The 2019 NHL Entry Draft is ten months away and there will be plenty of speculation on who should be selected in the first round. Already prospect gurus are beginning to release their early lists, which almost all have Jack Hughes as the easy first-overall selection. Craig Button of TSN released his early top five at the end of the Hlinka-Gretzky tournament, and started with Russian forward Vasili Podkolzin in the fifth overall spot. Podkolzin had a great U18 tournament with 11 points in five games, and is starting to put together all the talent and skill that people have been waiting for.
Scott Wheeler of The Athletic (subscription required) released a more in-depth list for 2019, breaking down more than two dozen players who could find themselves selected in the first round next June. Wheeler goes with the consensus in spot number two and lists Kaapo Kakko as the easy selection after Hughes is off the board. The Finnish forward is almost pro-ready and looks like he’ll be a dominant puck-protecting forward for a long time.
- For any readers in the United States, NBC has released their national broadcast schedule for the 2018-19 season which will include a record 109 games. Wednesday Night Hockey will now feature regular double headers and include a variety of teams from around the league. The first such occasion will kick off the season on Wednesday, October 3rd when the Washington Capitals welcome in the Boston Bruins and the Anaheim Ducks travel to San Jose to face the Sharks. Kevin Allen of USA Today provides the whole broadcast schedule.
- Count at least one member of the Ottawa Senators that doesn’t want to see Erik Karlsson traded before the season begins. Thomas Chabot, a young defensemen trying to round out his game at the NHL level, spoke out about his hope to see Karlsson in uniform when the season begins. There has been very little smoke surrounding Karlsson of late, and if he does begin the year with the Senators there might be a good chance that Chabot is the player lined up beside him on the blue line. Though different players, Chabot told media at his charity golf tournament that he is trying to model his game after the Senators captain and doesn’t think anyone could replace Karlsson if they did move him.