2019 NHL Entry Draft Countdown: 10-1

Welcome to the Oilersnation Draft Countdown. Over the last few weeks leading up to the draft, we’ve been aggregating content about the top 100 players who will be available in Vancouver on June 21st and 22nd. Here are profiles for Trevor Zegras, Matt Boldy, Alex Turcotte, Dylan Cozens, Kirby Dach, Peyton Krebs, Bowen Byram, Vasili Podkolzin, Kappo Kakko, and Jack Hughes.

10. Trevor Zegras

Date of Birth: 20 Mar 2001 (Age 18)
Nation: USA
Place of Birth: Bedford, NY
Position: C/W    Shoots: Left
Height: 6’0″        Weight: 174 lbs.

2018-19 Team: U.S. National U18 Team (USDP)

Profile: Quick, shifty, antagonistic play-maker who can play winger and centre, who can find teammates with sublime passing either on the rush or during extended offensive zone time; also a dangerous shooter in the high danger scoring areas. Committed to Boston University for the 2019-20 season.

“… an elite two-way forward that can play both wing and center. His pro-level mobility is the foundation of his game, supplementing an in-transition speed that shifts the pace of play. He knows how to get under the skin of opponents and will actively seek out opportunities to lay the body and create separation, all the while staying attentive to the unfolding play. This unique aspect of his game makes him difficult and frustrating to play against. His ability to finish and create plays is undoubtedly the hallmark of his game, as he is one of the major dynamos of his draft class. He is a dangerous scoring threat anywhere below the blue line and his vision matched with his net-drive propels him into positions that create high percentage opportunities. Defensively astute and proactive, he sees the lanes that his opponents do and will do his best to force the puck along the wall where he is at his best. All-in-all, Zegras is one of those special buzzsaw-type players that can excel in key roles and perform under pressure.” -Curtis Joe, Elite Prospects

“A six-foot center with tremendous hockey IQ and playmaking ability, Zegras is as good a passer in this class as it gets. It doesn’t matter where he is on the ice or where he wants the puck to go, he finds a way to move it to his teammates with crisp accuracy that almost always lands on tape. He’s creative and capable of adapting to the situation. That passing works well for him on the rush and with offensive zone time established but it’s also an excellent tool on the power play. Many teams employ a player along the half-wall during their power plays and Zegras is the perfect option to fill that role for a team at the next level once he’s ready to make the jump.” -Brandon Share-Cohen, The Hockey Writers

9. Matt Boldy

Date of Birth: 5 Apr 2001 (Age 18)
Nation: USA
Place of Birth: Millis, MA
Position: LW    Shoots: Left
Height: 6’2″      Weight: 192 lbs.

2018-19 Team: U.S. National U18 Team (USDP)

Profile: Built like a pro-level power forward, with a powerful stride but moves with more grace; has the vision and hands to of a near-elite play-maker, but can also be the finisher on a line when riding shotgun with another play-maker. Committed to Boston College for the 2019-20 season.

“Silky, silky, silky. Boldy loves to use his teammates and takes pride in his soft touch and exceptional vision. He’s been making a big impact with the U18s while adding some additional speed and strength. His stride can still be cleaned up to generate even greater acceleration. Boldy has saved his best work for NCAA and international competition…” -Cam Robinson, dobberprospects.com

“He’s got pro-ready size, off-the-charts hockey sense and can score from just about anywhere. Boldy has buttery-soft hands and acts as a set-up man for all four of his mates when he himself is not flanking a playmaker, so this kind of versatility is exactly what you want in a future pro. He warrants a lot of attention from all five on-ice opponents for several reasons, namely for the violent nature of his directional changes while maintaining full control of the puck. It’s rare to see such a powerful skater look as graceful as Boldy does, and there are times where you have to remind yourself that the player dominating the puck is still a teenager and not a mid-20’s NHL forward.” -Steve Kournianos, The Draft Analyst


8. Alex Turcotte

Date of Birth: 26 Feb 2001 (Age 18)
Nation: USA
Place of Birth: Island Lake, IL
Position: C      Shoots: Left
Height: 5’11”   Weight: 185 lbs.

2018-19 Team: U.S. National U18 Team (USPD)

Profile: A defensively-responsible, pass-first forward but is less flashy than many other forwards in this draft class, but perhaps the most 200-foot complete player. Can score when required to, utilizing a hard shot, but always looking to make the right pass. Committed to the University of Wisconsin for the 2019-20 season.

“For Alex Turcotte, arguably the most well-rounded two-way forward in the entire 2019 Draft Class, scouts will have to weigh his long-term upside against other players who are more electrifying offensive players but who may not bring the same level of accountability or defensive responsibility to the table. Make no mistake about it, Turcotte isn’t a slouch offensively and would be a very effective scorer this season (as a teammate of Hughes despite not playing alongside him at even strength), scoring 27 goals and 62 points in just 37 games between Exhibition and USHL play. Turcotte has improved as far as his shot is concerned but he does seem to prefer passing. To his credit, he’s able to find lanes and move the puck accurately to his teammates while playing at full-speed; a rare feat for someone his age.” -Brandon Share-Cohen, The Hockey Writers

“Turcotte is a low-maintenance center in that he can excel in both optimal and non-optimal conditions, plus handle physicality better than most offensive forwards. He is a fast, agile skater with a wide, powerful stride and the balance of a seasoned NHL power forward. Getting knocked off the puck while he’s either static or moving is something you rarely see. Turcotte possesses superior vision and passing ability, and it’s clear from his first shift that he understands the game’s intricacies and nuances that require a center to develop chemistry with his line mates… Although he seems to like to defer to the pass, Turcotte owns a hard, accurate wrist shot with a quick release, and he’s proven to snap off high-velocity shots within tight windows.” -Steve Kournianos, The Draft Analyst

7. Dylan Cozens

Date of Birth: 9 Feb 2001 (Age 18)
Nation: Canada
Place of Birth: Whitehorse, YT
Position: C/RW     Shoots: Rights
Height: 6’3″           Weight: 183 lbs.

2018-19 Team: Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL) 

Profile: Dynamic speed and movement are his greatest assets, as he utilizes it to burn past opponents, either stick-handling at full speed or getting to high danger scoring areas to be the finisher.

“He plays a mature two-way game, is extremely competitive, and possesses subtly high-end hockey sense that allows him to impact the game… His skating is his best weapon. He can dart up and down the ice at lightning speed, and plays with that pace with the puck on his stick.” –EPRinkside.com

“A high-octane power forward who can play both center and wing… combines all aspects of skating  — quickness, acceleration, balance and agility — into one dynamic package that allows him to dictate things rather than play reactionary. Cozens is a capable stickhandler who can control the puck at high speeds before making proper decisions more times than not, and he’s very good at setting up give-and-go’s that position him for one-timers or tap-ins. He owns an excellent shot, both for its velocity and accuracy, plus he can score on his backhand from in close.” -Steve Kournianos, The Draft Analyst

6. Kirby Dach

Date of Birth: 21 Jan 2001 (Age 18)
Nation: Canada
Place of Birth: St. Albert, AB
Position: C     Shoots: Right
Height: 6’4″    Weight: 198 lbs.

2018-19 Team: Saskatoon Blades (WHL)

Profile: Power-forward type frame, but uses his size to protect the puck and create time and space to set up teammates and use his vision some unrivalled passing abilities to be a superior play-maker.

“Big-bodied playmaking center with outstanding passing skills and soft hands who is one of the best draft-eligible players at incorporating all his teammates into the attack. Dach has a tremendous wingspan and reach that help him maintain control the puck for lengthy periods inside the offensive zone. He is a confident puck carrier up ice, and you’ll rarely see him advance via direct routes. Dach can create time and space using a variety of methods on zone entries, and he can stutter-step defenders out of position. All these traits force opponents to back away from him, which provides him with the opportunity to unleash a wicked wrist shot. Still, Dach certainly is more of a set-up man than a shooter, and you can make a strong argument that he is the best saucer-passer of any forward prospect.” -Steve Kournianos, The Draft Analyst

“Dach loves to create offense off the half-wall on the power play and slows things down at even-strength to weigh his options. He owns slick hands, a heavy release and great vision.” -Cam Robinson, dobberprospects.com

5. Peyton Krebs

Date of Birth: 26 Jan 2001 (Age 18)
Nation: Canada
Place of Birth: Calgary, AB
Position: LW/C    Shoots: Left
Height: 5’11”       Weight: 181 lbs.

2018-19 Team: Winnipeg Ice (WHL)

Profile: All-around forward who plays with an aggressive edge, can set up teammates, will play a smart defensive game; will carry the puck and make quick moves while stick-handling to create space for teammates and generate scoring opportunities.

“Peyton Krebs is a potent point-producer and offensive catalyst that rises to the occasion whenever he’s on the ice. He is a smooth, shifty skater that traverses all three zones with ease and closes the gap on the backcheck quickly. Defensively, his understanding of the game communicates itself through his proactive positioning and an active, lane-disrupting stick. Willing to go to the dirty areas and fight for the puck, but isn’t at his best there. Offensively, below the opposition’s blue line, he is an electric, dominant force that showcases excellent decision-making and undeniable puck skills. He’s aggressive, but never takes stupid penalties that will put his team in disadvantage state. Krebs’ hockey sense is on full display when he’s making moves, creating space, and orchestrating opportunities for himself and linemates. All-in-all, Peyton Krebs is an exciting mix of speed, skill, smarts, and hard-nosedness in all three zones. He’s got a very high ceiling.” -Curtis Joe, Elite Prospects

“Complete all-around center who last season had to carry the load for one of the CHL’s weaker teams after being one of the WHL’s top rookies the season prior. Krebs produces results no matter what role he’s given, and plays with the kind of competitive spirit that can become infectious. He’s incredibly smart with or without the puck, and Krebs thrives under pressure, especially late in games. He’s a very good skater with excellent balance and agility, and his ability to turn quickly and react towards the right direction makes him an asset in all three zones… a clever stickhandler who can weave through a crowded neutral zone; but making smart, crisp passes immediately thereafter is what separates from most of his draft-age peers. He can run a power play from the half wall, but also anchor a top penalty killing unit.”-Steve Kournianos, The Draft Analyst

4. Bowen Byram

Date of Birth: 13 June 2001 (Age 18)
Nation: Canada
Place of Birth: Cranbrook, BC
Position: D      Shoots: Left
Height: 6’0″     Weight: 194 lbs.

2018-19 Team: Vancouver Giants (WHL)

Profile: Highest ranked defenseman of this draft class, who is calm and poised with the puck, making smart decisions in every zone, and utilizing his elite skating to always be in proper position and creating scoring chances, either leading the rush or jumping up into it and using a variety of passes to always create scoring opportunities for teammates.

“An exceptionally gifted defenceman that knows his strengths and plays by them. He possesses elite skating ability and is at his best when playing high energy, up-tempo hockey. He handles the puck well and is able to keep control of it under pressure. He makes calculated decisions that consistently shift momentum in his team’s favor. His creativity in the offensive zone speaks to his confidence in his ability to be a game-changer. Defensively astute, he actively takes away lanes and limits options for the oncoming opposition. All-in-all, Bowen Byram is a workhorse that understands how to take advantage of turnovers and shift the pace of play in his favor in all three zones.” -Curtis Joe, Elite Prospects

“Calculated two-way defenseman with leadership traits and cornerstone potential who makes the proper reads while carrying an on-ice demeanor similar to that of a seasoned veteran… Byram has excellent mobility and always looks to either join the rush or create a breakout by himself, and he makes difficult plays while handling the puck look easy. Byram uses flip, chip, bank or stretch passes to trap forecheckers, and he’s capable of dishing the puck with accuracy and authority while backskating or off balance. He consistently keeps his feet moving and reacts to the puck’s changing direction with quickness and confidence. Byram is a strong stickhandler who protects the puck extremely well, especially in instances when he skates methodically into traffic in the neutral zone… Defensively, Byram displays quick feet in maintaining a tight gap, even if a quicker opponent tries to shift gears on him. His stick is highly active and poke checks are timed without putting him at risk of getting caught flat footed…” -Steve Kournianos, The Draft Analyst

3. Vasili Podkolzin

Date of Birth: 24 June 2001 (Age 17)
Nation: Russia
Place of Birth: Moskva, RUS
Position: RW     Shoots: Left
Height: 6’1″       Weight: 196 lbs.

2018-19 Team: SKA-1946 St. Petersburg (MHL)

Profile: Perhaps the most polarizing top prospect heading into the draft, and in some mocks and rankings has fallen out of the top 10 completely. Plays with high energy and can be aggressive while at top speed; has the hands and poise to stick-handle and pass while at that top speed, but can also be the trigger man and finish on every play. The “Russian Factor,” and the view by some scouts that his high-end skills might not be as elite as some have believed as what drop him down the rankings.

“The 17-year-old’s raw skill is clear as day… can stickhandle in a phone booth, complete difficult plays at high speed and he has a dangerous shot. His speed is good, but not great, however, due to an engine that doesn’t quit, his compete level and physicality are not up for debate either. These reasons — combined with his frame and how he excelled at international tournaments this season — are what make him an enticing top-five, or even a potential top-three selection this June.” -Nathan Kanter, The Hockey Writers

“Podkolzin started his draft season with a great performance at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup where he scored eight goals and three assists in just five games. He was also the team captain in that tournament. Podkolzin has all the offensive tools needed to become an elite level player. He has great top speed and he can make plays at high speed. He’s capable of making quick turns. His shot is amazing but he also has the vision and passing skills to be a good playmaker. His one-on-one skills are great as well. On top of all that, he has good size (6-1, 190) and he isn’t afraid to use it. He can power his way to the net at the junior level, and when he adds more muscle to his frame, he can do that at the pro level as well. The Russian factor may cause Podkolzin to drop in the NHL Entry Draft and you may need to wait a couple of years while he develops in Russia but his offensive upside is one of the highest in this draft class.” -Jokke Nevalainen, dobberprospects.com

“… checks all the intangible blocks, as he can be counted on to address a variety of his coach’s concerns. What separates him from all the other “toolsy” forwards is that he can either create or finish plays while traveling at maximum speed, and his strong balance and stickhandling seems to convince defenders to back off more than they should. Podkolzin is effective both in open ice and during trench warfare, and he’s capable of completing on-the-tape passes that lead directly to quality chances near the net… can be used to anchor the lead penalty-killing unit or run the power play from the half wall. He is confident with the puck and shows a tremendous amount of poise while controlling it. He’s quite coordinated and has soft hands to handle tough passes, plus Podkolzin hits the net with the majority of his one-time attempts. Without the puck, he’s a crash-and-bang forechecker with powerful leg drive that he uses to jolt bigger defenders off the puck…” -Steve Kournianos, The Draft Analyst

2. Kappo Kakko

Date of Birth: 13 Feb 2001 (Age 18)
Nation: Finland
Place of Birth: Turku, FIN
Position: RW     Shoots: Left
Height: 6’2″       Weight: 190 lbs.

2018-19 Team: TPS (Liiga)

Profile: An dominate World Juniors, and strong finish to the season has drawn him close to the top spot. Has great anticipation which allows him to get in front of the play and to the high danger areas; has elusive speed and shiftiness which allows him to stickhandle in tight areas; can use his size in front of the net, but has the skill and vision to finish or set-up around the net. Committed to TPS for the 2019-20 season.

“A quick-thinking winger, Kakko never seems to be in a rush. He reads the game exceptionally well and finds himself a step ahead while the play is still developing. He is confident with the puck and capable of handling it in small spaces. With decent size for a player of his age, Kakko protects the puck well and uses his high hockey IQ to make smart offensive plays. He plays a mature game and is already strong enough to compete with men in the Finnish Liiga. Kakko excels offensively and beats opponents with smarts and skill both on and off the puck. -Matias Strozyk, Elite Prospects

“Multi-tooled winger with size and coordination who incorporates his impressive puck skills with a desirable physical package that consistently exhausts opponents… Blessed with incredibly soft hands and tight-quarter quickness, Kakko is a reliable stickhandler who uses timing plays to either get open or create space for his linemates. It’s hard to call a bigger winger elusive, but Kakko’s shiftiness is both rapid and unpredictable — he constantly lures defenders into a compromising position before exploiting the smallest of windows into an unabated path to the goal. He also can serve as a net-front presence on the power play, but also alternates to the far-side circle for a one-timer or backdoor slam dunk… is mature, poised and displays high intelligence with or without the puck. He constantly is in motion and uses his strength to win physical battles or get inside positioning on opponents.” -Steve Kournianos, The Draft Analyst

“… Kakko has all the tools to become an elite level player in the NHL. His skating is very good. His hands and vision are excellent. He has good size, and his puck-protection skills are unbelievable. His shot is good as well but he doesn’t use it often enough. He’s more of a playmaker but using his shot more frequently could open up passing lanes. Kakko is ranked second or third in the early rankings but he has all the tools to challenge for the top spot in the 2019 NHL Draft – especially if he gets to showcase his play down the middle. Most people think of him as a winger but he has a history of playing center in junior.” -Jokke Nevalainen, dobberprospects.com

1. Jack Hughes

Date of Birth: 14 May 2001 (Age 18)
Nation: USA
Place of Birth: Orlando, FL
Position: C       Shoots: Left
Height: 5’10”    Weight: 170 lbs.

2018-19 Team: U.S. National U18 Team (USDP)

Profile: To many, the undeniable top selection in the 2019 Entry Draft. His speed has been compared to Connor McDavid and hands and play-making to Patrick Kane; at that top speed, he is constantly making breath-taking and highlight reel passes, but will use that speed to get open and finish plays too. It’s the combination of top-end speed and ability to think and be an elite play-maker while wheeling that places him at the top of his draft class. 

“Turbo-charged center with blinding speed and fantastic vision who has dominated his peers at every level. Hughes’ skill is noticeable from the second he hits the ice, but his ability to make every single one of decisions seem calculated is what separates him from a very talented group of draft-eligible forwards… an excellent playmaker with hawk-like vision who can perfectly time passes to linemates over long distances, especially off the rush. He uses a variety of head fakes, stutter steps and quick pivots to lure defenders away from a passing lane, and he can no-look pass better than any junior-aged player since Connor McDavid. But Hughes isn’t just a pass-first center, as he uses his blazing speed, agility and elite stickhandling to make inside moves towards the goal with regularity. Once he’s there, he’ll either wire a blistering wrister or use his ridiculously soft hands to roof shots from in close on either his forehand or backhand. These traits not only expand the ice for his teammates, but also seem to wear down defenders as they work feverishly towards trying to contain him.” -Steve Kournianos, The Draft Analyst

“It isn’t hyperbole to say that Hughes makes multiple highlight reel-worthy plays every single game he plays. He’s an excellent skater with the smarts and maturity to make an impact in the NHL from day one. While size may be a concern for some, it really shouldn’t be worrisome in today’s NHL with some of the best players in the league coming in at a similar stature. Being fast is one thing. Being able to play at such a high speed is another thing entirely. Hughes has the skating ability, shot, vision, play-making prowess and smarts to excel at such high speeds akin to NHL superstars like Connor McDavid and Patrick Kane.” -Brandon Share-Cohen, The Hockey Writers

“Hughes is as dynamic as they come. He’s Patrick Kane with more speed. He thinks the game at an incredible pace. A pace that he matches with his feet and his hands. He’s a player you tank out for if you’re not looking like a competitor in your keeper league. Get in line to get your hands on him.” -Cam Robinson, dobberprospects.com


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