image courtesy of CaliSportsNews
Now that we’ve had a chance to digest the results of the 2019 NHL Draft, its time to start diving in to exactly what went down and how teams fared with their selections. Sam Stern takes on the Pacific division below, broken into two parts because of the sheer magnitude of information.
Round 1, pick 9: Trevor Zegras, C
Round 1, pick 29: Brayden Tracey, LW
Round 2, pick 39: Jackson LaCombe, D
Round 4, pick 101: Henry Thrun, D
Round 5, pick 132: Trevor Janicke, C
Round 6, pick 163: William Francis, D
Round 6, pick 186: Matthew Hill, D
Day 1 Grade: A-
Day 2 Grade: B-
One of the elite playmakers in the class, Zegras processes the game better than anyone in the class not named Hughes or Kakko. His game is predicated on elite skating, vision and hands that allow him to make jaw-dropping passes seem almost routine. In transition, Zegras is a deadly dual-threat; his release is dangerous and must be respected, but he’s an elite passer who can make a move to change the angle of a play at the drop of a hat. His hands and feet are synched perfectly, which allows him to make plays at top speed. His one-on-one skills helps him turn defenders around, opening space for himself to make a dangerous play. He drives the play no matter who he’s put on a line with, as the play usually tends to filter through Zegras once possession is established. He loves to pass from behind the goal line or at the mouth of the net. He possesses an uncanny ability to take something off a pass in order to fit it through a tight space or have it land flat just before his teammate’s stick. He isn’t intimidated by bigger players and constantly battles for pucks in front of the net or along the boards. Zegras is guilty of trying to do too much at times and sometimes gets unnecessarily fancy. These immaturities in his game aren’t likely to impede him at higher levels as he is far too smart of a player not to adjust once it’s coached out of him.
This was a fine pick at 29 as Tracey has solid offensive upside. He uses his above average footspeed and incredibly slick hands to open up space for himself and create lanes. Tracey is a good passer, but doesn’t do anything that blows your mind. This isn’t a bad thing, though, for the most part he makes good decisions when passing the puck. He’s an accomplished finisher having recorded 36 goals in 66 regular season games with Moose Jaw. The issue with Tracey is that, because he’s so skilled with the puck he tends to over handle and eventually run out of room. It’s a coachable problem that shouldn’t impede his growth as he progresses, but it was a lingering issue this past season.
Day 2 Highlights:
Janicke came into his own as a player this season. The now defunct Central Illinois Flying Aces were not a good team, but Janicke was a bright spot. As the team’s leading scorer he carried the play all season. Janicke is very strong and uses his frame effectively to push into dangerous scoring areas around the net. He is also a talented shooter who does a fine job of deceiving goalies and picking his spots. Janicke is off to Notre Dame next season where he’ll once again be counted on to carry some of the offensive load.
What I Would Change: