With the 2019 NHL Draft set to take place on Jun. 21, 2019 in Vancouver, British Columbia, the time has come to unveil our final prospect ranking of the 2018-19 season.
The 2018-19 campaign has been a long and winding one, as players from numerous continents, countries and leagues have battled tirelessly to impress NHL scouts and management alike. Along the way a wealth of prospects impressed on a consistent basis, while, on the other hand, other players fought hard through what was undoubtedly a trying and stressful stretch of hockey.
However, the stress of an NHL Draft season has led to the emergence of the latest crop of elite young prospects. Sure, both Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko stand high above their counterparts, but there is a bounty of incredibly talented prospects eligible for selection who will surely come to play impactful roles at the NHL-level in the not-so-distant future.
With this being said, let’s dive into our final top-31 ranking of the season. There has been a great deal of change since we last convened a month ago, as a number of players excelled on the global stage at the Men’s World Championship while others put forth terrific performances in their respective postseason campaigns.
Three Players to Watch on Draft Day
2018-19 Team: Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL)
Future Projection: Top-6 NHL Forward
A former third-overall selection in the 2017 QMJHL Entry Draft, Jakob Pelletier quietly put forth an explosive campaign in his second season of CHL action. After producing at a point-per-game pace as a rookie, Pelletier blasted home 39 goals and 89 points in his sophomore season — a total which stood as the greatest of any first-year eligible QMJHL player.
The one factor within Pelletier’s game which has long impacted his perception in the eyes of scouts is his size. Standing 5-foot-9 and 165-pounds, Pelletier isn’t the biggest player on the ice. However, much like Brayden Point of the Tampa Bay Lighting, Pelletier can irritate his opposition owing to his speed, skill, and creativity when in possession of the puck. Boasting a tireless engine, Pelletier could be the steal of the draft given his surprisingly low projection ahead of the Draft — based on his abilities, Pelletier should be made a top-15 selection.
2018-19 Team: SKA-1946 St. Petersburg (MHL)
Future Projection: Top-6 Forward
Vasili Podkolzin exploded onto the scene early in the 2018-19 season, firing home a whopping eight goals and 11 points in his five games played at the 2019 Hlinka Gretzky Cup. However, since wowing fans and scouts alike to kick-off the campaign, Podkolzin has endured a relatively average stretch of hockey in his draft-eligible season. In the U-18 WJC Podkolzin recorded four points in seven games played before tallying just three assists in the U-20 WJC.
Now, this is by no means meant to say that Podkolzin isn’t an elite player, but rather that he may not be as good as his showing at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup would indicate. Consistency over the course of an NHL Draft -eligible season carries immense weight in the eyes of scouts, as this trait is one of the most crucial aspects of a player once they ascend to the North American professional ranks. In short, there a varying opinions regarding Podkolzin, his future, and exactly when he will be selected on draft day. While he is sure to become an impact player, exactly how productive he can become at the NHL-level remains quite unclear.
2018-19 Team: Adler Mannheim (DEL)
Future Projection: Top-4 Defenceman
One of the best German-born prospects poised to enter the NHL since Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers, Moritz Seider is a composed two-way defender who brings size, skill, and an offensive edge to the ice on a nightly basis. During the 2018-19 campaign Seider played for Adler Mannheim at the DEL-level — the top professional league in Germany. Despite competing against stern competition, Seider held his own at both ends of the ice and came to play a surprisingly valuable role for his team despite his young age.
Seider’s true coming out party came at the recent Men’s World Hockey Championship, where the youngster was a poised and capable force for his nation. Although forced out of the tournament early due to an injury suffered against Team Finland, Seider’s play left a lasting impression upon scouts who had already been drooling over his NHL-ready size and ability to process the game at a high-level. Essentially, don’t be surprised to see Seider make a big jump on draft day, as his skill-set could push him into the top-15 overall should an NHL franchise be searching for a quality defender.
The Top-31 Prospects
With the 2019 NHL Draft mere days away, here are our final top-31 prospects eligible for selection.
Of varying position, potential, and nationality, the names you see below will come together to comprise the next wave of elite young talent in the NHL. And, although some may be closer to NHL action than others, it goes without saying that all of which hold the skill-set necessary to thrive at hockey’s highest level.
As always, be sure to reference the “+/-” column to understand how a particular player’s ranking as fluctuated since our May Draft Ranking.
Lastly, if you’d like to navigate quickly to any of our previous rankings, be sure to follow these links!
- 2019 NHL Draft Ranking: September’s Top-31
- 2019 NHL Draft Ranking: October’s Top-31
- 2019 NHL Draft Ranking: November’s Top-31
- 2019 NHL Draft Ranking: December’s Top-31
- 2019 NHL Draft Ranking: January’s Top-31
- 2019 NHL Draft Ranking: February’s Top-31
- 2019 NHL Draft Ranking: March’s Top-31
- 2019 NHL Draft Ranking: April’s Top-31
- 2019 NHL Draft Ranking: May’s Top-31
The Final Ranking
|1||–||Jack Hughes||C||USA U18 (NTDP)|
|2||–||Kaapo Kakko||C/RW||Turku (SM-liiga)|
|3||–||Bowen Byram||D||Vancouver Giants (WHL)|
|4||–||Dylan Cozens||C||Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL)|
|5||–||Kirby Dach||C||Saskatoon Blades (WHL)|
|6||–||Alex Turcotte||C||USA U18 (NTDP)|
|7||+5||Trevor Zegras||C||USA U18 (NTDP)|
|8||+5||Peyton Krebs||C||Kootenay Ice (WHL)|
|9||-2||Alex Newhook||C||VIctoria Grizzlies (BCHL)|
|10||-2||Philip Broberg||D||AIK J20 (SuperElit)|
|11||+5||Matthew Boldy||LW||USA U18 (NTDP)|
|12||+2||Victor Soderstrom||D||Brynas IF J20 (SuperElit)|
|13||+5||Cole Caufield||RW||USA U18 (NTDP)|
|14||-3||Jakob Pelletier||C/LW||Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL)|
|15||–||Thomas Harley||D||Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)|
|16||-7||Arthur Kaliyev||RW||Hamilton Bulldogs (OHL)|
|17||–||Cam York||D||USA U18 (NTDP)|
|18||-8||Vasili Podkolzin||RW||SKA 1946 St. Petersburg (MHL)|
|19||+10||Ville Heinola||D||Lukko (Liiga)|
|20||–||Ryan Suzuki||C||Barrie Colts (OHL)|
|21||+2||Raphael Lavoie||LW||Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)|
|22||–||Tobias Bjornfot||D||Djurgardens IF J20 (SuperElit)|
|23||+8||Moritz Seider||D||Adler Mannheim (DEL)|
|24||-3||Bobby Brink||RW||Sioux City Musketeers (USHL)|
|25||+1||Connor McMichael||C||London Knights (OHL)|
|26||-7||Nils Hoglander||LW||Rogle BK J20 (SuperElit)|
|27||+1||Yegor Afanasyev||F||Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL)|
|28||+4||Samuel Poulin||LW||Sherbrooke Phoenix (QMJHL)|
|29||NR||Spencer Knight||G||USA U18 (NTDP)|
|30||NR||Nicholas Robertson||C/LW||Peterborough Petes (OHL)|
|31||-6||Anttoni Honka||D||JYP (SM-liiga)|
As always, here are 20 honourable mentions to keep an eye on come draft day. Although widely projected to be selected outside of the first round, any of these 20 players listed below could rise into the top-31 owing to their personal performances on the ice throughout the 2018-19 campaign.
|HM||Bryce Brodzinski||RW||Omaha Lancers (USHL)|
|HM||Alexander Campbell||C||Victoria Grizzlies (BCHL)|
|HM||Pavel Dorofeyev||LW/RW||Stalnye Lisy Magnitogorsk (MHL)|
|HM||Nolan Foote||LW||Kelowna Rockets (WHL)|
|HM||Albin Grewe||RW||Djurgardens IF J20 (SuperElit)|
|HM||Hunter Jones||G||Peterborough Petes (OHL)|
|HM||Ethan Keppan||LW||Flint Firebirds (OHL)|
|HM||Vladislav Kolyachonok||D||Flint Firebirds (OHL)|
|HM||Kaeden Korczak||D||Kelowna Rockets (WHL)|
|HM||Brett Leason||RW||Prince Albert Raiders (WHL)|
|HM||Nathan Legare||RW||Baie-Comeau Drakkar (QMJHL)|
|HM||Ilya Nikolayev||F||Loko Yaroslavl (MHL)|
|HM||Jamieson Rees||C||Sarnia Sting (OHL)|
|HM||Matthew Robertson||D||Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)|
|HM||Dmitri Sheshin||LW/RW||Stalnye Lisy Magnitogorsk (MHL)|
|HM||Lassi Thomson||D||Kelowna Rockets (WHL)|
|HM||Phillip Tomasino||C||Niagara IceDogs (OHL)|
|HM||Alex Vlasic||D||USA U18 (NTDP)|
|HM||Marshall Warren||D||USA U18 (NTDP)|
|HM||Max Wahlgren||C/LW||MODO J20 (SuperElit)|