2019 NHL Entry Draft Recap- Round 1

My fellow Hockey fans, we are now officially in phase one of the NHL offseason! Tonight begins round one of the 2019 NHL entry draft. This is considered to be one of the most deepest draft classes in recent memory highlighted by superstar prospects in American born center Jack Hughes & Finnish winger Kappo Kakko. Each of these two prospects are capable of turning around a teams misfortunes and help speed up the process of becoming a Stanley Cup contender again. Jack Hughes is expected to be your prototypical number one center who can create plays, score goals, pass, defend, and can overall make his teammates better players. Kappo Kakko on the other hand really showed how capable he can be as a superstar goal scorer at the National Hockey League level as he showcased his abilities at the IIHF 2019 World Championships. While these two are expected to be generational and franchise changing players, this draft class also shows there are other players that have excellent abilities that could help a franchise improve their depth in a big way. Let’s take a look at the draft results:

Draft Results:

1. Devils – Jack Hughes, USNTDP

2. Rangers – Kaapo Kakko, TPS (Finland)

3. BLACKHAWKS – Kirby Dach, Saskatoon (WHL)

4. Avalanche (via Senators) – Bowen Byram, Vancouver (WHL)

5. Kings – Alex Turcotte, USNTDP

6. Red Wings – Moritz Seider, Adler Mannheim (Germany)

7. Sabres – Dylan Cozens, Lethbridge (WHL)

8. Oilers – Philip Broberg, AIK (Sweden)

9. Ducks – Trevor Zegras, USNTDP

10. Canucks – Vasili Podkolzin, SKA (Russia)

11. Coyotes (via Flyers) – Victor Söderström, Brynäs IF (Sweden)

12. Wild – Matthew Boldy, USNTDP

13. Panthers – Spencer Knight, USNTDP

14. Flyers (via Coyotes) – Cam York, USNTDP

15. Canadiens – Cole Caufield, USNTDP

16. Avalanche – Alex Newhook, Victoria (BCHL)

17. Golden Knights – Peyton Krebs, Kootenay (WHL)

18. Stars – Thomas Harley, Mississauga (OHL)

19. Senators (via Blue Jackets) – Lassi Thomson, Kelowna (WHL)

20. Jets (via Rangers) – Ville Heinola, Lukko (Finland)

21. Penguins – Samuel Poulin, Sherbrooke (QMJHL)

22. Kings (via Maple Leafs) – Tobias Bjornfot, Djurgårdens IF (Sweden)

23. Islanders – Simon Holmstrom, HV71 (Sweden)

24. Predators – Philip Tomasino, Niagara (OHL)

25. Capitals – Connor McMichael, London (OHL)

26. Flames – Jakob Pelletier, Moncton (QMJHL)

27. Lightning – Nolan Foote, Kelowna (WHL)

28. Hurricanes – Ryan Suzuki, Barrie (OHL)

29. Ducks (via Sabres/Sharks) – Brayden Tracey, Moose Jaw (WHL)

30. Bruins – John Beecher, USNTDP

31. Sabres (via Blues) – Ryan Johnson, Sioux Falls (USHL)

 

Analysis:

This draft class as stated earlier featured generational stars and a lot of depth. Obviously Jack Hughes & Kappo Kakko will change the New Jersey Devils & New York Rangers each respectively in a HUGE way. It really could’ve went either way who would’ve went first or second. It just depended on what each team’s plans were. The Devils are looking to build their team with Center ice depth down the middle which has been the trend of teams that have won the Stanley Cup in recent memory. It definitely factored into them drafting Hughes number one. The Rangers on the other hand are looking to speed up their rebuild a little bit faster by adding a more polished product while Hughes may take a year to develop despite his higher overall talent ceiling. The fact that Kaako is more “NHL ready” falls in line with the Rangers plans of speeding up the rebuilding process which certainly factored into their decision. Tonight’s draft also featured a record-setting eight American first-round draft picks. Obviously, tonight was a great night for USA hockey overall and the national development program. There were some other picks within this round I really liked and one that shocked me being drafted highest:

Chicago Blackhawks: I really like the Blackhawks drafting Kirby Dach. Other scouts have made comparisons of his game with Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf. He has size like him, can score, and is a very great play maker. Dach also has the benefit of learning how to play a full 200 foot game in the NHL from a great center like Jonathan Toews.

Colorado Avalanche– drafting Bowen Byram is a great choice as he has shown so far in his development he could possibly play in the NHL very soon with comparisons to a young Duncan Keith. He can potentially add a lot more to the Avalanche’s already impressive d-core with fellow youngster Cale Makar.

Buffalo Sabres- The Sabres pick of Dylan Cozens is a pick I’m a big fan of. His game reminds me a lot of a young Ryan Kessler. Like Kessler, he plays a full 200 foot game, plays with a tough competitive edge, and also has a bit of a scoring capability like Kessler. He definitely has the potential of being a Selke trophy nominee or winner

Detroit Red Wings- the Wings pick of German defenseman Moritz Seider at #6 was a big shock amongst other scouts and GMs as he wasn’t projected to be selected that high. Maybe Steve Yzerman knows something we don’t? Yzerman when he was a consultant with the Lightning had a lot of time to travel and scout a lot of these young players. Time will tell how this pick works out

Washington Capitals: The Capitals with the 25th pick drafted London Knights Center Connor McMichael. From watching highlights, he really seems like he has a scoring touch with a nose for the net. McMichael has a nice release and is capable of shooting and scoring from anywhere. He also is very versatile and can play on the wing as well as a Center.

 

What’s Next/Important Dates:

NHL Free Agent interview period- begins this Sunday June 23rd

2019-2020 Schedule Release: June 25th

Restricted Free Agent Qualifying Offers due: June 25th

Restricted Free Agent contact period: June 26th

1st Buyout Period ends: June 26th @ 5pm

NHL Free Agency- begins July 1st

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