2019 NHL Draft: The Draft 101
With the 2019 NHL Draft so close, here are 101 names to keep in mind when following draft weekend coverage.
NHL Draft rankings and mock drafts can be found anywhere. Instead of focusing on where certain players are slotted, let us focus on the names you should know going into Vancouver come June 21st and June 22nd. While it is somewhat sorted from top to bottom, it is not meant to represent where I think these players are going to be drafted or where they rank among their draft eligible peers. From Jack Hughes to Alexander Peresunko, let’s take a look at some important and interesting names to remember come draft weekend.
What more is there to say about the undisputed duo headlining the draft this year? Both of them are incendiary talents on the ice that are going to be making impacts on their respective teams next season.
Hughes, equipped with an speed and incredible edge work, has been the exclusive name to coincide with the 2019 NHL Draft since the 2017 draft. Fans got to see him take over game after game with the USA development team this year as well as hold his own with NHL players at the World Championship.
Kaapo Kakko really took the hockey world by storm this year during international play and with TPS in Liiga. Kakko flashed moments of sheer brilliance and domination during the World Championship. It was there he was really able to take control of the play and protect the puck so well.
Obviously there is a drop off after Hughes and Kakko, but Alex Turcotte is still an exciting to player to watch. Turcotte is not a player that is going to score a lot of goals, but he was dazzle with instincts in working with the other players on the ice. He is not a guy that will shy away from playing a strong forecheck despite a somewhat smaller stature. He will be a top six center in the NHL.
A player that was once possibly thought as a little polarizing to have in the top ten is now consistently being taken by the Sabres at seven in mock drafts. Some even have the Blackhawks taking the Wisconsin commit with the third overall selection. As Caufield inched closer to the USNTDP record for goals he garnered even more credibility. Scouts and fans each started to take notice of the fascinating ability he has to score goals.
It was at the U18 World Championship that Caufield encapsulated all his positives. Deception in the offensive zone followed by a clutch finishing touch allowed him to score 14 goals in seven games.
The best defender in the draft is undoubtedly Bowen Byram with the Vancouver Giants. A terrific two-way defenseman with great vision and playmaking ability from the blue line. He’s an athletic defender who moves with ease up the ice.
Byram really started to pick up steam during the WHL Playoffs when he became the first defenseman to ever lead said playoffs in scoring.
Boldy has been given some flack for the way his stride looks, but is it ever effective. He has size to go along with the speed that often helps him get past defenders and too add to that, used some silky smooth hands to make plays to his linemates Jack Hughes and Cole Caufield. In the one game I was able to see him in person this year, he was dynamic and arguably the best player on the ice.
Each year the Canadian Junior Hockey League and their subset leagues are becoming more popular when it comes to the draft. Alex Newhook is a great example of the kind of talent that has been blooming from the BCHL and other surrounding leagues recently. He is really impressing people with his skating ability, and rightly so. That combined with his quick and deceptive shot, Newhook dominiated the BCHL with 54 goals.
Newhook has received some flak for his somewhat differing play at league level and international level during the year, but he really took control of that storyline when he scored ten points at the U18 World Championship and was tied for the team lead.
Philip Broberg, D, Allsvenskan
He has fluid skating and mobility as well as an ambition and instinct to get the puck out of the zone, but is a very poor decision maker in the offensive zone. That can obviously be tutored and that is why there is first-round promise behind a defenseman that has the tools in skating and transition. He is ranked in the top 20 of almost all major scouting outlets.
Reading a play so well and being able to have a finishing talent to score 50 goals in the OHL brings a lot of credibility to a prospect. Kaliyev has been touted as a natural goal scorer that just somehow finds a way to get into the right spots and beat goaltenders, but has not been cited as bringing much more to the table besides that. There is a lack of attention in the defensive zone and deficient physicality for someone that has a frame at 6’2” and 198 lbs.
It has been noted how Kaliyev camouflages his way into the pace of play to the point where a viewer may miss him for a whole 60 minutes. That is when he seems to be at his deadliest. The way in which he works with his linemates to get him into the spots he needs to be in to pull the trigger may go unnoticed, but at the end of the night he is on the score sheet.
Heinola is a quality mind at the blue line and playmaker at both ends of the ice. He moves very well in tight spaces but does not break away with his speed. His one-on-one defensive game has improved this year and he has added consistency to cutting down angles and using his stick. All while playing the majority of his games at Liiga level as a 17-year-old.
German-born defender Moritz Seider really burst onto the scene this year, but really solidified himself as a first round talent at the World Championship. He played a heavy role for Germany as a fresh 18-year-old where he one of the more exciting players to watch. He breezes by on the rush and will come crashing down when coming back on the back check. All while making smart and concise plays from the blue line. He not only has the potential to be a top pairing defenseman, but could become an elite player in the field.
Spencer Knight is the only goalie that is projected to be a first-round pick. His rebound control is definitely a huge asset for him. He has been praised for his ability to handle the puck. Knight often times goes for the stretch pass, and it is clean and on line. Clump all of that together with his reaction time and quick feet and it is easy to see why Knight is mocked in the first round around the league.
Another two-way defender that has size and speed. Bjornfot is a little more capable in the defensive zone and needs to grow some more as an offensive threat. He has a decent frame that can still be filled out but thinks the game the right way in order to make up for any time he may be beat along the wall.
An overager, Fagemo was passed over in last year’s draft but has quickly proved scouts wrong in his draft+1 year. Granted he did deal with some injuries last season, but it has in no way slowed him down this season. He’s a goal scoring winger that can move well with straight line speed.
Michael Vukojevic is one of those smart, stable defenseman that just doesn’t rack up a lot of highlights. He’s great in transition and played some really important minutes on the penalty kill for the Kitchener Rangers. A quick skater with the intention of moving the puck up ice at all times.
Leevi Aaltonen, RW, Jr. A SM-Liiga
Aaltonen is a tiny winger at 5’9” and 168 lbs but is equipped with skills to succeed. He has top straight line speed, but also bursts out with great acceleration. A ‘high-motor guy’ for sure, as he buzzes around on the penalty kill. Some of that is due to his reach, or lack thereof, but plays the game at a high pace. Good on zone entries and creative when breaking out. Needs to work on his shot, but makes some impressive plays in the offensive zone.
Nikola Pasic, C, SuperElit/SHL
Pasic spent time in SuperElit and the SHL this year, but it is easy to see why he was promoted. He is a tremendous two-way center, but can also play the wing. Knows the lanes to pick when coming back in the defensive zone. He is often the first one making an impact on the forecheck and will convert those turnovers into quality scoring chances. Not the flashiest player offensively when it comes to making plays with his hands, but there have been times where he has crossed over defenders. Plays consistently on both the powerplay and penalty kill.
Sasha Mutala is a dad’s ideal hockey player. He’s a gritty, hard working forward with quickness and a bite to create turnovers. Mental toughness is a huge part of his game. His parents were diagnosed with severe health problems and he has gone on record stating that was something he dealt with all year long.
Western Michigan prospect Ronnie Attard put up unbelievable numbers for a defenseman in the USHL. Recording a USHL record 30 goals and 64 points in 48 games for a defenseman is no small feat. His point production comes as a bit of revenge for the 31 NHL teams that did not select him in the draft the last two years. The 20-year-old won’t go unnoticed this year.
A heavy defender with an offensive mind. Heavy on his shot and legs, that is. He possesses a booming shot from the blue line and is a right handed shot and great mobility. Uses his great reach to his advantage on the back-check. Reliable when transitioning out and breaking into the defensive and offensive zone, respectively.
A high flying forward with the Sioux City Musketeers, Kallionkieli is known for his shooting ability and not much else. He gets creative in the offensive zone in order find space to shoot and has the potential to adapt a physical style to his game given his size at 6’1” and 192 lbs. Holds Finnish and Brazilian citizenship.
Overage defender Pontus Englund put up unbelieveable numbers at the SuperElit level this year and will get his fair crack in Liiga next season. He comes with a hard and effective shot and carries the puck well when coming in the neutral zone or out of the d-zone. Really a hit-or-miss prospect that could pan out with the right development at his side.
Sjolund is a raw defensive prospect that could develop into a stout two-way defender. His strong legs power him up the ice but he has the control to look for plays in the netural zone, even if they don’t always connect. Strong vision in the offensive zone and could develop into a powerplay quarterback.
A Ukrainian-born overager that is unlikely to get drafted, but his hands, accurate shot and quick thinking make him a highlight reel machine.
Here’s the full list...
2019 NHL Draft 101
|Leevi Aaltonen||RW||Jr. A SM-Liiga|
|Martin Hugo Has||D||Liiga|
|Juuso Parssinen||LW||Jr. A SM-Liiga|
Knowing Jason Botterill’s previous drafts, I’m sure there is a Swedish or Finnish defenseman that no one has ever heard of that he will be taking in the third round that is not on this list, but hopefully it helps.
If you have any questions about the players on the list feel free to reach out to me on Twitter, @maxwellmarko.