32. Ville Heinola
PROSPECT RANKING WRITE-UP 1. C Jack Hughes U18’s, USNTDP
[5’10”. 170lbs. Born on May 14, 2001.]
He’s the superstar of this year’s draft. No, it’s not Kakko despite what some may tell you. Hughes is still number one. His top end skating ability and smaller frame coupled with his high IQ and playmaking ability makes him reminiscent of Patrick Kane, though they play at a different pace. Kane deliberately slows down the game whereas Hughes is a constant motor on a high tempo. Although he lacks a lethal shot, Hughes is a superb set-up man. His shot can develop as he strengthens over the years, but in the meantime he’ll be more of an assist machine. He may not be as physically able as Kaapo Kakko currently, but his upside is greater. Hughes is stylistically similar to Mitch Marner.
2. RW/C Kaapo Kakko TPS, Liiga
[6’2”. 190lbs. Born on February 13, 2001.]
With a stellar rookie season in the top Finnish league, Kakko has drawn a lot of attention. He’s already got the big, NHL-ready frame and the tools to accompany it. One of Kakko’s best strengths is that he’s so hard to knock off the puck. He protects that thing at all costs and he can dangle his way out of any tight situation. Kakko’s style is very reminiscent of Brandon Saad, but with more finesse.
3. LD Bowen Byram Vancouver Giants, WHL
[6’0”. 194lbs. Born on June 13, 2001.]
The funny thing is that I was not a fan of Byram whatsoever to start the season. Now I’m beyond sold. That’s a testament to just how much Byram improved throughout this year. He became an almost entirely different player in the second half of the season. If he can go from a prospect that I considered to be overhyped to actually exceeding the hype and becoming the top defender in the draft, I can totally see Byram becoming a bonafide #1D in the NHL. He’s been absolutely dominant in his draft year and has displayed why he’s too good for the WHL. Fluid skating, perfect size, always composed, tight gap control, and a wicked shot to quarterback the power play. Byram has the potential to be a franchise, game-breaking defender. Don’t be surprised if he’s ready for the NHL in September.
4. C Alex Turcotte U18’s, USNTDP
[5’11”. 185lbs. Born on February 26, 2001.]
This two-way dynamo center was out for a good portion of the year, but that didn’t stop him from coming back and playing at peak performance. Turcotte controls all 200ft of the ice. Although he won’t be ready for the NHL right away like Hughes and Kakko, the potential is there to eventually match them. If he develops his defensive game into a Selke-caliber player like Jonathan Toews, Patrice Bergeron, or Steve Yzerman, it's possible he ends up being the most all-around valuable forward in this draft. Yes, even more so than Hughes or Kakko.
5. C Kirby Dach Saskatoon Blades, WHL
[6’4”. 198lbs. Born on January 21, 2001.]
I see Dach as being like Dylan Strome in terms of his playmaking ability, and those who know me will know that I love Dylan Strome. Really high end vision, and hockey IQ. Has the force to crash the net like a power forward, but also the instincts to feed his teammates with perfect passes. Dach is actually a good shooter too, but his passing is his wow-factor. Easily a top playmaker in the draft. Likely number two, behind Hughes, in that category. His size and right handedness are other big pluses. Needs to be more consistent, but overall he’s a prototypical center. Has overall similarities to Leon Draisaitl.
6. C Peyton Krebs Kootenay Ice, WHL
[5’11”. 181lbs. Born on January 26, 2001.]
Possesses very high hockey IQ and is capable of producing on one of the worst teams in his league. Krebs is no passenger and never takes his foot off the gas. He can drive an entire line all by himself with his top end speed and shrewd decision making. The cherry on top is that Krebs is also a locker room leader and wears the “C” for a good reason. Definitely someone you want on your roster.
7. LW Matthew Boldy U18’s, USNTDP
[6’2”. 192lbs. Born on April 5, 2001.]
Strong power winger with exquisite puck control. He gets very creative when it comes to manipulating the puck and can do it all in a bottom 6 role if needed. Boldy sometimes played away from Hughes, Turcotte, Zegras, and Caufield which makes his production so incredible. He doesn’t need to rely on elite level talent to create scoring chances for him. Boldy makes due with what he’s given and subsequently has the ability to elevate the play of his linemates. I don’t have a great comparison, perhaps Zach Parise, but personally I’d like to see him focus on his two way play so he can develop into a Mark Stone type. Boldy is a complete player.
8. RW Cole Caufield U18’s, USNTDP
[5’7”. 163lbs. Born on January 2, 2001.]
I’m not keeping the next Alex DeBrincat out of my top 10. Everyone slept on DeBrincat and now he’s a top 3 goal scorer from his draft class. Although Caufield can make some plays, it’s his goal scoring ability that makes him so special. This guy is a true sniper. He leads his team in goals by a very wide margin and this is a team that has Hughes, Turcotte, Boldy, and Zegras. You simply can’t ignore that kind of production. Nobody in this draft scores goals like Caufield.
9. LW Jakob Pelletier Moncton Wildcats, QMJHL
[5’9”. 161lbs. Born on March 7, 2001.]
It’s fair to say I’ve got Pelletier ranked higher than just about everyone. None of the major outlets have him in the top 15 and I can’t figure out why. Is it his size? That won’t be a problem for this Gallagher/Marchand hybrid. Pelletier is a brilliant playmaker and goal scorer with high hockey IQ who’s not afraid to go to the dirty areas of the ice. He scores lots of goals from in close. A lot of smaller guys like to circle around the perimeter, but not Pelletier. He likes to get in front of the net and grab rebounds, deflections, and one timers. That style will allow him to thrive at the next level since he won’t be kept to the outside by tougher opponents. He’s also developed more of a 2-way defensive edge and has been getting really good at stripping the puck from the opposition and making his opponents look silly. It’ll be a big mistake if too many teams pass on him like many mocks are suggesting.
10. C Alex Newhook Victoria Grizzlies, BCHL
[5’10”. 190lbs. Born on January 28, 2001.]
One of the speediest players in the draft. Newhook plays a fully charged north-south style. It’s unfortunate that he hasn’t played against tougher competition because it makes his talent a tad harder to judge. Is he dangerous because he’s playing against weak competition or is he actually that good? I think regardless of strength of competition, Newhook is a good player. It’s just a matter of if he’s a middle 6 forward or a top 6 forward. Personally I think he’s got what it takes to be a top 6 forward. With the tools he has, I think the upside is evident. He’ll need maybe 2 years in the NCAA before making the jump.
11. RW Bobby Brink Sioux City Musketeers, USHL
[5’8”. 165lbs. Born on July 8, 2001.]
Highly skilled, shifty winger that reminds me of Cam Atkinson. Brink’s point totals have been rock solid this year. His injury earlier in the season caused a massive dip in his team’s production, proving that he’s the backbone that they rely on. If you want to draft a surefire 20+ goal scorer, Bobby Brink looks to be exactly what you’re looking for.
12. C Trevor Zegras U18’s, USNTDP
[6’0”. 174lbs. Born on March 20, 2001.]
Zegras is a quick skating perimeter player with a muffin shot. He’s got a lot of puck skills and he’s an excellent playmaker, but he’s relatively easy to play against since you can keep him to the outside without much difficulty. The perimeter play and weak shot might cause problems for him at the next level. His skillset is similar to Mathew Barzal, but even Barzal is a good shooter. Of the highly regarded USNTDP forwards projected to go top 15, Zegras is the weakest. He’s got the talent to flourish, but his bust potential is higher than others. Boom or bust pick.
13. RD Moritz Seider Adler Mannheim, DEL
[6’4”. 207lbs. Born on April 6, 2001.]
Give a warm welcome to the best German prospect since Leon Draisaitl. Although Seider won’t be a top 3 pick like Draisaitl, he is still a very noteworthy prospect. Right off the bat Seider’s most eye catching trait is his size. He’s already playing in Germany’s top league and it’s because his big body has allowed him to be a threat against men. Right handed defenders are seen as a commodity so teams shouldn’t be sleeping on Seider. He’s a smart defender who plays a physical shutdown game. I think he could be in the NHL a lot sooner than the majority of this year’s 1st round selections even if it’s just in a bottom pairing role. I view Seider as a reliable Niklas Hjalmarsson-like player, but with more room for production and top-end speed.
14. LD Cam York U18’s, USNTDP
[5’11”. 172lbs. Born on January 5, 2001.]
Really dynamic offensive defender that will be a power play weapon. His style of play is like Cam Fowler. Definitely not a guy who is overly physical, but it’s not a bad thing because many defenders in the NHL have thrived even when lacking this quality. York has good vision and is a crisp playmaker. I think he’s a useful type of player for any blueline. Good offensive upside. Consistently makes the right decisions.
15. LW Arthur Kaliyev Hamilton Bulldogs, OHL
[6’2”. 190lbs. Born on June 26, 2001.]
This is a player that has garnered just as much praise as he has criticism. Kaliyev is a one-dimensional player. If the other team has the puck in his end, he just floats around at the blueline hoping for a turnover. He doesn't backcheck or pressure the opponent. Just waits for his team to do all the work. His idle play is why I have him so low. Seldomly takes advantage of his size too. If it weren’t for his monstrous goal total, Kaliyev wouldn’t be ranked anywhere near the 1st round. But the points can’t be ignored. For a one-dimensional player I have to admit he plays that one dimension exceptionally well, much like Patrik Laine. His scoring is a sight to behold, but of course the question remains if it’ll translate.
16. C/RW Philip Tomasino Niagara IceDogs, OHL
[6’0”. 181lbs. Born on July 28, 2001.]
Solid IQ, nifty hands, plenty of skill, and lots of speed to burn. Tomasino is an energetic forward that possesses one of the best shots in the draft. He got a bit buried by the amount of depth in Niagara, but should get the chance to really explode as their 1C next season.
17. LW Nicholas Robertson Peterborough Petes, OHL
[5’9”. 161lbs. Born on September 11, 2001.]
Possesses an absurd amount of skill and is so young that he’s almost eligible for next year’s draft. The upside and potential is high for Robertson. The Johnny Gaudreau comp is overused for undersized wingers, but it truly does apply in this case. He’s got the hands, speed, shiftiness, agility, and the IQ to match the tools. Robertson could be a dangerously good steal outside the first round.
18. C Ryan Suzuki Barrie Colts, OHL
[6’0”. 181lbs. Born on May 28, 2001.]
Very intelligent and cerebral player who is often 2 steps ahead of the play. Suzuki has incredible vision which allows him to see every possible playmaking avenue. His passing is what makes him dangerous. Suzuki doesn’t play a physical game and tends to avoid contact. Aside from that he basically has what you would want in a top 15 pick. The reason I don’t have him that high is his work ethic is questionable. This makes Suzuki a frustrating prospect to watch because he has the ability to be a 100 point scorer in the OHL. It often seems like he doesn’t care and gets lazy. He’s rarely willing to take risks either. This could totally evaporate by the time he makes it to the NHL and prove to be a non-issue. If that’s the case I’d expect him to exceed this placement on my list. However in the meantime it’s worth keeping an eye on because there’s a chance it becomes a bigger problem later down the line. His own effort will dictate his success.
19. RD Victor Soderstrom Brynas IF, SHL
[5’11”. 179lbs. Born on February 26, 2001.]
Playing big minutes in the SHL is making Soderstrom a very experienced player at his age. There’s not much risk involved here since Soderstrom is responsible in his own end and he’s only going to get better. I’d say he’s a safe pick for being a top 4 two-way defender in the NHL. He doesn’t do anything that special or flashy, but he’s solid across the board. Soderstrom is simply a safe pick. Likely goes higher than where I have him ranked, which is fine, but if I’m drafting a defender high I’d like to see more offensive upside. Defensive minded defenders can typically be found later. That being said, you can probably bank on this guy making it.
20. LW Nils Hoglander Rogle BK, SHL
[5’9”. 185lbs. Born on December 20, 2000.]
An aggressive and intense winger that plays a high pressure game. He’s played the entire season in the SHL meaning he’s completely graduated from junior level already. Hoglander plays a far bigger game than his 5’9” frame may suggest. He’s strong on the puck and will out-muscle anyone that tries to knock him off. He’s like a pocket-sized tank.
21. LD Matthew Robertson Edmonton Oil Kings, WHL
[6’4”. 201lbs. Born on March 9, 2001.]
Big guy, yet incredibly mobile. I’m unsure of his offensive upside at the next level, but to me it doesn’t matter because Robertson is all instincts and IQ. He makes intelligent defensive plays that you rarely see from players his age. Robertson is poised and already plays like a pro. He has a good chance to thrive in the NHL as a shutdown defender. Marc-Edouard Vlasic is the comp for him.
22. LW Pavel Dorofeyev Stalnye Lisy Magnitogorsk, MHL
[6’0”. 163lbs. Born on October 26, 2000.]
Winger with a shoot first mentality and the ability to control the puck with ease. If you ask me, Dorofeyev is the top Russian player in the draft. He can score in a multitude of different ways whether it’s
forehand, backhand, or slapshots. Pavel is also a great playmaker too so that shouldn’t get overlooked. He’s got some similarities to Vladimir Tarasenko although he’s significantly underweight in comparison so Dorofeyev has some catching up to do. I really like that he forechecks hard and always wants the puck. You might need to wait a bit before he hits the NHL, but I think the wait will be worth it.
23. LW Samuel Poulin Sherbrooke Phoenix, QMJHL
[6’2”. 207lbs. Born on February 25, 2001.]
Smart playmaker who gets creative every now and then. Does a good job anticipating the play and being where he needs to be. He leads his team in points by a fair margin as a first year draft eligible prospect. Needs to really embrace and take advantage of his power forward frame to reach the next level.
24. LD Tobias Bjornfot Djurgarden IF, SuperElit
[6’0”. 203lbs. Born on April 6, 2001.]
25. RW Samuel Fagemo (OA) Frolunda HC, SHL
[5’11”. 194lbs. Born on March 14, 2000.]
This year’s top overager. Somehow didn’t get drafted last year, but now Fagemo is back with a vengeance. This year Fagemo had a stronger season than Filip Hallander, Albin Eriksson, David Gustafsson, Jonatan Berggren. All of whom were second rounders in the 2018 draft. Oh, and he bested last year’s first rounder, Dominik Bokk. His rise is similar to Viktor Arvidsson who also got passed up. Fagemo could break out as a 40 point scorer in the SHL next year. With that kind of potential, he’s probably a better bet than some of the other players projected to go late in the first this year.
26. RW Vasili Podkolzin SKA St. Petersburg, MHL
[6’1”. 196lbs. Born on June 24, 2001.]
Skilled player that is highly praised by many scouts. So why this low? Podkolzin is monstrously selfish. He tries to do everything himself and while it looks cool in highlight videos, that's not going to fly in the NHL. Point production isn't everything, but his low scoring proves he can't be an effective one man show. A lot of his goals come from him just charging the net and taking advantage of bad defending. There’s going to be less of an opportunity to do that at the next level. In fact it isn’t even working at his current level. Podkolzin failed to produce again at the U18 tournament and was significantly outplayed by his cohort. He has signed a deal to stay in Russia for at least a couple more years so there’s a delay until he hits the NHL. Podkolzin has all the tools to be a top 10 player in this draft however it seems that his problems will hold him back from putting it all together. I’d expect a big adjustment period will be necessary for him. Personally I wouldn’t want to take that gamble, but other scouts will salivate over his risk/reward potential. Good in all facets of the game, but not great in any.
27. C/RW Dylan Cozens Lethbridge Hurricanes, WHL
[6’3”. 183lbs. Born on February 9, 2001.]
I’m not crazy about Cozens the way everyone else seems to be, and I wouldn’t hesitate to call him the most overrated player in the draft. His biggest issue is puck control or lack thereof. I don’t understand how a highly regarded prospect can be so sloppy at handling the puck. He constantly turns it over, making him a defensive liability. I find he’s also reliant on teammates to create opportunities for him. That’s not necessarily a problem if he ends up with good linemates in the NHL, but if I’m drafting high I want a guy who makes his linemates better as opposed to a guy who needs good linemates to make him better. I’m also not sure if he thinks the game quick enough to really thrive at the next level. There are times when his IQ looks questionable. Cozens’ saving grace is his shot which is very accurate and powerful. Although his poor decision making sometimes leads to him not using it when he should. Often he forces a pass when he has a clear shooting lane. The fact that he’s physically gifted may seem tantalizing, but there are many deficiencies in other areas that teams drafting should be wary of.
28. G Spencer Knight U18's, USNTDP
[6’3”. 198lbs. Born on April 19, 2001.]
Probably the most hyped up goalie prospect since Carey Price. That’s saying a lot. If he really is that good, Knight is top 15 worthy. Franchise goalies don’t come around too often. However he’s not in my top 15 because at the end of the day goalies are tricky to predict. I do believe that he’s got a really good chance at making it, but picking a goalie that early in the draft is so risky when you have safer options. Any team with multiple firsts this year might want to consider using one on Knight.
29. C/RW Raphael Lavoie Halifax Mooseheads, QMJHL
[6’4”. 198lbs. Born on September 25, 2000.]
Large power forward that definitely takes advantage of his size. Lavoie has physically matured quite quickly and already has an NHL sized frame. He’s not always as engaged as I’d like him to be, but teams fear him when he turns on. Needs to work on consistency.
30. C/RW Jamieson Rees Sarnia Sting, OHL
[5’10”. 172lbs. Born on February 26, 2001.]
This buzzsaw forward is a non-stop raging bull. He plays a gritty and intimidating game despite his lack of size much like Andrew Shaw. Rees is the kind of player that everyone wants on their roster. He never gives up and always plays every shift like it’s his last. Plays like a pro.
31. C Nikita Alexandrov Charlottetown Islanders, QMJHL
[6’0”. 179lbs. Born on September 16, 2000.]
To me Alexandrov is one of the most underrated players in the draft. He just does everything well across the board like a jack of all trades type. He scores his goals and gets his shots off from in close which is generally what you want to see. He may not have first line upside, but I just don’t see many flaws in the way he plays the game. Alexandrov should have a fairly seamless transition to the NHL.
33. Connor McMichael
34. Philip Broberg
35. Ethan Keppen
36. Yegor Spiridonov
37. Albin Grewe
38. Lassi Thomson
39. Yegor Afanasyev
40. John Beecher
41. Dmitri Sheshin
42. Ryan Johnson
43. Anttoni Honka
44. Patrik Puistola
45. Shane Pinto
46. Vladislav Kolyachonok
47. Artemi Knyazev
48. Yegor Serdyuk
49. Adam Beckman
50. Daniil Misyul
51. Mikko Kokkonen
52. Dillon Hamaliuk
53. Robert Mastrosimone
54. Brayden Tracey
55. Vladislav Firstov
56. Jordan Spence
57. Nolan Foote
58. Pyotr Kochetkov (OA)
59. Brett Leason (OA)
60. Thomas Harley
61. Reece Newkirk
62. Vojtech Strondala
Marshall Warren, Henry Rybinski, Nikola Pasic, Valentin Nussbaumer, Simon Holmstrom, Dominick Fensore, Marcus Kallionkelli, Martin Lang, Yevgeni Oksentyuk, Kaedan Korczak,
Henri Nikkanen, Keighan Gerrie, Rhett Pitlick, Grant Silianoff, John Farinacci, Colten Ellis, Tuukka Tieksola, Ben Brinkman, Ilya Nikolayev, Lukas Parik, Cody Morgan, Alex Beaucage,
Zac Jones, Henry Thrun, Ryan Siedem, Simon Lundmark, Xavier Simoneau
Nick Abruzzese (OA), Tyce Thompson (OA), Justin Bergeron (OA), Kristian Tanus (OA)