Every kid who picks up a hockey stick at an early age has dreams of playing in the National Hockey League. Those dreams will become a reality for 217 aspiring hockey players when they get to hear their name called by one of 31 franchises during the NHL Entry Draft which will be held in Vancouver this Friday and Saturday.
The 2019 draft class is one of the deepest in recent history and is headlined by Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko. Both players have been labeled as “generational talents” and have the chance to change the fortunes of both the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers.
Hughes, who is the consensus number one pick in the draft and the top-ranked North American skater set the record for most points while playing in the US National Team Development Program with 190. He has been compared to the likes of Chicago Blackhawks sniper Patrick Kane, with his vision on the ice, his skill with the puck, and his ability to make his teammates better. While his size may be an issue for some teams, he has the talent to make things happen on the ice and overcome that limitation.
Kakko, who is the top-ranked European skater, has been compared to the likes of Florida Panthers star forward Aleksander Barkov, with his ability to skate through in and out of traffic on the ice, control the puck in tight areas in the offensive and defensive zones, and a shot that has been compared to the likes of Washington Capitals captain Alexander Ovechkin Winnipeg Jets young star Patrik Laine. Not to mention Kakko had an incredible 13-month span winning the gold medal at the U-18 World Championships, The World Junior Championships, and the Men’s World Championships.
The Devils have a difficult decision on their hands with the number one pick in the NHL Draft. While many believe Hughes will go number one, Kakko has made case for himself of the past few months to be taken number one. Regardless of who goes first to the Devils though, the Rangers will get a great player at number two.
Outside the top two, the draft order is more wide open. Players that a team thought would be ranked high may have slipped down in the rankings after a poor performance in a recent tournament or the NHL Draft Combine. On the other hand, there is always that player that can climb up after a great performance in a tournament or a good showing at the combine. Here’s how we think the first round could go!
Here is the 2019 NHL Mock Draft:
- New Jersey Devils – Jack Hughes – (C, USA NTDP (USHL))
- New York Rangers – Kaapo Kakko – (RW/C, Finland, TPS Liiga)
- Chicago Blackhawks – Alex Turcotte (C, USA, NTDP, U18)
- Colorado Avalanche – Kirby Dach (C, Saskatoon Blades (WHL)
- Los Angeles Kings – Bowen Byram (D, Vancouver Giants (WHL)
- Detroit Red Wings – Trevor Zegras (LC, USA, NTDP U18)
- Buffalo Sabres – Cole Caufield (C, USA, NTDP U18)
- Edmonton Oilers – Philip Broberg (D, Sweden, AIK Allsvenskan)
- Anaheim Ducks – Dylan Cozens (C/RW, Lethbridge WHL)
- Vancouver Canucks – Matthew Boldy (LW, USA, NTDP U18)
- Philadelphia Flyers – Moritz Seider (D, Germany, Adler Mannheim DEL)
- Minnesota Wild – Peyton Krebs (C/LW, Kootenay/Winnipeg WHL)
- Florida Panthers – Spencer Knight, G, USA, NTDP U18)
- Arizona Coyotes – Alex Newhook (C/LW, Victoria BCHL)
- Montreal Canadiens – Thomas Harley (D, Mississauga OHL)
- Colorado Avalanche – Vasili Podkolzin (RW, Russia, SKA St. Petersburg MHL)
- Vegas Golden Knights – Arthur Kaliyev (LW, Hamilton OHL)
- Dallas Stars – Victor Soderstrom (D, Brynas SHL)
- Ottawa Senators – Philip Tomasino (C, Niagara OHL)
- Winnipeg Jets – Connor McMichael (C/LW, London OHL)
- Pittsburgh Penguins – Raphael Lavoie, (RW, Halifax QMJHL)
- Los Angeles Kings – Cam York (D, USA, NTDP U18)
- New York Islanders – Ryan Suzuki (C, Canada, Barrie OHL)
- Nashville Predators – Samuel Poulin (LW, Sherbrooke QMJHL)
- Washington Capitals – Bobby Brink (C/RW, Sioux City USHL)
- Calgary Flames – Brayden Tracey (LW, Canada Moose Jaw WHL)
- Tampa Bay Lightning – Brett Leason (RW, Prince Albert (WHL)
- Carolina Hurricanes – Nils Hoglander (RW/LW, Sweden, Rogle SHL)
- Anaheim Ducks – Alex Vlasic (D, USA, NTDP U18)
- Boston Bruins – Robert Mastrosimone (C, Chicago (USHL)
- Buffalo Sabres – Nolan Foote (LW/C, Kelowna WHL)
The first round of the NHL Entry Draft can be seen on NBCSN and Sportsnet on Friday June, 21 at 8pm. Coverage of the NHL Draft will switch to NHL Network in the United States on Saturday June 22 for rounds two through seven and will begin at 1pm ET.