We’re edging closer to the 2019 NHL Draft, and this year’s class is looking stronger and stronger with each passing day.
Led by Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko, the NHL franchise who selects first overall will undoubtedly be adding an excellent young prospect to their organization. However, outside of these two dominant forwards, a secondary class of equally promising youngsters is beginning to take shape.
Related: 2019 NHL Draft Rankings
Yes, as you will see, a great deal of change has taken place since our October ranking was published. However, this same core of prospects remains intact, with all of which battling tirelessly on a nightly basis to establish themselves as elite players capable of making an impact at the NHL-level.
Of note this past month was the play of Kirby Dach, Bowen Byram, and Raphael Lavoie. Long projected to be selected within the top-10, Dach has surpassed Dylan Cozens and now sits as the third best prospect eligible in 2019. Moreover, both Byram and Lavoie have been remarkably consistent to begin the 2018-19 campaign, and have earned their new places within November’s top-10.
Related: 2019 NHL Draft Prospect Profiles
We’re still seven months away from the 2019 NHL Draft, scheduled to be held in Vancouver, British Columbia on Jun. 21-22 — yet, make no mistake, the players listed below are elite young talents soon to become household names.
But, before we hit this month’s ranking, meet three prospects whose play was downright exceptional this past month.
Three Players on the Rise
Team: Vancouver Giants (WHL)
2018-19 Statistics: 5G, 8A, 13Pts — 16GP
Bowen Byram is proving to be one of — if not the — best defencemen eligible for the 2019 NHL Draft.
What makes Byram so valuable and promising is his stellar two-way game. Founded upon excellent skating abilities, Byram can fly throughout the ice and is incredibly agile and mobile in doing so. What’s more is that Bryam’s feet allow him to play an influential role at both ends of the ice — his speed allows him to lead the rush while his agility allows him to attack and smother opposing forwards in his defensive zone.
Adding greater value to Byram’s stock is his confidence and composure with the puck. More than capable of quarter-backing his team’s power play and lethal in doing so, Byram rarely makes mistakes and will hunt down the puck if he happens to forfeit possession.
Somewhat similar in playing style to Morgan Rielly of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Byram has all the makings of a minute-munching, top-pairing defender at the NHL-level. Breaking into the top-five for the first time this season, it will be interesting to see whether or not Byram can maintain his standing as the year progresses.
Team: Halifax Mooseheads
2018-19 Statistics: 11G, 7A, 18Pts — 15GP
Standing 6-foot-4 and weighing in at 200-pounds, Raphael Lavoie is arguably the top power-forward eligible for the 2019 NHL Draft.
Unlike many power-forwards who struggle to combine their size, skill, and skating ability, Lavoie brings a sound, two-way game to the table on a nightly basis. Utilizing his size to his advantage with each passing shift, Lavoie can dominate his opposition at both ends of the ice and is consistent in his abilities.
Perhaps the most notable abilities which Lavoie possesses, however, are his skills with the puck as well as his skating. Despite his lanky frame, Lavoie is a smooth and polished skater, and one who boasts a surprisingly high-level of top speed. Able to overtake defenders who don’t respect his speed, Lavoie can drive his way to the goal and has the fine skill necessary to pot the puck more often than not.
Owing to his impressive offensive output thus far this season as well as his general consistency, Lavoie has ascended into November’s top-10 — and deservedly so.
Team: USA NTDP U18
2018-19 Statistics: 6G, 13A, 19Pts — 12 GP
Jack Hughes was supposed to be the player to watch on the U.S. NTDP U18 Team this season, however, Trevor Zegras has quickly stolen the spotlight.
In his first 12 games played in 2018-19, Zegras netted six goals and 13 assists — good for a total of 19 points and the second greatest total on his team. And while Hughes’ 20 points did, in fact, lead the team as of the end of October, Zegras’ point per game pace of 1.58 still stood as the higher mark of the two.
The two facets of Zegras’ game which have contributed to his lethality this season are his skating as well as creativity with the puck. As a smooth skater of ample speed and agility, Zegras can navigate the offensive zone with relative ease. Quick on his feet and capable of moving with a purpose, Zegras can create a wealth of time and space for himself while devising scoring plays in the process.
Long expected to be chosen in the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft, Zegras’ consistent play and immense offensive output has propelled him into range of the top-10. If capable of maintaining his current level of play, Zegras could prove to be an underrated yet explosive prospect come draft day.
November’s Top-31 Prospects
Well, here they are, this month’s top-31 NHL prospects.
There was a great deal of change within our ranking over the past month, as new forwards broke into the top-10 overall while an emerging defenceman established himself as one of this year’s defenders to watch.
As always, feel free to compare this month’s ranking with that of October’s. However, be sure to use the “+/-” column in order to see how each prospect’s stock has shifted over the past 31 days.
|1||–||Jack Hughes||C||USA U18 (NTDP)|
|2||–||Kaapo Kakko||C/RW||Turku (SM-liiga)|
|3||+2||Kirby Dach||C||Saskatoon Blades (WHL)|
|4||-1||Dylan Cozens||C||Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL)|
|5||+5||Bowen Byram||D||Vancouver Giants (WHL)|
|6||+5||Raphael Lavoie||LW||Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)|
|7||+1||Ryan Suzuki||C||Barrie Colts (OHL)|
|8||+1||Philip Broberg||D||AIK J20 (SuperElit)|
|9||-5||Peyton Krebs||C||Kootenay Ice (WHL)|
|10||-4||Alex Newhook||C||VIctoria Grizzlies (BCHL)|
|11||+1||Tobias Bjornfot||D||Djurgardens IF J20 (SuperElit)|
|12||-5||Vasili Podkolzin||RW||SKA 1946 St. Petersburg (MHL)|
|13||+10||Trevor Zegras||C||USA U18 (NTDP)|
|14||–||Arthur Kaliyev||RW||Hamilton Bulldogs (OHL)|
|15||+4||Matthew Boldy||LW||USA U18 (NTDP)|
|16||-3||Cam York||D||USA U18 (NTDP)|
|17||-1||Anttoni Honka||D||JYP (SM-liiga)|
|18||–||Albin Grewe||RW||Djurgardens IF J20 (SuperElit)|
|19||-2||Alex Turcotte||C||USA U18 (NTDP)|
|20||+1||Jakob Pelletier||C/LW||Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL)|
|21||-1||Matthew Robertson||D||Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)|
|22||-7||Cole Caufield||RW||USA U18 (NTDP)|
|23||+2||Victor Soderstrom||D||Brynas IF J20 (SuperElit)|
|24||+2||Nils Hoglander||LW||Rogle BK J20 (SuperElit)|
|25||NR||Kaeden Korczak||D||Kelowna Rockets (WHL)|
|26||NR||Thomas Harley||D||Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)|
|27||–||Ilya Mironov||D||Loko Yaroslavl (MHL)|
|28||–||Dmitri Sheshin||F||Stalnye Lisy Magnitogorsk (MHL)|
|29||+3||Spencer Knight||G||USA U18 (NTDP)|
|30||NR||Max Wahlgren||C/RW||MODO J20 (SuperElit)|
|31||NR||Nathan Legare||RW||Baie-Comeau Drakkar (QMJHL)|
|HM||Marshall Warren||D||USA U18 (NTDP)|
|HM||Nolan Foote||LW||Kelowna Rockets (WHL)|
|HM||Lassi Thomson||D||Kelowna Rockets (WHL)|
|HM||Blake Murray||C||Sudbury Wolves (OHL)|
|HM||Marcus Kallionkieli||LW||Sioux City Musketeers (USHL)|
|HM||Samuel Poulin||LW||Sherbrooke Phoenix (QMJHL)|