Analysis and Predictions for the 2019 NHL Entry Draft

The 2019 NHL draft is hours away so it’s time to put on my prediction hat and look at who will be selected. What follows is a long preamble, so for those simply interested in the list just scroll down. I am not a scout, simply someone who enjoys the draft.

My approach is to collate the best publicly available sources on the draft to provide insight into who will be picked. This is my tenth year following this strategy (beginning with the now defunct Hockey Herald back in 2010). That year I picked 72% of the draft class which, as it happens, is very good. When I talk about successful predictions, I don’t mean player X was picked in X round at X position (ie, John Smith was #43 as predicted)–that kind of precision simply isn’t practical (it’s never much higher than 25% and when you subtract the first round it bottoms out completely). These numbers and percentages reflect which players were selected in the draft, period. Here are the numbers from 2011 onwards (in brackets are the total number of correct players selected; until 2017 ISS listed 220 players as being selected in the draft, then only listed 200 that year, and went back to 220 in 2018, so they are divided by that number or the total draft number, whichever is higher)):
Hockey Prospects (HP): 72.8 (154) 72.0 (152), 69.2 (146), 70.9 (149), 75.8 (160), 74.8 (154), 70.9 (154), 74.6 (162)
Eye on the Sens (EOTS): 72.1 (153) 75.8 (160), 69.2 (146), 70.9 (149), 78.5 (165), 72.5 (153), 68.2 (148), 71.4 (155)
Future Considerations (FC): 68.6 (145) 71.1 (150), 68.7 (145), 69.0 (145), 69.2 (146), 70.1 (148), 61.3 (133), 65.4 (142)
Red Line Report (RLR): 68.3 (145) 73.9 (156), 67.7 (143), 64.7 (136), 73.0 (154), 66.8 (141), 63.1 (137), 64.0 (139)
International Scouting Service (ISS): 64.4 (139) 66.3 (146), 62.7 (138), 60.0 (132), 68.6 (151), 63.6 (140), 66.5 (131), 59.9 (130)

The differences are telling, with Hockey Prospect‘s consistently more accurate than anyone else (ISS has never been very good, but RLR fell off a cliff post-2015–FC possibly following suit a year later). Let me point out that it isn’t the guide’s prerogative to say which player will be selected, but rather which player they think is best–I’m simply using their data for the former purpose.

This year ISS did not put out a draft guide, indirectly doing me a favour since their lists have been dragging me down. RLR, while still publishing, raised its price by 80% and given that it’s a weaker product I’ve simply cut it out. This leaves me with just HP and FC for what I’ve been tracking all this time, so to round things out I’m incorporating McKeen’s (last used in 2013). HP, however, has changed how they rank players, capping the number at 108 (with 6 goaltenders in their own, separate list–shades of ISS). While HP has a logic for their change, as an aggregator it makes my life much more difficult–we shall, however, persevere. To help out the numbers I’ve folded Bob McKenzie‘s list back into the aggregate (he’d only been excluded previously because he doesn’t cover the entire draft).

My ranking methodology is as follows: I take the sum of the sources and produce an aggregate number (for example, player X is ranked 15, 24, and 32, those numbers are then averaged to create the aggregate number, eg 23.66). This gives me something I can use for comparison and that creates my initial list. Typically I then engage in comparative analysis, but I’ve cut back on that because concerns over the specific pick isn’t my primary purpose here. Given the change in source material, I’ve had to adjust this approach, although I still give preference to those players picked by more sources; both Bob McKenzie and HP are given greater weight due to their track records.

Notes

The area most guides struggle with is European scouting (presumably due to cost), leaving them overly dependent on international tournaments for their assessment (a limitation worth keeping in mind).  I’ll give one specific example to make the point: last year ISS actually listed how many times their scouts filed a report on a player–they saw Czech leaguer Martin Kaut 14 times; the two CHL players he’s sandwiched between were seen 33 and 43 times respectively–that’s a massive difference.

Speaking of scouts, all three publications list their scouts (HP only on their website): 12 for Mckeen’s (4 in Europe), 22 for FC (9 in Europe), and 29 for HP (just 3 in Europe). HP’s coverage is heavily rooted in Eastern Canada; FC’s much broader European coverage means they have more European players scattered throughout their list. It’s also worth noting that HP has more faith in smaller players than most.

-Acronyms: CS (Central Scouting), HP (Hockey Prospect), FC (Future Considerations), McK (McKeen’s)
-For convenience I’ve identified goaltenders (G) and defensemen (D)
-I’ve noted size where I feel it’s important (the NHL preference for size remains a factor); in general I’ve used HP’s sizes, as Mark Edwards’ waits until after the NHL combine to finalize those numbers

Draft Rankings

First Round

1. Hughes (1) – there’s no dissenting views among the top-three and they all appear in this order
2. Kakko (2)
3. Bowen (D) (3)
4. Turcotte (5)
5. Dach (6)
6. Zegras (6.5)
7. Krebs (7.5)
8. Podkolzin (7.5) – the Russian factor could always push him down
9. Cozens (8.75)
10. Boldy (10.25)
11. Caufield (11.25) – at just 5’7 I think he could very easily slip (I’m suspicious of his numbers as well, as he wouldn’t be the first player to benefit from excellent teammates and then crash without them)
12. Soderstrom (D) (12)
13. Seider (D) (14.25)
14. Newhook (15.25)
15. C. York (D) (15.5)
16. Broberg (D) (15.5) – in the top-ten for McKeen’s
17. Harley (D) (19.5)
18. Tomasino (20.5)
19. Suzuki (20.5)
20. Lavoie (20.75)
21. Poulin (23.5)
22. Heinola (D) (24.25) – the first player not universally slotted in the first round
23. Knight (G) (25.33) – keep in mind HP doesn’t give him a number in the draft, so being their top ‘tender is difficult to parse for aggregation
24. Kaliyev (26.5) – has a second-round pick
25. M. Robertson (D) (27) – ibid
26. Brink (27.75) – 5’8; his size is probably why he’s evenly split between first and second rounds
27. Bjornfort (D) (28) – has a second-round pick
28. McMichael (28.75) – ibid
29. Holmstrom (29) – split 1st/2nd
30. Johnson (D) (30) – ibid
31. Hoglander (32) – 5’9; ibid–size could see him tumble

Other first round selections: Dorofeyev (3), Pelletier (2), Leason, Thomson, Vlasic, Rees, Kolyachonok, Helleson, Johansson, Mastrosimone, and Puistola.

Second Round

32. Pelletier (33.25) – 5’9; split 1st/2nd (again, size could sink him)
33. Leason (34.25) – gets a first-round pick
34. Thomson (D) (37.75) – split
35. Beecher (38)
36. Vlasic (D) (38.5) – 6’5; gets a 1st-round nod from Bob
37. Rees (38.75) – gets a first-round pick
38. Kolyachonok (D) (39) – ibid
39. N. Robertson (41.25) – at 5’8 he could fall far
40. Dorofeyev (41.5) – Bob wrecks his number (third round); everyone else has him first (Russian factor to be considered)
41. Tracey (45.5)
42. Afanasyev (46.5)
43. Helleson (D) (47.75) – gets a first-round pick
44. Johansson (D) (48.25) – ibid
45. Korczak (D) (53.5) – split 2nd/3rd
46. Foote (54.25)
47. Mastrosimone (54.5) – 5’9; gets a first and third-round pick
48. LaCombe (D) (54.5)
49. Nikolaev/Nikolayev (57.25)
50. Grewe (58)
51. Puistola (58.75) – gets a first-round pick
52. Legare (58.75)
53. Norlinder (D) (59.25)
54. Spiridonov (60.33) – no HP (so sub-108 for them)
55. Farinacci (62.75) – one fourth-round pick
56. Henriksson (65.75) – 5’9
57. Teply (66.75)
58. Firstov (67)
59. Tuomisto (D) (67.75) – one fourth-round pick
60. Misyul (D) (68)
61. Honka (D) (68)
62. Sogaard (G) (68) – 6’6

Third Round

63. Z. Jones (D) (71.33) – surprisingly FC, despite listing 300 players, doesn’t list him
64. Fagemo (71.75) – gets a pair of second picks
65. Kniazev/Knyazev (D) (73) – ibid; on the small side for Dmen (plus, Russian)
66. Kokkonen (D) (73.5) – on the smaller side
67. Pinto (75) – two seconds and two fourths
68. Attard (D) (75.5) – not listed by either HP/FC, but Bob has him mid-second
69. Clarke (76.5)
70. Huglen (76.5) – all over the place–not listed by FC and McKeen’s just gives him an Honourable Mention (HM henceforth)
71. Thrun (D) (78.75)
72. Donovan (80) – not listed by HP/FC
73. Caufield (82) – not listed by HP
74. Gritsyuk (82.75) – FC puts him in the fifth, which sinks his number
75. Spence (D) (83) – at 5’9 he could slide all the way out of the draft
76. Warren (D) (83.75) – also undersized
77. Phillips (84) – 5’9; a fifth sinks his number (size a concern here)
78. Cajkovic (85.25)
79. Chystyakov/Chistyakov (D) (88)
80. Struble (D) (88.5) – has a second-round nod
81. Guskov (88.5)
82. Bolduc (D) (89) – just an HM for McKeen’s
83. Kochetkov (G) (89.66) – has a second-round nod
84. Beckman (91.75) – number thrown off by a sixth
85. Vukojevic (D) (92.33) – not listed by HP
86. Campbell (94.75) – two second-round picks
87. H. Jones (G) (98.33)
88. Beaucage (98.5)
89. Hamaliuk (99) – McKeen’s drags down his number
90. Alexandrov (100.5)
91. Lundmark (D) (101.75) – second-round nod from Bob
92. Ahac (D) (102.5)
93. Okhotyk (D) (103) – gets two seconds; this is Bob’s last pick on my list
94. Gutik (86.33) – two thirds and a fourth

At this point we’ve run out of Bob McKenzie’s picks; we’ll shortly lose HP as well, which means the list leans hard on FC and McKeen’s (not necessarily the strongest foundation, but it’s the foundation we have).

Fourth Round

95. Moynihan (88.66)
96. Keppen (93.66)
97. Bychkov (D) (94) – undersized Russian
98. Aaltonen (98) – at 5’8 I could see teams passing on him (either later or entirely)
99. Protas (98.33)
100. Lindmark (99.5) – not listed by FC
101. Rybinski (101.5) – gets a second-round pick; HR from McKeen’s
102. Blaisdell (102.33) – gets a second-round nod
103. Tieksola (104) – 5’9
104. Wolf (G) (112.5) – undersized goaltenders (he’s just under 6’0) are almost never picked
105. Janicke (116.33)
106. Nikkanen (119.33)
107. Abramov (119.33) – gets a second-round pick
108. Ciccolini (125)
109. Guenette (D) (129) – doesn’t appear in McKeen’s
110. Hanus (D) (132) – ibid
111. Krannila (137.5) – ibid
112. Pitlick (139.33) – 5’8; an early second to HP, FC has him out of the draft
113. Rizzo (141.66) – 5’9; rankings all over the place
114. Del Gaizo (D) (150) – 5’9; FC doesn’t list him and as a blueliner that small he could fall out of the draft
115. Slepets (155.33) – FC has him out of the draft
116. Berger (D) (191.33) – ibid; this is the end of HP supported picks
117. Saville (G) (64) – gets a second; beginning of pure FC/McK aggregates
118. Pasic (65) – ibid
119. Constantinou (D (70.5) – ibid
120. Fairbrother (D) (78)
121. Miner (G) (81.5) – at 6’0 he’s undersized for a ‘tender, so could tumble out of the draft
122. Saarela (88)
123. McCarthy (D) (98.5)
124. Porco (100.5)

While there are a couple of solo HP picks to come, we’ve hit the end of them contributing to aggregate.

Fifth Round

125. Alnefelt (G) (102.5)
126. Blumel (103.5)
127. Mutala (104.5)
128. Portillo (G) (107.5) – 6’6 (according to FC; HP doesn’t list him)
129. MacKay (111.5)
130. Kallionkieli (113.5)
131. Mironov (113.5)
132. Ellis (G) (119.5)
133. Toporowski (119.5)
134. Lychasen (D) (120.5)
135. Murray (122)
136. Fensore (D) (122) – 5’6; I’ll eat my hat if a blueliner this short gets picked
137. Sundsvik (123.5)
138. Zaitsev/Zaytsev (124)
139. Antropov (128)
140. Simoneau (129) – at 5’6 I don’t think he gets drafted
141. Washkurak (134)
142. Strondala (135) – 5’7; at his size he could drop out entirely
143. Brewer (D) (137)
144. Rowe (G) (139)
145. Nussbaumer (139)
146. Newkirk (140)
147. J. Lee (D) (144)
148. Romano (147)
149. Has (D) (150)
150. Parssinen (150.5)
151. D’Amico (153) – at 5’9 he could slide out of the draft
152. Caroll (154)
153. Maccelli (158.5)
154. Raty (159.5)
155. Loponen (D) (159.5) – at 5’9 he could fall out of the draft

Sixth Round

156. Hatakka (D) (160)
157. Costmar (167.5)
158 Schwindt (170)
159. Gauthier (G) (170)
160. Alistrov (179.5)
161. Soderblom (181) – 6’6; size will help the big Swede
162. Gylander (G) (183) – 6’5 according to FC (HP doesn’t list him)
163. Williams (185.5)
164. Brinkman (D) (191)
165. Muzik (196.5)
166. Barlage (200)
167. Eggenberger (202.5)
168. Maier (G) (205) – at just 6’0 he could easily fall out of the draft
169. Bertuzzi (206.5)
170. Moser (D) (211) – the last of the shared FC/McK picks
171. Najman – McKeen’s has him early in the third round (CS likes him too)
172. Gildon – McKeen’s has him mid-third round
173. Koster (D) – 5’9; late third-rounder for McKeen’s, but at that size he’s more likely to fall out of the draft
174. Malone – mid-fourth-rounder for McKeen’s
175. Stevenson – late fourth-rounder for McKeen’s
176. Psenicka – 6’5 (HP doesn’t list him, so trusting McKeen’s); big Czech is a mid-fifth-rounder
177. Nodler – late fifth for McKeen’s
178. Brodzinski – late fifth for McKeen’s
179. Sheshin – 5’8; late fifth-rounder for FC; McKeen’s mentions him in their preamble as possibly going in the first half of the draft, but oddly doesn’t list him–being Russian and 5’8 isn’t going to help
180. J. York – marginal fifth for McKeen’s
181. McKenna – early sixth for FC; HM for McKeen’s
182. Leyh – as above on both counts
183. Topping – early sixth for McKeen’s; listed out of the draft by FC
184. Sjolund (D) – early sixth for FC; HM McKeen’s
185. Wahlgren – ibid
186. Allensen (D) – mid-sixth for FC; HM McKeen’s

Our aggregate possibilities ended this round, as we run out of shared players between FC/McKeen’s. My approach from this point was using the highest ranked players.

Seventh Round

187. Taponen (G) – undersized; mid-sixth for FC, HM for McKeen’s; at just under 6’0 he’s likely to slide out of the draft
188. Uba – late sixth for FC; HM McKeen’s
189. Siedem (D) – ibid
190. Burzan – ibid
191. Olson – ibid
192. Hirvonen – ibid
193. Intonen – ibid
194. Myllyla – early seventh for McKeen’s; FC lists him out of the draft
195. Cajka – ibid
196. Giroday – ibid
197. Pedersen – mid-seventh for McKeen’s; FC lists him out of the draft
198. Likhachyov – ibid
199. Darin – HP has him in the second round, but he’s not listed elsewhere (besides CS)
200. Bergeron (D) – FC has him as a mid-third rounder
201. Ford – 5’8; HP has him in the third, but size will hurt him
202. Serdyuk – a late third for FC
203. Moberg (D) – early fourth for FC
204. Rousek – fourth for FC
205. Doyle (D) – ibid
206. A. Lee – fourth for McKeen’s
207. Feulk – fourth for FC
208. Orekhov (D) – fourth for McKeen’s
209. Sedlak – ibid
210. Gordon – fourth for FC
211. Yakovenko – fourth for McKeen’s
212. Bruschweiler – ibid
213. Rtischev – late fourth for FC
214. Konovalov – late fourth for McKeen’s
215. Francis (D) – early fifth for McKeen’s
216. Gnyp (D) – ibid
217. Basse (G) – 6’5; final HP slotted player (unlisted elsewhere)

We don’t have a pile of double-selected players as we normally would. What’s left on the board are eight fifths from FC and six from McKeen’s (along with a pile of sixths and sevenths). There are always highly touted EU players from the CS list ignored by the draft guides and that continues: Chinakhov (#30), Tesanov (#40), Denezhkin (#41), Svoboda (#42), Komissarov (#48), and Voronkov (#50). Inexplicably McKeen’s discusses Chinakhov without including him in their lists.

For those keeping score I said the following smaller players might fall out of the draft entirely: Spence, Aaltonen, Pitlick, Rizzo, Del Gaizo, Fensore, Simoneau, Strondala, Loponen, Sheshin, Koster, Ford, Wolf, Miner, Maier, Taponen, and Konovalov. The undersized goaltenders and blueliners in particular are at risk. Who might fill in these slots? Likely a lot of players not listed, but of those who are, here are the most probable: all CS EU players above along with McCartney, Chizhikov, Silovs (G), Bakanin, Hedlund (G), Tsyplakov, Burenov (D), Rasanen (D), Parik (G), Silianoff, Kope, Schiemann, Sergeev, LeGuerrier, Uens (D), Popovic (D), and Garayev.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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2 Comments

  1. So much stuff to unpack here, Peter. Thanks for the very comprehensive post. It is greatly appreciated.

    RDB

    • Glad you enjoyed it! Given the changes this year it will be interesting to see how it goes.


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