2019 NHL Draft Ranking: September’s Top-31

Here they are, the best of the best.

As of the month of September, it is Jack Hughes, Kaapo Kakko, and Dylan Cozens who stand as the 2019 NHL Draft’s top three prospects.

In Hughes we see a legitimate first-line centre at the NHL-level laying in wait — his on-ice vision and playmaking abilities are second to none. Then, in Kakko and Cozens, we have two sizeable forwards whose games are based upon blazing speed, refined skill, and an unquenchable thirst for success.

[RELATED: 2019 NHL Draft Ranking – Pre-Season Top-10]

Although the head of this year’s class is subject to change, it will surely prove difficult to dislodge any of these three players from their perch atop the 2019 NHL Draft. However, a strong secondary class of prospects has begun to emerge — a number of which you will meet below who boast the potential to crack the top-three overall come next June.

With this being said, let’s take a closer look at the cream of the 2019 NHL Draft’s crop before meeting September’s top-31 prospects.

The Big Three

Jack Hughes

Position: Centre

2018-19 Team: USA NTDP (U18)

Jack Hughes is a generational talent — of this there is no question.

Incredibly similar in playing style to Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks, Hughes is a quick-thinking playmaker whose creativity knows no bounds. Agile in his skating yet tactile in his movements, Hughes navigates the ice with a sense of purpose and can generate high-quality scoring chances with relative ease.

Jack Hughes’ ability to process the game is second to none in the 2019 NHL Draft class. (Photo Credit: Rena Laverty and USA Hockey’s NTDP)

Although he will need to strengthen his frame prior to ascending to the NHL-level, Hughes’ impressive intelligence level and ability to think the game allows him to avoid a great deal of physical play — the only defensive approach which seems to slow the young phenom.

In short, Hughes is a dynamic offensive player who boasts elite offensive abilities — a reality which cemented his standing as September’s top prospect. In the coming years, expect Hughes to challenge for the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s leading point scorer — he is that good.

Kaapo Kakko

Position: Right-Wing

2018-19 Team: TPS U20 (Jr. A SM-liiga)

Ranked as Prospect Pipeline’s second-best prospect in the month of September is Kaapo Kakko — one of the best skaters available in the 2019 NHL Draft. The defining characteristics of Kakko’s game are undoubtedly his speed, agility, and ability to process the game at an elite level despite the native of Turku, Finland’s young age.

At just 17-years-old, Kakko is a rising superstar whose game is defined by his refined skill set. With a smooth set of hands capable of handling the puck in traffic with ease, Kakko can execute highlight-reel dangles and isn’t afraid to drive hard to the net. Utilizing his solid size and speed, Kakko can burn defenders wide before working his way towards the goal.

Once in the vicinity of his target, Kakko can unleash his strong and accurate shot on net. Characterized by its quick release, Kakko’s shot is abrupt yet abundantly effective and owns the velocity necessary to best opposing goaltenders cleanly on a nightly basis.

Although his defensive game requires improvement, Kakko’s upcoming season and the potential to play in a significant number of games with TPS at the Liiga-level will undoubtedly bode well for the progression of the youngster’s all-around game.

Dylan Cozens

Position: Centre

2018-19 Team: Lethbridge Hurricanes

Fleet-footed power-forwards are a rarity in the NHL of today, as the combination of size, skill, and speed is a lethal and incredibly potent mixture.

Fortunately for Dylan Cozens of the WHL’s Lethbridge Hurricanes — September’s third-best NHL prospect — the youngster boasts each and every one of these qualities at the age of just 17-years. Standing 6-foot-3 and 180-pounds, Cozens owns a strong frame which he propels throughout the ice owing to his stable foundation and explosive strides.

Size, speed, and skill stand as the foundation of Cozens’ impressive game. (Photo credit: Erica Perreaux)

Capable of attacking opposing defences head on and a possession dynamo, Cozens’ ability to generate offence for his team is a spectacle to behold.

With this being said, it should come as no surprise to learn that Cozens captured the Jim Piggott this past season as the WHL’s Rookie of the Year. After scoring at nearly a point-per-game pace in his last campaign — 53 points in 57 games played — expect Cozens to enjoy a spectacular season with the Hurricanes in 2018-19.

September’s Top-31 NHL Prospects

Brace yourself — here are the top-31 prospects available for the 2019 NHL Draft, as of September.

Given the infancy of the 2018-19 season, expect this ranking to fluctuate dramatically as the campaign progresses. And, despite his current standing as the 2019 NHL Draft’s top prospect, expect a solid secondary class of youngsters to emerge and challenge Jack Hughes for bragging rights as the first overall selection.

If you’d like to read a more in-depth prospect profile regarding a particular player, be sure to click on the names below which are highlighted in blue.

As the 2018-19 NHL season progresses, we’ll work tirelessly to create a greater number of prospect profiles for the vast number of players eligible for the 2019 NHL Draft — so be sure to check in monthly!

Rank

Player Position

Team

1

Jack Hughes C USA NTDP (U18)

2

Kaapo Kakko C/RW

Turku (SM-liiga)

3 Dylan Cozens C

Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL)

4

Peyton Krebs C Kootenay Ice (WHL)

5

Vasili Podkolzin RW

SKA 1946 St. Petersburg (MHL)

6 Alex Newhook C

Victoria Grizzlies (BCHL)

7

Philip Broberg D AIK J20 (SuperElit)
8 Bowen Byram D

Vancouver Giants (WHL)

9

Kirby Dach C/RW Saskatoon Blades (WHL)
10 Raphael Lavoie LW

Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)

11

Ryan Suzuki C Barrie Colts (OHL)
12 Tobias Bjornfot D

Djurgardens IF J20 (SuperElit)

13

Cole Caufield RW USA NTDP (U18)
14 Alex Turcotte C

USA NTDP (U18)

15

Ilya Mironov D Loko Yaroslavl (MHL)
16 Cam York D

USA NTDP (U18)

17

Josh Williams RW Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL)
18 Arthur Kaliyev RW

Hamilton Bulldogs (OHL)

19

Matthew Boldy LW USA NTDP (U18)
20 Jakob Pelletier C/LW

Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL)

21

Blake Murray  C Sudbury Wolves (OHL)
22 Trevor Zegras C

USA NTDP (U18)

23

Victor Soderstrom D

Brynas IF J20 (SuperElit)

24

Nolan Foote LW Kelowna Rockets (WHL)

25

Matthew Robertson D Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)

26

Kaeden Korczak D

Kelowna Rockets (WHL)

27

Simon Holmstrom RW HV71 J20 (SuperElit)
28 Spencer Knight G

USA NTDP (U18)

29

Anttoni Honka D JYP (SM-liiga)

30

Albin Grewe RW Djurgardens IF J20 (SuperElit)

31

Nils Hoglander LW

Rogle BK J20 (SuperElit)

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