Revisiting Preseason Rankings for 2019 NHL Draft

2019 NHL Draft, 2019 NHL Draft Rankings, Brayden Tracey, Commentary, Dillon Hamaliuk, Jack Hughes, Kaapo Kakko, Long Read, NHL Entry Draft

Scouting is not an exact science and hindsight can be hilarious at times.

The draft year offers a ton of time for development and so much can change from September to June.

Still, it’s both fun and educational to look back — to laugh and learn.

After publishing my preseason rankings for the 2020 NHL draft — my top 124 following the Hlinka Gretzky Cup — I decided to take a look back on my preseason rankings from 2018 and 2019.

I wanted to see how those rankings held up come draft day. For better or worse.

RELATED: Revisiting Preseason Rankings for 2018 NHL Draft

With 2019, everything is still so fresh and thus far too soon to be drawing any conclusions on the draft that just took place in June. But my preseason rankings were published back on Aug. 24, 2018 — also a top 124 following last year’s Hlinka Gretzky Cup — so it is interesting to see how things evolved over a calendar year.

I stepped up my commitment to scouting by expanding my rankings from 124 to 350 over the course of the 2019 draft year in publishing monthly editions, starting with these preseason rankings.

NOTE: Listed next to each player is their actual draft position, with the variation from my preseason rankings in parenthesis. UD is short for undrafted and NR for not ranked.

First Round

1) Jack Hughes — 1 (=)

2) Kaapo Kakko — 2 (=)

3) Vasili Podkolzin — 10 (-7)

4) Philip Broberg — 8 (-4)

5) Anttoni Honka — 83 (-78)

6) Bowen Byram — 4 (+2)

7) Kirby Dach — 3 (+4)

8) Dylan Cozens — 7 (+1)

9) Peyton Krebs — 17 (-8)

10) Ryan Suzuki — 28 (-18)

11) Matthew Boldy — 12 (-1)

12) Alex Turcotte — 5 (+7)

13) Raphael Lavoie — 38 (-25)

14) Blake Murray — 183 (-169)

15) Cam York — 14 (+1)

16) Victor Soderstrom — 11 (+5)

17) Mikko Kokkonen — 84 (-67)

18) Alex Newhook — 16 (+2)

19) Cole Caufield — 15 (+4)

20) Trevor Zegras — 9 (+11)

21) Valentin Nussbaumer — 207 (-186)

22) Simon Holmstrom — 23 (-1)

23) Tobias Bjornfot — 22 (+1)

24) Kaedan Korczak — 41 (-17)

25) Josh Williams — UD

26) Nick Robertson — 53 (-27)

27) Yaroslav Likhachyov — UD

28) Jakob Pelletier — 26 (+2)

29) Xavier Parent — UD

30) Matthew Robertson — 49 (-19)

31) Nolan Foote — 27 (+4)

Second Round

32) Arthur Kaliyev — 33 (-1)

33) Maxim Cajkovic — 89 (-56)

34) Daniil Gutik — UD

35) Albin Grewe — 66 (-31)

36) Nils Hoglander — 40 (-4)

37) Sasha Mutala — 140 (-103)

38) Tag Bertuzzi — UD

39) Spencer Knight — 13 (+26)

40) Lassi Thomson — 19 (+21)

41) Henry Thrun — 101 (-60)

42) Drew Helleson — 47 (-5)

43) Michael Vukojevic — 82 (-39)

44) Ben Brinkman — 173 (-129)

45) Artemi Knyazev — 48 (-3)

46) Vladimir Alistrov — UD

47) Dmitri Sheshin — UD

48) Pavel Dorofeyev — 79 (-31)

49) Luke Toporowski — UD

50) Hugo Alnefelt — 71 (-21)

51) Dustin Wolf — 214 (-163)

52) Moritz Seider — 6 (+46)

53) Lev Starikov — UD

54) Ville Heinola — 20 (+34)

55) John Beecher — 30 (+25)

56) John Farinacci — 76 (-20)

57) Robert Mastrosimone — 54 (+3)

58) Josh Nodler — 150 (-92)

59) Mike Koster — 146 (-87)

60) Alex Vlasic — 43 (+17)

61) Mikhail Abramov — 115 (-54)

62) Yegor Spiridonov — 108 (-46)

Third Round

63) Taylor Gauthier — UD

64) Nolan Maier — UD

65) Nikita Alexandrov — 62 (+3)

66) Henri Nikkanen — 113 (-47)

67) Karl Henriksson — 58 (+9)

68) Jamieson Rees — 44 (+24)

69) Graeme Clarke — 80 (-11)

70) Samuel Poulin — 21 (+49)

71) Logan Barlage — UD

72) Vojtech Strondala — UD

73) Leevi Aaltonen — 130 (-57)

74) Elmer Soderblom — 159 (-85)

75) Oleg Zaitsev — UD

76) Matvei Guskov — 149 (-73)

77) Antti Saarela — 123 (-46)

78) Petr Cajka — UD

79) Massimo Rizzo — 216 (-137)

80) Grant Silianoff — UD

81) Trevor Janicke — 132 (-51)

82) Brady Meyer — UD

83) Ilya Mironov — UD

84) Nikita Okhotyuk — 61 (+23)

85) Marshall Warren — 166 (-81)

86) Colten Ellis — 93 (-7)

87) Roope Taponen — UD

88) Yegor Chinakhov — UD

89) Ilya Nikolayev — 88 (-1)

90) Ilya Ovechkin — UD

91) Case McCarthy — 118 (-27)

92) Martin Hugo Has — 153 (-61)

93) Kim Nousiainen — 119 (-26)

Fourth Round

94) Marcel Barinka — UD

95) Patrik Puistola — 73 (+22)

96) Martin Lang — UD

97) Michal Teply — 105 (-8)

98) Filip Prikryl — UD

99) Kari Piiroinen — UD

100) Roman Basran — UD

101) Vladimir Sartakov — UD

102) Boston Bilous — UD

103) Simon Lundmark — 51 (+52)

104) Oliver Turan — UD

105) Ryder Donovan — 110 (-5)

106) Matias Maccelli — 98 (+8)

107) Aaron Huglen — 102 (+5)

108) Danny Weight — UD

109) Michael Gildon — UD

110) Harrison Blaisdell — 134 (-24)

111) Anthony Romano — 176 (-65)

112) Arseni Gritsyuk — 129 (-17)

113) Matej Toman — UD

114) Daniel V. Tkac — UD

115) Danil Antropov — UD

116) Brooklyn Kalmikov — UD

117) Bailey Peach — UD

118) Xavier Simoneau — UD

119) Nicholas Porco — 142 (-23)

120) Dillon Hamaliuk — 55 (+65)

121) David Kope — UD

122) Maxence Guenette — 187 (-65)

123) Jake Lee — UD

124) Jackson van de Leest — UD

Reviewing Rankings

The Good

As was the case for 2018, I had the top two prospects right from Day 1 for 2019, with Hughes and Kakko going wire-to-wire as 1-2 in getting selected first and second overall. But those were the only two prospects from my preseason rankings that I matched to their eventual draft position.

Kaapo Kakko (New York Rangers) Jack Hughes (New Jersey Devils) Kirby Dach (Chicago Blackhawks)
The top three picks from the 2019 NHL draft, from left, were Kaapo Kakko (second, New York Rangers), Jack Hughes (first, New Jersey Devils) and Kirby Dach (third, Chicago Blackhawks). (Anne-Marie Sorvin/USA TODAY)

The top of my preseason rankings proved quite accurate in
getting six of the top eight, seven of the top 10, and 20 of the top 31. Those
results are impressive — especially that 20 of my preseason first-rounders from
September were taken in the top 31 in June. That is a 65 per cent success rate.
I’ll give myself a pat on the back for that. Feel free to start a slow clap.

The three misses from my top 10 were Honka, Krebs and Suzuki.
The 11 misses from my top 31 were Honka, Lavoie, Murray, Kokkonen, Nussbaumer,
Korczak, Josh Williams, Nick Robertson, Likhachyov, Parent and Matthew
Robertson.

Some of those misses look really bad based on where those prospects were picked and the fact that three of my top 31 went undrafted. But look back to 2018, where the only two prospects from my preseason top 31 to go undrafted — Luka Burzan and Samuel Fagemo — both went on to get selected in 2019, with the latter taken in the second round as an overager. So that might be a good omen for Williams, Likhachyov and Parent in 2020. I still like all three and see NHL upside in them.

Josh Williams Edmonton Oil Kings
Josh Williams of the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings was the highest-ranked prospect from my preseason top 124 to go undrafted in 2019. (Andy Devlin/Edmonton Oil Kings)

As for the other eight, I think they all have the potential
to outperform their draft position going forward. So I’m not kicking myself too
hard for ranking them as first-rounders in my preseason top 124. Not yet
anyway.

The Bad

My biggest miss of all was a kid that I’m now going to see
live on a regular basis this season. That being Dillon Hamaliuk, a
second-rounder for San Jose that I had ranked at 120 in my preseason top 124
and then slightly lower at 133 in my final top 350. He was taken at 55.

In my defence, Hamaliuk missed the second half of his draft
year due to injury and I didn’t get any live viewings of him in the first half.
Hamaliuk has since been acquired by Memorial Cup host Kelowna in an offseason
trade — the team that I cover in the WHL — so I’m looking forward to getting to
know him better as a player and as a person.

Dillon Hamaliuk Seattle Thunderbirds
Dillon Hamaliuk, formerly of the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds (22), protects the puck from Lassi Thomson of the Kelowna Rockets (2) during their NHL draft year. (Brian Liesse/Seattle Thunderbirds)

Hamaliuk was the biggest riser among 29 players from my preseason top 124 that were selected higher in the 2019 draft. He was one of 13 double-digit risers. The other 12 included six first-rounders that I had ranked outside my top 31: Knight (39), Thomson (40), Seider (52), Heinola (54), Beecher (55) and Poulin (70). Flash forward to my final rankings and I had five of those six as first-rounders in Heinola (14), Seider (15), Knight (20), Thomson (27) and Beecher (30), with Poulin (49) being the only exception as a second-rounder for me. Zegras (20) was the only double-digit riser from within my preseason top 31, but I had him at No. 8 in my final rankings — one spot higher than he went.

They obviously grew on me over the course of the draft year.
And in my defence, I had Thomson ranked outside of the first round prior to his
arrival in Kelowna. As soon as I saw him live for the first time, Thomson was a
staple in my top 31. Well, technically that’s a lie, I had Thomson at 33 in
October — shortly after making his WHL debut — then he stayed in the
twenties for me the rest of the way from November to June: 23, 26, 29, 28, 27,
22, 27 and 27.

The bigger regret for me, on the local front, was Foote. He was a consistent first-rounder in my rankings throughout Kelowna’s season — 31, 29, 20, 22, 28, 27, 28 — but fell once Kelowna missed the playoffs and I started focusing on other prospects that were still playing and impressing — including all those at the under-18 worlds in April. Foote was too old for that showcase as a late birthday and thus was out of sight and out of mind in dropping to 32 in April, then 57 in May before climbing slightly to 53 in June for my final rankings. Part of that fall might also have been due to overexposure, having seen so much of Foote that I started to note his flaws more so than his strengths in the second half. But I did correctly predict Foote to Tampa Bay at 27 in my consensus mock, so I saved a little face there.

Nolan Foote Lightning Draft
Nolan Foote was all smiles after getting selected by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The Ugly

The fallers were pretty ugly for 2019, with 53 players
getting selected lower than I had them ranked in my preseason top 124. That
wasn’t much worse than 2018 — when 42 of my preseason top 100 became fallers — but
the number of double-digit fallers in 2019 was alarming, with 40 of those 53
getting selected at least 10 spots lower than I had them ranked. And it gets
even uglier, with six prospects from my preseason top 124 turning into
triple-digit fallers — yes, somehow getting selected at least 100 spots lower
than I had them ranked.

Those six were Murray (14-183), Nussbaumer (21-207), Mutala
(37-140), Brinkman (44-173), Wolf (51-214) and Rizzo (79-216). It would seem I
really missed the mark on them, but I was shocked they fell that far and feel
fairly confident at least a few of them will outperform those draft positions. For
the record, I knew they were trending down to some degree — as evidenced by my
final rankings for those six: Murray (62), Nussbaumer (68), Wolf (75), Brinkman
(88), Mutala (110) and Rizzo (116).

There were nine double-digit fallers within the top 31 from
my preseason rankings: Honka (5-83), Suzuki (10-28), Lavoie (13-38), Murray
(14-183), Kokkonen (17-84), Nussbaumer (21-207), Korczak (24-41), Nick
Robertson (26-53) and Matthew Robertson (30-49). I’m biased since those were my
rankings, but I’m still quite high on most those nine and believe they can also
outperform their draft positions.

Anttoni Honka of JYP
Anttoni Honka was something of a polarizing prospect for 2019 and NHL teams passed on him repeatedly, but he definitely possesses some first-round talent despite that fall. (Jiri Halttunen/JYP)

Only one of those nine were ranked higher in my final top 350 than in my preseason top 124 — that being Nick Robertson (23), who moved up three spots over the course of the draft year. The other eight all moved down, with two more staying in my first round, five falling into my second round, and one dropping to my third round: Lavoie (25), Honka (28), Suzuki (32), Korczak (41), Matthew Robertson (43), Kokkonen (45), Murray (62) and Nussbaumer (68). So I wound up being close on a couple of them and bang on with Korczak — matching his final ranking to his draft position. Vegas traded up to take Korczak, another kid that I watch on a regular basis here in Kelowna.

The ugly doesn’t stop there, however, with 40 of my preseason top 124 going undrafted in 2019. In 2018, it was 30 of my top 100, so almost equally ugly. For those doing the math, that translates to 32 per cent in 2019 and 30 per cent in 2018. It also means nearly one of every three prospects from my preseason rankings goes undrafted — at least for those two years. Here’s hoping for a higher percentage in 2020.

Perhaps the key to upping that percentage is ranking fewer goaltenders since seven of those 40 undrafted prospects were netminders: Gauthier (63), Maier (64), Taponen (87), Piiroinen (99), Basran (100), Sartakov (101) and Bilous (102). And all seven trended down for me throughout the draft year, resulting in these final rankings: Maier (113), Gauthier (114), Taponen (204), Sartakov (217), Basran (233), Piiroinen (NR) and Bilous (NR). I did take my own advice for 2020, ranking just seven goalies in my preseason top 124 after ranking 11 for 2019 and eight in 2018.

Of those 40 undrafted prospects in 2019, eight of them remained in the top 124 for my final rankings, while nine of them were no longer ranked in my final top 350. That list includes:

First Round

25) Josh Williams — 92

27) Yaroslav Likhachyov — 91

29) Xavier Parent — 132

Second Round

34) Daniil Gutik — 47

38) Tag Bertuzzi — 175

46) Vladimir Alistrov — 129

47) Dmitri Sheshin — 90

49) Luke Toporowski — 111

53) Lev Starikov — 338

Third Round

63) Taylor Gauthier — 114

64) Nolan Maier — 113

71) Logan Barlage — 134

72) Vojtech Strondala — 101

75) Oleg Zaitsev — 128

78) Petr Cajka — NR

80) Grant Silianoff — 146

82) Brady Meyer — 157

83) Ilya Mironov — 155

87) Roope Taponen — 204

88) Yegor Chinakhov — 143

90) Ilya Ovechkin — NR

Fourth Round

94) Marcel Barinka — 151

96) Martin Lang — 179

98) Filip Prikryl — 336

99) Kari Piiroinen — NR

100) Roman Basran — 233

101) Vladimir Sartakov — 217

102) Boston Bilous — NR

104) Oliver Turan — 335

108) Danny Weight — NR

109) Michael Gildon — 159

113) Matej Toman — NR

114) Daniel V. Tkac — NR

115) Danil Antropov — 264

116) Brooklyn Kalmikov — 268

117) Bailey Peach — NR

118) Xavier Simoneau — 131

121) David Kope — 259

123) Jake Lee — 127

124) Jackson van de Leest — NR

As you can tell, I’m still fairly high on Gutik (47), Sheshin (90), Likhachyov (91), Williams (92), Strondala (101), Toporowski (111), Maier (113) and Gauthier (114) as the eight undrafted prospects who remained in my top 124 from the preseason rankings through to the final rankings.

Taylor Gauthier of the Prince George Cougars
Taylor Gauthier of the WHL’s Prince George Cougars. (James Doyle/Prince George Cougars)

If I extend that to the top 134 of my final rankings, the
list would include six more prospects: Lee (127), Zaitsev (128), Alistrov (129),
Simoneau (131), Parent (132) and Barlage (134). Plus there were two other
prospects of note that went undrafted from my final rankings that weren’t in my
preseason top 124: Justin Bergeron (85) and Billy Constantinou (86).

That is a total of 16 prospects that went undrafted from the top 134 in my final rankings. Keep those names in mind for this season. I still like their potential despite not getting drafted in 2019, and I wouldn’t be surprised if several of them were to get selected as overagers in 2020.

Lastly, I’ll share the 59 players drafted in the top 124 in 2019 that weren’t ranked in my preseason top 124. That number is up from 44 out of 100 in 2018. The math equates to 48 per cent in 2019 and 44 per cent in 2018. That is definitely ugly, essentially meaning one out of every two prospects picked in the top 124 in 2019 weren’t ranked in my preseason top 124.

However, it’s not as awful as it sounds because 17 of those
59 misses were overagers and I didn’t include any overagers in my 2019 rankings
until the second half of the season — keeping my focus on the first-time
eligibles for the first half — thus those 17 wouldn’t have appeared in my
preseason top 124 even if I liked them that high. So that brings the number of
misses down to 42 out of 107 — or 39 per cent, which is a more respectable
showing.

Now for the good news, just six of those 59 players weren’t ranked in my final top 350 and only one of them wasn’t on my radar — that being Eric Hjorth, a fourth-rounder for Columbus who appears quite promising upon further review and will be playing for OHL Sarnia this season. Here is that list, including their final ranking:

First Round

18) Thomas Harley — 26

24) Philip Tomasino — 16

25) Connor McMichael — 51

29) Brayden Tracey — 52

31) Ryan Johnson — 44

Second Round

32) Shane Pinto — 61

34) Bobby Brink — 22

35) Antti Tuomisto — 55

36) Pyotr Kochetkov (overager) — 48

37) Mads Sogaard — 76

39) Jackson LaCombe — 121

42) Vladislav Firstov — 96

45) Egor Afanasyev — 34

46) Jayden Struble — 120

50) Samuel Fagemo (overager) — 38

52) Vladislav Kolyachonok — 40

56) Brett Leason (overager) — 39

57) Samuel Bolduc — 63

59) Hunter Jones — 107

60) Albert Johansson — 83

Third Round

63) Matthew Stienburg — 251

64) Mattias Norlinder (overager) — 81

65) Alexander Campbell — 138

67) Erik Portillo (overager) — 193

68) Zac Jones — 123

69) John Ludvig (overager) — NR

70) Daniil Misyul — 56

72) Ronnie Attard (overager) — 126

74) Nathan Legare — 54

75) Adam Beckman — 77

77) Gianni Fairbrother — 181

78) Alex Beaucage — 79

81) Cole Schwindt — 267

85) Ilya Konovalov (overager) — 104

86) Layton Ahac — 115

87) Lukas Parik — 140

90) Domenick Fensore — 66

91) Aliaksei Protas — 112

92) Quinn Olson — 182

Fourth Round

94) Viktor Lodin (overager) — NR

95) Jordan Spence — 64

96) Tyce Thompson (overager) — 249

97) Ethan Phillips — 93

99) Cade Webber — 219

100) Matej Blumel (overager) — 208

103) Mason Millman — NR

104) Eric Hjorth — NR (not on my radar)

106) Carter Berger (overager) — 169

107) Alexandr Darin (overager) — 348

109) Marc Del Gaizo (overager) — 125

111) Samuel Sjolund — NR

112) Hunter Skinner — NR

114) Dmitry Voronkov (overager) — 350

116) Lucas Feuk — 149

117) Semyon Chystyakov — 57

120) Max Crozier (overager) — 168

121) Tuukka Tieksola — 72

122) Ethan Keppen — 109

124) Nick Abruzzese (overager) — 247

More bad news, I must have been slacking on my OHL scouting last summer to miss on Harley, Tomasino and McMichael as first-rounders. That is pretty embarrassing, to be honest, since all three were also first-rounders in the 2017 OHL draft — Tomasino fifth, McMichael 11th and Harley 14th overall there — and Tomasino had already produced 24 points as a 16-year-old. They should have been in my preseason top 124 — that is inexcusable — but it didn’t take them long to crack my rankings and work their way up.

Thomas Harley Mississauga Steelheads
Thomas Harley of the OHL’s Mississauga Steelheads. (Aaron Bell/OHL Images)

McMichael and Tomasino debuted in October — at Nos. 74 and
75, respectively — and Harley followed in November, ironically at No. 76. McMichael
was the first to crack my first round, at No. 30 in December, with Harley and
Tomasino joining him in February at Nos. 29 and 30, respectively. McMichael
topped out at No. 16 that month, while Tomasino kept climbing to finish at No.
16 for me. Harley got as high as No. 23 in April when those three were ranked
in succession: Harley (23), McMichael (24) and Tomasino (25). McMichael trended
down the last couple months — much like the aforementioned Foote, but mainly
due to a mediocre playoff showing for McMichael — while Tomasino and Harley
settled in at Nos. 16 and 26, respectively, for both May and June.

As you can see, the USHL and U.S. high school were also weak
spots for me. I did catch on to the USHL kids soon enough — Brink (28), Afanasyev
(52), Ryan Johnson (88), Firstov (119), Pinto (121) and Phillips (184) were
among the November debutants from that league — but the high-schoolers eluded
me for much of the season and ended up being way too low in my final rankings.
I’ll need to pay closer attention to the high-school circuits this season and
develop more contacts at that level.

For the record, LaCombe (177) also debuted in November,
while Struble (130) didn’t crack my rankings until February when he entered one
spot behind LaCombe (129). They stayed in my fifth round for April and May
before topping out in the fourth round for my final rankings with Struble at
120 and LaCombe at 121. They were both selected in the second round, LaCombe at
39 and Struble at 46. I clearly should have been higher on them.

Jackson Lacombe Anaheim Ducks Draft
Jackson LaCombe was drafted by the Anaheim Ducks. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The USHLers made their way up my rankings with 13 finishing
in the top 124 for my final top 350: Brink (22), Mastrosimone (31), Afanasyev
(34), Ryan Johnson (44), Pinto (61), Phillips (93), Janicke (94), Firstov (96),
Marcus Kallionkieli (97), Maccelli (98), Huglen (117), Zac Jones (123) and Isaiah
Saville (124), followed by Attard (126). Better late than never and not too
shabby on that front in the end.

Closer to home, the four sources of frustration were Tracey,
Beckman and Fairbrother as WHLers and Campbell from the BCHL. None of them were
in my preseason top 124 or my October rankings. Campbell (109), Beckman (140)
and Fairbrother (173) debuted in November, with Tracey also listed on my radar
for that month.

All four were ranked from December on, with Campbell topping
out at 101 in January and Fairbrother also peaking for me that month at 154. They
wound up way too low, with Campbell at 138 in the fifth round and Fairbrother
at 181 in the sixth round for my final rankings. Both were selected in the
third round, Campbell at 65 and Fairbrother at 77.

It was a slow climb for Tracey, who didn’t crack my top 100
until March (64) but continued to trend up in April (57), May (56) and June
(52) despite finishing well short of his draft position (29). Beckman was up
and down in my rankings before gaining momentum in May (85) and June (77),
finishing just two spots below his draft position (75).

Brayden Tracey Ducks Draft
Brayden Tracey was also taken by the Anaheim Ducks. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Tracey should have been higher for me much earlier. He was a
first-round pick in the 2016 WHL bantam draft, so he was a known commodity, but
many felt his production was inflated by playing on arguably the league’s most potent
line with Tristan Langan and Justin Almeida, who finished second and third in
the scoring race. But as the season progressed, Tracey proved to be an
offensive catalyst and more of a driver than a passenger in producing the third-most
points (81) and second-most goals (36) for Moose Jaw en route to winning WHL
rookie of the year honours.

Beckman didn’t have the same bantam draft pedigree as a
fifth-round pick from 2016, but he was coming off a huge season in leading the Saskatchewan
midget AAA league in both goals (44) and points (78) as a first all-star team.
He was named that league’s top forward, then went on to also win an SJHL (Junior
A) championship that spring before making the jump to the WHL. Beckman hit the
ground running in Spokane under Dan Lambert, an offensive-minded coach who utilized
him perfectly from start to finish in his draft year. I remained higher on his teammate
Toporowski for much of the season, but Beckman overtook him in the end by
outproducing Toporowski in goals (32-21) and points (62-49).

Fairbrother, a fourth-round pick from the 2015 bantam draft, had only managed five points in 33 games as a 17-year-old rookie defenceman with Everett. He flew under the radar in the U.S. Division, at least for me, but Montreal’s scouts obviously liked what they seen in reaching for Fairbrother in the third round. Everett is developing some good defenders under Dennis Williams, with Wyatte Wylie also getting drafted in 2018 and Ronan Seeley now on the radar for 2020. I’ll try not to sleep on Seeley, but I didn’t have him in my preseason top 124 — he was in my fifth round, at 138 — and several peers reached out to pump his tires as an omission.

Last but not least, Campbell is from Quebec and was new to B.C. last season, forming a dynamic duo with NHL first-rounder Alex Newhook. I don’t watch a ton of BCHL and had received mixed reviews over whether Campbell was riding Newhook’s coattails, but that didn’t appear to be the case in winning that league’s rookie of the year award and winning over Nashville’s scouts.

For anyone interested in reviewing all 10 of my monthly rankings for 2019, here they are:

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