So the Canucks season is going much better to this point than a lot of us anticipated, but that doesn’t mean that we’re going to be any less focused on the 2019 NHL Entry Draft – there’s a whole first round to consider after all. There have been plenty of new lists released since the last edition of the consolidated industry rankings, so let’s take a look at what we’ve got for the October edition.
Okay, I know it’s not technically October anymore, but all the lists included in this edition of CanucksArmy’s Consolidated Industry Rankings were released on October 22nd or earlier, so I’m pretty sure I can get away with it.
|Service||TSN Craig’s List||Sportsnet||The Hockey News||ISS Hockey||The Score||TSN Industry Poll||Hockey Prospect||Dobber Prospects||Future Considerations|
|Author||Craig Button||Sam Cosentino||Ryan Kennedy||Staff||Hannah Stuart||Bob McKenzie||Staff||Cam Robinson||Staff|
|Date||October 22||October 18||October 18||October 3||September 17||September 17||September 26||August 25||June 27|
There are five new lists that weren’t present in the previous addition (Craig Button, Sportsnet, The Hockey News, ISS Hockey, and The Score), two being updates on previous lists and three being brand new.
Full disclosure, this article was original supposed to go up at the end of October, so even though Future Considerations released a new list yesterday, I haven’t gone back to include it on this list.
Then there’s McKeen’s. Frankly, I think it’s a bit silly that McKeen’s hasn’t put out a ranking at all this year, but that’s probably mostly because I’m selfish and impatient. Based on last year’s release times , I’m expecting lists to be released in early November, possibly even in the next day or two, so stay tuned – both Future Considerations and McKeen’s will of course be included in the next installment of this series.
Outside of those two, the only other major lists we’re waiting for are from The Athletic and ESPN, both of whom I am paying money too, so… let’s go with the rankings already.
Still, we’ve got nine sets of rankings to go on here, which is plenty. Let’s take a look at the consolidated list itself.
At the top of the chart, surprise surprise, is Jack Hughes. Hughes was first on all nine lists, and is generally considered to remain in the lead-off spot from start to finish this year. There are some pretty… unique takes out there, but by and large this is thought to be a one horse race.
That’s not to say that Kaapo Kakko (member of the all-time Finnish name club) isn’t making things interesting. With ten points in his first 15 games in the Finnish Liiga, Kakko is flirting with Aleksander Barkov levels of production. He’s not at number two on every list, but part of that might be a function of older lists that haven’t been updated since the season got underway (namely Future Considerations and Bob McKenzie’s list, which both have Kakko at no. 3). Then there’s Sportsnet, which had Kakko at fifth overall, on a list published just two weeks ago. I have no idea what they’re thinking there.
For now, there are a handful of other players that appear in the second spot: Dylan Cozens, Vasili Podkolzin and Alex Turcotte, while Kirby Dach and Bowen Byram each appear once in the three-hole.
Obviously when it’s this early in the season, players are still finding their games, and services are still getting a read on how players are shaping up as they proceed with the most important hockey season of their young lives. As such, there is always plenty of movement, and that’s only natural.
That said, we’re going to browse through some of the notable early risers and fallers.
I talked about Philip Broberg last month, particularly about Craig Button’s affinity for him, which hasn’t really faded (he moved from third to fourth on Button’s most recent list just because Kakko came swooping in). Still Broberg has jumped up 11 spots this month to 12th overall, which has a lot to do with new lists from ISS Hockey, Sportsnet, and the Hockey News, which have Broberg ranked 8th, 10th, and 12th, respectively. Personally, I’m still not seeing a top-10 or 15 pick here, and I do suspect that a strong Hlinka-Gretzky Cup performance is still colouring some perspective here. He’s got three points (all assists) in 14 games in the Swedish second tier Allsvenskan league so far this season, so he’s worth keeping an eye on at least.
Also jumping up 11 spots this month is Alex Vlasic, cousin of San Jose’s Marc-Edouard, and defenceman with the U.S. National Team Development Program. Vlasic is third among defencemen on the Under-18 squad in points, but he’s got plenty going for him in other areas, being known as a reliable two-way defenceman and 6-foot-5 size that will keep scouts eyes trained on him throughout the season.
Speaking of the Program, their goaltender Spencer Knight popped into the top 31 this month. Knight has size (at 6-foot-3) and athleticism, and demonstrates solid technique and a calm confidence between the posts. He demonstrated at the World Under-18 championships last year that he can bounce back after a poor performance – an asset that even some NHL goaltenders continue to struggle with. He looks to follow in a line of American goalies taken in the first round over the last couple of decades.
Thomas Harley is another player to keep an eye on, jumping up 19 spots and sneaking into the back end of the first round. Granted a much larger opportunity with the Mississauga Steelheads this year, this defeceman is approaching the point total (15) he put up in his 62-game rookie campaign just 15 games into this season. One great indicator of future success is that he’s caught the eye of OHL Prospects blogger Brock Otten, whose opinion I value greatly. Otten has moved Harley from the 28th best OHL prospect in the off season to the fourth best OHL prospect in his most recent list. Harley is a mobile defender who can jump into the rush and looks confident quarterbacking a powerplay. As Craig Button has said, he fits the profile of the modern NHL defender.
One player I feel compelled to make note of is Arthur Kaliyev. He’s not technically a riser in the sense of the others in this section; in fact, he’s dropped a couple of spots since September. That said, Kaliyev is off to a tremendous start to the season, having one of the best SEAL adjusted scoring rates among first time draft eligibles, with 14 goals and 24 points in 48 OHL games. Kaliyev is of great interest right now, because he wasn’t ranked particularly high going into the season, but he also was a 30-goal scorer last season (his draft-minus-one year), mitigating some of the likelihood that his hot start is a lucky aberration. I’d wager that but the next time I consolidate one of these lists, Kaliyev will be a legitimate reason, pushing his way towards the top ten.
There aren’t too many big fallers this month – mostly just a handful of players getting bumped around as players jockey for position in the rankings. Bowen Byram, Alex Turcotte, Peyton Krebs, and Alex Newhook each dropped two or three spots since September, though not at all because been performing poorly. It’s just that some of their peers have been hotter in the early going (Cozens, Dach, Podkolzin and Raphael Lavoie for instance) and the minor swapping of positions near the top of the list has forced some good players down a peg or two.
But that’s what happens with draft lists, and heck, that’s what happens at the draft itself. Quinn Hughes didn’t fall to seventh because he was bad, he fell because a couple of equal-or-lesser players just happened to jump ahead of him. That’s something that we’ll be seeing each and every year.
That said, there was at least one notable faller this month: Maxim Cajkovic. The Slovakian-born Saint John Sea Dogs winger has had an okay start to his first season in the QMJHL, notching ten points in 16 games. It’s not slow enough to wipe him off the map completely, but it is pushing him towards the end of the first round. “Explosive acceleration” is a recurring theme in Cajkovic’s scouting reports, and his shot and hockey sense also receive regular praise. A year in CHL will paint a clearly picture of his potential though, after spending last year in the Swedish Superelit junior league.
Before we finish up for the day, let’s also take a quick look at how the first round tiers are shaping up.
Jack Hughes, ranked first overall by all involved, sits in a tier of his own. Kakko, who sits second on the majority of rankings, is the most likely to finish in that spot.
The next tier, composed of Cozens, Dach and Byram, are roughly interchangeable in the 3-5 spots at this point. The next group, consisting of eight prospects, is also quite fluid, and can be seen anywhere from 5th to 15th on most lists. After that, there isn’t much consistency in the group that comprises the end of the first round and the beginning of the next couple of rounds. That, of course, will tighten up as the season rolls on.