The NHL Entry Draft is almost here, so a few weeks away I thought I would make this Thursday ramblings about my BOLD predictions for the day of the draft!
Let’s Go (Raptors)!!!!!!!!!! Big win!
Despite his fantastic goal scoring numbers Cole Caufield gets drafted between picks 21-26 as an earlier team (with multiple second round picks) trades up to take him
- GMs will pass up on Caufield because they will still value size and a lower ceiling over the potential goal scoring numbers Caufield will bring. Whichever GM drafts him late will get a fantastic player
Arthur Kaliyev gets drafted after Caufield and also late in to round one (picks 23-29)
- Kaliyev has some warts to his overall game but his offensive abilities, if developed properly, could be a top six talent. He has slipped on a lot of online scouts’ boards, from what I have seen. I am a big fan of his game and feel like he is being unfairly criticized for negativities that most prospects have, but I do agree that he could engage more
Chicago and Detroit swap picks (#3 for #6) with Detroit taking Bowen Byram and Chicago still being able to draft Alex Turcotte
- Under Yzerman the Red Wings will want to make a splash. The team is starting to build an impressive cupboard up front but does not have a game breaker on the back end; Yzerman will make sure the Red Wings will get the player the organization needs. Byram can impact the game on the offensive end like no prospects in the 2019 draft can. The Blackhawks, after getting lucky winning the third overall selection, get lucky AGAIN as Turcotte (the player they wanted originally) still falls to them at #6
Vasili Podkolzin does not get picked within the top 10
- The “Russian Factor” will rear it useless head here as GMs in spots 3-10 will let Podkolzin slide as they figure even after two years he will stay in the KHL. Podkolzin is one of the most polarizing players in the draft as some do not believe in his skill. He played an outrageous amount of games last season which is why his production fell, do not forget that.
Anttoni Honka and Brett Leason both get drafted in the first round with Leason going 31st
- Honka was at one time called a top five pick, but has slid down the draft. One team will take a chance on him late to the surprise of many. Think of how Minnesota took Filip Johansson at #24 in 2018. Leason’s playoff performance will have a team draft him ala Tanner Pearson in 2012
Vancouver trades away pick #10 and one of its better prospects for top six help
- The draft is in Vancouver and they want to make a big splash. The Canucks will do that by using pick #10 to grab a top six player a team from the East is dangling.
Pittsburgh will actually draft using its first round pick (and not trade it for Ryan Reaves)
- Pick #21 will be the highest pick the Penguins have had since they traded Jordan Staal in 2012 for the #8 pick, and the highest pick the team has finished with since 2010. The Penguins need help in forward and defense, and they will pick the best player available. Why is this such a “bold prediction” you ask, well because the Penguins are in “win before Malkin and Crosby are too old” mode and it is highly likely they move it
Calgary will use Brodie or Hamonic plus its first round pick to move up in to the top 15 while adding a second and a fourth
- The Flames need to restock the cupboard and had barely any picks last season with a lower amount of picks this season as well. The Flames have Andersson, Kylington, and Valimaki all ready to play in the NHL, but are anchored to the Stone contract. Hamonic or Brodie plus #26 will allow the Flames to move up in the draft and recoup an extra couple of assets to boot
Edmonton will use pick #8 to trade Milan Lucic and later in the draft trade Puljijarvi for a late first round pick
- With Holland on board and Lucic unhappy (and terrible) the Oilers will move Lucic, and pick #8 for a less-bad contract and a lower pick. They will then use that lower pick (possibly a second) and Puljijarvi to move back in to the first round as the Oilers need help everywhere
The Capitals will actually draft a skilled forward and not a left-handed dman with its first pick in the draft
- Jonas Siegenthaler (2015), Lucas Johansen (2016), Tobias Geisser (2017), Martin Fehervary (2018) and Alexander Alexeyev (2018), all top two round picks (or first pick later in the draft) are all left-handed denfensemen. It is unknown if the Capitals think they can corner the market on left-handed defensemen to trade them out later, or perhaps they think they can make an entire roster of these players. Hopefully the Capitals FINALLY take an offensive minded forward so this writer can have something to write about. Also the Capitals forward cupboard is bare, they need forwards who can score
Payton Krebs will go much later than a majority of Dobberhockey scouts expect while Raphal Lavoie will go much higher than a majority expects, with the results being far more beneficial to the team that grabs Krebs
- I believe Krebs will fall in this draft as GMs/scouts will have expected more from his team if he is to be a top pick. Lavoie is good, but he is not THAT good, and what Halifax did in the playoffs and Memorial Cup will boost his draft stock. If these teams switched players I would be my house Krebs would be a top 10 pick while Lavoie would go in the late second round. This is not to say Lavoie is terrible, he could be a good middle-six NHLer, it is just to highlight how Krebs’ ceiling is much higher and he can become a more impactful player
My biggest prediction is that a ton of player names will be thrown out there as “guaranteed to be traded at the draft,” only to see one decent trade materialize involving a couple star players.
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