Each year, hundreds of NHL scouts scour the world for prospects that could bolster the future of their organization. It’s no easy task to try and project the future success of 17 and 18 year-olds who play in different leagues that vary greatly in terms of talent and competition.
Of the 217 players drafted at the 2018 NHL Draft in Dallas, 52 were from the United States, according to data from USA Hockey. Over the past five seasons, there was an average of just over 55 Americans drafted. The high came in 2014 when 65 players from the United States were selected.
The 2019 NHL Draft, slated for June 21-22 in Vancouver, is shaping up to be a banner year for USA Hockey. Center Jack Hughes of the U.S. NTDP U18 team is expected to be the first overall pick. Hughes’ teammate, left wing Matt Boldy of Millis, Mass., will almost certainly be the first New England native off the board.
Each month from now until the end of the hockey season, New England Hockey Journal’s Jeff Cox will unveil his list of the top 65 Americans eligible for the 2019 NHL Draft.