The 2019 NHL Entry Draft is just over two weeks away, and Nashville—pending any future moves—will pick six times (New Jersey holds their 2nd round pick). Before I get to potential selections for Nashville, I want to share my ranking of the top 93 players eligible for this draft. We’ll start with players 93 through 63, but first, I want to establish some parameters:
- This is by no means a mock draft. I find those often to be exercises in silliness as I am not inside the minds of team executives. This is a ranking of who I think will have the 93 best chances at a successful NHL career.
- I’ve been crafting this list all season long. There will certainly be disputes in how you and I view players, but almost all of these entries have been given after several viewings of each player.
- While there is no definitive numerical system to my ranking, I’ve based my choices off the following criteria: age, league, offensive production, team context, NHLeScores, and observation of strengths and weaknesses among other things.
With that said, I hope you dive into these rankings and are curious enough to do your own homework. I’ve started things below with number 93.
Players No. 93 through 63 - 2019 NHL Draft
|93||Pyotr Kochetkov||HK Ryaza||VHL||1999||G||Kochetkov put his name on the map at the WJC this year, and his lateral movements are good/ cover the crease well.|
|92||Marcus Kallionkieli||Sioux City Musketeers||USHL||2001||F||Kallionkieli is a good shooter who utilizes a half-slapshot and a snap shot well. A complimentary player not a leader.|
|91||Yaroslav Likhachyov||Gatineau Olympiques||QMJHL||2001||RW||I could see LIkhachyov going undrafted this year, but I anticipate a monster season in the QMJHL in 2019. He's a smart player who passes well from any distance.|
|90||Ilya Altybarmakyan||SKA-Varyagi im. Morozova||MHL||2000||F||Altybarmakyan scores goals, scores them well and loves the offensive zone between the half-wall and the net. He's a patient puck-carrier, too.|
|89||Adam Beckman||Spokane Chiefs||WHL||2001||C||Beckman is a project pick of sorts, but he has excellent finish around the net and can work for pucks well with a good reach.|
|88||Kaedan Korczak||Kelowna Rockets||WHL||2001||D||Korczak is a good shooter with good offensive instinct, but I don't think he retrieves pucks well enough and controlled zone exits are off the table too often for him.|
|87||Harrison Blaisdell||Chilliwack Chiefs||BCHL||2001||C||Blaisdell really impressed me at the World Junior A Challenge this year, and his quick hands were on full display. He comes equipped with a deceptive shot, too. He'll be at North Dakota next season.|
|86||Michael Vukojevic||Kitchener Rangers||OHL||2001||D||Vukojevic uses the boards well in the neutral zone for clean passes to advance the puck but isn't careless with possession. His offense is likely limited, but he skates okay.|
|85||Ronnie Attard||Tri-City Storm||USHL||1999||D||Attard is already 20 and going to the NCAA next season, but he dominated the USHL from the blueline this year. He's unnecessarily physical at times but has a good shot.|
|84||Mikhail Abramov||Victoriaville Tigres||QMJHL||2001||F||Abramov plays to find open time and space and is a cerebral skater in that regard with a good wrist shot.|
|83||Henry Thrun||U.S. NTDP||USHL||2001||D||I'm not sold on Thrun who I think benifited well from playing on such an elite team. He's a sound puck mover but his skating isn't impressive.|
|82||Karl Henriksson||Frolunda HC J20||SuperElit||2001||C||Henriksson uses a good snap shot to beat goalies and is good in the faceoff dot. Smaller player at 5'9"|
|81||Samuel Bolduc||Blainville-Boisbriand Armada||QMJHL||2000||D||You won't see him move often from the point in the offensive zone, but his shots create rebounds and chaos better than most. Average skater with room to mature.|
|80||Jackson LaCombe||Shattuck St. Mary's||USHS||2001||D||Solid defender with excellent closeness on gaps. More of a dump-and-chase player but can rush the puck, too.|
|79||Drew Helleson||U.S. NTDP||USHL||2001||D||Helleson is good with his stick and pivots well on his skates when defending below the goal line. His upper limit potential-wise is likely low though.|
|78||Aliaksei Protas||Prince Albert Raiders||WHL||2001||C||Protas is huge at 6'5", and he has a hard wrist shot that he can keep low on goalies. His skating leaves more to be desired, but he has surprising awareness.|
|77||John Farinacci||Dexter School||USHS||2001||C||I don't think the game Farinacci likes to play will translate well to the NHL, but he's reliable with the puck despite below-average speed.|
|76||Mads Sogaard||Medicine Hat Tigers||WHL||2000||G||Sogaard is huge at 6'7" and maintains an aggressive stance. Technically he is okay but has room to grow (skills wise, probably not any taller).|
|75||Jordan Spence||Moncton Wildcats||QMJHL||2001||D||Spence excels in the space from the top of his own circles to the opposite blueline with smart decision-making and sound puck skills. A minutes eater at 17, too.|
|74||Vladislav Kolyachonok||Flint Firebirds||OHL||2001||D||Kolyachonok has a very solid base and positioning to be a good defender. He's a decent skater, too. At times I saw him oddly positioned in the offensive zone, and I'm not certain how high his ceiling is.|
|73||Antti Tuomisto||Assat U20||Jr. A SM-liiga||2001||D||Another reliable player with the puck who has shown skill at evading good puck protection positioning held by opposing forwards. His skating stride has an awkward kick-out.|
|72||Nikola Pasic||Linkoping HC J20||SuperElit||2000||F||He won't necessarily deke through defenders, but he can maintain control well when challenged. He has a quick shot but a choppy stride. Smart player all around.|
|71||Semyon Chistyakov||Tolpar Ufa||MHL||2001||D||Chistyakov is good for a reliable transition up to the blue line often; his pivots up ice with the puck were very impressive. But he doesn't bring much else to the table besides a tendency to hit often.|
|70||Shane Pinto||Lincoln Stars||USHL||2000||F||Pinto is a player I've liked for some time and reminds me of Jachym Kondelik in a sense. He's a patient player with his zone entries and isn't overloaded with skill but has a good shot and a good nose for the puck.|
|69||Antti Saarela||Lukko U20||Jr. A SM-liiga||2001||W||Saarela could round out to be a good depth option with his strengths being possession and maintaining a quick turnaround on shooting when a lane presents itself.|
|68||Artemi Knyazev||Chicoutimi Sagueneens||QMJHL||2001||D||Knyazev has a long, drawn-out skating stride and a good wrist shot. He showed a good ability to move the puck from the blueline to below the dots with possession.|
|67||Rhett Pitlick||Chaska High||USHS||2001||LW||Pitlick plays a remarkably similar game to his brother. Fast, good accelerator, and a quick shooter. He's a project but the talent is there.|
|66||Zachary Jones||Tri-City Storm||USHL||2000||D||Jones reminds me a bit of the Devils' Ty Smith. He is intelligent as could be with the puck and loves showing it off. He has a good understanding of cycles and how to exploit defenses in them. He'll need to be less stagnant to make a good jump to the next level.|
|65||Daniil Gutik||Loko Yaroslavl||MHL||2001||LW||Gutik is a tall skater with an awkward, short stride. He's got an excellent pair of hands but wasn't consistent at forcing controlled zone entries this season.|
|64||Leevi Aaltonen||KalPa U20||Jr. A SM-liiga||2001||LW||One thing I noticed about Aaltonen is his forechecking. He's a good lateral mover and has a decent crossover He won't drive a line, but he's got excellent acceleration to be a weapon on one.|
|63||Tuukka Tieksola||Karpat U20||Jr. A SM-liiga||2001||RW||Tieksola is a good skater who identifies passing lanes well. He isn't overally elite at anything but has good awareness. Consistency at higher levels is a concern.|
Check back tomorrow for rankings 62 through 32.