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Craig Button

TSN Director of Scouting

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New Year’s Eve at the World Juniors is set to feature a clash of the top two prospects on the December edition of Craig’s List ahead of the 2019 NHL Draft.

Team USA and Jack Hughes will face Finland and Kaapo Kakko in Victoria that night, with the two talented forwards sure to be in the spotlight.

Hughes has continued his torrid pace for the U.S. National Development U18 Team this season, racking up 48 points (10 goals, 38 assists) in 25 games. He has been firmly entrenched atop these rankings since September and shows no signs of going anywhere but first overall next June in Vancouver.

Kakko, a winger, has impressed playing against men as a 17-year-old for TPS of the Finnish Liiga. Our No. 2 prospect has 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) in 25 games this season.

Russian right wing Vasili Podkolzin has jumped three spots from our October ranking to land at No. 3 this month. Podkolzin, who is currently playing for his national team at the World Junior A Challenge in Bonnyville, Alta., is a complete player who can excel in all situations. His style of play and approach to the game reminds me of Pavel Datsyuk.

Two Western Hockey League forwards round out the top five. Lethbridge Hurricanes centre Dylan Cozens (16 goals, 25 assists in 30 games) and Saskatoon Blades centre Kirby Dach (14 goals, 28 assists in 33 games) both have the skating and skill necessary to thrive in today’s NHL. There isn’t a team in the league that doesn’t covet their combination of size and talent.

Swedish defenceman Philip Broberg is the highest blueliner on this month’s list at No. 6, followed closely by Bowen Byram of the Vancouver Giants (No. 8). Broberg, an elite skater, and Byram, an elite puck handler, both project as top-pairing defenceman.

Three other American forwards also land in the top 10 this month and it feels like they could form a line for Team USA in the future. Matthew Boldy (No. 7) is a left winger for the USNTDP, Trevor Zegras (No. 9) is a centre for the USNTDP and Arthur Kaliyev (No. 10) plays right wing for the Hamilton Bulldogs of the Ontario Hockey League.

Zegras jumped three spots from No. 12 in our September rankings on the strength of his continued development. An excellent skater, Zegras has also proven he can make plays with his hands, head and feet.

 

Craig's List - December Edition

 
RK Player Team POS HT WT GP G P
1 Jack Hughes USA NTDP (USHL) C 5'10  168 25 10 48
2 Kaapo Kakko Turku (SM Liiga) C/RW 6'2 ¼ 194 25 7 17
3 Vasili Podkolzin St. Petersburg (MHL) RW 6'1 190 10 5 7
4 Dylan Cozens Lethbridge (WHL) C 6'3 181 30 16 41
5 Kirby Dach Saskatoon (WHL) C/RW 6'3 ½ 199 33 14 42
6 Philip Broberg AIK (SWE-Als) D 6'2 ¾ 199 26 0 7
7 Matthew Boldy USA NTDP (USHL) LW 6'2 187 25 15 27
8 Bowen Byram Vancouver (WHL) D 6'0 ½ 191 29 9 25
9 Trevor Zegras USA NTDP (USHL) C 6'0 169 24 13 38
10 Arthur Kaliyev Hamilton (OHL) RW 6'1 ¼ 190 31 24 49
11 Jakob Pelletier Moncton (QMJHL) C/LW 5'9 161 30 19 46
12 Raphael Lavoie Halifax (QMJHL) LW/RW 6'3 ½ 192 29 14 31
13 Cole Caufield USA NTDP (USHL) RW 5'7 155 25 21 29
14 Ilya Nikolaev Yaroslavl (MHL) C 6'0 190 25 5 12
15 Spencer Knight USA NTDP (USHL) G 6'3 197 16 2.40 .922
16 Thomas Harley Mississauga (OHL) D 6'3 188 30 4 24
17 Peyton Krebs Kootenay (WHL) C 5'11 ¼ 180 30 12 35
18 Ryan Suzuki Barrie (OHL) C 6'0 ¼ 178 28 8 34
19 Tobias Bjornfot Djurgardens (SWE J20) D 6'0 202 22 4 10
20 Matthew Robertson Edmonton (WHL) D 6'3 201 26 4 17
21 Albin Grewe Djurgardens (SWE J20) RW 5'10 ½ 187 18 9 25
22 Alex Newhook Victoria (BCHL) C 5'10 ¼ 190 31 18 53
23 Bobby Brink Sioux City (USHL) C/RW 5'8 ¼ 159 19 15 33
24 Victor Soderstrom Brynas (SWE J20) D 5'11 179 14 1 8
25 Cam York USA NTDP (USHL) D 5'11 171 24 2 17
26 Egor Afanasyev Muskegon (USHL) LW 6'3 203 21 12 29
27 Marshall Warren USA NTDP (USHL) D 5'11 169 19 2 10
28 Kaedan Korczak Kelowna (WHL) D 6'2 ¾ 192 32 2 17
29 Samuel Poulin Sherbrooke (QMJHL) C/LW 6'1 ¼ 206 31 14 31
30 Moritz Seider Mannheim (DEL) D 6'3 ½ 183 15 1 1
31 Alex Turcotte USA NTDP (USHL) C 5'11 189 3 1 2
32 Brett Leason Prince Albert (WHL) RW 6'3 ¾ 200 25 10 48
33 Marcus Kallionkieli Sioux City (USHL) LW 6'1 ½ 192 19 13 21
34 Nolan Foote Kelowna (WHL) LW 6'3 ½ 183 30 18 30
35 Alex Vlasic USA NTDP (USHL) D 6'6 193 25 3 11
36 Hunter Jones Peterborough (OHL) G 6'4 196 28 2.72 .921
37 Vladislav Kolyachonok Flint (OHL) D 6'0 ¼ 176 20 0 11
38 Mikko Kokkonen Jukurit (SM Liiga) D 5'11 198 26 1 11
39 Roman Bychkov Yaro (MHL) D 5'11 161 25 1 11
40 Connor McMichael London (OHL) C/LW 5'10 ¾ 172 28 19 31
41 Lassi Thomson Kelowna (WHL) D 6'0 188 32 7 20
42 Nicholas Robertson Peterborough (OHL) LW 5'8 ¾ 159 17 9 17
43 Semyon Chistyakov Ufa (MHL) D 5'10 167 21 1 4
44 Ryder Donovan Duluth East (USHS) C/RW 6'3 ¼ 184 4 1 4
45 Alex Campbell Victoria (BCHL) LW 5'9 ¾ 151 30 14 42
46 Harrison Blaisdell Chilliwack (BCHL) C/LW 5'10 ¼ 180 31 20 37
47 Martin Hugo Has Tappara U20 (SM Liiga Jr) D 6'4 192 23 6 9
48 Ilya Mironov Yaroslavl (MHL) D 6'3 201 20 0 5
49 Jordan Spence Moncton (QMJHL) D 5'9 ½ 164 33 2 27
50 Nils Hoglander Rögle (SHL) LW 5'9 185 25 4 7
51 Daniil Gutik Yaroslavl (MHL) LW 6'3 179 22 3 9
52 Vladislav Firstov Waterloo (USHL) LW 6'0 180 24 13 28
53 Shane Pinto Lincoln (USHL) C/RW 6'1 ½ 188 20 12 23
54 Leevi Aaltonen Kalpa (SM Liiga Jr) RW 5'8 ¾ 177 15 5 15
55 Simon Holmstrom HV71 (SWE J20) RW 6'0 183 7 4 6
56 John Beecher USA NTDP (USHL) C/LW 6'3 204 24 3 14
57 Anttoni Honka JYP (SM Liiga) D 5'10 ¼ 179 15 1 4
58 Nathan Legare Baie Comeau (QMJHL) RW 6'0 205 32 19 45
59 Judd Caulfield USA NTDP (USHL) RW 6'3 204 25 6 21
60 Colten Ellis Rimouski (QMJHL) G 6'0 ¾ 191 24 2.41 .912
61 John Farinacci Dexter Academy (USHS) C 5'11 ¼ 185      
62 Mikhail Abramov Victoriaville (QMJHL) C 5'10 ½ 154 29 3 25