The first round of the 2019 NHL Draft has come to a close. There were a handful of surprises early in the draft. Good players started to fall and there is still a lot of great talent on the board. Here are my top 10 players available heading into day 2.
1. Raphael Lavoie, RW, Halifax-
Lavoie is one of the top two names still available after round one. He really caught fire late in the season and in the QMJHL playoffs with Halifax. He scored 32 goals and recorded 41 assists in 62 regular season games. Lavoie is one of the drafts best pure goal scorers and should not have to wait too long to hear his name called Saturday afternoon.
2. Arthur Kaliyev, RW, Hamilton-
Arthur Kaliyev is another guy that is a top talent who did not hear his name called Friday evening. Kaliyev along with Lavoie is also a pure goal scorer. In 67 games with Hamilton in the OHL, he scored 51 goals. He has good size and when he rounds out his game, he will become a second-round steal.
3. Bobby Brink, RW, Sioux City-
Brink was projected by many to be drafted in the late 20s. As the first round moved on he didn’t hear his name when those picks were called. One of the top players in the USHL this season Brink has some of the best hockey sense in the class. He is a full-fledged playmaker. Brink is a Denver University commit and should one of the first names called in the third round.
4. Brett Leason, C, Prince Albert-
Brett Leason has been passed over in the last two drafts. The best player on one of the best teams in Canadian Major Junior Hockey looked to potentially be a 1st rounder. Unfortunately, he will have to wait just a bit longer to hear his name called. He registered 89 points in 55 regular season games. He’s got great size and plays the center position well.
5. Nils Hoglander, LW, Rogle-
Hoglander is one of the top Swedes still available. He played with Rogle in the SHL this season. He is a very creative player and consistently does good things with and without the puck. Hoglander is one of the hardest working players in this draft and will make some team very happy 3 or 4 years down the road.
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6. Vladislav Kolyachonok, D, Flint-
Kolyachonok was a late-rising defenseman in this class. He is a smart player and always seems to make the right play. He’s an asset on both the penalty kill and the power play. He is a very raw prospect but he knows how to compete and always comes with intense energy. It could be a few years before he sees the NHL but he has the potential to be a high-reward type of player.
7. Alex Vlasic, D, USNTDP-
Vlasic is another American-born player receiving some first-round consideration. The defensive-minded defenseman is as safe of a pick as a team can get. He can eat up minutes and play on the penalty kill. He stands 6-foot-6, so size is to his advantage. If he can start to develop an offensive aspect to his game he could become a very dangerous defenseman.
8. Egor Afanasyev, RW, Muskegon (USHL)-
I was a lot higher on Afanasyev than most. That could be because I like the power forward type of game. He is a big, strong kid that can also put the puck in the net. Afanasyev likes to drive the net and uses his size to his advantage. He has drawn some Jamie Benn comparisons and should, without a doubt, be a guy to go early in the second round.
9. Pavel Dorofeyev, LW, Magnitogorsk-
Dorofeyev has the talent to be a first-round pick, but many questioned his compete-level. He has a lot of skill but will need to add some muscle to his six-foot frame. The Russian will undoubtedly be a long term project and will most likely spend the next few seasons in the KHL with Magnitogorsk.
10. Albin Grewe, RW/C, Djurgarden Jr.-
Albin Grewe is one of my personal favorites in this draft. I did not expect him to be taken in the first round by any means. However, he chooses to develop could determine his role in the NHL. He could be a bottom-six grinder/agitator type of player or he can work on his puck control and his offensive game and be a top six forward.
Chris Bugajsky covers the Dallas Stars, the NHL and the NHL Draft for Full Press Coverage. Follow Chris on twitter @CBugajsky14.
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