2019 NHL Entry Draft - Who Will Go First

The New Jersey Devils possess the first-overall draft pick and most pundits agree that it will be used to select the Jack Hughes of the USHL and US National U18 Team. Here we will take a closer look at the top-5 best available prospects in this year’s draft and which team you could potentially see them playing for. The 2019 NHL entry draft begins on Friday, June 21 and ends on Saturday, June 22. The event will be held at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. It will be aired live on Sportsnet, TVAS, and NBC Sports at 8 PM EDT.

How to Watch

Where: Rogers Arena - Vancouver, BC, Canada

When: Saturday, June 22, 8 PM EDT

How (TV/Radio): Sportsnet, TVAS, NBC Sports

If you are in New Jersey you can bet on the NHL draft on 888Sport and BetStars NJ. Find the latest odds below. Good luck!

Jack Hughes - U.S. NTDP (USHL)

Age: 18

Born: Orlando, FL., U.S.A.

Height: 5’10”

Weight: 166 lbs.

Position: Center

Shoots: Left

Sportsbook Player Drafted First Overall Link
888Sport NJ -835
BetStars NJ -500

* 21+ | NJ only | If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER

Jack Hughes began his minor hockey career in the Greater Toronto Hockey League with the Toronto Marlboros. After applying for, and being denied, early entry into the Canadian Hockey League (CHL), Hughes finished his final season with the Marlboros with 159 points before heading back to the U.S despite being drafted eighth overall by the OHL’s Mississauga Steelheads. He split his time between the US U-17 and U-18 teams and was named the best American-born junior hockey player in 2017-18. Last season, Hughes broke the NTDP record for most points in a season with 190. In 2019, Hughes was named the youngest player to compete in the IIHF World Championship - still aged 17. In that tournament, Hughes broke Alexander Ovechkin’s scoring record for the tournament.

Though some may consider him still a little undersized, Hughes finds a way to use that to his advantage - picking apart opponents with his finesse and incredible speed as he’s able to get in and out of tight spaces before being noticed. His skating is hard to read patterns in which usually results in defenders overcommitting and being left in his wake.

Some of Jack Hughes’ accolades include a 2019 season that ended with 112 points in 50 games, a U-17 gold medal, a U-18 silver medal, a silver medal at the World Junior Championships, a u-18 bronze medal, a Dave Tyler Junior player-of-the-year award, and a IIHF U-18 tournament MVP award and placement on the U-18 all-star team.

He is projected as the number one prospect by NHL Central Scouting, McKenzie/TSN, Hockey Prospects, and Future Considerations.

Projected Team: New Jersey Devils

Kaapo Kakko - TPS (Liiga)

Age: 18

Born: Turku, Finland

Height: 6’2”

Weight: 192 lbs.

Position: Right wing

Shoots: Left

Sportsbook Player Drafted First Overall Link
888Sport NJ +400
BetStars NJ +300

* 21+ | NJ only | If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER

If anyone can usurp Jack Hughes as the No. 1 favorite, it’s Finland’s Kaapo Kakko. Already boasting a large, physical presence on the ice compared to Hughes, Kakko also has the skill. Last season with TPS, Kakko led the team with 22 goals in 45 games. The year prior with the TPS Jr. A team, Kakko registered 55 points in 38 games. He also took home two gold medals with Finland in 2019 - one at the U-20 World Junior Championships and one at the IIHF World Championships (the same tournament that Jack Hughes set the scoring record). Kakko became the youngest player, at age 18, to win gold.

Apart from his size, Kakko’s other big advantage that he brings to prospective teams is the experience. Kakko will be NHL game ready come to the start of the 2020 season as he already has experience playing at the professional level in Finland with TPS in Liiga.

Kakko is projected as number one by the NHL Central Scouting for all draft-eligible European players.

Projected Team: New York Rangers

Dylan Cozens - Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL)

Age: 18

Born: Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada

Height: 6’2”

Weight: 180 lbs.

Position: Center

Shoots: Right

Sportsbook Player Drafted First Overall Link
888Sport NJ +5500
BetStars NJ +2500

* 21+ | NJ only | If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER

This is where things start to get interesting, as several players are skilled and qualified enough to go third-overall and it will all come down to what the specific needs are for each team. Selecting third overall are the Chicago Blackhawks and although there are many top defensive prospects ranked ahead of him, Dylan Cozens may find himself jumping that queue as the defensive prospect pool in Chicago is already quite strong. The team may be looking to add for offense to a team that struggled last season.

Cozens was the 2017-18 WHL rookie of the year after leading all rookie skaters in goals. Playing for the Hurricanes, Cozens finished last season with 84 points in 68 games. He added eight more points in seven playoff games. In 2019, Cozens was also named as an alternate captain for the U-18 World Championships.

The biggest spark to Cozens game is that most pundits consider him the fastest skater available in this year’s draft. The Chicago Blackhawks must be salivating at the thought of pairing him with a stickhandler like Patrick Kane - especially on the powerplay. At over six feet tall, he is a force that can protect the puck in the offensive end.

Dylan Cozens is ranked number one by NHL Central Scouting for all Canadian players who are draft-eligible.

Projected Team: Chicago Blackhawks

Bowen Byram - Vancouver Giants (WHL)

Age: 17

Born: Cranbrook, BC, Canada

Height: 6’0”

Weight: 180 lbs.

Position: Defense

Shoots: Left

Sportsbook Player Drafted First Overall Link
888Sport NJ +5000
BetStars NJ +2500

* 21+ | NJ only | If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER

The fourth-overall pick should see us going back to the talent pool that is the WHL as Canadian-born Bowen Byram should be the first defenseman selected in the 2019 draft by the Colorado Avalanche (who got this pick from the Ottawa Senators as part of the Matt Duschene trade).

Byram finished last season with the Vancouver Giants scoring 26 goals and registering 71 points in 67 regular season games. He then led the playoffs amongst all skaters in scoring, tallying eight goals and 18 assists in 22 games. He also set the record for most overtime goals in a season with six. This is a player that a team like the Avalanche can lock down and build around for years to come - especially if a pairing with Cale Makar, who the Avalanche selected fourth-overall in 2017, can be worked out.

Hockey Prospects and Future Considerations have Byram projected to go third overall. TSN projects him at sixth and NHL Central Scouting projects him at number two.

Projected Team: Colorado Avalanche

Kirby Dach - Saskatoon Blades (WHL)

Age: 18

Born: St. Albert, Alberta, Canada

Height: 6’4”

Weight: 198 lbs.

Position: Center

Shoots: Right

Sportsbook Player Drafted First Overall Link
888Sport NJ +7500
BetStars NJ +2500

* 21+ | NJ only | If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER

We go back to the WHL once again to round out our top-5 selections as we anticipate power-center Kirby Dach to be selected by the Los Angeles Kings. Although the Kings would probably want to claim a defenseman, it is likely that Bowen Byram will not be available and it will be hard for them to pass on the NHL-ready, 6 foot, 4-inch center that is Kirby Dach.

Dach was selected by the Saskatoon Blades second-overall in 2016 and led all rookies with 39 assists. By the time of his 2019 season had been named an alternate captain and finished with 73 points in 68 games as well as eight points in ten playoff games. He tripled his goalscoring stats from the previous season. He is a large, fast skater that can be coached into a two-way role as he also brings a lot of grit into his game.

Kirby Dach is the third-overall ranked North American player by NHL Central Scouting.

Projected Team: Los Angeles Kings

State by State Guides

Map of the United States of America

Find Your State

Popular Topics