Kaapo Kakko could be a big addition for the Blueshirts at No. 2.
Chris Peters is ESPN’s NHL draft and prospects analyst. The Chicago native previously covered the NHL for CBSSports.com and founded the popular independent blog UnitedStatesofHockey.com where he covered the game at all levels since 2010.
For 16 teams, the Stanley Cup playoffs are in full swing. The other 15 look ahead to the 2019 NHL draft on June 21.
Since our first run through the first round, there has been plenty of movement. We still have the scouting combine, pre-draft team meetings and more ahead of us, so expect more shuffling as draft day in Vancouver approaches.
Let’s see how the first round is shaping up with our second mock draft — and the first post-lottery one — of the year.
Note: This mock uses the draft lottery results for the opening and the reverse order of the NHL standings after that, alternating between the West and East for the final four picks. As you’ll note, the Tampa Bay Lightning are still in the last spot, despite being on the brink of elimination. We’ll have more mocks before draft time, but for now, we stick to regular-season point totals for the playoff team draft positions.
Jack Hughes, C, U.S. National U18 Team (NTDP)
Adding Hughes could significantly change the dynamic of New Jersey’s offensive attack. A one-two punch of Hughes and Nico Hischier would give the Devils a formidable duo for years to come. Landing the No. 1 pick should also be a nice enticement for Taylor Hall to hang around as he heads into the final year of his contract.
Kaapo Kakko, RW, TPS (Liiga)
Kakko is a game-changer for the Rangers’ rebuild. He’d be more of a cornerstone piece than any prospect currently in their deep system. He brings a scoring threat to the wing and can reach the NHL right away.