New Jersey Devils – Jack Hughes (C) US National U18 Team (USDP)
Hughes brings dynamic acceleration, top-end speed, edgework, puck skills… I can keep going but you get the idea.Cam Robinson – Dobber Prospects
For the second year in a row, the Devils will be selecting first overall thanks to winning the draft lottery. The reward will be franchise center Jack Hughes. There is a chance that they move past Hughes and select dynamic sniper Kaapo Kakko, but they will probably select Hughes. The Devils now boast a solid 1-2 punch with Hughes and Hishier to compete with the best in the NHL.
New York Rangers – Kaapo Kakko (RW) TPS Turku (SM-Liiga)
Kakko blends size, speed, finishing ability and terrific vision. He doesn’t blow you away with any one skill, but his arsenal of weapons come together to be extremely productive.Cam Robinson – Dobber Prospects
The Rangers need another difference maker in the big apple and Kakko definitely gives them that. He will thrive under the big lights of New York.
Chicago Blackhawks – Bowen Byram (D) Vancouver Giants (WHL)
His skating, size and puck skills really stand out, while his enthusiasm for jumping into the rush makes him the type of player that opponents need to game-plan for every night.Ryan Kennedy – The Hockey News
Cornerstone defensemen Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook are 35 and 34 respectfully. In other words, the Blackhawks need another franchise defenseman. Bowen Byram will give them that, that is why Stan Bowman will not hesitate to draft the 26 goal man from the WHL’s Vancouver Giants.
Colorado Avalanche (from Ott) – Alex Turcotte (C) US National U18 Team (USDP)
Great offensive instincts, quick acceleration and already the most complete two-way player in the crop. A constant battler.Cam Robinson – Dobber Prospects
Despite making the playoffs and moving onto the second round, the Avs will have a chance to add another potential elite forward to their ranks. The Avs have their superstar #1 center, now they need a solid two way 2nd line center to complement Nathan MacKinnon. Alex Turcotte will give them this and more.
Los Angeles Kings – Dylan Cozens (C/RW) Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL)
He’s the full package – a complete, confident player who makes smart decisions, battles hard, and burns opponents with high-end speed.Hannah Stuart – theScore
The Kings love their big, physical centermen. That is why it’s a no brainer they will select Cozens. He will be a welcome addition to a lineup needing an injection of elite young talent. Very similar to current Kings captain Anze Kopitar.
Detroit Red Wings – Peyton Krebs (C) Kootenay Ice (WHL)
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, 2019
Now that Steve Yzerman is GM, he may find it difficult to pass on a player very similar to himself when he played for the winged wheel. Krebs possesses many Yzerman qualities. It may be a stretch, but I believe Yzerman will choose Krebs.
7. Buffalo Sabres – Kirby Dach (C) Saskatoon Blades (WHL)
Dach is a big-bodied passing aficionado with the vision of Joe Thornton and the ability to maintain control of the puck in the tightest of spaces.Steve Kournianos, Sporting News
Depth at center ice is an issue after Jack Eichel and Casey Middlestad. That’s why I believe they will select Dach with the 7th pick. Dach will give the Sabres enviable depth down the middle.
8. Edmonton Oilers – Vasili Podkolzin (RW) SKA-1946 St. Petersburg (MHL)
His work ethic, aggression and two-way play are all fantastic traits, but he can also kill you on the scoresheet thanks to his skills and puck protection ability.”Ryan Kennedy – The Hockey News
It may be a risk to select Podkolzin, since he may not enter the NHL for two years. But the Oilers need another game breaker to play with Connor McDavid. Leon Draisaitl has to be the second line center, and not always be forced to play with McDavid to generate offence. Podkolzin will give the Oiler’s a poor man’s Ovechkin. With McDavid or Draisaitl as his centerman, he will score plenty of goals.
Anaheim Ducks – Trevor Zegras (C/W) US National U18 Team (USDP)
His skill is comparable to Hughes, but the skating is not quite as dynamic.Sam Cosentino – SportsNet
Ryan Getzlaf is 33 and regressing every year. The Ducks need an ere apparent. This is why I believe they will select Trevor Zegras.
Vancouver Canucks – Matthew Boldy (LW) US National U18 Team (USDP)
Has very good skills with an excellent shot and release. Imposes himself and makes the game hard for opponents defending him because of skill, sense and power.Craig Button – TSN
Despite dropping a spot after the draft lottery, the Canucks will select another excellent forward with the #10 pick. I had a hard time choosing between Caufield and Boldy, but in the end Boldy’s upside and size tipped the scales for me. He will be a welcome addition to either Horvat or Pettersson’s wing when he enters the NHL.
Philadelphia Flyers – Raphael Lavoie (C/RW) Halifax (QMJHL)
Big-bodied goal scorer with very good speed and can stickhandle his way around any jamSteve Kournianos – The Draft Analyst
The Flyers aversion to small forwards will keep them from selecting 5’7” dynamo Cole Caufield. Instead, they will probably select the bigger Lavoie. Lavoie possesses many of the qualities the Flyers look for in a forward. He will fit in nicely on a team with no forward under 5’10”.
Minnesota Wild – Cole Caufield (C/RW) US National U18 Team (USDP)
Hyper-skilled but undersized winger brings all the offensive tools you can handle. Has been clicking at nearly a goal-per-game with The Program with his deadly release. Owns excellent edges, and a non-stop motor but could use that extra gear at his stature.Cam Robinson – Dobber Prospects
After trading their second line center to the Nashville Predators, the Wild will be looking to add to their skill at the center ice position. Cole Caufield will instantly do this. Currently dominating the U18 World Championships with 9 goals in 3 games, he could go much higher than 12.
Florida Panthers – Victor Soderstrom (D) Brynas J20 (Superelit)
Soderstrom’s an offensively minded puck-mover who, despite his size, isn’t afraid to get involved in the physical side of the game.Hannah Stuart – theScore
After Aaron Ekblad and Mike Matheson, the Panthers don’t really have much in way of young offensive defenseman. This is why I believe the Panthers will select Soderstrom.
Arizona Coyotes – Alex Newhook (C) Victoria Grizzlies (BCHL)
Speed for days and the disregard for safety to use it anywhere. Dangerous hands, good hockey sense and is equally deadly with the pass or the shot.Cam Robinson – Dobber Prospects
Newhook also dominated the BCHL for the second straight season posting 102 points in 53 games. The Coyotes will be happy with this pick as he will probably become their #1 center not too far down the road.
Montreal Canadiens – Cam York (D) US National U18 Team (USDP)
Think prototypical new-aged defenceman. A great skater who moves pucks quickly and efficiently.Sam Cosentino – SportsNet
Montreal desperately needs a defenseman to eventually take over for Shea Weber. This is why they will select York, who is very similar to ex-Canadien P.K. Subban, someone who the Canadiens have missed since he was traded to the Predators.