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NHL Draft

Pacific Division team draft needs

Ducks, Kings could be looking to add defensemen; Coyotes must find scorers

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / Staff Writer

The 2019 NHL Draft provides an opportunity for teams to shore up positions of need with an injection of young talent.

The first round of the draft at Rogers Arena in Vancouver is June 21 (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVAS). Rounds 2-7 are June 22 (1 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN).

Here is what Pacific Division teams could be looking to do when they arrive in Vancouver (teams listed in alphabetical order):



Top priority: Puck-moving defensemen

First pick: No. 9

The situation: The Ducks finished 10 points behind the Colorado Avalanche for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the Western Conference, the first time in seven seasons they missed the postseason. Center Ryan Getzlaf is 34, and center Ryan Kesler, who is signed through 2021-22, is unlikely to play next season after having surgery May 9 to resurface his right hip, though the 34-year-old could resume his NHL career at some point. The Ducks used four of their seven picks on forwards at the 2018 NHL Draft, and that group will join fellow forward prospects Sam Steel (2016, No. 30), Troy Terry (2015, No. 148), Max Jones (2016, No. 24), Kevin Roy (2012, No. 97) and Max Comtois (2017, No. 50) in the pipeline. The Ducks have seven picks in this draft, including two in the first round, and are expected to look to add young defensemen.

Possible fits: Moritz Seider, D, Mannheim (GER); Victor Soderstrom, D, Brynas (SWE); Philip Broberg, D, AIK (SWE-2)

Video: CGY@ANA: Getzlaf beats Rittich from the circle



Top priority: Goal-scorers

First pick: No. 14

The situation: The Coyotes have eight picks, including four in the first three rounds. They've missed the playoffs seven straight seasons but finished higher than 10th in the Western Conference (ninth) for the first time since 2013-14. The Coyotes were 28th in the NHL in goals scored (209) and 20th in shots per game (30.7) despite a young, dynamic offense that included forwards Alex Galchenyuk, Clayton Keller, Christian Fischer, Christian Dvorak, Lawson Crouse and Vinnie Hinostroza. The prospect pool includes forwards Barrett Hayton (2018, No. 5), Nicholas Merkley (2015, No. 30) and Nate Schnarr (2017, No. 75), and defensemen Kyle Capobianco (2015, No. 63), Pierre-Olivier Joseph (2017, No. 23) and Filip Westerlund (2017, No. 44). Top goalie prospect Adin Hill (2015, No. 76) went 7-5-0 with a 2.76 goals-against average and .901 save percentage in 13 NHL games after starter Antti Raanta injured his knee. 

Possible fits: Cole Caufield, RW, USA U-18 (USHL); Alex Newhook, C, Victoria (BCHL); Matthew Boldy, LW, USA U-18 (USHL)



Top priority: Depth at forward

First pick: No. 26

The situation: The Flames, eliminated in five games by the Avalanche in the Western Conference First Round, have built a strong foundation of prospects, and they'll have a chance to add a few more with five picks in the 2019 draft, starting with No. 26 in the first round. They have promising goalies Tyler Parsons (2016, No. 54) and Jon Gillies (2012, No. 75), defenseman Juuso Valimaki (2017, No. 16) and forwards Dillon Dube (2016, No. 56), Andrew Mangiapane (2015, No. 166) and Martin Pospisil (2018, No. 105). Dube had 39 points (15 goals, 24 assists) in 37 games for Stockton of the American Hockey League and five points (one goal, four assists) in 25 games for the Flames. Calgary may target scoring depth early and look to add a goalie later in the draft.

Possible fits: Connor McMichael, C, London (OHL); Jakob Pelletier, LW, Moncton (QMJHL); Jamieson Rees, C, Sarnia (OHL)

Video: Avalanche defeat Flames in five games



Top priority: Star power at skill positions

First pick: No. 8

The situation: After advancing to the second round in 2017, Edmonton has failed to qualify for the playoffs the past two seasons. Ken Holland was hired as general manager and president of hockey operations May 7 after having served as GM and executive vice president of the Detroit Red Wings since 1997. The Oilers had 79 points, second-fewest in the Western Conference, and were 25th in the League in goals allowed per game (3.30). The Oilers have some solid defenseman prospects in Evan Bouchard (2018, No. 10) and Caleb Jones (2015, No. 117), and forwards Kailer Yamamoto (2017, No. 22) and Kirill Maksimov (2017, No. 146) could compete for NHL spots next season. The Oilers have six picks in the draft, including No. 8 in the first round. Look for them to take the best available player in each round, regardless of position.

Possible fits: Kirby Dach, C, Saskatoon (WHL); Trevor Zegras, C, USA U-18 (USHL); Vasily Podkolzin, RW, Neva St. Petersburg (RUS-2)



Top priority: Top-four defenseman

First pick: No. 5

The situation: The Kings have missed the playoffs three times in five seasons since winning the Stanley Cup in 2014, and this season finished 30th in the NHL with 71 points. Los Angeles, which was 30th in goals (199) and allowed the 10th-most (259), hired Todd McLellan as coach April 16. They have 10 picks, Nos. 5 and 22, the latter obtained in a trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs for defenseman Jake Muzzin, and will be looking to add players at forward and defenseman. They have good prospects in the system, topped by forwards Rasmus Kupari (2018, No. 20), Gabriel Vilardi (2017, No. 11), Akil Thomas (2018, No. 51) and Jaret Anderson-Dolan (2017, No. 41), and defensemen Michael Anderson (2017, No. 103) and Kale Clague (2016, No. 51). 

Possible fits: Bowen Byram, D, Vancouver (WHL); Kirby Dach, C, Saskatoon (WHL); Alex Turcotte, C, USA U-18 (USHL)

Video: How will McClellan hire as head coach impact Kings?



Top priority: Top-nine forwards

First pick: No. 91 (third round)

The situation: The Sharks were eliminated in six games by the St. Louis Blues in the conference final but look to be in good shape with a lineup that features a nice blend of young and veteran players. The prospect pool consists of forwards Dylan Gambrell (2016, No. 60) and Alexander Chmelevski (2017, No. 185), and defensemen Ryan Merkley (2018, No. 21), Mario Ferraro (2017, No. 49) and Jeremy Roy (2015, No. 31). Forwards Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton, Gustav Nyquist and Joonas Donskoi, and defenseman Erik Karlsson, each can become an unrestricted free agent July 1. The Sharks have four picks in the draft but none in the first or second round. Expect them to target forwards and goalie with their late picks.

Possible fits: Karl Henriksson, C, Frolunda Jr. (SWE); Samuel Fagemo, LW, Frolunda (SWE); John Farinacci, C, Dexter School (HIGH-MA)



Top priority: Top-two defenseman

First pick: No. 10

The situation: The Canucks could look to add more high-end defensemen to go with Quinn Hughes (2018, No. 7) and Olli Juolevi (2016, No. 5), who each is expected to play a prominent role next season. They have nine selections in the draft. Forwards Elias Pettersson, Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser were the big three on offense. Center Tyler Madden (2018, No. 68), arguably their top forward prospect, will remain at Northeastern University next season. Goalie Thatcher Demko (2014, No. 36) will challenge for a starting role in training camp. Goalie prospect Michael DiPietro (2017, No. 64) was 13-0 with a 2.35 GAA and .914 save percentage in 14 games during the Ontario Hockey League playoffs before sustaining a season-ending ankle injury. Expect the Canucks to draft a defenseman with their first pick and target organizational needs with the remaining choices.

Possible fits: Thomas Harley, D, Mississauga (OHL); Victor Soderstrom, D, Brynas (SWE); Philip Broberg, D, AIK (SWE-2)



Top priority: Depth at all positions

First pick: No. 17

The situation: The Golden Knights were eliminated by the Sharks in seven games in the first round after reaching the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural season in 2017-18. Vegas has nine picks in the draft, including five in the first three rounds. They have plenty of high-end prospects in the pipeline, including forwards Cody Glass (2017, No. 6), Nikita Gusev (trade, Tampa Bay Lightning, June 21, 2017) and Jake Leschyshyn (2017, No. 62), and defensemen Nicolas Hague (2017, No. 34) and Stanislav Demin (2018, No. 99). Vegas needs to continue bolstering the back end, especially following the trade of their best puck-moving prospect, defenseman Erik Brannstrom, to the Ottawa Senators for forward Mark Stone on Feb. 25. Vegas also might target a goalie later in the draft; Marc-Andre Fleury turns 35 on Nov. 28.

Possible fits: Moritz Seider, D, Mannheim (GER); Cameron York, D, USA U-18 (USHL); Matthew Robertson, D, Edmonton (WHL)



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