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2019 draft rankings: Jack Hughes comes out swinging

The NTDP center was the big name coming into the season and he has not disappointed. Find out who else is looking like a first-rounder in our initial rankings

Time for my first edition of draft rankings for what is shaping up to be a pretty fantastic 2019 draft class. As you may know, Jack Hughes is the main prize this season, though a slew of other talented players will follow him up the podium when the event touches down in Vancouver this summer. And one note for subscribers to The Hockey News: I did a mock draft in the most recent issue and forgot Peyton Krebs. I was moving him around and just didn’t put him back. So I messed that one up.

The following is my first effort for 2019 and is largely based on player pedigree and early results. As the season goes on, I will include more input from NHL scouts in my assessments, but with most players only seeing a dozen games of action or less right now, I feel it’s too early for such judgments. With that in mind, here’s my top 31 for the 2019 draft.

  1. Jack Hughes, C, NTDP (USHL): Leading a stacked NTDP squad in scoring with 16 points in 11 games, Hughes has so far confirmed that he is one of the quickest, deadliest offensive threats outside the NHL right now.
  2. Kaapo Kakko, RW, TPS (Fin.): Big, smart and talented, Kakko is holding his own as one of the top scorers on his Liiga team and I’ve heard talk that TPS may even try him at center as the season progresses.
  3. Kirby Dach, C, Saskatoon (WHL): His size and smarts are calling cards, while Dach’s talent has enabled him to run roughshod in the Dub to the tune of 22 points in 13 games. That puts him top-five in the league.
  4. Dylan Cozens, C, Lethbridge (WHL): Another big kid from out West, Cozens has a ton of potential thanks to his shot and his puck-protection abilities. With 18 points in 13 games, he leads the Hurricanes.
  5. Matthew Boldy, LW, NTDP (USHL): The MVP of the All American Prospects Game, Boldy brings an excellent skills package to the table and leads the NTDP in goals with nine in 11 games. He’s a Boston College commit.
  6. Cam York, D, NTDP (USHL): Team USA’s best offensive threat from the blueline, York is a new-school defender who can move the puck and think the game at a high level, York is still deciding on his NCAA commitment.
  7. Ryan Suzuki, C, Barrie (OHL): Incredible smarts and skills make Suzuki one of the deadliest weapons in the OHL this season. The younger brother of Habs prospect Nick Suzuki has 21 points in just 11 games for the Colts.
  8. Peyton Krebs, LW, Kootenay (WHL): Krebs has also been playing center for the Ice early on, so he’s got that versatility. Smart and quick, he’s a great playmaker on a team that could use more weapons.
  9. Bowen Byram, D, Vancouver (WHL): A great skater and puckhandler, Byram is tied for second in team scoring – and the Giants are a solid outfit. He’ll give York a run for the title of top D-man in the draft.
  10. Vasili Podkolzin, RW, SKA-1946 (Rus.): When Podkolzin gets the puck on the rush, watch out. The sturdy right winger protects the puck and knows how to finish. He’s signed in Russia for at least a couple more years.
  11. Raphael Lavoie, RW, Halifax (QMJHL)
  12. Philip Broberg, D, AIK (Swe.)
  13. Alex Newhook, C, Victoria (BCHL)
  14. Trevor Zegras, C, NTDP (USHL)
  15. Matthew Robertson, D, Edmonton (WHL)
  16. Arthur Kaliyev, RW, Hamilton OHL)
  17. Alex Turcotte, C, NTDP (USHL)
  18. Anttoni Honka, JYP (Fin.)
  19. Lassi Thomson, D, Kelowna (WHL)
  20. Alex Vlasic, D, NTDP (USHL)
  21. Jakob Pelletier, C, Moncton (QMJHL)
  22. Spencer Knight, G, NTDP (USHL)
  23. Thomas Harley, D, Mississauga (OHL)
  24. Moritz Seider, D, Adler Mannheim (Ger.)
  25. Nils Hoglander, LW, Rogle (Swe.)
  26. Victor Soderstrom, D, Brynas (Swe.)
  27. Cole Caufield, RW, NTDP (USHL)
  28. Ryder Donovan, C, Duluth East (Minn. HS)
  29. Nolan Foote, RW, Kelowna (WHL)
  30. Tobias Bjornfot, D, Djurgarden (Swe.)
  31. Bobby Brink, C, Sioux City (USHL)

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