Hello Ladies and Gentlemen, it is that time of the year where the draft is getting closer which means you can partake on the festival of many draft and mock lists. Here is my annual triple threat consisting of MY 2019 draft list, what players I currently rank for the 2020 draft, and finally my mock draft which consists of the first two rounds. As most of you already know my type of scouting, I will still explain it to the ones who don't. I value hockey intelligence as one of my central factors when viewing a player I like compared to ones I don't. That doesn't mean the smartest players will become the best NHL pros or I hate the tallest/heaviest who lack some intelligence to their game - there are ALWAYS exceptions.
This draft was a pain to rank, there are just so many players bunched up and a lot of wildcards which creates an aura of uncertainty. For example picture Moritz Seider, he's a player you can say is safe to be a lock for the first round. However, I don't think anybody here would be shocked if he went anywhere between 8th and 31st. He isn't the only one though, there are at least ten players where I can see them go as mid-teens or drop all the way to the second there. Just a big bunch of players that I personally see after the top 9 to 11 and all the way to the mid-forties. A reason why is because some players have played their way into the 1st round such as Hoglander, Johnson, and Tomasino to name a few. While the players they're jumping aren't necessarily playing bad, so it clusters players at levels. Another reason is that if there is one word I would describe this draft as, it is raw. There are many players who will go in the first round of this draft that are quite raw and still have fluctuations in potential. Well, that's enough words from me lets get to the fun stuff (once again I will happily answer any questions or explain any draft ranking).
NHL 2019 Final List
(##) = Spring List
1. Jack Hughes, C (USA) USNTDP, USHL (1)
2. Kaapo Kakko, RW (FIN) TPS, Liiga (2)
3. Trevor Zegras, C/W (USA) USNTDP, USHL (8)
4. Alex Turcotte, C (USA) USNTDP, USHL (3)
5. Bowen Byram, D (CAN) Vancouver Giants, WHL (6)
6. Matthew Boldy, LW (USA) USNTDP, USHL (13)
7. Peyton Krebs, LW/C (CAN) Kootenay Ice, WHL (7)
8. Dylan Cozens, C (CAN) Lethbridge Hurricanes, WHL (4)
9. Cole Caufield, C/RW (USA) USNTDP, USHL (11)
10. Kirby Dach, C (CAN) Saskatoon Blades, WHL (9)
11. Philip Broberg, D (SWE) AIK, Allsvenskan (12)
12. Vasili Podkolzin, RW (RUS) SKA St. Petersburgh, VHL (5)
13. Cam York, D (USA) USNTDP, USHL (10)
14. Moritz Seider, D (GER) Adler Mannheim, DEL (17)
15. Alex Newhook, C (CAN) Victoria Grizzlies, BCHL (27)
16. Jamieson Rees, C (CAN) Sarnia Sting, OHL (42)
17. Lassi Thomson, D (FIN) Kelowna Rockets, WHL (20)
18. Tobias Bjornfot, D (SWE) Djurgardens IF, SuperElit (55)
19. Nicholas Robertson, C/LW (USA) Peterborough Petes, OHL (16)
20. Thomas Harley, D (CAN) Mississauga Steelheads, OHL (26)
21. Nils Hoglander, LW (SWE) Rogle BK, SHL (47)
22. Spencer Knight, G (USA) USNTDP, USHL (14)
23. Victor Soderstrom, D (SWE) Brynas IF, SHL (18)
24. Arthur Kaliyev, LW (USA) Hamilton Bulldogs, OHL (24)
25. Simon Holmstrom, RW (SWE) HV71, SuperElit (NR)
26. Raphael Lavoie, C (CAN) Halifax Mooseheads, LHJMQ (19)
27. Egor Afanasyev, RW (RUS) Muskegon Lumberjacks, USHL (30)
28. Jakob Pelletier, LW (CAN) Moncton Wildcats, LHJMQ (15)
29. Pavel Dorofeyev, W (RUS) Metallurg Magnitogorsk, KHL (22)
30. Drew Helleson, D (USA) USNTDP, USHL (NR)
31. Karl Henriksson, C (SWE) Frolunda HC, SuperElit (NR)
32. Vladislav Kolyachonok, D (BLR) Flint Firebirds, OHL (HM)
33. Brayden Tracey, LW (CAN) Moose Jaw Warriors, WHL (33)
34. Nikita Alexandrov, C (RUS) Charlottetown Islanders, LHJMQ (28)
35. Ilya Nikolayev, C (RUS) Loko Yaroslavl, MHL (57)
36. Bobby Brink, RW (USA) Sioux City Musketeers, USHL (51)
37. Ville Heinola, D (FIN) Lukko, Liiga (23)
38. Antti Saarela, LW (FIN) Lukko, Liiga (NR)
39. John Beecher, C (USA) USNTDP, USHL (45)
40. Patrik Puistola, LW (FIN) Tappara U20, SM-Liiga (NR)
41. Philip Tomasino, C (CAN) Niagara IceDogs, OHL (HM)
42. Matthew Robertson, D (CAN) Edmonton Oil Kings, WHL (48)
43. Connor McMichael, C (CAN) London Knights, OHL (21)
44. Michal Teply, LW (CZE) Bili Tygri Liberec, Czech (59)
45. Samuel Poulin, LW (CAN) Sherbrooke Phoenix, LHJMQ (40)
46. Yegor Spiridonov, C/LW (RUS) Stalnye Lisy Magnitogorsk, MHL (NR)
47. Case McCarthy, D (USA) USNTDP, USHL (35)
48. Ryan Suzuki, C (CAN) Barrie Colts, OHL (36)
49. Maxim Cajkovic, RW (SVK) Saint John Sea Dogs, LHJMQ (58)
50. Semyon Chistyakov, D (RUS) Tolpar Ufa, MHL (NR)
51. Marshall Warren, D (USA) USNTDP, USHL (52)
52. Billy Constantinou, D (CAN) Kingston Frontenacs, OHL (32)
53. Mikko Kokkonen, D (FIN) Jukurit, Liiga (25)
54. Ethan Phillips, C (CAN) Sioux Falls Stampede, USHL (NR)
55. Kim Nousiainen, D (FIN) KalPa U20, SM-Liiga (53)
56. Alexander Campbell, C (CAN) Victoria Grizzlies, BCHL (31)
57. Ryan Johnson, D (USA) Sioux Falls Stampede, USHL (NR)
58. Matias Maccelli, LW (FIN) Dubuque Fighting Saints, USHL (37)
59. Michael Vukojevic, D (CAN) Kitchener Rangers, OHL (60)
60. Brett Leason, RW (CAN) Prince Albert Raiders, WHL (44)
61. Graeme Clarke, RW (CAN) Ottawa 67’s, OHL (NR)
62. Albin Grewe, C/RW (SWE) Djurgardens IF, SuperElit (29)
63. Leevi Aaltonen, RW (FIN) KalPa U20, SM-Liiga
64. Dustin Wolf, G (USA) Everett Silvertips, WHL
65. Michael Gildon, LW (USA) USNTDP, USHL
66. Nolan Foote, LW (CAN) Kelowna Rockets, WHL
67. Dmitri Sheshin, C (RUS) Stalnye Lisy Magnitogorsk, MHL
68. John Farinacci, C (USA) Dexter School, USHS
69. Nathan Legare, RW (CAN) Baie Comeau Drakkar, LHJMQ
70. Vladislav Firstov, LW (RUS) Waterloo Blackhawks, USHL
71. Samuel Bolduc, D (CAN) Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, LHJMQ
72. Alexei Protas, C (BLR) Prince Albert Raiders, WHL
01. New Jersey Devils – Jack Hughes, C [USNTDP, USHL]
The Taylor Hall legend still lives on and Devils are back to picking first overall. With Jack Hughes, they are getting a mini version of Connor McDavid who can take over a game with elite levels of IQ, skating, and creation with the puck. Not sure if becomes a number centre right off the battle, but after a year he should be able to create some fantastic depth for the Devils putting Hischier as a 2nd line and Zacha as a 3rd line centre respectively. Eventually they should become a prime playoff team after they fix the backend.
02. New York Rangers – Kaapo Kakko, RW [TPS, Liiga]
What can you say? The rich get richer and Rangers get the ultimate consolation prize after Hughes. Only downside is that Kakko hasn’t played centre his whole career and Rangers are looking quite thin after Zibanejad. I would hope that Rangers try him at the position before switching him to wing full time. Whatever the case is, Kakko will be a franchise player and their retool will be a lot faster with him.
03. Chicago Blackhawks – Bowen Byram, D [Vancouver Giants, WHL]
Yes, Blackhawks are deep at defence, but that did not stop the Nashville Predators and they’ve become contender due to picking defenders, developing them, and trading for help. Byram has played himself into a lock for third overall on consensus lists. He would easily be the best defenceman for Chicago and could open the spot for them to trade to get a bluechip forward back from another defender. Byram is an opportunist defender who takes advantage of opponents’ mistakes while also providing superb defencive game as well. They will not lose a beat while making the transition from Keith and Seabrook to Byram.
04. Colorado Avalanche [via OTT] – Alexander Turcotte, C [USNTDP, USHL]
I don’t think Turcotte will be the best player in this draft and you can make the case that there could be higher potential players being drafted right after him. All those might be true, but you also can’t deny that you win with players like him. His style and competitive edge with his talent level are a unique combination because he gets better when the game gets bigger. Avs need to fix their second line woes and Turcotte does just that.
05. Los Angeles Kings – Kirby Dach, C [Saskatoon Blades, WHL]
Kings need to get younger and more talented in all positional areas. Skating is also a plus, but Dach might be too good to pass up on even with being an average to below-average skater. Sure there are definitely issues with Dach, but he is worth the risk and I’ll make the case that he would be a good selection at fifth overall. The case is that Dach does have engagement problems, when he’s made an enemy by the public (like he was in Prince Albert) he turns up his game easily looks like the third best player in this draft bar none. That immersion isn’t activated all the time, but they can spend some time on him when he tries to figure things out before Kopitar needs his minutes reduced.
06. Detroit Red Wings – Trevor Zegras, C [USNTDP, USHL]
Yzerman doesn’t mind making bold picks and Zegras for me has one of the highest ceilings in this draft. He is eerily similar to Kuznetsov in how he thinks the game with the puck and just raw creativeness in generating offence. The boldness comes in regards to how teams view him in the long run, is he a centre or is he a winger? That’s what scouts have to ask of him because his body size is more winger, but he thinks the game higher enough for a centre. Whatever the case turns out to be, he will be a gem for the Red Wings to get back to their glory years as quick as possible.
07. Buffalo Sabres – Matthew Boldy, LW [USNTDP, USHL]
This where the draft opens up a bit more where I could see the Sabres go in more directions here than the Blackhawks at third overall. Ultimately, they grab Boldy to help continue adding depth to their already solid core of players. Boldy isn’t the perfect player, I suggest that he has some issues in regards to overpassing the puck which is quite similar to Alex Tanguay for me. However, with that said there is so much good in his game such as his toughness with the puck, vision, decision-making, and play creation that it should decrease his weaknesses.
08. Edmonton Oilers – Dylan Cozens, C [Lethbridge Hurricanes, WHL]
The Oilers are similar to the Kings where they need talent everywhere and what is better than grabbing a player from your backyard seems too good for the Oilers. Not only is Cozens a top three skater in this draft for me, but he also has the frame you want for a potential top six centre in the future. Sure, he has some limitations in talent like his creativeness with the puck and playmaking vision. Nonetheless, there is still a lot to like here such as his goal scoring prowess. Another aspect is that they don’t need him to be “man” as they have McDavid. They just need him to provide secondary scoring and take some pressure off from Connor – something Dylan can absolutely do.
09. Anaheim Ducks – Cole Caufield, RW [USNTDP, USHL]
Like their rivals up at 5, Ducks are also making that transition phase from their old core and giving more minutes to fresh blood. The good situation for Anaheim is unlike the Kings they kept their draft picks and have quite a deep pool/cupboard. Caufield is definitely a risk, but Ducks do not shy away from taking riskier players and fortunately are able to take their time with him. Once he blossoms though, I can imagine him creating a potent duo with Steel and that should scare other Pacific rivals.
10. Vancouver Canucks – Philip Broberg, D [AIK, Allsvenskan]
Besides their obsessive infatuation with hometown icon in Milan Lucic, Canucks are actually building something quite intriguing on the west coast. They’ve had a couple of very solid drafts the past two years and continue on with that momentum as they grab Broberg. You can never have too many defenders or draft them for that matter. Like many prospects I’ve already touched on for this draft, Broberg isn’t perfect. He has some questions to answer in the long run, but similar to Dach and Boldy, there is just too much talent here to turn him away. I suggest that some of these problems, notably his hockey IQ as fans mention in all the social media hemispheres are overblown. Fans had the same issues regarding K’Andre Miller and Bode Wilde last year and both of them are preparing crow dinners. Broberg reminds me a lot of those defenders, where you can say he was over scouted. I see a lot of John Carlson similarities and nobody would turn him away from their club.
11. Philadelphia Flyers – Vasili Podkolzin, RW [SKA St. Petersburg, VHL]
It’s been a weird year for Podkolzin, he got overvalued in one tournament and was crucified in another one meaning he’s somewhere between great and bad at good. He probably doesn’t have franchise or elite talent, but to say he’s a red flag type of player is also pushing it. He still has a competitive nature and his ability to make plays out of nothing is still in the blue-chip category for me. Not only that, but he has good sniper characteristics as well. He’s a work in progress, but I suggest he’s worth the grab here for the Flyers as another top 6 potential forward in their system.
12. Minnesota Wild – Alex Newhook, C [Victoria Grizzlies, BCHL]
Looks like Fenton is starting to put his own stamp on the club and is going on the retool route shipping out a number of long-term Wild players regardless of age. BPA is the philosophy every team should use when it comes to the draft, but sometimes positional needs trump talent when players are closely grouped together. I personally cannot remember a draft that has this many different players that could go in the mid-teens for a draft and make an accurate case for it. Newhook at twelfth isn’t really a reach because the lad has serious talent, but Fenton has to think about eventually replacing Koivu and Alex does that. He might need longer development time to reach his talent, but at the current moment Wild’s plan the last five years simply hasn’t been working so why not try something new?
13. Florida Panthers – Peyton Krebs, LW/C [Kootenay/Winnipeg Ice, WHL]
Terrible unfortunate news for Krebs hearing the news that he partial tore his calcaneal tendon and through a cut-proof sock above all that. Even how bad the injury is for hockey, better at this age where the body’s functions are starting to enter their prime and better for the Panthers getting a gem here. Krebs reminds me of Sebastian Aho in regards to playing style, but I see a lot of Ryan O’Reilly in his game as well. His attention to detail is immaculate, his defencive game is superb, and similar to Turcotte he knows what it takes to win games (especially in big moments). Not only this, but he absolutely has future captain material and he’s as consistent as they come by. I understand that Panthers need defenders, but this lad is too good to pass up on even if he doesn’t have a high dynamic range of talent.
14. Arizona Coyotes – Arthur Kaliyev, LW [Hamilton Bulldogs, OHL]
This will be a unique situation because similar to the Wild above, this might be both best player available and need in one situation. Kaliyev is the biggest wildcard for me in this draft, I can see him going higher and I can see him fall to the second round; neither situation would surprise me. However, he’s made me more of a believer of him as the season went along. Bulldogs saw they had to rebuild after going all-in for the Memorial Cup and he kept posting the same numbers after their rebuild trade deadline. He has some red flags such as his play away from the puck, his skating, and compete level, but Coyotes need offence and he absolutely has it. He is the third best goalscorer in this draft after Kakko and Caufield and the captain obvious in me says that goals win games. Similar to Podkolzin to Flyers, I make the argument that Kaliyev is worth the gamble for the Coyotes.
15. Montreal Canadiens – Cam York, D [USNTDP, USHL]
Habs retool has gone from meh to actually solid in a year with Bergeron’s reputation increasing in that meantime as well. They still have some holes in their lineup such as the need for another top 6 calibre centre, but increasing the defencive depth is also a must and you can’t do any better with York. I am personally a big fan of Cam and helps fill out all the modern day quotas for what a defenceman should be able to do. He is a superior passer, reads the game at a good enough level to be a top line PPQB, and has the skating ability. He needs a couple of extra years to fill out his frame, but should be able to join the Canadiens when they’re back as a playoff contender – reminds me of Quinn Hughes and you can do no wrong with that.
16. Colorado Avalanche – Moritz Seider, D [Adler Mannheim, DEL]
Not sure what Avs decide to do here, so this selection is more of a personal hope in regards to what I want to happen than thinking who they will select. Now with that mentioned, Seider is definitely the second biggest wildcard after Kaliyev. I could see him go anywhere between eighth to twenty-fifth, but I get the sense that his World Championship rose his stock. I will admit he is very raw at the moment, but has shown flashes of play very similar to Colton Parayko. In the U20 D1A tournament, he looked like Chris Pronger against his age group and even though I doubt he becomes that good, there is something you like when you watch him play. He needs to increase his tools like his skating, his frame (considering his shoulder injuries), and become more of man, but his toolbox is already there. His anticipation, stickhandling, and where to go on the ice are already top notch.
17. Vegas Golden Knights – Victor Soderstrom, D [Brynäs IF, SHL]
This is a unique situation that an expansion team finds themselves in, with some shrewd trades their offencive core is quite loaded and that isn’t with Cody Glass yet. Some of those shrewd trades have cost their prospect depth, but they’ll be able to gain that back up with five picks in the top 100. They can also trade up using some of those picks if there is a player they really like, but why waste assets when you can draft someone like Soderstrom? I admit I am not the biggest fan of him, I don’t see an impressive amount of offencive skill and he doesn’t have any other tool which hypes him up. However, he does most things well such as generating offence, rushing the puck up the ice, or even providing a good level of defence. He won’t be able to replace the impact that a prospect like Brannstrom has in an organization cupboard, but he’ll be able to take some pressure off with his addition.
18. Dallas Stars – Raphael Lavoie, C/RW [Halifax Mooseheads, LHJMQ]
The playoff loss against the Blues is probably a blessing in disguise for the Stars. It showed that when their first line isn’t producing, their chances of winning a game rely solely on often injured Bishop. To take some pressure off the 1st line and most importantly Ben, they have to increase their secondary scoring aptitude and you can’t get any better with Lavoie. He isn’t a powerforward and he isn’t the most talented lad in this draft, but he also carries some unique traits for his size. First, he moves quite well for a big man; next, he has some great hands that you normally don’t see for a player his size; lastly, he sees the ice well and I think he has some untapped potential on the defencive size. Factoring in all those characteristics, I think he has the makings of being 2nd/3rd line version of Blake Wheeler. Picturing him on a line with Roope Hintz will make the Stars that much deadlier in the near future.
19. Ottawa Senators [via CBJ] – Phillip Tomasino, C [Niagara IceDogs, OHL]
For all the problems surrounding the Sens internally and externally to the media, if there is one part of the organization that runs like a well-oiled steam engine…it is there amateur scouting department. They even have limited resources and number of scouts compared to the rest of the league yet they keep finding gems. Additionally, this is all without picking a Russian player in almost a decade within the entry draft. Tomasino might be the next addition of a long history of perspicacious selections. I must say though that I don’t get the love for Tomasino, it’s not that I don’t trust his potential or talent, but I see him playing one way regardless of how much talent he has. That way is a grinder type of player who tries to outwork everyone else, if Senators draft him then I know I am wrong and he is a legit top six calibre player, but he seems too much of a “new toy” syndrome type of player rising too fast in such a short time.
20. New York Rangers [via WPG] – Bobby Brink, C [Sioux City Musketeers, USHL]
Brink is a polarizing prospect, I’ve found that people either really like him or dislike him. His smaller stature isn’t a big deal where the modern NHL is going, but his skating ability for his size needs a lot of work. Nonetheless, there is some serious talent here as he displays a lot hockey IQ in his game. Not only that, but he also possesses very good shot and wants to be a difference maker with the puck. He’s a work in progress currently, but if he’s able to make his skating passable I could see him become similar to Brad Marchand.
21. Pittsburgh Penguins – Nils Hoglander, LW [Rogle BK, SHL]
Penguins have a unique way they scout, they don’t mind going after below-average frame if they have the talent and Hoglander definitely has a lot. Nils screams to me a Penguins selection and plays similar to another guy they drafted named Jake Guentzel. Hoglander is a very crafty player possessing some of the best hands in this draft and skating ability to match it. True that he is a bit too flashy considering his production, but he’s like a lot of players in the second half of the first round I argue that he’s worth the chance. There is a lot to like here and considering Penguins depth they just need him to be secondary scorer instead of being the man.
22. Los Angeles Kings [via TOR] – Spencer Knight, G [USNTDP, USHL]
Their main rival in the Ducks were able to get a franchise goaler by selecting John Gibson, Kings counter by selecting John Gibson 2.0 here with Knight. Spencer is unique case where I don’t think he had an amazing year when I watched him play. He seemed bored and I honestly think a reason why is because this level of juniors was too easy for him. Sure, he looked fantastic when the USNT played against division one universities, but he looked a bit too cocky when playing against lesser competition in the USHL and world junior championships. I don’t think it is a cause for concern because he has improved other parts of his game such as his stickhandling (which I would consider unbelievable now). However, his shotblocking skills are still a work in progress and I thought he let in some goals that someone of his talent should be stopping. If you factor everything in though, he is still one of the best goaler prospects the last couple of years and is NHL calibre with the chance of being much more.
23. New York Islanders – Connor McMichael, C/LW [London Knights, OHL]
The Islanders showed that losing Tavares wasn’t that big of a deal when you have the structure to play good hockey. However, you also saw the series against the Hurricanes that they still need help, especially offencively. Now I thought the series was a bit unlucky as I saw a lot of Murphy’s Law tendencies where the offence dried up, defence kept running around, and nothing went right for Lehner. I suggest that they’re a better team than the one who got reserved swept after sweeping their opponent. However, they might be facing another potentially brutal situation with Anders Lee soon-to-be UFA status (and cannot forget about Jordan Eberle). Whatever happens with both of these blokes, their priority still needs to be in increasing their offencive talent. Selecting McMichael helps either way as they are adding to their current group and it can help with the transition if some of the players decide to move on. He’s a smooth skating forward who has a knack for either scoring or playmaking. Connor doesn’t have the most dynamic talent, but has a lot of the same traits which potentially makes losing someone like Eberle much more bearable.
24. Nashville Predators – Ryan Suzuki, C [Barrie Colts, OHL]
Predators need some jump, they’ve been stagnated lately with average play by key players at the worst times. There are some rumblings that players like Subban and Turris are on the trade block for less than stellar seasons. What’s hurt besides full moon and new moon version of Pekka Rinne is the lack of offencive talent, specifically down the middle. I could see Predators pick up a defenceman him like Harley, Johnson, or Heinola to recoup from a potential Subban trade. With that said, Suzuki can add to a prime Predators squad in the future. He has some of the highest offencive potential outside from a top 15 prospect with his skating ability, vision, playmaking, and creativity when he has the puck.
25. Washington Capitals – Egor Afanasyev, RW [Muskegon Lumberjacks, USHL]
Afanasyev started off the year alright, but you saw that when the months went by something clicked and he started rising in many draft lists. To the point that now majority of consensus sees him as a lock for the first round. Washington is about to enter the last phase of their prime years and to help them stay competitive for any retools in the future, drafting players like Egor will make the transition as smooth as possible. He is a very dangerous player with the puck as he can beat you with skill, power, or finesse with either his shot or his playmaking ability. There is still a bit of rawness in his game, but you can see the type of player he wants to become with his large frame and solid skating ability. Will be interesting where he will head next season; Europe, Ottawa 67’s, or NCAA?
26. Calgary Flames – Thomas Harley, D [Mississauga Steelheads, OHL]
Harley might drop this far, there could be a team more in the middle of the teens who see him as a superior player then the run of forwards. Personally, I don’t see the dynamic talent to be selected that high, but there is still a lot to like about his game. First thing that comes to my mind is smoothness, he is an effortless skater and that factors in all facets of his game. With his strength, he is a very calm player and is able to slow the game down to make the correct play under loads of pressure. Flames have some good youth defenders and adding another one of Harley’s quality can help Flames potentially trade one or two of their NHL defenders for needed help.
27. Tampa Bay Lightning – Brayden Tracey, LW [Moose Jaw Warriors, WHL]
Lightning have some soul searching to do this season, as well as some potential cap problems needing to be sorted as well. They’re still the best team in the NHL by a long-shot and to increase their dominance even more they gotta keep an influx of ELC type of players by continuing to draft good. The next line on their list is Brayden Tracey who was a late riser. Tracey isn’t a very flashy player, but he is quite a productive one. He reads the game well enough where he’s normally a dangerous player in the offencive zone either with the puck or without. He has a good enough shot and playmaking skills that he’s a full offencive threat. More talent might be able to overcome some issues that have faced the Lightning like trying to find that intensity for the playoffs.
28. Carolina Hurricanes – Jamieson Rees, C [Sarnia Sting, OHL]
Rees was completely unknown during the first half of the season dealing with a major injury. He eventually came back and looked good on a semi-rebuilding club with the Sting. His shining moments of the season, however, came when he was on a line with Zary and Tracey during the IIHF U18 tournament. He looked like a force out there with his skating ability, physicality, and work rate. He doesn’t have an insane amount of talent, but it’s hard to beat ones which do have enough, but also have the never stop attitude that wreak havoc on opposing defenders. He will fit in perfectly with Canes heavy forecheque that Rod Brind’Amour implicated during their historic playoff run.
29. Anaheim Ducks [via SJS] – Lassi Thomson, D [Kelowna Rockets, WHL]
Don’t get me wrong that Thomson is quite raw, his physicality is quite bad at the present. Regardless, there are some very intriguing tools here. One is that he is definitely one of the best skaters in this draft. If Byram is an opportunist, Thomson is the main definition of a catalyst. He has fantastic shooting traits and has an eye for goal scoring considering his seventeen goals. He’s able to slip through traffic due to his skating ability and create a scoring chance. Additionally, I am a believer that he has more tools to his arsenal than what he displayed last year. He reminds me a lot of Shea Theodore and should help the Ducks regain that loss due to the expansion draft.
30. Boston Bruins – Ilya Nikolayev, C [Loko-Yaroslavl, MHL]
Nikolayev is another player I would describe as raw. He has some decent and desiring tools that were shown in spurts. First piece of business is to get more consistent as there were shifts and games that he looked quite noticeable and others where he wasn’t a top 6 player for me. I am more of a buyer of his talent and tools developing than a seller, but I will also admit that I think he is a long-term prospect needing at least three years of development. There is a long-term gain because he easily has the talent to become a 2nd line centre for me and grabbing someone that good this late in the draft is worth it.
31. Buffalo Sabres [via STL] – Ryan Johnson, D [Sioux Falls Stampede, USHL]
I understand why Johnson is rising; he is a good skater and has shown times to dominate shifts by himself. On the other hand he has some problems where he has consistency issues, forces the play, and makes questionable decisions with the puck. At this time I see him more developing into a solid shutdown defender, but I also some flashes which reminds me of Matt Dumba. Most notably that he’s a risk taker and doesn’t mind making mistakes if he could eventually learn from it. It will be interesting to see if he’s able to develop enough offence to be considered a two-way defender because that makes this selection that much more exciting for the Sabres.
NHL 2020 Very Early List
1. Alexis Lafreniere, LW (CAN) Rimouski Oceanic, LHJMQ
2. Lucas Raymond, RW (SWE) Frolunda HC, SuperElit
3. Quinton Byfield, C (CAN) Sudbury Wolves, OHL
4. Anton Lundell, C/LW (FIN) HIFK, Liiga
5. Cole Perfetti, C (CAN) Saginaw Spirit, OHL
6. Jan Mysak, LW (CZE) HC Litvinov, Czech
7. Noel Gunler, RW (SWE) Lulea HF, SuperElit
8. Yaroslav Askarov, G (RUS) SKA Varyagi Vsevolozhski, MHL
9. Connor Zary, C (CAN) Kamloops Blazers, WHL
10. Antonio Stranges, C/LW (USA) London Knights, OHL
11. Theo Rochette, C (SUI) Chicoutimi Sagueneens, LHJMQ
12. Alexander Holtz, RW (SWE) Djurgardens IF, SuperElit
13. Justin Barron, D (CAN) Halifax Mooseheads, LHJMQ
14. Marco Rossi, C (AUT) Ottawa 67’s, OHL
15. Jean-Luc Foudy, C (CAN) Windsor Spitfires, OHL
16. Marat Khusnutdinov, C (RUS) Vityaz Podolsk, MHL U17
17. Dylan Holloway, LW (CAN) Okotoks Oilers, AJHL
18. Zion Nybeck, RW (SWE) HV71, SuperElit
19. Rodion Amirov, LW (RUS) Tolpar Ufa, MHL
20. Ty Smilanic, C (USA) USNTDP, USHL
21. John-Jason Peterka, C (GER) EHC Munchen, DEL
22. Hendrix Lapierre, C (CAN) Chicoutimi Sagueneens, LHJMQ
23. Kasper Simontaival, LW (FIN) Tappara U20, SM-Liiga
24. Jake Neighbours, LW (CAN) Edmonton Oil Kings, WHL
25. Dylan Peterson, C (USA) USNTDP, USHL
26. Mavrik Bourque, C (CAN) Shawinigan Cataracters, LHJMQ
27. Dawson Mercer, RW (CAN) Drummondville Voltigeurs, LHJMQ
28. Seth Jarvis, RW (CAN) Portland Winterhawks, WHL
29. Kaiden Guhle, D (CAN) Prince Albert Raiders, WHL
30. Jake Sanderson, D (USA) USNTDP, USHL
31. Jamie Drysdale, D (CAN) Erie Otters, OHL
Gerard Keane, D (USA) London Knights, OHL
Mitchell Miller, D (USA) Cedar Rapids Roughriders, USHL
Tim Stuetzle, C (GER) Jungadler Mannheim, DNL U20
Ozzy Wiesblatt, RW (CAN) Prince Albert Raiders, WHL
Jeremie Biakabutuka, D (CAN) Val-d’Or Foreurs, LHJMQ
Tyler Kleven, D (USA) USNTDP, USHL
Daniil Gushchin, RW (RUS) Muskegon Lumberjacks, USHL
Vasili Ponomaryov, F (RUS) MHK Krylia Moskva, MHL