The NHL Draft is a mere two weeks away. As we speak, teams are meeting to plan their offseason and the potential moves they could make.
Among the long list of items teams will do in these next two weeks is finalizing their draft list. Teams will ultimately decide who should go ahead of who if they’re faced with a decision. Should they draft this prospect or that one? Oh to be able to hear those conversations amongst the teams.
Welcome to the 2019 Do Not Draft list. This article will give you 10 prospects that should not be drafted at a certain spot. Now we must discuss one very important thing about this list.
These prospects will eventually get drafted. The point of this is to identify players that the general consensus has going higher than they probably should. In other words, do not draft someone 10th if you can get them 25th. You likely have better options in this scenario.
Let’s get started. You’ll love the first name that appears on this list.
Don’t get cute, New Jersey Devils. Despite his dominance this season culminating in a gold medal at the World Championship, there is a better option available first overall.
If you’re the Devils, you draft Jack Hughes. If you’re anyone else including the New York Rangers, you draft Kakko. It’s simple. Don’t overthink this one.
Rank: 3rd NA.
Where We’d Consider Him: 8th or later.
It wouldn’t surprise me to see Dach’s name called in the top five. I could see the Los Angeles Kings strongly consider him in this spot. However I think there are better options available.
The Blackhawks pick third. While they have an important decision to make, it doesn’t seem that Dach’s name is in the final running. All indications seem to point at one of Alex Turcotte, Trevor Zegras or Bowen Byram. I’d rather have all three of these than Dach just given what they all bring to the table.
With all that said, if Dach is still available at 8th with the Oilers picking, I think that’s where he goes. I just wouldn’t use a top-five pick on him.
Rank: 7th NA.
Where We’d Consider Him: Outside the top-10.
Every year, the draft presents us with a prospect that splits the industry. Kaliyev is one of those prospects this season. It’s easy to see why.
He is one of the best snipers in this draft. But he also has many wondering what kind of habits and effort he will bring to the next level. If you’re a general manager considering this type of prospect, where do you draw the line?
Kaliyev is ranked 7th on the final North American list. I wouldn’t use a top-10 pick on him. The earliest I would consider him is 11th to the Flyers as they need goal scoring and he would be among the best in that spot. But the concerns are valid. I’d rather have Cole Caufield. I’d rather have Matthew Boldy, Peyton Krebs and Alex Newhook, all expected to go somewhere in the neighborhood of the top-10.
If Kaliyev figures everything out, then this is a bad take. But given the number of concerns brought up by many in the industry, he has work to do to prove the doubters wrong.
Rank: 2nd EU.
Where We’d Consider Him: Outside the lottery.
Here’s the other prospect up for debate. There is no questioning the skill Podkolzin brings. But he’s under contract in Russia for two more seasons. I’m not sure I’d use a lottery pick on someone with commitment questions knowing other players are available without those same questions.
I could see Detroit at 6th make a play here, but I think Zegras is the pick if available. It just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for lottery teams given their needs. Now later in the first round when the talent starts dwindling, that’s where teams should target him.
Rank: 4th EU.
Where We’d Consider Him: Outside the first round.
Many have Heinola as a solid first rounder based on his puck handling skills and vision. This is a matter of liking other players more.
Players that come to mind that I prefer are Philip Broberg, Moritz Seider, Cam York, Victor Soderstrom and Ryan Johnson.
Broberg is perhaps the closest prospect to the NHL at this point. Seider had a great showing at the World Championship and jumped up on a lot of boards. York is one of the best puck movers available in this draft. Soderstrom is one of the best skaters available in this draft. And Johnson like York is a good puck mover.
In watching tape of Heinola, I don’t see the upside some do. He’s steady but won’t wow you. And he’s not a huge offensive threat. If he makes it out of round one, line up for his services.
- Ryan Suzuki: He’s a better skater than his brother Nick and more of a playmaker but I don’t see the upside I thought I would. He’s not a first rounder for me.
- Nolan Foote: Foote is outside the top-62 for me. Although there’s things to like, I’m concerned that he’ll be able to keep up with the pace of the next level.
- Braden Tracey: He jumped all the way to 21st on the final rankings but I don’t see him as a first rounder as this ranking could suggest. He has some playmaking which makes him intriguing. He falls somewhere in the 45-50 range and think he is still available at that spot.
- Spencer Knight: He’s likely a first rounder but I can’t justify using a first rounder on a goalie. He’s a great prospect but not generational. Once round two starts and if he’s still there, trade up if your team needs a goalie infusion.
- Nick Robertson: Like the talent but not as a first rounder. He jumped to 17th on the final rankings. Size and physicality worry me for the next level. That said, I think someone will like his overall game enough to take him late in round one.
What do you think of this list? Which players do you think I’m dead wrong about? These players will hear their name called but it will be interesting to see where.
Stay tuned for the next part of our draft series where we look at the must haves of the NHL Draft.
I am a fully credentialed writer who covers the Columbus Blue Jackets, Cleveland Monsters and Erie Otters as well as the Ontario Hockey League and NHL Draft. The 2021-22 season will mark eight seasons with the Hockey Writers. I am also the site’s Credentials Manager.