As teams start to fall out of the playoff race and accept their fate for the 2018-19 season, fan interest in the upcoming draft class increases. While everyone knows about sensational forward Jack Hughes and his incredible offensive upside, the rest of the group of incoming talents gets far less media coverage. Sportsnet’s Sam Cosentino today gives us a look at his top-31 rankings at this point, and there is plenty of talent to discuss.
While Hughes, Kaapo Kakko and Dylan Cozens find themselves near the top of the list once again (though this time with Vasily Podkolzin taking over the third spot), the most interesting name may just be Brett Leason. Twice undrafted, the 19-year old Leason may very well find himself on the top line for Team Canada at the upcoming World Junior Championship given his explosion this season. Now standing 6’4″, Leeson is the prototypical late bloomer and has recorded 28 goals and 64 points in just 31 games for the record-setting Prince Albert Raiders of the WHL. It will be fascinating to see if a team decides he’s worth a first-round pick this time around, after missing out on him the last two Junes.
- Fans all around the league have been drooling over the idea of Alex Pietrangelo being on the trade market since Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet mentioned his name earlier this month, but it’s still hard to imagine the St. Louis Blues selling their captain at this point. Even so, Pietrangelo is mentioned again in Elliotte Friedman’s latest 31 Thoughts column, as the scribe speculates that the defenseman was involved in trade talks surrounding William Nylander and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Friedman doesn’t posit that Pietrangelo will get dealt this season, but does end with this summary: “the fact Pietrangelo’s name got out there indicates the Blues are willing to do it.”
- Speaking of the Blues willingness, Jeremy Rutherford of The Athletic clarified some things in a response to a Twitter question, explaining that though GM Doug Armstrong hasn’t put up a proverbial for sale sign, other clubs are “under the impression that [he] would consider trading anyone, including [Vladimir] Tarasenko.” Trading Tarasenko would seem like madness to many, but just today Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic (subscription required) indicated that “all bets are probably off” for the Blues and that you likely can’t rule out anything at this point. St. Louis sits 28th in the NHL and have scored just 82 goals in 29 games.