The NHL Entry Draft is one of the most exciting times for NHL hockey fans, it’s one of the only events of the year where every team has a chance to get better despite how their last season ended. That day is quickly approaching and the Anaheim Ducks have 2 picks in the first round.
The first round of the NHL draft, the first day of free agency, and the trade deadline are my 3 favorite hockey days of the year. We’re now only 11 short days from the first round of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft and my excitement cannot be contained. The Anaheim Ducks have two picks in the first round this year and a chance to change the course of the franchise.
I’ve spent a lot of time watching draft-eligible prospects and, while I’m no expert, I don’t claim to be and these are just my personal thoughts and analysis based on my amateur opinion. I’ve ranked the Top 35 prospects in the draft, last article we covered 15-10 this article we’ll be covering the top 9 starting with 1 and 2, as they are fairly obvious.
I’ll be ranking these players based on overall ability and potential rather than where they would rank as a potential Duck and this is not a mock draft. I will be doing a final mock draft before the draft. If you’re interested in an early mock draft here is one from a month ago, and make sure to stay tuned for my final mock draft within the next 2 weeks.
1- Jack Hughes-C-USNTDP
Jack Hughes is, in my opinion, the best prospect in this entire draft. A smaller stature player standing 5’10 and a diminutive 166lbs Jack Hughes doesn’t let his size stop him from dominating his opponents, using his incredibly fast skating, his incredible vision, and off-the-charts hockey IQ to make his opponents look like children.
Jack Hughes is the next big thing and has every chance to join the ranks of Auston Matthews, Connor McDavid, Nathan MacKinnon, John Tavares, and Patrick Kane as a franchise-altering player. Hughes game reminds me quite a bit of Patrick Kane in the juniors as a pass first center with a sneaky good shot. Playing in the NHL he could keep that trajectory, but it would not surprise me at all if he used his silky smooth puck handling ability to be a big-time goal scorer in the NHL.
2- Kaapo Kakko-RW- TPS (SM-liiga)
Honestly, you could easily have Kaapo Kakko over Hughes and it wouldn’t be a reach. Kakko is just as franchise changing of a player as Hughes. He has a bigger frame, standing 6’2 and almost 200lbs. There’s nothing on the ice that Kakko doesn’t do well, he’s good on the puck, he’s good off the puck, he can shoot, he can pass, he has great hockey IQ, he has good vision, he’s not a slouch defensively, he’s a good skater.
The list goes on and on. I would not be surprised in the slightest if this draft followed in the footsteps of the 2004 draft with Hughes being Malkin and Kakko being Ovechkin as two wildly successful players who go 1 and 2. The only thing that really puts Hughes over Kakko to me is that Hughes is a center which adds just a bit more value to him.