As an ongoing special to Bugundy Rainbow, Nathan Chapman (@ncchapman15) has provided the latest installment of his rankings for the upcoming 2019 NHL draft.
Now that the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup has concluded, it’s time to take stock of where the potential 2019 first round sits after the tournament and heading into the start of the 2018-19 season. The vast majority of these players already reside in our Draft Center with a shift by shift video and much more to come. Full profiles and CHL top 31 ranking on the horizon near the end of the month.
TIER 1 (1-2)
A long ways to go until draft day but early on it appears to be another Matthews vs Laine as you have a high scoring American center going up against a big Finnish winger who can score goals at will. For me both of these are franchise building talents who have unreal skill sets and will make two teams very happy in June. Kakko gets the slight edge as of now as he plays a much more complete game and I’m not overly convinced Hughes is a center long term.
TIER 2 (3-7)
After a down year for the CHL, and more specifically the WHL, comes back in force with Krebs, Dach, Cozens and Byram in this tier joined by highly skilled Russian winger Podkolzin who happened to get picked by Medicine Hat in the 2018 import draft, though unlikely to report. All four forwards are highly skilled and creative with Krebs and Podkolzin the flashier skilled players while Dach and Cozens are the big forceful right handed centers. Then you have Byram who is clearly the best defenseman as of now. Krebs is the leader of this tier though as he plays a very complete game and looks to be a center going ahead who plays bigger than his size.
TIER 3 (8-14)
This is the wildcard tier. You have Newhook who has played well in junior A but failed to make Canada’s Hlinka team, Turcotte who has been riding shotgun with Hughes and hasn’t had the chance to shine by himself, Lavoie who has a tremendous skill set but needs to show it consistently, Swedish defensemen Soderstrom and Broberg who have shown flashes of good and bad but possess big upsides, Suzuki who’s a great playmaker but needs to find the back of the net more and Cajkovic the highly skilled Slovak winger who like Lavoie has inconsistency issues he needs to iron out.
TIER 4 (15+)
All the rest. At this point the draft really opens up and it’s anyones guess who the big risers and fallers will be. For me the leaders of this group are Foote who is a big power forward, Honka a small but very skilled puck mover, Robertson a steady eddy defenseman who plays a calm game and the two sniping wingers Williams and Mutala. This is a very deep tier and even with some inevitable disappointments this year’s first round will produce an abundance of high impact NHL talent.
2019 Post-Hlinka Top 31
1-Kaapo Kakko, RW TPS (Liiga)
2-Jack Hughes, C USNTDP (USHL)
3-Peyton Krebs, LW/C Kootenay Ice (WHL)
4-Kirby Dach, C Saskatoon Blades (WHL)
5-Dylan Cozens, C/RW Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL)
6-Vasili Podkolzin, RW Vityaz (Russia U17)
7-Bowen Byram, D Vancouver Giants (WHL)
8-Alex Newhook, C Victoria Grizzlies (BCHL)
9-Alex Turcotte, C USNTDP (USHL)
10-Raphael Lavoie, C/RW Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
11-Victor Soderstrom, D Brynas (SuperElit)
12-Ryan Suzuki, C Barrie Colts (OHL)
13-Philip Broberg, D AIK (SuperElit)
14-Maxim Cajkovic, RW Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)
15-Nolan Foote, LW/RW Kelowna Rockets (WHL)
16-Anttoni Honka, D JYP (Liiga)
17-Matthew Robertson, D Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)
18-Josh Williams, RW Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL)
19-Sasha Mutala, RW Tri-City Americans (WHL)
20-Matthew Boldy, RW USNTDP (USHL)
21-Jakob Pelletier, LW Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL)
22-Arthur Kaliyev, LW Hamilton Bulldogs (OHL)
23-Cam York, D USNTDP (USHL)
24-Daniil Gutik, LW Loko (MHL)
25-Spencer Knight, G USNTDP (USHL)
26-Vladimir Alistrov, RW Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)
27-Oleg Zaitsev, C Red Deer Rebels (WHL)
28-Yegor Spiridonov, LW Magnitogorsk (MHL)
29-Nolan Maier, G Saskatoon Blades (WHL)
30-Mikko Kokkonen, D Jukurit (Liiga)
31-Valentin Nussbaumer, C/W Biel (NLA)
HM-Blake Murray, C Sudbury Wolves (OHL)
HM-Samuel Poulin, F Sherbrooke Phoenix (QMJHL)
HM-Michael Vukojevic, D Kitchener Rangers (OHL)
HM-Alex Vlasic, D USNTDP (USHL)
HM-Kaeden Korczak, D Kelowna Rockets (WHL)