2019 NHL Draft Ranking: December’s Top-31

We’re less than six months away from the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, and this year’s crop of wildly talented prospects are finally beginning to resemble their final forms.

As you will see below, consistency has become the name of the game for this year’s top prospects. Of course, it goes without saying that high-end skill and productivity remain immensely important, however, the ability to dominate one’s competition on a nightly basis has begun to speak volumes with regards to a player’s ultimate potential at the NHL-level.

Jack Hughes
Jack Hughes’ consistency has strengthened his standing as the 2019 NHL Draft’s top prospect. (Photo Credit: Rena Laverty, USA Hockey’s NTDP)

In the month of November, there were a select few prospects who displayed exceptional consistency alongside their lethal productivity — ensuring steady ascensions within our December ranking as a direct result. And, while plenty of time remains for significant movement within rankings, expect the vast majority of the prospects below to have their names called on the opening night of the 2019 NHL Draft.

Related: 2019 NHL Draft: Prospect Profiles

However, before we hit this month’s ranking, let’s — as always — feature three particular players who have come to demand the attention of the hockey world of late.

Three Red-Hot Prospects

Arthur Kaliyev

Position: Right-Wing

2018-19 Team: Hamilton Bulldogs (OHL)

2018-19 Statistics: 28 GP: 21G, 41PTS

November Numbers: 11GP: 7G, 9A, 16PTS

Arthur Kaliyev of the OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs continues to soar, as his natural goal-scoring abilities have pushed his draft stock ahead of the 2019 NHL Draft to new heights. Although the Bulldogs have endured their fair share of struggles this season, Kaliyev has remained red-hot — blasting home seven goals and 16 points in his 11 games played in November.

Forward #34 Arthur Kaliyev of the Hamilton Bulldogs
Unique tape job aside, Kaliyev is quickly developing into one of the 2019 NHL Draft’s most deadly goal-scorers. (Photo Credit: Brandon Taylor/OHL Images)

Now, although his unique yet lethal release has quickly become the talk of the town, it is Kaliyev’s consistency at both ends of the ice which has commanded attention of late. In fact, in his 11 games played in November, Kaliyev recorded at least one point in nine of his team’s contests — driving his team’s offence while using his size to play a role in his defensive end as well.

Alex Newhook

Position: Centre

2018-19 Team: Victoria Grizzlies (BCHL)

2018-19 Statistics: 31GP: 18G, 52PTS

November Numbers: 10 GP: 7G, 15A, 22PTS

As one of the most highly touted prospects to emerge from the BCHL since Tyson Jost of the Colorado Avalanche, it should come as no surprise to see Alex Newhook dominating his competition with apparent ease. And, it only seems to be getting easier for Newhook, who fired home seven goals alongside a whopping 15 assists in his 10 games played for the Victoria Grizzlies this past month.

For Newhook, his game is all about speed and vision.

Capable of darting past opposing defenders and driving the puck to the goal, Newhook boasts stellar vision which allows him to devise and implement decisive scoring plays in the blink-of-an-eye. With exceptional peripheral vision as well as an astute awareness of his teammates, Newhook can distribute the puck extremely well and fire the puck on goal if he shot is not afforded the respect which it too deserves.

Jakob Pelletier

Position: Centre/Left-Wing

2018-19 Team: Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL)

2018-19 Statistics: 28GP: 17G, 41PTS

November Numbers: 12 GP: 8G, 8A, 16PTS

The QMJHL will be well represented come the 2019 NHL Draft, and amongst the league’s top prospects will undoubtedly be Jakob Pelletier — a pint-sized forward with oodles of high-end skill and speed. Currently skating in his second season for the Moncton Wildcats, Pelletier has picked up right where he left off in 2017-18 — putting forth a consistent and productive effort thus far on a nightly basis.

Already off to a hot start, Pelletier recently concluded his month of November on a ten-game point streak. In those contests, Pelletier blasted home eight goals and eight assists for a total of 16 points — an output which ushered him well into the top-ten in QMJHL scoring. Sure, he may only stand 5-foot-9 and 160-pounds, but Pelletier has continued to establish himself as a dynamic offensive player capable of commanding success despite his opposition.

December’s Top-31 Prospects

Here they are, December’s best 31 prospects eligible for the 2019 NHL Draft.

New to this month’s ranking is an expanded honourable mentions section, which features ten players who narrowly missed cracking the top-31 overall. As always, be sure to keep an eye of the “+/-” column in order to track the recent progress and struggles of these immensely skilled youngsters.

Lastly, if you need to catch up on past rankings before taking in the December issue, be sure to check out our past 2019 NHL Draft Rankings.

With this being said, let’s dive in!

As always, be sure to comment your thoughts and perspectives below.

Rank +/- Player Position 2018-19 Team
1 Jack Hughes C USA U18 (NTDP)
2 Kaapo Kakko C/RW Turku (SM-liiga)
3 Kirby Dach C Saskatoon Blades (WHL)
4 +1 Bowen Byram D Vancouver Giants (WHL)
5 -1 Dylan Cozens C Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL)
6 +1 Ryan Suzuki C Barrie Colts (OHL)
7 +3 Alex Newhook C VIctoria Grizzlies (BCHL)
8 Philip Broberg D AIK J20 (SuperElit)
9 Peyton Krebs C Kootenay Ice (WHL)
10 +4 Arthur Kaliyev RW Hamilton Bulldogs (OHL)
11 +2 Trevor Zegras C USA U18 (NTDP)
12 -1 Tobias Bjornfot D Djurgardens IF J20 (SuperElit)
13 +7 Jakob Pelletier C/LW Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL)
14 -2 Vasili Podkolzin RW SKA 1946 St. Petersburg (MHL)
15 +1 Cam York D USA U18 (NTDP)
16 +2 Albin Grewe RW Djurgardens IF J20 (SuperElit)
17 Anttoni Honka D JYP (SM-liiga)
18 -12 Raphael Lavoie LW Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
19 +3 Cole Caufield RW USA U18 (NTDP)
20 +3 Victor Soderstrom D Brynas IF J20 (SuperElit)
21 -6 Matthew Boldy LW USA U18 (NTDP)
22 +2 Nils Hoglander LW Rogle BK J20 (SuperElit)
23 +3 Thomas Harley D Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)
24 -3 Matthew Robertson D Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)
25 -6 Alex Turcotte C USA U18 (NTDP)
26 -1 Kaeden Korczak D Kelowna Rockets (WHL)
27 +2 Spencer Knight G USA U18 (NTDP)
28 NR Bobby Brink RW Sioux City Musketeers (USHL)
29 +2 Nathan Legare RW Baie-Comeau Drakkar (QMJHL)
30 Max Wahlgren C/RW MODO J20 (SuperElit)
31 -3 Dmitri Sheshin LW/RW Stalnye Lisy Magnitogorsk (MHL)
Honourable Mentions
HM Pavel Dorofeyev LW/RW Stalnye Lisy Magnitogorsk (MHL)
HM Nolan Foote LW Kelowna Rockets (WHL)
HM Ilya Mironov D Loko Yaroslavl (MHL)
HM Brett Leason RW Prince Albert Raiders (WHL)
HM Marshall Warren D USA U18 (NTDP)
HM Marcus Kallionkieli LW Sioux City Musketeers (USHL)
HM Lassi Thomson D Kelowna Rockets (WHL)
HM Alex Vlasic D USA U18 (NTDP)
HM Samuel Poulin LW Sherbrooke Phoenix (QMJHL)
HM  Hunter Jones G Peterborough Petes (OHL)

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