The NHL Entry Draft will be here before you know it.
There are many clubs that are “Tanking for Hughes” and/or “Playing Craapo for Kaapo”. But, there is a lot of talent aside from American centre Jack Hughes and Finnish winger Kaapo Kakko.
In this post, Tony Ferrari, WallMaz and myself look at our top 40 draft prospects. So, let’s dive right in.
1 – 10
- 🇺🇸 (C) Jack Hughes
Jack Hughes is an elite playmaking center who has been on top of most draft rankings this year, attributed to his playmaking and his speed.
His vision and skating ability with the puck is truly elite.
- 🇫🇮 (RW/C) Kaapo Kakko
Kaapo Kakko is a very talented two-way forward who plays a great physical game and has a great shot and great passing.
Ultra skilled winger who’s closed the gap on Jack Hughes throughout the season. Scorer who can take over a game both along the boards and in open space.
- 🇨🇦 (C) Dylan Cozens
(Lethbridge Hurricanes, WHL)
Dylan Cozens, like Kakko has good size. He also has a great shot, jaw-dropping speed and elite offensive upside. His only problem is his consistency.
4. 🇺🇸 (C) Alex Turcotte
High level hockey IQ and the most complete 200 foot player in the draft. A quick and efficient player, always where he needs to be. While he did have an injury earlier this season, he has been on fire since returning.
5. 🇨🇦 (C) Kirby Dach
(Saskatoon Blades, WHL)
Big centre who can pile up assists. Play-maker who uses his size to protect the puck from defenders. Struggles with explosiveness. Maturity should help level out his performances.
- 🇨🇦 (D) Bowen Byram
(Vancouver Giants, WHL)
The top defender in this draft is a breakout machine. High end edge work through the neutral zone creates room for him. Can turn the puck over, but creates more than enough to make up for it.
7. 🇷🇺(RW) Vasili Podkolzin
(SKA-1946 St. Petersburg, MHL)
Vasili Podkolzin is a very good power forward. Unfortunately, hasn’t produced with his club due to low minutes, but when given time at international age level tournaments, he has dominated. He plays a power game and he has a great shot as well. He needs to work on his consistency and his discipline.
8. 🇺🇸 (C) Trevor Zegras
A slight player (6’0, 165lbs) who has excellent puck skills and creates separation with a unique skating style, making him a zone entry wizard. Could end up on the wing at the next level.
9. 🇨🇦 (LW) Peyton Krebs
(Kootenay Ice, WHL)
Small, shifty player but is an elite all-around winger. He has great passing and he always gives 100% effort. He’s been a bright spot on a bad Kootenay team. One problem of his is his shot.
10. 🇺🇸 (LW) Matthew Boldy
Will attend Boston College next season, Boldy is a highly skilled forward who has some of the best hands in the draft. Able to use his body with good speed. Could use some work on his skating, but he doesn’t lack speed, just efficiency.
- 🇺🇸 (D) Cam York
Cam York is a great puck moving defenceman. He has great speed and great passing. He needs to get better in his own end though.
Solid two-way defenceman. Mature game, plays with a purpose. Mobile and efficient with the puck. Covers up mistakes with excellent skating ability.
12. 🇸🇪 (D) Victor Söderström
(Brynäs IF, SHL)
Puck mover who could run an NHL power play tomorrow. Controls the pace of play and has agility while skating which allows him to slow the game down to make the right play. Physical player in the neutral zone, but could use some work on his gap control and positioning when in his own zone.
13. 🇸🇪 (D) Philip Broberg
Philip Broberg is a quality two-way defenceman. He is great in his own end, outstanding speed and has good hockey sense. He needs to ameliorate on his offensive side of his game. The only thing to monitor is that he can be a 4th forward in the offensive zone. While that’s not a bad thing, players who play with him will need to pinch effectively.
14. 🇺🇸 (LW) Arthur Kaliyev
(Hamilton Bulldogs, OHL)
Arthur Kaliyev might have the best shot in the draft. Goal scorer who likes to change the release point with good stick work on his shots. Low motor player who doesn’t engage defensively. Unfortunately, he’s one-dimensional and needs to work on his foot speed.
15. 🇨🇦 (C) Ryan Suzuki
(Barrie Colts, OHL)
Brother of Montreal Canadiens prospect, Nick Suzuki. Like his brother, Ryan Suzuki is an exceptional playmaker. He has amazing passing, positioning and skating. One problem with him is his consistency.
16. 🇺🇸 (RW/C) Cole Caufield
Cole Caufield is a premier scorer. He is an interesting player, he plays a very physical game with his 5’7” 150 pound frame. He has an amazing shot and has admirable speed. Like Alex DeBrincat, before him his problem will be his size.
17. 🇨🇦 (C) Alex Newhook
(Victoria Grizzlies, BCHL)
Fast player who plays at a lower level junior league but dominates. Balanced shoot/pass center who has a high hockey IQ and knows where to be defensively. Another Boston College commit who uses his speed to increase his physicality.
18. 🇨🇦 (RW/C) Raphaël Lavoie
(Halifax Mooseheads, QMJHL)
Raphaël Lavoie is a great scoring winger. He has a good shot, good passing and good speed. One problem with Lavoie is his defensive game.
19. 🇺🇸 (G) Spencer Knight
Spencer Knight is by far the best goalie in this draft. He is very poised for his age not allowing weak goals to rattle him and he is great movement. Like all goalies he is still very raw at the moment.
- 🇨🇦 (D) Matthew Robertson
(Edmonton Oil Kings, WHL)
The smart, safe defender is reliable in his own using his size to separate the puck from opponents without taking himself out of the play. Lacks offensive creativity but makes up for it with intelligent plays and a bomb from the point.
21. 🇨🇦 (LW) Jakob Pelletier
(Moncton Wildcats, QMJHL)
A player that’s often labeled as “clutch”, he has some of the fastest hands in the draft as well as high-end acceleration. A small player (5’9″, 155lbs) who isn’t afraid to battle in front of the net or fish the puck out of the corners, he is a high upside guy.
22. 🇩🇪 (D) Moritz Seider
(Adler Mannheim, DEL)
Playing important minutes for his club in the top German league, the right shot defencemen is a mobile skater at 6’4″. A guy who you can see slotting into a top 4 with ease. High upside.
23. 🇫🇮 (D) Ville Heinola
Ville Heinola is a good puck moving defenceman. He has great hockey IQ, great passing and a good shot. One area he needs to work on is his speed.
24. 🇨🇦 (C) Brett Leason
(Prince Albert Raiders, WHL)
Brett Leason plays a very good power game. It’s very rare to see a player passed over twice in a draft and ranked as a 1st round prospect the next. He has good passing, a good shot and good vision. He struggles with his speed.
25. 🇨🇦 (C) Connor McMichael
(London Knights, OHL)
Complete center prospect who isn’t great at any one thing but he is above average at almost everything. Hard working player who is closer to NHL ready than most prospects at this point, but has a ceiling in the middle six.
26. 🇸🇪 (LW) Nils Höglander
(Rögle BK, SHL)
Nils Höglander is a speedy winger. He has great speed, great passing and a good shot. Darts in and out of traffic and quick hands. Possessing an NHL shot already, he needs to work on consistency more than anything.
27. 🇺🇸 (RW) Bobby Brink
(Sioux City Musketeers, USHL)
Committed to the University of Denver next year, Brink has been rising on draft board all year. He is an offensive powerhouse. At almost a goal per game, he is dominant against his peers in the USHL. One of the best players at the World Juniors, he could continue to rise.
28. 🇷🇺 (LW/RW) Pavel Dorofeyev
(Stalnye Lisy Magnitogorsk, MHL)
Pavel Dorofeyev is a very skilled winger. He has a great shot and had a good two-way game. He needs to get stronger and needs to get faster.
29. 🇸🇪(D) Tobias Björnfot
(Djurgardens IF J20, SHL)
Björnfot is a typical two-way defenceman. He’s not flashy, but he’s someone who you can count on. At times, he’ll be more of a stay-at-home defenceman, but then there are shifts where he’ll control the puck and show off his speed. Based on the situation, he’ll adapt and be the defenceman that you’ll need.
30. 🇨🇦/ 🇺🇸(D) Thomas Harley
(Mississauga Steelheads, OHL)
Thriving with the Steelheads this season, Harley has risen up draft boards this year. one of the youngest players in the draft. Laterally quick on the offensive blue line, he has the ability to dangle defenders and make spectacular plays on offence.
31. 🇨🇦(C) Philip Tomasino
(Niagara Ice Dogs, OHL)
Tomasino has great foot work and is a true play-maker. He uses his foot work to create great opportunities for himself in the offensive zone. He’s someone who a team can depend on as their third line centre. He can be crafty and create scoring chances for top 9 wingers.
32. 🇫🇮(D) Lassi Thomson
(Kelowna Rockets, WHL)
High rising player who has shown noticeable improvement over the last 18 months. Mobile defender who exudes confidence with the puck. High compete level, relentless along the boards and makes the right play consistently.
33. 🇨🇦 (LW) Nolan Foote
(Kelowna Rockets, WHL)
Son of former NHL defenceman, Adam Foote and brother of Tampa Bay Lightning prospect, Callan Foote. Nolan Foote plays a very strong power game. He has excellent puck protection, a great shot and good passing. He will need to improve on his first step and early strides as a skater.
34. 🇨🇦 (RW) Nathan Légaré
(Baie-Comeau Drakkar, QMJHL)
The St-Eustache, Quebec native is a talented 6’0, 196 lbs winger. This season, Légaré has become a goal scoring dynamo for Baie-Comeau. The main issue is that he’s not dependable unless he’s parked himself right in front of the net. But, he does have a powerful wrist shot. In addition, he’s not timid about dropping the gloves.
35. 🇫🇮(D) Anttoni Honka
Agile defender who has good vision and the ability to skate with the puck deep into the zone and make an accurate pass to open up teammates for opportunities. Can run a powerplay and isn’t afraid to use his accurate shot to keep the opposing team honest.
36. 🇨🇦 (LW) Samuel Poulin
(Sherbrooke Phoenix, QMJHL)
Samuel Poulin plays a power forward game. He drives to the net, has good speed and a decent shot. His offensive skills need work if he wants to be a top 6 winger.
37. 🇺🇸(RW) Bryce Brodzinski
(Blaine High School, Minnesota)
Brother of Los Angeles Kings forward, Jonny Brodzinski. Plays for a great high school hockey program in Minnesota. Matt Hendricks, Riley Tufte, Brandon Bochenski and Nick Bjugstad all played for Blaine High School.
Bryce Brodzinski has a powerful shot and positions himself quite well in the offensive zone. Brodzinski is a University of Minnesota commit.
38. 🇸🇪(C/RW) Albin Grewe
(Djurgardens IF J20, SHL)
Up tempo player who is fast, physical and has solid finishing talent at the net. Has been effective in a third line role in the SHL playing with men. Can handle himself in any role. The kind of player that can play up and down a lineup.
39. 🇫🇮 (D) Mikko Kokkonen
Mikko Kokkonen plays a good two-way game. He has great speed and is good in his own zone. He needs to improve upon his offensive skills though.
40. 🇺🇸(D) Ryan Johnson
(Sioux Falls Stampede, USHL)
Smooth skater who is able to out skate a forechecker. Good first pass but doesn’t excel in the offensive zone. Smart player who doesn’t get into trouble in his own end.
stats from eliteprospects.com