This week marks my final tweaks for the June 1 release of my 2019 draft ranking. The list will be 120 deep and, as always, I expect there will be players ranked inside my top 50 overall who do not get selected.
I’ll run posts all this week with the final rankings by league or by nation. By Saturday, you’ll have about 10 lists, with the final list merely a puzzle that ranks them as one group. I believe this is a better than average draft and expect Edmonton will (if they keep their picks) procure enough quality to make the 2019 draft comparable to the 2018 haul that included Evan Bouchard, Ryan McLeod and Olivier Rodrigue. Here we go.
The Athletic Edmonton features a fabulous cluster of stories (some linked below, some on the site). Great perspective from a ridiculous group of writers and analysts. Proud to be part of the group. INSANE OFFER IS HERE!
- New Lowetide: Ken Holland’s Oilers could go the high octane procurement route but will need a driver
- New Lowetide: How much can Connor Brown help the Oilers?
- Lowetide: Dmitri Samorukov is off to the Memorial Cup and is the Oilers’ fastest rising prospect
- Jonathan Willis: Craig MacTavish leaves the Oilers, signalling the first major front office change under Ken Holland
- Lowetide: What kind of coach should Ken Holland hire for the Oilers?
- Jonathan Willis: Every Oilers AHL prospect, rated by how close they are to the NHL
- Jonathan Willis: A resurgent Andrej Sekera gives the Oilers much-needed defensive options
- Lowetide: Is Joe Gambardella destined to become the Oilers’ next Fernando Pisani?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Protector, supporter, confidant: Connor McDavid’s mom, Kelly, is his off-ice rock through good times and bad
- Lowetide: An offseason plan for Ken Holland to remodel the Oilers roster.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Ken Holland steadfast that buck stops with him as new Oilers GM.
- Lowetide: How will Ken Holland proceed in Year 1 as Oilers general manager?
- Jonathan Willis: What does the arrival of Ken Holland mean for the Oilers coaching search?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Prioritizing the roster issues that await Ken Holland in Edmonton.
- Lowetide: Ken Holland’s procurement list for his rumored move to Edmonton will include front-office personnel
- Jonathan Willis: A Milan Lucic trade is at the top of the to-do list for the Oilers’ next GM.
THE FINAL 2019 WHL LIST
1 LHD Bowen Byram, Vancouver (WHL). A complete skill set, dynamic skater, effective in all areas. Best D out of the west since Cale Makar.
2 RC Kirby Dach, Saskatoon (WHL). A dynamic player with size and tremendous skill, has speed, wingspan and an excellent release.
3 R Dylan Cozens, Lethbridge (WHL). Size, skill and he can skate. Range of skills, accurate shooter. He and Dach are basically equal.
4 LC Peyton Krebs, Kootenay (WHL). Skill forward who can score, he has quick feet and good hands.
5 L Brayden Tracey, Moose Jaw (WHL). Flew up the ranking late, his goal-scoring prowess (33 in 66) a major selling point.
6 LD Matthew Robertson, Edmonton (WHL). He’s had some injury issues but has also emerged as a fairly complete defender.
7 L Nolan Foote, Kelowna (WHL). Power forward with skill, not certain he’s a future scorer on an NHL skill line.
8 RC Brett Leason, Prince Albert (WHL). He is 20. Impressive scorer, massive year over year spike (36 goals in 55 games this year).
9 RD Lassi Thomson, Kelowna (WHL). Mobile, skilled defenseman with good speed.
10 G Mads Søgaard, Medicine Hat (WHL). Posted a strong season (.921). He is 6.06. Danish goalie had a solid year in the NAHL a year ago.
11 L Dillon Hamaliuk, Seattle (WHL). Promising numbers (31, 11-15-26) before losing his season to injury. Strong, great forechecker and he has skill.
12 LC Oleg Zaitsev, Red Deer (WHL). A physical two-way center with impressive skating and passing skill. Great along the wall, patient.
13 L Adam Beckman, Spokane (WHL). Among the best scorers in the league under 18, he posted 32 in 68 games. Averages 2.46 shots per game.
14 R Luka Burzan, Brandon (WHL). A January 2000, so an older prospect. He scored 40 goals in 68 games. Speed, skill, works hard.
15 LC Reece Newkirk, Portland (WHL). Undersized skill center exploded in his second junior season (68, 23-36-59). Good speed, has skill.
16 R Sasha Mutala, Tri-City (WHL). He has good speed and size, scored 20. Impressive at Hlinka, solid but unspectacular during the season.
17 R Martin Lang, Kamloops (WHL). Impressive skill winger is barely eligible for the draft (Sept 15, 2001). 11-22-33 in 65 games.
18 R Josh Williams, Edmonton (WHL). Terrific skater and impressive skill, lack of consistency saw him slide a long way during the season.
19 RD Kaedan Korczak, Kelowna (WHL). Shutdown defender with good speed, he’ll go far higher than I have him.
20 LD Gianni Fairbrother, Everett (WHL). Puck moving defenseman came on as the season wore along, he’s a Sept 2000 so he’s a little lower on my list.
21 LC Luke Toporowski, Spokane (WHL). Undersized skill forward who can play all three positions. Plays with an edge.
22 RD Cole Moberg, Prince George (WHL). Good mobility, can move the puck and posted good numbers. October 2000.
1 RD Moritz Seider, Mannheim (DEL). An actual teenage giant (6.04, 198) with a Condor wingspan. He’s a good passer and has decent speed.
2 LC Alexei Protas, Belarus (Belarus). Listed under European list, he is in fact rolling like a Mack truck for the Prince Albert Raiders this spring. He’s 6.05, 195, and has great hands.
3 RW Filip Koffer, Padrubice (Czech). Nice hands, he showed well at the U18’s. He isn’t well known and may not be picked, but he has real skill.
4 RW Michal Teply, Liberic (Czech). Big scoring winger has some footspeed issues.
5 RW Yevgeni Oksentyuk, Shahkter (Belarus). Small and highly skilled, he rocked the U18’s.
6 LW Premysl Svoboda, Litvinov (Czech U19). Torched his junior league (32, 22-33-55), has been dominating all the way through junior. November 2000.
The plan this week is to do OHL/Finland tomorrow, QMJHL/Russia on Thursday and USHL/Sweden on Friday. That’ll set things up for my June 1 top 120. You may notice some tweaks in the rankings, mostly late on each list. I don’t think changing this late is wise, it’s shades of grey after No. 4 on the WHL list and the German defenseman is the only clear top flight prospect from the hinterlands.
There is one additional tweak on my list that could occur, want to tell you now so you won’t be surprised. There remain a couple of unsigned kids from the 2017 draft who I think would warrant a spot on my list. Deadline is June 1, same day I publish my list. Here there are, with what I wrote about them on my final 2017 ranking:
No. 40 LD Noel Hoefenmeyer, Ottawa 67s (OHL). Complete skills. Has good size and can defend well, and is a good passer. Unlikely to spend a lot of time on the power play, but the entire defense crop feels that way this year.
No. 144 RC Liam Hawel, Guelph Storm (OHL). Giant (6.05, 179) C improved offense after trade from Soo.
I think it’s Dave Tippett and the Oilers are just waiting for the right time to announce it. Could happen tomorrow if the Blues win tonight, Bettman doesn’t like anything to take away from the playoff series. There have been names leaked, and some general suspicion of interviews, but this has the same feel to it as Holland’s hiring: Seemed set in stone early, with a steady stream of misinformation swirling for a couple of weeks.
Pronman’s list is once again the industry standard. His evaluations are excellent, he states his reasons for slotting, he has excellent quotes for each player. I sincerely hope you subscribe to The Athletic and don’t really care about the reason, but this piece is worth the annual sub all by its lonesome.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
We’re back after what seems like forever, with a fun show to start the week. TSN1260, beginning at 10 this morning. We’ll tee up Canada versus USA at noon from the WHC’s, we’ll have the game at TSN1260, high noon. Jonathan Willis will stop by from The Athletic at 10:20, we’ll chat about what Dave Tippett’s Oilers might look like. Guy Flaming from The Pipeline Show pops in at 10:40 to explain what the hell is happening at the Memorial Cup, while Joseph Casciaro from The Score talks Raptors at 11:05. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!