2019 NHL Mock Draft: Final Mock
Round 1 Picks 1-15
The 2018-2019 NHL Season is over. We now know the official NHL Draft order for all 31 NHL teams.
Chris Ransom follow @DraftUtopia Last Updated: June 21, 2019.
New Jersey Devils: Jack Hughes, C, USNTDP (USHL)
- When the Devils won the top pick two years ago, my initial impression was that they should take Nolan Patrick at 1. As the 2017 NHL Combine unfolded they gave Nico Hischier a lot more positive body language cues during the interview process at the 2017 NHL Combine. At that split second, I knew the Devils were taking Nico Hischier at 1. New Jersey got another steal in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft when they took top 10 prospect Ty Smith seventeenth overall to boost their blue line.
- This year New Jersey has to choose between Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko with the first overall pick after winning the 2019 NHL Draft Lottery with the leagues third worst record with only the Ottawa Senators and Los Angeles Kings doing worse this past season. Hughes is the best prospect from USA since Auston Matthews while Kakko is the best prospect from Finland since Patrik Laine. This draft reminds me a lot of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft with those guys at the top of every teams board.
- I believe New Jersey takes the 5-10 170 lb Jack Hughes, the younger brother of Quinn Hughes first overall. New Jersey will not shut up about how Hughes has better skill and speed on the ice as a skater then any prospect this decade. I also heard the only center New Jersey had graded higher then Jack Hughes from a speed standpoint heading into the NHL dating back to 1995 was center Joe Thornton who was selected first overall in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft.
- Jack Hughes had 21 goals, 33 assists, and 54 points in the USHL in 2017-2018. Hughes only had 12 goals, 36 assists, and 48 points in the USHL in 2018-2019. Hughes did well enough to be team captain of the US-Under 17 and US-Under 18 despite declining in the USHL in terms of production.
- Jack Hughes has the skating, speed, agility, playmaking, vision, stick handling, puck control, offensive awareness, defensive awareness, and the hockey IQ that you look for in a top pick. He grades higher in these categories then arguably any of the top NHL Draft picks this decade.
- The lack of size on his frame along with his shot selection are the only two areas Hughes needs to improve in. As far as wrist shot power, wrist shot accuracy, slap shot power, and slap shot accuracy are the only areas Hughes needs to improve in outside of filling out his frame so he adds 10 to 15 lbs of muscle while maintaining the foot speed he skates with.
- Jack Hughes has a much higher ceiling than 2017 first overall pick Nico Hischier or Travis Zajac due to the fact that he's someone who projects as a player that will obtain 100+ points down the road once he finishes developing his shot. Hughes is capable of moving Hischier down to a line 2 center role while Zajac ends up on a third line down the road. New Jersey could also put Hughes on the third line during his rookie season and ease him into things before moving him up to the first line once he reaches his massive ceiling. This causes Pavel Zacha, their 2015 first round pick, and the third line center to move down to the fourth line where he belongs giving New Jersey four good centers.
- New Jersey will also have Taylor Hall back on the first line as a line 1 left winger next to either Zajac, Hischier, or Hughes at full health next season with Kyle Palmieri as the line 1 right winger. Ty Smith will also likely push for a roster spot on either the second or third line of the New Jersey Devils defense.
- New Jersey will be much better next season. Mackenzie Blackwood finally made the NHL as a backup goalie to Corey Schneider. New Jersey should be ready to push for a playoff spot in 2019-2020 and if they miss the playoffs, then the Devils should be picking in the 11-15 range after getting the top pick for the second time in three seasons.
New York Rangers: Kaapo Kakko, RW, TPS (SM Liiga)
- New York had the NHL's sixth worst record and still ended up moving four spots to pick second overall. They also had one of the worst NHL Drafts in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft despite having three first round picks and whiffing on the ninth overall selection.
- The New York Rangers atone for that by taking the 6-2 190 lb Kaapo Kakko second overall in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. In 45 SM Liiga games, Kakko had 22 goals, 16 assists, and 38 points.
- Kaapo Kakko has the speed, size, skating, speed, vision, offensive awareness, defensive awareness, and the hockey IQ, wrist shot power, wrist shot accuracy, slap shot power, and slap shot accuracy. I think Kakko is the better shooter at this point, but Hughes is the better passer and long-term player. Both prospects are top 2 talents that can play on the first line down the road and both players are capable of cracking the first line as rookies.
- New York would play Kappo Kakko on the first line right away next season. Kappo Kakko seems like someone who could push Jack Hughes for years to come as far as someone from this draft who will dominate the next decade of hockey in the NHL.
Chicago Blackhawks: Alex Turcotte, C, USNTDP (USHL)
- Chicago will likely draft Bowen Byram the third best player on my 2019 NHL Draft Game or one of the top two centers at 3 in Dylan Cozens or Alex Turcotte. With rumors of Chicago taking a center at 3 coming to fruition, I believe they go for the die hard Blackhawk fan who seemed relaxed in his interviews despite appearing nervous with Alex Turcotte at 3 because the Blackhawks used the 2018 NHL Draft to load up on the blue line with guys like Adam Boqvist and Henri Jokiharju.
- Chicago adds a center for depth behind Jonathan Toews and Dylan Strome. The 5-11 185 lb Alex Turcotte is a guy who has the ceiling to play on a top line just like USNTDP teammate Jack Hughes.
- Turcotte improved on his 8 goals, 24 assists, and 32 points in 2017-2018 in 31 USHL games to having 12 goals, 22 assists, and 34 points in 2018-2019 in 16 USHL games. Turcotte showed the ability to be a line 1 center when Jack Hughes was not on the USHL Under 18 Team.
- Turcotte has the upside to be a line 1 player down the road. In Chicago he goes to a team where he can be a third line player on Chicago as early as 2020 after his freshman season at Wisconsin. Turcotte has the ability to succeed Jonathan Toews down the road considering he's thirteen years younger and Toews would be 32 or 33 by the time Turcotte signed his entry level deal with the Blackhawks.
Colorado Avalanche: Bowen Byram, D, Vancouver Giants (WHL)
- Coloraod gets this pick with Ottawa's selection. Colorado has my best available player at 3 as their third best available player too. The 6-0 184 lb Bowen Byram completes Colorado's blue line and gives the Avalanche that missing piece that will allow the Avalanche to push the remaining teams in the Western Conference for the Stanley Cup in 2020.
- Bowen Byram had 6 goals, 21 assists, and 27 points in 60 games in 2017-2018. Byram also had 4 goals, 3 assists, and 7 points in 7 WHL Playoff games during his first WHL Season. Byram had 26 goals, 45 assists, 71 points, and a +33 +/- ratio in 67 WHL games in 2018-2019. Byram had 8 goals, 18 assists, and 26 points in 22 WHL Playoff games getting the Vancouver Giants to game 7 of the 2019 WHL Finals where the Prince Albert Raiders defeated the Vancouver Giants in overtime.
- Colorado has Erik Johnson, Tyson Barrie, Ian Cole, Mark Barbiero, Cale Makar, and Samuel Girard on their blue line. Colorado can cut Barbiero to save money, and put either Cale Makar, Bowen Byram, or Samuel Girard on their second line giving Colorado three lethal blue lines. Barbiero only played in 12 regular season games and had a minimal impact in 9 postseason games so with this blue line Colorado finally has the defensive pairings to contend with anyone in the Western Conference.
Los Angeles Kings: Dylan Cozens, C, Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL)
- The Kings can take the best player on the board at 5. At this point I believe that's Lethbridge Hurricanes center Dylan Cozens. He's versatile enough to play left wing, center, or right wing in the NHL at 6-3 182 lbs.
- Dylan Cozens had 22 goals, 31 assists, and 53 points in 2017-2018. Cozens also had 7 goals, 6 assists, and 13 points in a WHL run. Cozens had 34 goals, 50 assists, and 84 points in 68 regular season games in 2018-2019.
- Cozens is versatile enough to play anywhere at forward. He can line up at left wing, center, or right wing with his versatility. He makes a fantastic value pick for the Los Angeles Kings as the best player on the board.
Detroit Red Wings: Vasili Podkolzin, RW, SKA Saint Petersburg (KHL)
- Detroit takes the best player on the board. The 6-1 196 lb Vasili Podkolzin was my third best overall player in this draft before his injury status and durability concerns popped up.
- Podkolzin checks out all the boxes on tape in terms of shooting with wrist shot power, wrist shot accuracy, slap shot power, and slap shot accuracy. He's a great passer with an innate ability to drive to the net. The offensive awareness is there along with the stick handling. He's not as quick as you'd like him to be and while he needs to improve as a defensive defender, he's a pretty complete skater when you watch his tape.
Buffalo Sabres: Kirby Dach, C, Saskatoon Blades (WHL)
- The 6-4 198 lb Kirby Dach is one of the more complete players in this draft. Dach had 25 goals, 48 assists, and 73 points in 2018-2019.
- Buffalo got Victor Olofsson as their line 1 left winger, Jack Eichel as their line 1 center, and Sam Reinhart as their line 1 right winger. Jeff Skinner and Kyle Okposo are great line 2 wingers, but they need a center with the skill set that Kirby Dach possesses which allows Evan Rodrigues to move down to the third line and Casey Middlestadt to move down to the fourth line giving Buffalo more stability at center while the Sabres finally appear to have the pieces to push for a playoff spot with Rasmus Dahlin heading into his second season.
Edmonton Oilers: Philip Broberg, D, AIK IF (Elitserien)
- Edmonton gets the best defender on my board at 9 here. The 6-3 181 lb Philip Broberg is the best defender not named Bowen Byram in this draft class.
- Edmonton drafted Evan Bouchard at tenth overall last year and he will probably play on the third line since Oskar Klefbom and Adam Larsson occupy the first line for Edmonton. Kris Russell and Darnell Nurse are on the second line. Now you get Broberg for insurance as someone you can put on the third line or he may go play in Sweden's Elitserien league for another year until he develops into a solid second line defenseman since he's someone who can make an immediate impact like Adam Larsson, but he's also someone with the ceiling of a top 4 defenseman rather then a guy with the ceiling of a line 1 defenseman like Adam Larsson.
Anaheim Ducks: Trevor Zegras, C, USNTDP (USHL)
- Anaheim gets depth behind Ryan Getzlaf. The 6-0 174 lb forward has the versatility to play left wing, center, or right wing with his versatility.
- Zegras has elite offensive ability. His 14 goals, 26 assists, and 40 points in the USHL this past season in 2018-2019 was outstanding. Zegras also committed to Boston University so he can develop for a year before making the jump to the NHL in 2020.
Vancouver Canucks: Alex Newhook, C, Victoria Grizzlies (BCHL)
- The Vancouver Canucks get a local. Alex Newhook had 22 goals, 44 assists, and 66 points as a rookie in 2017-2018 performing so well as a rookie that he got promoted to team captain.
- He had a weaker supporting cast then Tyson Jost who had 104 points in his draft year. Still, that didn't matter since Newhook had 38 goals, 64 assists, and 102 points in 2018-2019. The team captain of the Victoria Grizzlies led the BCHL in points in 2018-2019. He plays like Jack Hughes, Connor McDavid, and Nate MacKinnon on tape when you watch him showcase his explosion and burst on tape. I'm not sure he has the upside those guys have, but he plays similar to those players when you watch him skate.
- Alex Newhook has the speed, explosion, burst, agility, skating, foot speed, playmaking, passing, wrist shot power, wrist shot accuracy, slap shot power, slap shot accuracy, vision, offensive awareness, defensive awareness, and hockey IQ to succeed in the NHL. Newhook is going to Boston College for a year before making the jump to the NHL in 2020.
Philadelphia Flyers: Peyton Krebs, C, Kootenay Ice (WHL)
- Philadelphia takes the best player on the board at 11 by drafting Kootenay Ice team captain Peyton Krebs. The 5-11 181 lb Peyton Krebs can play center, left wing, or right wing with his versatility. Krebs was a player I had a top 6 grade on before he tore his achilles.
- Philadelphia has Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier, and Nolan Patrick as their top 3 centers. Krebs is someone who could be NHL ready. In Philadelphia he'd contribute as a line 4 center.
- Peyton Krebs had 17 goals, 37 assists, and 54 points in 2017-2018. Krebs had 19 goals, 49 assists, and 68 points in 2018-2019 as the team captain for the Kootenay Ice before tearing his achilles. Teams believe Krebs has durability concerns due to this along with his defense having ability to be good, but needing work due to how inconsistent his defensive play can be.
Minnesota Wild: Ryan Suzuki, C, Barrie Colts (OHL)
- The Minnesota Wild reload on offense with an impact player at 12. The 6-0 181 lb Barrie Colts center has two years of experience as a line 1 center. He checks out all of the boxes on tape including stick handling, passing, wrist shot power, wrist shot accuracy, slap shot power, slap shot accuracy, agility, vision, offensive awareness, defensive awareness, and hockey IQ. He knows how to avoid contact despite not having the fastest foot speed among skaters in this draft class.
- Ryan Suzuki has good speed, but not great speed like his brother Nick Suzuki. He does not have that elite burst that Jack Hughes has which teams look at as something that allows you to separate yourself from the pack. That may be why Suzuki is being graded lower then most prospects despite being one of the safer players in this draft.
- The top pick in the 2017 OHL Priority Selection had 14 goals, 30 assists, and 44 points in his rookie season on the top line next to Andrei Svechnikov who went second overall in the 2018 NHL Draft. Suzuki had 25 goals, 50 assists, and 75 points in 65 games after getting promoted to alternate captain following the departure of Svechnikov.
Florida Panthers: Matthew Robertson, D, Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)
- The Florida Panthers pick at 13. The 6-4 201 lb Matthew Robertson is a steal at 13 and someone who can help the Panthers out either right now or down the road.
- Matthew Robertson had 7 goals, 17 assists, and 24 points in 2017-2018. Robertson had 7 goals, 26 assists, and 33 points in 2018-2019.
Arizona Coyotes: Raphael Lavoie, C, Halifax Mooseheads
- Arizona grabs a center to develop for the future. The 6-4 198 lb Raphael Lavoie did well during the 2019 Memorial Cup as well as the 2019 NHL Combine. He can play all three spots at forward including center, left wing, or right wing.
- Raphael Lavoie had 30 goals, 33 assists, and 63 points in 2017-2018. Lavoie had 32 goals, 41 assists, and 73 points in 2018-2019.
Montreal Canadiens: Arthur Kaliyev, LW, Hamilton Bulldogs (OHL)
- Montreal gets their replacement to Max Pacioretty here. The 6-2 190 lb Arthur Kaliyev has the wrist shot power, wrist shot accuracy, slap shot power, and slap shot accuracy that you want on tape. He's a natural goal scorer on tape despite playing on a second or third line with the Hamilton Bulldogs as a rookie before breaking out this past season.
- Arthur Kaliyev had 31 goals, 17 assists, and 48 points in 2017-2018. Kaliyev had 51 goals, 51 assists, and 102 points in 2018-2019. Kaliyev is someone who has the potential to be that replacement for Pacioretty if the Canadiens are looking for help at left wing in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.
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