November 2019 NHL Draft Rankings

A lot has changed this month for the Buffalo Sabres and that has a huge effect on their draft. The Sabres have now won nine games in a row and have put them right in the discussion for a playoff spot. That’s something that we haven’t been able to discuss for a very, very long time. Going into the season, I thought that it was a real possibility that the Sabres would be picking in the top ten once again but it’s looking like they will be picking in the late teens or early twenties if they can keep this up.

Another wrinkle in Buffalo’s 2019 draft involves the St. Louis Blues. Keep in mind that the first round pick that the Sabres acquired in the Ryan O’Reilly trade is top ten protected. So if the Blues pick is in the top ten, the Blues have the option to keep their pick. If this is the case, Buffalo will then receive St. Louis’ first round pick in 2020. It’s not confirmed yet if the 2020 first would be lottery protected or not but it’s very likely that there would be no protection on that pick if it transfers to the 2020 draft.

The Blues have had a surprisingly bad start to the season. They currently sit in 30th in the NHL with a record of 8-11-3. So barring a big push from them, expect that pick going to 2020 or Buffalo getting the pick in the 11-15 range. It would take a miracle for the Blues to make the playoffs after this bad start. The Blues will be an interesting team to watch for Sabres fans.

I want to pose this question to everyone reading this. What would you rather have? The Sabres get to keep the Blues pick this year and it’s in the 11-15 range? Or the pick goes to next year and you roll the dice on it possibly being even higher? Let us know on Twitter or Instagram @TheChargingBUF

The Sabres also have San Jose’s first rounder in the 2019 draft. Like the St. Louis pick, there is also a condition on the San Jose pick. This isn’t likely but if the Sharks end up missing the playoffs, the Sabres will receive San Jose’s first rounder in the 2020 draft instead of 2019. If this happens, Ottawa will receive the 2019 San Jose first due to the Erik Karlsson trade. Again, the Sharks currently sit at the top of the Pacific Division. They’re not missing the playoffs.

No huge changes on the ranking going from October to November. Regardless of where they pick in the first round, the Sabres are going to get two or three really good prospects. I’ve said it before but this has potential to be one of the most important drafts in the history of this team if they end up drafting with all three first round picks. Or even if the Blues pick goes to 2020, it’s still a critical two year period for the Sabres. They’re a team on the rise that are going to have to pay big money to their star players. They’re already paying Jack Eichel $10 million per year, Rasmus Dahlin will command a high salary obviously, and the way that Jeff Skinner is playing the Sabres are gonna need to shell out a lot of money to keep him long term. That’s why it’s crucial for the Sabres to keep these four first rounder in the next two drafts. With so much money being tied in their stars, they’re going to need players coming up on entry level contracts to help contribute.

I’ve been saying this for awhile now but the Sabres need to draft someone who can play with Rasmus Dahlin for the foreseeable future. Right now, I don’t think there’s anyone in the organization on defense that I think will be his long term partner. The cop out answer is Rasmus Ristolainen but let’s be real here, Ristolainen is better served as a second pairing defenseman. He’s good, but he shouldn’t be getting the amount of  ice time that he’s been getting throughout his career. So Targeting a guy like Bowen Byram or Philip Broberg would be the move for Buffalo but the way that things are going, they’d have to trade up to get one of them. As far as other defensemen go, there are plenty of other options like Cam York, Victor Soderstrom, Matthew Robertson, or Anttoni Honka. There are some good defensemen in this draft but the only ones who I believe have top pairing potential at the moment are Byram and Broberg.

At this point it’s a long shot but the guy that I’ve had my eye on for the Sabres is Hamilton Bulldogs winger, Arthur Kaliyev. He’s a pure goal scorer and I think that’s something that Buffalo needs to target in the first round. The way he’s played, he’s trending into being a top ten pick so it’s very unlikely that he will even be on the board when the Sabres are picking. Maybe there’d be a chance if the Blues pick is in that 11-15 range but that’s even kind of unrealistic at this point. Kaliyev would be a great pickup but there are some other good scoring wingers in the draft as well. Another player that would be a good option for Buffalo is winger Cole Caufield from the U.S. National Team Development Program. He’s undersized but he’s so skilled and has that scoring touch that the Sabres need. I have him slotted in at 16 on my list but sliding into the twenties is a possibility for a player like him who is very undersized.

Check out last month’s draft ranking here

1. Jack Hughes, C, 5’10” 168 lbs (USNTDP)

Oct Rank: 1

22gp 9g 34a 43pts

2. Kaapo Kakko, RW, 6’2″ 194 lbs (TPS, Liiga)

Oct Rank: 2

20gp 4g 9a 13pts

3. Dylan Cozens, C, 6’3″ 181 lbs (Lethbridge, WHL)

Oct Rank: 3

22gp 12g 19a 31pts

4. Vasili Podkolzin, RW, 6’1″ 190 lbs (SKA, MHL)

Oct Rank: 4

10gp 5g 2a 7pts

5. Kirby Dach, C, 6’4″ 199 lbs (Saskatoon, WHL)

Oct Rank: 7

25gp 13g 26a 39pts

6. Peyton Krebs, LW, 5’11” 180 lbs (Kootenay, WHL)

Oct Rank: 5

23gp 6g 21a 27pts

7. Bowen Byram, D, 6’0″ 194 lbs (Vancouver, WHL)

Oct Rank: 6

24gp 7g 11a 18pts

8. Raphael Lavoie, RW, 6’4″ 192 lbs (Halifax, QMJHL)

Oct Rank: 10

22gp 12g 12a 24pts

9. Matthew Boldy, LW, 6’2″ 188 lbs (USNTDP)

Oct Rank: 13

22gp 15g 9a 24pts

10. Ryan Suzuki, C, 6’0″ 178 lbs (Barrie, OHL)

Oct Rank: 8

23gp 8g 24a 32pts

11. Arthur Kaliyev, LW, 6’2″ 190 lbs (Hamilton, OHL)

Oct Rank: 12

24gp 19g 17a 36pts

12. Philip Broberg, D, 6’3″ 199 lbs (AIK, Allsvenskan)

Oct Rank: 9

20gp 0g 6a 6pts

13. Alex Turcotte, C, 5’11” 194 lbs (USNTDP)

Oct Rank: 11

3gp 1g 1a 2pts

14. Alex Newhook, C, 5’11” 183 lbs (Victoria, BCHL)

Oct Rank: 15

28gp 16g 28a 44pts

15. Trevor Zegras, C, 6’0″ 183 lbs (USNTDP)

Oct Rank: 14

21gp 12g 22a 34pts

16. Cole Caufield, RW, 5’7″ 157 lbs (USNTDP)

Oct Rank: 18

22gp 18g 7a 25pts

17. Cam York, D, 5’11” 172 lbs (USNTDP)

Oct Rank: 17

21gp 2g 14a 16pts

18. Victor Soderstrom, D, 5’11” 176 lbs (Brynas IF, SHL)

Oct Rank: 22

12gp 0g 2a 2pts

19. Matthew Robertson, D, 6’4″ 201 lbs (Edmonton, WHL)

Oct Rank: 19

21gp 3g 12a 15pts

20. Anttoni Honka, D, 5’10” 179 lbs (JYP, Liiga)

Oct Rank: 16

15gp 1g 3a 4pts

21. Matvei Guskov, C, 6’1″ 172 lbs (London, OHL)

Oct Rank: 20

23gp 4g 11a 15pts

22. Jakob Pelletier, LW, 5’9″ 162 lbs (Moncton, QMJHL)

Oct Rank: 27

25gp 16g 21a 37pts

23. Alex Vlasic, D, 6’6″ 192 lbs (USNTDP)

Oct Rank: 21

22gp 3g 8a 11pts

24. Maxim Cajkovic, RW, 5’11” 187 lbs (Saint John, QMJHL)

Oct Rank: 23

24gp 5g 10a 15pts

25. Tobias Bjornfot, D, 6’0″ 187 lbs (Djurgardens, SuperElit)

Oct Rank: 25

20gp 3g 6a 9pts

26. Kaedan Korczak, D, 6’3″ 192 lbs (Kelowna, WHL)

Oct Rank: 26

26gp 2g 12a 14pts

27. Samuel Poulin, LW, 6’1″ 207 lbs (Sherbrooke, QMJHL)

Oct Rank: 28

25gp 10g 11a 21pts

28. Albin Grewe, RW, 6’0″ 176 lbs (Djurgardens IF, SuperElit)

Oct Rank: 29

17gp 7g 15a 22pts

29. Nick Robertson, LW, 5’9″ 168 lbs (Peterborough, OHL)

Oct Rank: 24

12gp 6g 4a 10pts

30. Spencer Knight, G 6’3″ 198 lbs (USNTDP)

Oct Rank: 2nd round

14gp .924 sv% 2.27 gaa

31. Nolan Foote, LW, 6’3″ 190 lbs (Kelowna, WHL)

Oct Rank: 31

24gp 15g 8a 23pts

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