With the 2019 NHL Draft Lottery put aside, it’s time to have some fun but also theorize who, what, where, when and why will go to which teams and the cause and effects of those player selections.
First overall New Jersey Devils select out of The USA National Development Team: Jack Hughes. Hughes possesses a wide set of hockey IQ, hockey sense, exceptional stick handling, the agility is a 6 over 5 on a 5of 5 scale.
He may be 5’10 and around 170 pounds, but that didn’t stop his fellow Team USA teammate Patrick Kane from going first overall in 2007 to Buffalo. Expect John Hynes to ease Hughes in on the third or second line center before hopping over Nico Hischier for first line center minutes.
Second overall from Finland, Kaapo Kakko. The power forward out of Finland who is 6’2 inches and 190 pounds. He thrives on the power play just like Hughes. He is a very smart, high danger zone type player that defensemen need to lift his stick when he tries to evade the net.
Kakko has a quick snap shot and he isn’t afraid to take a Mike Cammalleri one-timer when he’s around the point. He’s strong on the puck and he is a heart and soul type player as well. He reminds me of a Finnish Rick Nash, but a lot will be expected of him in Ranger-town.
Third overall pick belongs to the very lucky and fortunate Chicago Blackhawks although I’m a bit skeptical of Vasili Podkolzin from a New Jersey Devils standpoint, but the Blackhawks are very aware of working with Russian players. Vasili Podkolzin is his name and he’s a 6’1, 190 pound RW/Center. One of his biggest skills he possesses is speed, agility, size and the ability to “stick handle in a phone booth” as TSN’s Craig Button put it.
This kid is a very passionate player and he has breakaway speed and will be a burden on breakaways because he squares his legs so wide that tripping him on a breakaway would lead to penalty shot outcomes. He has a terrific slant shot, wrist shot and he is someone who may take some convincing to leave the MHL and KHL if he wants to pursue a career in the NHL.
Fourth overall I have the Yukon Native, Dylan Cozens to Colorado. Cozens, a Center/Winger, has a quick shot and is a smart passer along the boards. He is a solid battery mate on the power play with excellent backhand-forehand power move as well. Cozens also appears as a solid forechecker who is also a very smooth skater on the ice. What I really like about him is that he’s not very far off from making it to the NHL, but he’s gonna be a special player that a team like the Avalanche would be very happy to select.
Fifth overall Bowen Byram, my first defensemen coming off the draft boards. The L.A. Kings would be very wise to get a great defensemen who can also make tape to tape passes. He is a solid hitter, a smooth skater and looks very calm gliding through the neutral zone. He has great offensive awareness and is a two-way defender who does a nice job putting the puck on net from low-danger zones.