The hockey world will descend upon Vancouver next week as the city hosts the 2019 NHL Entry Draft on June 21st and 22nd.
The draft is chock full of storylines and has become the marquee event for the NHL season. Aside from the teams loading up on new prospects, there is so much wheeling and dealing that fans of all teams are eagerly awaiting any sort of breaking news to dissect.
Locally, it's an exciting time for the Canucks as they look to build off the success of their young players and take a step forward next season. They enter the draft possessing the 10th overall selection in the 1st round and there is plenty of intrigue into who they might take.
Given that it's almost impossible to predict how the draft will unfold, we'll spend this week taking a look at 10 players who could be available for the Canucks when they head to the podium to make their selection.
We'll start with two American forwards that offer plenty of offensive upside.
Trevor Zegras had a fantastic season this past year finishing third in scoring on the US National Team Development Program with 87 points (26-61-87) in 60 games. He ended his draft season with nine assists in five games representing the USA at the U18 World Juniors.
As the stat-line suggests, Zegras is a fantastic playmaker that thrives when given the time and space to find his linemates in high percentage situations. He is at the top of list as one of the best playmakers in this draft class as he makes plays that many others just can't make.
He has an air of confidence to his game that makes him try things that aren't conventional, but because of how skilled and how well he reads the play, he can pull them off. Zegras is effective at pushing the pace in transition and then making the pass to a wide-open teammate or can be lethal as a half-wall power-play quarterback.
Despite being such a skilled playmaker, Zegras' shot is well above-average that has a quick release. Zegras' skating is very strong as he is effective at using his edges to pivot and change directions with ease, all while maintaining complete control of the puck.
Aside from being such a skilled player that projects to be a fantastic top-six playmaker in the NHL, Zegras can play centre or wing and doesn't seem to miss a beat switching between the two. Given how he plays and thinks the game, he can be effective in both situations at the professional level.
The major quibble to his game is that he can try to do much and put himself in situations where he is outmanned or can struggle when opponents really get in his face. But he showed as the season went along that neither should be a long-term concern.
Zegras is committed to Boston University next season.
The left-handed winger was a big part of the offensive attack for the US National Team Development Program with 33 goals and 48 assists in 64 games this season. He also had a fantastic end to his year posting three goals and nine assists in seven games at the U18 World Juniors this past April.
What stands out about Boldy's game is that he isn't a playmaker or a shooter, but blends both of those elements to create a well-rounded offensive arsenal. He uses his vision, size, and skill to keep opponents on their toes.
Boldy handles the puck extremely well and effectively uses that to create offence in a variety of ways. He is adept at drawing opponents to himself and then threading a pass to wide open teammate and does so in transition or a more static offensive situation in the offensive zone. He appears to be thinking about the play that he wants while it develops around him.
There have been some concerns about his skating, appearing to have heavy feet while trying to generate speed, but it has seen improvement throughout the course of the season to the point where it shouldn't hold him back. Lastly, there was some concern about his past performances on the international stage, but his performance at the U18's to end the season should quiet those.
He took some really positive strides on the defensive side of the game this year. Boldy is also known for being a leader in the lockerroom and was an alternate captain for the program during their regular season and at the U18's.
Overall, Boldy is a fantastically gifted offensive winger that has all the tools to be an extremely effective top-six winger. He seems to thrive with other players that think the game like he does and if he gets put into a situation in the NHL where he is playing with players of that same ilk, the sky is the limit on his potential as a winger that can create offence in every way possible.
Boldy will be heading to Boston College for the 2019-20 campaign.