The first round of the 2019 NHL Draft has been completed! It wasn’t without some surprises either. We went into the draft knowing that this year’s defensive class was very good, and it showed with ten first-round picks being high-end defensive talent.
- Bowen Byram 4th Colorado Avalanche
- Moritz Seider 6th Detroit Redwings
- Philip Broberg 8th Edmonton Oilers
- Victor Söderström 11th Arizona Coyotes
- Cam York 14th Philadelphia Flyers
- Thomas Harley 18th Dallas Stars
- Lassi Thomson 19th Ottawa Senators
- Ville Heinola 20th Winnipeg Jets
- Thomas Björnfot 22nd L.A. Kings
- Ryan Johnson 31st Buffalo Sabres
With a run like this in the first round, that means some talent was able to sneak into the second round. I picked out five players that, I believe, have first-round talent but managed to sneak into the second round of this year’s NHL Draft.
Raphael Lavoie, C/RW, QMJHL
QMJHL 62 Games Played
32 goals / 41 assists / 73 points
At 6’4″ 198lbs, Raphael Lavoie is an excellent combination of size and skill. He is able to use his big frame to battle for the puck, find good position on the ice. His offensive skill is great too. He has a big, heavy, accurate shot that he can unleash from anywhere in the zone. He has no problem getting in front of the net and using his size to his advantage.
Arthur Kaliyev, LW, OHL
67 Games Played OHL
51 goals / 51 assists / 102 points
What more can I say about a 50 goal scorer that has slipped into the second round? Arthur Kaliyev has a great shot, slap shot, one-timer, and wrist shot. He has a high hockey IQ with decent speed and skating ability. Some have said he lacks the drive to play, I see a kid bored with the talent level he plays against. Give him a challenge and you will see something special.
Nils Höglander, LW, SHL
SHL 50 Hames Played:
7 goals / 7 assists / 14 points
As an 18-year-old playing in Sweden’s top men’s league, Nils Höglander held his own. An elusive, play-making winger that has high-end hands and puck handling skills. Listed at 5’9″ 185lbs, he is able to use his smaller frame effectively in the more physical aspects of the game. It’s my opinion that he will go down as the biggest steal in the second round.
Matthew Robertson, D, WHL
WHL 52 Games Played:
7 goals / 26 assists / 33 points
Listed at 6’4″ 201 lbs, Matthew Robertson is a strong 2-way defenseman that has top end speed and acceleration that pairs well with his positioning skills. His on-ice vision shows in his above-average passing abilities and while he doesn’t possess the goal-scoring prowess of some of the other draft-eligible defensemen, his defensive skills make up for it. He doesn’t have a fear of blocking shots or throwing a hit and his positioning skills help him take away shooting lanes.
Mikko Kokkonen, D, Liiga
Liiga 56 games played:
3 goals / 16 assists / 19 points
Coming off of the highest scoring season by a U18 player in the top league in Finland, Mikko Kokkonen is one of the most well-rounded defensemen in this draft class. A hard slap shot with a quick release wrist shot. Skating needs work to build up some speed, but footwork is very good.
Dustin Wolf, G, WHL
WHL 61 Games Played:
41-15-2-2 / 1.69 GAA / .936 save %
Thanks to Carter Hart getting called up, Dustin Wolf took over the goaltending duties for the Everett Silvertips. Leading the Western Hockey League in all three of the above categories, Wolf has solid goaltending mechanics and is comfortable coming out of the net to challenge attackers. He models his game after Jonathan Quick and it shows. Quick glove hand, reflexes, and strong legs. He also tracks the puck very well.
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