We’re less than a month away from the NHL Draft in Vancouver, which can only mean one thing. (It actually means several things, but, well … OK?) It’s time, once again, for the SB Nation NHL mock draft. Every year, using the expertise of our 31 site managers across the SBN network, we go through the first round and make picks that we think would make sense for our respective teams.
In last year’s mock, we made not one, not two, but three picks and three accompanying trades. Ultimately we would not only end up with a haul of three prospects – Finnish center Rasmus Kupari at No. 16 (who went 20th overall to the Kings in real life), Russian winger Vitaly Kravtsov at No. 19 (actually went ninth to the Rangers), and Swedish defenseman Nils Lundkvist at No. 25 (also went to the Rangers, at No. 28) – but also an extra second-round pick in 2018 from Colorado (pick No. 58, to be exact), current Toronto winger prospect Jeremy Bracco, and the free agent rights to center Tyler Bozak (who would then go on to sign a three-year, $15 million deal with St. Louis). In the process of getting those players and picks, we traded out Wayne Simmonds to Toronto, Petr Mrazek to Dallas, and an extra fifth-round pick to Colorado. We had fun with the thing, basically.
For a quick recap of what else we’ve done in this enterprise, via last year’s post:
For us, [2017’s] draft had about as little suspense as possible, as we took Nolan Patrick with the second pick (which the Flyers, of course, would then do themselves a few days later in real life). In 2016, we deliberated between a few guys on the board before taking Julien Gauthier at No. 18; in the actual draft, Gauthier would go at No. 21 after the Flyers traded out of the 18th pick and then took German Rubtsov at No. 22. And in 2015, we ended up drafting Ivan Provorov at No. 7 (hey, the Flyers did that too!) and Brock Boeser at No. 29 (Boeser went at No. 23 in the real thing, one pick before the Flyers moved up to snag Travis Konecny).
Anywho, we’re back at it again this year, and now it’s our turn to talk 2019. If you haven’t been following along in the mock draft, here’s what’s gone down so far:
1. New Jersey selects Jack Hughes, via All About The Jersey.
2. NY Rangers select Kaapo Kakko, via Blueshirt Banter.
3. Chicago selects Alex Turcotte, via Second City Hockey.
4. Colorado selects Kirby Dach, via Mile High Hockey.
5. Los Angeles selects Dylan Cozens, via Jewels From The Crown.
6. Detroit selects Bowen Byram, via Winging It In Motown.
7. Buffalo selects Cole Caufield, via Die By The Blade.
8. Edmonton selects Peyton Krebs, via Copper & Blue.
9. Anaheim selects Trevor Zegras, via Anaheim Calling.
10. Vancouver selects Matthew Boldy, via Nucks Misconduct.
No real surprises in there. As we watched the picks go, the BSH war room had been hoping to see one of Caufield or Zegras slip through the cracks to 11th, but we can’t win ‘em all. Anywho ...
/Chuck Fletcher approaches the podium in ... whatever way Chuck Fletcher does these things
Thanking hosts and congratulating winners is for dorks.
(That’s a real quote.)
With the 11th overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, Philadelphia selects, from the Victoria Grizzlies of the BCHL, center Alex Newhook.
Birthdate: January 28, 2001
2018-19 Statistics: 38 G, 64 A in 53 GP / Playoffs: 11 G, 13 A in 15 GP / 2019 U18 WJC: 5 G, 5 A in 7 GP
Size: 5’11”, 190 (via)
Nationality: Canadian (St. John’s, NL)
What the experts think
What did we like about Newhook?
A lot! Newhook has been dominant for multiple seasons in the BCHL — which, in fairness, is exactly what a player worthy of being selected in the lottery range should be when going up against Canadian Junior-A competition, but he certainly has done it. Newhook is (well, will be when it eventually happens) the first BCHL player chosen in the first round since Colorado took Penticton’s Tyson Jost at No. 10 back in 2016, and we think he’s worthy of that perch.
There aren’t many obvious holes in Newhook’s game. He’s a plus skater with impressive skill, and is able to put those two attributes together in a way guys his age sometimes struggle to. He’s got impressive abilities on the puck, showing off creativity both as a shooter and a passer. And while he’s likely not going to win many Selkes in his NHL career, he’s a willing competitor on every part of the ice and will make his opponents work for what they get.
In some ways, Newhook reminds us of Travis Konecny, another smallish but dynamic center from Canadian juniors who played with a ton of speed and wasn’t afraid to play a bit of a rough-and-tumble game at that level in doing so. Like Konecny has, it wouldn’t be surprising if Newhook ends up spending time at wing if/when he makes the NHL, but it doesn’t seem like a lock, and that kind of positional flexibility would make him even more valuable. And even if all of the skills don’t quite translate as he moves up the ranks, his well-rounded ability makes it hard to imagine he would totally bust.
What are the big questions surrounding Newhook?
It’s always tough to know just how a player playing at a level of competition below those that we’re used to examining will handle moving up to new leagues. Just ask the Flyers’ last first-round pick, Jay O’Brien, who (injuries acknowledged) had a rough go of things this year in his freshman year at Providence after making the jump from high school phenom to the college ranks. It’s certainly not unprecedented for a player to succeed after playing in the BCHL in his draft year. The aforementioned Tyson Jost was immediately a point-per-game player in his freshman year at North Dakota immediately after being drafted, and he already looks like a solid player for Colorado with plenty of room still to grow (though he was admittedly more productive in the BCHL than Newhook has been). Regardless, it’s still a challenge he’ll have to conquer.
Newhook’s performances when playing above the BCHL have been mixed, and The Athletic’s Corey Pronman pointed out that he “wasn’t dominant” in other settings such as the Ivan Hlinka camp. But his most recent showcase outside of the BCHL was a great one, as he was dominant in under-18 World Juniors with 10 points in seven games. We’ll see how things go for him next year, when he’ll be heading to Boston College this coming fall.
Additionally, while it’s 2019 and we’re certainly not naive enough to think players on the smaller side can’t hack it in the NHL, Newhook does play a taxing style of hockey, and it remains to be seen if he’ll be able to do that at the game’s highest level — and the size and skill that we see at that level — while showing off the skill we know he has.
Who else did we consider in this spot?
Hamilton Bulldogs winger Arthur Kaliyev was probably the guy we considered most for this pick outside of Newhook. The temptation of bringing in the OHL’s first draft-eligible 50-goal scorer since Alex DeBrincat is real, but he’s a very divisive prospect and there are legitimate questions about how his game will translate. We also kicked the tires on SKA St. Petersburg winger Vasili Podkolzin, who will be under contract in Russia for at least the next two seasons but is considered by some to be a top-5 pure talent in this draft.
And with that, we bow out for the 2019 SBN NHL mock draft. (Unless we made a trade again. You never know.) In the meantime, let us know what you think of our work here via the below poll and the comments. (Note: Some mobile devices may be unable to view the below poll.)
How do you feel about our selection of Alex Newhook with the No. 11 pick of the SBN NHL mock draft?
This poll is closed
Love it - he’s who I’d have chosen too
Like it - not my #1 choice here, but happy with it
Meh - I accept it, but definitely not what I’d have done
Hate it - I am disgusted with this pick and you should feel bad for making it