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Looking ahead to the 2019 NHL Draft

Could it be...the Pittsburgh Penguins and a first round draft pick? Dare to dream!

2018 NHL Draft - Rounds 2-7 Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

With a rare break in the schedule, there’s a chance to shift focus momentarily from the stretch run to the 2019 NHL draft.

As Penguins fans, we’re conditioned to not care or get attached to the NHL draft. Pittsburgh trades their picks of significance every year.

But this year could be different.

We all know Jim Rutherford tends to speak honestly, but he’s also been known to change his mind. So who is to say that the Pens won’t do what they did in 2017 and trade down from the first to second round if it means adding an NHL player as an immediate infusion to the team? It could happen!

However, we’re going to dare to dream and take an early peak at what could be out there as expected picks from #16-31, the range that the Pens’ first pick should be, barring any of those dreaded last minute trades.

Here’s Bob McKenzie’s mid-season rankings, taken from a consensus of scouts:

And here’s some details on selected players about in range from Sportsnet’s mid-term rankings:

15. Cole Caufield, RW, USNTDP, 5-foot-6, 155 pounds: The name of the game is goal-scoring and he’s right at the top of the list for this draft class, threatening Phil Kessel’s program record of 104 goals over two seasons (he has 100 right now).

More on Caufield here tomorrow

16. Connor McMichael, C, London Knights (OHL) 5-foot-10, 172 pounds: Steady growth to his game. Makes plays in tight spaces with good hands and great skating ability.

23. Brett Leason, RW, Prince Albert Raiders (WHL), 6-foot-3, 200 pounds: Playing banged up for the second half will actually hurt his stock, but he’s always around the puck getting or creating scoring chances.

30. Nicholas Robertson, LW, Peterborough Petes (OHL), 5-foot-8, 162 pounds: An amazing backstory from birth, he takes nothing for granted and truly cherishes every day on the ice.

It’s early but always fun to look ahead and see which player the Pens might be looking to add. Feel free to add in the comments your favorite prospect.