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Torie Peterson takes a shot at predicting the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft

by TORIE PETERSON @ToriePeterson /'s Torie Peterson takes a shot at predicting the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft:

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

There's a very good chance Jack Hughes could become the first USNTDP product to make the leap directly into the NHL after being drafted. The pivot has blazing speed, incredible vision, and tremendous playmaking abilities - all the tools needed to develop into a No. 1 center in the league.

2. Kaapo Kakko - Left Wing - TPS (Liiga) - New York Rangers

At the age of 18, Kakko has already won gold at the U18, U20, and the World Championship and played no small part on any of those rosters. The winger already boasts NHL size, has a strong shot, and can absolutely dominate in the offensize zone thanks to his creativity.

3. Bowen Byram - Defence - Vancouver (WHL) - Chicago Blackhawks

Byram has been lauded as the best defender in the 2019 draft class thanks to his elite skating and high offensive ceiling. He looks close to being NHL-ready and could easily develop into a franchise blueliner thanks to his strong all-around game.

4. Dylan Cozens - Center - Lethbridge (WHL) - Colorado Avalanche (via the Ottawa Senators)

Thanks to his 6-foot-3 frame, skill and strong skating, Cozens can be a nightmare to defend against and he wreaked havoc in the offensive zone all season - he led the Hurricanes with 84 points and was tied for second on the team with 34 goals in 2018-19.

Video: "I'm ready to jump into the NHL right away."

5. Vasili Podkolzin - Right Wing - SKA-Neva St. Petersburg (VHL) - Los Angeles Kings

The Russian winger's fierce competitive drive coupled with his puck skills has allowed him to thrive at every level he's played at. Always a threat in the offensive zone, his puck skills and IQ allow him to act as a shooter or playmaker.

6. Alex Turcotte - Center - USNTDP (USHL) - Detroit Red Wings

Turcotte was limited to 16 games at the USHL level this year due to illness but that was still enough time to showcase his high-end talent, scoring 12 goals and 34 points during that stint. In addition to having no real weaknesses in his offensive game, he plays with an edge and has no fear while flying in on the forecheck.

7. Trevor Zegras - Center - USNTDP (USHL) - Buffalo Sabres

Offensive creativity is Zegras' calling card - he sees the game progress in a way few players do and can exploit every option available to him thanks to his skill level. Thanks to that vision, he's one of the best playmakers in the draft.

8. Kirby Dach - Center - Saskatoon (WHL) - Edmonton Oilers

The Blades' pivot plays a mature game in all three zones and has the skill to drive a line. He can anchor a powerplay, has the size to provide a net-front presence, and has edge to his game.

9. Cole Caufield - Right Wing - USNTDP (USHL) - Anaheim Ducks

Caufield scored an incredible 72 goals in 64 games in the USHL this season, cementing him as one of this year's elite scorers in the draft. Not surprisingly, his shot is his best tool - quick, accurate, and hard.

10. Matthew Boldy - Left Wing - USNTDP (USHL) - Vancouver Canucks

With soft hands and a physical style of play, Boldy has all the tools to grow into a power forward role at the NHL level. He's also a strong backchecker, playing a mature, poised game in his own zone.

11. Peyton Krebs - Center - Kootenay (WHL) - Philadelphia Flyers

The Calgary product plays a very complete game and can be utilized in every situation. He's a gifted playmaker, has very good speed, and reads the ice well. A natural leader, he was the captain of the Ice at just 17-years-old.

Video: Okotoks native Peyton Krebs at the Combine

12. Alex Newhook - Center - Victoria (BCHL) - Minnesota Wild

Newhook has speed in spades and that has left defenders gaping throughout the course of his BCHL career. In 2018-19, he put up an eye-popping 38 goals and 102 points, leading all BCHL skaters by a wide margin.

13. Philip Broberg - Defence - AIK (Allsvenskan) - Florida Panthers

The defenceman is a remarkable skater, especially with his 6-foot-3, 203-pound frame. He played against men with AIK in Sweden's second division, logging decent minutes and chipping in with nine points.

14. Arthur Kaliyev - Left Wing - Hamilton (OHL) - Arizona Coyotes

Kaliyev is dynamic when it comes to offence. He netted a whopping 51 goals in 67 games and led the Bulldogs with 102 points this past year. He demonstrated how he can bolster a powerplay in 2018-19, scoring 20 goals with the man-advantage.

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

York could develop into a top-pairing blueliner thanks to his hockey sense and puck skills. He plays a very intelligent game, reading and reacting to plays at a high level. He rarely is out of position and has the skating ability to get back into the play during those rare occurrences.

16. Victor Soderstrom - Defence - Brynas (SHL) - Colorado Avalanche

The Swede plays a strong two-way game, getting the puck into transition quickly and moving up with the play without any hesitation. Soderstrom's hockey IQ is high and he plays a very responsible game for a young player.

17. Raphael Lavoie - Right Winger - Halifax (QMJHL) - Vegas Golden Knights

A versatile forward who can play any position up front, Lavoie has a nice mix of skill, speed, and size that could lead him to develop into a top-six role in the NHL. He owns an excellent shot that can handcuff a goaltender with his speed and strength and thanks to his 6-foot-4 frame, he can cause net-front chaos.

18. Ryan Suzuki - Center - Barrie (OHL) - Dallas Stars

An extremely intelligent player, Suzuki led the Colts in scoring this past year with 75 points. He has a decent shot but his vision allows him to excel as a playmaker, elevating his line's play with his creativity and skill.

Video: "I want to work on protecting the puck more"

19. Spencer Knight - Goaltender - USNTDP (USHL) - Ottawa Senators (via the Columbus Blue Jackets)

The netminder has great size to develop into an NHL starter, is excellent in terms of his lateral movements, has a very strong glove hand, and his positional play is the best amongst his fellow draft-eligible goaltenders.

20. Ville Heinola - Defence - Lukko (Liiga) - Winnipeg Jets

While he's not the biggest defender, Heinola has been able to surge up draft rankings this year thanks to his tremendous hockey sense. He's always in the right position, plays a very poised game and makes responsible decisions with the puck.

21. Moritz Seider - Defence - Alder Mannheim (DEL) - Pittsburgh Penguins

The German blueliner already has NHL-size, standing 6-foot-4 and weighing in at 198-pounds, and skates well for a player of his stature. He is a calming presence on the ice, playing with pose and maturity beyond his years.

RELATED: Ryan Dittrick's Mock Draft

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22. Connor McMichael - Center - London (OHL) - Los Angeles Kings (via the Toronto Maple Leafs)

McMichael led the Knights in scoring with 36 and 72 points in 67 games. He has a very quick release, giving him the ability to be a triggerman on a line but his creativity and puck skills enables him to take on the role of the playmaker.

23. Philip Tomasino - Center - Niagara (OHL) - New York Islanders

Tomasino is a gift skater who hits top speed very quickly thanks to an explosive first three strides. He's also a strong playmaker, using his speed to separate himself from backcheckers and dish the puck off to his linemates at top flight.

24. Samuel Poulin - Left Wing - Sherbrooke (QMJHL) - Nashville Predators

Poulin led the Phoenix offensively in 2018-19: he registered 29 goals and 76 points in the regular season and added eight goals and 14 points in 10 postseason skates. He has the build to develop into a power forward if his skating continues to improve.

25. Nicholas Robertson - Left Wing - Peterborough (OHL) - Washington Capitals

Robertson owns one of the best releases in this year's draft class. His shot is extremely hard, he gets it off his stick quickly, and it's very accurate. Wearing his heart on his sleeve, he is a lead-by-example type of player.

26. Nils Hoglander - Left Wing - Rogle (SHL) - Calgary Flames

The forward's puck handling is his greatest strength. He's a wizard with the puck and can make plays in tight spaces. He has a ton of energy and is buzzing every time he's on the ice.

Video: "I've trained for these tests before, so it was good"

27. Bobby Brink - Right Wing - Sioux City (USHL) - Tampa Bay Lightning

Brink's hockey sense could be called elite. He's one of the smartest players in this year's draft, with great awareness and vision. His skill level is high, as evidenced by his 35 goals and 68 points in 43 games last year.

28. Robert Mastosimone - Center - Chicago (USHL) - Carolina Hurricanes

A very creative player, Mastosimone helped drive the Steel's offence with 31 goals and 60 points in 54 games. He has excellent instincts on the forecheck, finding his linemates with strong, accurate passes.

29. Thomas Harley - Defence - Mississauga (OHL) - Anaheim Ducks (via the Buffalo Sabres, San Jose Sharks)

The young defender took big strides this past season and steadily rose higher and higher on the Steelheads depth chart. He's a solid skater for a 6-foot-3 player and handles the puck very well.

30. John Beecher - Center - USNTDP (USHL) - Boston Bruins

Playing on what could be deemed as the best USNTDP team in the program's history, Beecher had his minutes limited due to the depth up front but still performed strongly in this role. He put up 43 points in 63 games, showcased his ability to be a very effective net-front presence, and demonstrated his ability to play a heavy, physical game.

31. Matthew Robertson - Defence - Edmonton (WHL) - Buffalo Sabres (via the St. Louis Blues)

Robertson is a big player - standing 6-foot-4 - but his skating is exceptional. His stride is fluid, he can turn on a dime, and he has excellent speed. He's strong in his own zone, has great gap control, and boxes players out effectively.

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