By Carter Brooks
Photo by Marissa Baecker
The 2019 NHL Entry Draft is fast approaching.
Held in Vancouver from June 21-22, 217 players will be selected in seven rounds as preparation for the 2019-20 season gets underway. Earlier this week, NHL Central Scouting announced its final list of draft-eligible players, including five Manitobans and 50 current Western Hockey League skaters.
The list is divided between North American and International skaters/goaltenders, and after winning the Draft Lottery, the New Jersey Devils have the right to select first overall for the second time in three seasons. Behind New Jersey are the New York Rangers and the Chicago Blackhawks, selecting second and third, respectively.
Behind projected first and second overall picks Jack Hughes and Kappo Kakko are WHLers Kirby Dach, Dylan Cozens and Bowen Byram. Winnipeg ICE captain Peyton Krebs rounds out the top-10 of North American skaters, after dropping two places from his No. 8 midterm ranking.
Also listed on the rankings are five Manitobans - four of which currently play in the WHL, with one coming from the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. Goaltenders Trent Miner (No. 6, Vancouver Giants) and Max Paddock (No. 30, Regina Pats), along with forwards Ben McCartney (No. 117, Brandon Wheat Kings), Kyle Bettens (No. 191 Steinbach Pistons) and Cole Muir (No. 206 Winnipeg ICE) have cracked the final list.
For these players, and countless others, their draft dreams may or may not come true in late June from Rogers Arena as the 2019 NHL Entry Draft officially begins the preparation for the upcoming NHL season.