The NHL Entry Draft is one of the most exciting times for NHL hockey fans, it’s one of the only events of the year where every team has a chance to get better despite how their last season ended. That day is quickly approaching and the Anaheim Ducks have 2 picks in the first round.
The first round of the NHL draft, the first day of free agency, and the trade deadline are my 3 favorite hockey days of the year. We’re now only 15 days from the first round of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft and my excitement cannot be contained. The Anaheim Ducks have two first-round picks and a chance to set things in the right direction following a disastrous 2018-19 season.
I’ve spent a lot of time watching draft-eligible prospects and, while I’m no Corey Pronman or even Craig Button, I’ve done my best to be fair and as thorough in my rankings as possible. I’ve ranked the Top 35 prospects in the draft, over the next couple articles I will be going over the Top 15 in my final draft rankings.
I’ll be ranking these players based on overall ability and potential rather than where they would rank as a potential Duck and this is not a mock draft. I will be doing a final mock draft before the draft. If you’re interested in an early mock draft here is one from a month ago, and make sure to stay tuned for my final mock draft within the next 2 weeks.
Just Missed the Cut: Thomas Harley, Nicholas Robertson, Spencer Knight, Ryan Suzuki, and Raphael Lavoie.
15- Philip Tomasino-C-Niagara (OHL)
There’s a lot to like out of Philip Tomasino. He’s one of the more dynamic offensive players outside of the Top 10, and he’s a shifty player with good skating ability and a solid shot. He has a habit of ending up in the right place at the right time which makes him a playmakers dream linemate.
Tomasino stands 6’0 tall but doesn’t play an overly physical game, he lacks the strength some of the other prospects have which limits his ability to maintain puck control when pressed. Putting up 72 points in 67 games this season which only puts him 5th on his own team, however, he was the only 17-year-old to put up over 20 points on a team surrounded with older talent.
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14- Nils Hoglander-LW/RW-Rogle J20 (SHL)
Nils Hoglander is a spark plug type player, standing 5’9 and 185lbs. Hoglander plays physical, greasy, while still possessing a smooth skating stride, good speed, and acceleration, great puck handling and a good shot and passing ability.
I went further in depth about Hoglander, if you’re interested. I like the game that Hoglander plays and while his ceiling isn’t necessarily the highest, he is a hard-working player who could turn into the heart and soul of whichever team he ends up on.
13- Matthew Boldy-LW-USHL
Matthew Boldy has the potential to be one of the best goal scorers in this draft. A big body forward with a lot of offensive upside as both a goal scorer and a playmaker, Boldy will make a team quite happy. The biggest knock on Boldy is his skating ability which is subpar in comparison to the other top prospects in the 2019 NHL Draft. Not a speedster there are some concerns that his skating ability could lead to difficulty with him reaching his full potential at the NHL level.
Boldy is a smart player who makes up for his less than stellar skating by using his smarts to get where he needs to be as opposed to using speed. Overall I think Boldy has Top 6 potential with the ability to be a top liner in the right situation.
12- Alex Newhook-C-Victoria (BCHL)
Newhook is one of my sleeper picks for this draft. Playing in the BCHL, so he could maintain his eligibility for the NCAA, Newhook tore up the BCHL this season, putting up a league-leading 102 points (18 points ahead of 2nd place) and was the only post-1999 birthday to put up more than 67 points.
Newhook is a truly impressive offensive player who is wise beyond his years. One of the most mature players in the draft who is as committed to getting an education as being an NHL player. His “team first” and driven attitude has future captain written all over him. Paired with his impressive playmaking ability, his remarkable hockey IQ and character make him a gem waiting in the dust to be someone’s prized jewel.
His ceiling might not be as high as some of the other players but his character makes him well worth a top 15 pick and the more I watch of him the more I think he deserves to be higher than 12th but the 11 players ahead of him make it difficult to do so.
11- Peyton Krebs-C-Kootenay (WHL)
Peyton Krebs is quite possibly the most divisive prospect in this draft. Krebs is a playmaking center currently playing for the Kootenay in the WHL where he put up 68 points in 64 games this past season, besting his closest teammate by 16 points. While over a point per game is good, it should be noted that Krebs barely cracked the top 40 in WHL scoring which isn’t ideal.
A playmaking specialist, 49 of those 68 points were assists. Krebs is considered divisive because it’s hard to pin down what he actually is as a player. Kootenay was an absolutely terrible team this past year with Krebs being the lone bright spot. When a team is terrible, and there’s one standout player it’s hard to get a read on how that player would be on a more competent team. Would he elevate his game above more talented players or would he be a bit outshined by players of similar skill level?
An incredible playmaker with next level hockey IQ and maturity, Krebs is similar to Newhook but the potential that he could be a diamond in the rough pushes him ahead. Krebs has drawn comparisons to Mathew Barzal of the New York Islanders which is quite the compliment, and if his ceiling is higher than his junior stats indicate then he could end up being a Top 5 player in this draft.
10- Victor Soderstrom-D-Brynas (SHL)
Victor Soderstrom is my choice for the 2nd best defender in the draft. A lot of people are likely expecting another Swedish defender to be ranked as the 2nd best defender (and up until the last two weeks or so I was in a similar position), but the more I watch Philip Broberg the more unimpressed I am. Broberg’s skating ability is undeniable, but his decisions with the puck and tendency to end up grossly out of position leave me underwhelmed. I will go further in depth into why I think Broberg is vastly overrated in the coming days but he’s not the subject of this one, so let’s talk Victor Soderstrom.
Victor Soderstrom is a two-way defender standing just under 6′ tall at 5’11 with a build that could stand to put on a few pounds of muscle. Soderstrom is a work in progress but is a much more complete defender than Broberg. Soderstrom is just as efficient in his own end as the offensive end.
Soderstrom isn’t Scott Stevens but that doesn’t mean he can’t throw a hit. He has the ability to chew up large minutes in the SHL playing against men, a trait that will be well appreciated by whichever team he ends up on.
Soderstrom doesn’t have the offensive upside of some of the other defenseman in this draft but his defensive ability is superior to those ranked similarly. Discounting the one defender higher than him, Soderstrom is likely the safest, defensive pick available in the draft and I think he projects as a low-end top pairing defender or a high-end second pairing guy.
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