2019 Mock NHL Draft Part Two: Picks 31-16
Here is part two of the 2019 Forever Blueshirts Mock Draft!
#31: Buffalo Sabres (via St. Louis Blues) select Connor McMichael – London Knights – OHL – Center – 5’11” – 174 pounds
2018-19 Stats: 36 G, 36 A – 72 points in 67 games
The Sabres close out a wild first round when they select Connor McMichael with the pick acquired from the Blues in the Ryan O’Reilly trade last summer. McMichael finished second on the Knights with 72 points this season only behind teammate Kevin Hancock.
McMichael was the centerpiece of the trade that sent Robert Thomas to the bulldogs over a year ago and this season he showed the Knights exactly why he deserved to be that centerpiece. His shot is fantastic and his passing and ability to find teammates on the ice is impeccable. McMichael could honestly go higher in this draft and it wouldn’t shock me if he did. With McMichael in tow, the Sabres continue to set themselves up to be a strong competitor in the near future. McMichael was second in goals in the OHL for first year draft eligible players.
#30: Boston Bruins select Samuel Poulin – Sherbrooke Phoenix – QMJHL – Winger – 6’2” – 207 pounds
2018-19 Stats: 29 G, 47 A – 76 points in 67 games
A two-way winger with a high ceiling that likes to mix physicality into his game. Sounds like he was tailor made for the Boston Bruins. Poulin might be served spending another year or so in juniors but he is a coach’s dream. He is one of the hardest working prospects in the entire draft and while the Bruins might not be getting a potential superstar here, Poulin will be an excellent player for them down the line. He isn’t the faster skater but he uses his size to keep opponents at bay. He has great edge work and is very good in tight spaces. Poulin is an intriguing prospect and the Bruins will be more than happy to grab him at 30th overall.
#29: Anaheim Ducks (via San Jose Sharks) select Tobias Bjornfot – Djurgardens IF 20 – SuperElit – Defenseman – 6’0” – 203 pounds
2018-19 Stats: 11 G, 11 A – 22 points in 39 games
The Ducks cap an excellent first round with a fantastic pick to help lead their defense into the future; they go with the big Swedish defensemen, Tobias Bjornfot. Bjornfot is big defenseman and still growing and he has a cannon from the blueline. He has the ability to run a teams power-play with great efficiency.
Now, Bjornfot might not be as flashy as Broberg or Soderstrom or York but he makes great plays and his passes are usually right to his teammates sticks. He has all the tools to be a top-four defenseman in the NHL and if the Ducks are a bit patient they will have an excellent guy to help their blueline as their “retool” moves on here. Bjornfot, along with Sam Steel and Max Comtois, will be apart of a new group of youngsters to get the Ducks back to being a powerhouse out west.
#28: Carolina Hurricanes select Jakob Pelletier – Moncton Wildcats – QMJHL – Winger – 5’9” – 161 pounds
2018-19 Stats: 39 G, 50 A – 89 points in 65 games
With a young and mobile defense corps in place, the Hurricanes opt to go with the high flying Pelletier at the 28th pick. Don’t let his size fool you, Pelletier has all the tools to be a great winger in the NHL. He’s got a great shot and he is a nightmare to deal with when he has the puck on his stick. The Hurricanes just had one of the best seasons in their franchise history led by Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen and their aforementioned great defense corps so you can be sure they will be happy to add another dynamic talent in Pelletier at the end of the first round. His two-way game is strong, he is extremely crafty and creative and his shot is one of the best in this draft class.
#27: Tampa Bay Lightning select Brett Leason – Prince Albert Raiders – WHL – Winger – 6’4” – 201 pounds
2018-19 Stats: 36 G, 53 A – 89 points in 55 games
The Lightning are smack in the middle of their Stanley Cup window and Leason just makes too much sense for them going forward. Leason, an overager at 20 years old, had an amazing season for the Prince Albert Raiders and led the team in points and assists. He was also second in goals. He is the classic Lightning prospect in terms of his development: Undrafted player who was passed over and now seeking a team to take a chance on him. There’s a chance Leason could challenge for a roster spot with the Lightning next season as they are in a cap crunch and will need as many young and cost controlled forwards as they can. If the big club isn’t in his immediate future, expect Leason to be with the Crunch next season.
#26: Calgary Flames select Spencer Knight – USNTDP – Goaltender – 6’3” – 198 pounds
2018-19 Stats: 2.36 GAA, .913 SV%, 27 wins in 32 games
He’s been compared to the prolific Carey Price and that should say it all right there. Knight is one of the best goaltending prospects this millennium and with Mike Smith aging and David Rittich not being an elite guy, the Flames will jump all over Knight. They are a loaded team boasting such stars as Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk and Mark Giordano so goaltending is the one area they really need to improve.
Knight has the most wins of any goalie in USNTDP history and ranks fourth in goals against average. He is extremely athletic. He is far and away the absolute best goaltending prospect in this draft class and the Flames will be thanking the hockey gods if Knight is available to them at 26th overall. Now, Knight is most likely two to three years away (he is a Boston College commit) and thus won’t be a Flame for a bit but that shouldn’t change a thing for them. They need a goalie of the future and Knight is it.
#25: Washington Capitals select Nils Hoglander – Rogle BK – SHL – Winger – 5’9” – 185 pounds
2018-19 Stats: 7 G, 7 A – 14 points in 50 games
Hoglander is played against adult-age competition all season in the SHL for Rogle and he performed admirably for the team. Hoglander has a great set of hands and has a motor that just doesn’t seem to stop. Despite his size, he goes to the corners and the dirty areas and even when he gets knocked down it doesn’t phase him. His skating is exceptional and it allows him to get some great acceleration off. He has the ability to deke his way through opponents and he’s smart enough to get into those dangerous areas of the ice.
The Capitals have some pretty good depth and they are only a year removed from winning the Stanley Cup so they can afford to let Hoglander season a bit in the SHL before bringing him over a year or two from now. From EPrinkside.com: “There isn’t a more elusive player in this year’s class than Rogle BK forward Nils Hoglander”
#24: Nashville Predators select Pavel Dorofeyev – Stalnye Lisy Magnitogorsk – MHL – Winger – 6’0” – 163 pounds
2018-19 Stats: 17 G, 14 A – 31 points in 19 games
Like Vitali Kravtsov of the New York Rangers last season, Dorofeyev has been one of this season’s’ breakout Russian prospects. In what is essentially Russia’s junior league, Dorofeyev averaged a point and a half per game. Dorofeyev played top-line minutes this year and was put out on the ice in all situations. He is a hyper-intelligent player and that’s one of reasons Dorofeyev has vaulted into the first round this year. He has high end vision and the hands to match. There’s even some who argue that Dorofeyev could go in the top ten this year. He’s that good and there just might be a team who takes a chance on him earlier similar to Kravtsov last year as well.
The Predators as pretty set down the middle with Ryan Johansen, Kyle Turris, Colton Sissons and Nick Bonino so Dorofeyev gives them another young winger to hopefully insert into their lineup in the coming years. He may need some more time overseas but the Predators will be thrilled when he eventually makes the jump. With Viktor Arvidsson, Filip Forsberg, and Mikael Granlund joined by Dorofeyev, and former first rounder Eeli Tovanen in the coming years, the Preds are in great shape.
#23: New York Islanders select Raphael Lavoie – Halifax Mooseheads – QMJHL – Center – 6’4” – 198 pounds
2018-19 Stats: 32 G, 41 A – 73 points in 62 games
Mat Barzal is an amazing center but beyond him the Isles could use some help with their center depth. Brock Nelson, Casey Cizikas and Valtteri Filppula are good but the Isles could be better. Lavoie had a disappointing season for the Mooseheads; scouts and GM’s expected more out of the kid but he heard the criticism and exploded in the playoffs for 20 goals in 23 games. Lavoie is a big centerman at 6’4” with some nice hands and some good agility.
In the corners, Lavoie excels since he uses his fantastic size to his advantage and really knows how to work the cycle. His speed won’t blow you away but this kid, although a bit perplexing, could end up being a great player for the Islanders down the line. Lavoie also has the ability to play the wing.
#22: Los Angeles Kings (via Toronto Maple Leafs) select Bobby Brink – Sioux City Musketeers – USHL – Winger – 5’8” – 165 pounds
2018-19 Stats: 35 G, 33 A – 68 points in 43 games
The Kings make a fantastic move here at 22nd overall. After grabbing Dylan Cozens earlier in the draft, they opt to take one of the drafts most exciting prospects in Bobby Brink. Brink had an amazing season for the Musketeers and was an absolute force scoring 35 times in 43 games. Brink earned himself a spot with the U18 USA team at the U18 World Championships this year and scored three goals and had six points in five tournament games. Brink had an electric release on his shot and he doesn’t shy away from physical play. He’s a spark plug and makes sure to help out in his own zone as well. Brink is a project pick and will most likely spend two to three years at Denver before he makes the jump to the NHL but for a team like the Kings who need to get younger, faster and deadlier he is the best pick at 22.
#21: Pittsburgh Penguins select Ville Heinola – Lukko – Liiga – Defenseman – 5’11” – 181 pounds
2018-19 Stats: 2 G, 12 A – 14 points in 34 games
The Penguins are the only back-to-back cup winner this millennium but even they are beginning to show signs of slowing down. The recent sweep in the playoffs by the New York Islanders proves they need to make some necessary changes and possibly get a little younger. Heinola is a fantastic young defenseman and at only 17 years of age was playing 18 to 20 minutes for Lukko of Liiga. Liiga is a fantastic league and Heinola played damn well for the team. He played on their power-play and penalty kill as well. The kid did it all this past season. The Penguins d-corps is especially thin beyond Kris Letang and Heinola would be a nice addition to a blueline that needs assistance.
Editor’s note: Late yesterday, the Rangers traded back this pick to Winnipeg in exchange for Jacob Trouba. It’s still possible that Winnipeg could draft Tomasino.
#20: Winnipeg Jets select Philip Tomasino – Niagara IceDogs – OHL – Center – 6’0” – 181 pounds
2018-19 Stats: 34 G, 38 A – 72 points in 67 games
Late yesterday evening the Jets re-acquired this pick from the New York Rangers. I still see Tomasino as a target here as Bryan Little is not getting any younger and may be suited to more of a third line role as his career continues. Yes he’s only 31 but the Jets might want a look at this speedster from the Niagara IceDogs to add to their powerhouse of forwards up front.
Tomasino is an intriguing prospect. Of his 34 goals this season, 30 of them were scored at even strength. That’s a remarkable 88% of his goals coming at 5v5. He dosen’t require power-play time to score his goals which is huge and in just his second year in the OHL he became one of the league’s prolific goal scorers. Tomasino is a speed demon with elite acceleration and agility. His skating ability is fantastic.
Little will still be an effective middle six center for a few years but once Tomasino is ready to challenge for a roster spot, Little can take his rightful place as the third line center behind Mark Schiefele and if everything goes right for the Jets, Tomasino.
#19: Ottawa Senators (via Columbus Blue Jackets) select Moritz Seider – Alder Mannheim – Defenseman – 6’4” – 207 pounds
2018-19 Stats: 2 G, 4 A – 6 points in 29 games
One of the drafts largest risers goes to the rebuilding Ottawa Senators at 19th overall. Seider shot up draft boards with his excellent play for both Alder Mannheim and the German national team at the World Championships. He’s a big kid with still room to grow and he can move the puck exceptionally well. He’s physical, he can play top-four minutes (which he was doing against men no less) and he’s extremely smart with and without the puck.
The Senators need help everywhere as they continue along with their rebuild and while there are still a lot of promising forwards left on the board, they go with the defenseman with extremely high upside. Seider joins a young d-corps featuring the likes of Thomas Chabot and Erik Brannstrom. The Senators seem to finally be trending in the right direction and Seider will be an excellent piece to add for the team that resides in the Canadian capital.
#18: Dallas Stars select Cam York – USNTDP – Defenseman – 5’11” – 172 pounds
2018-19 Stats: 14 G, 51 A – 65 points in 63 games
The Stars grab the elite puck-moving power-play quarterback of the USNTDP with the 18th pick. Miro Heiskenen and John Klingberg are clearly the alpha dogs on the Stars’ blueline but with this elite kid sitting there at the 18th pick, the Stars won’t be able to pass him up. York has the vision, hands and skill to be an elite NHL defenseman for years to come. He’s electric, he gets the puck exactly where it needs to be and oh yeah, he had 11 points in seven games at the World Junior Championship (including 4 four goals).
York is supremely talented and imagine a pair of York and Heiskenen or York and Klingberg or York and Lindell? The Stars will be licking their lips. York is committed to the University of Michigan so the Stars won’t see him for at least a year but rest assured, the Stars blueline will be extremely deadly once York hits the big time.
#17: Vegas Golden Knights select Ryan Suzuki – Barrie Colts – OHL – Center – 6’0” – 181 pounds
2018-19 Stats: 25 G, 50 A – 75 points in 65 games
Out with one Suzuki and in with the new! With the trade of his brother Nick to the Montreal Canadiens in the Max Pacioretty trade last offseason, the Golden Knights traded one of their best forward prospects and a kid who could’ve been a great center for them down the line.
Ryan is a great prospect himself although some debate who the better of the two might be. Ryan is one of the best passers in the draft and he is regarded as one of the smartest prospects as well. Suzuki has eyes in the back of his head. He always seems to get himself into prime offensive positions on the ice. Along with former first round pick Cody Glass, Ryan Suzuki gives the Golden Knights another great young center to have for their future. Suzuki probably needs a year or two more in the OHL before he is ready to challenge for a roster spot.
#16: Colorado Avalanche select Arthur Kaliyev – Hamilton Bulldogs – OHL – Winger – 6’2” – 190 pounds
2018-19 Stats: 51 G, 51 A – 102 points in 67 games
The Avs take one of the drafts most controversial prospects with the 16th overall selection. When you have more than one first round pick you can afford to. The Avs need more depth scoring and if Kaliyev, who scored 51 goals this past season for the Hamilton Bulldogs can hit his ceiling, they will have an excellent piece to compliment the big trio of MacKinnon, Rantanen and Landeskog. The issues scouts have with Kaliyev is that he apparently makes some weird decisions with the puck and they also question his motor and drive. If Avalanche head coach, Jared Bednar, can help Kaliyev tap into his full potential this will be a steal for them. Adding Kaliyev gives the Avs some much needed extra scoring punch that will just make them more deadly as the years go on.