Buffalo Sabres 2019 NHL Draft Rankings: June Edition

ST LOUIS, MISSOURI - JUNE 03: National Hockey League prospect Jack Hughes speaks with the media at Enterprise Center on June 03, 2019 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MISSOURI - JUNE 03: National Hockey League prospect Jack Hughes speaks with the media at Enterprise Center on June 03, 2019 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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Buffalo Sabres
National Hockey League prospect Dylan Cozens speaks with the media at Enterprise Center. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Cozens was the second-best centre and third best player in rankings for most of the year. However, incredible second halves from Turcotte and Byram pushed him down the list.

He was able to play on a Lethbridge squad that was poised to contend for a WHL championship this season, and as the Hurricanes’ top young gun heading into the year, Cozens had high expectations.

His regular season was great. The pivot finished with 34 goals and a team-high 84 points while appearing in every game.

Unfortunately, Cozens and his teammates didn’t get the chance to play for a Memorial Cup as they were bounced by the Calgary Hitmen in seven games. The centreman pulled his weight in the series, scoring four times and finishing with eight points.

"“One of the more explosive skaters in the draft, Cozens makes plays on the rush and can escape pressure. He lacks the same level of hockey sense of some of the players ahead of him, but he is no slouch in that regard, either.” – Chris Peters, ESPN"

Following the season, Cozens had a big U-18 tournament with nine points in seven games for Canada.

There’s only been one player that hails from Whitehorse, YT to ever be drafted into the NHL. That was Peter Spurgeon, who was selected by the Boston Bruins 45 years ago. He was a second-rounder, which means Cozens will comfortably become the highest-drafted player from the Yukon.

He has all the makings of an exciting top-six centre that every team would love to have. He’s a lock for the top 10 and will become a franchises top prospect in short order.

Dach and Cozens have been battling to be the best centre hailing from the WHL in this class, and while we have Cozens ranked ahead before the draft, the tall pivot from Saskatoon is going to be off the board in a hurry come June 21.

A former second overall pick in the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft, Dach was the man to help get Saskatoon back to the playoffs – which they hadn’t made since 2013 when they hosted the Memorial Cup.

The team made it back into the playoffs this year with help from Dach, who finished third in team scoring with 73 points in 62 games. He also had eight points in 10 postseason contests.

Dach also scored this absolute beauty against the Prince Albert Raiders during the second round:

He did miss the U-18 World Championships due to injury.

"“A pass-first centre who owns great awareness and deft puck skills. Uses his body well to protect the puck and exploit seams. He lacks explosiveness with his skating and can stand to play with more pace at times.” – Cam Robinson, Dobber Prospects"

Because of the faster nature of today’s game, taller players generally fall down rankings unless they have elite foot speed. While Dach doesn’t possess the wheels that Cozens does, he does have a multitude of other skills that’ll make him a force at the next level.

There was a heap of talent up front for The Program this year, which forced Boldy, an extremely skilled forward, further down rankings.

The Millis, MA., native made his debut with the USNT Juniors last year and finished with over a point per game against USHL competition.

This season, Boldy did even better, posting 124 points across 92 games. He ends his USNTDP career averaging 1.25 points per game for the U-18 squad.

"“Silky, silky, silky. Boldy loves to use his teammates and takes pride in his soft touch and exceptional vision. Owns a deadly release to compliment the play creation. Acts a chameleon by providing exactly what is needed depending on his mates or the situation.” – Cam Robinson, Dobber Prospects"

Speaking of U-18, he showed out at the World Championships, with 12 points in seven games.

He’s incredible to watch with the puck on his stick and, unlike some wingers, he loves setting up teammates as much as scoring goals. Boldy will be taking his talents to Boston College, where he’ll form a dynamic freshman duo with fellow lottery hopeful Alex Newhook.

NHL Draft
Vasili Podkolzin #11 of Russia skates with the puck in the Bronze Medal game of the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images) /

Podkolzin’s fall in the rankings has nothing to do with his ability. He’s undoubtedly one of the most versatile and skilled forwards in this entire class.

The Russian isn’t expected to come over to North America for at least two more years. Unlike most years, there are several teams that aren’t looking to be in a rebuild at this time next year – the Rangers, Blackhawks, Kings, and Ducks are teams that come to mind first. That means many of the teams won’t be looking for a player that they have to wait on for that long.

"“Reasons for doubt include inability to produce in league play and a U18 tournament that saw him come on only at the end to finish with four points in seven games.” – Sam Cosentino, Sportsnet"

After finishing with just under a point per game in the Russian junior league, Podkolzin was able to feature in 14 contests for the VHL team. He also appeared in three contests for SKA St. Petersburg.

They are continually one of the best teams in the KHL and Podkolzin will likely have a good chance to play in the second best league in the world and compete for a Gagarin Cup in the future.

That desire to stay and play domestically is going to hurt him when it comes to this year’s draft, though.

It was a very interesting season for Krebs, who was named as the captain of Kootenay at just 17 years old.

On top of being the leader of the team, he had to put in a solid season in order to maintain his status as a top prospect in this class.

He did well individually, posting 68 points in 64 games. Unfortunately for him, the team was one of the worst in the WHL. The team went 13-45-10 on the year and finished second to last in the league.

"“Despite playing on a dramatically bad team (the Kootenay Ice won 13 of 68 games this season), Krebs averaged more than a point per game, and over 70 percent of those were primary points. That’s not easy to do, especially as a draft-eligible player.” – Hannah Stuart, theScore"

Krebs will hopefully have a more competitive roster surrounding him next season, as he could’ve finished much higher in rankings if the ICE were better.

The winger recently had surgery for an Achilles injury suffered during offseason training. While he’ll likely miss the first chunk of next season, Krebs wasn’t a likely candidate to crack an NHL roster right away. The injury shouldn’t change his draft stock.