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2019 NHL Draft: Ranking the top 120 prospects

Our draft expert crafts his final rankings for the 2019 edition, which hits Vancouver in a few weeks. Who is rising up the charts? What will the Blackhawks do with the third selection? We try to sift through the subterfuge to find the answers.

This is it, the final list. I agonize over my draft rankings more than I probably should, but my mission is to always give as accurate a portrayal of what I think will happen as possible. With the draft combine complete and my newest intel, it's time. Now, that’s not to say this should be taken as a mock draft, but I do consider what certain teams are rumored to be up to. Of course, there’s a lot of wild talk and subterfuge at this time of year – so that has to be factored in as well. So you can see the dilemma I’m in. Nonetheless, I gotta rank, so here it is. For more in-depth descriptions of many of these players, pick up Draft Preview. Below, I’m going to focus more on why I believe the top 10 will unfold the way I have presented it, then list my next 110 prospects after that. The real fun kicks off in Vancouver in mere weeks, so let’s white-knuckle it until the actual selections are made.

  1. Jack Hughes, C, U.S. NTDP (USHL): The Hughes vs. Kakko debate is a fun one, to be sure. But I believe that as a natural center who is still on the ascent, Hughes is the guy. He had an incredible record-breaking season with the NTDP, despite playing through injury. He gives New Jersey a devastating 1-2 punch down the middle with Nico Hischier for the next decade.
  2. Kaapo Kakko, RW, TPS (Fin.): By a hair, Kakko is second on my list and this is no slam on the kid. He’s a winner, taking home gold at the world juniors and worlds this season and scoring the golden goal at the former. He’s big, he’s smart, he’s incredibly talented and he too set some records this year. It’s a fantastic year to have the second pick, Rangers fans.
  3. Alex Turcotte, C, U.S. NTDP (USHL): My most anxious decision, but I’m going with Turcotte. He’s an intense competitor, an awesome skater and a top-end talent. A hip injury and mono limited him this year and he was still great. There is more upside to unlock at the University of Wisconsin and I believe Turcotte will get there.
  4. Bowen Byram, D, Vancouver (WHL): If I’m going to hedge my bets, I could also see Chicago taking Byram third overall, but if they got Turcotte, then Byram is the Best Player Available after that. The Giants blueliner had an incredible playoff run, leading the entire WHL in scoring. Smart and instinctive, Byram isn’t a complete product yet, but that’s almost a plus: imagine him playing even better next season.
  5. Trevor Zegras, C, U.S. NTDP (USHL): Talented, charismatic and loaded with potential, Zegras is a great playmaker who made his mark on a crowded NTDP squad. Bound for Boston University, he’ll have the chance to make an impact with the Terriers and the American world junior squad as soon as next season.
  6. Dylan Cozens, C, Lethbridge (WHL): Big, strong and talented, Cozens is everything you want in a potential No. 1 center. He’s still got some work to do, but like Byram that’s almost a good thing: Cozens was already a crucial member of the Hurricanes this year and will take on an even bigger role next season.
  7. Vasili Podkolzin, RW, SKA-1946 (Rus.): Yes, the ‘Russian Factor’ rears its ugly head here. Podkolzin is one of my favorite players in the draft, but I’m also a bit conservative in my rankings, so he’s a steal at No. 7. Smart, powerful and feisty, he earned the trust of world junior coach Valery Bragin in Vancouver and that should not be taken lightly. This kid is going to be a fan favorite when he comes over in a couple of years.
  8. Kirby Dach, C, Saskatoon (WHL): Dach has a very similar profile to fellow ‘Dub’ star Cozens, as he has the potential to be a true No. 1 center. Dach has size, skating and skill and if he falls on draft night, it will only be because some teams would like to see more urgency in his game. But keep in mind, the same was said about Cam Fowler at his draft.
  9. Cole Caufield, RW, U.S. NTDP (USHL): The true X-factor in the draft, Caufield is officially 5-foot-7 and a quarter, based on his combine measurement. Not that it really matters: the University of Wisconsin commit is a preternatural goal-scorer and NHL teams have wised up to deadly small guys thanks to Johnny Gaudreau and Alex DeBrincat. I would not be shocked if Caufield goes higher.
  10. Philip Broberg, D, AIK (Swe.): Here’s why I think Broberg will be the second defenseman off the board: he’s got the most potential. If you needed a defenseman right now, you’d probably take Victor Soderstrom. But Broberg has the size, the skating and the offensive talent to be a difference-maker in the future if he can hone his game. He’s got time to do it and I believe a team with a fairly high pick will take a chance on his upside.
  11. Matthew Boldy, LW, U.S NTDP (USHL)
  12. Peyton Krebs, C, Kootenay (WHL)
  13. Alex Newhook, C, Victoria (BCHL)
  14. Victor Soderstrom, D, Brynas (Swe.)
  15. Moritz Seider, D, Mannheim (Ger.)
  16. Raphael Lavoie, RW, Halifax (QMJHL)
  17. Thomas Harley, D, Mississauga (OHL)
  18. Arthur Kaliyev, RW, Hamilton (OHL)
  19. Ryan Suzuki, C, Barrie (OHL)
  20. Spencer Knight, G, U.S. NTDP (USHL)
  21. Ville Heinola, D, Lukko (Fin.)
  22. Cam York, D, U.S. NTDP (USHL)
  23. Bobby Brink, C, Sioux City (USHL)
  24. Samuel Poulin, LW, Sherbrooke (QMJHL)
  25. Connor McMichael, C, London (OHL)
  26. Jakob Pelletier, C, Moncton (QMJHL)
  27. Brett Leason, RW, Prince Albert (WHL)
  28. Nils Hoglander, LW, Rogle (Swe.)
  29. Ryan Johnson, D, Sioux Falls (USHL)
  30. Vladislav Kolyachonok, D, Flint (OHL)
  31. Matthew Robertson, D, Edmonton (WHL)
  32. Tobias Bjornfot, D, Djurgarden (Swe.)
  33. Alex Vlasic, D, U.S. NTDP (USHL)
  34. Phil Tomasino, C, Niagara (OHL)
  35. Egor Afanasyev, C, Muskegon (USHL)
  36. Johnny Beecher, C, U.S. NTDP (USHL)
  37. Lassi Thomson, D, Kelowna (WHL)
  38. Pavel Dorofeyev, LW, Magnitogorsk (KHL)
  39. Jamieson Rees, C, Sarnia (OHL)
  40. Shane Pinto, C, Lincoln (USHL)
  41. Brayden Tracey, LW, Moose Jaw (WHL)
  42. Nick Robertson, LW, Peterborough (OHL)
  43. Albin Grewe, C, Djurgarden (Swe.)
  44. Nolan Foote, RW, Kelowna (WHL)
  45. Samuel Fagemo, LW, Frolunda (SHL)
  46. Kaedan Korczak, D, Kelowna (WHL)
  47. Ilya Nikolayev, C, Loko (Rus.)
  48. Maxim Cajkovic, RW, Saint John (QMJHL)
  49. Michael Vukojevic, D, Kitchener (OHL)
  50. Jayden Struble, D, St. Sebastian’s (Mass HS)
  51. Vladislav Firstov, LW, Waterloo (USHL)
  52. Judd Caulfield, RW, U.S. NTDP (USHL)
  53. John Farinacci, C, Dexter School (Mass HS)
  54. Matvei Guskov, C, London (OHL)
  55. Robert Mastrosimone, LW, Chicago (USHL)
  56. Simon Holmstrom, RW, HV 71 (Swe)
  57. Ryder Donovan, C, Duluth East (Minn HS)
  58. Artemi Kniazev, D, Chicoutimi (QMJHL)
  59. Aaron Huglen, LW, Roseau (Minn HS)
  60. Pyotr Kotchetkov, G, Ryazan (Rus.)
  61. Mads Sogaard, G, Medicine Hat (WHL)
  62. Mikko Kokkonen, D, Jukurit (Fin.)
  63. Michal Teply, LW, Liberec (Cze.)
  64. Patrick Moynihan, LW, U.S. NTDP (USHL)
  65. Aliaksei Protas, C, Prince Albert (WHL)
  66. Layton Ahac, D, Prince George (BCHL)
  67. Jackson LaCombe, D, Shattuck-St. Mary’s (prep)
  68. Zac Jones, D, Tri-City (USHL)
  69. Daniil Gutik, LW, Loko (Rus.)
  70. Jack Malone, C, Youngstown (USHL)
  71. Marcus Kallionkieli, LW, Sioux City (USHL)
  72. Valentin Nussbaumer, C, Shawinigan (QMJHL)
  73. Ethan Phillips, RW, Sioux Falls (USHL)
  74. Mike Koster, D, Chaska (Minn. HS)
  75. Alex Beaucage, RW, Rouyn-Noranda (QMJHL)
  76. Alexander Campbell, C, Victoria (BCHL)
  77. Adam Beckman, LW, Spokane (WHL)
  78. Ethan Haider, G, Minnesota Magicians (NAHL)
  79. Nathan Legare, RW, Baie-Comeau (QMJHL)
  80. Harrison Blaisdell, C, Chilliwack (BCHL)
  81. Kirill Slepets, RW, Yaroslavl (KHL)
  82. Karl Henriksson, C, Frolunda (Swe.)
  83. Dominick Fensore, D, U.S. NTDP (USHL)
  84. Hunter Jones, G, Peterborough (OHL)
  85. Nikita Okhotyuk, D, Ottawa (OHL)
  86. Patrik Puistola, LW, Tappara (Fin.)
  87. Ronnie Attard, D, Tri-City (USHL)
  88. Dustin Wolf, G, Everett (WHL)
  89. Ethan Keppen, LW, Flint (OHL)
  90. Isaiah Saville, G, Tri-City (USHL)
  91. Mattias Macceli, LW, Dubuque (USHL)
  92. Kalle Loponen, D, Karpat (Fin.)
  93. Graeme Clarke, RW, Ottawa (OHL)
  94. Yegor Spiridonov, LW, Magnitogorsk (Rus.)
  95. Rhett Pitlick, RW, Chaska (Minn. HS)
  96. Blake Murray, C, Sudbury (OHL)
  97. Cole MacKay, RW, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
  98. Jordan Spence, D, Moncton (QMJHL)
  99. Hugo Alnefelt, G, HV71 (Swe.)
  100. Matthew Stienburg, C, St. Andrew’s College (Ont. HS)
  101. Marc Del Gaizo, D, UMass (Hockey East)
  102. Tomas Mazura, C, Kimball Union (NH. HS)
  103. Nikita Alexandrov, C, Charlottetown (QMJHL)
  104. Anttoni Honka, D, JYP (Fin.)
  105. Sasha Mutala, RW, Tri-City (WHL)
  106. Case McCarthy, D, U.S. NTDP (USHL)
  107. Marshall Warren, D, U.S. NTDP (USHL)
  108. Elmer Soderblom, LW, Frolunda (Swe.)
  109. Ben Brinkman, D, University of Minnesota (BigTen)
  110. Drew Helleson, D, U.S. NTDP (USHL)
  111. Cade Webber, D, Rivers School (NH. HS)
  112. Albert Johansson, D, Farjestad (Swe.)
  113. Nick Porco, LW, Saginaw (OHL)
  114. Ilya Mironov, D, Loko (Rus.)
  115. Dillon Hamaliuk, LW, Seattle (WHL)
  116. Samuel Bolduc, D, Blainville-Boisbriand (QMJHL)
  117. Antti Saarela, LW, Lukko (Fin.)
  118. Josh Nodler, RW, Fargo (USHL)
  119. Trent Miner, G, Vancouver (WHL)
  120. Aku Raty, RW, Karpat (Fin.)



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