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Paul Mawdsley takes a shot at predicting the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft

by PAUL MAWDSLEY @pmawdsley23 /'s Paul Mawdsley takes a shot at predicting the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft:

1. Jack Hughes - Center - USNTDP (USHL) - New Jersey Devils

The top ranked prospect all year long and a true elite-level centreman. Despite the great showing from Kappo Kakko at the World Championships, New Jersey would be smart to keep building down the middle.

Video: "Playing at the Worlds was an invaluable experience."

2. Kappo Kakko - Right Wing - TPS (Liiga) - New York Rangers

As mentioned above, the Finnish winger has put on quite a show for scouts in the last month with 6 goals and an assist in 10 games, helping Team Finland win the gold medal at the World Championships. He's by far the next best prospect to Hughes and the Rangers have to be delighted to select him here.

3. Dylan Cozens - Center - Lethbridge (WHL) - Chicago Blackhawks

You can never have too much depth at the center position and the Blackhawks have their choice of the rest after Hughes. In this situation, they'll go with a strong skater with some good size who has a knack for finding the back of the net.

4. Bowen Byram - Defence - Vancouver (WHL) - Colorado Avalanche

The Avalanche have already seen dividends from taking a defenceman in this same spot a couple of years ago in Cale Makar, so why not go back to the same well?   

5. Alex Turcotte - Center - USNTDP (USHL) - Los Angeles Kings

Adding a speedy offensive weapon in Turcotte could be the perfect fit for the Kings. Combine his offensive skillset with a solid two-way game from the center position and LA will be happy with this selection.

Video: "I want to be similar to (Hughes)"

6. Kirby Dach - Center - Saskatoon (WHL) - Detroit Red Wings

He's big, he's fast, and plays up the middle. With a combination of high-end skill, a willingness to play physical, and the abilty to score, Dach is a nice addition to the Red Wings young core.

7. Peyton Krebs - Center - Kootenay (WHL) - Buffalo Sabres

An Okotoks native, Krebs has speed for days and uses it to blow by defenders to create transition offence. He's no slouch as a goal scorer, but he's best known for his play-making abilities.

8. Vasili Podkolzin - Right Wing - SKA-Neva St. Petersburg (VHL) - Edmonton Oilers

While other teams went for talent up the middle, the Oilers grab a forward who one day could fill the void on the right side of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

9. Trevor Zegras - Center - USNTDP (USHL) - Anaheim Ducks

A center who plays with an edge - as evidenced by his 96 penalty minutes last season - Zegras can make plays at both ends of the ice thanks to his great speed, stick skills, and hockey IQ.

10. Cole Caufield - Right Wing - USNTDP (USHL) - Vancouver Canucks

While diminutive in stature, Caufield plays much larger than he is. The 5-foot-7 winger is a game-changing player in the offensive zone, scoring 72 goals for the U.S. National Development Program this season.

11. Matthew Boldy - Left Wing - USNTDP (USHL) - Philadelphia Flyers

Another USHL product, Boldy is a sniper with a fantastic wrist shot. He's very aggressive in the offensive zone and uses his size and stickhandling ability to find open space where he can shoot or find an open teammate.

Video: Boston College commit Matthew Boldy holds court

12. Philip Broberg - Defence - AIK (Allsvenskan) - Minnesota Wild

Playing in a men's league in Sweden, Broberg has proven he can keep up with the pace of play thanks to his superb skating. While there is some offensie upside - he led the league in points by an Under-18 player with nine - it's his defence that sets him apart.

13. Victor Soderstrom - Defence - Brynas (SHL) - Florida Panthers

An amazing skater, Soderstrom can keep up with nearly anyone on the ice. That speed helps this undersized defenceman when starting a rush or getting back defensively.

14. Alex Newhook - Center - USNTDP (USHL) - Arizona Coyotes

Possibly the fastest player in the draft, Newhook utilizes that speed well, using his skilled stickhandling to make plays in top gear. His quick step helps him in the defensive zone as well, where he is an effective penalty killer.

15. Cam York - Defence - USNTDP (USHL) - Montreal Canadiens

A smart hockey player, York has the footwork, speed, and stick skills to impress in all three zones. He makes the smart plays and uses positioning to beat his opponent.

16. Raphael Lavoie - Center - Halifax (QMJHL) - Colorado Avalanche

A big man, Lavoie loves to use his size to his advantage, making it difficult for opponents in the corners and in front of the net. He plays a powerful game and goes hard to the net, but he's more than capable of sniping corners.

17. Arthur Kaliyev - Center - Hamilton (OHL) - Las Vegas Golden Knights

Scoring goals is what it's all about, right? Well Kaliyev can do that in spades. The left winger tallied 51 goals for the Hamilton Bulldogs in 2018-19. He's not just a scorer though, he matched his goal-scoring total with 51 assists, proving dangerous in all facets on the offensive side of the game.

18. Thomas Harley - Defence - Mississauga (OHL) - Dallas Stars

Good size, good speed, and a high upside in the offensive zone. The steady defenceman showed his scoring ability with the Mississauga Steelheads last season, netting 11 goals and 58 points in 68 games.

19. Philip Tomasino - Center - Niagara (OHL) - Ottawa Senators (via the Columbus Blue Jackets)

The speedy center had a breakout campaign for the Niagara IceDogs in 2018-19, finding twine 34 times and racking up 72 points. His skating ability and vision on the ice are what make his dangerous in the offensive zone.

20. Matthew Robertson - Defence - Edmonton (WHL) - Winnipeg Jets

A big, mobile defender with a high ceiling.

21. Ryan Suzuki - Center - Barrie (OHL) - Pittsburgh Penguins

The younger brother of Montreal Canadiens prospect Nick Suzuki, Ryan is a very similar player. He sees the ice well, is an fantastic passer, and can score thanks to a great release on his shot.

22. Moritz Seider - Defence - Alder Mannheim (DEL) - Los Angeles Kings (via the Toronto Maple Leafs)

This 6-foot-4 defenceman is a bruiser, but make no mistake, Seider is a swift skater who can play the puck with ease and transition it up the ice. 

23. Connor McMichael - Center - London (OHL) - New York Islanders

A London Knights product, McMichael is a great athlete that can play well in all three zones. His high hockey IQ allows him to make the most of his physical attributes and create quality chances for himself and his teammates.

24. Jakob Pelletier - Left Wing - Moncton (QMJHL) - Nashville Predators

With the NHL game moving to a faster, more dynamic game, Pelletier is the type of player who can excel. At 5-foot-9, he's rather undersized, but he has the speed and skill required to beat his opponents.

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25. Samuel Poulin - Left Wing - Sherbrooke (QMJHL) - Washington Capitals

The son of former NHLer Patrick Poulin, Samuel is looking to create his own legacy. A power forward, he does some of his best work in front of the net. The winger is solid in his own end and should be able to contribute on special teams.

26. Spencer Knight - Goalie - USNTDP (USHL) - Calgary Flames

Knight is the top goalie prospect in the draft and should come off the board at some point during the first round. With the U.S. National Development Program, he recorded a 2.40 GAA and a .911 save percentage in 30 games played.

27. John Beecher - Center - USNTDP (USHL) - Tampa Bay Lightning

Beecher plays a power game and does most of his damage right near the blue paint. His 6-foot-3 frame allows him to win battles in the corners or in front of the net. His powerful nature comes into play on the defensive side of the game as well, as he throws his body around when needed.

28. Bobby Brink - Right Wing - Sioux City (USHL) - Carolina Hurricanes

A pure sniper, Brink has one of the best shots in the draft class. He put up 35 goals and 68 points in 2018-19, proving he has a nose for the net.

29. Brett Leason - Right Wing - Prince Albert (WHL) - Anaheim Ducks (via the Buffalo Sabres, San Jose Sharks)

An over-ager in the WHL, the Calgary, AB native found his stride this past season, netting 36 goals and 89 points for the Prince Albert Raiders. He has good size (6-foot-4) and can battle physically with anyone on the ice.

30. Alex Vlasic - Defence - USNTDP (USHL) - Boston Bruins

The cousin of San Jose Sharks defenceman Marc-Edouard Vlasic and the team selecting him is hoping to get there are some similarities between the two. Alex is a large defender that is best known for his work in his own end. His offensive game is still a work in progress.

Video: "My defensive abilities are my biggest strengths"

31. Brayden Tracey - Left Wing - Moose Jaw (WHL) - Buffalo Sabres (via the St. Louis Blues)

A former WHL Rookie of the Year, Tracey is a smart forward who can find soft spots in a defence and get off a quick wrist-shot or one-timer. He's coming off of an 81-point season where he registered 36 goals.

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