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NHL Central Scouting: No. 1 (North American skaters)
The first player selected in the 2019 NHL Draft also is the best skater and most dynamic playmaker; he can think the game at top speed with or without the puck. Hughes (5-foot-10, 171 pounds) led the the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team with 112 points (34 goals, 78 assists) in 50 games and set the all-time record for most assists (154) and points (228) in 110 games during two seasons with the program. The left-handed shot is the fifth NTDP alum to go No. 1 in the draft, following Auston Matthews (Toronto Maple Leafs, 2016), Patrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks, 2007), Erik Johnson (St. Louis Blues, 2006) and Rick DiPietro (New York Islanders, 2000). He had 20 points (nine goals, 11 assists) to help the United States finish third at the 2019 IIHF World Under-18 Championship. That's one off the single-tournament record of 21 points set by Nikita Kucherov of Russia in 2011.
NHL.com analysis: The Devils got the best center in the draft and immediately set themselves up through the middle for the next decade with Nico Hischier, the No. 1 pick of the 2017 NHL Draft, and Hughes as their go-to players at the position. Hughes likely will earn a roster spot during training camp and play a top-six role, average 15-20 minutes of ice time per game, and benefit from the instruction of Devils coach John Hynes, who is a former NTDP coach.
[RELATED: Fantasy projection for Hughes]
Video: Devils draft F Jack Hughes No. 1
2. New York Rangers - Kaapo Kakko, RW, TPS (FIN)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 1 (International skaters)
The left-handed shot combines playmaking and scoring ability, and is very good around the net and in his end. Kakko (6-2, 194), who can play wing or center but is more comfortable on his off-wing, has been compared to Colorado Avalanche forward Mikko Rantanen. The 18-year-old scored 22 goals in 45 games, a record for a first-time draft-eligible player in Liiga, Finland's top professional league, one more than Aleksander Barkov had for Tappara in 53 games in 2012-13. His 38 points were third on the single-season list of players 18 and under, behind Barkov (48, 2012-13) and Mikael Granlund (40, 2009-10). Kakko led TPS with four goals and tied for the lead with five points in five playoff games, when he averaged 20:53 of ice time. He also scored the game-winning goal with 1:26 remaining in the third period of the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship gold-medal game to give Finland a 3-2 win against the United States; he finished the tournament with five points (two goals, three assists) in seven games, then capped his season with seven points (six goals, one assist) in 10 games to help Finland win the 2019 IIHF World Championship.
NHL.com analysis: Kakko should fill a top-six role for the Rangers this season. He is most dangerous on the wing, though he can play center. He's dangerous around the net and isn't afraid to get into the tough areas to generate scoring opportunities for his team. The thought of Kakko alongside Chris Kreider and center Mika Zibanejad at some point in the future is a scary proposition for opposing teams.
[RELATED: Fantasy projection for Kakko]
Video: Rangers draft F Kaapo Kakko No. 2
NHL Central Scouting: No. 3 (North American skaters)
Dach, who considers himself more of a pass-first than shoot-first forward, was third for Saskatoon with 73 points (25 goals, 48 assists), second with 23 power-play assists and first with 1.18 points per game in 62 games. The right-handed shot is smart on both sides of the puck, deceptively fast, has good vision, and can beat opponents wide. Dach (6-4, 198) played center in Saskatoon but won a Hlinka Gretzky Cup championship with Canada in August playing right wing and had seven points (two goals, five assists) in five games.
NHL.com analysis: The center skates well for a player his size. He might need one more season of junior hockey, but his size and skill could make him a solid second-line center behind Jonathan Toews as soon as next season.
Video: Blackhawks draft F Kirby Dach No. 3
NHL Central Scouting: No. 2 (North American skaters)
Byram (6-1, 195) led Western Hockey League defenseman in goals (26) and game-winning goals (nine), and he was third with 71 points in 67 regular-season games. He also set a single-season league record with six overtime goals and led the WHL playoffs with 26 points (eight goals, 18 assists) in 22 games. He has good awareness, plays with an edge, and likes to get up in the rush. He's a high-end, two-way defenseman considered the best at his position in the draft and a threat in all three zones who is capable of making plays under duress and in traffic.
NHL.com analysis: The Avalanche got the unquestioned best defenseman in the draft. With Cale Makar, 20, making an impact during the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs and Tyson Barrie an established top-pair defenseman, the Avalanche have the potential for a high-end group of defensemen to go with their elite forwards.
Video: Avalanche draft D Bowen Byram No. 4
5. Los Angeles Kings - Alex Turcotte, C, USA U-18 (USHL)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 4 (North American skaters)
Turcotte (5-11, 186), was sixth in scoring for the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team this season with 62 points (27 goals, 35 assists) in 37 games, but his average of 1.68 points per game was second to Jack Hughes' 2.24. He missed 22 games with a lower-body injury. Turcotte, who will attend the University of Wisconsin in the fall, is an excellent scorer and playmaker who easily can raise the ire of the opposition while playing a disciplined game. He had nine points (four goals, five assists) in seven games for the U.S. at the 2019 IIHF World U-18 Championship. He's the son of former NHL forward Alfie Turcotte, who played 112 NHL games in seven seasons with the Washington Capitals, Winnipeg Jets and Montreal Canadiens.
NHL.com analysis: The Kings need to get younger and more skilled, and Turcotte will help move along that process. As the Kings look to a future without Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter as their top two centers, Turcotte could be the player they build their future around.
Video: Kings draft F Alex Turcotte No. 5
6. Detroit Red Wings - Moritz Seider, D, Mannheim (GER)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 6 (International skaters)
Seider (6-3, 208), a right-handed shot, had an excellent rookie season for Mannheim in Germany's top pro league. He had six points (two goals, four assists) and a plus-2 rating in 29 games, and he was named the league's rookie of the year. He helped Mannheim win the league championship with five assists and a plus-6 rating in 14 playoff games. Seider had seven points (one goal, six assists) in five games to help Germany win the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship Division IA bracket and advance to the top group at the 2020 WJC, when he likely will play a big role. He also scored two goals in five games for Germany at the 2019 IIHF World Championship.
NHL.com analysis: The first real surprise of the draft, Seider proved himself against men playing in Germany's top league and was outstanding at 2019 IIHF World Championship. The Red Wings have been looking to add young defensemen, and with Seider they have a player with one of the bigger upsides in the 2019 draft class.
7. Buffalo Sabres - Dylan Cozens, C, Lethbridge (WHL)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 5 (North American skaters)
Cozens (6-3, 183), a right-handed shot, is hoping to become the third player from Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada, to play in the NHL, joining forward Peter Sturgeon (Colorado Rockies, six games, 1979-80) and defenseman Bryon Baltimore (Edmonton Oilers, two games, 1979-80). He is an elite skater with speed, size and a powerful shot. He was second on Lethbridge with 84 points (34 goals, 50 assists) in 68 games and dad nine points (four goals, five assists) for Canada at the 2019 IIHF World U-18 Championship.
NHL.com analysis: With Jack Eichel, Cozens and Casey Mittelstadt in the middle, the Sabres have a foundation that could be part of a Stanley Cup Playoff team sooner rather than later.
8. Edmonton Oilers - Philip Broberg, D, AIK (SWE-2)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 5 (International skaters)
The left-shot defenseman is a smooth skater with excellent acceleration capable of controlling both ends of the ice. A two-way defenseman with good compete, Broberg (6-3, 200) had nine points (two goals, seven assists) in 41 games in Sweden's second division. He had six points (two goals, four assists) and 20 shots on goal in seven games to help Sweden win the 2019 IIHF World Under-18 Championship. Broberg was named the tournament's best defenseman.
NHL.com analysis: The Oilers need to do a better job preventing goals, and Broberg will help that with his outstanding skating and puck-handling. His style in the offensive zone fits the way the modern game is played.
Video: Oilers draft D Philip Broberg No. 8
9. Anaheim Ducks - Trevor Zegras, C, USA U-18 (USHL)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 6 (North American skaters)
Zegras has good patience with the puck and good on-ice vision, and he was one of the hardest-working players for the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team. A left-handed shot, he was third on the NTDP with 87 points (26 goals, 61 assists) in 60 games. The Boston University recruit finds the seams, knows when to shoot, and has deception and fearlessness in his game. Zegras (6-foot, 173), who can play anywhere in a lineup as a center or left wing, had nine assists in five games for the U.S. at the 2019 World U-18 Championship.
NHL.com analysis: Zegras might be the most creative player in the draft. The Ducks need help at center with Ryan Getzlaf 34 years old and Ryan Kesler's future uncertain following hip surgery on May 9. Adding Zegras to a talented group of forward prospects, including Max Comtois, Sam Steel and Troy Terry, has the potential to make the Ducks a dangerous team.
10. Vancouver Canucks - Vasily Podkolzin, RW, Neva St. Petersburg (RUS-2)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 2 (International skaters)
The left-handed shot had 11 points (eight goals, three assists) in five games for Russia at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in August and eight points (three goals, five assists) in six games for Russia's under-19 team at the World Junior A Challenge in December. Podkolzin (6-1, 196), who played three games for SKA St. Petersburg in the Kontinental Hockey League late in the season, had a limited role but had three assists in seven games to help Russia finish third at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship. He is under contract in the KHL for the next two seasons.
NHL.com analysis: The Canucks will have to wait at least two more seasons to get Podkolzin to North America, but he could be worth the wait. Scouts loved his skill and his 200-foot game, and he was a captain on most of the teams he played on. His performance at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup is more akin to his NHL potential.
The Philadelphia Flyers traded the No. 11 pick in the 2019 draft to the Arizona Coyotes for the Nos. 14 and 45 picks in 2019.
11. Arizona Coyotes - Victor Soderstrom, D, Brynas (SWE)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 3 (International skaters)
Soderstrom (6-0, 182) was promoted to the Swedish Hockey League in November and improved his overall game. A creative, right-shot defenseman who sees the ice well, Soderstrom had seven points (four goals, three assists) in 44 games. He had one assist, a plus-2 rating and 13 shots on goal in four games for Sweden at the 2019 World U-18 Championship but missed the final three games after sustaining a concussion against Russia on April 23. He cleared his medical exam and participated in all the testing during the NHL Scouting Combine.
NHL.com analysis: A mature, cerebral defenseman with a ton of skill, Soderstrom won't need much more time in Sweden before he's NHL-ready. His offensive numbers weren't great playing against men in the SHL, but scouts are convinced that part of his game will come as he grows and becomes more confident.
12. Minnesota Wild - Matthew Boldy, LW, USA U-18 (USHL)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 9 (North American skaters)
Boldy (6-2, 196) has an excellent release, an accurate shot and can manufacture scoring chances for himself and linemates by playing an honest, hard, 200-foot game. He had 81 points (33 goals, 48 assists) in 64 games for the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team, leading it with four shorthanded goals and finishing second with 10 power-play goals. He's fifth on the all-time NTDP list with 95 assists in 126 games during his two seasons with the program. He's committed to play at Boston College next season.
NHL.com analysis: Boldy has the traditional build of a power forward with soft hands that allow him to make strong plays in tight spaces. Two college seasons should be all he needs to be ready to step into a Wild lineup that needs an injection of skill up front.
Video: Wild draft F Matthew Boldy No. 12
13. Florida Panthers - Spencer Knight, G, USA U-18 (USHL)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 1 (North American goalies)
Knight has an excellent presence and balance, and he is very confident with the perfect mental makeup to excel at the position. Al Jensen of NHL Central Scouting said Knight reminds him of a young Carey Price. Knight (6-3, 193) was 32-4-1 with a 2.36 goals-against average, a .913 save percentage and two shutouts in 39 games. He led the United States to third place at the 2019 IIHF World Under-18 Championship with a 1.51 GAA, a .936 save percentage and one shutout in six games. He's committed to Boston College starting next season after setting the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team record for wins (59) in two seasons (78 games) with the program.
NHL.com analysis: It's rare when a team and a player match this well, but Knight is a potential franchise goalie going to a team that needs one. He is athletic and cerebral, rarely is out of position, and his coach at the NTDP, John Wroblewski, believes Knight has the mental makeup to thrive at the game's hardest position.
14. Philadelphia Flyers - Cameron York, D, USA U-18 (USHL)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 12 (North American skaters)
York (5-11, 172) led USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team defensemen with 65 points (14 goals, 51 assists) and 132 shots on goal in 63 games. He's elusive with the puck, can dominate with his decision-making, and is deceptive in the offensive zone. York, committed to the University of Michigan starting next season, had 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in seven games to help the U.S. finish third at the 2019 IIHF World U-18 Championship and was named to the tournament all-star team.
NHL.com analysis: The Flyers need young defensemen to add to their prospect pipeline and were able to get one of the best in the draft after trading down with Coyotes to No. 14. One attribute that stood out to scouts was how York raised his game when the stakes were highest.
15. Montreal Canadiens - Cole Caufield, RW, USA U-18 (USHL)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 8 (North American skaters)
Caufield (5-7, 163), who will attend the University of Wisconsin in the fall, set a record for goals (72) this season and career goals (126) in 123 games in two seasons with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team. His 282 shots on goal led the NTDP, and his 100 points in 64 games were second to Jack Hughes' 112. Caufield's 14 goals for the U.S. at the 2019 IIHF World U-18 Championship tied Alex Ovechkin (Russia, 2002) for the most in a single tournament. Caufield played on a line with Hughes for most of the season, but when Hughes was playing at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship, Caufield scored seven goals in six games.
NHL.com analysis: The Canadiens must have been thrilled that the best pure goal-scorer in the draft was available at No. 15. Caufield's small frame won't prevent him from succeeding. Caufield at right wing on a line with center Jesper Kotkaniemi sometime in the next two seasons has the potential to be a productive scoring attack.
Video: Canadiens draft F Cole Caufield No. 15
16. Colorado Avalanche - Alex Newhook, C, Victoria (BCHL)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 13 (North American skaters)
A highly skilled player with good hockey sense, Newhook (5-10, 192) was Victoria's captain and led the British Columbia Hockey League with 102 points (38 goals, 64 assists) in 53 games. A left-handed shot who creates and can finish plays with speed, he was the first BCHL player since 2015-16 with more than 100 points in a season. He tied Peyton Krebs (selected No. 17 by the Vegas Golden Knights) for Canada's scoring lead at the 2019 IIHF World U-18 Championship with 10 points (five goals, five assists) in seven games. Newhook is committed to Boston College starting next season.
NHL.com analysis: Newhook was a dominant player in the BCHL and answered any lingering questions with an outstanding performance for Canada at the World Under-18 Championship. Newhook could be the Avalanche's second-line center of the future after a season or two of college to get bigger and stronger.
17. Vegas Golden Knights - Peyton Krebs, C, Kootenay (WHL)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 10 (North American skaters)
Krebs (5-11, 183) had surgery June 7 to repair a partial tear to his Achilles tendon sustained during an on-ice workout, and it's likely he'll be off the ice summer during his recovery. He had 10 points (six goals, four assists) in seven games as captain for Canada at the 2019 IIHF World U-18 Championship. The left-handed shot plays with great energy and can finish plays. He led Kootenay with 68 points (19 goals, 49 assists), 26 power-play points (eight goals, 18 assists), three shootout goals and 538 face-off wins in 64 games. He was named player of the game for Team Don Cherry at the 2019 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on Jan. 24 after he had a goal and an assist.
NHL.com analysis: Krebs' recovery from surgery for a partially torn Achilles tendon will keep him off the ice for a while, but his skill and leadership give him the chance to be a big part of the Golden Knights' attack in the future.
Video: Golden Knights draft F Peyton Krebs No. 17
18. Dallas Stars - Thomas Harley, D, Mississauga (OHL)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 11 (North American skaters)
Harley (6-3, 193) is a two-way defenseman who skates well and has good intelligence and a quality shot. A native of Syracuse, New York, he was named best offensive defenseman and most improved player in the Ontario Hockey League Eastern Conference Coaches Poll. He was fourth among OHL defensemen in assists (47) and had 58 points in 68 games. He was first on Mississauga with 31 power-play points (five goals, 26 assists). Harley had four points (one goal, three assists) in seven games for fourth-place Canada at the 2019 IIHF World U-18 Championship.
NHL.com analysis: The Stars have a need for young defensemen in the pipeline, having selected one defensemen in each of the past three drafts, one being Miro Heiskanen. Harley isn't a flashy selection, but he has the skills and smarts to be a top-pair defenseman.
19. Ottawa Senators - Lassi Thomson, D, Kelowna (WHL)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 15 (North American skaters)
Thomson (6-0, 186) was the highest-scoring rookie defenseman in the Western Hockey League with 41 points (17 goals, 24 assists) in 63 games and was third among WHL rookies with seven power-play goals. He was named WHL Western Conference Rookie of the Year and a Western Conference Second Team All-Star. He sustained a concussion and missed the final four games of the regular season but passed his medical exam and participated in the testing during the NHL Scouting Combine.
NHL.com analysis: Thomson didn't need much of an adjustment period coming to North America from Finland, and scouts believe he's the kind of player who will do better on the smaller ice. With Thomson joining a group of young defensemen that includes Thomas Chabot and Erik Brannstrom, the Senators are setting themselves up nicely in that position for a long time.
20. Winnipeg Jets - Ville Heinola, D, Lukko (FIN)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 4 (International skaters)
As one of the most improved players in Finland this season, Heinola (6-0, 178) had 14 points (two goals, 12 assists) in 34 games in Liiga, the country's top professional league. He compensates for his lack of strength with his skating, hockey sense and playmaking ability. Heinola had four points (one goal, three assists) and 26 shots on goal in five games for seventh-place Finland at the 2019 IIHF World U-18 Championship.
NHL.com analysis: With the trade of Jacob Trouba to the New York Rangers and Tyler Myers about to become an unrestricted free agent, defenseman has become a position of need for the Jets. Heinola's skating and smarts make him stand out, and his offensive game will mature as he does physically.
21. Pittsburgh Penguins - Samuel Poulin, RW, Sherbrooke (QMJHL)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 22 (North American skaters)
Poulin (6-1, 212) moved up five spots in NHL Central Scouting's final list of North American skaters from the midterms in January after he had 39 points (14 goals, 25 assists) in his final 30 regular-season games. Poulin, who handles face-off responsibilities well when called upon, played for Canada at the 2019 World U-18 Championship and had two points (one goal, one assist) and finished fourth in the tournament in face-off winning percentage at 63.2 percent. He's the son of former NHL forward Patrick Poulin.
NHL.com analysis: The Penguins made good use of their first pick in the first round since 2014. Poulin is smart, good on face-offs and strong and skilled enough to play anywhere in a lineup.
22. Los Angeles Kings - Tobias Bjornfot, D, Djurgarden Jr. (SWE-JR)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 7 (International skaters)
Bjornfot (6-foot, 193), a left-hand shot, had 22 points (11 goals, 11 assists) and a plus-15 rating in 39 games in Sweden's junior league. A two-way defenseman with good puck control, he is an active skater with good timing on offense and defense. He played seven games for Djurgarden in the Swedish Hockey League late in the regular season and another four in the playoffs.
NHL.com analysis: A bit of a surprise, but Bjornfot should play full-time in the Swedish Hockey League next season and build on his strong season in the junior league. With the young forwards the Kings have drafted the past few years, including Alex Turcotte at No. 5, Bjornfot will be capable of getting them the puck in advantageous situations or creating offense on his own.
23. New York Islanders - Simon Holmstrom, RW, HV 71 Jr. (SWE)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 27 (International skaters)
Holmstrom (6-foot-1, 193), a left-hand shot, plays a power forward-type game, is strong along the boards and in front of the net, and is a good skater. He scored 20 points (seven goals, 13 assists) in 21 games for HV 71 in Sweden's junior division this season; he played one game for HV 71 in the Swedish Hockey League. Holmstrom had six points (three goals, three assists) in seven games to help Sweden win the 2019 IIHF World Under-18 Championship.
NHL.com analysis: This was a bit of a surprise, but the Islanders have been looking to add skill. Holmstrom was a point-per-game player in Sweden's junior league, and scouts were enamored with his skating, vision and top-end speed.
24. Nashville Predators - Philip Tomasino, C, Niagara (OHL)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 14 (North American skaters)
Tomasino (6-0, 183) is a dynamic skater capable of creating time and space while generating good scoring opportunities. The right-hand shot had 72 points (34 goals, 38 assists) in 67 games. He led the Ontario Hockey League with 12 game-winning goals, the most by any player in the league since New York Islanders forward prospect Michael Dal Colle scored 12 for Oshawa in 2014-15. Tomasino was voted runner-up for most improved player and third for best skater in the OHL Eastern Conference Coaches Poll.
NHL.com analysis: The Predators haven't done well with young centers in the draft the past few years, but Tomasino has the talent to change that. He's an outstanding skater who can beat opponents with his skill and creativity with the puck or as an aggressive forechecker able to force defensemen into turnovers.
Video: Predators draft F Philip Tomasino No. 24
25. Washington Capitals - Connor McMichael, C, London (OHL)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 24 (North American skaters)
McMichael (6-0, 182) is a mature player with great deception in his game and good hockey IQ. He has a shoot-first mentality and is an all-around performer capable of playing anywhere in the lineup. McMichael had 72 points (36 goals, 36 assists) in 67 games in his first full season for London after he was acquired from Hamilton for forward Robert Thomas (St. Louis Blues) on Jan. 8, 2018.
NHL.com analysis: The Capitals selected a forward in the first round for the first time since Jakub Vrana in 2014, so McMichael, who has top-end talent, fills a need. He grew into a go-to player for London this season, and if his development stays on the same pace, it won't be long before he adds to a deep, talented forward group in Washington.
26. Calgary Flames - Jakob Pelletier, LW, Moncton (QMJHL)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 27 (North American skaters)
Pelletier (5-9, 165) was seventh in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with 89 points (39 goals, 50 assists) and scored nine power-play goals in 65 games. He possesses elite hockey sense and can out-think opponents to beat them to open areas of the ice.
NHL.com analysis: The Flames added another undersized scoring threat along the lines of Johnny Gaudreau. Pelletier's hockey sense allows him to get in and out of tight spots and be productive while avoiding punishing hits. He's also willing to battle along the boards to make plays.
27. Tampa Bay Lightning - Nolan Foote, LW, Kelowna (WHL)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 37 (North American skaters)
Foote is the son of two-time Stanley Cup champion and Kelowna coach Adam Foote. His brother, defenseman Callan Foote, was selected by the Lightning with the No. 14 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. Nolan (6-3, 195) is a two-way forward with a good combination of size, reach and good hands around the net. He led Kelowna in goals (36), power-play goals (17) and shorthanded goals (three), and was tied for second in points with 63 in 66 games. He played all season with a broken left wrist.
NHL.com analysis: The Lightning have plenty of top-end offensive-minded forward prospects; Foote brings a strong two-way game. And playing all season with a broken wrist shows he is physically and mentally tough.
28. Carolina Hurricanes - Ryan Suzuki, C, Barrie (OHL)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 18 (North American skaters)
Suzuki (6-1, 180) led Barrie with 75 points (25 goals, 50 assists), 28 power-play points (eight goals, 20 assists) and four game-winning goals in 65 games. He was voted best playmaker and runner-up for smartest player and best stick-handler in the Ontario Hockey League Eastern Conference Coaches Poll. He is the younger brother of Montreal Canadiens forward prospect Nick Suzuki.
NHL.com analysis: The Hurricanes got a player considered by some scouts to have the highest hockey IQ in the draft. With forward Andrei Svechnikov, the No. 2 pick of the 2018 NHL Draft, already an NHL player and center Martin Necas, the No. 12 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, close to graduating to full-time NHL duty, Suzuki won't need long to become another core piece of the Carolina attack.
Video: Hurricanes draft F Ryan Suzuki No. 28
29. Anaheim Ducks - Brayden Tracey, LW, Moose Jaw (WHL)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 21 (North American skaters)
Tracey (6-0, 170) made one of the biggest jumps in Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters, to No. 21 from No. 73 on the midterm list. He was named the Western Hockey League Eastern Conference Rookie of the Year after he led first-year WHL players with 81 points (36 goals, 45 assists) and 12 power-play goals in 66 regular-season games. He also tied for first in the WHL with 11 game-winning goals. Tracey sees the ice, anticipates well, and is quick to get to openings for scoring opportunities. He had seven points (four goals, three assists) for Canada at the 2019 IIHF World Under-18 Championship.
NHL.com analysis: The Ducks added to a position of strength with Tracey. What makes him stand out is his ability to produce in clutch moments, and scouts also like his shot and quick release.
30. Boston Bruins - John Beecher, C, USA U-18 (NTDP)
NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 49 (North American skaters)
Beecher (6-3, 212) was a bit overlooked because of the top talent ahead of him on the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team, but his superior speed, especially for his size, allowed him to get up and down the ice and protect the puck in tight. He had 39 points (12 goals, 27 assists) in 56 games despite not seeing first-unit power-play time. He'll continue to develop his game at the University of Michigan next season.
NHL.com analysis: The Bruins got a potential top-six forward with great speed, size and the ability to dominate the puck. He didn't get the attention he might have had he played somewhere other than the NTDP, but he'll have the chance to showcase all his skills next season at Michigan.
31. Buffalo Sabres - Ryan Johnson, D, Sioux Falls (USHL)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 33 (North American skaters)
Committed to the University of Minnesota for next season, the left-hand shot is an elite and elusive skater with a fluid stride with and without the puck. He has good vision and plays a containment-type style with good touch on his passes. Johnson (6-0, 170), the son of former NHL forward Craig Johnson, had 25 points (six goals, 19 assists) and a Sioux Falls-high plus-24 rating in 54 regular-season games and eight points (two goals, six assists) and a plus-6 rating in 12 playoff games.
NHL.com analysis: The Sabres filled a need at forward by taking Dylan Cozens at No. 7, and now add a skilled defenseman who does everything well. With Rasmus Dahlin as the foundation and top prospects Mattias Samuelsson and Oskari Laaksonen close to joining him, Johnson will be allowed to develop his full skill set and become a big piece of a solid top four at defenseman.
Video: Sabres draft D Ryan Johnson No. 31