Size, speed, and skill. The perfect blend that any team would love to bring into the fold.
At the moment, Cozens is the top Canadian on the board and it’s likely that he’ll maintain his position heading into June.
Lethbridge is currently in a playoff spot and should be able to put on a decent showing in the WHL playoffs. Cozens sits second on the team in scoring with 75 points in his draft year.
Standing at 6-foot-3, the rangy centre possesses incredible speed for his frame. He also has a very impressive release and uses that breakaway speed to create lanes to open up teammates.
There’s always a team looking for help down the middle in the top 10. Luckily for those organizations, there is more than enough talent at centre in the first round. Cozens looks to be one of the best options at that position after Hughes is taken.
The main focus on the U.S. Development Program is obviously Hughes. But Turcotte has been an excellent second line centre behind the projected first overall pick.
Turcotte missed a big chunk of the season due to injury, but after returning full-time in late December, he’s lit it up offensively.
Along with his offensive prowess, Turcotte is a 200-foot player who plays a smart game. He’ll be off the board in a hurry with several rebuilding teams looking for help down the middle.
The Island Lake, IL., native will be heading to the University of Wisconsin next season, where he’ll be able to play against some older competition before making his way to the NHL.
Byram is the best defenceman on the board this year, and while he isn’t a right-handed shot, teams will settle for a feisty rearguard who has legitimate top-pairing potential.
He’s always been solid on the defensive end, but now, the offensive side of his game is coming around. Byram is firing at nearly a point-per-game pace and sits third on the Giants in goals on the year.
2018 had more defenceman at the top of the board. The team that gets Byram will have a special player on their hands. For the teams that miss out, however, trading back could be the best option rather than reaching for another blue-liner in the top 10.
Dach being this low on the board speaks to just how much talent there is in this draft.
He and Cozens have both flip-flopped on most boards due to their respective talent and output this season.
One thing that Dach doesn’t possess is that elite speed, but he still has a smooth stride. He’s been described as an individual who leans more towards passing the puck. But he’s certainly become more reliant on taking matters into his own hands this season.
There’s a chance that Dach could jump into the top five with a strong performance the rest of the season. Depending on the team, he could be looked at differently than Cozens. It all depends on how the draft order works out.
While Turcotte missed time and Hughes was away at the World Juniors, USNTDP head coach John Wroblewski turned to Zegras. He played in his natural centre position for a stretch of the season, but with the team’s two main pivots back in the lineup, he’s moved over to Hughes’ wing on the first line.
He’s the perfect centre for an organization to pick up and develop: 6-foot frame, good puck skills, vision, and passing. He just goes out every game and gets the job done.
Next year, Zegras will be heading to Boston University. He could spend a year or two in the NCAA and then make the jump to the pro level.
Boldy has lost a little bit of steam when it comes to draft hype, but a team picking at the back end of the top 10 will be thrilled if they can get their hands on the winger.
He has put up 35 goals on the year. He’s a goal scorer above all else, but he has exceptional vision and passing ability as well. His skating isn’t the best but that could be improved over time.
Boldy is producing over a point per game pace in the USHL this season. He’ll be attending Boston College next year. That should give him some great experience and grow his game even further.
Krebs was the first overall pick in the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft. Unfortunately, his short tenure in the WHL hasn’t exactly been easy. Over his first two full seasons, Kootenay has only won 38 combined games – four WHL teams have bested that number already this season.
Despite only being a part of 11 wins this season, Krebs has been the driving force for the ICE’s attack, posting well over a point per game.
Krebs is a playmaker first and foremost. He’s exhibited a great ability to distribute the puck while making creative plays. He also possesses one of the best motors in the entire class. He brings it every night and his effort never wavers.
The 17-year-old has also been given the captaincy in Kootenay this season. Many think he’ll be wearing a letter at some point in his pro career as well.