The busiest week of the NHL season is here and there’s been a ton of trade chatter ahead of Friday’s draft. We break down the contract extension signed by Erik Karlsson, the Jacob Trouba trade and the moves made by Philadelphia. We also run down potential draft targets for the Sabres at pick seven and 31. We close the show with a brief conversation over Rasmus Ristolainen surfacing in trade chatter in the wake of Karlsson and Trouba’s deals.
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The 2019 draft is just a few days away, and with that comes my 2019 Mock Draft. The mock is done with the help of pre-draft rankings and scouting reports from The Athletic (most notably Corey Pronman), ISS Hockey, and the draft team at TSN led by Craig Button and Bob McKenzie, and. The mock was done with no draft floor trades being made, as it’s tough to zero in on what picks are truly in play and what is just hearsay.
New Jersey Devils- Jack Hughes, Center, USNTDP, USHL
While Kaapo Kakko has made discussions about who should go first overall a bit less one sided with his recent play at the World Championships, the Devils still opt for Hughes. The addition of Hughes gives New Jersey a solid 1-2 punch down the middle, as Hughes can team up with 20 year old Nico Hischier to anchor the top two lines in Newark for the foreseeable future; having Travis Zajac for a few more years is an added bonus as it allows Hughes to play some sheltered minutes and see better matchups in his rookie season
New York Rangers- Kaapo Kakko, Left Wing, TPS, Liiga
The Rangers have the easiest decision in the first round as they will gladly scoop up one of Kakko or Hughes at 2nd overall. Kakko was the consensus number two pick behind Hughes for the duration of the ranking process leading up to the draft and his displays in Slovakia at the worlds only reinforced that sentiment. Kakko accelerates the Rangers rebuild with his dynamic scoring ability and allows New York to possibly get creative with their surplus of picks in 2019 and 2020 in an effort to further improve their roster for this season. Continue reading →