Prospect Rambling: 2019 First Round Mid-Season Expectation vs Reality Grades | Pacific Division

Brayden Olafson




Back as promised and by popular demand, the mid-season expectation versus reality grades have quickly become the three-quarter-season expectation vs reality grades. 


To recap the concept of this piece, the 2019 NHL Entry Draft is more than 200 days old we’re quickly beginning to get a picture of how last year’s draft picks’ D+1 campaign will shape up. Today we’re looking at how some of the players from the first round of last summer’s draft have developed and progressed. Using a format of ‘Expectations vs. Reality’ and ultimately, a final grade, I’m looking at each of the players drafted in the first round last June. I’ll do my best to convey a sense of where each player is today relative to what we expected from them coming out of the draft, with the grading scale matching up as follows:


A – Exceeding expectations based on the quality of competition, in both offensive and two-way aspects

B – Meeting expectations in both offensive and two-way aspects

C – Slightly missing expectations in either offensive or two-way aspects

D – Missing expectations in both offensive and two-way aspects

F – Entirely disappointing relative to expectations


To clarify, two grades of B+ does not mean that the players have had equivalent seasons, only that they’ve both performed the same relative to their respective expectations. 


Pacific Division


Anaheim Ducks

Trevor Zegras | 9th overall

Expectations: One of the most skilled players to enter the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, Zegras wound up falling surprisingly low to the Anaheim Ducks at 9th overall. With the 3-10 block of the draft being an aggregate of position players, Zegras may have simply come off, to some teams, as one-dimensional – or simply, less dimensional than the other players available. Regardless of the drop, expectations for the American were still high heading into his D+1 campaign. The BU commit would be following in the footsteps of former top-10 selection, Clayton Keller, who posted a very similar resume to Zegras prior to beginning his collegiate career. With a comparable playing style to Keller, the outcome of Zegras’ Freshman campaign could partially be judged on that datum.


Reality: Zegras’ motor was going from the drop of the puck in early fall with the BU terriers. It wasn’t long before it became a forgone conclusion that he would be one of the locked-in players to the American U20 roster, another outcome for which he could be judged. Ultimately, he’s scored on a slightly slower pace than Keller had in 2017, and finished the World Junior tournament with a significantly more disappointing result. As impressive as Zegras’ D+1 campaign has been, and yes, it has been impressive, comparing his results to a modern datum gives some pause to that success.