The 2018-19 NHL season is upon us, meaning there is no better time than the present to meet this year’s class of NHL prospects.
Much like in years passed, the 2019 NHL Draft will feature a bevy of immensely talented prospects eager to make an impact at the NHL-level. Leading the way this season is Jack Hughes — the consensus first overall selection who has drawn comparisons to Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks.
However, although Hughes stands as this year’s elite prospect, other notable players such as Kaapo Kakko and Dylan Cozens are equally promising and could challenge Hughes for the distinction come Jun. 21, 2019. What’s more is that a strong, secondary class of prospects also exists — a reality which should lead to a great deal of discussion and debate as the 2018-19 season persists.
So, with October now underway and the NHL in full swing, let’s take a moment to meet the NHL’s top-31 prospects eligible for the 2019 NHL Draft.
RELATED: 2019 NHL Draft Prospects Home Page
Yet, before we do, there are three particular prospects which we must first discuss, as their ascensions within October’s ranking were not only swift but substantial.
Three Early Risers
Although the 2018-19 hockey season remains in its infancy, a handful of prospects have wasted little time proving their abilities as NHL hopefuls.
While none of which are household names, the trio you will meet below likely will be by the conclusion of the current campaign.
Albin Grewe – #18
2018-19 Team: Djurgardens IF J20 (SuperElit)
September Ranking: 30th
Albin Grewe isn’t the flashiest player on the ice on any given night, however, he is remarkably consistent and endlessly productive.
Currently skating for Djurgardens J20 in the SuperElit, Grewe is a premier offensive player capable of driving his team’s attack. Boasting great vision with the puck and excellent stick-handling abilities, Grewe can devise lethal plays with ease and is as creative as they come. What’s more is that Grewe possesses a solid shot, and one which is defined by its quick release and power.
When the calendar turned to the month of October, Grewe had already posted 11 points in just seven games played. While his defensive game needs improvement and he would do well to strengthen his 6-foot frame, Grewe holds substantial offensive potential and the drive necessary to one day compete at the NHL-level.
Anttoni Honka – #16
2018-19 Team: JYP (Liiga)
September Ranking: 29th
Only three players under the age of 18-years skated in the Liiga during the 2017-18 season — Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Rasmus Kupari, and Anttoni Honka.
As a defenceman, Honka’s point per game pace of 0.45 was second only to Kotkaniemi’s 0.51, a statistic which stood as a glaring indication of Honka’s abilities at the professional-level. Extremely composed, poised with the puck, and confident in his decision making, Honka is a well-rounded defender who has progressed rapidly through his play in Finland’s highest level of hockey.
In the midst of his first full campaign with JYP at the Liiga-level in 2018-19, Honka recorded three points in his first seven games played and has continued to exhibit the stellar two-way game which he has become widely known for. Sure, he might be slightly undersized for a defenceman, yet what Honka lacks in stature he accommodates for with energy, skill, and drive.
Although he finds himself in the middle of the pack as of October’s ranking, don’t be surprised if Honka fights to become the first defenceman selected in the 2019 NHL Draft come next June — he is simply that good.
Nils Hoglander – #25
2018-19 Team: Rogle BK (SHL)
September Ranking: 31st
While he is a late 2000-born prospect, Nils Hoglander is one of Sweden’s most notable prospects eligible for the 2019 NHL Draft.
Already skating for Rogle BK at the SHL-level, Hoglander is a highly skilled forward capable of injecting energy and offence into his team’s lineup. As somewhat of a spark plug, Hoglander isn’t afraid to mix things up physically and will pair his fiery nature with his immense skill — creating a unique combination of drive and ability.
Perhaps the only negative present within Hoglander’s game is his lack of size. Standing just 5-foot-9, Hoglander is regularly amongst the smallest players on the ice and could face difficulties transitioning to the NHL-level as a result. While there is certainly a great deal to appreciate with respect to Hoglander’s unique style of play, he could rise within the 2019 NHL Draft board if able to produce with greater consistency.
October’s Top-31 Prospects
Although the 2018-19 hockey season remains young, a great deal of change has already taken place since we published our initial 2019 NHL Draft ranking of the campaign in mid-September.
While this year’s top prospects have not moved since September, a great deal of others have shifted dramatically owing to either slow or quick starts within their respective developmental leagues. In this month’s edition, we’ve added a new column which indicates how each prospect’s stock has shifted since the previous month.
So, although October has only just begun, be sure to keep an eye on our top-31 prospects listed below — these are the players you’ll need to know this season.
|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||+4||Kirby Dach||C/RW||Saskatoon Blades (WHL)|
|6||–||Alex Newhook||C||Victoria Grizzlies (BCHL)|
|7||–2||Vasili Podkolzin||RW||SKA 1946 St. Petersburg (MHL)|
|8||+3||Ryan Suzuki||C||Barrie Colts (OHL)|
|9||–2||Philip Broberg||D||AIK J20 (SuperElit)|
|10||–2||Bowen Byram||D||Vancouver Giants (WHL)|
|11||–1||Raphael Lavoie||LW||Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)|
|12||–5||Tobias Bjornfot||D||Djurgardens IF J20 (SuperElit)|
|13||+3||Cam York||D||USA NTDP (U18)|
|14||+4||Arthur Kaliyev||RW||Hamilton Bulldogs (OHL)|
|15||–2||Cole Caufield||RW||USA NTDP (U18)|
|16||+13||Anttoni Honka||D||JYP (SM-liiga)|
|17||–3||Alex Turcotte||C||USA NTDP (U18)|
|18||+12||Albin Grewe||RW||Djurgardens IF J20 (SuperElit)|
|19||–||Matthew Boldy||LW||USA NTDP (U18)|
|20||+5||Matthew Robertson||D||Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)|
|21||–1||Jakob Pelletier||C/LW||Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL)|
|22||–1||Blake Murray||C||Sudbury Wolves (OHL)|
|23||–1||Trevor Zegras||C||USA NTDP (U18)|
|24||–1||Victor Soderstrom||D||Brynas IF J20 (SuperElit)|
|25||+6||Nils Hoglander||LW||Rogle BK J20 (SuperElit)|
|26||–11||Ilya Mironov||D||Loko Yaroslavl (MHL)|
|27||NR||Dmitri Sheshin||F||Stalnye Lisy Magnitogorsk (MHL)|
|28||NR||Michael Vukojevic||D||Kitchener Rangers (OHL)|
|29||–12||Josh Williams||RW||Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL)|
|30||–3||Simon Holmstrom||RW||HV71 J20 (SuperElit)|
|31||–3||Spencer Knight||G||USA NTDP (U18)|