As the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs draw to an end, we begin to look ahead to the 2019 NHL draft. Prospect seasons are either over or ending shortly, leaving interviews and the scouting combine as the last two major steps in the process before the league descends on Vancouver, British Columbia, for the draft on June 21.
Here my top 50 players for the NHL draft, updated from my Feb. 12 version. I've included condensed breakdowns on the top 35 players, along with a key stat or note to know.
Note: Heights and weights are via Central Scouting, stats are from Elite Prospects and ages are representative of how old each player will be on draft day.
1. Jack Hughes, C, USA U18 (NTDP)
Age: 18 | Ht: 5-foot-10 | Wt: 170 | Shot: L
A brilliant playmaker with elite skating ability and hockey sense, Hughes makes everyone around him better.
Key stat: 2.24 points per game in 50 games
2. Kaapo Kakko, RW, TPS (Finland)
Age: 18 | Ht: 6-2 | Wt: 194 | Shot: L
An NHL-ready player who has honed his craft against pros, Kakko is good in all areas of the ice with few noticeable weaknesses.
3. Kirby Dach, C, Saskatoon (WHL)
Age: 18 | Ht: 6-4 | Wt: 197 | Shot: R
Dach is both highly intelligent and smooth, which allows him to be one of the more gifted playmakers in the draft despite a lack of explosive skating.
Key stat: 0.89 primary points per game, second among first-year draft-eligibles in the WHL
4. Alex Turcotte, C, USA U18 (NTDP)
Age: 18 | Ht: 5-11 | Wt: 185 | Shot: L