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February Rankings and Reports: 2019 NHL Draft
With the Junior seasons not just in Canada but throughout the world gearing up for the stretch drive and a number of international tournaments (Ivan Hlinka, Five Nations, Four Nations, Subway Super Series, World Juniors) in the books, we have gotten a decent overview of what some of the biggest prospects for the draft are doing this year. This is an up-to-date look and ranking of these prospects. That said, there is still plenty of work to be done and many important games to be played including the junior league playoffs, European playoffs, and of course the Under-18 World Championships. While the rankings still have some fluidity, a pecking order is also starting to define itself. For now, this is what we have, we hope you enjoy the early preview and be sure to be ready in late March as we roll out our full player-by-player draft preview.
6.) Dylan Cozens, Centre/Right Wing, Lethbridge Hurricanes, 6’3″ 185 lbs
Cozens put up 22 goals and 53 points in 57 games last season and earned WHL Rookie of the year honours. He’s followed that up with a strong second season, with 27 goals and 62 points in 53 games. He has an excellent shot and a quick release as well as the soft hands to finish in close. Cozens is not afraid to get to the dirty areas of the ice, establishing position at the top of the slot, where he can fire in one-timers or provide the “high-screen” that many teams are using to great effect in recent years. Cozens also sees the ice very well. He controls the puck in the cycle game before dishing to an open teammate.
Cozens has good speed and agility, especially given his size. His first step is above average as is his acceleration. However, Cozens will need to add muscle to what is currently a lanky frame. This will help him to be more physical on the forecheck, as well as to better support his defence down low. He works hard in his own end, and he tends to be in the right position and make the right reads. However, added strength would make him a two-way force at the junior level.
7.) Alex Turcotte, Centre, U.S. National Team Development Program, 5’11” 194 lbs
Last season, when Jack Hughes was called up to the Under-18 team, Alex Turcotte took over as the top centre on the US NTDP U-17 team. He would also get called up to the Under-18 team later in the season. Turcotte scored 63 points over 58 games. He also added six points in six games at the Under-17 and five points in seven games at the Under-18. He’s was injured early in the season but has come back really strong with 15 goals and 28 points in just 20 games.
Turcotte is another outstanding skater. He has a long and powerful stride that makes it very difficult to knock him off the puck. He controls the play down low, extending the possession and waiting for teammates to get open. When there is an opportunity, he can make a tough pass through tight spaces. Turcotte also has an excellent shot and a quick release. He is relentless in his play, forechecking hard and causing turnovers in the offensive zone and backchecking and playing solid defensively in his own end. His non-stop motor and high-end offensive skills make him a prospect who can play in any situation and fill any role.
8.) Matthew Boldy, Left Wing, U.S. NTDP, 6’2″ 187 lbs
Also playing for the NTDP Boldy has put up 21 goals and 47 points in 42 games this season. This follows up on a solid season with the U-17 squad, including a gold medal at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge. Boldy also shone at the USA Hockey Top Prospects Game scoring two goals and an assist and picking up MVP honours. He is a big forward who uses that to his advantage, winning battles in front of the net and in the corners.
Boldy is a sniper with an excellent wrist shot and release. He also has a very good one-timer. Boldy has shown more creativity as a playmaker this season. He is also good at keeping the cycle game going, letting his teammates catch up. Boldy has shown good vision and the hockey IQ to make his passes to his teammates for good scoring chances. Boldy has a powerful skating stride. He can fight through checks and get to the front of the net. He also has very good agility and his quick changes of direction often cause issues for defenders.
9.) Trevor Zegras, Centre, U.S. NTDP, 6’0″ 168 lbs
Zegras has started the season hot for the US NTDP, putting up 12 goals and 33 points in 19 games. He is committed to Boston University for next season. Zegras finished last season as the top centre on the Under-17 team after Hughes and Turcotte joined the U18 squad. With the injury to Turcotte, he spent most of the early season playing on the NTDP second line and has put up 18 goals and 60 points in 41 games. Zegras is a very good skater. His speed and acceleration are well above average. His agility and edgework are elite though. Zegras is very elusive as he can change directions on a dime and make quick cuts.
Zegras marries his skating ability with the ability to handle the puck and make plays at top speed. He has very good vision and passing skill, helping him to be a primary playmaker on his line. He also has high hockey IQ. Zegras anticipates the movements of his teammates and opponents, allowing him to create offence. While best known as a playmaker, he can score goals with soft hands in tight to the net. His shot is decent but could use some work on having a quicker release.
10.) Philip Broberg, Left Defence, AIK, 6’3″ 198 lbs
Broberg was also extremely impressive at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup, with three goals and four points in five games. He helped the Swedish team to a silver medal. Now back in the Swedish Allsvenskan, Broberg has picked up a goal and eight points in 36 games this year. Broberg also played four games for Sweden at the World Juniors. He has excellent speed, moving effectively in both directions. However, his agility and pivots are merely good and could use some work to reach the same level as his speed. The strong-skating allows Broberg to play an effective two-way game.
Broberg handles the puck well. Combined with his skating, he can take the puck out of danger and move it up the ice. He also has the ability to carry the puck through the neutral zone and create offence on the rush. Broberg also has good vision and passing skills. He starts the transition game by head-manning the puck and can play the point on the power play. His slapshot is hard but could use some improvement on accuracy and on his ability to get it through shooting lanes.
Main Photo: CALGARY, AB – OCTOBER 15: Mark Kastelic #12 of the Calgary Hitmen battles for the puck against Dylan Cozens #24 of the Lethbridge Hurricanes during a WHL game at the Scotiabank Saddledome on October 15, 2017, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)