Earlier this month I released Mock Draft 1.0, post-lottery edition. With the Under 18 World Championship wrapping up on Sunday it’s time to take another crack at the top ten.
For most of the top end prospects, this was the final opportunity to impress the scouts prior to the 2019 NHL Draft in Vancouver.
1st Overall: New Jersey Devils
Jack Hughes – USA NTDP
This pick hasn’t changed and likely won’t be changing in any mock draft I do between now and the end of June. Hughes just torched the Under-18’s with 20 points in seven games. In the process of helping the Americans win a disappointing bronze medal, Hughes set the all-time U18 scoring record with 32 points in two events, one more point than Alexander Ovechkin. I’d like to say the Devils can’t pass on him but the team did create a bit of a stir tweeting out a Kaapo Kakko highlight over the weekend.
2nd Overall: New York Rangers
Kaapo Kakko – Turku, Finland
I would love to have seen Kakko at the U18’s but he’s saving his final viewing for the World Championship where he’ll be playing for the Finnish senior squad. If Kakko really impresses at the worlds there will be some good 1st overall debate leading up to the draft but if his play is pedestrian all discussion will be put to bed. What I can guarantee is he will not be getting by the Rangers at two.
3rd Overall: Chicago Blackhawks
Bowen Byram – Vancouver, WHL
I did have a few Hawks fans reach out to me after my original mock draft and say there is no way Chicago will be taking Byram but I’m not ready to change my mind just yet. The Hawks drafted both Adam Boqvist and Nicolas Beaudin in the first round last year but you can never have too many elite blueline prospects in the pipeline. If the Hawks would rather take a forward I could see them moving down a couple of spots because there will be a team wanting to move up to three for Byram. As of Sunday morning, the Vancouver Giants defender was leading the WHL playoffs in scoring, all players, not just d-men.
4th Overall: Colorado Avalanche
Dylan Cozens – Lethbridge Hurricanes
There is a handful of Americans really knocking on the door to be the 4th overall pick but for now, I’m going to stick with Dylan Cozens of the Lethbridge Hurricanes. He finished with nine points in seven games for Canada at the U18’s and had a terrific year in Lethbridge. I still think he’ll be ready for the NHL after one more season in junior and he has the makings of a perfect compliment to the big line in Colorado.
5th Overall: Los Angeles Kings
Alex Turcotte – USA NTDP
Turcotte dealt with some injuries during the season but was healthy at the U18’s and performed well. He finished with nine points in seven games and provided some nice punch playing behind the Hughes line.
6th Overall: Detroit Red Wings
Trevor Zegras – USA NTDP
Zegras didn’t score a goal at the U18’s but he was praised for his playmaking abilities and finished with nine helpers in the five games he played. He would be a great piece for the Wings rebuild. I would not be surprised to see Zegras selected higher than Turcotte.
7th Overall: Buffalo Sabres
Cole Caufield – USA NTDP
The Buffalo Sabres finished 23rd in the league in goals this season, they could really use a finisher and make no mistake Caufield is a finisher. The pint-sized sniper scored 14 goals in 7 games and the U18’s and ended up being named the top forward and MVP of the tournament. He’s one of the purest goal scorers available over the past ten seasons, but he’s tiny, really tiny.
8th Overall: Edmonton Oilers
Kirby Dach – Saskatoon, WHL
I had Dach going to the Oilers in my first mock and I’m going to do it again in this one. Dach had some moments of brilliance in the WHL playoffs but with eight points in ten games, he didn’t necessarily light the world on fire. I’m still a little hesitant on Dach but he has a lot of tools that would fit in nicely on the Oilers.
9th Overall: Anaheim Ducks
Philip Broberg – AIK, Sweden
It’s not crazy to suggest that the Ducks top five prospects right now are all forwards. I know most teams will always say they are going with the best player available but I have to think the Ducks would love to add a d-man like Broberg to the mix. He was named top defenseman at the U18’s.
10th Overall: Vancouver Canucks
Peyton Krebs – Kootenay, WHL
Krebs would be an excellent addition to what the Canucks are building with Pettersson, Boeser, and Hughes. He finished with 10 points at the U18’s, good enough to tie for first on Canada. He was the captain for Canada and held the same role with the Ice this past season. Krebs has the perfect mix of skill, smarts, and leadership.
I didn’t go into this mock expecting to have Dach going to the Oilers yet again but that’s still the way it ended up.
There would be a great debate amongst Oilers fans and possibly Oilers management if Dach, Krebs, Boldy and Podkolzin were all still available at eight. What I can say for sure is that this year’s top ten is going to be a wild ride.