2019 NHL Draft

2019 NHL Mock Draft 1.0 (Round 1)

Steve Kournianos  |  11/25/2018 |  Nashville  |  

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SKA left wing Vasily Podkolzin could become the first Russian League prospect in 15 years to be selected in the top five of the NHL draft (Photo: KHL)


Round 1 (Picks 1-31)
Draft order based on 11/23/18 standings

Los Angeles Kings Pos. Team League
1. Jack Hughes C U.S. U18 NTDP
22gp-9g-34a-43pts | 5’10, 167 | 5/14/01
Fast and flashy, Hughes has elite hockey sense and a clear understanding of the game. He is the premier prospect for the draft for his brilliance with the puck at high speeds. There simply aren’t any players in his age group who can do the things Hughes does, and the amount of respect paid to him by opposing coaches is evident in the way they will stack four players along the hashmarks when he enters the zone.
Florida Panthers Pos. Team League
2. Kaapo Kakko RW TPS Turku Liiga
20gp-4g-9a-13pts | 6’2, 194 | 2/13/01
Things in South Florida haven’t gone the way they were expected to go, but the Panthers get rewarded by having the chance to draft another superior Finnish prospect. Kaako, who is performing quite well as a teenager in a premier European league, is a complete player who will be ready to contribute immediately. His vision is world class and his strong upper body allows him to make plays with opponents draped all over him. Kakko is one of the best teenagers on the planet in creating chances with little room to work with.
St. Louis Blues Pos. Team League
3. Vasili Podkolzin RW SKA-Neva VHL
7gp-1g-0a-1pt | 6’1, 190 | 6/24/01
Vladimir Tarasenko has made the Blues look smart eight years ago for taking a chance on a Russian league prospect in the first round, so drafting this multi-tool menace wouldn’t necessarily set some sort of precedent for them. Podkolzin’s ridiculous skills when combined with his high compete level and physicality earmark him for stardom. He displays leadership qualities and excels in any situation he is place in.
Arizona Coyotes Pos. Team League
4. Trevor Zegras C U.S. U18 NTDP
21gp-12g-22a-34pts | 6’0, 167 | 3/20/01
Jack Hughes deservedly draws the most attention from opposing coaches, but Zegras is making them pay for not respecting his acute vision and playmaking abilities. Strong and swift, Zegras after his aforementioned NTDP teammate is the draft’s best pure playmaker. His team does a lot of line shuffling, but the native New Yorker instantly adapts and can turn any player of any type into a scoring threat.
Colorado Avalanche Pos. Team League
5. Bowen Byram LHD Vancouver WHL
24gp-7g-11a-18pts | 6’1, 194 | 6/13/01
There are several center prospects in this draft who draw similarities to Matt Duchene, who the Av’s sent to Ottawa in return for this pick. But a bonafide stopper on defense with both speed and the ability to feed pucks up ice is a rarity for teenagers, which is why the idea of Byram patrolling Colorado’s blueline could be too tantalizing to pass up. His physicality and on-ice leadership is evident from shift to shift, and he thrives in tight-checking affairs.
New Jersey Devils Pos. Team League
6. Alex Turcotte C U.S. U18 NTDP
3gp-1g-1a-2pts | 5’11, 189 | 2/26/01
Some might say that it’s doubtful GM Ray Shero nabs a center in the first round for the fourth time in five drafts, but neither Pavel Zacha, Mike McLeod or even Nico Hischier possess the out-of-your seat explosiveness and creativity owned by this Wisconsin-bound pivot. Turcotte has battled the injury bug but remains an outstanding prospect with cornerstone upside.
Pittsburgh Penguins Pos. Team League
7. Kirby Dach C Saskatoon WHL
25gp-13g-26a-39pts | 6’4, 199 | 1/21/01
If the Pens do in fact stay this low in the standings, they’ll have plenty of options to choose from to finally grab that high-end forward prospect to build another nucleus around. Dach is a big-bodied playmaker with fantastic vision and passing skills who thrives in tight-quarter situations. He’s a quicker first step away from being a legitimate challenger to Hughes’s grip on the top spot.
Chicago Blackhawks Pos. Team League
8. Matthew Boldy LW U.S. U18 NTDP
22gp-15g-9a-24pts | 6’2, 187 | 4/5/01
It’s not often you see a teenage winger literally play mistake-free hockey game after game, but Boldy finds a way to solving his own team’s problems while simultaneously presenting the opposition with a bunch of their own. He’s got pro-ready size, off-the-charts hockey sense and can score from just about anywhere. Boldy acts as a set-up man for all four of his mates when he himself is not flanking a playmaker, so this kind of versatility is exactly what you want in a future pro. 
Detroit Red Wings Pos. Team League
9. Dylan Cozens C/W Lethbridge WHL
24gp-12g-19a-31pts | 6’3, 181 | 2/9/01
A former WHL scout himself, GM Ken Holland recently has done well in the first round by dipping into Western Canada’s talent pool, so it wouldn’t be a shock to see his Red Wings draft a versatile, in-your-face forward like Cozens. The native of Whitehorse, Yukon plays with a great attitude, and he compliments his power-speed game with a devastating shot.
Philadelphia Flyers Pos. Team League
10. Peyton Krebs C Kootenay WHL
23gp-6g-21a-27pts | 5’11, 180 | 1/26/01
The Flyers are loaded with prospects, but a season-ending injury to 2016 first rounder German Rubtsov may necessitate using another high pick on a pivot. Krebs plays a similar two-way power game like Rubtsov, and also has excellent vision to create chances off of board battles. Philadelphia has used a first rounder on a WHL stud in three of the last five drafts.
Vancouver Canucks Pos. Team League
11. Alex Newhook C Victoria BCHL
28gp-16g-28a-44pts | 5’11, 190 | 1/28/01
Even BoHorvat’s success and the emergence of Elias Pettersson as a top-line center can’t hide the fact that the Canucks as an organization are relatively thin down the middle, so selecting an elite playmaker with ties to British Columbia seems like a pretty good option towards addressing a need. The speedy Newhook is on pace to become the BCHL’s youngest scoring champion since a 17-year-old Scott Gomez did it 23 years ago.
Edmonton Oilers Pos. Team League
12. Victor Soderstrom RHD Brynas SHL
12gp-0g-2a-2pts | 5’11, 180 | 2/26/01
If newly-hired coach Ken Hitchcock has a say in how the Oilers’ draft unfolds, he’ll probably want to add pieces that actually know how to not only distribute the puck, but also defend as well. Soderstrom is a graceful two-way blueliner with speed and outstanding anticipation to break up opposing plays before they materialize into something dangerous.
Vegas Golden Knights Pos. Team League
13. Ryan Suzuki C Barrie OHL
23gp-8g-24a-32pts | 6’0, 178 | 5/28/01
The Golden Knights traded Nick Suzuki to Montreal in the Max Pacioretty deal, so why not replenish the cupboard with his playmaking younger brother, who plays a similar finesse style but may be a step quicker and own a better shot. And although neither of the Suzukis should be confused with blood-thirsty mashers, Ryan is a shark in the neutral zone that makes opponents pay dearly for their mistakes.
New York Islanders Pos. Team League
14. Anttoni Honka RHD JyP Liiga
15gp-1g-3a-4pts | 5’10, 179 | 10/5/00
There’s a decent amount of puck movers in the Isles’ system, but none can turn harrowing situations into quick counterstrikes as effortlessly as this Finnish defender, who has silky-smooth hands and displays exceptional passing skills from as far back as his own goal line. He’s been up and down playing in Finland’s top league, but his dominance against draft-age peers reveals a player with a tremendous amount of point-producing potential.
Carolina Hurricanes Pos. Team League
15. Pavel Dorofeyev LW Stalnye Lisy MHL
14gp-12g-10a-22pts | 6’1, 167 | 10/26/00
One of the most intelligent dual-threat wingers in his draft class, Dorofeyev is a key cog in Stalnye Lisy’s top line that generates most of their offense at even strength. He may not have the immediate “wow” factor that you see in Andre Svechnikov, but Dorofeyev’s ability to make defenders bounce off of him while barreling towards the net is strikingly similar to the 2018 top prospect. You can count on him to make the proper decisions in open ice or during odd-man rushes.
Anaheim Ducks Pos. Team League
16. Raphael Lavoie RW Halifax QMJHL
23gp-13g-12a-25pts | 6’4, 191 | 9/25/00
Lavoie has somehow managed to go under the radar despite backing up his preseason hype with another productive QMJHL season. He’s thick, strong and can move quickly for a big-bodied forward, and Lavoie’s stickhandling proclivity gets him into prime scoring areas rather easily. Once he’s there, he can unload a hard, accurate shot that makes goalies work hard to control rebounds. The Ducks have done well with recent QMJHL picks (Maxime Comtois, Antoine Morand), so they’re likely quite familiar with how dominant a player Lavoie can be.
New York Rangers Pos. Team League
17. Cam York LHD U.S. U18 NTDP
21gp-2g-14a-16pts | 5’11, 171 | 1/5/01
For all the quality defense prospects the Rangers have acquired in the last year, not one offers them the kind of elite playmaking, heavy-shooting and fluid skating ability the way York can. He’s a very hard passer from anywhere on the ice, and his read-and-react timing has been impeccable since it was considered a weakness a few months prior.
Dallas Stars Pos. Team League
18. Cole Caufield RW U.S. U18 NTDP
22gp-18g-7a-25pts | 5’7, 155 | 1/2/01
Forget the fact that he’s listed at 5’7 — this kid is a tough, inside player who can fill the net and battle his tail off for real estate near the goal. Caulfield has proven he can score regardless of the line he plays on or where he starts his shifts. And he’s not just a sniping winger who needs other to do the work, as the Wisconsin-bound forward kills penalties with effectiveness and is a threat to score while down a man. His arsenal of puck skills simply are too rare to ignore, and the Stars need dynamic offensive forwards in their farm system.
Winnipeg Jets Pos. Team League
19. Matthew Robertson LHD Edmonton WHL
21gp-3g-12a-15pts | 6’3, 201 | 3/9/01
GM Kevin Cheveldayoff has accumulated nearly a dozen or so quality left-defense prospects, but not one has Robertson’s advanced brain when it comes to puck distribution. Sure, lots of playmakers know how to dish the puck. But it’s Robertson’s instincts in addition to his passing, however, that gives him the legitimate shutdown, top-pairing potential you just don’t see in most of the rearguards in Winnipeg’s system.  
Montreal Canadiens Pos. Team League
20. Philip Broberg LHD AIK Allsvenskan
21gp-0g-6a-6pts | 6’3, 199 | 6/25/01
Sometimes, one game (or one tournament) is all you need to identify how special a player can be. And although Broberg this season has had his share of frantic moments and puzzling decisions, his skating and aggressiveness inside the offensive zone should be enough to convince a team to roll the dice and pony up a high draft pick. He’s incredibly active and mobile with or without the puck, and rarely is there a shot opportunity Broberg will turn down. Additionally, he can play physical and deliver big hits, so it’s just a matter of fine-tuning his puck management, as well as his timing in the neutral zone to get him in position to neutralize opposing rushes.
Washington Capitals Pos. Team League
21. Arthur Kaliyev LW Hamilton OHL
25gp-19g-19a-38pts | 6’1, 190 | 6/26/01
A pure sniper with a shot for the ages (sound familiar, Caps fans?), Kaliyev is following up his 31-goal season with an even better sophomore campaign. The Staten Island-born winger is a high-volume shooter who can knock a goalie off his skates with his Filip Forsberg-esque wrister from the circle. It’s probably time for Washington to pick a forward in the first round, which it hasn’t done since 2013.
Calgary Flames Pos. Team League
22. Moritz Seider RHD Adler Mannheim DEL
15gp-1g-0a-1pt | 6’4, 183 | 4/6/01
The optics might make one think that the last thing the Flames, with their talent-rich blue line, should draft is a defenseman. But the truth is that of the 19 picks they’ve made since 2016, only three were rearguards, and of those three, only two remain with the organization. Enter Seider, a big, smooth-skating German who has handled a top-four role against adult-age competition with aplomb. If goaltending is going to keep plaguing this franchise, might as well draft two-way defenders who can tilt the ice towards the bad guys.
Colorado Avalanche Pos. Team League
23. Drew Helleson RHD U.S. U18 NTDP
22gp-4g-5a-9pts | 6’2, 183 | 3/26/01
The NTDP is notorious for allowing it’s highly-skilled forwards initiate breakouts, but Helleson cuts out the middle man by being an exceptional stretch passer that leads to a lot of breakaways and odd-man rushes. He’s also one of the team’s top one-on-one defenders, and he plays a game similar to injured Avalanche prospect Conor Timmins, who like Helleson plays the right side but is dealing with concussion issues.
Boston Bruins Pos. Team League
24. John Beecher C U.S. U18 NTDP
21gp-3g-10a-13pts | 6’3, 204 | 4/5/01
The word agile is rarely used to describe a 6’3, 200-pound center, but the Michigan-bound Beecher is one of the most nimble power centers to come along in quite some time. He is an excellent stickhandler who scares defenders into backing in as far inward as their own circles, and his sharp directional changes and edges lure opponents away from prime shooting areas. Beecher is a mean, intimidating two-way force who can smother opposing top players while driving his line into the offensive zone for multiple chances
Toronto Maple Leafs Pos. Team League
25. Yegor Spiridonov C Stalnye Lisy MHL
19gp-6g-11a-17pts | 6’3, 192 | 1/22/01
Toronto has pieces just about everywhere, and one thing they don’t mind doing is dipping into the Russian junior leagues for talent. Spiridonov is a three-zone center with goal scoring ability who dominates on draws, is a top penalty killer and can maximize the skills of his wingers. He’s a big reason why his line of first-year eligibles are getting more ice time than your average experienced prospects.
Minnesota Wild Pos. Team League
26. Ryder Donovan W/C Duluth-East HS-MN
0gp-0g-0a-0pts | 6’3, 184 | 10/4/00
A jersey-flapping winger with size and a massive reach, Donovan is a lot like New York Rangers’ center Kevin Hayes in that he can play the role of either a set-up man or a finisher. He’ll be gunning for state this year on a talented Duluth-East squad, and word is this kid is one of the more coachable kids around. Swift-skating forwards with Donovan’s mix of puck skills, team-first attitude and size don’t come around often.
Buffalo Sabres Pos. Team League
**27. Spencer Knight G U.S. U18 NTDP
10-2-0 | 2.27 GAA | .924 Sv.% | 6’3, 197 | 4/19/01
Teams seem to favor taking goalies in the 3rd round or later, but Knight is one of the most advanced North American-trained backstops to come around in quite some time. Some feel that he’d be a top-five pick if the league reverted to the old trend of taking netminders that high, so the Sabres can consider this a steal late in the first round. The reduction in equipment size doesn’t seem to impact Knight, who covers his gaps quickly thanks to exceptional anticipation and forcing shooters out of their comfort zones.
Buffalo Sabres Pos. Team League
28. Nils Hoglander LW Rogle SHL
20gp-3g-3a-6pts | 5’9, 185 | 12/20/00
The Sabres already have the firepower, so it would behoove them to augment their finesse players with a hard-nosed competitor whose nonstop motor makes short work of bigger defenders in both open ice and in the corners. Hoglander’s effort is infectious, but he also can make quick reaction plays that lead to quality chances for either himself or his linemates. He’s quick, finishes his checks and creates turnovers during a relentless forecheck.
Columbus Blue Jackets Pos. Team League
29. Judd Caulfield RW U.S. U18 NTDP
22gp-6g-15a-21pts | 6’3, 204 | 3/19/01
One of the more underrated forwards available, the NTDP’s other “Caulfield” (no relation to Cole Caulfield) is a mean, physical winger blessed with soft hands, deft vision and the willingness to pay the price against any competition. He’s spent a significant amount of time on the top six, plus he’s an excellent penalty killer and a net-front presence on the power play. Caulfield also is smooth in transition and fools defenders with a variety of tricks, fakes and dangles.
Tampa Bay Lightning Pos. Team League
30. Michal Teply LW Liberec Extraliga
15gp-0g-2a-2pts | 6’3, 187 | 5/27/01
Teply is an all-around power winger who plays an aggressive style that leads to a lot of scoring chances when he’s on the ice. He is a two-way forward with strong hockey sense who uses his size and strength to protect the puck extremely well, and his blistering shot off the curl is something we’re used to seeing from Tampa’s stacked group of forward prospects. He’s one of the better penalty killers in the draft.
Nashville Predators Pos. Team League
31. Alex Vlasic LHD U.S. U18 NTDP
22gp-3g-8a-11pts | 6’6, 193 | 6/5/01
The Predators are far from thin on the blue line at any level, so there’s a strong chance they go the forward route with their first pick in 2019. Vlasic, however, has pro upside written all over him thanks to his size, physicality, soft hands and booming shot. He’s the perfect player to match up against opposing top lines because his static coverage radius goes beyond the low slot.

*Colorado owns Ottawa’s 2019 1st round pick via the Matt Duchene trade. It is unprotected.
**Buffalo owns San Jose’s 2019 1st round pick via a condition in the Evander Kane trade.