Nielson’s Final Mock Draft

It’s a sad day, as I sit here at a Waves Coffee House in Vancouver I just realized this is my final mock draft of the season. *Single tear rolls down my face*

I’ve had Kirby Dach going to the Oilers in all three of my previous mock drafts and as Britney Spears once said — Oops! I did it again.

1st Overall: New Jersey Devils

Jack Hughes – USA NTDP

Jack Hughes has been the projected 1st overall pick in the 2019 draft for two full seasons so it’s time to give him credit for hanging on to the top spot. It wouldn’t be a mistake for the Devils to use the top pick on Kakko instead but Hughes is a good fit for their club and will provide them with a true superstar to build around. He will most certainly be a key contributor for the Devils next season.

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2nd Overall: New York Rangers

Kaapo Kakko – Turku, Finland

Nothing against the Trouba trade but landing Kaapo Kakko with the 2nd overall pick will be the best thing to happen to the Rangers this week. I spoke with one scout today who said he is 100 percent certain that Kakko is better suited right now for the NHL than Hughes and that’s good news for a Rangers team that might be ready to fast forward their rebuild a bit.

3rd Overall: Chicago Blackhawks

Alex Turcotte – USA NTDP

Let me be the first to say that if I was running the Hawks I’d take Bowen Byram with the third overall pick but alas I’m just a blogger/streamer/radio host/play-by-play guy/father of two/husband so what do I know?

I had Byram going third overall to the Hawks in all three mocks prior to the Olli Maatta trade. Byram is likely ready to handle top four minutes in the NHL so why would did the Hawks pay the price they did to get Maatta if they were leaning towards taking Byram? I don’t think they would.

Alex Turcotte has all the tools to become a 1st line center in the NHL and the Hawks may see this as a chance to find a successor for Jonathan Toews, a player they also drafted right here in Vancouver.

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4th Overall: Colorado Avalanche

Bowen Byram – Vancouver Giants, WHL

Close your eyes for a second and imagine Cale Makar and Bowen Byram on the ice together, that would be a decade worth of nightmares for teams around the National Hockey League.

You don’t see many defencemen make the leap to the NHL as an 18-year old but Byram has the skill set to get it done. Byram and Makar would have the potential to eventually become the best offensive 1-2 punch from the backend in the entire league.

5th Overall: Los Angeles Kings

Dylan Cozens – Lethbridge Hurricanes

I spent quite a bit of time debating between the two WHL forwards with this pick but decide to go with Dylan Cozens. I’m not sure Cozens has a greater upside than Dach but I do believe he is the safer play. He thinks the game extremely well, with or without the puck, and projects to be a really good second line centre.

****TRADE ALERT: Detroit trades the 6th overall pick and a 4th round pick in 2019 to the Canucks for the 10th overall pick and a 2nd round pick in 2019.****

6th Overall: Vancouver Canucks (from Detroit)

Philip Broberg – Skelleftea, Sweden

The host team makes a splash! The Canucks move up to take Philip Broberg who has elite offensive upside but still needs to learn the game defensively. I do think this is a little bit of the reach but if he pans out for the Canucks it will look like a genius move.

Could the Canucks just wait and hope that Broberg is still available with the 10th pick? Sure, but that’s no fun. Many people have been speculating that the Oilers would take him with the 8th overall pick so if Jim Benning buys into that he’ll have to move up to get him.

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Edler would be a great mentor for Broberg if he is still with the Canucks when the younger Swede arrives in North America.

7th Overall: Buffalo Sabres

Cole Caufield – USA NTDP

Jason Botterill has conducted two drafts with the Sabres and has yet to pick a player from the Canadian Hockey League so I’m going to go with the trend and say he passes on Kirby Dach. The Sabres need goal scoring and nobody does it better in this draft than Cole Caufield. He would have a chance to develop alongside fellow Americans, Jack Eichel and Casey Mittelstadt.

Even though he scores goals in bunches I don’t see Caufield going any higher than this.

8th Overall: Edmonton Oilers

Kirby Dach – Saskatoon, WHL

Here we go again. I just can’t get away from Kirby Dach going 8th overall to the Oilers. He has an NHL ready body and knows how to use it. He uses his size to protect the puck extremely well in the offensive zone and also finds his way to the front of the net with or without the puck.

He has the rare ability to slow the game down and control things at his own pace. He’s probably just a year away from being ready to give it a go in the show. I think his style of play would fit in very nicely with the other elite offensive players on the Oilers.

9th Overall: Anaheim Ducks

Trevor Zegras – USA NTDP

The Ducks have never used a first round pick on a player out of the USA Development program but there’s a first time for everything. Zegras is a super confident playmaker that could end up playing either on the wing or down the middle at the next level.

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I think the Ducks will be extremely happy to see Zegras still available at nine.

10th Overall: Detroit Red Wings (from Vancouver)

Vasili Podkolzin – St. Petersburg, KHL

The Red Wings move down and get their man at ten. Yzerman had some major success with Russians in Tampa Bay and Podkolzin has all the tools to become a star in Detroit.

The knock on Podkolzin is that he hasn’t yet managed to put everything together at the same time but if/when he does this pick will look like a home run for Stevie Y.


This is your final chance to make a prediction. How do you see the top ten going? What happens if Caufield and Dach are both available for the Oilers at eight? Is it crazy to think that all three of Cozens, Dach and Caufield could be available? Nobody expected both Bouchard and Dobson to still be available for the Oilers last season so it’s fair to say anything can happen.

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One final thing to note is that Ken Holland said multiple times on Thursday that he has spent a lot of time watching this powerhouse USA-NTDP program. I don’t think that necessarily means he’s going to take one of those kids but if he does you can be confident he knows every single thing about him.


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Previously by Dustin Nielson:

    • IRONman

      I believe the centers and USA players go 3,4,5,6,7. USA development is a lot better. I would love Dach or Cozens but if Byram is there at 8 th pick him. Byram and Bouchard ahhh dream pair

    • TKB2677

      So if the guy is Dach, according to his scouting report, he’s a big, right shooting, highly competitive, good hockey sense, super fast skating player. So if he is all that and ends up being a 20+ goal, 50 pt guy, that’s a bad thing?

      What am I missing here.

  • TruthHurts98

    I’m not convinced Broberg is even going top 15, but with drafts who knows. Lots of wild cards. I hope Cozens, Caufield or Dach falls, and FYI Buffalo is taking Zegras. They’ve literally said so and have met with him more than any other player. Detroit will trade up to take Byram if the Hawks are willing too. No team is drafting Broberg before the Oilers, I’ll bet anyone cash on that. And if the Oilers take him this rebuild will take another 2-3 years at least.

  • Spydyr

    When it is time for the Oilers to take the eighth pick I would ask Howson who would he take then I would take someone else. They have to be keeping Howson around for something, right?

    • Mind boggling still isn’t it? He has had what 5 different titles with the Oilers and failed at all of them. If I see Lowe’s arrogant mug at the draft tonight, there will be no Oilers hockey for me until he is gone along with can’t do anything right Howson. Ya , Ya hasn’t been involved in hockey ops for years
      (Nudge Nudge Wink Wink)

  • TKB2677

    I hope the Oilers do not take Caufield or Podkolzin. They need this pick to give them a legit NHLer.
    With the 2 year contract in the KHL, there is no guarantees that Podkolzin comes over and being that he is in Russia, you’d have not a lot of contact or influence on his development. You’d be putting his development entirely in the hands of the KHL which is a very different league playing on a different ice size. WAY too much risk.

    With Caufield, small players can play but he makes Gaudreau look big. You already have a small player in Yamamoto at forward in your system. While he put up big goal totals, he did it on a allstar team. So how much of his totals are because the team he was on was superior to most others they played. He’s also a one dimensional player. So what does he do for your team if he can’t score like he did in lower levels.

    • Glencontrolurstik

      I agree with everything you say here. I’d add that Podkolzin could easily pull a Tramykin (spelling? Remember the Nuck defender that played a couple of games and got homesick). I think Radulov did that, just took off, but finally came back. Come to think of it, where did Slepyshev go? He’s still an Oiler. Isn’t he? Maybe Holland can turn him around? I saw some spark when he was here. No?

  • Derian Hatcher

    As long as Kevin Lowe and Scott Howson are sitting at the draft table what could go wrong? I would also like to see a cardboard cutout of Chiarelli at the table with pink duct tape over his mouth. (Sorry, couldn’t resist)

      • Cageyvet

        As a Canucks fan let me tell you we hope Chiarelli just dropped by to say hi to Jim and kiss ass for a job. Being a gentleman, Benning heard him out and then sent him on to the next team. I will crap my pants if he joins the Canucks in any capacity. The job of GM is tough enough without throwing his wisdom into the mix. On the plus side for you guys, while I’m not sure how Holland will do, I think the world of Tippett. He has a history of extracting the best from his team’s, and there’s more talent on the Oilers than he’s usually been given.

  • Jsplash

    Lol, Van is gonna give up picks to jump up and grab Broberg??
    Byram can handle top 4 mins right away?
    Turcotte can be an elite number 1?
    Jesus…just when I was starting to believe Oilersnation Could be a credible blogging site.

  • toprightcorner

    It didn’t cost that much for Van to move up. I wonder if the Oilers could offer CHI a package of 8th, Samarukov and 2nd for their 3rd pick to grab Byram? Compared to the VAN trade, it is like adding Samarukov and not getting a 4th in return for moving up 5 spots instead of 4.

    CHI would still have a chance at Zegas, Dach, Cozens or Boldy, all players they would likely have interest in.

    I would make that trade as Bouchard and Byram together would be awesome to watch for the next decade.

  • toprightcorner

    If the Oilers preferred Cozens, they could tell Benning they won’t take Broberg and trade the 8th and a 3rd to VAN for the 6th and DET’s 4th. That way it only costs Benning switching a 2nd for a 3rd pick (29 spot difference) to get their player and Oilers only change 29 spots back from 3rd round to 4th round to get Cozens if that is someone they really wanted.

    Benning looks like a hero for getting his target

    • toprightcorner

      If one scout or insider has some concerns, no big deal. If 2 or 3 have some concerns, maybe something to look at. When almost half of the scouts and insiders that do rankings question his hockey IQ, then turn and run away as fast as you can.

      5 years ago, everyone knew that the Oilers needed to get bigger, Chia came in and ignored everything but size and we now have a bunch of unskilled, slow wingers. Now it is all about having a mobile defense, which I agree with, but that doesn’t mean you draft or sign a bunch of players just becasue they are fast. Hockey IQ and skill are the 2 main priorities when looking at a player. If they have those, then look at skating and size. If their skating is average but IQ and skill is through the roof and they have size, that is ok. If they are small, but their skating is great and their skill and IQ is great, then you can overlook the size. A team should never just look at 1 or 2 skill sets to make a decision.

      Broberg is an amazing skater. He is also a decent defender with a good stick. He is not a very good passer and the biggest thing is he does not know how to make plays or see the ice that well. He may skate an end to end rush and then when he gets into the offnsive zone, he is not certain what to do eith it and either goes around the net or shoots it at the goaliws logo.

      Broberg would be a great pick at 16-20, but not a top 10 pick


    I wouldn’t trade out our prospects we actually developed properly …
    Samarukov Looks to be legit , pair him with Bouchard and they will be a solid pair for a decade.

    Trade down a few spots of the price is sweet. Take a forward and hopefully acquire a forward prospect or youngish player in the deal.
    We have defence pushing for spots his year and depth is finally here. Holland confirmed that.
    Dach, Cozens, Boldy, krebsand Zegras are all solid picks and if be happy if we land those.

  • The Rookie

    My top 3 wish list for the oilers drafting at # 8 are Cozens, Boldy, Caufield. I think Cozens would be a dream fit but I don’t think he will still be there at 8.

    Oil take Cozens at 8, trade JP, Russel, this years 3rd and next years first to Philly for 11 and Gostisbehere and then take Broberg at 11.