2019 NHL Mock Draft 3.0: Order now set for next weekend's draft
With a week until the NHL Draft and the final draft order now complete following Boston’s seven-game loss to the St. Louis Blues, things are now cemented for all 31 teams when it comes to draft slot and exact expectations. The Bruins will hold the 30th pick in the first round after coming up a little short in Game 7, and it will be interesting to see if their draft targets change based on how their postseason played out this spring.
Will the B's put more of a premium on big, strong forward types with the ability to fight through traffic and get to the front of the net? Will they look for more speedy skating D-men in order to thwart the big, physical teams looking to push them around in this faster, skill-oriented NHL? Will they simply take the best player available and continue to show a heavy propensity for selecting college hockey players with an emphasis on securing as much local talent as they can?
All of these questions and more will be answered when the Bruins step to the podium with a first-round pick they coveted after trading away their 2018 first-round pick in the futile deal for Rick Nash. Without further ado, here is NBCSportsBoston.com’s NHL Mock Draft 3.0 with one more to come next week ahead of the draft:
1. New Jersey Devils
Jack Hughes (center, Team USA National Team Development Program)
The 5-foot-10, 168-pound Hughes is the leading scorer in the history of the USNTDP and went for 112 points in 50 games for Team USA this past season. He can skate, he can score and make plays, and he comes from a hockey family that’s loaded with talented players ready to make their mark on the NHL. Of the players in this year’s draft class, Hughes is the one that wears the “generational talent” moniker thrown around even if that is used a little too often in this day and age. Given that they already have Taylor Hall and Nico Hischier, this is the kind of franchise center-type that could elevate the Devils back to a playoff team really, really quickly. There may be some debate in their war room about Kaapo Kakko as well, but Hughes will be the pick.
2. New York Rangers
Kaapo Kakko (right wing, TPS Turku)
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Kakko is a goal-scoring power forward in the making that brings size, strength and skill into an 18-year-old package who scored an impressive 22 goals in the Finnish Elite League. Kakko joins Brad Park in being the highest draft pick (No. 2 overall) in Blueshirts franchise history, and he should be a pretty good one for a Rangers club that keeps accumulating young assets. Kakko continued to solidify his draft position with his performance at the IIHF World championships where he led a strong Finland crew and scored a dominant six goals in the first seven preliminary games. Kakko should jump into the NHL and make a splash for the Rangers right away as they look to fast-forward their rebuild for next season.
3. Chicago Blackhawks
Alex Turcotte (center, USA NTDP)
The 5-foot-11, 189-pound Turcotte had 26 goals and 61 points in 34 games for Team USA and played second fiddle to Jack Hughes this past season as the No. 2 center. What better way to train a player like Turcotte to be the No. 2 guy behind Jonathan Toews as he learns at the feet of one of the best two-way centers in the game? Turcotte is a solid two-way center with offensive upside, and that’s the kind of player that Blackhawks are always on the lookout for, particularly with Toews getting a little older. The clincher is that he grew up in Chicago idolizing Toews and fan-boying on the Blackhawks. So this is going to be a no-brainer for them.
4. Colorado Avalanche
Bowen Byram (defenseman, Vancouver Giants)
The WHL defenseman is big, strong and physical along with possessing the ability to move the puck, and he projects to be a No. 1 defenseman-in-the-making. With the Avalanche looking for a big, strong No. 1 defenseman to head their back end, Byram and 2018 first-round pick Cale Makar could be the top pairing defensive partners in the Mile High City for the decade to come. The 26 goals in 67 games really stands out for the 6-foot-1, 194-pound Byram, who will be the top defenseman selected in this summer’s draft class.
5. Los Angeles Kings
Cole Caufield (right wing, US National U18 Development Program)
Caufield is the most explosive goal-scorer in the draft and plays bigger than you’d expect from a guy listed at 5-foot-7, 162-pounds. He’s definitely the Johnny Gaudreau/Alex DeBrincat type of this draft class, and those guys tend to go higher now than they used to. The undersized forward had an amazing 72 goals and 100 points last season for the US National program, and would give the Kings exactly the kind of dynamic scoring punch that they’ve been missing over the last couple of seasons. L.A. could use him right now, but he may not be able to make the jump immediately given his size and strength considerations.
6. Detroit Red Wings
Kirby Dach (center, Saskatoon Blades)
The 6-foot-4 center posted 25 goals and 73 points in 64 games for the Blades this past season, and has both size and high-end offensive skill to go with good skating for a big man. He also draws comparisons to players like Ryan Getzlaf and Jumbo Joe Thornton with his ability to pass the puck and make plays, and that’s the type of player that any team could use. Certainly a player with Dach’s ability could make a nice addition to a Red Wings team that needs more depth and talent added everywhere along the roster, and could use a big center like him in the middle of everything.
7. Buffalo Sabres
Dylan Cozens (center, Lethbridge Hurricanes)
The 6-foot-3, 181-pound center has the size and versatility to be very effective at the NHL level, and has played both center and on the wing during his junior hockey career. Cozens utilizes his big body for puck possession and to play the physical game, and that would give the Sabres the kind of skill/grit combination that they could use more of among their forward group. The 34 goals and 84 points in 68 WHL games show the offensive upside and Cozens' two-way ability could turn him into a really good second- or third-line center behind Jack Eichel.
8. Edmonton Oilers
Vasili Podkolzin (right wing, SKA St Petersburg)
The 6-foot-1, 183-pounder won’t even be 18 years old at the draft, but is expected to be the first Russian player selected despite some talent evaluation disagreement about his game. Some see him as a future dominant right wing just coming into his own, and others see him as more of a hard-nosed, hard-working type that doesn’t have some of the natural offensive gifts of the other forwards taken at the top of the first round. Certainly the Oilers hope he’s more of the former than the latter, and they could be big beneficiaries of taking a big Russian risk if Podkolzin pans out. Or perhaps the ghost of Nail Yakupov will scare them away from making this selection?
9. Anaheim Ducks
Trevor Zegras (center/wing, USA NTDP)
The 6-foot, 166-pound Zegras is a physical player and aggressive two-way center that could certainly fit into Anaheim’s plans as an eventual replacement for Ryan Getzlaf. Zegras had 26 goals and 87 points for Team USA last season as a strong two-way player down the middle and fits the profile for a Ducks team that values strong play at both ends of the ice. He’s considered one of the best pure passers in the draft, and Anaheim certainly is in need of some play-making these days.
10. Vancouver Canucks
Phillip Broberg (defenseman, AIK Sweden)
The Swedish D-man prospect has ideal size and 6-foot-3, 199-pounds and had two goals and nine points in 41 games with the Swedish Elite League last season. He’s also said to be among the best skaters in the entire draft class with the ability to play at a high level at both ends of the ice. With the Canucks already stockpiling elite talent up front with their forwards, it’s not going to be a surprise if Jim Benning dips into the pool of defensemen this time around to create a more well-rounded Canucks group in the near future.
11. Philadelphia Flyers
Alex Newhook (center, Victoria Grizzlies)
Newhook had over 100 points in 53 games for Victoria last season during a brilliant junior hockey season, and it’s hard to imagine him lasting much beyond the top-10 after tearing up the BCHL. The 5-foot-10, 190-pounder isn’t the biggest guy in the world, but the Flyers could certainly just use more players like Newhook who can put the points in bunches. The knock on him is that he’s not much of a defensive player, but that’s never really scared the Flyers away. The BCHL’s leading scorer is headed to Boston College next season.
12. Minnesota Wild
Matthew Boldy (left wing, USA NTDP)
The 6-foot-2, 187-pound left winger can score as attested by his 33 goals scored, and can make plays from the wing as evidenced by the 81 points he racked up in 64 games. It’s exactly the kind of thing that the Wild could use as they didn’t have nearly enough offense last season and are getting a little long in the tooth up front among their forward group. The Millis, Massachusetts-born Boldy has also played all over the map for the U.S. team from first to third line and has played in all situations, so he’s going to be a valuable performer for whatever team nabs him — whether it’s the Wild or somebody else in the middle of the first round.
13. Florida Panthers
Arthur Kaliyev (center, Hamilton Bulldogs)
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Kaliyev rang up the OHL for 50-plus goals and 100-plus points last season, and is the kind of dynamic offensive player that the Panthers could use more of after disappointing in the Atlantic Division last season. The size and offensive ability scream out impact player for a team like Florida, which could use another dominant forward to go along with Aleksander Barkov. The one knock on Kaliyev is that the on-ice effort isn’t always up to full speed and the motor doesn’t seem to always be going, but the shot, release and natural scoring ability will make him a sure-fire first-round pick.
14. Arizona Coyotes
Peyton Krebs (center/left wing, Kootenay Ice)
The 5-foot-11, 180-pounder isn’t the biggest prospect in the world, but he makes up for it with his skating ability and a dangerous, lethal shot. Krebs had 19 goals and 68 points in 64 games last season, but was also an astounding minus-50 while very clearly struggling defensively on a poor team. It will be interesting to see if a so-so draft season ends up hurting him at all, but Krebs could be another interesting piece added to a talented young cast in Arizona, and he’s got a lot of intangibles like maturity and hockey smarts working in his favor as well. We also know that plus/minus isn’t going to scare the fancy stats crew running the show in the desert.
15. Montreal Canadiens
Raphael Lavoie (center/right wing, Halifax Mooseheads)
Is there any doubt that the Montreal Canadiens aren’t going to let a guy named Raphael Lavoie get past them in the first round? Lavoie has 136 points over the last two seasons for the Mooseheads and is exactly the kind of offensive player that Montreal needs more of moving forward. The French-Canadian name certainly doesn’t hurt either as does the 6-foot-4 frame that would give the Habs a Francophone power forward with goal-scoring ability in tight around the net. This seems like a natural match.
16. Colorado Avalanche
Egor Afanasyev (left wing, Muskegon Lumberjacks)
The 6-foot-3, 203-pound Afanasyev had 27 goals and 62 points in 58 games in the USHL last season and combines ideal left wing power forward size with an offense-first mentality. Certainly he could add more forward depth to a Colorado Avalanche group that’s looking for more talented forwards to go behind their top line of Gabriel Landeskog, Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon. And there is most definitely an interest in teams getting bigger and stronger based on a massive Blues team that won the Cup this season.
17. Vegas Golden Knights
Thomas Harley (defenseman, Mississauga Steelheads)
The 6-foot-3, 188-pound Harley finished with 11 goals and 58 points in 68 games last season, and brings some real offensive knowhow to the table. He’s got size, projectable offensive ability and could be amongst a run of D-men taken in the middle of the first round. While the Golden Knights have some good, young D-men, they should be adding to look to that group during the draft.
18. Dallas Stars
Bobby Brink (right wing, Sioux City Musketeers)
The prolific Brink finished with 35 goals in 43 games played last season, so he’s got the goods offensively to hang with a talented group like Dallas. The only question is whether the 5-foot-10, 163-pounder has enough size and strength to hack it at the NHL level, but the good news is that Brink will have a few seasons to get up to NHL readiness. Certainly a lack of size isn’t all that big of a deal at the NHL level as it used to be in the old days and Brink hopes to be the latest example of that.
19. Ottawa Senators (via the Columbus Blue Jackets)
Cam York (defenseman, USA NTDP)
The 6-foot, 175-pound York had a blistering 14 goals and 65 points in 63 games with a ridiculous plus-56, and will join a Senators organization that could certainly use another young D-man to go along with Thomas Chabot. He was a PP quarterback for a talented USNTDP squad and could project to do that for the Senators as well. York is part of an impressive draft class for the USA National Team Development Program that continues to churn out blue chip prospects. A workhorse-type D-man that really utilizes his skating ability, York is headed to the college hockey ranks next.
20. New York Rangers
Patrik Puistola (left wing, Tappara U20)
The 6-foot, 175-pound Puistola has made a name for himself in the junior leagues in Finland with his big shot, hands and offensive ability, and he’s received spot duty in the elite league in Finland as well. The knock on Puistola is that he’s not much of a defensive player and there isn’t a lot of versatility to his game beyond creating offense, but if you are good enough then that skill alone will get you into the first round.
21. Pittsburgh Penguins
Victor Soderstrom (defenseman, Brynas IF, Sweden)
The four goals and seven points in 44 games don’t really tell the tale for the 5-foot-11, 179-pound D-man who's got the skating and smarts always expected out of Swedish defensemen. Soderstrom would be a great get for a Penguins team that’s eventually going to need a young successor for Kris Letang. Perhaps Soderstrom can help inject Pittsburgh with the kind of young, talented players needed to give the Pens a jolt of energy.
22. Los Angeles Kings (via Toronto Maple Leafs)
Moritz Seider (defenseman, Mannheim)
The 6-foot-4, 183-pound defenseman had two goals and six points in 29 games with the German Men’s League team, and would be the natural big-bodied back end choice for the Kings after trading away Jake Muzzin to the Maple Leafs last season. It will be interesting to see if the two first-round picks can help jump start the rebuilding process for a Kings team that needs a youth injection to their roster.
23. New York Islanders
Ryan Suzuki (center, Barrie Colts)
Suzuki had 25 goals and 75 points in 65 games last season, and the 6-foot, 178-pounder would be an interesting pick for an Islanders team still looking to add depth, talent and skill down the middle of their roster. The Isles obviously lost John Tavares prior to the start of last season, and they could begin developing his replacement with the multi-talented Suzuki. Suzuki’s older brother Nick was drafted by Vegas in the first round and traded to the Montreal Canadiens last season.
24. Nashville Predators
Phillip Tomasino (center, Niagara Ice Dogs)
The 6-foot, 178-pound Tomasino had 34 goals and 72 points in 67 games for the Ice Dogs last season, and brings to the table goal-scoring ability, work ethic and a willingness to play both ways. The numbers, the intangibles and the potential are all high with this player. That’s certainly the kind of player that the Predators would take a flier on in the latter portion of the first round with a desire to beef up the offensive skill up front.
25. Washington Capitals
Nils Hoglander (left wing, Rogle BK)
The 5-foot-9 Hoglander is a feisty, skilled winger who plays with pace and tenacity. While the size isn’t ideal for a left wing-type player, there is a growing number of these fast, skilled wingers who don’t shy away from the contact despite the lack of prototypical size. Hoglander makes sense for a Capitals team that can still use more high-end skill, speed and tenacity among their forward group after running out of gas in the first round this season while trying to defend their Stanley Cup championship.
26. Calgary Flames
Spencer Knight (goaltender, Team USA NTDP)
The first and likely only goaltender taken in the first round, the 6-foot-3, 193-pound Knight is a blue-chip prospect between the pipes with the size and athleticism to be a future No. 1 netminder in the league. Given Calgary’s goaltending situation with Mike Smith and company right now, a stud, franchise goaltender for the future is something they could definitely use within their organization.
27. Tampa Bay Lightning
Jakob Pelletier (left wing, Moncton Wildcats)
The Lightning seemingly have an unending supply of talented young offensive forwards, and that tradition continues with Pelletier after he lit up the QMJHL with 39 goals and 89 points last season. Pelletier’s game is based on skating and playmaking, and those are two things that are at a premium with an organization like the Lightning. Ironically the 5-foot-9, 161-pounder has a game that reminds scouts of Steve Yzerman, who just exited the Lightning organization to take things over with the Detroit Red Wings.
28. Carolina Hurricanes
Connor McMichael (center/left wing, London Knights)
The offensively gifted McMichael had 36 goals and 72 points in 67 games last season at the OHL level, and brings the ability to play wing or center. The 5-foot-11, 172-pound McMichael isn’t the biggest guy in the draft class, but he still manages to create his offense and would make a fine addition to the growing Rangers treasure chest of prospects. He also plays extremely hard and gets the most out of the size that he does have with a high hockey IQ, which has pushed him into the first round despite perhaps second-round size and strength.
29. Anaheim Ducks (via Sabres and Sharks
John Beecher (center, Team USA NTDP)
Beecher had 15 goals and 43 points for the USNTDP last season while playing in the shadow of guys like Jack Hughes and Alex Turcotte. That won’t discourage the Ducks from continuing to beef up their depth in the middle with the 6-foot-3, 210-pounder and replenishing some of the aging portions of their forward group with a couple of first-round picks. That being said, it might be a few years down the road with Beecher expected to attend the University of Michigan in the near term.
30. Boston Bruins
Brett Leason (right wing, Prince Albert Raiders)
The 6-foot-4, 200-pound Leason could be exactly what the size-deprived Bruins could use up front to bolster their ranks and he’s got the offensive goods with 36 goals and 89 points in the WHL last season. There are questions about his skating and his speed, but with that size and his heavy, goal-scoring shot there will be somebody willing to take a flier on him despite his status as an over-age player at 19 years old. It should be noted, though, that the scouting community is a bit mixed after he really blossomed in the WHL at a later stage in his junior hockey career.
31. Buffalo Sabres (via St. Louis Blues)
Alex Vlasic (defenseman, USA NTDP)
The cousin to NHL defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic is expected to be a first-round pick and brings many of the same skills, strengths and weaknesses to the table on the back end as his more established cousin. But he also brings his 6-foot-6 size to the table and would give the Sabres a big-bodied D-man on the back end to go along with their more skilled, puck-moving types. Vlasic would give them the kind of mammoth D-man they haven’t have since Tyler Myers left for Winnipeg a couple of seasons ago, and that’s an element they’re going to need in the Atlantic Division.