This Top 5 is our first ranking since the Top 30 we released with the Summer Blue Dispatch, before the start of the 2018/2019 season. A deeper update of that pre-season list will be released in December with the next Blue Dispatch issue.
As expected, since early August there has been a significant evolution in our rankings and this Top 5 shows where we are at in terms of the top candidates out of Europe before the first big international break.
One thing that definitely didn’t change is Kaapo Kakko easily sitting on top of the crop. Unsurprisingly, the multidimensional Finnish forward is off to an impressive start in the top men’s league in Finland, and is looking more and more like a can’t-miss prospect that will be challenging for the first few spots on draft day.
Ever since our first 2019 Draft ranking release in August 2017 (released with the 2017 Draft Review issue before the 2017/18 season got underway ), we have been looking for prospects able to separate themselves from the multitude of candidates to deservedly sit behind Kakko at #2 and we have been very pleased to see several players answer the bell by stepping up their play in the first part of the draft season.
First, it was Vasily Podkolzin and Philip Broberg coming up with outstanding efforts at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, and soon after, still in August as well, Michal Teply and Moritz Seider went on showing the upside you look for in top-tier prospects. The 6-foot-4 German defenseman in particular impressed us in some early live viewings and has been solid enough since to secure the #2 spot on this list. Podkolzin sits at #3 ahead of Teply, both wingers with the potential to carry the play at the next level one day.
We liked Broberg enough last year to have him in the top 15 of our pre-season ranking and he clearly improved his stock at the Hlinka, but he still doesn’t crack this top 5. Another Swedish defenseman is there at #5 instead, as the reliable Tobias Bjornfot keeps delivering when games get more demanding like in his recent SHL debut.
For a deeper write-up and a full update (with overall ranking projections added) we refer you to our next Blue Dispatch release.