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Craig Button

TSN Director of Scouting

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Finnish winger Kaapo Kakko got the better of Jack Hughes in the gold-medal game at the World Junior Championship, but he still remains behind the American centre in the January edition of Craig’s List ahead of the 2019 NHL Draft.

Kakko put his name in the World Junior history books by scoring the winning goal for Finland Saturday night in the gold-medal game against the U.S.

While Kakko had a strong tournament, I still don’t see a better player available in this draft than Hughes, who was limited by injury at the World Juniors but has been outstanding with the U.S. National Development U18 Team this season.

Instead, Kakko is in a race with Russian right wing Vasili Podkolzin (No. 3) and Lethbridge Hurricanes centre Dylan Cozens (No. 4) to establish the second-best prospect in this draft class.

Cozens, the WHL's rookie of the year last season, has been pushing his game to new levels this season. The Whitehorse native has 55 points (23 goals, 32 assists) in 39 games and brings a rare combination of size and skill to the table.

Our top five is rounded out by Swedish defenceman Philip Broberg, still the highest blueline prospect on our board. Broberg, who replaced injured Maple Leafs prospect Timothy Liljegren on Sweden’s World Junior roster, is an elite-skating defenceman who is playing for Sweden's AIK this season.

USNTDP centre Trevor Zegras is up three spots to No. 6 this month as his raw skill continues to shine through. The Boston University commit is a skilled playmaker and excellent skater with a lot of runway for development.

Zegras’ USTDP teammate Matthew Boldy, a left wing, holds steady at No. 7 this month, while Saskatoon Blades centre Kirby Dach, who has 46 points (16 goals, 30 assists) in 39 games, is at No. 8.

The top 10 is completed by Arthur Kaliyev (No. 9), a winger for the Hamilton Bulldogs of the Ontario Hockey League who has 31 goals in 40 games this season, and Vancouver Giants defenceman Bowen Byram (No. 10).

One name just outside of the top 20 to watch is Prince Albert Raiders right winger Brett Leason, who lands at No. 21 this month after sitting at No. 32 in December.

Leason, who was passed over in the last two drafts, had five points in five games for Canada at the World Juniors and has 66 points (28 goals, 38 assists) in 33 WHL games this season. His style of play reminds me of Ottawa Senators star Mark Stone, who was also a late-bloomer.

 

Craig's List - January

 
RK Player Team POS HT WT GP G P
1 Jack Hughes USA NTDP (USHL) C 5'10 ¼ 168 25 10 48
2 Kaapo Kakko Turku (SM Liiga) C/RW 6'2 ¼ 194 27 9 20
3 Vasili Podkolzin St. Petersburg (MHL) RW 6'1 183 10 5 7
4 Dylan Cozens Lethbridge (WHL) C 6'3 181 39 23 55
5 Philip Broberg AIK (SWE-Als) D 6'2 ¾ 199 28 0 7
6 Trevor Zegras USA NTDP (USHL) C 6'0 166 31 13 44
7 Matthew Boldy USA NTDP (USHL) LW 6'1 ½ 187 32 19 33
8 Kirby Dach Saskatoon (WHL) C/RW 6'3 ½ 199 39 16 46
9 Arthur Kaliyev Hamilton (OHL) RW 6'1 ¼ 190 40 31 63
10 Bowen Byram Vancouver (WHL) D 6'0 ½ 194 38 10 33
11 Jakob Pelletier Moncton (QMJHL) C/LW 5'9 161 39 21 55
12 Ilya Nikolaev Yaroslavl (MHL) C 6'0 190 27 5 13
13 Cole Caufield USA NTDP (USHL) RW 5'6 ¾ 155 32 28 39
14 Raphael Lavoie Halifax (QMJHL) LW/RW 6'3 ½ 191 36 19 42
15 Spencer Knight USA NTDP (USHL) G 6'2 ½ 193 16 2.40 .922
16 Thomas Harley Mississauga (OHL) D 6'3 188 39 6 33
17 Peyton Krebs Kootenay (WHL) C 5'11 ¼ 180 38 14 47
18 Cam York USA NTDP (USHL) D 5'11 ¼ 171 31 2 20
19 Victor Soderstrom Brynas (SWE J20) D 5'11 179 22 2 4
20 Matthew Robertson Edmonton (WHL) D 6'3 201 32 5 21
21 Brett Leason Prince Albert (WHL) RW 6'3 ¾ 200 33 28 66
22 Tobias Bjornfot Djurgardens (SWE J20) D 6'0 202 24 6 12
23 Ville Heinola Lukko (SM Liiga) D 5'11 ¼ 178 23 1 6
24 Albin Grewe Djurgardens (SWE J20) RW 5'10 ½ 187 19 11 28
25 Alex Newhook Victoria (BCHL) C 5'10 ¼ 190 35 21 63
26 Bobby Brink Sioux City (USHL) C/RW 5'8 ¼ 159 19 15 33
27 Egor Afanasyev Muskegon (USHL) LW 6'3 203 28 16 36
28 Alex Turcotte USA NTDP (USHL) C 5'11 189 10 5 10
29 Ryan Suzuki Barrie (OHL) C 6'0 ¼ 178 37 12 40
30 Moritz Seider Mannheim (DEL) D 6'3 ½ 183 24 1 4
31 Marshall Warren USA NTDP (USHL) D 5'10 ½ 169 26 4 14
                 
32 Samuel Poulin Sherbrooke (QMJHL) C/LW 6'1 ¼ 206 39 15 41
33 Connor McMichael London (OHL) C/LW 5'10 ¾ 172 19 13 21
34 Vladislav Kolyachonok Flint (OHL) D 6'0 ¼ 176 29 1 20
35 Hunter Jones Peterborough (OHL) G 6'4 196 35 2.89 .918
36 Nathan Legare Baie Comeau (QMJHL) RW 6'0 205 40 28 57
37 Kaedan Korczak Kelowna (WHL) D 6'2 ¾ 192 39 3 19
38 Alex Vlasic USA NTDP (USHL) D 6'5 ¾ 193 30 3 13
39 Nolan Foote Kelowna (WHL) LW 6'3 ¼ 183 37 20 35
40 Marcus Kallionkieli Sioux City (USHL) LW 6'1 ½ 192 25 15 25
41 Vladislav Firstov Waterloo (USHL) LW 6'0 180 31 16 35
42 Mikko Kokkonen Jukurit (SM Liiga) D 5'11 198 34 1 12
43 Roman Bychkov Yaro (MHL) D 5'11 161 27 2 12
44 Ryder Donovan Duluth East (USHS) C/RW 6'3 ¼ 184 12 6 18
45 Phillip Tomasino Niagara (OHL) C 5'11 ¾ 178 38 19 41
46 Ryan Johnson Sious Falls (USHL) D 5'11 ¾ 162 23 2 11
47 Nicholas Robertson Peterborough (OHL) LW 5'8 ¾ 159 27 14 27
48 Harrison Blaisdell Chilliwack (BCHL) C/LW 5'10 ¼ 180 33 26 44
49 Alex Campbell Victoria (BCHL) LW 5'9 ¾ 151 34 14 46
50 Martin Hugo Has Tappara (SM Liiga Jr) D 6'4 187 23 6 9
51 Jordan Spence Moncton (QMJHL) D 5'9 ½ 164 42 3 34
52 Semyon Chistyakov Ufa (MHL) D 5'10 167 23 1 4
53 Simon Holmstrom HV71 (SWE J20) RW 6'0 183 7 4 6
54 Leevi Aaltonen Kalpa (SM Liiga Jr) RW 5'8 ¾ 154 17 7 20
55 Reece Newkirk Portland (WHL) C 5'10 ¾ 172 39 18 43
56 Shane Pinto Lincoln (USHL) C/RW 6'1 ½ 188 24 15 28
57 Daniil Gutik Yaroslavl (MHL) LW 6'3 179 24 3 9
58 Colten Ellis Rimouski (QMJHL) G 6'0 ½ 191 29 2.49 .910
59 Ilya Mironov Yaroslavl (MHL) D 6'3 201 22 1 6
60 Kirill Slepets Yaroslavl (MHL) RW 5'10 165 5 2 3
61 Lassi Thomson Kelowna (WHL) D 6'0 188 38 7 25
62 Layton Ahac Prince George (BCHL) D 6'2 196 35 0 18
                 
63 Robert Mastrosimone Chicago (USHL) LW 5'9 ½ 158 22 12 22
64 Samuel Hlavaj Lincoln (USHL) G 6'3 ½ 187 25 15 25
65 Nikita Alexandrov Charlottetown (QMJHL) C 6'0 179 37 18 36
66 Nils Hoglander Rögle (SHL) LW 5'8 183 28 4 6
67 Judd Caulfield USA NTDP (USHL) RW 6'3 204 32 6 22
68 Jamieson Rees Sarnia (OHL) C 5'10 173 18 7 17
69 Jake Lee Seattle (WHL) D 6'1 ¾ 216 36 2 18
70 Drew Helleson USA NTDP (USHL) D 6'2 ¼ 181 32 4 12
71 Mikhail Abramov Victoriaville (QMJHL) C 5'10 ½ 154 34 4 29
72 Case McCarthy USA NTDP (USHL) D 6'0 ½ 194 31 4 14
73 John Farinacci Dexter Academy (USHS) C 5'11 ¼ 185 - - -
74 Nikita Okhotyuk Ottawa (OHL) D 6'0 ¾ 189 28 0 5
75 John Beecher USA NTDP (USHL) C/LW 6'2 ¾ 204 31 4 18