2019 NHL Draft: Evaluating Team Results

This is no time to be handing out report cards.

It’s far too early to be issuing letter grades to the NHL’s 31 clubs for their performance in the 2019 draft.

That evaluation process will continue for years to come and prospect development isn’t a straight line, so let’s not jump to any conclusions by declaring outright winners and losers.

However, it is never a bad time to reflect on the draft results — comparing and contrasting to your own rankings and mocks. That self-reflection, as a form of homework, can only be beneficial — both in the present and in the future, revisiting those results for any takeaways towards improvement.

For this assignment in evaluating the team results, I’ve included three numbers next to each prospect: my final ranking from my top 350 published on June 3; my personal mock, who I would have taken for each team as of June 5; and my consensus mock, based on feedback from fellow scouts, media and trusted sources as of June 17. Those numbers appear in that order: final ranking, personal mock, consensus mock.

My opinions on individual picks and team results as a whole should be pretty evident from those numbers and the analysis that follows. Thus no need for a letter grade today.

Before we get started, I’d like to note that only 35 of the 217 prospects drafted in 2019 were not ranked in my top 350 and that only eight of them were not on my radar among 1,492 total prospects. The other 27 were listed on my radar but didn’t make the cut for my top 350.

Therefore, I used the following legend for this exercise:

NR — Not Ranked

OR — Off Radar

UD — Undrafted (in mocks)

These team results are listed based on the draft order, starting at the top.

New Jersey Devils

Jack Hughes Devils Draft
Jack Hughes of the New Jersey Devils. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

1) Jack Hughes, LC = 1, 1, 1

61) Nikita Okhotyuk, LD = 108, 106, 114

70) Daniil Misyul, LD = 56, 77, 58

80) Graeme Clarke, RW = 78, 103, 85

82) Michael Vukojevic, LD = 87, 93, 92

96) Tyce Thompson, RC = 249, UD, UD

118) Case McCarthy, RD = 119, 107, 109

127) Cole Brady, G = NR, UD, UD

129) Arseni Gritsyuk, F = 142, 178, 123

158) Patrick Moynihan, RW = 144, 122, 122

189) Nikola Pasic, LC = 150, 159, 143

TOTAL: 11 (3 LD, 2 LC, 2 RW, 1 RC, 1 RD, 1 G, 1 F) 

ANALYSIS: The Devils did very well, there’s no disputing that. Hughes is the obvious prize, but I’m a fan of all four defencemen and most of their other forwards too. Goalies are voodoo, so I won’t condemn the Brady pick either. Thompson was taken early for my liking, but Pasic went later than expected to offset that reach. Okhotyuk went high too, but he passes the eye test and got plenty of exposure on one of the OHL’s top teams, so that wasn’t a huge surprise. New Jersey should get a handful of future NHLers from this draft class, starting with Hughes.

My mocks had the Devils taking four and then five players from the U.S. National Team Development Program and they did deploy that strategy to some degree by drafting three in total with Hughes, McCarthy and Moynihan. Hughes was my only perfect pick for New Jersey, but my positional breakdowns were pretty in line with reality and I also had the Devils using a late-round pick on a Swedish forward. All in all, a successful draft for the Devils on paper.

New York Rangers

Kappo Kakko Rangers Draft
Kappo Kakko of the New York Rangers. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

2) Kaapo Kakko, RW = 2, 2, 2

49) Matthew Robertson, LD = 43, 48, 45

58) Karl Henriksson, LC = 69, 66, 54

68) Zac Jones, LD = 123, 113, 132

112) Hunter Skinner, RD = NR, UD, UD

130) Leevi Aaltonen, LW = 99, 81, 117

161) Adam Edstrom, LC = NR, UD, UD

205) Eric Ciccolini, RW = NR, UD, UD

TOTAL: 8 (2 RW, 2 LD, 2 LC, 1 RD, 1 LW)

ANALYSIS: The Rangers got off to a great start but seemed to tail off in the later rounds. The lottery win to land Kakko was the real coup — and my only perfect pick here — but Robertson and Henriksson were fine picks at their spots and I liked the reach for Jones despite my lower ranking. That kid has legit upside. As does Aaltonen, as a potential steal in the fifth round. I nearly ranked Skinner on a couple occasions throughout the draft year, but that seemed like a much bigger reach and I’m not sure what to make of the final two picks since those two prospects may not have cracked my top 500, but perhaps I’m missing something on them.

I’m surprised the Rangers didn’t draft any Russians this year. I had them taking three in each of my mocks since it seemed like a good year for Russians — both first-time eligibles and overagers. Besides Kakko and a Swedish forward in the second round — I had the Rangers taking Albin Grewe instead of Henriksson (both were available at that pick) — I was off the mark for the most part.

Chicago Blackhawks

Kirby Dach Blackhawks Draft
Kirby Dach of the Chicago Blackhawks. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

3) Kirby Dach, RC = 7, 8, 5

43) Alex Vlasic, LD = 42, 55, 30

105) Michal Teply, RW = 60, 63, 63

123) Antti Saarela, LC = 71, 90, 59

167) Dominic Basse, G = NR, UD, UD

194) Cole Moberg, LD = 167, 157, 166

TOTAL: 6 (2 LD, 1 RC, 1 RW, 1 LC, 1 G)

ANALYSIS: The Blackhawks surprised a lot of people, including me, by taking Dach over their hometown boy Alex Turcotte. That selection will define this draft class for Chicago — for better or worse over the next decade. I won’t bash the Dach pick, but I won’t praise it either. I will applaud the Teply and Saarela selections as potential steals at those spots and Moberg might become a player as a seventh-rounder too. Basse is a long-term project, even more so than most goalies.

Time will tell, as always, but those mid-round forwards — Teply and Saarela — might end up salvaging this draft for Chicago if Dach doesn’t prove to be the best option at third overall. As of today, I probably still prefer my mocks for the Blackhawks over their actual results and, truthfully, I wasn’t that thrilled with either mock for Chicago.

Colorado Avalanche

Bowen Byram Avalanche Draft
Bowen Byram of the Colorado Avalanche. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

4) Bowen Byram, LD = 4, 5, 4

16) Alex Newhook, LC = 13, 10, 16

47) Drew Helleson, RD = 89, 92, 96

63) Matthew Stienburg, RC = 251, UD, UD

78) Alex Beaucage, RW = 79, 94, 83

140) Sasha Mutala, RW = 110, 101, 89

171) Luka Burzan, LW = 232, UD, 210

202) Trent Miner, G = 136, 174, 174

TOTAL: 8 (2 RW, 1 LD, 1 LC, 1 RD, 1 RC, 1 LW, 1 G)

ANALYSIS: The Avs hit it out of the park with their first two picks — both hits for my consensus mock — but their next two picks were a bit of a buzz kill for me. Stienburg was intriguing to me throughout the draft year, but I never imagined him going that high. Him and Helleson wouldn’t have been on my shortlist at those spots, to put it politely, but Colorado rebounded with four solid selections down the stretch.

Starting out with Byram and Newhook, the Avs could have passed on the rest of their picks and still got a passing grade from most pundits. Colorado did its best work in the first round — in the most important round. As long as those two pan out, anybody else from this draft class will be a bonus.

Los Angeles Kings

Alex Turcotte Kings Draft
Alex Turcotte of the Los Angeles Kings. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

5) Alex Turcotte, LC = 6, 3, 3

22) Tobias Björnfot, LD = 18, 29, 32

33) Arthur Kaliyev, LW = 24, 22, 12

50) Samuel Fagemo, LW = 38, 34, 56

87) Lukas Parik, G = 140, 152, 140

95) Jordan Spence, RD = 64, 71, 76

119) Kim Nousiainen, LD = 84, 97, 97

157) Braden Doyle, LD = 170, 164, 133

188) Andre Lee, LC = 323, UD, UD

TOTAL: 9 (3 LD, 2 LC, 2 LW, 1 G, 1 RD)

ANALYSIS: A lot of people have been crowning the Kings among their draft winners and my numbers do support that theory. All nine prospects were within my top 350 and most were ranked higher than their draft position. There isn’t a bad pick among the bunch, but there are plenty of boom-or-bust types. The development of Kaliyev, Fagemo, Spence and Nousiainen, in particular, will determine the fate of this draft class, but the upside is high on the whole.

Of note, I had Kaliyev to the Kings in my personal mock, but at No. 22 in the first round instead of No. 33 in the second round. So they have to be happy with how that worked out.

Detroit Red Wings

Moritz Seider Red Wings Draft
Moritz Seider of the Detroit Red Wings. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

6) Moritz Seider, RD = 15, 25, 18

35) Antti Tuomisto, RD = 55, 68, 66

54) Robert Mastrosimone, LC = 31, 40, 57 

60) Albert Johansson, LD = 83, 67, 71

66) Albin Grewe, RW = 37, 49, 49

97) Ethan Phillips, RC = 93, 120, 80

128) Cooper Moore, LD = 296, UD, UD

159) Elmer Soderblom, LW = 173, 160, 142

177) Gustav Berglund, RD = OR, UD, UD

190) Kirill Tyutyayev, F = 211, 209, UD

191) Carter Gylander, G = 346, UD, UD

TOTAL: 11 (3 RD, 2 LD, 1 LC, 1 RW, 1 RC, 1 LW, 1 F, 1 G)

ANALYSIS: The Red Wings reached on a couple of big defencemen with their first two picks, but both have big upside. There is lots to like with Detroit’s draft haul in the top 100 — those first six selections — but this group will largely be judged on the careers of Seider and Tuomisto considering where they were taken.

I had Tuomisto to Detroit in my consensus mock, but in the third round. My personal mock deployed the Russian Five strategy, but the Red Wings only took one Russian in the seventh round. I expected a goaltender higher than the seventh round too. No surprise on the three Swedes, but I had the wrong three in each of my mocks. Soderblom is the one I regret not mocking to Detroit, especially since my personal mock had him going one pick later than reality (to Buffalo). In hindsight, Soderblom had Red Wings written all over him, so that miss will sting for a while.

Buffalo Sabres

Dylan Cozens Sabres Draft
Dylan Cozens of the Buffalo Sabres. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

7) Dylan Cozens, RC = 9, 9, 9

31) Ryan Johnson, LD = 44, 62, 51

67) Erik Portillo, G = 193, 175, 191

102) Aaron Huglen, F = 117, 119, 102

143) Filip Cederqvist, LW = 209, 189, UD

160) Lukas Rousek, LW = 227, UD, 192

TOTAL: 6 (2 LW, 1 RC, 1 LD, 1 G, 1 F)

ANALYSIS: The Sabres had an interesting, out-of-character draft. Cozens and Johnson, as their first-rounders, didn’t really fit Buffalo’s modus operandi. That’s not to say they weren’t good picks, but it was surprising to see the Sabres pass on talented Swede Nils Hoglander to close out the first round and many expected Trevor Zegras over Cozens with their top pick.

Portillo was a reach in the third round — I had him mocked to the Sabres in the sixth and seventh rounds — and Huglen was another hit for my consensus mock, though I had him going to Vancouver before Buffalo traded up for that pick. I had the two over-age wingers as seventh-round picks in my mocks, so I can see a bit of value in both. I like the upside for most of these picks, I just didn’t see them being fits for Buffalo.

Edmonton Oilers

Philip Broberg Oilers Draft
Philip Broberg of the Edmonton Oilers. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

8) Philip Broberg, LD = 5, 7, 8

38) Raphaël Lavoie, RW = 25, 15, 23

85) Ilya Konovalov, G = 104, 69, 149

100) Matej Blumel, LW = 208, 191, UD

162) Tomas Mazura, F = NR, UD, UD

193) Maxim Denezhkin, LC = 220, UD, 172

TOTAL: 6 (1 LD, 1 RW, 1 G, 1 LW, 1 F, 1 LC)

ANALYSIS: The Oilers telegraphed their intentions to take Broberg and received mixed reviews for that pick, but I was higher than most on the player and thus liked him there. Lavoie fell into Edmonton’s lap in the second round, becoming another obvious choice. Konovalov was a surprising selection in the third round since the Oilers were already well stocked in goaltending prospects, while the three European forwards will be projects going forward.

I was shocked that Edmonton didn’t shop closer to home — be it the WHL or even the OHL — in the later rounds. Josh Williams, Luke Toporowski and Logan Barlage were three WHL forwards that went undrafted and it will be interesting to see how they develop in comparison to Blumel, Mazura and Denezhkin. Regardless, Broberg and Lavoie should ensure this goes down as another top-heavy draft class for the Oilers.

Anaheim Ducks

Brayden Tracey Ducks Draft
Brayden Tracey of the Anaheim Ducks. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

9) Trevor Zegras, LC = 8, 4, 6

29) Brayden Tracey, LW = 52, 45, 46

39) Jackson LaCombe, LD = 121, 153, 82

101) Henry Thrun, LD = 74, 70, 55

132) Trevor Janicke, RW = 94, 102, 101

163) Will Francis, RD = 295, UD, UD

186) Mathew Hill, LD = NR, UD, UD

TOTAL: 7 (3 LD, 1 LC, 1 LW, 1 RW, 1 RD)

ANALYSIS: The Ducks were fortunate to get Zegras and continued to prioritize skill with the selections of Tracey, LaCombe and Janicke. Those four stand out to me, though Thrun could also be great value outside the top 100.

My consensus mock had Anaheim taking Janicke with the pick used on Thrun, so getting Janicke a round later could turn into another steal for the Ducks. The latter two defencemen didn’t impress me much, but the Ducks were clearly looking to add depth to their prospect pool on the back end.

Vancouver Canucks

Vasily Podkolzin Canucks Draft
Vasili Podkolzin of the Vancouver Canucks. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

10) Vasili Podkolzin, RW = 3, 6, 13

40) Nils Hoglander, LW = 29, 31, 24

122) Ethan Keppen, LW = 109, 87, 87

133) Carson Focht, LC = 332, UD, UD

156) Arturs Silovs, G = NR, UD, UD

175) Karel Plasek, LW = 200, 192, UD

180) Jack Malone, RW = 245, UD, UD

195) Aidan McDonough, LW = NR, UD, UD

215) Arvid Costmar, RC = 222, UD, 158

TOTAL: 9 (4 LW, 2 RW, 1 LC, 1 G, 1 RC)

ANALYSIS: The host Canucks had a whale of a draft again, with Podkolzin and Hoglander being their prized picks. Keppen, Plasek, Malone and Costmar were also kids that grew on me throughout the draft year. Focht was a little high for my liking and I’m not sure what to make of McDonough or the Latvian goaltender Silovs.

My mocks didn’t produce any hits for Vancouver — and I really liked my results for the Canucks — but that fan base has to be thrilled with Podkolzin and Hoglander. Like Colorado, with Byram and Newhook, if these two reach their potential, the rest of this draft class will be icing on the cake for the Canucks.

Arizona Coyotes

Victor Soderstrom Arizona Coyotes 2019 NHL Draft
Victor Soderstrom of the Arizona Coyotes. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

11) Victor Söderström, RD = 19, 17, 17

76) John Farinacci, RC = 73, 78, 67

98) Matias Maccelli, LW = 98, 91, 106 

107) Alexander Daryin, LW = 348, UD, UD

151) Aku Räty, RW = 171, 137, 121

174) Danil Savunov, F = NR, UD, UD

176) Anthony Romano, RW = 177, 177, 175

200) Axel Bergkvist, LD = NR, UD, UD

207) Valentin Nussbaumer, LW = 68, 88, 70

TOTAL: 9 (3 LW, 2 RW, 1 RD, 1 RC, 1 F, 1 LD)

ANALYSIS: The Coyotes traded up for Söderström, sacrificing a second-rounder to secure that Swedish puck-mover who may or may not have been available at their selection (three picks later). I know it’s been reported that Arizona had Söderström third on its board — behind only Hughes and Kakko — but I’m not as high on the player and wouldn’t have moved up for him. I think Söderström will top out as a steady second-pairing type, but I could be wrong there.

I liked Farinacci and Maccelli in those ranges — as evidenced by my rankings — and I couldn’t have come any closer on Romano, who I had mocked to Buffalo on either side of Arizona in the sixth round. I really warmed up to Räty as the draft approached and Nussbaumer could become one of this year’s biggest steals as a seventh-rounder. Arizona went forward heavy, but time will tell how many of those forwards turn into roster players for the Coyotes.

Minnesota Wild

Matthew Boldy Wild Draft
Matthew Boldy of the Minnesota Wild. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

12) Matthew Boldy, LW = 12, 12, 7

42) Vladislav Firstov, LW = 96, 82, 110

59) Hunter Jones, G = 107, 95, 91

75) Adam Beckman, LC = 77, 74, 50

149) Matvei Guskov, LC = 95, 79, 103

166) Marshall Warren, LD = 65, 61, 37

172) Nikita Nesterenko, LC = NR, UD, UD

197) Filip Lindberg, G = 195, 158, UD

TOTAL: 8 (3 LC, 2 LW, 2 G, 1 LD)

ANALYSIS: Boldy was the perfect fit for Minnesota in the first round — as a hit for my personal mock — and I was right about the Wild drafting two goaltenders this year. Firstov went higher than I expected, but multiple people told me I was too low on him after the consensus mock. On the other hand, Guskov went lower than I anticipated, so those two Russian imports balance each other out.

The real steal for the Wild could be Warren, who fell way further than anybody envisioned. Beckman should be good value and I liked taking a late chance on Lindberg. There were ups and downs here, but the Wild came out ahead.

Florida Panthers

Spencer Knight Panthers Draft
Spencer Knight of the Florida Panthers. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

13) Spencer Knight, G = 20, 16, 36

52) Vladislav Kolyachonok, LD = 40, 44, 33

69) John Ludvig, LD = NR, UD, UD

81) Cole Schwindt, RW = 267, UD, UD 

106) Carter Berger, LD = 169, 180, 180

136) Henry Rybinski, RW = 180, 200, 176 

137) Owen Lindmark, RC = 145, 145, 119

168) Greg Meireles, RC = 256, UD, 173

199) Matthew Wedman, LC = NR, UD, UD

TOTAL: 9 (3 LD, 2 RW, 2 RC, 1 G, 1 LC)

ANALYSIS: Drafting a goalie in the first round is always a risky proposition — especially in the top 15 — but the Panthers weren’t the only team convinced that Knight will be the real deal. With Roberto Luongo retiring, Florida’s crease could belong to Knight before long. I became a big fan of Kolyachonok — the more I watched him, the more I liked his upside — but Ludvig was off the board as a third-rounder even for me as a WHL follower.

The rest of the Panthers’ picks were a bit early based on my rankings, but they could all be players. That includes Wedman, who just missed the cut for my top 350 and would have been within my top 375 — likely ahead of Ludvig. There is decent potential here but, like a lot of teams, Florida’s top two selections are on another level from the remainder of this group.

Philadelphia Flyers

Cam York Flyers Draft
Cam York of the Philadelphia Flyers. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

14) Cam York, LD = 17, 21, 21

34) Bobby Brink, RW = 22, 26, 43

72) Ronnie Attard, RD = 126, 132, 116

103) Mason Millman, LD = NR, UD, UD

165) Egor Serdyuk, RW = 130, 124, 124

169) Roddy Ross, G = 344, UD, UD

196) Bryce Brodzinski, RW = 198, 126, 126

TOTAL: 7 (3 RW, 2 LD, 1 RD, 1 G)

ANALYSIS: The Flyers traded down for York, then traded up for Brink. Combined, I liked those moves, though they might regret passing on Cole Caufield and Peyton Krebs in favour of York. But in Brink, Philly got a first-round talent in the second round, so the Flyers still got off to a good start.

Attard was taken earlier than I expected and Millman wasn’t that close to cracking my top 350, but Serdyuk and Brodzinski could become later-round steals. Ross, as much as I like him and compare him to WHL alum Adin Hill, was a surprising pick since Carter Hart’s former junior partner Dustin Wolf was still available at that spot. I liked Wolf for the Flyers, but Philadelphia really didn’t need another goaltending prospect — especially an overager who could be turning pro sooner than later.

Montreal Canadiens

Cole Caufield Canadiens Draft
Cole Caufield of the Montreal Canadiens. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

15) Cole Caufield, RW = 11, 14, 10

46) Jayden Struble, LD = 120, 133, 86

64) Mattias Norlinder, LD = 81, 149, 84

77) Gianni Fairbrother, LD = 181, 184, 165

126) Jacob LeGuerrier, RD = 253, UD, 208

131) Rhett Pitlick, LW = 158, 166, 139

138) Frederik Nissen Dichow, G = OR, UD, UD

170) Arsen Khisamutdinov, F = NR, UD, UD

201) Rafaël Harvey-Pinard, LW = 257, UD, UD

206) Kieran Ruscheinski, D = OR, UD, UD

TOTAL: 10 (3 LD, 2 LW, 1 RW, 1 RD, 1 G, 1 F, 1 D)

ANALYSIS: The Canadiens didn’t shy away from the little guy in stopping Caufield’s fall — for which they can’t be faulted in the present, more so praised — and they used their next four picks on defencemen, including three lefties in a row to address an organizational need. Struble gained a ton of momentum as a combine standout and Norlinder was coming on strong as a riser too. Fairbrother and LeGuerrier were reaches for me, but Pitlick was another kid trending up.

Montreal’s draft went off the rails — or at least off my radar — in the later rounds. Credit to the Canadiens, they were the only team to take two kids that weren’t even on my radar among 1,492 total prospects. Goalies can be tough to track and to predict in terms of mocks, but Ruscheinski was the real head-scratcher among those final four. A defenceman that size from Calgary, I figured Jackson van de Leest from the WHL’s Hitmen was a possibility but not Ruscheinski from the midget-AAA ranks. That was the biggest shocker of the entire draft for me, but we’ll see what he’s capable of in the future.

Vegas Golden Knights

Peyton Krebs Golden Knights Draft
Peyton Krebs of the Vegas Golden Knights. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

17) Peyton Krebs, LC = 10, 11, 11

41) Kaedan Korczak, RD = 41, 33, 40

79) Pavel Dorofeyev, LW = 21, 18, 20

86) Layton Ahac, LD = 115, 109, 75

110) Ryder Donovan, RC = 118, 105, 99

135) Isaiah Saville, G = 124, 110, 150

139) Marcus Kallionkieli, F = 97, 99, 104

141) Mason Primeau, LC = NR, UD, UD

TOTAL: 8 (2 LC, 1 RD, 1 LW, 1 LD, 1 RC, 1 G, 1 F)

ANALYSIS: The Golden Knights have been another popular pick among the draft winners and they certainly came away with an impressive haul of talent from top to bottom. Krebs could be a steal much like Mathew Barzal has become. Kelly McCrimmon also sees the upside in Korczak, enough to warrant trading up for him.

Speaking of steals, Dorofeyev was mocked by many — including yours truly — as a first-rounder, so he could be a home-run pick in the third round with the right development. The list continues for Vegas, with Ahac, Donovan, Saville and Kallionkieli all looking like very good value picks, while Primeau has the size and bloodlines to blossom into an NHLer.

I wouldn’t be surprised if a handful of these picks pan out for the Golden Knights, which would be well above the odds. Saville was a hit for my personal mock, but I had him going to Vegas in the fourth round instead of the fifth.

Dallas Stars

Thomas Harley Stars Draft
Thomas Harley of the Dallas Stars. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

18) Thomas Harley, LD = 26, 23, 22

111) Samuel Sjolund, LD = NR, UD, UD

142) Nick Porco, LW = 176, 146, 146

173) Ben Brinkman, LD = 88, 76, 93

TOTAL: 4 (3 LD, 1 LW)

ANALYSIS: The Stars used three of their four selections on defencemen, which was a bit surprising but likely a best-player-available approach in regards to Harley and Brinkman. Dallas does well in scouting Swedish defenders, so I wouldn’t want to bet against Sjolund either. Porco could break out next season in the OHL, similar to 2018 fifth-rounder Riley Damiani this season. I liked that Porco pick and taking Brinkman in the later rounds too, so it appears Dallas made the most of its limited darts.

Ottawa Senators

Lassi Thomson Senators Draft
Lassi Thomson of the Ottawa Senators. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

19) Lassi Thomson, RD = 27, 24, 26

32) Shane Pinto, RC = 61, 51, 62

37) Mads Sogaard, G = 76, 73, 79

94) Viktor Lodin, LC = NR, UD, UD

125) Mark Kastelic, RC = 231, UD, 205

187) Maxence Guenette, RD = 254, UD, UD

TOTAL: 6 (2 RD, 2 RC, 1 G, 1 LC)

ANALYSIS: The Senators had an organizational need for a right-handed defence prospect and got a good one in Thomson, who has very promising tools. I like the potential of Pinto and Sogaard too, but they still went early for my liking.

I didn’t see the Lodin pick coming, but I do see pro potential in late-blooming Kastelic — albeit not as much as Drake Batherson — and Guenette is another righty with puck-moving abilities on the back end. This shouldn’t go down as a bad draft for Ottawa, yet I can’t help but think it could have been better.

Winnipeg Jets

Ville Heinola Winnipeg Jets
Ville Heinola of the Winnipeg Jets. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

20) Ville Heinola, LD = 14, 13, 15

51) Simon Lundmark, RD = 82, 111, 88

113) Henri Nikkanen, LC = 139, 121, 90

134) Harrison Blaisdell, LW = 137, 123, 105

144) Logan Neaton, G = 345, UD, UD

TOTAL: 5 (1 LD, 1 RD, 1 LC, 1 LW, 1 G)

ANALYSIS: The Jets reacquired their own first-rounder from the Rangers in the Jacob Trouba deal and used it on Heinola, who I’m very high on. I wasn’t as high on Lundmark in the second round, but Nikkanen has the potential to be a significant steal in the fourth round after missing much of his draft year to injuries. Blaisdell and Neaton, both from the BCHL, have legit upside too.

Trouba is a top-pairing stud just entering his prime, but I believe Heinola can also get to that level in eventually balancing what looks like a lopsided trade as of today.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Samuel Poulin Pittsburgh Penguins
Samuel Poulin of the Pittsburgh Penguins. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

21) Samuel Poulin, LW = 49, 39, 29

74) Nathan Légaré, RW = 54, 46, 47

145) Judd Caulfield, RW = 239, UD, 151

203) Valtteri Puustinen, RW = NR, UD, UD 

211) Santeri Airola, RD = NR, UD, UD

TOTAL: 5 (3 RW, 1 LW, 1 RD)

ANALYSIS: With their first two picks, the Penguins opted for a couple of French Canadian forwards who happen to be good friends — reaching a little for Poulin before moving up to get Légaré later than expected. Those selections should give Pittsburgh more scoring off the wings in due time.

Caulfield, another power-forward type, was a hit for my consensus mock as a fifth-rounder for Pittsburgh — though I had him at No. 151, a pick that also belonged to the Penguins before being packaged for Légaré. The latter two Finns are intriguing despite not being ranked in my top 350, but I’m a bit surprised the Penguins didn’t draft a goalie in what was a good year for goalies. Even in the seventh round, Pittsburgh could have taken Dustin Wolf or Taylor Gauthier, who I had mocked to the Penguins only to go undrafted.

New York Islanders

Simon Holmstrom Islanders Draft
Simon Holmstrom of the New York Islanders. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

23) Simon Holmstrom, RW = 46, 53, 31

57) Samuel Bolduc, LD = 63, 65, 65

147) Reece Newkirk, LC = 135, 139, 134

178) Felix Bibeau, LC = NR, UD, UD 

209) Cole Coskey, RW = NR, UD, UD

TOTAL: 5 (2 RW, 2 LC, 1 LD)

ANALYSIS: The Islanders aren’t getting rave reviews right now, but give them time too. Holmstrom was widely viewed as a first-round talent heading into the draft year, yet has been labelled as a reach after his stock was hurt by injuries.

Bolduc was a solid pick at that spot, as was Newkirk later on. The last two, Bibeau and Coskey, wouldn’t have been my choices — and it should be noted that my last three choices for the Islanders from my consensus mock all went undrafted — but those first three could salvage a decent draft.

Nashville Predators

Philip Tomasino Predators Draft
Philip Tomasino of the Nashville Predators. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

24) Phillip Tomasino, RC = 16, 19, 14

45) Egor Afanasyev, LC = 34, 42, 35

65) Alex Campbell, LW = 138, 156, 78

109) Marc Del Gaizo, LD = 125, 127, 171

117) Semyon Chistyakov, LD = 57, 50, 77

148) Ethan Haider, G = NR, UD, UD

179) Isak Walther, LW = OR, UD, UD

210) Juuso Pärssinen, LW = 172, 140, 137

TOTAL: 8 (3 LW, 2 LD, 1 RC, 1 LC, 1 G)

ANALYSIS: The Predators didn’t have a high pick to hang their hat on but managed to have a sneaky good draft that should get more recognition in time. Tomasino and Afanasyev could develop into a one-two punch down the middle — they both have first-line potential — and Nashville may have hit on its first five picks. 

I realized prior to the draft that I had Campbell ranked far too low — that he wasn’t just a product of Newhook’s success — so he could be decent value in the third round with a pretty high ceiling. The Predators are among the league’s best at drafting and developing defencemen, with Del Gaizo and Chistyakov both being undersized with big upside. I liked the last pick of Pärssinen in the seventh round too, while Haider and Walther were the outliers for me in an otherwise stellar draft.

Washington Capitals

Connor McMichael Capitals Draft
Connor McMichael of the Washington Capitals. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

25) Connor McMichael, LC = 51, 41, 41

56) Brett Leason, RW = 39, 38, 25

91) Aliaksei Protas, LC = 112, 85, 162

153) Martin Hugo Has, RD = 100, 96, 94

TOTAL: 4 (2 LC, 1 RW, 1 RD)

ANALYSIS: Washington only wound up with four picks, but the Capitals might have hit on all of them. The strategy to select Leason and his junior linemate Protas was not lost on me. I had the two of them going to Edmonton in the second and third rounds of my personal mock — at Nos. 38 and 85 — so I wasn’t far off there. And I had Leason to Washington in my consensus mock, but in the first round at No. 25, so that hit had to wait a round before coming to fruition. 

I’m not as high on McMichael’s upside as other scouts, but I do think he’ll be a middle-six forward like Leason. Has could be a player too, well worth the risk that late as a boom-or-bust prospect. All in all, a solid (if unspectacular) showing for the Capitals.

Calgary Flames

Jakub Pelletier Flames Draft
Jakub Pelletier of the Calgary Flames. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

26) Jakob Pelletier, LW = 33, 37, 39

88) Ilya Nikolayev, LC = 35, 35, 52

116) Lucas Feuk, LC = 149, 138, 138

150) Josh Nodler, RC = 238, UD, UD

214) Dustin Wolf, G = 75, 72, 108

TOTAL: 5 (2 LC, 1 LW, 1 RC, 1 G)

ANALYSIS: The Flames loaded up on forwards for the third straight year, which I predicted in my personal mock only to be convinced that wouldn’t be the case for my consensus mock. That fan base was adamant that Calgary would shift its focus to defence this year, but the Flames defied that logic once again and have now selected forwards with 13 of their last 15 picks — the only exceptions being defenceman Juuso Valimaki as a 2017 first-rounder and Wolf, a goaltender with their final pick of 2019 in the seventh round.

That followed four more forwards for the Flames, but none that matched my mocks. All four have nice upside, with Nikolayev looking like a potential steal in the third round. Pelletier should be a good fit in Calgary, while Feuk and Nodler are going to be longer-term projects with enough skill to make it down the road.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Nolan Foote Lightning Draft
Nolan Foote of the Tampa Bay Lightning. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

27) Nolan Foote, LW = 53, 47, 27

71) Hugo Alnefelt, G = 70, 60, 60

89) Maxim Cajkovic, RW = 59, 57, 74

120) Max Crozier, RD = 168, 176, 177

182) Quinn Schmiemann, LD = 166, 169, 186

198) Mikhail Shalagin, LW = 290, UD, UD

213) McKade Webster, LW = OR, UD, UD

TOTAL: 7 (3 LW, 1 G, 1 RW, 1 RD, 1 LD)

ANALYSIS: The Lightning haven’t been lauded among the draft winners, but they could enter that conversation in hindsight — say, a year or two from now. Foote was a hit for my consensus mock, joining his brother Cal in Tampa Bay’s system and immediately signing his entry-level contract. Foote is the kind of player who could be a better pro than a junior, providing he’s paired with a playmaking centre. Cajkovic could be a third-round steal after underachieving on a bad team during his draft year. Alnefelt didn’t strike me as a Tampa target, but he gives the Lightning a legit goaltending prospect to develop behind Andrei Vasilevskiy now that Connor Ingram has been traded away.

Those three appear promising going forward, but Tampa’s next three picks deserve some attention too. I like what I’ve seen from both Crozier and Schmiemann, including impressive live viewings of each. If they continue to develop as mobile defenders with good size, they could also outperform their draft position. I had a hunch that the Lightning would take a Russian overager in the seventh round, mocking Nikita Rtishchev instead of Shalagin. Webster was the wild-card for Tampa, the pick that wasn’t remotely on my radar, but there is presumably more to that story.

Carolina Hurricanes

Ryan Suzuki Hurricanes Draft
Ryan Suzuki of the Carolina Hurricanes. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

28) Ryan Suzuki, LC = 32, 32, 19

36) Pyotr Kochetkov, G = 48, 43, 69

44) Jamieson Rees, LC = 50, 52, 38

73) Patrik Puistola, LW = 36, 28, 28

83) Anttoni Honka, RD = 28, 20, 44

90) Domenick Fensore, LD = 66, 75, 61

99) Cade Webber, LD = 219, UD, 161

121) Tuukka Tieksola, RW = 72, 59, 111

152) Kirill Slepets, RW = 103, 104, 112 

181) Kevin Wall, RW = 309, UD, UD

183) Blake Murray, LC = 62, 64, 64

216) Massimo Rizzo, LC = 116, 112, 130

TOTAL: 12 (4 LC, 3 RW, 2 LD, 1 G, 1 LW, 1 RD)

ANALYSIS: Hear, hear, the Hurricanes are being heralded as draft winners and it’s plain to see why. Those numbers don’t hide my opinions and, by all accounts, Carolina killed it from top to bottom this year. No team got better value — as of today — throughout the draft class. On paper, this is hit after hit, steal after steal.

My mocks had a couple hits here too, with Puistola projected as Carolina’s first-rounder in both — falling to the Hurricanes in the third round — and Tieksola as a second-rounder for my personal mock (No. 59) that was finally taken by Carolina in the fourth round (No. 121). I had Honka ranked and mocked as a first-round talent that also slid all the way to the Hurricanes in the third round. I could nitpick about Webber and Wall, who are still legit prospects in their own right, but Carolina’s other 10 selections were full marks.

Boston Bruins

John Beecher Bruins Draft
John Beecher of the Boston Bruins. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

30) John Beecher, LC = 30, 30, 34

92) Quinn Olson, LW = 182, 214, 214

154) Roman Bychkov, LD = 102, 114, 129

185) Matias Mäntykivi, LC = 205, 206, 159

192) Jake Schmaltz, F = OR, UD, UD

TOTAL: 5 (2 LC, 1 LW, 1 LD, 1 F)

ANALYSIS: The Bruins did relatively well with their limited number of picks, doing what I expected in the first round with Beecher becoming a hit for my personal mock. Olson went much higher than I anticipated, but I really became fond of him throughout the draft year — enough to list Olson among my top-20 sleeper prospects, though that was assuming he went in the later rounds (outside the top 150). Bychkov and Mäntykivi have intriguing upside too, while Schmaltz was as random for Boston as Webster was for Tampa Bay.

San Jose Sharks

Artemi Kniazev San Jose Sharks Draft
Artemi Knyazev of the San Jose Sharks. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

48) Artemi Knyazev, LD = 58, 54, 72

55) Dillon Hamaliuk, LW = 133, 129, 107 

108) Yegor Spiridonov, RC = 67, 58, 48

164) Timur Ibragimov, LW = NR, UD, UD

184) Santeri Hatakka, LD = 207, 216, UD

TOTAL: 5 (2 LD, 2 LW, 1 RC)

ANALYSIS: The Sharks moved Justin Braun prior to the draft to get into the second round and used that pick on a defender with much more upside than Braun in Knyazev. That is effective asset management, the kind that has kept San Jose a perennial contender. The Sharks then reached a little for Hamaliuk, who missed the second half of his draft year to injury, but it is easy to see the appeal of a budding power forward now playing for next year’s Memorial Cup host team.

San Jose has also remained a contender thanks to hitting on picks outside the top 100, with Spiridonov a pretty good bet to become something of a steal in the fourth round. I’m less enthusiastic about Ibragimov and Hatakka, but you have to give the Sharks the benefit of the doubt in the later rounds based on their track record in recent years.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Nicholas Robertson Toronto Maple Leafs Draft
Nick Robertson of the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

53) Nick Robertson, LC = 23, 27, 42

84) Mikko Kokkonen, LD = 45, 36, 73

115) Mikhail Abramov, RW = 105, 115, 115

124) Nick Abruzzese, LC = 247, UD, UD

146) Mike Koster, LD = 122, 154, 141

204) Kalle Loponen, RD = 184, 130, 160

TOTAL: 6 (2 LC, 2 LD, 1 RW, 1 RD)

ANALYSIS: The Maple Leafs might also emerge as an under-the-radar draft winner, even if Don Cherry vehemently disagrees with their draft choices. I quite liked this haul for Kyle Dubas — highlighted by Robertson, who I had ranked and mocked as a first-round talent, being one of the youngest prospects available in this draft class with a very high ceiling. The three defencemen that Toronto took, albeit undersized, also seemed like good value at their respective spots.

My mocks got another hit thanks to the Leafs, with Abramov being bang on in both. I was hoping that Toronto would follow up with his teammate Egor Serdyuk to make me look like a total genius, but the Leafs took Abruzzese instead. Bummer, but the Leafs’ fan base has nothing to be bummed about despite Cherry’s cries over a lack of GTA talent.

St. Louis Blues

Nikita Alexandrov St. Louis Blues Draft
Nikita Alexandrov of the St. Louis Blues. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

62) Nikita Alexandrov, LC = 80, 80, 81

93) Colten Ellis, G = 106, 131, 127

155) Keean Washkurak, LC = 255, UD, 196 

208) Vadim Zherenko, G = OR, UD, UD

217) Jérémy Michel, RW = NR, UD, UD

TOTAL: 5 (2 LC, 2 G, 1 RW)

ANALYSIS: No more hits for my mocks from here on out, but the Stanley Cup champion Blues might have landed an Ivan Barbashev clone in Alexandrov at the end of the second round. There are similarities to Barbashev, a second-rounder from 2014 who is still evolving into a role player for St. Louis. Ellis gives the Blues another quality goaltending prospect for the future should they move on from Jake Allen and Ville Husso this summer. It was surprising to see St. Louis use two picks on goalies — only having five total selections — but that is probably telling of the turnover to come at that position.

I could see Washkurak becoming a role player like Zach Sanford and maybe Michel will develop along the lines of Sammy Blais. I don’t love those picks, or the second netminder, but I don’t often doubt the Blues when it comes to drafting. Like San Jose, St. Louis tends to be more hit than miss.

Columbus Blue Jackets

104) Eric Hjorth, RD = OR, UD, UD

114) Dmitri Voronkov, LW = 350, UD, UD

212) Tyler Angle, LC = NR, UD, UD

TOTAL: 3 (1 RD, 1 LW, 1 LC)

ANALYSIS: The Blue Jackets went all-in at the trade deadline and thus mailed it in on this year’s draft. Columbus had the least selections and honestly didn’t draft anybody of note. Voronkov was their only pick to crack my top 350 as the very last name on that list. Hjorth was the first name called in the 2019 draft that was completely off my radar among 1,492 total prospects. And Angle wouldn’t have cracked my top 500 either. Perhaps those three will prove me wrong, but I’d be surprised if Columbus got a single game played from this draft class — as in a regular-season NHL game throughout their respective careers.