2019 NHL Draft: Top 32 Prospects

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Welp…2018 is done, onto 2019!  That quickly, I’m onto the next chapter.  And part of the reason I am is because of how great the 2019 draft is expected to be.  You’ll hear people (who don’t know what they’re talking about) say “oh, every draft is supposed to be better than the last”.  No.  Some have been overrated, but for the most part you can see which drafts were expected to be good and which were expected to be weak.  Not that it hasn’t happened that way before.

 

2012 was expected to be tremendous a year out, and was viewed as a disaster by the time draft day 2012 was here.  We’re FAR from knowing how these latest drafts will pan out, but to this point 2015 was supposed to be amazing, it was.  2016 was supposed to be a bit below it but still great, it was.  Last year was supposed to be well below those two and 2018, it looks to be the case.  This year had a better high end than last, but I’ve never heard anyone credible suggest that the depth of this draft was overly good, and that looks to be the case, although time will tell on all of these recent ones.

 

The long winded point being here, 2019 is expected to be incredible.  Somewhere between 2015 and 2016.  You have a damn near generational talent at the top in Jack Hughes (brother of Quinn, shoutout to his mom who for some reason follows me on Twitter and I’m incredibly appreciative of it!), then to follow him you have a group of centres all with legitimate number one centre potential, some highly talented D, and some big power forward type wingers.  This is a lot more of my kind of draft, where the kids who are already near the top of the rankings are the type of kids that will fill big needs for organizations.

 

I’m not going to spend much time doing write up’s on these kids.  I only say anything about the top 15, though I still have the comparisons and hopefully that gives you all an idea of how the player plays.  Another thing is even though I rank them all, we’re a year out and so many of them just wrapped up their first year of junior, SO MUCH of this is going to change over the next 12 months.  So this is more of an introductory than a list which should be taken as the gospel.  We’re all still getting to know these kids, even the scouts.  Sure the scouts have been watching them for two or three years by now, but the real work begins this summer starting at the Hlinka/Gretzky Cup in August.

 

Tier One

1. Jack Hughes

Team: USNTDP  League: USHL

Pos: C  Ht: 5’10  Wt: 161  Shot: L

2018 Stats – GP: 27  G: 21  A: 33  P: 54

Birth: 5/14/01

Comparison: Patrick Kane

He’s a superstar.  The only question I have is whether he’ll play the middle or be better suited for the wing in the pros, but for me he’s not McDavid, but probably better than Matthews on the number one pick scale.

 

Tier Two

2. Kirby Dach

Team: Saskatoon  League: WHL

Pos: C  Ht: 6’4  Wt: 185  Shot: R

2018 Stats – GP: 52  G: 7  A: 39  P: 46

Birth: 01/21/01

Comparison: Ryan Getzlaf

Damn near a PPG as a 16 year old, pure playmaker, on a weak Blades team.  Higher on him than most at this point.  I just think with the combination of speed, size and vision this kid will be unstoppable.  And the cherry on the sundae is he’s a right handed shot.

 

3. Alex Turcotte

Team: USNTDP  League: USHL

Pos: C  Ht: 5’11  Wt: 194  Shot: L

2018 Stats – GP: 31  G: 8  A: 24  P: 32

Birth: 02/26/01

Comparison: Pat LaFontaine

An EXCELLENT playmaker and terrific skater.  Those are by far the two best qualities he possess…in a league that has evolved to where the two most vital traits a player can have are skating and playmaking.

 

4. Alex Newhook 

Team: Victoria  League: BCHL

Pos: C  Ht: 5’11  Wt: 183  Shot: L

2018 Stats – GP: 45  G: 22  A: 44  P: 66

Birth: 01/28/01

Comparison: Pavel Datsyuk

Newhook is going to obliterate the BCHL next season…even more so than he just did.  Honestly, between Newhook and Turcotte at this point you can simply flip a coin.

 

Tier Three

5. Kaapo Kakko

Team: TPS U-20  League: SM-Liiga

Pos: RW  Ht: 6’4  Wt: 207  Shot: L

2018 Stats – GP: 38  G: 25  A: 30  P: 55

Birth: 02/13/01

Comparison: Rick Nash

Kakko is 5th, and I can think of years where he’d probably be the top pick.  That’s how great this draft is.  Size, speed, power, he’s a total package type winger.

 

Tier Four

6. Bowen Byram

Team: Vancouver  League: WHL

Pos: LD  Ht: 6’0  Wt: 179  Shot: L

2018 Stats – GP: 60  G: 6  A: 21  P: 27

Birth: 06/13/01

Comparison: Duncan Keith

This kid is tailor made for the way the game is played today.  I heard him described as “a bit undersized” the other day.  He’s 6’0.  Have we not been paying attention??  He’s got the ability to be a number one guy.

 

7. Dylan Cozens

Team: Lethbridge  League: WHL

Pos: RW  Ht: 6’3  Wt: 176  Shot: R

2018 Stats – GP: 57  G: 22  A: 31  P: 53

Birth: 02/09/01

Comparison: Max Pacioretty

The native of Whitehorse, Cozens was named the WHL rookie of the year.  In addition to the great regular season, he also had an impressive 7 goals and 13 points in 16 games during the Hurricanes run to the Eastern Conference final.  Cozens is a good skater for a big kid with a hell of a shot and also goes to all the dirty areas.

 

8. Peyton Krebs

Team: Kootenay  League: WHL

Pos: LW  Ht: 5’11  Wt: 172  Shot: L

2018 Stats – GP: 67  G: 17  A: 37  P: 54

Birth: 01/26/01

Comparison: Mikael Granlund

Incredible vision.  That’s the calling card for Krebs.  But he also has great wheels and can snipe, and at 172 lbs he’s really just scratching the surface.

 

9. Maxim Cajkovic

Team: Malmo  League: SWE-J20

Pos: RW  Ht: 5’11  Wt: 187  Shot: R

2018 Stats – GP: 28  G: 10  A: 11  P: 21

Birth: 01/03/01

Comparison: Marian Gaborik

Lightning fast with a bullet of a shot.  He’s going to be one of the most exciting players to watch in the years to come.

 

10. Victor Söderström

Team: Brynas  League: SWE-J20

Pos: RD  Ht: 5’11  Wt: 176  Shot: R

2018 Stats – GP: 16  G: 3  A: 3  P: 6

Birth: 02/26/01

Comparison: Tyson Barrie

Extremely active and offensive minded, and has no issues with mixing it up physically.

 

11. Cam York

Team: USNTDP  League: USHL

Pos: LD  Ht: 5’11  Wt: 165  Shot: L

2018 Stats – GP: 33  G: 3  A: 11  P: 14

Birth: 01/05/01

Comparison: Cam Fowler

So I’m not going to bull shit anyone with this comparison, I really believe Fowler felt like the closest comparison, but I could have been influenced by his name being Cam, and hailing from Anaheim Hills California.  I don’t think that’s really it though!  I THINK its his game.  Because he’s a terrific skater who is real good offensively, but not necessarily elite offensively, much like Fowler.

 

Tier Five

12. Valentin Nussbaumer

Team:  EHC Biel-Bienne  League: NLA

Pos: C  Ht: 5’11  Wt: 159  Shot: L

2018 StatsGP: 26  G: 5  A: 1  P: 6

Birth: 09/25/00

Comparison: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

Cerebral and highly skilled, he needs to pack on the pounds as you can read, but when he does I believe his game is going to go to another level and justify or surpass this ranking.

 

13. Tag Bertuzzi

Team: Geulph  League: OHL

Pos: LW  Ht: 6’0  Wt: 192  Shot: L

2018 Stats – GP: 41  G: 3  A: 8  P: 11

Birth: 02/18/01

Comparison: Brad Marchand

Todd’s kid plays an in your face style.  I maybe have him ranked higher than anyone else will, but these types of players are damn near impossible to find.

 

14. Cole Caufield

Team: USNTDP  League: USHL

Pos: RW  Ht: 5’6  Wt: 154  Shot: R

2018 Stats – GP: 32  G: 23  A: 10  P: 33

Birth: 01/02/01

Comparison: Zach Parise

Ridiculous skill…goes without saying for a kid who is only 5’6.  I realize Parise wasn’t nearly this small, but the style is extremely similar.

 

15. Simon Holmström

Team: HV71  League: SWE-J20

Pos: RW  Ht: 5’11  Wt: 172  Shot: L

2018 Stats – GP: 28  G: 11  A: 19  P: 30

Birth: 05/24/01

Comparison: Victor Arvidsson

Much like with Bertuzzi, I just love the way this kid plays!  Speedy and completely fearless.

 

16. Ryan Suzuki

Team: Barrie  League: OHL

Pos: C  Ht: 6’0  Wt: 172  Shot: L

2018 StatsGP: 64  G: 14  A: 30  P: 44

Birth: 05/28/01

Comparison: Brayden Point

 

17. Vasili Podkolzin

Team: Vityaz Podolsk U-17  League: RUS-U17

Pos: RW  Ht: 5’11  Wt: 165  Shot: L

2018 StatsGP: 21  G: 13  A: 17  P: 30

Birth: 06/24/01

Comparison: Artemi Panarin

 

18. Raphaël Lavoie

Team: Halifax  League: QMJHL

Pos: RW  Ht: 6’4  Wt: 192  Shot: R

2018 Stats – GP: 68  G: 30  A: 33  P: 63

Birth: 09/25/00

Comparison: Dave Andreychuk

 

19. Arthur Kaliyev

Team: Hamilton  League: OHL

Pos: LW  Ht: 6’1  Wt: 165  Shot: L

2018 Stats – GP: 68  G: 31  A: 17  P: 48

Birth: 06/26/01

Comparison: Geoff Courtnall

 

Tier Six

20. Matthew Robertson

Team: Edmonton  League: WHL

Pos: LD  Ht: 6’3  Wt: 196  Shot: L

2018 Stats – GP: 67  G: 7  A: 17  P: 24

Birth: 03/09/01

Comparison: Ryan McDonagh

 

21. Anttoni Honka

Team: JYP U-20  League: SM-Liiga

Pos: RD  Ht: 5’10  Wt: 170  Shot: R

2018 Stats – GP: 28  G: 4  A: 13  P:17

Birth: 10/05/00

Comparison: Lubomir Visnovsky

 

22. Alex Vlasic

Team: USNTDP  League: USHL

Pos: LD  Ht: 6’5  Wt: 190  Shot: L

2018 StatsGP: 34  G: 4  A: 9  P: 13

Birth: 06/05/01

Comparison: Colton Parayko

 

23. Blake Murray

Team: Sudbury  League: OHL

Pos: LW  Ht: 6’1  Wt: 179  Shot: L

2018 Stats – GP: 57  G: 21  A: 23  P: 44

Birth: 07/05/01

Comparison: Tanner Pearson

 

24. Jakob Pelletier

Team: Moncton  League: QMJHL

Pos: LW  Ht: 5’9  Wt: 159  Shot: LW

2018 StatsGP: 60  G: 23  A: 38  P: 61

Birth: 03/07/01

Comparison: Nikolaj Ehlers

 

25. Matthew Boldy

Team: USNTDP  League: USHL

Pos: LW  Ht: 6’0  Wt: 174  Shot: L

2018 StatsGP: 34  G: 12  A: 23  P: 35

Birth: 04/06/01

Comparison: Jason Pomminville

 

26. Ilya Mironov 

Team: Loko-Yunior Yaroslavl  League: NMHL

Pos: LD  Ht: 6’3  Wt: 198  Shot: L

2018 Stats – GP: 15  G: 2  A: 6  P: 8

Birth: 03/15/01

Comparison: Janne Niinimaa

 

27. Case McCarthy

Team: USNTDP  League: USHL

Pos: RD  Ht: 6’1  Wt: 194  Shot: R

2018 Stats – GP: 22  G: 2  A: 7  P: 9

Birth: 01/09/01

Comparison: Justin Faulk

 

28. Daniil Gutik

Team: Loko-Yunior Yaroslavl  League: NMHL

Pos: RW  Ht: 6’3  Wt: 179  Shot: R

2018 StatsGP: 12  G: 2  A: 8  P: 10

Birth: 08/31/01

Comparison: Jakub Voracek

 

29. Robert Mastrosimone

Team: Chicago  League: USHL

Pos: LW  Ht: 5’9  Wt: 159  Shot: L

2018 StatsGP: 60  G: 16  A: 29  P: 45

Birth: 01/24/01

Comparison: Jonathan Marchessault

 

30. Nolan Foote

Team: Kelowna  League: WHL

Pos: LW  Ht: 6’3  Wt: 187  Shot: L

2018 Stats – GP: 50  G: 13  A: 27  P: 40

Birth: 11/29/00

Comparison: Kevin Hayes

 

31. Josh Williams

Team: Medicine Hat  League: WHL

Pos: RW  Ht: 6’1  Wt: 185  Shot: R

2018 Stats – GP: 47  G: 11  A: 9  P: 20

Birth: 03/08/01

Comparison: Chris Kreider

 

32. Ethan Keppen

Team: Flint  League: OHL

Pos: LW  Ht: 6’2  Wt: 205  Shot: L

2018 StatsGP: 63  G: 10  A: 8  P: 18

Birth: 03/20/01

Comparison: Andrew Ladd

 

Follow me on Twitter @TJ_Soups

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