/2019 Mid-season draft rankings: the top five solidifies

2019 Mid-season draft rankings: the top five solidifies

It’s still Jack Hughes at the top, but he’s getting some very good company in the high-end of the pile. Find out where our draft expert ranks the rest of the crop in his second installment of the year.

Kirby Dach|Marissa Baecker/Getty Images

Welcome to the second edition of draft rankings for the 2019 class. We’re more than halfway through the season, so the sample size is pretty good for all players involved. The world juniors featured some of the top names for 2019 and several of them confirmed just how talented they are already. Top prospects games in major junior, the USHL and Canadian Jr. A have also come and gone, so there is a lot of material to work with right now. Other than post-season play, the other major event still left on the calendar is the world under-18s, which takes place in Sweden. In the meantime, let’s take a look at how I see the draft board right now.

  1. Jack Hughes, C, NTDP (USHL): If you can believe it, Hughes has gotten hotter as the season has gone on and he is currently putting up two points per game with the NTDP. An upper-body injury cost him games at the world juniors, but the fast and uber-talented center still looked good when he was playing.
  2. Kaapo Kakko, RW, TPS (Fin.): A hero at the world juniors for gold-medal Finland, Kakko played a meaty role and even elevated the play of older linemate Eeli Tolvanen. Kakko has the ability to play center, but he also showed in Vancouver that his combination of smarts, size and skill works pretty well on the wing anyway.
  3. Dylan Cozens, C, Lethbridge (WHL): Third and fourth place on this list are really tight, but my scouts lean towards Cozens and given his combination of size and speed, it’s no surprise. Playing for a decent Hurricanes squad, Cozens is putting up impressive numbers and could hit 40 goals by the end.
  4. Kirby Dach, C, Saskatoon (WHL): Central Scouting has Dach ahead of Cozens and that’s not outrageous by any measure. Dach has great hockey sense, skating ability and size – he’s got the whole package. Had a tough December, but he’s still a top-20 scorer in the ‘Dub.’
  5. Vasili Podkolzin, RW, SKA-1946 (Rus.): One of my favorite players at the world juniors, Podkolzin was a force on every shift. 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.
  6. Bowen Byram, D, Vancouver (WHL): Ranked third among all WHL defensemen in scoring, Byram is having himself some kind of season. 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.
  7. Alex Turcotte, C, NTDP (USHL): The University of Wisconsin commit missed a bunch of games due to injury early, but since his return Turcotte has been lightning. An excellent skater with NHL pedigree (his dad is Alfie Turcotte) and a ton of skill, Turcotte has put up about a point-and-a-half per game.
  8. Trevor Zegras, C, NTDP (USHL): Right there with Turcotte, Zegras is a highly-skilled pivot with tremendous puck skills and vision. A Boston University commit, he’d probably be getting more publicity if Hughes wasn’t on the same squad, but make no mistake: NHL teams aren’t sleeping on him.
  9. Philip Broberg, D, AIK (Swe.): Broberg made the Swedish world junior team, but didn’t play much due to a combination of his youth and the fact he got that wicked flu that ravaged the team. But his excellent skating prowess, offensive upside and size make him a very tantalizing defensive prospect.
  10. Thomas Harley, D, Mississauga (OHL): A high riser in the rankings, Harley has taken on a lot of responsibility for a rebuilding Steelheads squad and is still putting up points. Size, skating and skill are all strengths, but Harley also takes care of his own end. There’s a real high ceiling here.
  11. Matthew Boldy, LW, NTDP (USHL)
  12. Raphael Lavoie, RW, Halifax (QMJHL)
  13. Peyton Krebs, LW, Kootenay (WHL)
  14. Arthur Kaliyev, RW, Hamilton OHL)
  15. Cam York, D, NTDP (USHL)
  16. Alex Newhook, C, Victoria (BCHL)
  17. Ryan Suzuki, C, Barrie (OHL)
  18. Anttoni Honka, D, JYP (Fin.)
  19. Alex Vlasic, D, NTDP (USHL)
  20. Jakob Pelletier, C, Moncton (QMJHL)
  21. Spencer Knight, G, NTDP (USHL)
  22. Moritz Seider, D, Adler Mannheim (Ger.)
  23. Victor Soderstrom, D, Brynas (Swe.)
  24. Nils Hoglander, LW, Rogle (Swe.)
  25. Matthew Robertson, D, Edmonton (WHL)
  26. Brett Leason, RW, Prince Albert (WHL)
  27. Bobby Brink, C, Sioux City (USHL)
  28. Ryan Johnson, D, Sioux Falls (USHL)
  29. Nick Robertson, LW, Peterborough (OHL)
  30. Cole Caufield, RW, NTDP (USHL)
  31. Egor Afanasyev, C, Muskegon (USHL)
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