Bob McKenzie of TSN famously calls June the most important month in hockey. The Stanley Cup is awarded (but for some reason not this year), teams interact with each other and talk trades all through the draft combine, various board meetings, and of course the draft itself, and teams begin to implement their plan for the summer, changing the tide of where the franchise goes with just a few little or big moves. Everything is happening, so welcome to June.
This morning, one of our writers, Lauren Kelly, released her final draft ranking of the top 35 prospects in the NHL Draft. Her work on this is excellent and includes analysis found by watching all these kids play every night all season. I can’t stress how much thought Lauren put into her work here. [Raw Charge]
The top 35 consists of 24 forwards, 10 defensemen, and one goalie. As this is a particularly strong draft year for forwards, they dominate the rankings, though that does not mean there aren’t extremely talented and valuable defensemen and goalies available.
SB Nation is in the middle of announcing its NHL Mock Draft for 2019. We picked Kirby Dach with the fourth overall pick about a week ago, and our second pick in the draft is coming up very soon. To catch you up, here are the last two draft selections as we head towards pick #16.
After a much more miserable end to the season, the Wild are sitting on the 12th overall pick. It’s unlikely any player who drops to 12th overall will be able to make an immediate impact. But the players that could be available are promising, and should be encouraging to Wild fans, should this draft go well.
At #13, the Florida Panthers (via LitterBoxCats.com) picked a teenager with an amazing name: Philip Broberg. You might call him a bro. He wasn’t on our radar for the 16th pick because there was a good chance the top-tier defenseman would not be available at that time. If he is on draft day, ho boy, the Avalanche should be running to the draft table faster than when the Leafs jumped to grab Timothy Liljegren or the Coyotes stole Jakob Chychrun. [Litter Box Cats]
The 17-year-old Broberg spent most of the 2018-19 season playing against men in Allsvenskan, the second tier of Swedish hockey under the SHL, with AIK. In 41 regular season games, he produced two goals and six assists and finished with a -1 rating. He also appeared in three qualification games as AIK tried (and failed) to make the climb up a rung to the SHL.
You can go to www.sbnation.com/nhl-draft to see all of the networks writing on the NHL draft. There is some really good, in-depth, and insightful stuff coming from around the league. We had some writers go to the Draft Combine, which was very exciting, and they got some interviews as well!
From the Combine, here are some of the highlights and quotes from the top prospects. It’s always good to put a face and a voice to a name. [Habs Eyes on the Prize]
Once a year, prospects from across the globe descend on the Harborcenter in Buffalo for a week of exhausting interviews and physical testing. The 2019 NHL Draft class was subjected to questions about pythons, forced to tell a joke on the spot, and then screamed on a bike while they tried their best to hold their breakfast down at 8:00 AM. We were able to catch up with many of them to gather their thoughts about the week and the draft process as a whole.
Also from the Combine, the list of the top 10 finishers in every drill, in case anyone feels there is any meaning left in that. [Second City Hockey]
“We know they’re a very good team,” Wolves head coach Rocky Thompson said on Wednesday. “They have a nice combination of young and old and skill, speed and size. They’ve got good special teams, their penalty kill’s been really good this entire season and in the playoffs they’ve stepped up that much more. We know we’re going to have to be at our best.”