2019 NHL Draft – Writers Mock Draft

The 2019 NHL Draft is almost upon us and fans of all 31 National Hockey League clubs are eagerly anticipating what prospects their team will draft. Here at The Hockey Writers, we’ve continued an annual tradition with our Writers Mock Draft.

Team USA's Jack Hughes
Team USA’s Jack Hughes (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Carlos Osorio)

Our staff members pick teams and then mock draft the first round from the perspective of those teams. Our only rule: no trading picks.

Related: Our Free NHL Draft Guide

1st overall: New Jersey Devils select F Jack Hughes from the U.S. National Development Program

Recently, the debate between Hughes and Kaapo Kakko has spiked, especially after the Finn’s strong performance at the World Championship. He’s a true goal-scoring winger, which is something that the Devils do not have enough of at the moment. Hughes is a play-making center, which the Devils drafted in 2017 with Nico Hischier. If drafting for need, then the Devils take Kakko, but that can be a flawed strategy. It’s much smarter to go for the best player available, and this year, that’s easily Hughes. Hughes has the most points of any USNDP player ever, the highest point-per-game average in the USHL, and nearly the most assists in both leagues. Those are leagues that have included the likes of Auston Matthews, Patrick Kane, and Phil Kessel. Hughes is a talent you build around, and for a Devils team still rebuilding, they need to take Jack. [Dayton Reimer]

2nd overall: New York Rangers select F Kaapo Kakko from TPS Turku

The New York Rangers have the easiest selection of the 2019 Entry Draft. With the New Jersey Devils likely to select Jack Hughes first overall, Kakko becomes the obvious pick for a Rangers squad that’s starved for a scoring winger. His 22 goals with TPS of the Finnish professional league set a record for the most by a U18 player. In addition, his IIHF performance of six goals in ten games helped lead Team Finland to a Gold Medal. The Rangers have been presented a chance to obtain a high scoring winger from the draft instead of circling the free agency wagon, as they’ve done in the past. [Jeb Biggard]

3rd overall: Chicago Blackhawks select F Alex Turcotte from the U.S. National Development Program

The choice at three is between Turcotte or Bowen Byram. The Blackhawks need everything right now, but after taking blueliners in each of the past two first rounds (in the form of Henri Jokiharju and Adam Boqvist), it makes sense to go for balance and grab a forward. Turcotte has been a scoring machine at the junior level. [Ryan Pike]

4th overall: Colorado Avalanche (from Ottawa) select D Bowen Byram from the Vancouver Giants

Byram is a good skater with elite puck skills who keeps players from getting behind him on defense. He has a great shot and is opportunistic on scoring opportunities. Byram can help quarterback the power play. The Avalanche want to continue to develop their defensive pipelines. Since defensemen generally take time to develop, Byram could be a good resource in a year should Tyson Barrie not extend his contract. If Barrie does leave in a year or two, Byram will be able to step in and maintain the Avalanche’s one scoring D-man paired with the stay at home defender throughout their defensive pairings. If the Avalanche are fortunate enough to have too many quality defensemen in a few years, they can trade one and get a good return on investment, developing trade options as well as skillsets. The Avalanche have a history of going with the best player available at their draft slot and Byram fits the bill. [J.D. Killian]

5th overall: Los Angeles Kings select F Cole Caufield from the U.S. National Development Program

Cole Caufield is everything you want in a winger. His speed and ability to put the puck in the back of the net will help our offense immensely. We feel we have a number of young centers who are NHL caliber and with Caufield’s skill set, he will compliment any one of them. [Lucas Main]

Trevor Zegras of the U.S. National Development Program
Trevor Zegras of the U.S. National Development Program (Hickling Images)

6th overall: Detroit Red Wings select F Trevor Zegras from the U.S. National Development Program

With Turcotte off the board, Trevor Zegras was the best center available and has the skill set to form a dynamic duo with Filip Zadina for years to come. Steve Yzerman wants to build a contender based on speed and skill – the USNTDP product certainly fits that mold. Zegras’ elite vision, advanced hockey IQ, and ability to be a driver at five-on-five give him number-one center potential. [Tony Wolak]

7th overall: Buffalo Sabres select F Dylan Cozens from the Lethbridge Hurricanes

While Buffalo has their franchise center in Jack EIchel and another solid prospect in Casey Mittelstadt, one thing they lack up the middle is size and power. Cozens brings a power game to his already professional frame and will fit in nicely in the Sabres’ middle-six. Combining his speed and skill with his power and ability to use his body effectively will allow him to bring a nice change of pace in the middle of the ice for the Sabres for years to come. [Jordan Deshane]

8th overall: Edmonton Oilers select F Kirby Dach from the Saskatoon Blades

The Oilers are pleased to take in their mind the best available player at this spot. While his skating needs work, everything else about him is tantalizing. He could become their future 2C behind Connor McDavid. [Mark Scheig]

9th overall: Anaheim Ducks select F Peyton Krebs from the Winnipeg ICE

Krebs’ recent injury complicates things slightly. Either way, center is still a position of need for the Ducks along with defense and since Bowen Byram wasn’t available at No. 9, the Ducks go with the best possible center. Krebs speed, play making ability and defensive zone responsibility make him a suitable potential replacement for Ryan Getzlaf. He’s fits in Bob Murray’s plan to transition the Ducks to a faster game with his speed and skating ability (hopefully post injury as well). Most draft analysts have highlighted his play-making ability even on a weak WHL team, which will hopefully come in handy one on day a Ducks power play that has struggled. Draft experts have also mentioned his forechecking ability. Being able to force turnovers in the offensive zone would do wonders for Anaheim’s pathetic puck-possession ability. [Anthony Ciardelli]

10th overall: Vancouver Canucks select F Alex Newhook from the Victoria Grizzlies

The Canucks don’t have to go far to land a potential dynamic center. He’ll add an element of offense and speed to an already interesting core. [Mark Scheig]

Philip Broberg
Philip Broberg #25 of Sweden versus Finland at the IIHF World Junior Championships at the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre on December 26, 2018 in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Kevin Light/Getty Images)

11th overall: Philadelphia Flyers select D Philip Broberg from AIK

After years of the defense being the strength of the Flyers’ prospect pool the pipeline is beginning to run thin. All of the top names on ‘D’ have graduated to the NHL on a full-time basis (Ivan Provorov, Travis Sanheim, Shayne Gostisbehere), or are expected to this season (Philippe Myers). Adding smooth skating Swedish defenseman Philip Broberg gives the Flyers one last bonafide prospect on the back-end with first-pairing potential to complement their bevy of high-end forward talents. [Ryan Hodge]

12th overall: Minnesota Wild select F Matthew Boldy from the U.S. National Development Program

In his first draft at the helm of the Wild, Paul Fenton goes with the best player available. Boldy is an offensive-minded winger with size, speed and skill. He’s off to Boston College for some seasoning. [Ryan Pike]

13th overall: Florida Panthers select F Vasili Podkolzin from SKA-1946 St. Petersburg

The Panthers have shown they can be patient with the development of good young players. Podkolzin is destined to stick around Russia for at least a couple more seasons, but the Panthers’ system is deep enough that they can afford to wait. [Ryan Pike]

14th overall: Arizona Coyotes select F Arthur Kaliyev from the Hamilton Bulldogs

After finishing with the third-fewest goals in the league last season, general manager John Chayka should have an easy decision at No. 14: he needs to draft a forward. If Arthur Kaliyev is still available, he should be Arizona’s selection. The 17-year-old scored 31 goals for the OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs as a rookie in 2017-18, and he increased his output to 51 goals, with 51 more assists, in 2018-19. He’d be a nice addition to a group that needs goalscorers and help on the power play. Kaliyev, at 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, has nice size and he’s shown an ability to stay out of the box as well, with just 42 penalty minutes in 135 total regular season games in the OHL. He likely won’t be ready to play in the NHL in 2019-20, but he will be a big part of the team’s future going forward if selected at No. 14. [Louis Pannone]

15th overall: Montreal Canadiens select D Victor Soderstrom from Brynas IF

Soderstrom is arguably the smartest defenceman in the draft and plays an exceptional two-way style. He is not overly big, but his ability to process the game under pressure allows him to gain more time and space in order to make plays. He checks the box in every skill department and is not overly risky with the puck. The Canadiens have been lacking consistency and creativity from the back-end and Soderstrom is the answer. [Peter Kapelanski]

16th overall: Colorado Avalanche select F Raphael Lavoie from the Halifax Mooseheads

Lavoie brings size – he’s 6-foot-four, nearly 200 pounds – as well as skill to an area of need. The Avalanche need more scoring forwards and he’s shown an ability to play in all three positions. While Lavoie didn’t knock people’s socks off in the regular season, his playoff production was beyond reproach. He racked up 20 goals and 32 points over 23 postseason games, helping his Halifax Mooseheads reach the finals and finished second in playoff points. Most importantly for the Avalanche, he’s shown a willingness to drive to the net, something the Avalanche need. [J.D. Killian]

17th overall: Vegas Golden Knights select D Moritz Seider from Adler Mannheim

The Golden Knights boast a decent amount of depth at all positions, but after sending Erik Brannstrom to Ottawa in the Mark Stone trade they elect to replace him with another skilled defender in German product Moritz Seider. [Ryan Pike/Kieran McMahon]

Ryan Suzuki Barrie Colts
Ryan Suzuki of the Barrie Colts (Terry Wilson OHL Images)

18th overall: Dallas Stars select F Ryan Suzuki from the Barrie Colts

The Stars go for an offensively talented forward to add to their ranks. Suzuki’s speed and tenacity nicely complement the Stars’ growing young core. [Ryan Pike/Jake Rivard]

19th overall: Ottawa Senators (from Columbus) select D Thomas Harley from the Mississauga Steelheads

He’s been the top defender for the OHL’s Mississauga Steelheads this past season, in just his sophomore campaign. He’s one of the best skating defenders in the draft, possibly second only to Bowen Byram. Combining his elite speed with an already promising group of prospects on defense might just give the Senators one of the best defensive prospect pools in the league. [Josh Bell]

20th overall: New York Rangers* (from Winnipeg) select D Cam York from the U.S. National Development Program

(* – The real world Jets and Rangers ignored our “no trades” edict. York was selected when the Rangers still owned this pick, and likely would be a good fit for the Jets if they decided to nab him at 20th overall.)

The Rangers already got their man at second overall, so by the time pick 20 falls to them, they’ll likely draft for high risk. Cam York is a prominent defenseman but lacks some attributes to make him elite on both sides of the puck. However, with plenty of right handed prospects on the roster already, the Rangers could use the boost on their left side. York’s hockey IQ and natural puck moving talent makes him a quintessential offensive defenseman that could be slotted into a top-four in a few years time. [Jeb Biggart]

21st overall: Pittsburgh Penguins select F Philip Tomasino from the Niagara IceDogs

With a pretty thin prospect pool, the Pittsburgh Penguins are in position to take the best player available with the 21st overall pick. After just missing out on Cam York, the team will still be happy with Philip Tomasino, a highly-skilled forward out of the OHL. The 17-year-old went off for 72 points with the Niagara IceDogs last season, relying on his strong skating and improving play-making skills. [Tyler Bowen]

22nd overall: Los Angeles Kings (from Toronto) select G Spencer Knight from the U.S. National Development Program

The Kings were thrilled to see Spencer fall to them at 22. This kid has all the tools to be their future starter. He has good size, is very athletic, and a calm demeanor. They feel he will learn a lot from their other American goalies and the best is yet to come with him. [Lucas Main]

23rd overall: New York Islanders select F Bobby Brink from the Sioux City Musketeers

If Brink goes this late in the opening round, it could be a major steal for the Islanders. Some sources have Brink going as high as 15th overall. At 5-foot-8 and around the 160-pound, his diminutive size is the deterrent for some teams. But that did not stop him from scoring 35 goals and 68 points in 43 games for the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers this past season. Brink also had 6 points in 5 games at the 2019 U18 tournament for Team USA. [Nathanial Oliver]

24th overall: Nashville Predators select F Samuel Poulin from the Sherbrooke Phoenix

The Nashville Predators’ biggest issue in 2018-19 was scoring, with only three 20-goal scorers. In fact, in the franchise’s history, they’ve had just nine instances of a player scoring 30 or more goals and the new franchise record for goals in a season was established in 2018-19 by Viktor Arvidsson with 34. Arvidsson is great, as is Filip Forsberg, but neither are considered a top-tier sniper. That’s where Samuel Poulin enters the picture. He may be the best pure goal scorer in the draft, thanks to an unreal release that helped him score 29 goals this season in the ‘Q.’ He knows where to go in the offensive zone to score goals, is unafraid to go to the gritty areas, and unlike other players in this draft, already possesses the size to withstand the abuse he’ll encounter in the NHL. He’s also dedicated to backchecking, something the Predators require of their forwards. He may not currently be the quickest skater, but that’s a skill that can be developed. Poulin best fits the team’s needs and he was available when their pick came up. There was no reason to overthink this. [Kyle Gipe]

Nils Hoglander, Rogle BK.
Nils Hoglander of Rogle BK. (photo by Andreas Ljunggren)

25th overall: Washington Capitals select F Nils Hoglander from Rogle BK

Looking to a common source of talent for them, Sweden, the Capitals grab Nils Hoglander. A poised, versatile forward playing in the SHL, he gives the Capitals some depth waiting in the wings. [Ryan Pike]

26th overall: Calgary Flames select D Tobias Bjornfot from Djurgardens IF

The Flames know the Swedish hockey scene inside and out, and even recently formalized Hakan Loob’s long-time scouting consulting role. Grabbing a smooth-skating, smart Swedish defender is a smart, calculated move from the Flames. [Ryan Pike]

27th overall: Tampa Bay Lightning select F Jakob Pelletier from the Moncton Wildcats

The Lightning have gotten a tremendous amount of mileage out of undersized forward Brayden Point. It stands to reason that they would have no fear in taking another undersized offensive forward, Pelletier, at 27th overall. [Ryan Pike]

28th overall: Carolina Hurricanes select D Ville Heinola from Lukko

The Hurricanes defensive prospect pool is thin after Jake Bean, and the former group of very good prospects are now in their prime. Heinola gives them a player who projects to be in the top four and is coming off a successful season in Finland’s professional league. He’s an average skater with above average puck handling and senses. [Tim Chiasson]

29th overall: Anaheim Ducks (from San Jose) select D Lassi Thomson from the Kelowna Rockets

I knew I was going to take a defenseman with the Ducks No. 29 pick. I also knew I was looking for a right-shot defenseman with offensive skill, considering the Ducks traded Brandon Montour this season and Sami Vatanen last season. Late in the first round, it’s difficult to tell who belongs at the end of the first round and who belongs at the beginning of the second, but for me, it came down to Finns Lassi Thomson or Anttoni Honka.  According to draft experts, Honka is the better skater, but I chose Thomson. Thomson is a good skater as well, he’s got a strong shot and good offensive instincts. Thomson could be another asset on the power play for Anaheim and his weaknesses, like more strength and positional discipline can be worked on and aren’t due to factors like height or attitude. [Anthony Ciardelli]

30th overall: Boston Bruins select F Simon Holmstrom from HV71

The Bruins get an explosive player with size who excels as a playmaker from the wing. He’s no stranger to producing offensively and has an accurate shot. Experience playing in the SHL is also a plus. A good find late in the first round. [Brandon Share-Cohen]

31st overall: Buffalo Sabres (from St. Louis) select F Egor Afanasyev from the Muskegon Lumberjacks

After watching what the Blues and Bruins did on their respective runs to the cup final, the Sabres look to further bolster their size and skill. Afanasyev leverages his large frame and competitiveness to beat opponents 1-on-1 and has shown he has the skill to put up points. If his skating improves, he can project to be a solid middle-six option for the Sabres going forward. [Jordan Deshane]