clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

SBNation NHL First Round Mock Draft: Daily Updates

It’s that time of the year.

Russia v United States: Quarter Final - 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Slovakia Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images

Every year, the team sites here at SBNation do a mock draft of the first round of the NHL Entry Draft. This isn’t a traditional mock draft where we pick the player we think our teams are likely to pick. Instead, we pick the player the staff at each site thinks is the optimal selection at that position. This makes for fun discussion about the right way for each team to go.

This year, the Lightning pick 27th, which is toward the end of the first round. The NHL’s draft order is based primarily on regular season performance and because the Bolts had such a good regular season, they entered the playoffs unable to pick any higher than 27th.

Each day, we’ll update this post with the new selections made on that day. The first two picks in this year’s draft are pretty much locked in, even if the order is still up for debate. But after that, things will get interesting. So let’s dive in.

#1 - New Jersey Devils - Jack Hughes (C/USNTDP)

Profile from All About the Jersey

The top selection is no surprise. The Devils took Jack Hughes who has been the consensus top pick in this class for years.

For those of you unfamiliar with Jack Hughes, I direct you to read Brian’s prospect profile of Hughes. It provides a very good summary of why he has been the consensus #1 pick for this draft for over a year. His vision with the puck is elite or just about elite. His skating, particularly his edgework, is elite or just about there too. He set records in production with the USNTDP and at the World U-18 Championships. He was even invited and suited up for USA Hockey at the 2019 IIHF World Championship right after the World U-18s this year; he is the youngest ever American to play in in that tournament. He is everything you would want in a center. The only point of criticism is that he is not big, but at 5’10” and 170 pounds, he would be far from the smallest player in the NHL.

#2 - New York Rangers - Kappo Kakko (RW/Liiga)

Profile from Blueshirt Banter

The second selection is also not a surprise. Hughes and Kakko will be the top two players selected in this year’s draft. The only question is in what order. And even that might not be much of a question. Kakko has made big gains in the second half of the season but realistically, he’s probably locked into the second spot.

Kakko is a player who should be in the Rangers’ starting lineup for the 2019-20 season, and it is going to be a lot of fun to watch him grow and develop on Broadway.

In recent weeks he’s created a lot of buzz to go No. 1 overall — mostly due to his Gold Medal winning performance at the World Championship which saw him score six goals in 10 games — and the Rangers will be more than happy to take him at No. 2 overall if this mock draft mirrors real life.

In addition to this tournament, Kakko tallied 10 points in seven games while capturing Gold at the WJC Under-18 tournament, and the WJC Under-20 tournament after tallying five points in seven games.

#3 Chicago - Alex Turcotte (C/USNTDP)

Profile from Second City Hockey

The third spot is where the fun starts. Chicago could go a few different directions here. The most likely options are defender Bowen Byram and center Alex Turcotte. Second City Hockey went with Turcotte here. He’s a well-rounded center who is probably the third best player in the draft. But with Byram being the clear best defender of this class, temptation to take him will be high.

Turcotte scored 12 goals and 34 points in only 12 USHL games for the United States National Development Program. That’s a 2.15 point per game average for the team’s second-line center. In the other portion of the schedule, Turcotte racked up 27 goals and 62 points in 37 games. Turcotte’s promising numbers could’ve been even better if he didn’t miss time due to a hip injury early on and from having mononucleosis in March.

Turcotte, who was not 100 percent yet, tallied four goals and nine points in seven games for the United States as they fell to Finland in the gold-medal game at the under-18 World Championship in Sweden.

#4 Colorado Avalanche - Kirby Dach - (C/WHL)

Profile from Mile Hockey

The fourth pick is the first place where we start to see a divergence from what we might expect to see at the draft. The Avs went with Kirby Dach who while a lock to go in the top ten, seems likely to go no higher than 5 given the way Bowen Byram continues to gain steam.

It was the tale of 3 different parts for Dach this year. Overall he had a solid year, posting 25 goals and 73 points in 62 games for the Blades, going at a 1.18 point per game pace. 55 points were primary, including 21 goals and 44 points 5v5. But that’s the whole picture. How he got there is really interesting. The first 23 games of this season, he was on fire. Notching 13 goals and 39 points in 23 games at a whopping 1.7 ppg! If that had held though the season, he would of finished the season with 35 goals, 70 assists for 105 points. But then a 6-week slump hit. From November 17 till the new year, he managed 1 goal and 3 points in a 14 game period. This wall really caught people off guard and by new years, scouts had him outside the top 10. But the final 25 games and a push for the playoffs, the Dach we expected came back, and in force. He scored 11 goals and had 31 points in this time frame. This was good for 1.24 ppg, slightly above his season average. But more than the points, Dach became a force on the ice.

#5 Los Angeles Kings - Dylan Cozens (C/WHL)

Profile from Jewels from the Crown

Like the Avs, the Kings decided to pass on Byram and select a center instead. Again, this isn’t a reach by any means but I would be surprised if Byram falls this far in the actual draft. NHL teams will be too tempted to get the consensus best defensive prospect in this year’s class.

Cozens’ 84 points in 68 games were technically second on the Lethbridge Hurricanes; he was behind only Nick Henry, who had 94 points on the season, split between Lethbridge (54 points in 44 games) and Regina (40 points in 25 games). His 1.24 points per game put him in the top 20 for WHL players. At 17 years old, he’s also the younger than all of his other similar counterparts; everyone else ahead of him in terms of points per game is 19 or 20 years old.


#6 Detroit Red Wings - Bowen Byram (D/WHL)

Profile from Wingin’ it in Motown

If the real draft played out the way this mock has, the Wings would have to feel like the first team to have a bit of luck come there way. Getting Byram at six is a nice haul. He’s the clear consensus best blue liner in the draft. As with lots of players his age, he has defensive deficiencies to address but his offensive upside is exceptional.

The high praise isn’t only coming on one front — most writers, scouts, and analysts have lauded Byram’s ability to be a driving for for his team night-in, and night-out. One thing I do disagree with on Pronman’s front — Byram appears to have the skating ability of a P.K. Subban, or Brent Burns. What stands out, of course, is his offense. Anytime a defenseman is a near-30-goal-scorer, even in the juniors, you just attend to pay attention. He appears to have a decent shot, and a knack for joining the rush, which is good news for whoever drafts him, because his skating ability compliments that well.

#7 Buffalo Sabres - Cole Caufield (RW/USNTDP)

Profile from Die by the Blade

This is the first pick that feels a little bit “bloggy.” Caufield put up gaudy goal scoring numbers this season playing with Jack Hughes and that has put him into the discussion for the top ten. But at this stage, that still seems a little aggressive. Scouts have concerns about his skating and whether he’ll be able to continue scoring like this as he moves up in competition and isn’t playing with the best player on the ice every night.

Caufield is one of the big boom or bust candidates in the early part of the draft and taking him at seven would be a real swing and for that reason, he’s more likely to go outside the first ten picks. But all it takes is one team to fall in love with his shot, and that’s what we have here in this mock.

The 18-year-old is coming off an excellent U18 World Championship performance for Team USA. He scored 14 and 18 points in seven games for the Americans.

Caufield filled the net all season for the U18 US Development program. He scored 72 goals in 64 games for the USDP. Brining his full season goal total to 86 goals when you combine the World Championship and USDP scoring.


#8 Edmonton Oilers - Payton Krebs (LW/WHL)

Profile from Copper n’ Blue

This is right around where Krebs is expected to go in the draft come June 21st. He was a bit tough to evaluate this year playing on a terrible junior team. His individual numbers were solid but he didn’t elevate the players around him the way we might expect from a top-ten pick. Still, the skill set is there and expect him to come off the board right around the 10th pick or so.

An above-average (at worst) skater with a plus hockey brain and a genuine and (allegedly) infectious drive to excel, the former WHL Bantam Draft first overall pick projects as a top-six forward at the NHL level, with the tools to chip in with talented players higher up the lineup and to kill penalties with the lunchbox types in the bottom half. Given Edmonton’s lack of anything dangerous up front outside of maybe 3-4 guys, it’s pretty easy to project Krebs (assuming he stays on his current trajectory) into the Oilers’ lineup and expect him to contribute in a couple years.

#9 Anaheim Ducks - Trevor Zegras - (C/USNTDP)

Profile from Anaheim Calling

Zegras is one of the most creative offensive players in the draft this year and one of the best passers. The biggest concern with him is that he sometimes tries to do too much with the puck and he’ll have to recalibrate what he can get away with as he faces tougher competition. But this is a good spot to take him and the Ducks did well getting him at 9.

Zegras has that [Ryan Getzlaf] type of creativity, but uses it even more. The only hope is that his path forward in development as a Boston University commit and into the NHL does not run into stuck-up coaches who try to erase that creative spirit from his arsenal.

Zegras also has some of the better set of hands in the draft. He can easily go one-on-one with defenders to create extra time and space to make decisions. His shot, while not incredible, is very underrated and could certainly be good for 20-30 goals per year if he decided to shoot more. But like Getzlaf, he is first and foremost a pass-first player, one who would prefer to set up linemates instead of taking the glory for himself.

#10 Vancouver Canucks - Matthew Boldy (LW/USNTDP)

Profile from Nucks Misconduct

Boldy will be be one of the players to watch on draft night. He could go as high as the top ten like he did here or he could slide a little bit. His skating is his biggest issue and where he goes could depend on how much teams think they can improve that. He’s shown versatility in the USNTDP filling roles as both a playmaker and a goal scorer depending on his linemates.

Boldy is an elite level playmaker, one who could pile up points with the Pettersson-Boeser pairing, or elevating other lines to help the Canucks become a team that has their opponents second guessing defensive strategies. Another thing to like about Boldy is that as good of a playmaker as he is, he likes to shoot the puck, and has a pretty accurate shot, another thing the Canucks desperately need: A power forward in the style of Matthew Tkachuk. Probably not the same level of nasty as the Flames emerging star, but he’s not afraid to use his size.


#11 Philadelphia Flyers - Alex Newhook (C/BCHL)

Profile from Broad Street Hockey

Newhook is a bit of wildcard in the first round. He’s got all the skill that a team could want but because he played last season in the BCHL, a league that doesn’t often produce top prospects, projection systems will have less confidence in his ability to translate his excellent production to professional hockey. That said, he’s projected somewhere around tenth on most lists so the Flyers did well to get him here at eleven.

There aren’t many obvious holes in Newhook’s game. He’s a plus skater with impressive skill, and is able to put those two attributes together in a way guys his age sometimes struggle to. He’s got impressive abilities on the puck, showing off creativity both as a shooter and a passer. And while he’s likely not going to win many Selkes in his NHL career, he’s a willing competitor on every part of the ice and will make his opponents work for what they get.

#12 Minnesota Wild - Vasili Podkolzin - (RW/VHL and MHL)

Profile from Hockey Wilderness

If Newhook is a bit of a wildcard, Podkolzin is THE wild card in this draft. I freely admit I have no idea where he’ll go. He looks great on tape and flashed dominance in international tournaments. At the beginning of the year, he played so well internationally that he looked locked into the third spot. But that didn’t translate into results during the rest of the season as his numbers in league play in Russia were underwhelming at best. He goes 12th here, which is as good as anywhere. He’s the ultimate home run swing in the first round. It’s just a matter of how early a team wants to take that swing. It could be the top five. Or it could be outside the top ten.

Podkolzin is the real deal when it comes to talent and hockey IQ. This make sound like a typical excuse for a player who is simply big and brings intangibles that, when pressed, are virtually nonexistent. And true, at 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, Podkolzin is no slouch. And even more true, he certainly went through some serious cold streaks this past year, which may turn off some GMs to him come Draft Day in Vancouver.

But Podkolzin is a true possession player, able to protect the puck on his stick well and use his feet to evade defenders with ease. His offensive skillset includes faking out defenders and goaltenders. He takes away lanes from opponents with his speed and great skating.


#13 Florida Panthers - Philip Broberg (D/Allsvenskan)

Profile from Litter Box Cats

Broberg is another divisive player in this draft. Some lists have him in the top ten and others have him in the twenties. All scouts agree that he has some of the best physical tools and skating of any defender in this draft, maybe even second after Byram. Where they disagree is with regard to his hockey sense.

Some scouts see a player whose flaws in that area are due to being able to get away with dominating his age group and think he’ll improve his decision making when faces better competition. But others see those flaws as legitimate concerns that will prevent him from reaching the lofty ceiling his physical tools afford him.

The 17-year-old Broberg spent most of the 2018-19 season playing against men in Allsvenskan, the second tier of Swedish hockey under the SHL, with AIK.

In 41 regular season games, he produced two goals and six assists and finished with a -1 rating. He also appeared in three qualification games as AIK tried (and failed) to make the climb up a rung to the SHL.

As would be expected of a prospect with his abilities, Broberg represented his country at both the World U18, where he was named the tournament’s best defenseman for a 6 points in 7 games performance and won gold, and the U20 tournaments.

#14 - Arizona Coyotes - Victor Soderstrom (D/SHL)

Profile from Five for Howling

We’ve got a mini run on Swedish defenders here at thirteen and fourteen. Soderstrom is the safer of the two picks. He doesn’t have the physical package of Broberg but he’s a more well-rounded player and spent most of his draft year playing in one of the best professional leagues in the world.

A good sign that Stroderstrom is going to be able to develop into a solid NHL defenseman is the league he currently plays in. The fact that he has found success in an adult league like the SHL at 5’ 11” should mean he won’t have too many issues transitioning to the NHL when the time comes.

Soderstrom is a puck moving defenseman that can play a two-way game while winning battles, is a great skater, and has excellent positioning. In 44 games with Brynas he has 4 goals and 3 assists and has been getting decent minutes. He has a few twenty-plus minute games and has been averaging over seventeen minutes per game. He gets played on the power play and penalty kill, impressive for a seventeen-year-old.


#15 Montreal Canadiens - Thomas Harley (D/OHL)

Profile from Habs Eyes on the Prize

The run on defenders continues here in the middle of the first round, which is something we could very well see replicated on draft day. The top of the draft is stocked with talented forwards so a scenario where we see a handful of defenders go quickly in the middle of the round is feasible. Here, the Habs grabbed Harley who, despite some defensive deficiencies, is one of the best CHL blue liners in this class.

With the puck in his control, his best attributes are put on display. He uses that speed to carry the puck out of danger, building up speed as he makes the turn out of his defensive zone. Head up, he’s aware of the lanes open to him and the teammates available for passes.

Even inside the opposing team’s blue line, his feet don’t stop moving. He moves laterally along the blue line or jumps up into the zone to create better offensive plays. These abilities all allow him to be a good power-play performer, when even more lanes are left open by a four-man defensive alignment.

#16 New York Rangers - Arthur Kaliyev (F/OHL)

Profile from Blueshirt Banter

The Rangers traded up from twenty to grab one of the most dominant goal scorers in OHL history. In exchange for moving down four spots, the Colorado Avalanche also received the 49th pick.

Kaliyev’s goal scoring is unquestionable. But the rest of his game is nothing but questions. Scouts wonder about his skating and his defense as well as the rest of his offensive game outside of his shot. Even so, that one skill will likely be enough to get him drafted early in the second half of the first round.

As 51 goals in 67 games would suggest, Kaliyev is very proficient at putting pucks into the net. He has a wicked release. The time it takes for him to receive a pass and then take a shot is negligible. He generates a ton of velocity without really having to put too much of his own weight into the release. He’s a go-to triggerman for one-timer situations; particularly on the power. So many of his goals were scored around the circles, or even at a sharper angle.


#17 Vegas Golden Knights - Raphael Lavoie (C/QMJHL)

Knights on Ice Profile

Lavoie is an interesting prospect. His physical toolkit is enticing. 6’4” players who can skate don’t come around often. But despite having a physical advantage over his opposition and being one of the oldest players in the draft, he didn’t put up numbers in his draft year that project dominance. He’s a risky pick but if his game catches up to his tools, he could become a consistent top six contributor.

The main criticism of Lavoie is that, despite being one of the older players in this year’s draft, his production didn’t quite match what many were expecting at the beginning of the 2018-19 season. Once considered a potential top-10 pick, Lavoie has fallen down some draft boards and will likely be available when the Golden Knights are on the clock.

Though his 2018-19 campaign was somewhat underwhelming, Lavoie still possesses the tools necessary to be a good NHL player. At the very least, he figures to be a solid 200-foot player with a ton of upside. If he reaches his full potential, he could be a very dangerous player at the next level. The Golden Knights like big skater who play a good two-way game, and Lavoie fits the criteria.

#18 Dallas Stars - Mortiz Seider (D/DEL)

Profile from Defending Big D

Seider is another first round wildcard. He’s going to go somewhere but no one knows where. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him be the second defender taken on draft night. It also wouldn’t be surprising to see him slide to late teens as he did here.

He played in the top German league for most of this year and scouts differ on how to interpret his play there. He played a conservative style but it’s unclear how much of that was imposed on him by the coaches. During the playoffs and in international play, he’s shown he has a dynamic all around game.

If he falls this far, he could be a steal for someone.ts there. Some s

Big, mobile, right-shooting defensmen are a hot commodity in the NHL, so there’s a very good chance that Seider will be long gone before Dallas actually gets to use their #18 selection. But if he is still available, however, it would be an incredible bit of good fortune for the Stars.

For more information about what Seider offers as a prospect, Defending Big D’s full profile on him can be found at this link.

#19 Ottawa Senators - Bobby Brink (RW/USNTDP)

Silver Seven Sens Profile

The Silver Seven profile is great so I won’t waste too much time here but Brink is a fun player. He’s got the total package for a winger except for size and skating. If a team is willing to overlook the size issue and has confidence they can improve his stride, he could be a perfect prospect for a smart player development group.

To describe Brink’s playing style in one word, he’s intense. He’s always around the puck, setting up plays, and taking lots of shots. For a 5’8” player (he was listed 5’10” but his combine measurement was shorter), he does not play like a typical small player.

It comes across in his results, as he was involved in an astounding 46.6% (!!!) of his team’s goals. His on-ice goals for percentage of 66.2% is also phenomenal, especially since the rest of Sioux City went down to 43.2% whenever Brink wasn’t on the ice. His shooting percentage of 28% is normally a sign of caution, but considering the versatility of his shot and his knack for finding open areas (and also the USHL’s poor goaltending quality), it almost turns into a compliment. These are elite numbers, which are right up there with the tight-knit group expected to be drafted from picks three to thirteen. To say that he’s an analytics darling might even be a bit of an understatement.


#20 Colorado Avalanche - Cam York (D/USNTDP)

Profile from Mile High Hockey

If you remember from above, this is the pick the Avs got when they traded down from 16 with the Rangers. They have to feel like they did well here getting probably the consensus second best defender in the draft. He was the best blue liner on the dominant USNTDP group this year and he has a well-rounded game with relatively few holes compared to the other defensive options in this class.

York’s vision and intelligence allow him to read plays quickly and adjust his strategy for defending. He uses it to his advantage when quarterbacking the powerplay, as he read the developing play quickly enough to decide whether to pass the puck off or direct it towards the net. York knows where the dangerous scoring areas of the ice are, and how to get the puck to those areas.

#21 Pittsburgh Penguins - Nils Hoglander (LW/SHL)

Profile from Pensburgh

Hoglander is going to be a favorite option for fans of teams in the bottom third of the draft. He has a lot to like including performing well playing in Sweden’s top league for a full season. Not many players accomplish that in their draft year and that means he could be NHL ready sooner than other prospects. He also has an enticing well rounded game that makes him a contender to outperform his projected draft slot.

Nils Hoglander took a step up in competition in 2018-19, playing in Sweden’s top league the SHL as a 17/18 year old player. He performed well in a lower line role, and maintained his spot with the top club throughout the year. Hoglander showcased his speed, tenacity and hands to make a name for himself as one of the top draftable prospects in the 2019 NHL draft with an impressive first season in the SHL.

#22 Los Angeles Kings - Matthew Robertson (D/WHL)

Profile from Jewels from the Crown

The first of the Robertsons with extremely common first names goes off the board here. We’ll have to see if Nick goes later. Matt is one of the more interesting defensive prospects at the back half of the first round. He his the tools to be a top four NHL defender but so far, hasn’t been able to put it all together consistently. If he does, he’ll end up being a nice pick for someone in the final third of the first round.

Projected to go in the late first round, Robertson is a player who some draft analysts are projecting to be a potential steal for whichever team gets him. While he has a very good shot, his biggest strength is universally thought to be his skating, particularly in his backwards skating, and in general with his speed and acceleration. This is perhaps even more notable given his size (6’4”, anywhere between 190-200 pounds, depending on the source). He’s very agile in general, let alone for a player of his height.

#23 New York Islanders - Ryan Suzuki (C/OHL)

Profile from Lighthouse Hockey

Suzuki is one of the best playmakers in the draft and maybe the best pure passer. He plays center too, which is valuable. Based purely on a talent, he’d be in the top half of the first round and maybe even the top ten.

But scouts have concerns about his competitiveness and his defensive play. Sometimes, those things can be overblown. But when everyone who has watched him play significant minutes notices it, we have to at least acknowledge it. The talent makes him tantalizing but some of the peripherals make him a risk.

Suzuki led all Barrie Colt forwards by 25 points, amassing 25 goals and 50 assists in 65 games. Note that his winger, 5’6” undrafted Lucas Chiodo, tallied 50 points in only 39 games.

(Also note that after Chiodo was dealt to the Ottawa 67’s, Suzuki reeled off 35 points in the final 28 regular season games for his team, who struggled to win 26 of their 68 games.)


#24 Nashville Predators - Phil Tomasino - (C/OHL)

Profile from On the Forecheck

Tomasino has been a riser over the second half of the season and it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see him go well ahead of where he got selected in our mock. Centers are always in demand and as one of the most well-rounded options in the first round, he could easily go in the teens. The Preds did great to get him here and should feel like they got a bit of a steal.

The strengths of Tomasino’s game are obvious: speed and stickhandling. This kid has impressive acceleration, and when he can’t hit that gear in time, he’s still able to protect the puck well while navigating opponents’ defense.

Tomasino is creative with the puck and displayed excellent offensive instinct and spatial awareness often this season.

Combine his excellent finishing skills with adept passing, and Tomasino becomes a player who could slot in well as a 1B/2 center for a long time in the NHL. Notice in the clip above how he pulls back when the defender challenges him but quickly rolls the puck off his blade heel and rolls his wrists in tight to deliver a phenomenal cross-crease pass.

#25 Washington Capitals - Patrik Puistola (LW/Liiga and Finnish Juniors)

Profile from Japers’ Rink

Puistola is another riser but this feels a little early for him although I could be proven wrong on draft night. He’s another player with tantalizing offensive ability but not much else to go with that yet. With his talent, his ceiling is high, but to make the most of that skill, he’ll need to round out his game to become a consistent contributor in the top half of a forward group.

Here’s the TLDR on Puistola: he’s a talented winger out of the second-tier league in Finland, Mestis. Puistola is said to have some of the best hands in the 2019 draft class, but is somewhat lacking in defensive and skating abilities. Still, his strong showing for LeKi warrants a serious look at his abilities moving forward.

#26 Philadelphia Flyers - Ville Heinola (D/Liiga)

Profile from Broadstreet Hockey

This is the second trade of the mock. The Flyers sent the 41st and 72nd picks to the Flames to move up to 26th and take Heinola. And considering the young defender’s success in one of the best professional leagues in the world as a 17/18 year old, BSH’s desire to move up and take him is understandable.

It’s rare, in this day and age, for defensemen to succeed without having either the size or the skating ability to keep up with the game. But Ville Heinola plainly has not just the skill but the hockey instincts to survive in any kind of setting. His puck-moving ability is excellent despite not being a great skater, and his defensive instincts help him be in the right place at the right time when in his own portion of the ice. His strong two-way profile makes him the kind of player the Flyers’ brass figures to like.

#27 Tampa Bay Lightning - Jakob Pelletier (LW/QMJHL)

Profile from Raw Charge

With Tomasino and Matthew Robertson going off the board just a few picks before us, we settled on Pelletier. He fits the mold of a typical Lightning selection. He plays a well-rounded smart game and despite his small size, is constantly around the net and winning puck battles along the boards. He might not have the offensive ceiling of some of the other wingers in this range, but his all-around game and willingness to work project him as a likely middle six contributor in the NHL.

Though undersized, Pelletier’s offensive creativity and shiftiness with the puck makes him a great playmaker whose versatility allows him to be a successful player at all three forward positions. Not only does he drive play, but Pelletier has the innate ability to position himself correctly when he doesn’t have the puck. His two-way game and leadership ability have drawn scouts’ comparisons to Steve Yzerman. Although he could stand to be more selfish with the puck and will need to get stronger in order to have success in the NHL, there’s no denying his high hockey IQ, ability to make teammates better, and competitive fire.


#28 Carolina Hurricanes - Samuel Poulin (LW/QMJHL)

Profile from Canes Country

Poulin is a player who seems likely to go in exactly the range where he was selected here. He’s consistently ranked in the 20s and is one of the safer picks available in the first round. He already has NHL size and has shown enough skill to go along with it that teams can be confident he has an NHL future. He seems like a lock to be a third line winger for someone in a few years and late in the first round, that’s a sensible selection.

When watching Poulin, the first thing you notice is his play within the offensive zone. His shot is NHL ready, and is a tool that will be deployed to improve an NHL power play. He is noticeable in possession, and is effective in both creating space below the circles for his linemates, and distributing when defenders play him too closely.

#29 Anaheim Ducks - Nathan Legare (RW/WMJHL)

Legare is a goal scorer first and foremost. It might be a little harsh to call him a one trick pony but he does have a little of that to his game. He doesn’t have much beyond the shot that stands out and his skating is an issue. But someone will love his shot and late first round isn’t an unreasonable spot for him.

As I initially intoned - he reads to me like a cross between Max Comtois and Daniel Sprong. Regarded as having one of the best shots in the draft, Légaré erupted from just 10 goals in in his rookie season in the Q to 45 this year, ending the year with 87 points in 68 games.

He finished tied for eighth in scoring in the Q and third among undrafted players under the age of eighteen. His 45 goals had him in a tie for second overall and tops among his 2019 draft peers - second overall in the entire CHL behind only Kaliyev.