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Mile High Hockey 2019 Mock Draft: Picks 1-15

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Who goes where? Luke and Tom break down the first round of the draft

NHL: NHL Draft David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

We are mere hours away from the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. We took the time to put together a mock draft to try to predict how the first round will unfold.

This is not a list of how we think the players should be drafted. It is a mock draft of the order in which we think they will be selected.

(for transparency reasons, both Luke and Tom have added the players they would have selected in each spot)

1. New Jersey Devils

Tom — Jack Hughes, C, USA U-18 (NTDP)

This is a no-brainer. Jack Hughes is the most naturally talented player to come out of a draft since Connor McDavid, and he also happens to fill a need (center) for the Devils. Hughes was always going to be the first overall selection in 2019.

My Pick: Jack Hughes

Luke — Hughes

He’s elite at everything he does, skating, vision, play-making. He will be the face of New Jersey for the next decade. With Hughes, Nico Hischier, and Michael McLeod down the middle, they are set at center for the long haul. Now does Hughes help bring back Hall? We will see.

My Pick: Jack Hughes

2. New York Rangers

Tom — Kaapo Kakko, RW, TPS (FIN)

Another one that takes no thought at all. Most years, Kakko would be the first overall pick. He’s more NHL ready than Hughes and will be a front runner for the Calder trophy next year. A unique mix of size and skill, Kakko is an elite talent that is going to be a cornerstone for the Rangers for a long time.

My Pick: Kaapo Kakko

Luke — Kakko

The easiest pick in the draft to make. The Rangers are getting a NHL ready RW to add to a very good top six they’re building. Kakko will be a force for them, with elite playmaking and shooting to go along with a solid two-way game.

My Pick: Kaapo Kakko

3. Chicago Blackhawks

Tom — Alex Turcotte, C, USA U-18 (NTDP)

His status as a top-three pick was in doubt thanks to injuries early in the season but Turcotte has separated himself from the pack as the third best prospect in the draft. He’s a smart player who does all the little things that a coach loves - all while being an elite offensive talent. He will give Chicago the young bluechip center to groom as the replacement for Jonathan Toews.

My Pick: Alex Turcotte

Luke — Turcotte

The Blackhawks have taken a defensemen with the first of their picks in the last two drafts, and have build a nice pool of defensemen. Up front, they are still lead by Kane and Toews, with Strome and Debrincat emerging as the next forward wave, the hawks take the third-best player in the draft, who is an elite 200ft center who can also find the back of the net with ease. He has 1C potential and will be the future star there in a few years. Did I mention he was born in Illinois? And his dad played in the NHL as well?

My Pick: Alex Turcotte

4. Colorado Avalanche (from Ottawa Senators)

Tom - Kirby Dach, C, Saskatoon (WHL)

He has a right-hand shot, great size, high-end playmaking ability, and is a legitimate offensive threat every time he has the puck - that is exactly what the Avalanche need. Outside of a rough three-week span early in the season, Dach was dominant for Saskatoon this season in the WHL. A year away from making an impact in the NHL, Dach has 1C potential and could slot in as the perfect compliment behind Nathan MacKinnon.

My Pick: Kirby Dach

Luke — Dach

The Avs take a bit of a swing here, but Dach is their guy. He has elite vision and is one of the best passers in the draft. He stands at 6’4”, 200 lbs. Dach is aggressive and has some push back in his game. He drives the line he is on and is a hound when the puck is in front of the net. He projects to be the Avs future 2C.

My Pick: Kirby Dach

5. Los Angeles Kings

Tom — Dylan Cozens, C, Lethbridge (WHL)

Bowen Byram makes all the sense in the world for this pick - that’s why the Kings won’t do it. This is more a guy feeling than anything else, but I just can’t shake the idea that Rob Blake lands on the big, strong forward that can step into his lineup within 18 months of the draft.

My Pick: Trevor Zegras

Luke — Bowen Byram, D, Vancouver (WHL)

The kings take a future building block for their defense. The best defenseman in the draft will be skating next to Doughty in a year or two, creating a legit top-tier defensive pair. Byram was the best defenseman in the WHL playoffs and lead the WHL playoffs in scoring. He is an excellent all-around player who can not only put up offensive numbers, but is a great defender as well. He can skate, and has very high IQ. Great pick up for the rebuilding Kings.

My Pick: Trevor Zegras

6. Detroit Red Wings

Tom — Byram

No one could believe that Filip Zadina fell to the Red Wings last year, now it’s going to happen again. The best defender in the draft is going to fall in the lap of the Red Wings and will add a significant piece for prodigal son Steve Yzerman’s rebuild.

My Pick: Bowen Byram

Luke — Trevor Zegras, C, USA U-18 (NTDP)

Like last year with Filip Zadina, the wings let a great talent fall into their lap. They’ll be getting a elite-skilled center who can skate and might have the second best vision in the draft next to Hughes. Him setting up Zadina for the next decade will be a lot of fun for Wings fans who now have The makings of a top line with Zegras, Zadina, and Joseph Veleno all in their system.

My Pick: Bowen Byram

7. Buffalo Sabres

Tom — Zegras

Trevor Zegras might be the best playmaker in the draft and there are a couple scouts I've spoken to who believe he’s got a higher up side than Alex Turcotte. Give him two years to bulk up in college and Zegras will become the perfect running mate for Jack Eichel. He will be what Sabres fans thought Casey Mittelstadt would be.

My Pick: Peyton Krebs

Luke — Philip Broberg, D, AIK (SWE)

In Broberg, they’ll be getting a defensemen who can skate and shot the puck very well. He’s big, aggressive in the offensive zone, and with his skating ability he can carry the puck up the ice with ease. Not being the number 1 guy in think will bring the best out of him. Dahlin is the top dog their, but will be a nice secondary piece on that growing blueline.

My Pick: Peyton Krebs

8. Edmonton Oilers

Tom — Broberg

This is a huge reach but Philip Broberg has Ken Holland written all over him. He’s a very strong defender but in typical Oiler fashion, they’ll overdraft for positional need. Add Broberg to Evan Bouchard in the prospect pool and you’ve got the makings of a pretty decent blueline down the road.

My Pick: Dylan Cozens

Luke - Cam York, D, USA U-18 (NTDP)

Edmonton continues to build from the back-end and grabs York: an offensive, puck moving defenseman from the NTDP. He’s a good skater, has high IQ, a good shot, great outlet passer and is adequate in the defensive zone. Him and Bouchard will be the core of their future defense with some good complimentary pieces coming in Dmitri Samorukov and Ethan Bear in their system already.

My Pick: Matthew Boldy

9. Anaheim Ducks

Tom — Alex Newhook, C, Victoria (BCHL)

Though he got off to a rocky start to the season, Alex Newhook has been a man possessed in the calendar year 2019. Newhook is one of the best skaters in this year’s draft, owing to an explosive first step, high-end acceleration and an elite top-end speed. Quality of competition is always going to be a concern for players coming out of the BCHL, but Newhook has all the tools to be a responsible top-six center down the road. The ability to par him with Sam Steel is something the Ducks won’t be able to pass on.

My Pick: Newhook

Luke —Cozens

Bob Murray continues to build that forward group in California and takes the 6’3” Cozens of the WHL. He’s got size, speed and a shoot-first mentality. He is a great 200ft player and has some underrated skill. He can play center or wing and is great on the PK. Cozens and Steel will be a great 1-2 punch down the middle for them.

My Pick: Newhook

10. Vancouver Canucks

Tom — Cole Caufield, RW, USA U-18 (NTDP)

Cole Caufield is going to give a do-over to one of the 29 teams that passed on Alex DeBrincat. There is no question that he is the draft’s best scorer and if he were a few inches taller he’d be in a top-five pick. Caulfield will never be able to drive possession for his line at the NHL level, but he will do the one thing that’s most important - score goals. Having proven last year that they don’t have an issue taking an “undersized” player in the top-10, the Canucks will have the opportunity to pair Caufield with Calder Trophy winner Elias Pettersson and the results could be amazing.

My Pick: Matthew Boldy

Luke — Victor Soderstrom, D, Brynas (SWE)

With Quinn Hughes already in the line up, Vancouver continues to build that defensive core by taking Soderstrom. The right-handed defensemen played as a 17-year-old in the SHL this year and held up very well against the men in that league. He earned his top-four role by being a very smart defensive defensemen. He was physical, won one-on-one board battles, and was always looking for a safe place to put the puck. I think there is some untapped offensive upside to him. He appeared conservative with taking offensive risks this year as he tried to lock down a role on the top-flight team.

My Pick: Dylan Cozens

11. Philadelphia Flyers

Tom — Peyton Krebs, C, Kootenay (WHL)

There are some who believe Peyton Krebs is the best prospect coming out of the WHL this season and he definitely has the talent to go in the first six or seven picks of the draft. Unfortunately, he suffered an injury during training a couple weeks ago and that could been enough to make him drop out of the top-10. If he falls to the Flyers, chuck Fletcher will sprint up to the podium to make the pick.

My pick: Cole Caufield

Luke — Krebs

The flyers stand pat and Krebs ultimately falls to them. They’ll be getting an aggressive, 200ft, highly skilled player who does everything. He can play center or the wing, can skate on any special team unit, and he is a genuine team-first guy. He is another top prospect to add to their impressive prospect pool.

My pick: Vasily Podkolzin

12. Minnesota Wild

Tom — Matthew Boldy, LW, USA U-18 (NTDP)

“There is a lot of Mikko Rantanen to his game” - Craig Button

Like Rantanen, Boldy comes into the draft with a world of potential and if he improves his skating slightly, the sky’s the limit. The Minnesota Wild are at the beginning phase of a re-build (whether they want to admit it or not), so picking Boldy and letting him develop at Boston College makes all the sense in the world.

My Pick: Cam York

Luke — Newhook

The wild tried and failed, it’s time to rebuild. They take BCHL star Newhook as the beginning of the rebuild. In Newhook they’ll be getting a highly skill, great skating, 200ft center who does it all. He has great visions and is a crisp passer. He will be able to grow and develop for two years in the Boston College of the NCAA. He is the first of what I believe will be a string of top-10 picks for the Wild.

My Pick: Cam York

13. Florida Panthers

Tom — Vasili Podkolzin, RW, Neva St. Petersburg 2 (RUS-2)

There are some that will argue Podkolzin is a top-five prospect in the draft - I just don’t see it. Setting aside the obvious concerns with his production this season, Podkolzin doesn’t make his teammates better. He plays a very individualistic game that is going to take some work in order to adapt to an NHL system. He’s the epitome of a boom or bust prospect - something the Panthers proved they’re not afraid of. With their 2018 first round pick Grigori Denisenko still developing in the KHL, the Panthers will have no problem selecting Podkolzin and allowing him to develop in Russia until his KHL contract expires.

My Pick: Arthur Kaliyev

Luke - Thomas Harley, D, Mississauga (OHL)

The Panthers have quite the good young forward core emerging, but their back end is starting to look a bit older, so they take the fast puck-moving, offensive-minded defensemen Harley from the OHL. He is a great skater, and as a nose for the offensive side of the game. He transitions the puck very well and has great size that he uses effectively.

My Pick: Victor Soderstrom

14. Arizona Coyotes

Tom — Arthur Kaliyev, RW, Hamilton (OHL)

A polarizing prospect from the OHL - Kaliyev has John Chayka written all over him. It took a lot of work, but I have finally come around to seeing Kaliyev as the high-end prospect he is. Like Caulfield, Kaliyev might be a one-trick pony, but that trick is an incredibly valuable one. Give it a year or two but Kaliyev could turn into the perfect compliment for the elite playmaking skill of Clayton Keller.

My Pick: Bobby Brink

Luke — Kaliyev

Goals, goals and more goals. The coyotes will need them and a lot of them. They take a swing drafting another OHL guy in Kaliyev. One thing everyone can agree on is that he has one of, if not the best shot coming into the draft. Scoring 50 goals in the OHL isn’t easy. But he has 80 in the last two seasons. When engaged, he’s a force. He’s big, strong and can find the soft areas of the ice. The CHL prospect game gave viewers a full picture of what he can be which is a goal scoring, two-way guy with size and that can move. The coaching staff will have a challenge to get it out of him every night, but if he hits he could be a steal at 14.

My Pick: Phil Tomasino

15. Montreal Canadiens

Tom — Thomas Harley, D, Mississauga (OHL)

Harley is one of the best skating defenders in the draft and has drawn comparisons to Thomas Chabot and Jake Gardiner. He’s got the ability to read a play and react quickly while not making the mental mistakes often seen by an 18-year-old. He’s got the ability to play in every situation and has all the tools to be the prototypical two-way defender in the modern NHL.

My Pick: Podkolzin

Luke — Moritz Seider, D, Mannheim (GER)

After trading away some veteran talents, the Canadians have build up a good pool of forwards, and especially centers. But their back end needs some more life. Taking a bit of a project who could pan out to be one of the best defenseman in the draft, they take Seider. A big, right handed German defender who stood out in the DEL and helped his team win a championship. He can skate, defend nicely, has good gap control and has some nasty in his game. There is some offensive upside to his game as well that I believe will come in time. But he projects to be a solid top-four defensemen.

My Pick: Seider