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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NHL Draft
The Calgary Flames staff pose following the 2018 NHL Draft. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

It’s official, Cole Caufield is the greatest scorer in the history of the USNTDP.

In USHL play this season, he finished with 41 points in 28 games. More impressively, he finished with over a goal per game. In exhibition games, Caufield 43 goals and 59 points in 36 games.

Caufield would manage to pass Phil Kessel for most goals in USNTDP history with a six-tally, seven-point performance in a 12-4 win over the Green Bay Gamblers.

He finished up his campaign with a U-18 tournament that saw him score 14 times in seven games and finish second in tournament scoring with 18 points.

"“Hyper-skilled but undersized winger brings all the offensive tools you can handle. Owns the best release in the class and that helped him click at a goal-per-game with The Program.” – Cam Robinson, Dobber Prospects"

When you see Caufield’s height and goal-scoring ability, the immediate comparison is Alex Debrincat. The American winger has filled nets at every level and should have no problem doing the same in the pros once he makes the jump from the University of Wisconsin, where he’ll be heading this fall.

He has done everything possible to push for a top 10 spot in this draft, and while he’s just missed the mark in these rankings, don’t be surprised to see a team take the best pure goal scorer in this draft earlier than No. 11.

Newhook is the latest Junior A prospect that is slated to go high in the NHL Draft. He’s also an example of a player who would’ve been ranked higher had it not been for him playing against what’s perceived as lesser talent.

After posting 66 points in 45 games last season, Newhook utterly dominated the BCHL this year with Victoria, scoring 38 goals and 102 points in 53 contests. That was 18 points more than the second-highest scorer in the league in 2018-19.

"“A highly skilled, silky center who can get around defenders and create space to make plays, Newhook dominated the BCHL ranks. A strong performance at the World U18s showed he can compete with the best of the best in his age group.” – Chris Peters, ESPN"

A big U-18 tournament has cemented Newhook as a lottery talent. He’ll be one of the most interesting centre prospect to keep track of over the next few years, as he could be electric alongside Boldy at Boston College next year.

Following Byram, there’s a lot of debate as to who is the second-best blue-liner in this draft is. There are a lot of very skilled options outside of the top 10, but Söderström has proven that he’s

Firstly, he’s a right-handed shot, which every team in the NHL is coveting in today’s game. He is under 6-feet, but he has the ability to exceed in both the offensive and defensive zones.

He started out the season behind Phillip Broberg as the top Swedish defender, but after posting solid numbers while playing 44 games in the SHL with Brynas, he quickly jumped his compatriot.

"“A graceful puck rusher who at the age of 18 plays the position like a poised veteran, Soderstrom proved to be too advanced for the J20 Superelit and eventually earned a regular shift in the SHL.” – Steve Kournianos, Sporting News"

Brynäs was able to help develop Mattias Ekholm and Adam Boqvist – who was selected eighth overall by the Chicago Blackhawks last year. They’ll now have another top pick in Söderström, who will only get more responsibility on the back end next season.

While the spotlight has been on the forwards of The Program during the year, they do have some very promising defenders, starting with York.

In 28 USHL games this year, York finished with seven goals and 33 points.

York’s best performance came in an 11-3 blowout of the Youngstown Phantoms back in January. He finished with a hat trick and seven points. That set the single-game record for most points by a USNT player in the USHL.

He didn’t make an appearance on the American blue line during the World Juniors, he did feature heavily at the U-18 World Championships, where York had 11 points in seven contests.

"“Puck moving defenceman who can get it done on the power play, his U18 numbers are amongst the best single tournament totals ever put up by a defenceman with 11 points in seven games.” – Sam Cosentino, Sportsnet"

As is the case with his USNTDP teammates, York will be playing for the University of Michigan this fall. Depending on the team that takes him, he could come out of school after a year or opt to stay and play against NCAA opponents and grow his game further.

He’ll be a power play quarterback and a weapon on a back end in the NHL in the coming years.

NHL Draft
Philip Broberg #25 of Sweden versus Finland at the IIHF World Junior Championships. (Photo by Kevin Light/Getty Images) /

Broberg started out the year with many believing he’d be a top 10 prospect in this draft.

He proved that he was better than domestic players in his age group, putting up eight points in as many games with the AIK J20 team in the SuperElit. However, he only was able to muster nine points in 41 games in the Allsvenskan.

At international tournaments, the 6-foot-3 rearguard shined, displaying his great skating and capabilities on both sides of the puck.

"“One of the more powerful skating strides in this class. At his size, his ability to wheel out of the zone is unique. Lacks the puck-handling skills necessary to be proficient offensively at it at this stage though.” – Cam Robinson, Dobber Prospects"

Broberg will be making the jump to the SHL next season as he joins Skellefteå AIK on a one-year deal. The 18-year-old has already said he’s going to focus on improving the play in his own end against older competition.

He may not be the highest rated defender in this class, but he’s one of the most intriguing. He has a high ceiling. The question will be if he can reach it.