going in the 1st round than McKenzie or Cosentino in each draft.  Personally, I don’t understand why that should count for anything, but every year I see guys from TSN and Sportsnet saying that they got whatever the number is out of 31 in the 1st round.  I know for both in 2017 it was 27 of 31.  I got 28 of 31.  Last year I believe I got 27 of 31.  McKenzie was lower than most years last year (I want to say it was 24 or 25) and I can’t recall what Cosentino had but just recall that I had bested him as well.  I believe in 2017 I went six for six to start and had seven overall (you get one wrong and it can easily go to shit).  Last year was the first year I was all over the map, but I ended up with six spot on which is crazy.

 

All I do is dig.  I dig into what teams like to do, what their organizational needs are (much more worried about what is in the system than on the big club), and also look at how they might strategize for the draft (for example, a team with two 1st rounders might be influenced by what they’re able to do with their 2nd pick).

 

Here’s the deal: I’m PLANNING on this being the only mock draft.  HOWEVER, if there are enough big changes between now and 4PM MST tomorrow I may just flat out do another.  We’ll see.  At worse, maybe expect this to be altered/updated.  Or, maybe I don’t touch it at all!  If I either do a 2nd one or alter this one, I will be putting it on social media.  I won’t be the douche who edits it quietly and then claims to be right after the fact.

 

The biggest reason I do my own draft rankings is simply to give you my thoughts on the kids who could end up going in my mock so if you missed my top 62 list yesterday, all you have to do is click here.

 

SPOILER ALERT: Here is exactly what is going to happen in tomorrow night’s draft.

 

1. Jack Hughes

Team: USA NTDP  League: USHL

Pos: C  Ht: 5’10  Wt: 168  Shot: L

2019 Stats – GP: 41  G: 23  A: 63  P: 86

DOB: 05/14/01

Comparison: Patrick Kane

SOH Rank: 1st tier, 2nd overall

I can make an argument for Kakko, and I can make an argument for Byram.  But it’ll be Hughes.  He is WELL worthy of the pick, but the deciding factor is that Hughes is going to be a very marketable player and the Devils have a difficult time filling the building.  I do wonder if it was just Kakko at the top if there would be a hot debate right now about what the Devils are going to do between Kakko and Byram.  But that’s not the case.  A highlight reel American born player is going to sell a lot of tickets.

Other options: Kaapo Kakko – he’s not quite the exciting player, but he won’t have to alter his game any and therefore might be the better pro.

Who I’d pick: Jack Hughes – assuming I’m the Devils GM.  And if I’m the Devils GM, I have an owner who has ticket sales to worry about.  Bowen Byram doesn’t fill the seats like Hughes will.

2. Kaapo Kakko

Team: TPS  League: Liiga

Pos: RW  Ht: 6’2  Wt: 190  Shot: L

2019 Stats – GP: 45  G: 22  A: 16  P: 38

DOB: 02/13/01

Comparison: Marian Hossa

SOH Rank: 1st tier, 3rd overall

They’ll take Kakko and be thrilled about it, really no need to go into great detail about it.  They still need a stud number one centre moving forward, but with the Rangers they can always wait for someone to possibly spring available as long as they don’t destroy their cap moving forward.  They’re in a great situation.

Other options: None

Who I’d pick: Bowen Byram – MSG is sold out every night.  Their actual need this high is actually a franchise centre, so maybe Turcotte, but not with the 2nd pick.  They secured four real good D-men in the last 12 months, and they do have a need for Kakko, but I just couldn’t pass up a kid who I see as a legitimate number one D-man.

3. Alex Turcotte

Team: USA NTDP  League: USHL

Pos: C  Ht: 5’11  Wt: 186  Shot: L

2019 Stats – GP: 30  G: 23  A: 30  P: 53

DOB: 02/26/01

Comparison: Logan Couture

SOH Rank: 2nd tier, 4th overall

This is where the draft begins.  This pick is very likely to be Turcotte if you look at recent history.  In 2016, did anyone (other than a very select few including myself may I very arrogantly and annoyingly add) expect the Blue Jackets to pass on Puljujarvi and select a centre?  But they did so because of how difficult it is to acquire a 1st line centre.  In 2018, did anyone expect Arizona to take Barrett Hayton at 5?  But they did because they had to grab him there.  If they didn’t there, they weren’t getting him.  Now, the latter was a big mistake, but the former wasn’t and I put Turcotte into that same class.  I can’t stress enough how close I was to putting Turcotte into my first tier.  This kid is very likely going to be the next Jonathan Toews for this club, or what Bergeron is for the Bruins, or O’Reilly was to the Blues, Kopitar, Barkov, go down the list.  That either 1st line or 2nd line centre (it’ll depend on the offence) who can play in any situation.  And as much as people will scream for the Hawks to take Byram because they can then “trade for that guy”, you can’t.  Every once in a blue moon a guy like Seguin or O’Reilly becomes available, but 1st line centres and number one D-men are just damn near impossible to find.  And even though I have Byram 1st, I’ve always felt as though you NEED stud centres, you don’t NEED stud defencemen to win a Cup.

Other options: Bowen Byram – it’ll be an interesting decision, but I feel most, if not all, have this to be a lot more of a neck and neck race between Turcotte and Byram than I do (even though I love Turcotte).

Who I’d pick: Bowen Byram – I know what I’ve said to this point, but the fact is that I just believe Byram is going to be a Norris level defenceman while I worry Turcotte tops out as an elite 2nd line centre just like the guy I compare him with.

4. Bowen Byram

Team: Vancouver  League: WHL

Pos: LD  Ht: 6’1  Wt: 192  Shot: L

2019 Stats – GP: 67  G: 26  A: 45  P: 71

DOB: 06/13/01

Comparison: Scott Niedermayer

SOH Rank: 1st tier, 1st overall

This pick formerly belonged to the Sens, acquired by the Avs in the Matt Duchene/Kyle Turris trade.  What a gift if Byram gets to four, and what a blueline the Avs would now boast.  Scary good.  I know they need some help up front, but unless MAYBE there would be a choice between Turcotte and Byram, you take the stud D-man here and run.  And no, I wouldn’t then trade Tyson Barrie.  They have a ton of cap space to add this summer, not to mention some very good still developing forwards.

Other options: Kirby Dach – it wouldn’t stun me if the Avs went Dach over Byram.  Dach has the talent to be an elite centre in the NHL, and the Avs have a big lack of depth up front in the organization, not to mention a terrific blueline moving forward without Byram

Who I’d pick: Bowen Byram – I think you all know how I feel about him by this point!

5. Kirby Dach 

Team: Saskatoon  League: WHL

Pos: C  Ht: 6’4  Wt: 198  Shot: R

2019 Stats – GP: 62  G: 25  A: 48  P: 73

DOB: 01/21/01

Comparison: Ryan Getzlaf

SOH Rank: 3rd tier, 5th overall

One of my favourite predictions for a long time now has been predicting an OHL kid to the Kings.  But there isn’t an OHL kid in sight, so they need to look elsewhere.  So I’m now looking to fill a need (within reason of course, no reach) and a type they prefer and even though the Kings have been loud about wanting to greatly improve their team speed I just don’t think they can pass up Dach’s potential here.  The knock’s on Dach were the exact same as the knocks on Draisaitl, on a similarly skilled P.A. Raiders team, and he’s turned out ok.  Plus as I laid out with Turcotte, teams are going to go after the potential first line centres when they can.

Other options: Trevor Zegras – if speed is their big desire then he makes more sense for them than Dach.

Who I’d pick: Kirby Dach – I got him 5th and with Kopitar and Carter on the back nine in their career’s, they need a potential replacement.

6. Vasili Podkolzin

Team: St. Petersburg  League: MHL

Pos: RW  Ht: 6’1  Wt: 190  Shot: L

2019 Stats – GP: 26  G: 8  A: 5  P: 13

DOB: 06/24/01

Comparison: Gabriel Landeskog

SOH Rank: 3rd tier, 8th overall

On one hand, the Wings shouldn’t be taking another winger at six.  They’re set on the wings.  But on the other hand, Podkolzin is a different type of winger.  One that is much more difficult to find.  And you have a new GM who has all the job security in the world (so he can afford to wait the two years) and has had more success drafting Russian born players than anyone else over the last decade.  I think this makes a ton of sense.   Let’s not sleep on them trading down though.  Yzerman has done it a lot in the past, and if you look at their NEED, it’s on the blueline and it would be a pretty bad reach to take one at least in the top nine (HINT HINT TO ANYONE WHO IS THINKING OF MAKING SUCH A HORRIFIC DECISION…).

Other options: Trevor Zegras – if we’re talking need, they still need certainty down the middle.  Larkin is great, and I still love Joe Veleno.  But to assume you’re set with those two would be bad management.

Who I’d pick: Peyton Krebs – as we inch closer to Friday, it doesn’t sound like Krebs is getting much love before 10 and I can’t figure out why.  I fully understand he has the Achilles injury, but if you’re drafting any of these kids past two to play next season you’re likely not a good organization.

7. Trevor Zegras

Team: USA NTDP  League: USHL

Pos: C  Ht: 6’0  Wt: 173  Shot: L

2019 Stats – GP: 54  G: 26  A: 52  P: 78

DOB: 03/20/01

Comparison: Mathew Barzal

SOH Rank: 3rd tier, 7th overall

Much like the Wings, the Sabres big need is on the blueline.  But barring a trade back, it would be a bad reach to take one at this point in the draft.  So I’m going to suggest what most are which is that they take the hometown kid.  The Sabres all of a sudden don’t look anywhere near as set at centre as they did this time last year.  Mittlestadt really struggled this season, and of course they got next to nothing in return for one of the best two-way centres in the game.

Other options: Philip Broberg – I am very likely dreaming here, but they do need to continue adding to their blueline and I’m not a fan of how they draft.  So…maybe?

Who I’d pick: Peyton Krebs – not only tops on my board, but it’s an organization that could really use the intangibles Krebs brings to the table.

8. Dylan Cozens 

Team: Lethbridge  League: WHL

Pos: RW  Ht: 6’3  Wt: 185  Shot: R

2019 Stats – GP: 68  G: 34  A: 50  P: 84

DOB: 02/09/01

Comparison: Chris Kreider

SOH Rank: 3rd tier, 9th overall

So here is my theory as to what is happening: the Oilers really like Broberg, but not with the 8th pick.  I believe what is happening is that the Oilers are looking to trade back (possibly as far as 19, and seeing who that would be with, likely to shed some contracts) and with a lower pick, the Oilers would take Broberg.  If they can’t make a deal however, it now doesn’t sound as though they’re going to make a pick that will have the fan base losing its collective skulls.  We should also keep in mind that Bob Stauffer is where this Broberg shit kind of started, and Stauffer isn’t as plugged into what the Oilers are doing in the draft as some believe.  He was certain they were taking Val Nichushkin in 2013 for example.  Trading back, especially if it sheds salary, is a terrific idea!  In my opinion, they could probably trade back as far as 13 and land a winger that they desperately need.  If they keep the 8th pick, it does now sound like they’ll make a much more rational decision than what was being bandied about.  Cozens (especially with Puljujarvi on his way out) would be a perfect fit for what this team needs.  As everyone is stressing, he’s not a centre.  Looking at things down the line, he’s going to thrive on the wing.  Darcy McLeod suggested on Twitter yesterday that Holland should package Puljujarvi with this pick and look to move up to four if the Hawks pass on Byram (as I and most people have it).  That makes a TON of sense for both sides and if you have to add a little more if you’re Ken Holland, you do it.  You should know by now what I think of Bowen Byram.

Other options: Philip Broberg – this is still a very terrifying possibility.  Even if they trade back, the last thing they need is another LHD in the system, especially one who lacks skill and the ability to move the puck.  He can skate the puck, but he doesn’t move it well.

Who I’d pick: Peyton Krebs – he is simply everything you want a hockey player to be.  All the talent, all the intangibles, and for some completely FUCKED rationale he is not even on the Oilers radar.

9. Peyton Krebs

Team: Kootenay  League: WHL

Pos: C  Ht: 5’11.5  Wt: 183  Shot: L

2019 Stats – GP: 64  G: 19  A: 49  P: 68

DOB: 01/26/01

Comparison: Bo Horvat

SOH Rank: 3rd tier, 6th overall

Fuck.  I hate this pick for the Ducks.  Hate it because Krebs seemingly isn’t even in consideration for the Oilers, and I just know he’s going to be picked by the Ducks and torment them for a decade or more.  The dirty little secret about the Ducks is that they’ve maintained a terrific system throughout the years, drafted as well as anyone.  They do already have a couple of good centres in the system in Sam Steel and Isac Lundestrom, but if a kid like Krebs joins those two the Ducks could be set down the middle for a long time to come.  Then again, the Ducks could use Krebs on the wing.  Either way, I think this kid is going to be a star.

Other options: Matthew Boldy – was tough deciding which way they’d go as I would guess Boldy’s size would be pretty appealing to the Ducks.

Who I’d pick: Peyton Krebs – I believe I made my love for him clear…

10. Matthew Boldy

Team: USA NTDP  League: USHL

Pos: LW  Ht: 6’2  Wt: 196  Shot: L

2019 Stats – GP: 55  G: 30  A: 39  P: 69

DOB: 04/05/01

Comparison: James Van Riemsdyk

SOH Rank: 4th tier, 11th overall

Boldy kind of falls right into the Canucks lap in this scenario.  Do they need another winger?  Probably not.  But do they need some skilled size?  Absolutely.  Boldy in a few years could be a perfect compliment to a top line with Pettersson and Boeser.  Or, imagine him doing the dirty work in front of the net on a PP featuring Pettersson on the half wall, Boeser on his off wing, and Hughes manning the blueline.  He is a terrific fit here.

Other options: Victor Söderström – he’s not a sexy pick at all, but he would be a terrific fit on their blueline.

Who I’d pick: Matthew Boldy – if things fall this way, I don’t believe anyone else makes sense.

11. Cole Caufield

Team: USA NTDP  League: USHL

Pos: RW  Ht: 5’7  Wt: 163  Shot: R

2019 Stats – GP: 55  G: 54  A: 23  P: 77

DOB: 01/02/01

Comparison: Mike Cammalleri

SOH Rank: 5th tier, 16th overall

I have a tough time right at the moment trying to figure out not only what Philly might do, but where Caufield will go.  I fully anticipate tomorrow night twitter will be going ape shit because of a Caufield fall for reasons I laid out in my top 62 list.  But as I’ve said about Caufield, while I have my concerns, that shot is outstanding and I completely understand the attraction to him.  He’s a sexy prospect, and Philly under Paul Holmgren always make the sexy move (oh?  Holmer isn’t the GM, it’s Chuck Fletcher?  Sure…)

Other options: Victor Söderström – it’s been a few years now since the Flyers looked hard to stockpile defencemen.  They’re now pretty bare and could stand to add a high-end D for the pipeline.

Who I’d pick: Victor Söderström – I believe that’s the better move, but that’s just me.

12. Alex Newhook 

Team: Victoria  League: BCHL

Pos: C  Ht: 5’10.5  Wt: 192  Shot: L

2019 Stats – GP: 53  G: 38  A: 64  P: 102

DOB: 01/28/01

Comparison: William Karlsson

SOH Rank:4th tier, 10th overall

I have a tough time getting a read on what Paul Fenton and his staff will do.  Filip Johansson was a very odd pick last year in the 1st.  They could use a D-man, and they’ve drafted centres with two of their last three top picks.  But Eriksson Ek isn’t progressing well, while Kunin looks ok, but not like a top end guy.  Newhook has the type of skill they could really use down the middle moving forward.  With Koivu and Staal both on their last legs, it’s vital they have a bit of a succession plan in place.

Other options: Victor Söderström – this is getting annoying how much I’m suggesting him.  He’d make a lot of sense for the Wild though.

Who I’d pick: Alex Newhook – I think this would be the right move for them.

13. Philip Broberg 

Team: AIK  League: SWE-Als

Pos: LD  Ht: 6’3  Wt: 203  Shot: L

2019 Stats – GP: 41  G: 2  A: 7  P: 9

DOB: 06/25/01

Comparison: Jay Bouwmeester

SOH Rank: 6th tier, 18th overall

I’d say a very safe bet is that this is a D-man.  They have no high-end D-men in their system.  They haven’t used a 1st or 2nd round pick on a D since taking Aaron Ekblad.  I’m not as high on Broberg and others who scout independently aren’t as high on Broberg as NHL teams seem to be.  I do understand the intrigue though as he was dominant at both the Hlinka/Gretzky in August, and the U-18’s in April, not to mention the skating is outstanding.

Other options: Thomas Harley – I originally had Harley going here.  Same rationale obviously as with Broberg, but they’ve loved the OHL over the years too.

Who I’d pick: Victor Söderström – almost as if I’m suggesting he is falling…

14. Philip Tomasino

Team: Niagara  League: OHL

Pos: RW  Ht: 6’0  Wt: 181  Shot: R

2019 Stats – GP: 67  G: 34  A: 38  P: 72

DOB: 07/28/01

Comparison: Jeff Skinner

SOH Rank: 5th tier, 15th overall

They LOOOOOOOVE them some OHL!  Four of their last top picks were out of the OHL.  Maybe a much more eye-popping stat, 14 of their last 29 picks 4th round or higher were used on OHL kids since 2013.  Damn near half, and if you include tier II Ontario kids, it’s 15 of 29.  So a safe bet is suggesting the Coyotes pick someone from the OHL, and the numbers check out with Tomasino, and the game checks out with Tomasino.

Other options: Arthur Kaliyev – after they took Hayton last year, it sure doesn’t appear as though the analytics have much of an influence over their scouting department.  If you’re looking at sheer numbers though, combined with where they love to take their kids, Kaliyev makes a lot of sense.

Who I’d pick: Philip Tomasino – I love this pick for them, feels like a kid their staff will love.

15. Victor Söderström

Team: Brynas  League: SHL

Pos: RD  Ht: 6’0  Wt: 182  Shot: R

2019 Stats – GP: 44  G: 4  A: 3  P: 7

DOB: 02/26/01

Comparison: Matt Niskanen

SOH Rank: 4th tier, 12th overall

FINALLY!!!  He no longer will be an “other option” or “who I’d pick”!  He is just extremely solid across the board, and even though he hasn’t showcased high-end offensive ability, I believe he has a very good offensive upside.  As for the Habs, I know they have some good D in the system, but they don’t have a guy at Soderstrom’s level.  They did a terrific job the last two drafts addressing their issues down the middle.  Nothing wrong with turning your attention to stockpiling the blueline when you can.

Other options: Cam York – a lot of similarities with Söderström, but a left shot.

Who I’d pick: Victor Söderström – you’ll never believe this…I like the idea of Söderström for them.

16. Spencer Knight

Team: USA NTDP  League: USHL

Pos: G  Ht: 6’3.5  Wt: 193  Glove: L

2019 Stats – GP: 28  G.A.A.: 2.50  Sv%: .906

DOB: 04/19/01

Comparison: Carey Price

SOH Rank: 6th tier, 20th overall

Normally I can’t stand goaltenders going 1st round, but Knight is without a doubt going in the 1st round this year.  Why the Avs?  Well, most in the hockey world believe in being able to blow a 1st round pick if they own more than one.  I think it’s completely fucked logic, but most think this way and picking a goaltender qualifies under that logic.

Other options: Bobby Brink – maybe the best pure scorer left on the board, and the Avs need scoring depth.

Who I’d pick: Spencer Knight – for them, I actually really like this pick.

17. Cam York

Team: USA NTDP  League: USHL

Pos: LD  Ht: 5’11  Wt: 172  Shot: L

2019 Stats – GP: 28  G: 7  A: 26  P: 33

DOB: 01/05/01

Comparison: Mark Streit

SOH Rank: 5th tier, 13th overall

There are several ways the Knights could go, so it likely will just be a simple ask of who the best player is on their board, and I’m guessing that’s York.  They don’t have much in the system, but they’re REALLY thin both in the system and on the big club along the blueline.

Other options: Thomas Harley – same idea as York, could argue this one either way.

Who I’d pick: Cam York – he’d be a very solid pick for them.

18. Moritz Seider

Team: Mannheim  League: DEL

Pos: RD  Ht: 6’4  Wt: 198  Shot: R

2019 Stats – GP: 29  G: 2  A: 4  P: 6

DOB: 04/06/01

Comparison: Brett Pesce

SOH Rank: 6th tier, 17th overall

The need on the big club is scoring depth.  But the Stars need in the organization (a little to my surprise to be honest) is on the blueline.  They have nothing in the system, and Julius Honka appears to be falling out of favour.  If he is, then they have a massive need for a RHD, and a guy like Seider moving forward would be an excellent partner for a kid like Heiskanen, freeing up Klingberg to anchor another pairing.

Other options: Arthur Kaliyev – I haven’t been much of a fan of how they’ve drafted under Jim Nill…picking Kaliyev would be something I wouldn’t be much of a fan of.

Who I’d pick: Mortiz Seider – big fan of this pick if it shakes down this way

19. Thomas Harley

Team: Mississauga  League: OHL

Pos: LD  Ht: 6’3  Wt: 183  Shot: L

2019 Stats – GP: 68  G: 11  A: 47  P: 58

DOB: 08/19/01

Comparison: Tom Gilbert

SOH Rank: 7th tier, 24th overall

Pick initially belonged to Columbus, moved to Ottawa in the Matt Duchene deal.  I think if I’m Pierre Dorian I just keep looking to add to this blueline.  I’m not the biggest Harley fan, but you can’t deny this kids skill set.  Nothing wrong with simply looking to take talent.

Other options: Vladislav Kolyachonok – not as skilled as Harley, but apparently interviewed much better and might be an even better skater.

Who I’d pick: Vladislav Kolyachonok – I got the sense in doing my homework for the draft that he has much more of a desire to advance his game and his hockey career than Harley.

 

20. Raphaël Lavoie

Team: Halifax  League: QMJHL

Pos: RW  Ht: 6’4  Wt: 199  Shot: R

2019 Stats – GP: 62  G: 32  A: 41  P: 73

DOB: 09/25/00

Comparison: Alex Chiasson

SOH Rank: 8th tier, 30th overall

Pick initially belonged to Winnipeg, moved to New York in the Kevin Hayes deal, and now back to Winnipeg in the Jacob Trouba deal.  I had trouble with this one, but we know how much Chevy loves his big guys with a lot of skill so it makes it very difficult to think of someone else to put in this spot.

Other options: Ryan Suzuki – doesn’t at all feel like their kind of guy, but they have been searching for better depth down the middle.

Who I’d pick: Samuel Poulin – he feels like he’d fit the Jets perfectly.

21. Bobby Brink

Team: Sioux City  League: USHL

Pos: RW  Ht: 5’8  Wt: 165  Shot: R

2019 Stats – GP: 42  G: 35  A: 32  P: 67

DOB: 07/08/01

Comparison: Alex DeBrincat

SOH Rank: 6th tier, 23rd overall

The Pens don’t usually have a 1st rounder!  The last one they had was 2014 (Kasperi Kapanen).  The most recent one who is still on the roster?  87.  Olli Maatta was, but of course he just got dealt to Chicago.  Anyway, I believe they’ll love Brink’s skill, and he might not be too far away from being able to contribute.  It is win NOW mode in Pittsburgh, even if that window has closed, Rutherford is going to look for anyway he can to pry it back open for one final shot at it with Sid and Geno.

Other options: Ville Heinola – they have big holes all over, and Heinola is personally my top player left.

Who I’d pick: Ville Heinola – I just said it, CAN’T YOU READ?!?!?!?!?!?!  IDIOT!!!!!!!!!!!!  Sorry, I’m getting tired of typing.

22. Ryan Johnson

Team: Sioux Falls  League: USHL

Pos: LD  Ht: 6’0  Wt: 170  Shot: L

2019 Stats – GP: 52  G: 6  A: 18  P: 24

DOB: 07/24/01

Comparison: Jared Spurgeon

SOH Rank: 7th tier, 25th overall

This pick formerly belonged to the Leafs, acquired by the Kings in the Jake Muzzin trade.  Keep something in mind with this pick: the coaching candidates for the Kings were all old buddies of Rob Blake.  This pick would fill a need, but the big reason I like projecting it is Rob Blake played a long time with a man named Craig Johnson.  Craig Johnson has a son named Ryan.  Just remember that come draft day.  But by no means would this be any kind of reach, and fills a need too for this organization.

Other options: Vladislav Kolyachonok – they really need to rebuild their blueline, and he’s an OHL kid.

Who I’d pick: Ville Heinola – you know by now

23. Ville Heinola

Team: Lukko  League: Liiga

Pos: LD  Ht: 5’11  Wt: 176  Shot: L

2019 Stats – GP: 34  G: 2  A: 12  P: 14

DOB: 03/02/01

Comparison: Andrej Sekera

SOH Rank: 5th tier, 14th overall

I’m trying to look at this the way Lou will.  And I have a feeling that even after getting Dobson and Wilde last year that Lou won’t feel his blueline looks too good moving forward and therefore goes after someone else.  I don’t expect Heinola to go near as high as I have him ranked, and I’m well aware that Lamoriello isn’t doing the drafting, but he still feels like a good fit for what Lou wants in a player which is extremely high IQ, and isn’t at all worried about them being dynamic.

Other options: Tobias Bjornfot – most like him better than I do (not that I dislike him, just not at this point in the draft).

Who I’d pick: Ville Heinola – I’m higher on Heinola than many.

24. Tobias Bjornfot

Team: Djurgardens  League: SWE-J20

Pos: LD  Ht: 6’0  Wt: 203  Shot: L

2019 Stats – GP: 39  G: 11  A: 11  P: 22

DOB: 04/06/01

Comparison: Esa Lindell

SOH Rank: 10th tier, 44th overall

They don’t really have much in the organization on the blueline on the left side.  If you also look at their blueline moving forward, I see five guys with a hole on the bottom pairing, left side.  Bjornfot feels like someone who fits well for the Preds.

Other options: Alex Vlasic – if they’re thinking about LHD, they have lived off drafting from the USNTDP the last few seasons.

Who I’d pick: Matthew Robertson – obviously I have other guys ranked ahead of Robertson, but at this point of the draft (this draft anyway) I’d feel decent about drafting a little more for need.

25. Arthur Kaliyev

Team: Hamilton  League: OHL

Pos: LW  Ht: 6’2  Wt: 194  Shot: L

2019 Stats – GP: 67  G: 51  A: 51  P: 102

DOB: 06/26/01

Comparison: Dany Heatley

SOH Rank: 8th tier, 31st overall

Believe it or not, this doesn’t have anything to do with his last name.  This organization is built on skilled size, and that is exactly what Kaliyev brings to the table.  I’m not a fan of his motor, but the Caps have had success with guys who don’t possess the best motors (Brett Connolly for example).

Other options: Pavel Dorofeyev – same idea in terms of skill, and Dorofeyev is Russian born, unlike Kaliyev, and we all know they’ve done better than most taking Russian kids.

Who I’d pick: Samuel Poulin – if they took Poulin, it would be the first kid the Caps have taken out of the Q since 2010.  It would be the first time the Caps used a 1st round pick on a player out of the Q since Reggie Savage in 1988.

26. Nils Hoglander

Team: Rogle  League: SHL

Pos: LW  Ht: 5’9.5  Wt: 185  Shot: L

2019 Stats – GP: 50  G: 7  A: 7  P: 14

DOB: 12/20/00

Comparison: Mats Zuccarello

SOH Rank: 7th tier, 27th overall

Will the playoffs do anything to change the way they build their team?  Honestly, I can’t see it.  Treliving isn’t the type of guy to panic, which is why he is such a good GM.  Aggressive, yes.  But he’s going to stick to what he believes in and he believes in skill.  Hoglander is skilled and works his ass off.  Not big as you can read, and he’s not that fast, but he’s got a ton of skill and a ton of character.

Other options: Brett Leason – Craig Button put Leason to the Flames in their mock.  His brother works for the team.  I’ve also felt in the last few weeks that it feels like a fit too though I’m not exactly sure why.

Who I’d pick: Samuel Poulin – if I’m the Flames, I’m looking to get a little heavier which Poulin would provide without sacrificing speed or skill.

27. Matthew Robertson

Team: Edmonton  League: WHL

Pos: LD  Ht: 6’3  Wt: 200  Shot: L

2019 Stats – GP: 52  G: 7  A: 26  P: 33

DOB: 03/09/01

Comparison: Alex Edler

SOH Rank: 8th tier, 34th overall

I feel fairly confident that they’ll look towards helping their blueline with this pick.  I’m not overly confident that the pick is Robertson because if I’m the Lightning I want someone who can move the puck a little better.  Al Murray loves the CHL kids though and Robertson is the best on the board for most at this point.

Other options: Lassi Thomson – another WHL option who maybe moves the puck a little better than Robertson, though Robertson has the higher ceiling.

Who I’d pick: Matthew Robertson – with his size and skating combination, a team who develop as the Lightning do could get the max out of him, so for them, I really like this pick.

28. Ryan Suzuki

Team: Barrie  League: OHL

Pos: C  Ht: 6’1  Wt: 180  Shot: L

2019 Stats – GP: 65  G: 25  A: 50  P: 75

DOB: 05/28/01

Comparison: Craig Janney

SOH Rank: 8th tier, 29th overall

We know they’re going with a forward.  I’m guessing they want a highly skilled forward.  Suzuki checks both those boxes.  He’s a kid who I have a tough time pinning where he goes as he plays such a perimeter game, yet he’s so talented, not sure how teams will be viewing his game.  The skill is there however to be a top six centre in the NHL.

Other options: Connor McMichael – also one of the most talented players left on the board.

Who I’d pick: Samuel Poulin – isn’t it fun how I keep saying I’d pick Poulin?!

29. Lassi Thomson

Team: Kelowna  League: WHL

Pos: RD  Ht: 6’0  Wt: 186  Shot: R

2019 Stats – GP: 63  G: 17  A: 24  P: 41

DOB: 09/24/00

Comparison: Anton Stralman

SOH Rank: 8th tier, 35th overall

Pick initially belonged to San Jose, moved to Buffalo in the Evander Kane deal, then moved to Anaheim in the Brandon Montour deal.  They get Krebs at nine, they will then look to shore up the blueline with 29.  That Ducks blueline isn’t nearly the beast it looked as though it was becoming just two years ago.  Thomson gives them a bonafide RHD prospect that they currently lack.

Other options: Drew Helleson – another righty D-man they might look at.

Who I’d pick: Lassi Thomson – he’s not flashy but I feel he’s solid and a great fit for the Ducks.

30. Samuel Poulin

Team: Sherbrooke  League: QMJHL

Pos: LW  Ht: 6’1  Wt: 212  Shot: L

2019 Stats – GP: 67  G: 29  A: 47  P: 76

DOB: 02/25/01

Comparison: Andrew Ladd

SOH Rank: 6th tier, 21st overall

The Bruins need a little more size.  Keep in mind that when I call for teams to get bigger, I don’t advise they do it at the expense of speed.  There is no law that says you have to be one or the other.  Poulin has solid speed, but as you can see he has the heavy body that the Bruins need a bit more of.

Other options: Jamieson Rees fits them perfectly.  In your face, completely fearless, speedy, would be anything but surprising to see them pick Rees.

Who I’d pick: Samuel Poulin – I love the fit, and now I can quit saying this, although there is only one pick left…

31. Drew Helleson

Team: USA NTDP  League: USHL

Pos: RD  Ht: 6’3  Wt: 194  Shot: R

2019 Stats – GP: 28  G: 4  A: 7  P: 11

DOB: 03/26/01

Comparison: David Savard

SOH Rank: 10th tier, 43rd overall

Pick initially belonged to St. Louis, moved to Buffalo in the Ryan O’Reilly deal.  They have a big need for RH shot D-men.  D-men in general, but specifically the right side is bare.  Helleson is a new school shut down D-man.  Nothing flashy, but the type of guy who could be the perfect compliment to a kid like Dahlin down the road.

Other options: Matthew Robertson – once upon a time their scouting staff took Oil Kings defenceman Mark Pysyk.  Does history repeat itself?  He is one of MANY options at this point.

Who I’d pick: Daniil Misyul – I love his wheels.  A team will need patience with him, but he already can fly and he’s physical, so to me the downside is he’ll play, and the ceiling is high.

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