2019 NHL Mock Draft V1, Part 1


Welcome to the 1st version of my 2019 NHL Mock Draft. We will look at the first 15 picks. Following the Playoffs, we will do a final version including all 31 picks in the 1st round. Part 1 of Version 1 will be the first 6 picks and Part 2 will be the next 9 picks.

1- New Jersey Devils

Jack Hughes (Center)

Country: United States

2018-19 Stats: US National Team, U18   45 GP, 29-71-100

The second brother in the Hughes family that is likely to dominate the NHL in the years to come, Jack Hughes is the consensus number 1 pick this year. Hughes has had many varying scouting reports with some rating his potential as high as Connor McDavid while others saying he isn’t very special. Hughes has dominated every program he has played for.

Projected NHL Arrival: 2019-20

My Guess for the future: Jack Hughes will be immediately put into a battle with another 1st overall pick Nico Hischier for the 1st overall pick. Hischier hasn’t broken out yet as a true number 1 center at the NHL level despite playing alongside Taylor Hall and Kyle Palmeri. I think Hughes will be the future number 1 center in New Jersey.

 

2- New York Rangers

Kaapo Kakko (Right Wing)

Country: Finland

2018-19 Stats: TPS (Liiga) 45 GP, 22-16-38

Kaapo Kakko has been phenomenal. The youngster has better stats in the Liiga than other Finnish NHL stars such as Patrik Laine and Sebastian Aho and broke Aleksander Barkov’s goal record for most goals by an 18 year old player.

Projected NHL Arrival: 2019-20

Future: Kakko will immediately be put into competition for a top 6 wing spot against veterans Chris Kredier, Vladislav Namestinkov and other youngsters like Brandon Lemieux, Jimmy Vesey, Filip Chytil and newcomer Vitali Kravstov. The Rangers have a bright future ahead with young guns and look for Kakko to be at the helm.

 

3- Chicago Blackhawks

Bowen Byram (Defense)

Country: Canada

2018-19 Stats: Vancouver (WHL) 67 GP, 26-45-71

Byram is the best defender in this draft by a mile. The elite skating defenseman is a very smart hockey player and is very solid in all 3 zones.

NHL Arrival: 2020-21

Future: The Blackhawks are assembling a new dynamic defense. As the former blueline with stars like Duncan Keith, Brian Campbell, Brent Seabrook, Nicklas Hjalmarsson fade and age, a new, young defensive core will take their place. The Blackhawks still have Keith who is still an alright defender but they have a future elite pool led by Byram that includes Adam Boqvist, breakout star Erik Gustafsson who was another great international add by Stan Bowman’s scouting staff and Henri Jokiharju.

 

4- Colorado Avalanche (from Ottawa Senators)

Dylan Cozens (Center)

Country: Canada

2018-19 Stats: Lethbridge (WHL) 68 GP, 34-50-84

The Avalanche need forward depth and that starts up the middle. Dylan Cozens is their man to help ease the pressure off of Nathan Mackinnon. Cozens has been compared to LA Kings forward Jeff Carter.

NHL Arrival: 2020-21

Future: With Nathan Mackinnon solidly holding the number 1 center spot, Dylan Cozens will have to battle Carl Soderberg for the second line spot but I’m sure the youngster will win out. I see Cozens as a solid second line center throughout his NHL career.

 

5- Los Angeles Kings

Vasili Podkolzin (Right Wing)

Country: Russia

2018-19 Stats: SKA-1946 St Petersburg (MHL) 12 GP 6-2-8

Podklozin has bounced around Russia this year for SKA St Petersburg all the way from the legendary KHL team in which he was scoreless in 3 games to the MHL which is the third highest level of Russian hockey. In 14 games in the VHL, the second highest level he had 5 points in 14 games.

NHL Arrival: 2020-21

Future: The Kings are rebuilding and they have a decent forward prospect core in Gabe Vilardi and Rasmus Kupari. Podkolzin will add in as a solid winger who I see as having a solid Top 9 role to start his career before merging into a possible top 6 winger following the retirement of LA’s many veterans.

 

6- Detroit Red Wings

Alex Turcotte (Center)

Country: USA

2018-19 Stats: USNTDP U18  32 GP  25-34-59

Alex Turcotte has been a very solid player for the US National Development Team but has been overshadowed by teammate Jack Hughes. Turcotte is a strong power forward with good speed.

NHL Arrival: 2020-21

Future: The Red Wings have tons of young forwards coming up and Turcotte will just add into the excitement of youngsters like Filip Zadina and Joe Veleno. Dylan Larkin is the main guy in Detroit but Turcotte could like how I predict Cozens in Colorado be a solid second line center there.

 

 

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