History was made on June 12th 2019, when the St. Louis Blues took home the Stanley Cup, defeating the Boston Bruins 4-1 in game 7 of the series.
Unbeknownst to many, this ended a staggering 52 year drought for the St. Louis Blues, breaking the longest record ever of a team not winning the Stanley Cup.
Additionally, this was their first time making the Stanley Cup finals since 1970 and their first time taking home the trophy ever, despite the fact that they have been around since 1967!
Despite this stunning achievement, this is yesterday's news, and teams are already looking towards the future, as are fans of this amazing game.
Fortunately, we don’t have to wait long for the next major event in the NHL’s history, as the 2019 NHL drafts are but a mere week away and we couldn’t be more excited to discuss this years top picks and the teams that are hoping to score these amazing prospects.
The one saving grace of being included in the bracket of the most underachieving teams throughout the NHL season, is the fact that you have a chance to build your team for the future, as the worst performing teams are included in the NHL Draft Lottery and have the chance to recruit some of the top future player.
The NHL Draft Lottery was held on April 9th and set the order of the first 15 spots, comprised of teams that failed to make it into the NHL Playoffs, with the New Jersey Devils winning the Lottery and thus the number one pick for the upcoming draft.
As many of you know, the NHL Entry Draft is comprised of multiple rounds, with the first round being the most important and is when the best prospects will be gobbled up as fast as possible.
The first five teams to pick in the first round are the following teams;
Of these top five teams, some even have multiple first round picks, including the New York Rangers, who not only have the second pick, but also the 20th as a part of a trade with the Winnipeg Jets, which involved the forward Kevin Hayes.
Meanwhile, the Colorado Avalanche who have the 4th pick also have the 16th pick due to a trade with the Ottawa Senators.
Lastly, the Los Angeles Kings have both the 5th pick and the 22nd, which was obtained from the Toronto Maple Leafs for defenseman Jake Muzzin on January 28th of this year.
These teams are fortunate indeed, as the prospects for the 2019 NHL Draft are some of the best that we have seen in many years.
Fortunately for any team that is in dire need of a skilled center to add to its prospect roster, than 2019 is the year for them, as this draft is chocked full of skilled and talented centers, with some estimating that of the first 15 picks, six will be awarded to this key position.
This is very different from the 2018 NHL Draft, in which only three centers were among the top 15 picks.
Top Five Center Picks:
Given the fact that centers are the key focus of this years draft, it should then come as no surprise that the very first pick of this years draft is expected to go to Jack Hughes, in which the New Jersey Devils are expected to take.
Meanwhile, Alex Turcotte and Kirby Dach are not far behind, with the former expected to be the third pick and the latter the fourth.
Top Five Goalie Picks:
One of our favorite positions, and indeed that of many others is the goalie, as it is such a vital and key position that receives a tremendous amount of attention and for good reason. A strong goalie can keep a team in a game, even when it is lagging behind.
Unfortunately, even though the 2019 draft features some truly talented goalies, they are not the focus of this years draft, with only one being expected to make the first round of picks, that being of course Spencer Knight, who is expected to be chosen by the Calgary Flames as the 26th pick.
Top Five Defense Picks:
Bowne Byram, who stands at 6-foot-1 and weighs 195 pounds led the WHL defenseman in goals, with a total of 26, of which nine were game winning goals. Additionally, he was third overall in points for the WHL as a whole.
This has resulted in him being included in the top five picks for this years draft, with the Los Angeles Kings being expected to take him as the 5th pick.
Top Five Left and Right Wing Picks:
The 2019 NHL Draft for both left and right wing position picks is only surpassed by that of those for center players, with numerous players being expected to make the top ten overall picks.
Especially noteworthy is Kaapo Kakko, who is expected to take the highly coveted 2nd place pick position, meaning that he is anticipated to be chosen by the New York Rangers.
The 2019 NHL Draft is set for June 21-22nd at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver Canada and the excitement can be felt in the air as this is one of the most anticipated days each year for true fans of the NHL.
These top picks are of course just a mock draft and reflect each team’s needs based on positions that they deem need to be filled in order to strengthen their team overall as they build for the future.
To help celebrate this day, Zephyr Epic will be holding it’s very own draft event, which we hope that you are going to be able to attend on June 22nd.
This event is going to include numerous giveaways, great in-store deals on select retail boxes, blasters and memorabilia, as well as a chance to win an exclusive Legends of Hockey uncut sheet signed by Wayne Gretzky!
To check out the full details of this event (of which there are many), please click here.
We hope that you are as excited as us to welcome in the NHL’s future stars and prospects! Which player are you most excited to see hit the ice in the coming years? Let us know!
As always, thanks for reading.