The 2019 NHL Draft has arrived.
After a season of scouting, interviewing, and combine testing, the festivities kick off Friday in Vancouver with the opening round of the 2019 NHL Draft. The New Jersey Devils will get things started with the first-overall pick, where the club is expected to choose between American-born centre Jack Hughes and Finnish winger Kaapo Kakko, with the player who isn’t chosen expected to be scooped up by the New York Rangers at No. 2.
It then gets interesting at third overall, where the Chicago Blackhawks will have their choice of high-end up-and-comers, including Vancouver Giants defenceman Bowen Byram, the top-ranked Canadian Hockey League draft-eligible who clocks in at second overall among North American skaters.
The budding blue-liner had a sensational season with the Giants, putting up 26 goals and 45 assists for 71 points in 67 appearances, including five points in a single game to set a Giants’ franchise record for defencemen. The Cranbrook, B.C., native then found another gear in the postseason, collecting a league-leading 26 points in 22 playoff contests to help guide the Giants to the seventh game of the Ed Chynoweth Cup Final.
Here are the Top 20 ranked CHLers expected to hear their name called early into the 2019 NHL Draft:
North American Rank, Player, Position, Team (League)
2, Bowen Byram, Defence, Vancouver (WHL)
3, Kirby Dach, Centre, Saskatoon (WHL)
5, Dylan Cozens, Centre, Lethbridge (WHL)
7, Arthur Kaliyev, Right Wing, Hamilton (OHL)
10, Peyton Krebs, Centre, Winnipeg (WHL)
11, Thomas Harley, Defence, Mississauga (OHL)
14, Philip Tomasino, Centre, Niagara (OHL)
15, Lassi Thomson, Defence, Kelowna (WHL)
17, Nick Robertson, Left Wing, Peterborough (OHL)
18, Ryan Suzuki, Centre, Barrie (OHL)
20, Raphael Lavoie, Centre, Halifax (QMJHL)
21, Brayden Tracey, Left Wing, Moose Jaw (WHL)
22, Samuel Poulin, Right Wing, Sherbrooke (QMJHL)
24, Connor McMichael, Centre, London (OHL)
25, Brett Leason, Right Wing, Prince Albert (WHL)
26, Matthew Robertson, Defence, Edmonton (WHL)
27, Jakob Pelletier, Left Wing, Moncton (QMJHL)
29, Nikita Alexandrov, Centre, Charlottetown (QMJHL)
30, Jamieson Rees, Centre, Sarnia (OHL)
31, Vladislav Kolyachonok, Defence, Flint (OHL)
For the complete order of selections in the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft, click here.