The 2019 NHL draft began with the annual booing of Gary Bettman, but he brought back up with him: Daniel and Henrik Sedin.
The Sedins were there to help welcome the draft to Vancouver, and Bettman announced that the Canucks would be retiring their jerseys next season as part of the 50th anniversary season for the Canucks.
Pick #1 - New Jersey Devils - Jack Hughes - C - USNTDP
Hughes was the known first overall pick this year. He played in the U18, U20 and Men’s World Championships this year for Team USA, scored 112 points in 50 games for the USNTP team, and 48 points in 24 games for Team USA’s entry into the USHL.
Pick #2 - New York Rangers - Kaapo Kakko - RW - TPS - Liiga
Like Hughes, Kakko played in both the Men’s and U20 World Championships this year. In the Finnish Liiga he had 38 points in 45 games, and is ready to step into the line up for the rebuilding Rangers.
Pick #3 - Chicago Blackhawks - Kirby Dach - C - WHL - Saskatoon Blades
Dach lit up the WHL with 73 points in 62 games for the Blades, he didn’t go deep into the playoffs this year, but he’s going to the Blackhawks so that’s not a worry right now.
The Avalanche know how to play to a crowd. They had BC native Joe Sakic make the announcement (okay, he’s the GM, so that was easy), and then they picked local boy Bowen Byram of the WHL’s Vancouver Giants. Byram was over a point per game as a defender in both the regular season and playoffs this year.
Pick #5 - Los Angeles Kings - Alex Turcotte - C - USNTDP
With almost two points per game for the USNTDP, and two plus per game on the USHL team, Turcotte is a great pick up as a centre for the Kings. He’s committed to the University of Wisconsin next season.
Pick #6 - Detroit Red Wings - Moritz Seider - D - DEL - Adler Mannheim
The Red Wings went off on their own path, picking Sieder sixth who most people didn’t have in the top ten. Like many other players in the top six, Seider played for Germany at the World Championships, and the World Juniors. He was drafted by the Owen Sound Attack in the OHL, but he can also play in Grand Rapids of the AHL. He has a lot of options for next season.
The first ever player form Yukon drafted into the NHL goes seventh overall, a great moment for hockey in the territories. Cozens had 84 points in 68 games for the Hurricanes this season and was very highly thought of. The Sabres may have done something right?
Pick #8 - Edmonton Oilers - Philip Broberg - D - SHL - Skellefteå AIK
Broberg is the worst town in the world, let me say that right away.
Philip played in three levels of hockey in Sweden last season with AIK in J18 Allsvenskan, SuperElit, and Allsvenskan. He only totalled 17 points from the blue line, but for a draft eligible player there it’s pretty good.
Pick #9 - Anaheim Ducks - Trevor Zegras - F - USNTDP
A two way forward who lit up the scoreboard this season, Zegras also had nine points in five U18 World Junior games. Boy, a lot of Team USA guys are going early, eh? Zegras is committed to Boston University next season.
Pick #10 - Vancouver Canucks - Vasili Podkolzin - RW - MHL - SKA-1946 St. Petersburg
The Canucks pick the player who is signed with St. Petersburg for two more years. Talk around the draft is that his current contract would make him fall deep into the first round, but the Canucks took the risk on a player who may be hard to bring over.
The Coyotes traded up from #14 to get this pick from the Flyers. They packaged picks #14 and #45 together for #11. What the Coyotes have here is a player they can have develop in Sweden at no cost to them. With Söderström ranked low enough to be available at 14 the question is: Was this a smart move or a money move?
Pick #12 - Minnesota Wild - Matthew Boldy - LW - USNTDP
124 points in 92 game sis pretty good for this season with the national team. He’s committed to Boston College next season and did not look impressed being picked by Minnesota.
Pick #13 - Florida Panthers - Spencer Knight - G - USNTDP
If the USNTDP is so good this year, why didn’t they win the World Juniors?
Pick #14 - Philadelphia Flyers (from Arizona Coyotes) - Cameron York - D - USNTDP
Another pick, another American. Do something wacky teams!
Pick #15 - Montréal Canadiens - Cole Caufield - RW - USNTDP
Is there a rule that says you can only pick from the USNTDP?
Pick #16 - Colorado Avalanche - Alex Newhook - C - BCHL - Victoria Grizzlies
Hey! Someone from another team!
Alex Newhook put up 102 points in 53 games this year in junior A, as he waits to attend Boston College next fall.
Pick #17 - Vegas Golden Knights - Peyton Krebs - C/LW - WHL - Kootenay Ice
First off, they announced Peyton as coming from the Winnipeg Ice, but that’s impossible as they play their first season in 2019/20. Krebs was about a point per game, nothing flashy, for a not great Kootenay team last season. May play late next season as he recovers from an Achilles injury,
Pick #18 - Dallas Stars -
Harley Thomas Thomas Harley - D - OHL - Mississauga Steelheads
Haha they got his name wrong. What a crazy draft this has been. A defender from the Steelheads, did well despite playing for a not great team.
Pick #19 - Ottawa Senators (from Columbus Blue Jackets) - Lassi Thomson - D - WHL - Kelowna Rockets
Committed to playing for Ilves in Liiga (Finland) next year, Thomson will expect to be wooed hard by the Senators to make appearances at camp and maybe in Belleville of the AHL.
Pick #20 - Winnipeg Jets* (from Winnipeg Jets* via New York Rangers) - Ville Heinola - D - Liiga - Lukko
A defender in Liiga, playing with adults, will probably stay in Finland to develop his game there, mostly because there’s no way to fly into Winnipeg.
Pick #21 - Pittsburgh Penguins - Samuel Poulin - RW - QMJHL - Sherbrooke Phoenix
The first QMJHL player is picked and it’s the son of Patrick Poulin; former winger for the Whalers, Blackhawks, Canadiens, and Lightning.
Pick #22 - Los Angeles Kings (from Toronto Maple Leafs) - Tobias Bjornfot - D - SuperElit - Djurgårdens IF J20
The Kings went way off the board with this pick - most places ranked him in round two. This completed the Jake Muzzin trade.
Pick #23 - New York Islanders - Simon Holmström - RW - SuperElit - HV71
A player that was injured for a large part of the season, and a hidden gem perhaps? Another played ranked mostly in round two goes to the Islanders.
Pick #24 - Nashville Predators - Philip Tomasino - C - OHL - Niagara IceDogs
This was the greatest pick of this draft.
Pick #25 - Washington Capitals - Connor McMichael - C - OHL - London Knights
Pick #26 - Calgary Flames - Jakob Pelletier - LW - QMJHL - Moncton Wildcats
Another player that was hurt at the end of the season, but he apparently impressed Calgary with his combine interview.
Pick #27 - Tampa Bay Lightning - LW - Nolan Foote - WHL - Kelowna Rockets
One thing is Nolan won’t get off on the wrong foote because his brother has already walked this path.
Pick #28 - Carolina Hurricanes - Ryan Suzuki - C - OHL - Barrie Colts
Former 1st overall in the OHL draft now goes 28th in the NHL draft. His brother Nick Suzuki was a first round pick for the Golden Knights in 2017.
Pick #29 - Anaheim Ducks (from San Jose Sharks via Buffalo Sabres) - Brayden Tracey - LW - WHL - Moose Jaw Warriors
The Sportsnet panel says this was a gamble of a pick, but 81 points in 66 games isn’t too bad for a draft year.
Pick #30 - Boston Bruins - John Beecher - C - USNTDP
The Bruins took a big American who’s going to play in the NCAA? Colour me shocked.
Pick #31 - Buffalo Sabres (from St. Louis Blues) - Ryan Johnson - D - USHL - Sioux Falls Stampede
His father, Craig Johnson, was a Blues pick in the 1990 draft, and now the son is taken by a Blues pick almost 20 years later.
It’s done! it’s over!
Round two begins tomorrow, Saturday July 22nd, at 1PM Eastern.
Leafs pick at 53rd, so they’ll probably make their first selection around 1:45. There’s usually more action on day two. Six rounds of picks, trades, more GM’s talking to each other. See you then!