Part Two Time!
We have finally reached the end of the line. The games have all been played. The battles have been plenty. The combine has tested the physical and mental fortitude of these young men. All that’s left to do is wait with sweaty palms on June 21/22 in anticipation to hear their name called.
The final edition of the rankings has taken the entire body of work into consideration. The views have been many – for some of these high-end players I’ve seen them 30-odd times over the past two years. The decisions have been difficult. I use the eight weeks between the April and Final rankings as a time to go back and really put my beliefs to the test. I scour. I try to get a few more looks at some players down the board. I chat with other scouts and use those conversations to direct my next inspection. Frankly, I watch far too much hockey while the rest of the world impatiently waits three days between Stanley Cup Final contests.
This final list will take a new look. I will release it in four parts beginning today and concluding on Wednesday, June 19. In the end, I will have publicly released the top 93 prospects (with 31 reports) and put the remainder (with an additional 31 scouting reports) behind a very reasonably priced paywall ($5). Members of my Patreon group receive full access as well. The full document is over 6000 words so you better put on that pot of coffee.
While you’re at it, you absolutely need to head over to the Dobber Shop and purchase the 13th Annual Fantasy Prospect Report (image on the right). This guide is jam-packed full of analysis, rankings, and charts – and more content this year than ever before. See over 100 draft-eligible prospects and hundreds more of drafted prospects. Expected wait time, comparable styles, upside, likelihood – it has it all! Insight on over 500 young players and everything you need to know for your keeper league fantasy hockey team. Pick it up here right now!
This is also a time where I rely on smarter people than I who have taken countless hours to manually track and tabulate data, plugged it into their models and produced valuable and interesting results. That intel can often be the rudder on my boat journey through old notes and film.
As always, my assessments are limited. I am but one man who also has a three-year-old son, a teaching career, many writing commitments, and a new show on Sportsnet 650. However, I’m fortunate enough to have a very patient (and very pregnant!) wife. Additionally, I’m privileged to have several experienced scouts to bounce things off of.
This is not intended to mock up what the selections will eventually be this June. This is how I perceive the player today in conjunction with how I believe they will progress and develop. I’m limited to mostly assessing these players on their on-ice achievements. Knowing these young men as individuals would be telling towards their drive and determination. Something that cannot be understated. I rely on scouts who have their boots on the ground around the world to help add that dimension.
Regarding my method, I place immense value on skating ability and processing speed. Physical attributes are great, but if you can’t see the play develop or recognize your options quickly, both offensively and defensively, you’ll be destined for an uphill battle. It’s hard not to love a creative player with a rocket of a shot or incredibly slick puck skills. But those attributes come behind speed and smarts.
Part Two will look at the jampacked third tier that is home to a bevy of interesting defenders, a top-ranked netminder, and some forwards with interesting upsides. Read Part One here
Oh, and I’m not joking when I say, “ For a more in-depth look, check out our Deep Dive on…”. The depth of analysis in those pieces is exceptional.
- Moritz Seider, RHD / 6’4 183lbs / 04-06-01 / DEL
Mobile right-shot defender with good instincts and a projectable frame. A little rough around the edges, but that doesn’t hide his massive upside. Was terrific down the stretch on route to a DEL title and stood out as an 18-year-old at the World Championships. An athletic piece of clay just waiting to be moulded into a work of art.
For a more in-depth look, check out our Deep Dive into Seider
- Victor Söderström, RHD / 02-26-01 / 5’11 176lbs / SHL
A puck-moving and fast-paced blueliner who loves to create offense. Enjoys controlling the pace of play. Quick outlets, sharp edges and nice vision. Could use more power on his shot. Maybe not as high an offensive ceiling as some other blueliners in this group, but has a very safe floor.
Great rush from Victor Soderstrom. Escapes the forechecking pressure, brings the puck up ice and takes full advantage of the space he is given. pic.twitter.com/8XSHjWk16o— RAPTORS FAN SINCE BIRTH (@DraftLook) January 29, 2019
- Philip Tomasino, C / 07-28-01 / 6’ 181lbs / OHL
A highly intelligent, two-way centre with good puck skills and a penchant for scoring big goals. Quick stride, good puck-skills and a heavy release. Underrated playmaker. His developmental arc has been racing upwards while being a standout on an elite OHL team – no easy feat for a 17-year-old.
For a more in-depth look, check out our Deep Dive on Tomasino
- Thomas Harley, LHD / 08-19-01 / 6’3 188lbs /OHL
An efficient and play-driving defender with good size and speed. He not only accepted a larger role with Mississauga this year, but he’s also thrived with it. Improved lateral quickness and overall speed from last season make him more of a threat off the rush. Just a few weeks shy of being eligible for the 2020 class. High upside.
- Cam York, LHD / 01-05-01 / 5’11 175lbs / USNTDP
A mobile and calm defender with great lateral quickness and edgework. Effective on the power play and owns the mobility needed to clean up any mistakes he makes. He’s an all-around player who can affect the game in a number of ways. One of my favourites.
For a more in-depth look, check out our Deep Dive on York
- Ville Heinola, LHD / 03-02-01 / 5’11 178lbs / Liiga
A talented and effective offensive defenseman who boasts quick acceleration and expert edgework. Makes smart decisions with the puck and looked confident in the top men’s league. He’ll need to continue to improve his positioning as his stature doesn’t allow him to outmuscle. Had a very nice WJC on the top pair for Finland. Sneaky good at everything.
For a more in-depth look, check out our Deep Dive on Heinola
- Philip Broberg, LHD / 06-25-01 / 6’3 199lbs / Allsvenskan
A divisive player due to his tremendous physical tools but questionable decision-making. He failed to learn from his mistakes for much of the season and really only dominated against his U18 peer group. That said, the way he skates and his unbridled enthusiasm for jumping into the rush will make for some entertainment. The upside is big. The risk is real.
- Spencer Knight, G / 04-19-01 / 6’3 194lbs / USNTDP
Talented netminder who blends quickness and strong positioning. Size, athleticism and a strong pedigree. Isn’t shaken by a soft goal or bad outing – a great sign for the mental side of the position. Could be a guy who pushes for an NHL gig in three seasons.
- Arthur Kaliyev, RW / 06-26-01 / 6’2 190lbs / OHL
There are few players in this crop that can divide the scouting world so demonstrably. Kaliyev is a premier point producer. His shot is right near the top of the heap. He has good vision, quality puck skills, and knows how to find the quiet areas of the rink. His deficiencies are readily apparent. He clearly lacks the fire to track down pucks – often relying on his mates to recoup it for him to finish. He lacks pace or any considerable effort on many shifts. But.. the kid can score.
- Pavel Dorofeyev, W / 10-26-00 / 6’ 163lbs / MHL
Shoot-first winger has a knack for scoring big goals. Slight and slippery, he is elusive in the offensive end. Smooth puck skills and the heavy release highlight his skill package. Good balance in traffic despite lacking some strength. Likely the most skilled player you haven’t heard much about.
- Nicholas Robertson, LW / 09-11-01 / 5’9 168lbs / OHL
My adopted son. Robertson is a quality skater who blends quick acceleration with quick edges. He darts around and into the places he needs to be. Boasts high-end puck skills, vision, and a developing release. One of the youngest players in the crop, I like him to go off in his draft-plus one. A decent chance he’s still around on day two and will make several clubs regret passing on him.
- Ryan Suzuki, C / 05-28-01 / 6’ 176lbs / OHL
Creative and efficient playmaking pivot. He boasts a level of vision and soft touch that few possess in this class. Very poised and patient with the puck. Plus speed. Can get lost on the perimeter for stretches. He smart and owns good quickness, which means I like him.
- Bobby Brink, C / 07-08-01 / 5’8 165lbs / USHL
An elite mind for creating offense surrounds the deft puck skills, quick release and strong vision. The knock? His unorthodox skating stride that reduces his quickness and top-end speed. It will need to be cleaned up before he can be expected to keep up in the professional ranks. Young for this crop, so hopefully with more maturity, the effort to improve that area will blossom.
- Nils Höglander, LW / 12-20-00 / 5’9 185lbs / SHL
A skilled winger with good acceleration and a better release. Plays bigger than his size and has looked capable in the SHL this season. Quick cuts and quicker hands allow him to dart in and out of traffic. Is strong on the forecheck and revels in playing an intense game.
- Patrik Puistola, LW / 01-11-01 / 6’ 170lbs / Mestis
A tremendous season in Finland’s second-tier paved the way for a productive and standout U18 performance. The slick winger boasts a plus-shot and a mind for finding the soft areas of the ice. He’ll look to increase his three-step quickness and fill out his frame, but Puistola owns top-six upside. Deadly on the PP.
Previous 2019 Draft Rankings
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