It’s draft season, and the final rankings from several of the hockey world’s leading scouts are starting to come out. Today marked the release of Corey Pronman’s first 2019 mock draft for The Athletic (subscription required), and Craig Button’s top-31 prospects for TSN. Pronman’s mock details some of the rumblings he has heard at the draft combine and elsewhere, and interestingly notes there is still no consensus on who the Chicago Blackhawks will be taking at third overall.
While Pronman lists Alex Turcotte there hesitantly, Button has CHL defenseman Bowen Byram as the third best prospect available. More notable than that even is Button’s ranking of Cole Caufield, who has continued to fly up boards as we close in on the draft later this month. The diminutive forward climbs to fourth on the TSN list, with even more lauding of his ability to put the puck in the net.
- Bob McKenzie of TSN will release his final draft rankings a little later in the month, but he did tweet out a note regarding Buffalo Sabres forward Jeff Skinner today. McKenzie notes that it is “crunch time” in the negotiations between Buffalo and Skinner, and expects either a deal will get done in the next few days or the sniper will wait until unrestricted free agency. The TSN insider expects an eight-year deal worth $72MM, or something thereabouts. Skinner, 27, is coming off a 40-goal season and has made it clear he does enjoy playing with the Sabres. Still, a $72MM price tag is awfully expensive for any team.
- A report out of Russia has Andrej Sustr signing a one-year deal with Kunlun Red Star of the KHL, though there has been no formal confirmation at this point. The 28-year old defenseman is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 after his current deal expires, and spent last season almost entirely in the minor leagues. Sustr was once a full-time member of the Tampa Bay Lightning blue line, but fell out of favor and never found his footing in the Anaheim Ducks organization.