Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2019 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today our 2019 NHL Mock Draft – Lottery Edition.
We are less than a week away from the 2019 NHL Draft, and with that in mind, we are ready to release the annual LWOH NHL Mock Draft. We will go through the first two rounds of the draft, in four parts, breaking up the non-playoff teams and playoff teams.
For those who haven’t read the LWOH mock before here are the rules.
1) No trades except for those that have already been made by NHL teams.
2) A two-round Mock draft will be done in four parts. The first part comes out today. More parts will be added in time.
3) Clicking the Player’s name will bring you to a full scouting report.
So with that out of the way, I present the LWOH 2019 NHL Mock Draft.
2019 NHL Mock Draft Part 2 – Picks 16-31
Previous NHL Mock Draft Pick: Bowen Byram.
After drafting a defender with the fourth overall pick in our NHL Mock Draft, general manager Joe Sakic and the Avalanche are able to fill a huge hole at 16th overall. They get Lavoie, a big winger who scored 20 goals and 32 points in 23 playoff games. Lavoie is a strong skater for his size. He has a good first step and acceleration, as well as the top end speed to pull away from defenders and create breakaways and odd-man rushes. He also has very good agility and edgework, giving him the ability to beat defenders both with and without the puck. Lavoie is tough to knock off the puck, with excellent balance. He has a wide skating stance, giving him a low centre of gravity.
Lavoie has the size and skills to be a power winger. He is also a natural sniper. Lavoie has an excellent wrist shot and quick release. He also has a good snapshot and a hard slap shot. Lavoie is also good at getting to the front of the net where he has the soft hands and good hand-eye coordination to finish in close to the net with rebounds and tip-ins. He also has good stickhandling ability and protects the puck well. He handles the puck well, even while moving at full speed. This allows him to cycle the puck down low and control the pace of the game. If an opportunity presents itself he can take the puck to the front of the net.
The Golden Knights had a very strong prospect pool following the expansion draft, the trades they made and the 2017 NHL Draft. However, trades for Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone have depleted that group. Despite that, top prospects Cody Glass, Nicolas Hague, Dylan Coghlan, and Zach Whitecloud helped the Chicago Wolves reach the Calder Cup Final. The Golden Knights have plenty of defence in their system and look to add some scoring help for Glass going forward. In Arthur Kaliyev, they add one of the best pure goal scorers in the draft.
A pure sniper, Kaliyev has a tremendous wrist shot. He picks corners with ease, and his quick release often fools goaltenders. He also has a very good snapshot and an excellent slap shot. Kaliyev can also score with an effective backhand. He is solid on his skates and not afraid to get to the dirty areas of the ice. He establishes a position in front of the net and is tough to move out. Once there Kaliyev uses a quick stick and good hand-eye coordination to pounce on rebounds, tip in pucks, or quickly one-time a pass into the back of the net. Without the puck, he has a real knack for finding soft spots in the defence and getting open to receive a pass from a teammate.
With Miro Heiskanen emerging as proving his worth on the Dallas blueline this season along with continued improvements from Esa Lindell and John Klingberg. The Stars defence has been quickly improved in recent years. However, the prospect group has little else in terms of blue-chip defence prospects. They add to their group in our NHL Mock Draft as Victor Soderstrom gives them a potential high-end defender.
Soderstrom is an elite skater which allows him to play an effective two-way game. His speed is exceptional, in both directions. He gets up to speed quickly, with excellent acceleration and a great first step. He also has very good edgework and agility, allowing him to quickly change directions. With good pivots, he transitions from offence to defence and vice-versa quickly. This also allows him to cover huge areas of ice and makes him tough to beat in one-on-one situations. Soderstrom has good vision and passing skills, whether it is starting the rush or quarterbacking the play at the point. He can also make the long breakaway pass in transition. His wrist shot features a quick release but he needs to be more accurate and add power.
The Senators finally get to make their first pick after having to watch the Avalanche make their pick at fourth overall. The rebuilding team has built up a significant prospect pool given the number of picks and prospects that they have acquired in recent moves that saw Erik Karlsson, Matt Duchene, Mark Stone, and Ryan Dzingel leave Ottawa. This gives them the ability to go for a pure best player available in our NHL Mock Draft. They take Finnish defenceman Ville Heinola, a player who had a strong season facing men in the Finnish SM-Liiga.
Heinola is a very smart player. He reads the play well in both ends of the ice. Offensively, he starts the transition game with a good first pass. He also has the vision and poise with the puck to quarterback things from the point. Heinola is a real boom or bust type of prospect. With his intelligence and skill set, he could develop into a top pair defenceman who can run his team’s power play. His skating will need to improve for him to reach that ceiling, but even if it does not, he could still become a second pair player with offensive upside. Improvements in his upper and lower-body strength would also help him to reach those levels.
Previous NHL Mock Draft Pick: Kappo Kakko
The Rangers acquired this pick when they traded Kevin Hayes to the Winnipeg Jets. With a number of draft picks already invested in improving their forward group in recent years as well as an elite prospect in Kakko being added to the roster earlier in the draft, the Rangers now look to address the blue line. They add some real offensive punch in Mississauga defenceman Thomas Harley. Harley improved his shot this year and the goals are starting to go in as a result. His slap shot has gotten significantly harder and he uses patience and his agility to open up shooting lanes and get it on the net.
Harley makes a good first pass out of the zone and can start the transition game. He handles the puck well, especially while moving at top speed. This helps him to rush the puck out of his end and to lead the play in the neutral zone. Harley is also willing to take chances and join the rush as a trailer. He is also able to make smart plays with the puck in the offensive zone. Harley is a creative player. He has good vision and sees plays developing in the offensive zone. He can make passes through tight areas and sets up teammates for good scoring opportunities.
The Penguins have traded away a number of picks and prospects in recent years and so there is a lack of depth at nearly every position in their system. They need to add talent in order to replenish the team so that they do not end up falling off in the way the Chicago Blackhawks have in recent years. Given the team needs help in all areas of the prospect pool, they take the best player available. Ryan Suzuki, the brother of OHL playoff MVP Nick Suzuki, was the first overall pick in the 2017 OHL Draft. He started out hot with the Barrie Colts this year but slowed down in the second half of the season. Suzuki still finished with 75 points in 65 games.
Suzuki uses his outstanding skating ability to create space and generate chances. He can beat defenders wide and accelerate to the front of the net with his speed. He can also change directions, or change speeds to open up passing and shooting lanes. His ability to change gears while rushing the puck up the ice allows him to fool defenders and his agility and edgework make him even more dangerous. Suzuki sees the ice very well and processes the game quickly. He understands where teammates are headed and can make a tape-to-tape pass through tight areas. His playmaking ability is highlighted by his skill running the power play from the half boards.
Previous NHL Mock Draft Pick: Kirby Dach
The Kings acquired this pick in the Jake Muzzin trade. The Kings are entering a rebuild and Jonathan Quick is not getting any younger. He could be an attractive trade piece that would allow the Kings to accelerate that rebuild. Even if he isn’t moved on, he’s had injury concerns, and will eventually need to be replaced. The Kings take Spencer Knight, one of the top goalie prospects in several years, with an eye to growing him into the team’s franchise goalie in 3-5 years from now.
Knight has powerful legs, taking away the bottom of the net. He also gets across the crease quickly and under control. His puck tracking is very good for his age. Knight reads the play well and anticipates where the shot will come from. Add in a quick glove hand and Knight has all the technical ability to be a top goalie. It is clear that he has been well schooled in his technique, with the way he handles his stick, hugs the post, and uses short quick steps to get across the crease. Knight can also handle the puck to help his defence and start the transition game. Knight also shows maturity, not being rattled by goals or traffic around his net. He keeps his composure and is ready to make the next save no matter what the situation. His coolness and composure become a source of strength for teammates.
The Islanders have built a strong prospect pool but lack a strong centre prospect who will slot in behind Mathew Barzal in the near future. Lou Lamoriello addresses this need by hitting up a familiar club and taking Connor McMichael from the London Knights. McMichael is a very good skater, putting up some of the best test results at the Top Prospects Game. He has very good top-end speed along with good acceleration. This allows him to get into the offensive zone quickly on the forecheck as well as to be dangerous off the rush.
He is becoming more of a shooter this season, taking advantage of a better release on his wrist shot. McMichael also has good accuracy and decent power. He also has an excellent one-timer, setting up close to the face-off dot to get it off on the power play. McMichael has the soft hands to make plays and finish in close to the net. He can beat defenders in one-on-one situations and create space. McMichael has a knack for getting open without the puck. He finds the soft spots in opposing defences and is always ready to convert a pass from a teammate. McMichael also has excellent vision and hockey IQ allowing him to make the correct play. With the puck on his stick, he can extend plays in the cycle. He protects it well in junior and waits for teammates to get open.
General manager David Poile has always built his team from the back end first. Even when well stocked with blueline prospects, he has not let that stop him from taking more. He’s also been a fan of the defensive pipeline that is the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets. With all that in mind, we project him to draft Lassi Thomson, the latest offensive blueliner to come out of Kelowna.
Thomson has an excellent array of shots. He uses his edgework and agility to walk the line and open up shooting lanes. He also understands how to keep his shot low and get it on the net, in order to create opportunities for his teammates to provide screens, to tip in pucks, and to get rebounds. Thomson has a very powerful slap shot and an excellent one-timer. He also picks his spots well in sneaking down from the point and getting off a wrist shot from the top of the circles. His shot features a quick release. He can also vary things with a good snapshot. Thomson is willing to join the rush as a trailer and use these shots to his advantage as well.
The Capitals have one of the best goalie prospects outside the NHL in Ilya Samsonov. They also have a ton of depth on defence in their prospect pool. Given that, they can will look to add offensive talent. Brink is another undersized sniper in this draft. A strong season with the Sioux City Musketeers earned the American forward a call-up to join the members of the US National Team Development Program for the IIHF Under-18 World Championships where he had a strong tournament on the team’s second line.
Brink is a sniper. He has a fantastic wrist shot and a lightning quick release. It is amongst the best shots in this draft class. It is also deadly accurate. Brink has the soft hands to score in tight to the goal as well, with the hand-eye coordination to get deflections and pounce on rebounds. He is not afraid to battle for his position in front of the net. His slap shot and one-timer are also very good but he does not use them often, preferring to make use of his wrist shot. Brink shows a knack for getting himself open without the puck in order to take a pass and get that shot off.
The Flames had four defencemen who were 21 or younger make varying impacts in the NHL this year in Noah Hanifin, Rasmus Andersson, Oliver Kylington, and Juuso Valimaki. Meanwhile, Matthew Tkachuk, Sam Bennett, Andrew Mangiapane, and Dillon Dube were also up in the NHL. Overall though, the depth has been on the blue line. The Flames can stand to add a centre to the prospect group at this point and look to the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs for Philip Tomasino.
Tomasino is a dynamic skater. His acceleration is elite. The ability to quickly change speeds allows him to dart into open space in the offensive zone as well as to beat a defender wide and cut back to the net. He also has very good top-end speed. Tomasino adds excellent agility and edgework to his speed, making him very difficult to defend off the rush. Defenders often have to back up on him and give plenty of space to shoot or pass the puck so that he does not beat them wide.
The Lightning haven’t been afraid of the Russian factor, and this has greatly benefited the team as they have built a powerhouse with Nikita Kucherov and Andrei Vasilevskiy in key roles. Our NHL Mock Draft projects that to continue, even during Julien Brisebois‘ first draft in charge. They go back to the KHL to take talented winger Pavel Dorofeyev. Dorofeyev shows real offensive skill and has the potential to become a top six forward.
Dorofeyev is a very creative winger. He has outstanding hands and is very difficult to defend in one-on-one situations, both off the rush and in the cycle game. His quick dekes, changes of directions, and ability to change angles with the puck opens up passing and shooting lanes. Dorofeyev has very good vision and passing skills and can be a playmaker from the wing. He works the half-boards on the power play controlling the play and setting up teammates. Dorofeyev is also willing to battle along the boards and fight for loose pucks. He is also willing to take the puck to the dirty areas of the ice. However, Dorofeyev will need to get stronger in order to play this game at the next level.
The bunch of jerks made the playoffs and went all the way to the Eastern Conference Final after spending years building up their young talent. They are well stocked at all positions but are particularly strong on the blue line. In Brett Leason, they take a big, power forward who is a little older (and thus closer to the NHL) than most of the other prospects in this area. Leason would add to the Hurricanes depth in the near future and continue to build on the team’s strength of wearing opponents down through the use of all four lines and three defence pairs.
Leason is willing to battle along the boards as well as establish his position in the front of the net. Once he gets there, he is able to score goals. Leason has a good wrist shot and a quick release. He also adds a strong backhand, with the ability to elevate the puck in tight spaces. Leason also has soft hands, with the ability to get tip-ins, pounce on rebounds, and make plays in tight. He has a knack for getting open without the puck, putting himself in good positions to take a pass from a teammate and convert it into a scoring chance. Leason can also play the role of playmaker. He has good vision and passing skills, finding open teammates. Leason extends plays on the cycle, giving his teammates time to get open.
29.) Anaheim Ducks (from San Jose via Buffalo) – Matthew Robertson, Left Defence, Edmonton Oil Kings, WHL
Previous NHL Mock Draft Pick: Trevor Zegras
A pick that has changed hands twice, the Ducks acquired it in the Brandon Montour trade. Anaheim uses this pick to replenish their defensive depth, looking to the Edmonton Oil Kings and taking Matthew Robertson, the 7th overall pick in the 2016 WHL Draft. Robertson took his game to another level this season. It started in the summer when he scored four points in five games for Team Canada at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup. He came home with a gold medal. Robertson also had a strong WHL season, picking up seven goals and 33 points in 52 games, greatly improving his points per game.
Robertson has great size at 6-foot-4 and pairs this with excellent mobility. He skates well in both directions and has the pivots to transition from offence to defence quickly and vice versa. Robertson has above-average speed and acceleration. The skating ability is paired with smart positioning and has become the foundation of his two-way game. He could work on his agility to keep up with particularly shifty forwards. Robertson is strong on his skates. He has very good balance. This helps him to win battles in the corners and in front of the net.
Three of the Bruins best defenders this season were Charlie McAvoy, Torey Krug, and Matt Grzelcyk. McAvoy is listed at just six-foot, and Krug and Grzelecyk are undersized puck-movers. While Zdeno Chara is still around, he is not getting any younger. Meanwhile, Brandon Carlo carries the mantle of being a towering defensive blueliner for the Bruins, but his ultimate upside is still a question. The Bruins add six-foot-six American defenceman Alex Vlasic with this pick, making him part of the future of the Big, Bad Bruins. The cousin of San Jose defender Marc-Edouard Vlasic, the Bruins will be able to keep a close eye on him when he heads to Boston University next season.
Vlasic uses his big body to his advantage, especially in his own end. The towering defender already uses his size effectively to clear the front of the net and win battles on the boards. He can also lay a devastating hit if a forward comes down his side of the ice with their head down. However, he is disciplined enough not to get himself out of position looking for that huge hit. His long stick helps him to take the puck off of opponents and cut down passing lanes. However, he could be even better if he can add muscle to his frame and become even more powerful in these areas.
Previous NHL Mock Draft Pick: Vasili Podkolzin
The Sabres have a chance to salvage something from the disastrous Ryan O’Reilly trade with this pick. The third overall pick in the 2017 QMJHL Draft, Jakob Pelletier put up 61 points in 60 games last season as a QMJHL rookie. It was enough to earn him a spot on the QMJHL All-Rookie team. This year, he took his game up another notch with 39 goals and 50 assists for 89 points in 65 games.
Pelletier is known more as a playmaker than a goal scorer. He has an excellent hockey IQ. Pelletier anticipates plays. He knows where his teammates are and is able to thread passes through tight areas. He has the patience to wait for a linemate to get open and in a good scoring position. His quick movements and good hands allow him to control the puck down low. Pelletier uses his skating skills to create space and openings. Defenders must back off and respect his speed. When this happens he can slow down the play and find an opening passing lane. He also creates passing lanes with his quick changes of direction as well as his soft hands changing angles against defenders.
The Second Round is Available Here.