B.C. hockey fans can get an up-close look at hockey’s stars of tomorrow as the 2019 NHL Draft takes place starting Friday, June 21 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver.
The last time the city played host to the entry draft was in 2006. The host Canucks, picking 14th, selected speedy forward Michael Grabner, who scored a grand total of five goals with Vancouver before being dealt in a package to the Florida Panthers that saw Keith Ballard come to the Canucks.
Vancouver also hosted the draft in 1990, with the Canucks taking centre Petr Nedved second overall. While the high-scoring centre fashioned a solid career, scoring 310 goals (including 38 with Vancouver in 1992-93), you can’t blame Canucks fans for playing the ‘what if?’ game, given Jaromir Jagr (1,921 career points) went three picks later to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
This time around, the rebuilding Canucks have missed the playoffs for four years in succession and hold the 10th overall pick as they look to add to their young core.
Here’s our VIFD/Black Press 2019 NHL Mock Draft, a look at how our draftniks see the first round (5 p.m, Sportsnet, TVAS, NBCSN) unfolding, with additional notes for the league’s Canadian teams:
1. New Jersey Devils
VI Free Daily editor Philip Wolf’s pick: Jack Hughes, C, USA U-18 (USHL), 5-foot-10, 160 pounds
Black Press NHL correspondent Kieran O’Connor’s pick: Hughes
VI Free Daily content editor John McKinley’s pick: Hughes
One word to describe top overall prospect Jack Hughes? #NHLTonight pic.twitter.com/R0wOOjNSoQ
— NHL Network (@NHLNetwork) June 19, 2019
2. New York Rangers
PW: Kaapo Kakko, RW, TPS (FIN), 6-2, 194
3. Chicago Blackhawks
PW: Bowen Byram, D, Vancouver (WHL), 6-1, 194
KO: Alex Turcotte, C, USA U-18 (USHL), 5-11, 189
4. Colorado Avalanche
PW: Kirby Dach, C, Saskatoon (WHL), 6-4, 195
KO: Trevor Zegras, C, USA U-18 (USHL), 6-0, 166
5. Los Angeles Kings
PW: Dylan Cozens, C, Lethbridge (WHL), 6-3, 181
6. Detroit Red Wings
7. Buffalo Sabres
PW: Cole Caufield, RW, USA U-18 (USHL), 5-7, 162
8. Edmonton Oilers
Caufield, the tiny goal-scoring sensation, would have been an ideal complement to the league’s best player, Connor McDavid. But Turcotte provides a nice consolation prize, perhaps allowing the Oilers to eventually trade Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for defensive help.
KO: Matthew Boldy, LW: USA U-18 (USHL), 6-2, 187
The Oilers are in dire need of wingers for their top six forward group to supplement their franchise centres, McDavid and Draisaitl. Boldy has exceptional vision and is able to use his line-mates effectively in any situation.
JMC: Philip Broberg, D, AIK (SWE-Als), 6-3, 199
Oilers will take the second-most talented defenceman. Their fans will melt down and call it a huge reach. The internet will point and laugh. It’s just what happens in Edmonton.
9. Anaheim Ducks
KO: Moritz Seider, D, Mannheim (DEL), 6-4, 185
10. Vancouver Canucks
PW: Vasili Podkolzin, RW, Neva St. Petersburg 2 (RUS-2), 6-1, 183
The Canucks could go in a number of directions here. Does general manager Jim Benning, looking to make a splash before the home fans, trade up if Byram slips a spot or two? Does he deal down to acquire more assets? Way back in 1984, the Canucks selected defenceman J.J. Daigneault, who was injured and made his way up to the stage on crutches. Do they revisit history and tab centre Peyton Krebs, who recently had surgery to repair a partial tear to his Achilles tendon. Podkolzin is highly skilled and could eventually slot nicely in Vancouver alongside centre Elias Pettersson.
READ MORE: Newhook heads to worlds as BCHL MVP, top scorer
KO: Alex Newhook, C, Victoria (BCHL), 5-10, 190
Newhook is easily one of the best skaters in the draft who can do remarkable things with the puck at top speed. The NHL is getting faster and Newhook would be a great addition to the Canucks forward core of Pettersson, Boeser and Horvat. Newhook would add an element of speed that the Canucks currently lack in their young forward group. Newhook played close to Vancouver in the BCHL with the Victoria Grizzlies, putting up a league-leading 102 points in 53 regular season games. Newhook solidified his draft ranking with a standout U18 performance with Canada in the spring.
JMC: Victor Soderstrom, D, Brynas (SHL), 5-11, 180
Canucks will look at their holes on D and their 1-2 centre punch of Horvat and Pettersson and pass on Newhook and Peyton Krebs for a smart, puck-moving new-age Swedish defenceman. Silly Canucks.
11. Philadelphia Flyers
KO: Peyton Krebs, C, Winnipeg (WHL), 5-11, 180
12. Minnesota Wild
13. Florida Panthers
PW: Spencer Knight, G, USA U-18 (USHL), 6-3, 192
14. Arizona Coyotes
"Very good skater who recognizes offensive opportunities, loves to join the rush offensively and is very effective in the offensive zone."#TSNHockey Director of Scouting @CraigJButton's profile of Thomas Harley ahead of the #NHLDraft: https://t.co/LpP3GDeueQ #DraftCentre pic.twitter.com/SAgxIGKShN
— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) June 20, 2019
15. Montreal Canadiens
Thomas Harley, D, Mississauga (OHL), 6-3, 185
PW: The Canadiens, with two second-round picks, could also be candidates to move up in the draft. With LHD a position of weakness, if the Habs stay put, Harley or Cam York make sense here. Hulking QMJHL winger Raphael Lavoie is another potential target.
A defenceman makes sense here for Montreal, especially if Harley is available. He is a play-driving defender with good size. Harley is one of the younger skaters in the draft who contains the speed and skill to play in today’s NHL.
Habs do go D, but they will favour the impressive athlete who impressed against men over the other options who played with boys
16. Colorado Avalanche
PW: Arthur Kaliyev, LW, Hamilton (OHL), 6-1, 190
JMC: Cam York, D, USA U-18 (USHL), 6-0, 175
17. Vegas Golden Knights
KO: Pavel Dorofeyev, LW, Metallurg Magnitogorsk (KHL), 6-0, 163
18. Dallas Stars
JMC: Raphael Lavoie, RW, Halifax (QMJHL), 6-4, 195
19. Ottawa Senators
PW: Phillip Tomasino, C, Niagara (OHL), 6-0, 180
The rebuilding Sens need help everywhere. The skilled Tomasino would slot in nicely as a future top-six forward.
Ottawa would be lucky to have Tomasino fall to 19. Arguably the only NHL team firmly locked in a rebuild, Ottawa does need help in every position, more so in their forward group after acquiring star defensive prospect Erik Brännström in exchange for Mark Stone at the trade deadline.
Tomasino might have the best shot of guys ranked outside the top of the draft to be a first-line player. And Ottawa really, really needs first-line players.
20. Winnipeg Jets
The cap-strapped Jets, having unloaded talented RHD Jacob Trouba for a package including this selection on Monday, look to refill their defence pool.
The Jets should be taking a defenceman here after trading Trouba and potentially exposing RHD Tyler Myers for free agency. I can’t see Seider dropping this far, but I can see York being available. York played with a dominant USNTDP team this year who proved to be effective on the power play. York is a steady all-around defenceman.
Harley is raw, but the size-speed combination is excellent and he has the toolbox for the Jets to develop.
21. Pittsburgh Penguins
JMC: Ville Heinola, D, Luukko-Liiga (FIN), 5-11, 175
22. Los Angeles Kings
PW: Bobby Brink, RW, Sioux City (USHL), 5-10, 165
KO: Connor McMichael, C, London (OHL), 5-11, 172
JMC: Nicholas Robertson, LW, Peterborough (OHL), 5-9, 160
23. New York Islanders
PW: Ryan Suzuki, C, Barrie (OHL), 6-0, 175
24. Nashville Predators
PW: Egor Afanasyev, LW, Muskegon (USHL), 6-4, 201
JMC: Ryan Johnson, D, Sioux Falls (USHL), 6-0, 161
25. Washington Capitals
PW: Samuel Poulin, RW, Sherbrooke (QMJHL), 6-1, 208
26. Calgary Flames
PW: Brett Leason, RW, Prince Albert (WHL), 6-4, 200
Passed over in two previous drafts, the big 20-year-old adds size and skill to the Flames prospect pool.
Heinola is an excellent defenceman who proved to be efficient playing in Finland’s top men’s league as well on the top pairing for Finland in the World Junior Championships. The Flames would love to add him to their prospect pool if he is available at pick 26.
Flames will like the size and skill to augment their flanks. They will like the fact the overager might be close to helping them already even more.
NHL Draft: Players passed over in 2018 Draft who could be drafted this weekend – Forward Brett Leason of @PARaidersHockey in @TheWHL tops our list — https://t.co/J5MOoB7iua via @NHLdotcom
— Mike Morreale (@mikemorrealeNHL) June 20, 2019
27. Tampa Bay Lightning
PW: Alex Vlasic, D, USA U-18 (USHL), 6-6, 200
KO: Nils Hoglander, LW, Rögle BK (SHL), 5-9, 185
28. Carolina Hurricanes
KO: Vladislav Kolyachonok, D, Flint (OHL), 6-2, 181
29. Anaheim Ducks
PW: Lassi Thomson, D, Kelowna (WHL) 6-0, 190
JMC: Tobias Bjornfot, D, Djurgarden (SHL), 6-0, 196
30. Boston Bruins
PW: Jakob Pelletier, LW, Moncton (QMJHL), 5-9, 160
31. Buffalo Sabres
KO: Brayden Tracey, LW, Moose Jaw (WHL), 6-0, 177
Rounds two through seven take place Saturday, June 22 (10 a.m., NHL Network, Sportsnet). The Canucks hold picks No. 40, 71, 102, 133, 156, 164, 180 and 195.
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