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Photo Credit: Jenae Anderson/accesshockeymi.com

Kuom: 2019 NHL Draft Midterm Rankings

Back in August this was no doubt the Jack Hughes draft. But that has changed. Finland’s Kaapo Kakko has emerged as a true challenger to the American center. Hughes remains on top but I have never been closer on the two then I am right now. I can certainly see things changing as well. While both project as NHL stars, the race to number one overall, in my eyes, is 55 to 45 slightly in favor of Hughes.

Let me elaborate.

Hughes has not lived up to the expectations I set for him at the start of the year. I’ve been underwhelmed for parts of the season for someone I believe can be the first name off the board. I am very concerned with his shot, in fact it may rank as one of the worst of the 29 players I see as first round talents. Alas, it is hard to overlook his game-changing skating.

He is, without question, the best player in transition of this draft class. I’ve never seen a player turn nothing into something as well as him. His speed and agility allow him to attack open areas of the ice on a consistent basis.

What Kakko does so well is hang onto the puck and recognize scoring opportunities. I’d dub him as more of a playmaker than a sniper but he brings both. He can score from range or around the net. His large frame helps him protect the puck and make plays.

In comparison to Hughes he impacts the game in more ways, specifically in the corners and cycling in the offensive zone.

The race to number one is already so close and could get even more interesting as the season goes on.

After the top-2 there is still some quality players to be had. Matthew Boldy has rocketed up my rankings. He headlines the second tier of players which includes Vasili Podkolzin, Alex Turcotte, and himself. His upside is what ultimately pushed him that high. He has the potential to be special.

My midterm rankings include the top-100 players on my board. Some quick awards on the players listed:

Best Skater: Jack Hughes

Best Hockey IQ: Trevor Zegras

Most underrated: Jamieson Rees and Billy Constantinou

Most Overrated: Raphael Lavoie and Alex Vlasic

Boom or Bust: Arthur Kaliyev

Best Name: Kaapo Kakko

Here are the rankings:

Player Name Position League
32. Arthur Kaliyev LW OHL
33. Case McCarthy D USNTDP
34. Nicholas Robertson RW OHL
35. Nils Hoglander RW SHL
36. Roman Bychkov D MHL
37. Spencer Knight G USNTDP
38. Michal Teply LW Extraliga
39. Marshall Warren D USNTDP
40. Kaeden Korczak D WHL
41. Ilya Nikolayev C MHL
42. Raphael Lavoie RW QMJHL
43. Samuel Fagemo LW SHL
44. Albin Grewe RW SuperElit
45. Yegor Spiridonov C MHL
46. Nikola Pasic RW SuperElit
47. Maxim Cajkovic RW QMJHL
48. John Beecher C USNTDP
49. Matthew Robertson D WHL
50. Ville Heinola D Liiga
51. Yaroslav Likhachyov LW QMJHL
52. Trevor Janicke C USHL
53. Robert Mastrosimone LW USHL
54. Thomas Harley D OHL
55. Mikko Kokkonen D Liiga
56. Travis Treloar RW USHL
57. Jakub Rychlovsky LW Chance Liga
58. Nolan Foote LW WHL
59. Brett Leason C WHL
60. Mikhail Abramov C QMJHL
61. Kalle Loponen D Mestis
62. Ryan Johnson D USHL
63. Jake Lee D WHL
64. Valentin Nussbaumer C QMJHL
65. Dominick Fensore D USNTDP
66. Luke Toporowski LW WHL
67. Tobias Bjornfot D SuperElit
68. Henry Thrun D USNTDP
69. Taylor Gauthier G WHL
70. Kyen Sopa RW OHL
71. Alex Vlasic D USNTDP
72. Massimo Rizzo C BCHL
73. Artemi Knyazev D QMJHL
74. Hunter Jones G OHL
75. Alexander Campbell LW BCHL
76. Ty Jackson C USHL
77. Matvei Guskov C OHL
78. Maxim Denezhkin C MHL
79. Hugo Alnefelt G SuperElit
80. Patrik Puistola LW Mestis
81. Adam Najman C Chance Liga
82. Juuso Parssinen C Jr. A SM-Liiga
83. Judd Caulfield RW USNTDP
84. Aku Raty RW Jr. A SM-Liiga
85. Dmitri Sheshin RW MHL
86. Cameron Rowe G USNTDP
87. Sasha Mutala RW WHL
88. Vladimir Alistrov LW WHL
89. Karl Henriksson C SuperElit
90. Nathan Legare RW QMJHL
91. Blake Murray C OHL
92. Brayden Tracey LW WHL
93. Mikko Petman RW Jr. A SM-Liiga
94. Dmitri Tyuvilan D MHL
95. Vladislav Firstov LW USHL
96. Isaiah Saville G USHL
97. Leevi Aaltonen RW Jr. A SM-Liiga
98. Reece Newkirk C WHL
99. Maxim Shabanov C MHL
100. Josh Williams RW WHL