NHL Draft Rankings: The Top Prospects

NHL draft rankings are out and there are some top prospects to keep an eye on. Here’s a look at the top NHL Draft prospects and where they might end up going.

Introduction

The NHL Draft is an annual event in which NHL Teams select amateur players from Junior hockey leagues around the world. The draft is one of the most important aspects of building a successful NHL team as it allows teams to add young, talented players to their rosters who can help them compete for Stanley Cups

Every year, experts release their rankings of the top prospects eligible for the draft. These rankings are based on a variety of factors, including scouting reports, interview with NHL scouts and GMs, and statistics.

The following is a list of the top 10 prospects for the 2020 NHL Draft as ranked by ESPN’s Corey Pronman.

The Top Prospects

The NHL Draft is right around the corner, and the excitement is mounting. Who will go where? Who will be the next big thing in the NHL?

There’s always a lot of hype surrounding the top prospects and this year is no different. Here are the top 10 prospects according to NHL scouts:

1. Rasmus Dahlin (F, Sweden)
2. Andrei Svechnikov (F, Russia)
3. Filip Zadina (F, Czech Republic)
4. Brady Tkachuk (F, USA)
5. Noah Dobson (D, Canada)
6. Oliver Wahlstrom (F, USA)
7. Quinn Hughes (D, USA)
8. Adam Boqvist (D, Sweden)
9. Ty Smith (D, Canada)
10. Vitali Kravtsov (F, Russia)

The Next Wave

As the NHL season winds down, all eyes turn to the draft. Who will go where? Who will be the next big thing?

There is always a lot of speculation leading up to the draft, but there are some clear frontrunners this year. Here are the top prospects according to current NHL Draft rankings.

1. Jack Hughes, C, USA U-18 (NTDP): This American center is the top-ranked prospect in this year’s Draft Class He’s an excellent skater with great vision and playmaking ability. He’s also been praised for his hockey IQ and his competitive nature.

2. Kaapo Kakko, RW, TPS (Liiga): The Finnish winger is second in NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings. He’s a big Power Forward with a great shot and goodvision. He’s also been praised for his work ethic and two-way game.

3. Dylan Cozens, C, Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL): The Canadian center is ranked third by NHL Central Scouting. He’s a great skater with good size and strength. He plays a solid two-way game and is known for his competitiveness.

4. Bowen Byram, D, Vancouver Giants (WHL): The Canadian defenseman is ranked fourth by NHL Central Scouting. He’s an excellent skating defenseman with good vision and offensive instincts. He also has a good physical game and isn’t afraid to mix it up

The Dark Horses

There are always a few prospects who fly under the radar and end up becoming NHL stars. These are the players that scouts call “dark horses”.

Here are some of the top dark horse prospects for the upcoming NHL Draft

1. Connor McMichael, C, London (OHL)
2. Nicholas Robertson, LW, Peterborough (OHL)
3. Arthur Kaliyev, RW, Hamilton (OHL)
4. Samuel Poulin, RW, Sherbrooke (QMJHL)
5. Alexander Newhook, C, Victoria (BCJHL)

The Sleepers

These are the prospects who may not be getting a ton of attention, but have the potential to be excellent players in the NHL.

The Risers

There are a few prospects who have seen their stock rise in recent months and could be taken in the first round of the upcoming NHL Draft These are some of the top risers in the draft rankings:

Rasmus Dahlin, F, Frölunda HC (SHL)
The consensus No. 1 overall pick, Dahlin is a generational talent and is widely expected to be the first Swedish player taken first overall in the NHL Draft He’s an outstanding skater with great vision and playmaking ability. He had seven goals and 13 assists in 27 games for Frölunda HC this season.

Andrei Svechnikov, F, Barrie Colts (OHL)
Svechnikov is another top prospect who is expected to go in the top five picks. He’s a big, strong winger with good skating ability and a great shot. He had 29 goals and 32 assists in 44 games for the Barrie Colts this season.

Filip Zadina, F, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
Zadina is yet another Top Prospect who could go in the top 10 picks. He’s a skilled winger with good size and speed. He had 44 goals and 38 assists in 57 games for Halifax this season.

The Fallers

There are always prospects who fall in the draft rankings, and this year is no different. Here are some of the top prospects who have fallen in the NHL Draft Rankings.

The Wild Cards

The NHL Draft is always full of surprises and the 2019 edition will be no different with a number of talented players vying for top spot. While the top two prospects, Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko, are pretty much locks to go first and second overall, respectively, there is still plenty of uncertainty after that. Will the New Jersey Devils go with a defenseman at third overall? Who will be the first goaltender off the board? And which player will be the draft’s biggest wild card?

Here’s a look at five prospects who could shake up the draft order come June 21:

## Petr Cajkovsky, LW, HC Vitkovice (Czech)
Cajkovsky is a big (6-foot-4, 205 pounds), strong winger who plays a physical game and has some offensive upside. He’s not going to blow anyone away with his skating or skill, but he could develop into a power forward at the NHL level. Cajkovsky had 10 goals and 22 points in 45 games for HC Vitkovice in 2018-19. He also impressed at the World Junior Championship where he had three goals and five points in seven games for the Czech Republic

## Vasili Podkolzin, RW, SKA St. Petersburg (Russia)
Podkolzin is another big body (6-foot-1, 190 pounds) who plays with an edge. He also has some offensive upside, as evidenced by his 18 goals and 32 points in 25 games for SKA St Petersburg’s junior team last season. He’s not afraid to get his nose dirty, as evidenced by his 83 Penalty minutes in those 25 games. He also had two goals and an assist in six games for Russia at the World Junior Championship

## Bowen Byram , D, Vancouver Giants (WHL)
Byram is one of the best defenseman in the 2019 NHL Draft class and has all the makings of a future top-pairing blueliner. He’s an excellent skater with good size (6-foot-1, 193 pounds) and is very good defensively. Byram also has some offensive upside; he had 26 goals and 71 points in 67 games for Vancouver last season. He was even better in the playoffs, where he had eight goals and 26 points in 22 games en route to leading Vancouver to the Memorial Cup final.

The Long Shots

These are the players who, due to a combination of factors including low production, lack of skating speed or small stature, have a very low chance of playing in the NHL. They may be ranked high on this list because they are good players in their own right, but they are not likely to ever make an impact at the NHL level.

-Bobby Orr
-Paul Coffey
-Denis Potvin

The Bottom Line

NHL teams are always looking for the next wave of young talent to join their ranks, and the NHL Draft is one of the best ways for them to find it. Every year, hundreds of young players from all over the world descend on the NHL Draft in hopes of hearing their name called by an NHL team

The NHL Draft is a two-day event that takes place in June of each year. It is open to any player who is 18 years old or younger as of September 15th of that year, and who is not currently playing in the NHL.

Players who are drafted by an NHL team become property of that team and are eligible to play for them starting at the beginning of the next season. However, most players drafted by an NHL Team will spend some time developing their skills in either junior hockey or college hockey before making the jump to the NHL.

So which players are worth watching heading into this year’s NHL Draft? Here are our top five prospects:

1. Jack Hughes, C, USA NTDP U18 (USHL): The consensus top prospect in this year’s draft, Hughes is a dynamic playmaker with exceptional speed and vision. He’s already been compared to some of the game’s best players, and he has a chance to be a franchise cornerstone for whichever team drafts him.

2. Kaapo Kakko, RW, TPS (Liiga): Kakko is a big, strong power forward with a nose for the net. He’s coming off a very successful season in Finland’s top league and he has all the tools to be a top-line player in the NHL.

3. Dylan Cozens, C/RW, Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL): Cozens is another highly skilled forward who can play both center and wing. He’s an excellent skater with good size and strength, and he’s shown an ability to put up big numbers at both the junior and international levels.

4. Bowen Byram, D, Vancouver Giants (WHL): A gifted offensive defenseman with great skating ability and vision, Byram is one of the best blueliners in this year’s draft class He’s still developing his defensive game, but he has all the tools to be a top-pairing defenseman at the NHL level.

5. Alex Newhook, C/LW, Victoria Grizzlies (BCJHL): Newhook is an extremely talented forward who can play both center and wing. He puts up big numbers wherever he goes — he was even named MVP of Canada’s national junior team — and he has all the makings of a future star at the NHL level

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