NHL First Round

It’s just one week from the big day. And with that in mind, six DraftPro contributors got together today, taking turns making selections for how we see the 2019 NHL Draft potentially going down. Participating were OHL scout Ryan McArthur, Swedish/Finnish scout Jon Ahlstedt, Midwest USA scout Terry Wheaton, Eastern USA Scout Mario Liberati, Video scout Ian Pulz and myself. Below are the results of this first round mock draft.
Don’t forget to also grab your copy of the Draft Prospects Hockey 2019 Guide. https://draftprospectshockey.wordpress.com/2019/06/03/2019-draftpro-guide/
1. New Jersey Devils [rep: Ryan McArthur] – C Jack Hughes, US NTDP U18. The Devils select the best player available in the draft; a franchise altering no. 1 centre with elite hockey IQ and game breaking ability. New Jersey doesn’t worry about a specific need at the top spot and choose the most talented player, regardless of position.
2. New York Rangers [rep: Jon Ahlstedt] – The New York Rangers had the easiest task of all at tonight’s draft selecting Kaapo Kakko. Kakko has showed he’s ready to compete against men after his performances in Liiga and the WC. Kakko is strong and have a high hockey IQ and is able to create chances by himself. He will challenge for the Calder Trophy 2020 and probably become a franchise player for the Rangers.
3. Chicago Blackhawks [rep: Terry Wheaton] – Bowen Byram– Chicago needs to replace aging D. Great skater and hockey IQ, able to move puck from the D zone to creat quick transition offense. jumps into the offense. NHL ready in the next year or two.
4. Colorado Avalanche (from Ottawa Senators) [rep: Ian Pulz] – With the 4th pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, the Colorado Avalanche are proud to select Alex Turcotte. Turcotte has remarkable hockey sense, high-end playmaking ability, and one of the best two-way games in the draft class. His explosive speed makes him even more of a threat. A one-two punch of MacKinnon and Turcotte down the middle in the next few years will have opposing teams needing respirators on the bench to keep up.
5. Los Angeles Kings [rep: Mario Liberati] – With the 5th pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, the LA Kings select Cole Caufield. Caufield has undoubtedly the best shot in the draft and is a highly skilled forward that will have an impact on LA’s rebuilding roster right away. His NHL comparable is Alex DeBrincat, as he is a small forward with great speed and incredible hockey sense. Cole will be a great addition to a Kings team that is looking to make their way back to contention in the western conference.
6. Detroit Red Wings [rep: Dan Stewart] – At pick #6 Yzerman and posy climb the stairs of the stage, step forward to the mic, jersey in hand and announce “Detroit is happy select from Lethbridge of the WHL, Dylan Cozens“. The Wings scoop up a prospect they feel will contribute his two-way play from the pivot position as a second liner as early as the 2020-21 season. Cozens skates with speed, thinks then game well, makes a strong pass, drives the net and can score some skilled goals while also bringing a physical element.
7. Buffalo Sabres [rep: Ryan] – With the 7th pick, the Buffalo Sabres can’t get the podium quick enough to select Kirby Dach. The Sabres biggest need is top-six forwards with size. Dach fits the bill perfectly and Buffalo has high hopes for his ability to fill those shoes. He possesses excellent playmaking skills and is effective at generating heaps of pressure on the forecheck. Dach has huge upside and should provide the scoring punch the Sabres desperately desire.
8. Edmonton Oilers [Jon] – At pick #8 the Edmonton Oilers are proud to select Trevor Zegras. The Oilers need more high end talent up front and the creative two-way forward provides just that. His passing and vision is phenomenal and he is also a real competitor. Zegras can also play wing which could help out the Oilers short or long term.
9. Anaheim Ducks [Terry] – With the #9 pick the Anaheim Ducks pick Peyton Krebs from the Kootenay Ice. Quick offensive winger, with elite play making ability and a great shot. Will replace much needed winger depth to the Ducks line up. Should fit in well with Ryan Getzalf.
10. Vancouver Canucks [Ian] – With the 10th pick in the NHL Entry Draft, the Vancouver Canucks select Vasili Podkolzin. Podkolzin brings a high-energy motor, an “in-your-face” interface, and a unique blend of raw scoring talent.
11. Philadelphia Flyers [Mario] – With the 11th pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, the Philadelphia Flyers select Matthew Boldy. Perhaps the top winger in the draft, the Flyers gain a strong outside player that will translate well to their gritty style of play. Boldy will be vital in the Flyers future as a scorer and with a hockey IQ that is off the charts.
12. Minnesota Wild [Dan] – With Pick # 12 Minnesota is proud to select from the US National Development Program D Cam York. The Wild have a very shallow prospect pool and need skill at every position but can’t pass up the opportunity to add a potential top pairing puck mover like York.
13. Florida Panthers [Ryan] – The Florida Panthers select goalie Spencer Knight with the 13th overall pick in the draft. 40 year old Roberto Luongo won’t be able to hold down the fort much longer and the Panthers nab the best goaltender available. Knight crushed the fitness testing at the NHL Combine and is one of the best athletes in the entire draft. He has prototypical NHL size all the tools required to excel at the next level.
14. Arizona Coyotes [Jon] – The Arizona Coyotes are proud to select Victor Söderström with their #14 pick. Söderström has nice puck-moving skills and is a two-way defenseman. Söderstrom’s experience in a pro league could be attractive to the front office who is trying to become a win now franchise.
15. Montreal Canadiens [Terry] – The Montreal Canadiens are pleased to pick from the Halifax Mooseheads Raphael Lavoie. high end scoring potential at the NHL level, he can play wing or Centre. Big body with speed and battles for position. Will provide much need offense to Canadians line out.
16. Colorado Avalanche [Ian] – With the 16th pick, the Colorado Avalanche are proud to select Philip Broberg. Broberg brings an incredibly high-end top skating speed and a stellar transition game. With minor tweaks to his decision-making and play anticipation, Broberg would have definite top-4 potential.
17. Vegas Golden Knights [Mario] – With the 17th pick, the Vegas Golden Knights select Ryan Suzuki. Possibly the best center in the OHL, Suzuki will add center depth and skill to the Golden Knights roster.
18. Dallas Stars [Dan] – At # 18 overall Dallas GM Jim Nill and crew knows the value of developing reliable defenseman at the NHL level and can not pass on the big, physical, highly efficient German defender Moritz Seider. They like his two-way game and poised under pressure.
19. Ottawa Senators (from Columbus Blue Jackets) [Ryan] – The Ottawa Senators are up at the 19 spot and they select defenceman Thomas Harley from the Mississauga Steelheads. The Sens need to add players of any type to their young core and they get tremendous value here with Harley. He is an incredible skater with great mobility that produces a staggering work rate. Harley plays a 200-foot game from the backend and is a well rounded talent.
20. New York Rangers (from Winnipeg Jets) [Jon] – With the #20 pick the New York Rangers are proud to present Ville Heinola. After picking Kaapo Kakko the Rangers need to secure their back end. He’s smooth, he can handle the puck. Heinola has top4 potential and could be NHL ready in a season or two which is just what the Rangers need with an aging D core.
21. Pittsburgh Penguins [Terry] – With the 21st pick the Pittsburgh Penguins pick Alex Newhook form the Victoria Grizzlies. You can near have enough skilled Center men on the depth chart. Alex brings excellence staking and a 200 ft game with good scoring ability.
22. Los Angeles Kings (from Toronto Maple Leafs) [Ian] – At #22 Los Angeles is proud to select Philip Tomasino. Tomasino is a versatile, aggressive forward with high-end puck skills. Tomasino’s skating is excellent, especially with his edgework.
23. New York Islanders [Mario] – New York Islanders proud to select Matthew Robertson (Edmonton, WHL). They love their defenseman big and rangy, that is what they get here with this big blue liner.
24. Nashville Predators [Dan] – With the #24 overall selection Nashville Predators select winger Arthur Kaliyev, Hamilton OHL. The Preds were hoping to add a high-end forward prospect and are lucky that the Bulldog goal scoring winger has fallen into their laps. Kaliyev brings high intelligence, solid NHL size and elite goal scoring potential to the Predator prospect pool.
25. Washington Capitals [Ryan] – The Washington Capitals approach the podium with the 25th pick and take offensively gifted winger Pavel Dorofeyev from Russia. The Caps need to add top-six scoring to their prospect depth and Dorofeyev has that in spades. The elusive forward provides the flare and firepower that the Capitals organization covets.
26. Calgary Flames [Jon] – Calgary Flames at 26 are proud to select Nils Höglander. Höglander is a skilled goalscoring winger with excellent skating. Calgary has had success with choosing smaller players before so they are not afraid of Höglander’s lack of size.
27. Tampa Bay Lightning [Terry] – Tampa bay Lighting with the 27 th pick is pleased to select Alex Vlasic from the NTDP U18. Big body defenseman, skates very well for his size, strong physical game, rangy defensively and with a heavy shot.
28. Carolina Hurricanes [Ian] – With the 28th pick, Carolina is proud to select Samuel Poulin. As long as Tom Dundon is with the Hurricanes, they won’t be drafting a defenseman in the first round, so Carolina goes with a power forward from the Q. Poulin plays a smart game, protects the puck well, and plays a good physical game. Poulin is a character guy and joins the likes of Svechnikov and Gauthier in big & strong scoring forwards in Carolina’s system.
29. Anaheim Ducks (from San Jose Sharks) [Mario] – At 29 Anaheim selects Nolan Foote. They continue to look at adding offensively skilled forwards. Corey Perry also was a big goal scorer in junior, played physical and had a big shot who had skating deficiencies.
30. Boston Bruins [Dan] – At #30 the Boston Bruins select from US NTDP, C John Beecher. After a heart-breaking Stanley Cup loss GM Don Sweeney gets right back at trying to improve his team by drafting the next wave and he just loves the size, skill and mobility package this underrated US National Team forward brings to the table.
31. Buffalo Sabres (from St. Louis Blues) [Ryan] – The Buffalo Sabres look to add more skill on the backend and choose Tobias Bjornfot 31st overall. The smooth skating rearguard has the potential to be an excellent power play quarterback at the next level. He can rush the pick-up ice effectively and the Sabres are happy to add such an excellent skater oozing with skill.