2019 NHL Draft Class: USA Boasts Exciting NCAA Commits

The 2018-19 U.S. National Team Development Program, which highlights early mock drafts for the 2019 NHL Draft and college commitments, projects an extra-exciting 2019-20 NCAA season.

Following projected No. 1 pick Jack Hughes—who is expected to join the NHL in 2019-20—seven other NTDP players are anticipated to be first-round picks in June’s draft.

But before these teenagers reach their NHL dreams, they’ll get a taste of the NCAA, where they’ll get the chance to fine-tune and further develop their games.

Matthew Boldy

LW | 60 GP, 32 G, 46 A, 78 pts.

Boston College

Boldy has the makings a power forward with his size, hands, and skating. He can play in tight spaces and isn’t afraid to stare down anyone. He’s heralded as a goal-scorer, but that’s not for a lack of playmaking ability.

Boldy is a strong candidate to go No. 7 to Buffalo, where a future alongside Jack Eichel could be a franchise-altering duo for years to come. Boldy will get the chance to learn from BC coach Jerry York, who has a long history of developing NHL talent.

Cole Caufield

F | 60 GP, 67 G, 26 A, 93 pts.

University of Wisconsin

Talk about goal-scoring. Caufield led the NDTP in goals—by a wide margin—which helped him finish second to only Hughes in points. Caufield is projected as the best pure sniper in the draft.

But his 5-foot-7 stature will ward off some high-drafting teams. An Alex DeBrincat-type forward out of Chicago, Caufield won’t see him slip for long, where the Philadelphia Flyers would make out well drafting him at No. 11.

Spencer Knight

G | 29-4, 2.42 GAA, .910 SV%, 1 SO

Boston College

The best goalie entering the draft, Knight will go to the team with the deepest need for a future netminder drafting in the 20s. That could be the Los Angeles Kings at No. 24 or Calgary Flames at No. 26.

Dallas Stars prospect Jake Oettinger has been a comparable and played three strong seasons at BU. Knight’s NCAA career will last at least two years and he’ll receive an audition as the starting goalies in his freshman season.

Alex Turcotte

C | 33 GP, 26 G, 35 A, 61 pts.

University of Wisconsin

Turcotte has been praised for his effortless skating and natural two-way game, fueled by his top-tier speed, which gives him a relentless pursuit for the puck and extra step on defensemen. 

Projected as a top 10 pick, NDTP coach Seth Appert has compared Turcotte’s game to that of Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin. Turcotte would be a good fit for the No. 5 Los Angeles Kings or could eventually slot in behind Larkin with Detroit’s sixth overall pick.

Alex Vlasic

D | 57 GP, 4 G, 22 A, 26 pts.

Boston University

Cousin of San Jose Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Alex brings a similar style in the sense of incredible defensive instinct often underappreciated given a lack of natural offense. 

Because of this, various rankings project him as a late first-round pick destined for current contending teams. But with significant roster turnover at BU, Vlasic will be leaned on heavily, where he should get a chance to add some more offensive prowess to his repertoire.

Cam York

D | 59 GP, 11 G, 48 A, 59 pts.

University of Michigan

York’s first full season with the NDTP saw him score at a point-per-game pace, but his knack for joining the rush pegs him as a heavy offensive defenseman with questions regarding his coverage in the defensive zone. 

But strong puck-moving defensemen thrive in the NHL and are often complemented with a stronger defender. York is projected as a mid-teens selection, where teams like the Florida Panthers or Arizona Coyotes would have interest. 

Trevor Zegras

F | 56 GP, 26 G, 53 A, 79 pts.

Boston University

Another highly touted two-way forward, Zegras offers his drafting team the ability to develop him as a wing or center. A natural agitator, Zegras is comparable to Calgary’s Matthew Tkachuk with offensive instincts and in-your-face play.

Zegras is predicted to join Hughes, Turcotte, and Boldy as a top 15 pick, where a team like Anaheim would love his agitating play and offensive ability. Given BU’s aforementioned turnover, Zegras will get a large role as a freshman with the Terriers.

Don’t miss the 2019 NHL Draft, set for June 21-22 in Vancouver, where these prospects will earn an NHL jersey before heading to their respective NCAA programs for the 2019-20 season.

Have a question or a comment for Jacob Messing? You can find him on Twitter @Jacob_Messing.

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