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2019 NHL Draft November Rankings and Reports: Part Three
With the CHL season nearly two months old, a month or so of NCAA hockey, plenty of games for the US National Team Development Program, the Gretzky-Hlinka Tournament, an international break in Europe, and the Canada-Russia Series all being played since we last updated our draft rankings, we have gotten a decent overview of what some of the biggest prospects for the 2018 NHL draft are doing this year.
That said, as a staff, we haven’t seen every player yet—it’s quite simply not possible this early in the season. If there is an obvious name left out, we’ll do our best to get a look before the February rankings; as well as before our final rankings that go from April through June.
The group we haven’t seen a lot of our European prospects who, for whatever reason, haven’t had much exposure on the international stage. With the World Juniors, Five Nations, and the Under-18 all to come later in the year, we should get a better look at most of those players.
16.) Trevor Zegras, Centre, U.S. NTDP, 6’0″ 168 lbs
Zegras has started the season hot for the US NTDP, putting up 12 goals and 33 points in 19 games. He is committed to Boston University for next season. Zegras finished last season as the top centre on the Under-17 team after Jack Hughes and Alex Turcotte joined the U18 squad. With the injury to Turcotte, he has spent most of the early season playing on the NTDP second line. Zegras is a very good skater. His speed and acceleration are well above average. His agility and edgework are elite though. Zegras is very elusive as he can change directions on a dime and make quick cuts.
Zegras marries his skating ability with the ability to handle the puck and make plays at top speed. He has very good vision and passing skill, helping him to be a primary playmaker on his line. He also has high hockey IQ. Zegras anticipates the movements of his teammates and opponents, allowing him to create offence. While best known as a playmaker, he can score goals with soft hands in tight to the net. His shot is decent but could use some work on having a quicker release.
17.) Matthew Boldy, Left Wing, U.S. NTDP, 6’2″ 187 lbs
Also playing for the NTDP Boldy has put up 15 goals and 24 points in 20 games this season. This follows up on a solid season with the U-17 squad, including a gold medal at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge. Boldy also shone at the USA Hockey Top Prospects Game scoring two goals and an assist and picking up MVP honours. He is a big forward who uses that to his advantage, winning battles in front of the net and in the corners.
Boldy is a sniper with an excellent wrist shot and release. He also has a very good one-timer. Boldy may not be the most creative playmaker but he is still good at keeping the cycle game going, letting his teammates catch up. While he does not have the biggest assist totals, Boldy has shown good vision and the hockey IQ to make his passes to his teammates for good scoring chances.
18.) Nolan Foote, Left Wing, Kelowna Rockets, 6’3″ 187 lbs
Foote has started the season on a goal-scoring roll. The Rockets power forward has 13 goals and 20 points in the first 21 games of the year. It matches the 13 goals he scored all of last year and is half-way to his total of 40 points. Unlike his brother and his father, Nolan Foote is a forward. He has very good size and plays a game that is a blend of skill and power. Foote has good stickhandling and puck protection ability.
Foote has an excellent wrist shot and a very quick release. When teammates have the puck, he finds open areas to get that shot off. When the other team has the puck, he is quick to get in on the forecheck, causing pressure and creating turnovers. Foote also is a good playmaker with puck protection and passing skills. Foote is willing to work in the dirty areas of the ice. He gets to the front of the net and uses his size to create havoc. He also battles well on the forecheck, as well as in his own end of the ice. He could stand to improve his skating over the next several years, however. He particularly needs work on his first step and early strides.
19.) Cole Caufield, Right Wing, U.S. NTDP, 5’7″ 157 lbs
A diminutive but talented winger, Caufield has put up 16 goals and 23 points in 20 games. He was another one of the members of last season’s under-17 gold medalists before being called up to the under-18 squad for the stretch run and the IIHF U-18 World Championship. Caufield has an excellent arsenal of shots. His wrist shot and snapshot are both deadly accurate and have good power. They also have very quick releases which fool goaltenders. Caufield also has a very good one-timer. He has a knack for finding soft spots in the defence and getting his shot off.
He is a very good skater. While he has very good top end speed, his best attributes are his acceleration and agility. Caufield can dart in and out of open space and can beat defenders in one-on-one situations. He also shows the ability to make passes through tight spaces and the vision to find teammates but is better known for his goal scoring. Overall, he has all the offensive tools one looks for in a player, with the exception of his lack of height.
20.) Anttoni Honka, Right Defence, JYP, SM Liiga, 5’10” 170 lbs
The younger brother of Dallas Stars defenseman Julius Honka, Anttoni Honka is already playing against men in the SM Liiga. He has put up four points in fifteen games this year. This comes on the heels of a very successful IIHF U-18 World Championship where he put up five points in seven games and helped Finland to a gold medal. Honka makes up for his lack of size with his outstanding skating ability. He also has good stickhandling ability and can carry the puck out of danger as well as creating offence in the neutral and offensive zones.
Honka shows good passing skills. He can start the transition game by head-manning the puck. He is also able to make the long breakaway pass. Honka can also quarterback the play from the point on the power-play. Honka does a decent enough job in the defensive end of the ice but most continue to improve moving forward.
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