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2019 NHL draft grades: Best picks, value steals and more for all 31 teams

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Hughes-Kakko could be compared to Ovechkin-Crosby rivalry (1:36)

Emily Kaplan reacts to Jack Hughes going to the Devils at No. 1 in the NHL draft and Kaapo Kakko going to the Rangers at No. 2 overall. (1:36)

We can finally close the scouting notebook on the 2019 NHL draft. Two hundred and seventeen names were called, and all 31 teams walked away from Vancouver with some new prospects to develop. But not everyone navigated the draft board the same way, and while some teams should be ecstatic about their classes, others ... should not.

With that in mind, let's grade each team's draft class. Who aced the draft? Remember, there's a long way to go in player development, so don't view this as a final assessment but rather the initial impression. And learn more about the class with our extensive draft content:

Every pick | Takeaways | Day 1 recap
Top 100 | Best by skill

Here are my draft grades for every NHL team, listed from the best class to the worst (teams with the same grade are in alphabetical order).

Jump to a team:
ANA | ARI | BOS | BUF | CGY | CAR | CHI
COL | CBJ | DAL | DET | EDM | FLA

LA | MIN | MTL | NSH | NJ | NYI
NYR | OTT | PHI | PIT | SJ | STL
TB | TOR | VAN | VGS | WSH | WPG

Carolina Hurricanes: A

Favorite pick: Patrik Puistola

Considering this team was just in the Eastern Conference finals, the Canes had an absurd amount of picks -- seven in the top 100, and even added a 2020 first-rounder in the Patrick Marleau trade -- and I loved the value they got. It starts with Ryan Suzuki and his elite passing slipping to them at No. 28. He has elite vision and anticipates exceptionally well. They got the No. 2-ranked goalie on my board in Pyotr Kochetkov at No. 36 and two highly-ranked prospects in Jamieson Rees and Puistola at Nos. 44 and 73. Puistola drives offense with skill and creativity. A pair of high-risk, high-reward defensemen in Anttoni Honka and Domenick Fensore, along with a raw talent in big Cade Webber at 99th overall, gave Carolina even more depth.

And I know I was way higher on Kirill Slepets than the consensus, putting him 50th on my board, but Carolina got him at No. 152. He's got wheels. Blake Murray, selected at No. 183, was one of my favorite sleepers to top it all off. There is a good physical frame and compete level there, and he can score. The value added to their prospect pool was exceptional.

Read more analysis on the Hurricanes' first-rounder, Ryan Suzuki.


Los Angeles Kings: A

Favorite pick: Arthur Kaliyev

Just look at the first three picks the Kings made. Alex Turcotte looks like a top-six talent for their future. Tobias Bjornfot has some limited offensive upside but is an incredibly poised and mature defender who should challenge for minutes in a couple of years. And the Kings were fortunate enough to have the second-best goal scorer in the draft slide to them in the second round with Kaliyev. Complaints about the consistency of his effort contributed to him dropping all the way to Day 2, but let's not forget Kaliyev scored 51 goals last season and is fantastic when shooting off the pass. Not too shabby for the Kings.

Samuel Fagemo was a second-year eligible who really come on strong this season. Lukas Parik is a really solid goaltending prospect with great size and athleticism. Jordan Spence at No. 95 gives some really nice value as a defenseman who can get the puck up ice quickly. Andre Lee looks like a really sneaky smart pick in the seventh after an excellent postseason for USHL champion Sioux Falls this season. There were a lot of potential home runs here.

Read more analysis on the Kings' first-rounders, Alex Turcotte and Tobias Bjornfot.


New Jersey Devils: A

Favorite pick: Jack Hughes