So I’ve been watching a ton of USNTDP games over the past month and really dove into them over the past few weeks. It’s absolutely true that this team is full of some amazing talent and I think that half of the first 10 picks in this years draft will be from that team. There’s just a few things that have come up that I wanted to address quickly.
Well obviously the things that Kaapo Kakko is doing over the past few weeks is impressive but Jack Hughes is absolutely deserving of the number one pick. Kakko playing against NHL players is very impressive and being able to score as many goals as he did at the World Championships should narrow the gap between himself and Hughes
Hughes is elite as well though, the way that Hughes can make a defender whiff on him when he gives a small shoulder shake is elite. He wheels around the zone like a BCHL player playing against a kindergarten class, has a quick release and incredible vision to create opportunities for his linemates to bury plenty of tap-in goals. I am a big supporter of Kakko, I think he will make an immediate impact on an NHL team and I wouldn’t be shocked at all if he out plays Hughes in 2019-20 but Hughes will be a stud, he’s the type of player that would fit in between Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel if this was the 2015 NHL draft.
The kid is a goal scoring machine, always in the right position to score easy goals and has the hands and shot to bury them. At 5’7″ it is a little scary for a team to draft him as high as fifth overall but I can see the LA Kings making a splash and taking Caufield that high. This excites me as the Chicago Blackhawks have shown interest in Alex Turcotte and the Colorado Avalanche could pass on Byram, so if my theory works out that would leave Bowen Byram available with the sixth overall pick and I think the Red Wings are willing to move that pick with Steve Yzerman stepping in as the team’s new GM.
Could the Vancouver Canucks trade up to six for Bowen Byram?
Trevor Zegras is better than Alex Turcotte
Alex Turcotte is very highly ranked on a lot of scouts rankings and as I just mentioned the Blackhawks have a lot of rumours around them that they could be interested in drafting Turcotte with their third overall pick. So I’ve been watching this team a lot and I think Turcotte is a top 10 pick but Zegras is so involved in every game it makes me want to see what he does at the next level.
Turcotte has great skating ability and is solid defensively but Trevor Zegras has really impressed me with how good he is at faceoffs, he wins almost every board battle and is possibly the best playmaker on the team. There were games where I was keying in on Boldy and Caufield but I couldn’t help but notice Zegras. When I was keying in on other players I didn’t really notice Turcotte a lot, he had games where he scored a lot of goals but the USNTDP did win a lot of blowout games.
If Zegras is available at 10 for the Canucks I think he’s a no brainer pick and the Canucks won’t pass on him.