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NHL Mock Draft Part Two: Selections 6-10

Part one is done, which looked at my prediction of the top-five National Hockey League entry draft selections, which means we are going through picks 6-10 for part two!

 

In this part I predict a trade, but other than that it is a straightforward prediction. For a quick refresher, Kappo Kakko went first, Jack Hughes went second, Cole Caufield at third, Alex Turcotte went fourth and Bowen Byram went fifth. 

 

Sixth Overall Pick: Detroit Red Wings trade back!

A trade kicks off part two, and it is a small one, but with a big impact. The Red Wings, I believe, are eyeing a prospect that should be available at 10th overall, owned by the Vancouver Canucks, and so they swap places, with Vancouver also eating Danny DeKeyser’s contract. Canucks fans have always complained about getting screwed over by the draft lottery, and so the team decides it’s time to move up, at the cost of DeKeyser’s hefty contract. Trade is Detroit’s 2019 sixth overall pick to Vancouver in exchange for the 10th overall pick, and Danny DeKeyser. So, here’s the pick:

 

Sixth Overall Pick: Vancouver Canucks select Trevor Zegras, Center/Both Wings, USNTDP

Zegras is like Alex Turcotte and Bowen Byram (who were selected in part one) in which he could arguably be the third overall pick. But with the Caufield selection at three, and Turcotte and Byram ultimately falling, Zegras is left available for the taking. (Why Detroit wouldn’t take him here will be explained when pick 10 rolls around).

For Vancouver, they have been dying to select a versatile, sure-fire future elite forward on draft day for a while. I know what you’re thinking, what about Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser and Bo Horvat? Pettersson was selected back in 2016, and needed a season before making the jump and, ultimately, becoming their best player. Boeser was everything but a sure-fire deal, being taken at 23rd overall in 2015. Horvat was drafted in 2013, at the tail end of the top 10 (ninth overall) and also wasn’t exactly a sure thing.

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So, it’s been a few years and the Canucks want more, and Zegras is probably the best forward (aside from Pettersson) that they have selected in the draft, and whether he ends up more vital to the team than Horvat and Boeser will be found out within a few years.

Zegras piled up 14 goals and 26 assists (40 points) in 27 games with the USNTDP juniors. The fact that he didn’t play up with Turcotte and Jack Hughes tells me he has about 1-2 years before making the jump to the NHL, but his playmaking ability is outstanding. He proved that when he played for the US National U-18 team for 60 games, where he put up 26 goals and 61 assists (87 points).

Next season, like with Caufield and Turcotte, he is committed to joining an NCAA club, and for him it’s Boston University. BU is well known in the hockey community thanks to Jack Eichel, Charlie McAvoy and Charlie Coyle, just to name a few, so I feel that this is a big step in the right direction for Zegras.

Next Year’s Role: NCAA minutes, likely won’t join the NHL club at any point next season, unless he dominates with BU.

 

Seventh Overall Pick: Buffalo Sabres select Dylan Cozens, Center/Right Wing, Lethbridge Hurricanes, WHL

This is an excellent selection for the Sabres. But then again, if any of the aforementioned players were available here, and the Sabres picked them, it would be excellent. That’s just how strong the top-10 prospects are in this class.

Playing in the WHL last season with Lethbridge, Cozens put up 34 goals and 50 assists (84 points) in 68 games, along with four goals and four assists (eight points) in seven playoff games. Cozens is leading the next wave of power forwards, that is currently led by Mark Stone of the Vegas Golden Knights.

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Cozens is well balanced, with a good shot and good vision. But his defensive abilities, paired with his well-balanced scoring touch, prompted LastWordOnHockey’s Ben Kerr to believe he could be a first line center with a chance at winning the Selke Trophy. That’s big praise from a guy who does several scouting reports on all different players every year. Cozens could make the jump to the NHL off of a strong camp, but the chances are he needs another year or so to advance to the next level. 

Next Year’s Role: WHL time with Lethbridge, likely won’t join the club late in the season, but it is possible.

 

Eighth Overall Pick: Edmonton Oilers select Matthew Boldy, Left Wing, USNTDP


Why Matthew Boldy here? I know it’s a little off the board, and he is not the best player available. But that by no means says that he is not a good player. Boldy has good size (6’2”, 192 pounds), and he had a very good season with the USNTDP Juniors club. He racked up 17 goals and 26 assists (43 points) in 28 games, adding another 33 goals and 48 assists (81 points) in 64 games with the US National U-18 team. He might not be the best skater in the draft by any means, but as fellow Puck77 contributor Tony Ferrari points out, with some adjustment in his stride as well as a better first step and in general acceleration, he could wind up being one of the best players in the draft.

Now, when we head on over to Edmonton’s roster, we see they have a strong center core, both young and experienced (Connor McDavid, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jujhar Khaira in the NHL, Ryan McLeod, Cooper Marody in their pool) as well as a solid bunch of right wingers with promise (Leon Draisaitl, Jesse Puljujarvi in NHL, Kailer Yamamoto, Kirill Maksimov, Ostap Mafin in pool), as well as defenseman (Oscar Klefbom, Darnell Nurse in NHL, Evan Bouchard, Dmitri Samorukov, Ethan Bear in pool).

As for left wings, they have Milan Lucic and Tobias Rieder on the NHL club, and Tyler Benson in their pool. That is a very weak core, relative to their other positions (outside of goaltending), and while some players may go and new players will come in within the time that Boldy will be in the juniors/minors developing, they should still get a headstart in building up that very weak left wing.

Boldy is a safer pick than some guys who may have higher upside, but regardless, he fills a pretty large need the Oilers have. This is not that much of a reach either, it’s just that he was in the shadows of the earlier USNTDP picks and is, in my opinion, overlooked by the general fan. I believe this would be a great selection for Edmonton. He has committed to Boston College (NCAA) next season, where he will not be in anyone’s shadow.

Next Year’s Role: NCAA minutes, no chance he joins the Oilers late in season barring major injuries and/or he dominates in Boston College.

 

9th Overall Pick: Anaheim selects Kirby Dach, Center, Saskatoon Blades, WHL

Dach going to the Ducks is a match made in heaven. We all know the frustrating in-your-face, kind of dirty style of play that the Ducks utilize. While Dach isn’t necessarily dirty, he is a big guy, standing at 6’4, 198 pounds, and can very easily use that frame to fit the bill of a Duck.

The Ducks core is aging, and their prospect pool is very weak. They go best player available at this selection, and it really couldn’t be better for Anaheim. His size isn’t the only thing that is enticing.

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Dach had 25 goals and 48 assists (73 points) in 62 games played with Saskatoon, as well as five goals and three assists (eight points) in 10 postseason games played. He did not play any international games this past season with Canada, which is why he “dropped” to ninth (he ranges anywhere from third to 13th in this class) but he is still an intriguing prospect.

The knock on Dach is three things: 1) His acceleration is not good enough to translate to the NHL at this moment and he needs to really improve in that area to be a successful player at the next level. 2) He tends to keep his head down when skating with the puck, and despite his size, has gotten destroyed by hits on several occasions. 3) Finally, a lot of experts and fellow contributors on the site say that he does not have a very high ceiling (potential), but does have a very good skill set, or in other words, a high floor.

Next Year’s Role: Sticks with Saskatoon in the WHL all season, does not join NHL club at the end of Juniors.

 

10th Overall Pick: Detroit Red Wings (via Vancouver) selects Victor Soderstrom, Right-Handed Defenseman, Brynas IF, SHL

First off, right handed defenseman are a rare breed, and whenever you have a chance to grab one through the draft in the first round (especially at tenth overall), you take that guy.

In Detroit’s case, they had the sixth overall pick, but I would consider it a reach if they took Soderstrom there, because of all the talented forwards. You’re probably thinking, why would Detroit, a rebuilding team, trade back when they had talented forwards to choose from? Because they have young NHL centers in Dylan Larkin and Michael Rasmussen, as well as young NHL wingers in Anthony Mantha, Andreas Athanasiou, and Tyler Bertuzzi. Not to mention, forward prospects in Taro Hirose, Filip Zadina, and Joseph Veleno.

How about young NHL defenseman, that are right handed? Madison Bowey in the NHL, and Filip Hronek as a prospect. Most of their defensive prospects are left handed, including their top D prospects in Jared McIsaac and Dennis Cholowski. So Detroit does not necessarily need forwards, and they do need a right handed defenseman, who happens to be (arguably) the second best D-man in the draft class, while also off-loading a bad contract.

Soderstrom started the season with Brynas IF’s junior team in the U-20 division, where he played 14 games, with one goal and seven assists (eight points). When he made the jump to the SHL, which is Sweden’s version of the NHL, he produced just four goals and three assists (seven points) in 44 games, with a not-so-good -11 +/-. But, the fact that he was constantly relied on and kept at the highest level as an 18-year-old against men says something.

Playing for Sweden at the World Junior Championships, he recorded one assist in four games, which was also underwhelming production. But what makes him arguably the best defenseman available after Byram is taken, is his well-rounded skill set. He is a very good skater, and has an ability to get shots on net through traffic consistently. He is good transitionally, with the IQ to know when to join the rush and attack, and when to stick back.

Despite being 5’11, 182 pounds, he does a good job using his body to win battles in front of the net or in the corners. His floor, offensively, is really low at the moment, but he is playing against men and not kids in his age group, so that sets him back a step. But he has the skating and shooting ability to give him a base in which NHL coaches can build upon once he makes the jump.

As he bulks up, and gets stronger, the more battles he will win along the boards and in front of the net defensively, and playing against men actually boosts his ceiling for his defensive game. If he’s finding success this early with his size in the SHL (and he bulks up), he could be a very reliable defenseman in his own end.

Next Year’s Role: Likely stays in Sweden. I don’t see him coming to North America to play AHL hockey, or CHL hockey. It’s best he stays in Europe one more year against tough competition to build up on his defensive game.

 

All stats via Elite Prospects

Rankings inspired by other contributors on Puck77

Featured Image Photo Credit: Nikos Michals

Puck77’s Top NHL Draft Prospects – May Edition

WallMaz, Tony Ferrari and myself have teamed up once again to provide you with Puck77’s Top 31 NHL Draft Prospects. Here is our May Edition. 

#1 – Jack Hughes, American, Centre, USNTDP

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. He has the ability to take over games. The only drawback is his physical play.

Pro Comparison – Patrick Kane

April Ranking – 1, March Ranking – 1

#2 – Kaapo Kakko, Finnish, Right Wing, TPS – Liiga

The Finnish stud is the most NHL ready player and should step into stardom immediately. With the finishing ability to make his outstanding playmaking ability a secondary weapon, Kakko is the complete package and far from a consolation prize with the second pick in the draft. Kakko will join team Finland at the IIHF Men’s World Hockey Championships. This will be a possible chance to compare both Hughes and Kakko against NHLers.

Pro Comparison – Leon Draisaitl

April Ranking – 2, March Ranking – 2

#3 – Alex Turcotte, American, Centre, University of Wisconsin/USNTDP

Possibly the top player in the second tier of players, he is a complete 200-foot player with high end offensive ability. A player who can be either the adept passer and playmaker or the hard nosed finisher, Turcotte can fit into any line and play any style of game.

Pro Comparison – Joe Pavelski

April Ranking – 3, March Ranking – 4

#4 – Bowen Byram, Canadian, Left Defense, Vancouver – WHL

The clear top blue-liner in this draft, he is a smooth skater and transitional dynamo. Excellent edge work in the defensive zone and a smart stick. He’s smart enough to know when to pinch and when to stay but has the ability to recover when a rare mistake is made. Top pair potential with all situation talent.

Pro Comparison – Matt Dumba

April Ranking – 5, March Ranking – 6

#5 – Vasili Podkolzin, Russian, Right Wing, SKA-1946 St. Petersburg – MHL

The Russian power forward has been much maligned. His inconsistent play and lack of high end production in the second tier league of the VHL has soured scouts. An up-and-down U18 World Championships didn’t help matters as international play had been his shining moment in the past. Excellent player with a ton of tools.

Pro Comparison – Max Domi

April Ranking – 9, March Ranking – 7

#6 – Trevor Zegras, American, Centre, Boston University/USNTDP

An absolute fire-cracker type player. Active at both ends of the ice, Zegras is excellent at blocking passing lanes and intercepting passes. His ability in the offensive zone is constantly pressuring and bouncing off of opposing players to create space and finds the open areas. An active player with a high motor and excellent finishing ability.

Pro Comparison – Mikael Granlund

April Ranking – 7, March Ranking – 8

#7 – Dylan Cozens, Canadian, Right Wing/Centre, Lethbridge – WHL

Size and speed to burn, Cozens has fallen down in the second tier of players as his play has been inconsistent and others have impressed as Cozens play began to level off. A solid playmaker and a heavy shot allow him to be a dual threat in the offensive zone.

Pro Comparison – Jonathan Toews

April Ranking – 4, March Ranking – 3

#8 – Kirby Dach, Canadian, Centre, Saskatoon – WHL

Top-end passer and playmaker. Inconsistency is an issue at times. He plays at a slower pace and doesn’t have an explosive stride leading to a bit of floating. His high IQ and great vision help make up for the flaws. Does a lot of little things right.

Pro Comparison – Ryan Getzlaf

April Ranking – 6, March Ranking – 5

#9 – Matthew Boldy, American, Left Wing, Boston College/USNTDP

Versatile forward that can compliment any teammates he’s played with. He can create chances for his teammates and himself. He has the skill set to play in the top six and adapt to whatever the situation call for.

Pro Comparison – Kyle Connor

April Ranking – 10, March Ranking – 10

#10 – Cole Caufield, American, Right Wing, University of Wisconsin/USNTDP

If you want goals, you’ve found you man. He may be small (5’6″, 162lbs) but the natural goal scoring ability can’t be overlooked. He’s worked himself into the end of the second tier of players (ranked 3-11) who could go at any draft position in the top 11. If a team is willing to overlook his diminutive stature, the U18 World Championship MVP could be a 30-goal scorer early in his career.

Pro Comparison – Alex DeBrincat 

April Ranking – 12, March Ranking – 16

#11 – Peyton Krebs, Canadian, Centre/Left Wing, Kootenay/Winnipeg – WHL

The small forward plays a big game. His motor never stops, often being the hardest worker on the ice. A blend of speed and skill with a work ethic as if he’s trying to make the team every single night.

Pro Comparison – Teuvo Teravainen

April Ranking – 8, March Ranking – 9

#12 – Victor Söderström, Swedish, Right Defense, Brynas IF – SHL

Possibly the most prototypical modern day defensemen in the draft, he steps up in the neutral zone to cut the play off before entering the offensive zone. Has the skill to run an NHL power play immediately. Defensive zone coverage and stopping the cycle could both use improvement.

Pro Comparison – Will Butcher

April Ranking – 11, March Ranking – 12

#13 – Alex Newhook, Canadian, Centre, Boston College/Victoria – BCHL

Playing in the BCHL, he has torn the league to shreds. After a slow start his season has exploded over the last half of the season. His U18 World Championship performance solidified his standing high in the first round and proved that he could produce against top competition in his age group.

Pro Comparison – David Krejci

April Ranking – 18, March Ranking – 17

#14 – Cam York, American, Left Defense, University of Michigan/USNTDP

Cam York is a great puck moving defenseman. He has great speed and great passing. He also good in all three zones. Cam York needs to work on being more physical and his shot could stand to be more accurate.

Pro Comparison – Ryan Ellis

April Ranking – 13, March Ranking – 11

#15 – Arthur Kaliyev, American, Left Wing, Hamilton – OHL

A one-trick pony who owns a pretty fantastic trick. A goal scorer who does just that. With 50 goals in his draft year, the talent can’t be ignored. A boom-or-bust prospect who could compete for goal scoring titles of all works out.

Pro Comparison – Zach Parise

April Ranking – 16, March Ranking – 14

#16 – Bobby Brink, American, Right Wing, USNTDP

The winger has dominated at every turn this year. Excelling with the USA U18 team and fitting in well with all the high end talent the team possessed. A bit of a sloppy skater, he’s found a way to get to the dangerous areas and produce.

Pro Comparison – Tomas Tatar

April Ranking – 29, March Ranking – 27

#17 – Ville Heinola, Finnish, Left Defense, Lukko – Liiga

Ville Heinola is a good puck moving defenseman. He has great hockey IQ, great passing and a good shot. He’s good in all three zones. But, he does need to work on his skating as he is a tad slow and needs to get stronger.

Pro Comparison – Jake Gardiner

April Ranking – 25, March Ranking – 23

#18 – Philip Broberg, Swedish, Left Defense, AIK – Allsvenskan

High end speed and skill, Broberg is essentially a fourth forward when his team is in the offensive zone. Uses his skating on the defensive side of the puck but doesn’t consistently drive defensive results. Received U18 tournament all-star status on the back of leading Sweden to gold.

Pro Comparison – Adam Larsson

April Ranking – 15, March Ranking – 13

#19 – Moritz Seider, German, Right Defense, Adler Mannheim – DEL

The German defender playing in the top league of his home country, Seider could be a steal for a team drafting in the early 20s. A 6’4″, mobile defender who is a right shot could have scouts, coaches and management salivating at the chance of drafting him.

Pro Comparison – Marc-Edouard Vlasic

April Ranking – 21, March Ranking – 22

#20 – Ryan Suzuki, Canadian, Centre, Barrie – OHL

Offensively, Suzuki’s playmaking is up there with the best in the draft. A high motor player who doesn’t get outworked often. Has a better back-hand pass than most have forehand passes. His defensive game lacks consistency in results but not effort.

Pro Comparison – Mathew Barzal

April Ranking – 14, March Ranking – 15

#21 – Thomas Harley, Canadian, Left Defense, Mississauga – OHL

The divisive defender has been ranked anywhere from early teens to out of the first round. His offensive game and transition ability is without question but his play in his own end has come into question. His puck skills are tantalizing and if a team falls in love with the skill set, he could go just outside the top 10.

Pro Comparison – Duncan Keith

April Ranking – 20, March Ranking – 30

#22 – Spencer Knight, American, Goalie, Boston College/USNTDP

Spencer Knight is by far the best goalie in this draft. He is very poised for his age. He doesn’t allow weak goals. Knight doesn’t get rattled and he’s got great movement. 

Pro Comparison – Corey Crawford

April Ranking – 19, March Ranking – 19

#23 – Raphaël Lavoie, Canadian, Centre, Halifax – QMJHL

Heavy shot with good accuracy, Lavoie is a large player at 6’4″ almost 200 lbs and he uses his size in the corners and in front of the net well. His skating needs a bit of work.

Pro Comparison – Kevin Hayes

April Ranking – 17, March Ranking – 18

#24 – Nils Höglander, Swedish, Left Wing, Rögle BK – SHL

The 5’9″ winger is as compact as they come. Built like a truck, Hoglander is agile and quick in and out of areas constantly feeling his feet moving. His shot is plus-plus, but his motor could be more consistent.

Pro Comparison – Brendan Gallagher

April Ranking – 28, March Ranking – 26

#25 – Philip Tomasino, Canadian, Centre, Niagara – OHL

Philip Tomasino is an excellent skater. He uses his speed on both offense and defense. He also has a good shot and has great vision, which allows for him to make great passes. He is a very high energy player, never giving up on plays. He needs to work on getting better in the defensive end.

Pro Comparison – Elias Lindholm

April Ranking – 27, March Ranking – 31

#26 – Jakob Pelletier, Canadian, Left Wing, Moncton – QMJHL

The undersized winger with high compete level has the ability to stick handle in a phone booth. He revels playing in the hard areas of the ice and battling with bigger players.

Pro Comparison – Jon Marchessault

April Ranking – 22, March Ranking – 21

#27 – Pavel Dorofeyev, Russian, Left Wing/Right Wing, Stalnye Lisy Magnitogorsk – MHL

Having split time between the KHL and MHL (Russian junior league) this season, Dorofeyev is a talented winger who has held his own in limited ice time in the KHL and dominated the MHL. The two way winger is equal parts shoot/pass and can play whichever role needed on his line.

Pro Comparison – David Pastrnak

April Ranking – 32, March Ranking – 38

#28 – Matthew Robertson, Canadian, Left Defense, Edmonton – WHL

The defesce first defensemen is one of the smartest defenders in the draft. Rarely takes himself out of the play when defending a rush and is reliable down low. His big shot is his one offensive weapon as he lacks creativity in the offensive zone.

Pro Comparison – Esa Lindell

April Ranking – 23, March Ranking – 20

#29 – Connor McMichael, Canadian, Centre, London – OHL

Connor McMichael is a speedy centre. He has phenomenal speed, a good shot and good passing. He could stand to work on his puck protection and getting stronger.

Pro Comparison – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

April Ranking – 26, March Ranking – 25

#30 – Albin Grewe, Swedish, Right Wing/Left Wing, Djurgardens IF J20 – SuperElit

The fast paced winger likes to cause havoc all over the ice. Whether he’s is using his body to engage the opponent or getting to the high danger areas for scoring chances he is noticeable almost every shift. He has the ability to play any role with high energy, never taking a shift off.

Pro Comparison – Brad Marchand

April Ranking – 34, March Ranking – 38

#31 – Lassi Thomson, Finnish, Right Defense, Kelowna – WHL

Thomson is a mobile defenseman who enjoys the puck on his stick. He is a battler when defending in his own zone and consistently makes the smart first pass. 

Pro Comparison – Jared Spurgeon

April Ranking – 35, March Ranking – 32

player profiles – hockey-reference.com

Chicago Blackhawks

Chicago Blackhawks: Who Will Bowman Grab In The Draft?

On April 9th, the Chicago Blackhawks were awarded the 3rd overall pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.

At 7:18 at night in Chicago, Illinois the draft lottery results were leaked. The Nordic broadcasting company Viasat accidentally leaked the top three.

At the time, myself and many others thought it was a fake image. It ended up being real.

The three teams who won the draft lottery were the New Jersey Devils, who went from the third position to first, the New York Rangers, who went from the sixth position to second, and the Chicago Blackhawks, who went from 12th position to third.

As many have said, this is Chicago’s gift for not tanking and being competitive. That being said, who are the most intriguing options at third overall?

Vasili Podkolzin

Podkolzin is a Russian born winger. He has played for SKA St. Petersburg (KHL), SKA-Neva St. Petersburg (VHL) and SKA-1946 St. Petersburg (MHL).

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In the KHL, he has totaled three games played and has recorded zero points in those games. He averaged around 3:30 of ice time per game. It is hard to make an impact especially as a young player with little to no ice time.

In the VHL, he has played 14 games and has recorded two goals and three assists. He also had two goals and one assist in eight playoff games. SKA-Neva was the best team in the VHL, so again like in the KHL it is hard for a young player to find ice time. He averaged just 11:47 of ice time per game.

He played better in the MHL, recording six goals and two assists for eight points in 12 games. He also posted two goals and an assist in three games in the playoffs. He averaged 16:03 of ice time per game. His ice time was much higher than his ice time in the VHL and the KHL. The main reason behind that is that the MHL is the junior hockey league in Russia, so Podkolzin wasn’t competing with veterans who are more developed than he is. 

Podkolzin, really made his name heard in international competitions. The main tournament where he started generating hype was the Hlinka-Gretzky cup. Through 25 international games (U18 and U20) with Russia he has put up 19 goals and 12 assists.

Point totals do not always tell the full story. I believe that’s the case with Podkolzin. He is a power winger and has a good frame at 6’1″ and 190 pounds. He plays hard and never gives up. He has good speed, a great shot and insane hands. He can play 5 on 5, on the penalty kill and on the power play.

As you can see in this clip, Podkolzin, uses his speed and his hands to get around the defenseman. He was relentless and was able to get to the net and score a goal.

I do have some concerns with Podkolzin. He has struggled to put up the point totals with the three clubs he has played with. He has two years left on his KHL contract which means he might not come over to the NHL for at least two years. I’m also a bit concerned about his discipline.

I may be with the minority but after watching some film on Podkolzin, but I would be happy selecting him #3 in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft if he comes to the NHL right away.

Alex Turcotte

Turcotte is a center from the United States. He has played with the USNTDP Juniors in the USHL and the US National U18 Team in the USDP. He also committed to the University of Wisconsin for next year.

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In the USHL, he has played in 16 games and has scored 12 goals while assisting on 22 more. That is the best points per game average on the USNTDP team. That beats out projected #1 pick Jack Hughes by 0.125 points.

In the USDP, Turcotte, has put up 23 goals and got helpers on 30 more in 30 total games. The only player who has a better points per game average is Jack Hughes who has 86 points in 41 total games. He beats Turcotte out by about 0.35 points per game.

Turcotte missed a good portion of the season due to an injury. Because of this injury we did not get to see him play in many international tournaments such as the Ivan-Hlinka cup and the U18 World Juniors.

Like Podkolzin, point totals do not tell the full story. Turcotte has excellent skating. He is relentless and never gives up. He is able to make excellent passes and has a good shot. The best part of his game might be his defensive game. Again like Podkolzin, Turcotte is someone you want on the ice whether that be on the power play or the penalty kill.

As you can see in this clip Turcotte sees Patrick Moynihan coming from his right. He dekes around the defenseman and places the puck right on Moynihan’s stick for the goal.

Like all young players Alex Turcotte has some things he needs to work on. He needs to bulk up. Currently he is listed at 5’11” and 194 pounds. He also needs to make some small improvements to his game. He has some injury concerns from the lower-body injury he suffered earlier this season.

I would love to see Alex Turcotte get picked #3 in the NHL Entry Draft. Not to mention he is from Illinois and could possibly play for his hometown team. I think he is what the Blackhawks need, and could be great for years to come.

Dylan Cozens

Cozens is a Canadian center/winger. He has played with the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the Western Hockey League (WHL).

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This season, Cozens, has totaled 34 goals and 50 assists in 68 games. In terms of U18 players in the WHL he ranked first in assists (50) and points (84). He also ranks second in terms of goals (34).

He has also been shown to be a clutch performer. This year in the WHL playoffs he totaled four goals and four assists in seven playoff games.

Recently, Cozens, has been named to the U18 Canadian World Championship team. He also got the “A”, so he will be serving as an alternate captain.

Cozens plays with a lot of speed and agility which is great for his size of 6’3″ and 185 pounds. He has an excellent shot as well as soft hands. Cozens also has great vision. Maybe the best part of his game is his 200-foot game. He works hard in all three zones, creating turnovers, anticipating plays and has a quick stick. He is able to play in every situation ranging from the penalty kill to the power play.

As you can see in this video he is able to use his speed and his hands to get around the defenseman. He also make a smart choice to shoot to his right otherwise the opposing defenseman would have likely blocked it.

He is a great all-around player, so he does not have much to work on. He may need to work on his offensive abilities a little more. Another small concern I have with him is his consistency, but that can be fixed with time.

Overall, I would again be very happy if the Chicago Blackhawks took, Cozens, 3rd overall in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.

Bowen Byram

Byram is a Canadian defenseman currently playing with the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League (WHL).

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This season, Byram, has scored 26 goals and 45 assists in 67 games. He leads all WHL defenseman in goals (26). He leads all U18 defenseman in goals (26), assists (45) and points (71).

He has been on another level in the WHL playoffs this year. He ranks second among all skaters in points (12) and leads all defensemen in assists (nine) in nine games played.

In international competition this year, Byram, has put up one goal and three assists in five games. After the WHL playoffs he will likely join the U18 Canadian team at the world championships.

Byram plays a strong two way game. He is an excellent skater and has great agility. Byram, also has exceptional passing and a great shot. He also doesn’t let much get by him. He plays a good physical game, thanks to his frame 6’2″ 190 pounds, and a good stick. These abilities allow him to play in all situations like the penalty kill, 5-on-5 and the power play.

As you can see in this video, Byram, uses his speed to get up in the play and score two goals. He also gets the puck where it needs to be and that leads to many of these goals.

Byram does have some things to work on. He needs to work on his positioning, often relying on his speed to get back. Also like all young defenseman they often need a few years to develop to work on a few small things.

The Chicago Blackhawks have many great young defensemen including: Adam Boqvist, Henri Jokiharju, Ian Mitchell and Nicolas Beaudin but they don’t have a defenseman like Byram. I would not mind to see Bowen Byram picked 3rd overall in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.

Trevor Zegras

Zegras is a American center. He has played with the USNTDP Juniors in the USHL and the US National U18 Team in the USDP. He is committed to Boston University for next year.

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In the USHL, Zegras, has recorded 14 goals and 26 assists in 27 games. That puts him fourth on the team in points only trailing Jack Hughes, Matthew Boldy and Cole Caufield.

In the USDP, he has score 26 goals and 52 assists in 54 games. That puts him second on the team only behind projected #1 overall pick, Jack Hughes.

Along with many other USDP players, Zegras, was recently named to the U18 United States World Championship team.

Zegras has great skating, highlighted by his amazing first step. Zegras has great hand-eye coordination allowing him to deke efficiently. He has great passing and a good shot as well. Perhaps his best area of play is in the defensive zone. He plays a strong two-way game and is able to force turnovers with his quick stick and his great vision.

As you can see in this clip, Zegras, lays a soft pass to Cole Caufield. In the process of doing so, Zegras, grabs the attention of the three defending players. He then is able to get to the front of the net and sets a screen. Caufield is able to convert thanks to that play by Zegras.

Zegras is a great two-way center but he still has to work on a few parts of his game. He needs to bulk up for the NHL. He is currently 6’0″ and 168 pounds. Zegras will need to play along the boards a little bit more to be able to utilize his skill set even more. He will need some time to develop, but if you are patient he will be worth it.

I could see Zegras being a great fit with the Chicago Blackhawks. They need a forward at the top of their farm system and Zegras could be that all-around player they need at #3 at the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.

The Future of The Blackhawks

This pick means a lot to the future of the Chicago Blackhawks. We currently do not have that top forward prospect. We could also stand to use an immediate impact defenseman like Byram. I think no matter where you go at this spot you should get a star player who will change the franchise for years to come.

If I were to make this pick I would probably go with Turcotte or Cozens. They could both make an immediate impact with the Blackhawks and have great potential. But then again I’m not a professional scout. Everyone will just have to wait and find out what happens on June 21st in Vancouver.

stats from: Elite Prospects

special thanks to: cloutkaniemi, gbgtomtl, DraftLook, TPEHockey, and HockeyGuy

featured image photo credit – Nikos Michals

Top 35 NHL Entry Draft Prospect Rankings – April 2019 Edition

WallMaz, Tony Ferrari and myself have come up with our top 35 prospects for the upcoming NHL Entry Draft. Previously, we released a March edition and we’ve made updates to our list that we wanted to with you. 

Top 10

1. 🇺🇸 (C) Jack Hughes
(USNDTP, USHL)

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Even though many think the gap between Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko has shrunken, Hughes is still number one. A legitimate playmaking franchise center who has a chance of being a top 10 player in the NHL. His skating is already elite and when you pair that sigh his offensive skill set, no one matches up.

Pro Comparison: Patrick Kane

March Ranking – #1

2. 🇫🇮 (RW/C) Kaapo Kakko
(TPS, LIIGA)

The elite sniper has performed above expectations in a year of extremely high expectations. His game has grown over the course of the year to become dangerous from any position in the offensive zone whether using his NHL ready shot or his underrated playmaking ability. 

Pro Comparison: Leon Draisaitl

March Ranking – #2

3. 🇺🇸 (C) Alex Turcotte
(USNDTP, USHL)

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Another riser in the draft, Turcotte has put himself into the top 5 conversation. A very complete player, plays will in all three zones. Alex Turcotte is an amazing offensive talent and his passing is spectacular.

Pro Comparison: Joe Pavelski

March Ranking – #4

4. 🇨🇦 (C) Dylan Cozens
(Lethbridge Hurricanes, WHL)

At 6’3″, Dylan Cozens skates like the wind. He is an impressive playmaking center who is learning to use his size to his advantage. 

Pro Comparison: Brock Nelson

March Ranking – #3

5. 🇨🇦 (LHD) Bowen Byram
(Vancouver Giants, WHL)

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Bowen Byram is an elite two-way defenseman. He has great speed and has a great shot. His main problem is his defensive positioning in the defensive zone.

Pro Comparison: Seth Jones

March Ranking – #6

6. 🇨🇦 (C) Kirby Dach
(Saskatoon Blades, WHL)

Kirby Dach has great size. He also has great hands and excellent passing which makes him an excellent playmaker. Again like Cozens, his problem is his consistency.

Pro Comparison: Aleksander Barkov

March Ranking – #5

7. 🇺🇸 (C) Trevor Zegras
(USNDTP, USHL)

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The undersized, ultra skilled forward has been one of the biggest risers of the year. Zegras oozes talent that other players in this draft wish they could have. He could be the best player in this draft at transitioning through the neutral zone.

Pro Comparison: Mikael Granlund

March Ranking – #8

8. 🇨🇦 (LW) Peyton Krebs
(Kootenay Ice, WHL)

Peyton Krebs 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.

Pro Comparison: Teuvo Teräväinen

March Ranking – #9

9. 🇷🇺 (RW) Vasili Podkolzin
(SKA-1946 St. Petersburg, MHL)

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A human pinball, Podkolzin’s stock has dipped a bit because of his lacking production in league play. He’s shown up in big moments, often on the world stage.

Pro Comparison: Max Domi

March Ranking – #7

10. 🇺🇸 (LW) Matthew Boldy
(USNDTP, USHL)

Matthew Boldy is a very talented forward. He barely makes mistakes in his game with assets like his hockey sense, his shot and his powerful skating. But, he’s slowed down late in the season. This has prevented him from rising up on the top 10. He will be attending Boston College in the fall.

Pro Comparison: Kyle Connor

March Ranking – #10

11-20

11. 🇸🇪 (RHD) Victor Söderström
(Brynäs IF, SHL)

Victor Söderström is a very mobile two-way defenseman. He plays extremely well in all zones, is physical and makes great passes. One area he needs to improve upon is his defensive positioning.

Pro Comparison: Will Butcher

March Ranking – #12

12. 🇺🇸 (RW/C) Cole Caufield
(USNDTP, USHL)

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A natural goal scorer with 30 goal potential early in his NHL career. His biggest knock is his size standing only 5’6″ many teams will be reluctant to draft him early on. Whichever team takes the risk is likely to be rewarded with possibly a top scorer in this draft. 

Pro Comparison: Alex DeBrincat

March Ranking – #16

13. 🇺🇸 (LHD) Cam York
(USNDTP, USHL)

Cam York is a great puck moving defenseman. He has great speed and great passing. He needs to get better in his own end though.

Pro Comparison: Ryan Ellis

March Ranking – #11

14. 🇨🇦 (C) Ryan Suzuki
(Barrie Colts, OHL)

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Ryan Suzuki is an exceptional playmaker. He has amazing passing, positioning and skating. One problem with him is his consistency.

Pro Comparison: Mathew Barzal

March Ranking – #15

15. 🇸🇪 (LHD) Philip Broberg
(AIK, Allsvenkan)

Philip Broberg is a quality two-way defenseman. He is great in his own end, outstanding speed and has good hockey sense. He needs to work on his offensive side of his game.

Pro Comparison: Adam Larsson

March Ranking – #13

16. 🇺🇸 (LW) Arthur Kaliyev
(Hamilton Bulldogs, OHL)

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Arthur Kaliyev might have the best shot in the draft. Also with that shot he has decent speed and is a decent playmaker. But, he’s one-dimensional, which lowers his draft stock.

Pro Comparison: Zach Parise

March Ranking – #14

17. 🇨🇦 (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.

Pro Comparison: Kevin Hayes

March Ranking – #18

18. 🇨🇦 (C) Alex Newhook
(Victoria Grizzlies, BCHL)

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Although he plays at a lower level than most players his age, he is a dominate force in the BCHL. He’s about as balanced as they come in terms of shooter/passer types so he keeps goalies honest. Good two way center who is committed to Boston a College in the fall.

Pro Comparison: David Krejci

March Ranking – #17

19. 🇺🇸 (G) Spencer Knight
(USNDTP, USHL)

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 has great movement. Like all goalies he is still very raw at the moment.

Pro Comparison: Corey Crawford

March Ranking – #19

20. 🇨🇦 (LHD) Thomas Harley
(Mississauga Steelheads, OHL)

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Possibly the player who’s stock has risen the most over the course of the year. He is an excellent skater who has embarrass defenders along the blue line. He could possibly break into the top 10 come June. 

Pro Comparison: Duncan Keith

March Ranking – #30

21-30

21. 🇩🇪 (RHD) Moritz Seider
(Adler Mannheim, DEL)

The German defender playing in the top league of his home country, Seider could be a steal for a team drafting in the early 20s. A 6’4″, mobile defender who is a right shot could have scouts, coaches and management salivating at the chance of drafting him. 

Pro Comparison: Marc-Édouard Vlasic

March Ranking – #22

22. 🇨🇦 (LW) Jakob Pelletier
(Moncton Wildcats, QMJHL)

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Jakob Pelletier is an undersized playmaker. He has great speed, great hands and excellent passing. One problem with him is his size.

Pro Comparison: Jonathan Marchessault

March Ranking – #21

23. 🇨🇦 (LHD) Matthew Robertson
(Edmonton Oil Kings, WHL)

The defense first defenseman is one of the smartest defenders in the draft. Rarely takes himself out of the play when defending a rush and is reliable down low. His big shot is his one offensive weapon as he lacks creativity in the offensive zone. 

Pro Comparison: Esa Lindell

March Ranking – #20

24. 🇨🇦 (C) Brett Leason
(Prince Albert Raiders, WHL)

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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.

Pro Comparison: Pierre-Luc Dubois

March Ranking – #24

25. 🇫🇮 (LHD) Ville Heinola
(Lukko, LIIGA)

Ville Heinola is a good puck moving defenseman. He has great hockey IQ, great passing and a good shot. One area he needs to work on is his speed.

Pro Comparison: Jake Gardiner

March Ranking – #23

26. 🇨🇦 (C) Connor McMichael
(London Knights, OHL)

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Connor McMichael is a speedy centre. He has phenomenal speed, a good shot and good passing. He needs to bulk up to be more effective.

Pro Comparison: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

March Ranking – #25

27. 🇨🇦 (C) Philip Tomasino
(Niagara Ice Dogs, OHL)

Tomasino is a high motor playmaker. His feet never stop moving as he is consistently around the puck. Water bug type of player in the offensive zone, constantly looking to create.

Pro Comparison: William Karlsson

March Ranking – #31

28. 🇸🇪 (LW) Nils Höglander
(Rögle BK, SHL)

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Nils Höglander is a speedy winger. He has great speed, great passing and a good shot. He struggles somewhat in his discipline and he is undersized.

Pro Comparison: Tomas Tatar

March Ranking – #26

29. 🇺🇸 (RW) Bobby Brink
(Sioux City Musketeers, USHL)

The University of Denver commit has had a great year in the USHL, dominating at every turn. A goal scorer who works to get his shot and takes advantage. His performance at the World Juniors was outstanding.

Pro Comparison: Gustav Nyquist

March Ranking – #27

30. 🇨🇦 (LW) Samuel Poulin
(Sherbrooke Phoenix, QMJHL)

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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.

Pro Comparison: Timo Meier

March Ranking – #36

31-35

31. 🇸🇪 (LW) Samuel Fagemo
(Frölunda HC, SHL)

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Samuel Fagemo was passed in last years draft and like Brett Leason is ranked as a first round pick. He is a very fast skater, has an elite shot and good hands. He does have some injury concerns and is inconsistent.

Pro Comparison: Mike Hoffman

March Ranking – Not Ranked

32. 🇷🇺 (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.

Pro Comparison: David Pastrnak

March Ranking – #28

33. 🇸🇪 (LHD) Tobias Bjornfot
(Djurgardens IF J20, J20 SuperElit)

Tobias Bjornfot is solid puck-moving defensemen. He can carry the puck from zone to zone un-harmed. Bjornfot also has great defensive positioning/awareness, but he needs to improve his passing skills and get a bit a tougher. Pro

Pro Comparison: Matt Niskanen

March Ranking – #29

34. 🇸🇪 (RW/LW) Albin Grewe
(Djurgardens IF J20, J20 SuperElit)

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The fast paced winger likes to cause havoc all over the ice. Whether he’s is using his body to engage the opponent or getting to the high danger areas for scoring chances he is noticeable almost every shift.

Pro Comparison: Michael Grabner

March Ranking – #38

35. 🇫🇮 (RHD) Lassi Thomson 
(Kelowna Rockets, WHL)

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Thomson is a mobile defenseman who enjoys the puck on his stick. He is a battler when defending in his own zone and consistently makes the smart first pass.

Pro Comparison: Matt Dumba

March Ranking – #32

player profiles from DobberProspects and EliteProspects (special thanks to both sites)

 

 

 

 

 

New Jersey Devils: What’s Going To Happen At The Draft?

In part 2 of my New Jersey Devils off-season outlook, we have the NHL Entry Draft.

In part 1, I looked at every restricted and unrestricted upcoming free agent currently on the Devils roster, and who could be called up from the minors.

What The Devils’ Pick Might Be?

Using Tankathon.com’s draft lottery odds, I simmed 50 draft lottery results. Here’s what I found:

1st overall:0%

2nd overall:12%

3rd overall:14%

4th overall:18%

5th overall:34%

6th overall: 22%

Based on these results, let’s just say New Jersey doesn’t get the first overall pick. But, they do have a decent shot of getting the number two overall pick.

Who Can They Grab At Second Overall?

Here’s who they can snag at number two, based on Puck77’s March 3rd draft rankings.

Jack Hughes, Center, USNDTP, USHL

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The consensus number one overall selection at the upcoming draft may not be such a clear cut favorite, as he was anticipated at the start of the year. He may fall to number two, and it would be no surprise if the Devils snagged him up. However, the Devils do have considerable depth down the middle, especially with the options in their prospect pool.

But again, Hughes is a can’t miss prospect. If he’s available, the Devils would be dumb not to take him. So far this season, Hughes has put up 12 goals and 32 assists (44 points) in 23 games. With the United States U-18 National team, he recorded 23 goals and 59 assists (82 points) in 40 games, as captain. Finally, in 4 World Junior U-20 Championship games, Hughes recorded 4 assists. His leadership, elite playmaking ability and great skating makes him a near complete player before entering the NHL, which is very rare.

Kaapo Kakko, Right Wing/Center, TPS, Liiga

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Kakko is the man that has really pushed the narrative of Hughes being the first off the board away. Not only is Kakko playing in a more difficult league, but he is also versatile as he’s able to play wing or center.

When looking at the Devils prospect pool and current NHL roster, it’s clear that winger depth is priority, and they can, in the future, move him into the middle. However, his versatility is not unnoticed, and neither is his dominance in a tough league.

He might not be available at 2nd overall, but just like Hughes, if he does, you have to take him. Kakko has recorded 22 goals and 16 assists (38 points) in 45 games played for TPS, as well as 4 goals and 1 assist in 5 playoff games so far this season. If drafted, he will add an immediate scoring threat on the wing, and with a center such as Taylor Hall or Nico Hischier, he will be lethal. But don’t let his goal scoring prowess fool you; he is a great passer and solid in the defensive zone, making him a complete player.

Who’s Available At Three?

At third overall, both Kakko and Hughes will be off the board. However, like with the first two picks, it’s not so much about necessity. If you have a lottery pick, you go with best available, period. Here are two options for third overall, if the Devils have this pick.

Dylan Cozens, Center, Lethbridge Hurricanes, WHL

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Cozens has risen up mock drafts for much of the season, and has solidified himself as a top 5 talent, and he’s arguably the third pick off the board. However, his lack of consistency will not sit well with NHL GMs, and for a number 3 pick, he may not be the best option. But he is extremely fast on his skates, able to burn defenders all day long, and he pairs that elite speed with his solid shooting ability.

Cozens has recorded 34 goals and 50 assists (84 points) in 68 games with Lethbridge, as well as 3 goals and 2 assists (5 points) in 4 playoff games so far with the Hurricanes. He’s got a boatload of talent, which will make it easier for GMs to deal with when it comes to his consistency, or lack thereof. If resolved, he could be an elite center.

Kirby Dach, Center, Saskatoon Blades, WHL

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Dach is a great player, and another riser in the draft who has garnered quite a bit of hype in recent weeks. With great size, as well as his playmaking ability, he can step in and play at the NHL level immediately. His maturity is also at a high level, which will allow him to adapt to NHL life at a faster pace. However, he isn’t perfect. He is not the best skater, but it isn’t expected with his size.

Dach has recorded 25 goals and 48 assists (73 points) in 62 games, as well as 3 goals and 2 assists (5 points) in 4 playoff games thus far for Saskatoon. He’s more of a trusted option at 3rd than Cozens, but he isn’t quite the goal scorer, which is something the Devils need more of. Pick your poison as you can’t really go wrong here.

If The Devils Don’t Have A Top 3 Pick

If the Devils drop outside of the top 3, landing at number four, five or six, odds are they still have a chance at the one of the two players listed above, at four and maybe five. But I also believe that picks 3-10 are very close skill-wise, with arguably Dach and Cozens slightly on top. In my opinion, from this point forward, it’s about necessity. The Devils have good centers, as touched on earlier, and need wingers. On defense, they really only have Ty Smith in their pool, and their defensive core at the NHL level in general isn’t great. So, here are the top wing and defenseman options at picks 4-6 for the Devils.

Bowen Byram, Defenseman, Vancouver Giants, WHL

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Byram is the top defensive prospect in the draft, and could end up at 3rd overall depending on who lands there and if they are desperate for a defenseman.

A great offensive minded defenseman, Byram can eat up minutes and quarterback the power play as soon as a team is willing to bring him to the NHL lineup. He does turn the puck over quite often, but his aggressive offensive style is reminiscent of PK Subban, and we all know he makes up for his turnovers, and Byram will do the same.

Byram has put up 26 goals and 45 assists (71 points) in 67 games with Vancouver, as well as 2 goals and 3 assists (5 points), in 4 playoff contests. Standing at 6’1 and 192 pounds, he has great size and plays with a physical edge. He has racked up 84 penalty minutes combined between regular season and playoffs this year, averaging 1:18 of penalty minutes per game.

Vasili Podkolzin, Right Wing, Russia, MHL/VHL/KHL/International

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Podkolzin is considered by many experts as a top 3 pick as well, and the second best European skater in the draft, behind Kakko. But after the consensus top 2 picks, kind of like the Nolan Patrick/Nico Hischier draft, the rest is up for grabs. There’s a real chance that the Devils could snag him up outside the top 3. Being one of, if not, the top pure winger in the draft (Kakko is a wing and center, not just a winger), it’s easy to imagine the Devils rolling with Podkolzin.

The one downside is he’s signed in Russia until the 2020-21 season. Podkolzin has recorded 6 goals, 2 assists (8 points) in 12 MHL games. He has also recorded 2 goals and 3 assists (5 points) in 14 VHL games with SKA-Neva St.Petersburg. He played 3 total KHL games this season, but did not record any points. For Russia’s international U-18 team, he recorded 10 goals and 5 assists (15 points) in 8 games. In the World Junior Championship, Podkolzin registered just 3 assists in 7 games. For Russia’s international U-20 team, he recorded 1 goal and 4 assists (5 points) in 12 games.

His success in the MHL and with Russia’s U-18 international team is why Podkolzin is considered a top 5 pick by many experts and fans, but the lack of production against tougher competition (World Junior Championships, VHL, KHL and Russia’s U-20 team) is a concern. Whoever drafts him is going to keep a close eye on his development and potential KHL success next season.

Peyton Krebs, Left Wing, Kootenay Ice, WHL

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Although on the smaller side of the scale, Krebs makes things happen on the wing. One of his best qualities is his work ethic, as he always gives it his all on the ice. He may need another year or two before making the jump to the NHL for one reason; his shooting. He doesn’t have a very good shot, and it limits what he can do immediately at the next level. He has a great feel for the puck and is a very slippery player, and he has a great passing ability. Once he is able to hone in on his shooting ability, he could wind up becoming an elite top 6 winger, wherever he ends up.

Krebs has posted 19 goals and 49 assists (68 points) through 64 games. Considering the fact that Kootenay was one of the worst teams in the WHL, what Krebs was able to do was mighty impressive. I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if the Devils take Krebs at 4th overall if Byram is off the board before then.

Conclusion

The top priority in the draft depends on where they end up, so let’s break it down.

Best case scenario: Jack Hughes/Kaapo Kakko

Top Priority at 3rd overall or later: Bowen Byram

Most realistic forward pick: Peyton Krebs

Worst case scenario: Drop to 6th and miss out on Krebs, Podkolzin, Byram, Hughes, Kakko.

My Prediction

Based on the tankathon simulation, it’s likely they select 5th overall. If that’s the case, and Bowen Byram is available, which he likely could be, then that’s who they draft. I also believe if they get Byram, he will make the jump to the NHL level. There’s just nothing there on the blue-line for New Jersey right now outside of Damon Severson, Will Butcher and Sami Vatanen. With his style of play, he could be a solid bottom 4 pair with top power play minutes with Butcher, and he could work extremely well with Mirco Mueller.

Devils Lineup With Byram

This is what the Devils’ lineup might look like with Byram coming to the Garden State.

Forwards

Taylor Hall – Nico Hischier – Kyle Palmieri

Miles Wood  – Travis ZajacJesper Bratt

Brett SeneyPavel ZachaStefan Noesen

Kenny AgostinoJohn QuennevilleNathan Bastian

Extra’s: Blake Coleman, Kurtis Gabriel

Defensemen

Will Butcher – Connor Carrick

Sami Vatanen – Damon Severson

Mirco Mueller – Bowen Byram

Extra’s: Egor Yakovlev, Steven Santini, Andy Greene

Goalies

Cory SchneiderMacKenzie Blackwood

 

Draft Lottery results via tankathon.com

Prospect analysis via Puck77 Top 40 Draft Rankings

Statistics via hockeydb and hockey-reference

Featured Image Photo Credit – Nikos Michals