We're still about four months away from the 2019 NHL draft, but as the trade deadline nears and sellers are starting to take an honest look at acquiring first-round draft picks, this mock draft can give you an early indication of how things could go on June 21 and 22 in Vancouver, British Columbia.
As always, the mock draft is a completely separate entity from my NHL draft rankings, focusing more on where industry opinions are on certain players, as well as teams' draft tendencies and at least a little bit of need-based thinking that goes into this. While teams will always take the best player available, need bias can sometimes trickle into the rankings. It's important to remember that a lot can change between now and midsummer, although Jack Hughes remains atop most boards.
Simply going off of reverse order of the standings as of Sunday, Feb. 17, here's what the first round could potentially look like based on the here and now.
1. Colorado Avalanche (via Ottawa Senators)
Jack Hughes, C, U.S. National U18 Team (NTDP)
Ottawa's struggles could very well be Colorado's major gain. Can you imagine a one-two punch of Nathan MacKinnon and Hughes? Opposing teams sure won't want to. Those are two highly skilled and especially fast centers.
Kaapo Kakko, LW, TPS Turku (Liiga)
The Kings need help in a lot of ways. Adding another dynamic Finn to a prospect pool that already includes the speedy Rasmus Kupari could help turn the forward group around pretty quickly. Kakko could be a top-line winger as early as next season.