The 2019 draft was only 3 years ago, so it is certainly early to be judging a players entire career, but it’s fun to take a look at how differently things could have ended up. The 2019 draft produced some very talented players that have the potential to take over the NHL, let’s take a look at how the real 2019 NHL draft panned out.
We will be re-drafting the top 10 from this draft, which features stars who will stay in the top 10 such as Jack Hughes and Moritz Seider, but has some guys come into the top 10 from the outside, such as Cole Caufield and Alex Newhook. That being said, let’s hop right into it.
1. New Jersey Devils
The New Jersey Devils original drafted Jack Hughes, and I think it should stay that way. Jack has played all 3 seasons since the 2019 draft in the NHL, but has certainly needed time to grow into his adult body, he came into the league being fairly small. He had shown great improvement over each year in the NHL as well. In his first season he had 21 points, second season he had 31 points, and in his third season he had 56 points, being over a point per game as he only played in 49 games. Jack has struggled with some injuries, but regardless he is showing strong year over year development and progress in his game, and he was certainly a ton of fun to watch in the 2021-2022 season, especially his OT winner where he threw his stick over the glass as a celebration. Jack is still the player with the highest potential in this draft.
2. New York Rangers
The New York Rangers originally drafted Kaapo Kakko with the number 2 pick, but Kakko has struggled and certainly doesn’t stay as the number 2. The new No.2 pick is defenseman Moritz Seider. The 21 year old defenseman made his NHL debut this past season, he spent the 2019-2020 season in the AHL and the 2020-2021 season in the top level of Sweden due to the entire Covid situation. In the AHL, Seider had 22 points in 49 games, certainly promising from a 18 year old in the AHL. He then went to the Swedish professional league, where he put up 28 points in 41 games, showing consistency across leagues. He then made the step up to the NHL this season, and flourished for the Red Wings, playing in all 82 games where he scored 7 goals and assisted 43 for a total of 50 points. Seider played in 3 different leagues across 3 years, and showed his ability consistently across all of them. Seider won the Calder Memorial trohpy (rookie of the year award) this season, beating out Trevor Zegras who was also in the 2019 draft. The Rangers certainly would pick Seider if they were able to go back in time, in my opinion.
3. Chicago Blackhawks
The Chicago Blackhawks originally selected Kirby Dach at No.3, but he is another prospect that has struggled at the NHL level. In this re-draft, The Blackhawks would select Trevor Zegras. Zegras played 24 games in the 2020-2021 season where he had 13 points, but his first true NHL season was this past year, the 2021-2022 season. Zegras played in 75 games with the Ducks, scoring 23 goals and assisting 38 for a total of 61 points. A very strong campaign from the center, who often shows off his talents through sweet moves and passes. The Blackhawks would have probably traded Zegras away because they decided to trade everyone on the team away, but he certainly has a higher value that Dach and I believe the Blackhawks would have selected him if they could go back to draft day.
4. Colorado Avalanche
The 2021-2022 Stanley Cup Champions selected Bowen Byram at 4th overall in the 2019 draft, and he has unfortunately faced a lot of injury issues, but is a very good player. In this re-draft, the Colorado Avalanche select Cole Caufield at fourth overall. Caufield played 10 games in the 2020-2021 season, putting up 5 points in the regular season, but he was playing in Montreal’s run to the cup final, where he had 4 goals and 8 assists in 20 playoff games. In the 2021-2022 regular season, Caufield struggled at the start, but eventually found his game when the Canadiens hired Martin St. Louis as their new coach. Caufield played in 67 games in the 2021-2022 season, scoring 23 goals and assisting 20 for a total of 43 points. On a struggling Canadiens team, Caufield found a way to still put up decent numbers. I would imagine if he was playing for the Cup Winning Avalanche, his numbers would have been even better. Caufield was originally selected at No. 15, but we move him up to the No. 4 spot.
5. LA Kings
The LA Kings originally selected Alex Turcotte in the 2019 draft, but he has struggled to even make the Kings roster, playing in only 8 NHL games total, and putting up 0 points. In this re-draft, the Kings select Matthew Boldy at 5th overall. Boldy made his NHL debut with the Minnesota Wild in the 2021-2022 season, but put up great numbers. The 21 year old winger scored 15 goals and assisted 24 for a total of 39 points in just 47 games. If Boldy played the entire season, he was on pace to be a 65+ point guy. He only had 1 point in 6 playoff games, but overall he had a solid rookie campaign and certainly shows that he has the talent to be successful in the NHL. Boldy was originally drafted 12th overall in the 2019 draft.
6. Detroit Red Wings
The Detroit Red Wings originally got Moritz Seider at sixth overall, which was an absolute steal considering I moved him up to pick #2. Based off of that, in this re-draft the Red Wings select Bowen Byram. The Red Wings certainly were looking for a defenseman, and Byram is very good when he is healthy. He has faced a lot of concussion issues in his career, which certainly hurt his draft stock, but he was still selected at fourth overall in the real 2019 draft. Byram is a very good player when healthy, he played 30 regular season games for the Avalanche in the 2021-2022 season, where he had 5 goals and 12 assists for a total of 17 points. In playoffs he played in 20 games and had 9 points, being a +15. Byram is certainly a defenseman that could be a top 4 guy on any team for his entire career, the only issues is his ability to stay healthy.
7. Buffalo Sabres
In the 2019 draft the Sabres selected Dylan Cozens, in my re-draft, they select Dylan Cozens. Cozens went 7th overall and I believe it should stay that way. He was playing on the Sabres in the 2021-2022 season, the Sabres were one of the worst offensive teams in the league, but Cozens managed to put up 38 points in 79 games in his first full season. Cozens certainly has a lot of talent and could be a big part of helping build the Sabres up into being a playoff team, a solid pick in the draft by the Sabres.
8. Edmonton Oilers
The Oilers originally selected Philip Broberg at 8th overall in the draft, but in this re-draft the Oilers selected Alex Newhook. Broberg is a 6 foot 3 defenseman who played in 23 games in 2021-2022 with the Oilers, he had 3 points and was a -8, he also played 1 game in playoffs with a 0 points, 0 PIMS, 0 shots, 0 +/-, you get my point. Alex Newhook was originally picked at 16th overall by the Avalanche. Newhook played his first full NHL season this past year with the Avalanche, scoring 13 goals and assisting 20 for a total of 33 points in 71 games, not a bad rookie campaign. He played in 12 playoff games, putting up 4 points on the way to the Avalanche winning the cup. Newhook is a solid player who played more limited minutes on a stacked Avalanche team, but is showing a lot of potential to be a great player. He certainly could have been a help to the Oilers, who were struggle to get good play from their depth players in playoffs this past season.
9. Anaheim Ducks
The Ducks originally selected Trevor Zegras at No.9, which was a steal for them, but he is already taken in the re-draft so the Ducks selected Kirby Dach with the ninth overall pick. Dach has played in the NHL for all 3 seasons, playing every year since being drafted. Dach has struggled over those 3 years with the Blackhawks, in the 2021-2022 season he had 9 goals and 17 assists for a total of 26 points in 70 games. He was recently traded to the Sabres, where he can hopefully rebirth his career and get a fresh start. Dach has high pontential, He went third overall in the original 2019 draft, maybe things would have panned out differently if he went to the Ducks, Zegras flourished there.
10. Vancouver Canucks
Vasily Podkolzin is who the Canucks originally picked with the No.10 pick in the 2019 draft, but in the re-draft the Canucks select Kaapo Kakko. Podkolzin actually isn’t a bad player, he had 26 points in 79 games this year, but he is beat out by Kakko. Kakko was originally selected second overall by the New York Rangers, he had very high potential but has not lived up to it. He has played all 3 of the last 3 years in the NHL, he had 7 goals and 18 assists in 43 games on a strong Rangers team this past season. In playoffs he had 5 points in 19 games. Kakko has struggled on both ends of the ice, and certainly doesn’t look like the star he was before the draft. He has faced some injury troubles, but has played 157 games in the last 3 years. He often finds himself playing a bottom 6 role with the Rangers, which could be a big reason for his struggles, maybe a top 6 role would have completely changed how his career started, the Canucks could have certainly given him that opportunity.