Way-too-early top-10 rankings for the 2019 draft
We’re not even 48 hours removed from the end of the 2018 NHL draft, yet we’re looking ahead to 2019. It might seem early, but there is a lot to be excited about in next year’s draft class.
That obviously starts with American phenom Jack Hughes. The 17-year-old has been on everyone’s radar for months after his incredible, record-breaking season at the U.S. National Team Development program. He’s the odds-on favorite to go No. 1. Hughes at the top is fitting, considering that 2019 is looking like a big year for Americans in general. Many of Hughes’ teammates at the NTDP have a chance to be first-round selections, as well.
It’s also is shaping up to be a pretty good year for the WHL. Dylan Cozens, Peyton Krebs, Kirby Dach and Bowen Byram are names to keep close tabs on. “Each year, a new group of 16-year-olds comes in, and a handful of them really have a strong impact [in the WHL], but this past year, things were on an entirely new level,” a WHL scout said. “It’s not just 16-year-old players having impacts; [they are] literally being the best players on their teams at that position for stretches of games. It’s really been something.”
With all of that in mind, here’s my way-too-early top 10 for 2019, with a number of honorable-mention players worth watching closely as we head into the next draft season.
1. Jack Hughes, C, U.S. National Team Development Program (USHL)