Knights Set for 2019 NHL Entry Draft
As the NHL season comes to an end and another Stanley Cup Champion is crowned, the league turns it's focus to the future and the new crop of NHL talent waiting to accomplish their NHL dreams. The 2019 edition of the NHL draft will take place on June 21stand 22nd in Vancouver, British Columbia. As the draft begins there will be four London Knights watching very intently to see how this year's draft unfolds. Connor McMichael and Matvey Guskov will be sitting through their first NHL draft as eligible prospects, while Billy Moskal and Nathan Dunkley will be going through their second year of eligibility.
Connor McMichael - Centre
Connor McMichael joined the London Knights during the 2017-2018 season at the trade deadline. He was the main piece coming back in the deal that saw current St. Louis Blues rookie sensation Rob Thomas join the eventual OHL Champion Hamilton Bulldogs. A former first round pick in the OHL Priority Selection, McMichael started his OHL career with some challenges. He finished his rookie campaign season with 16 points between Hamilton and London This led to him beginning this season projected as a mid-round NHL prospect.
McMichael, however, proceeded to prove all his doubters wrong with a monster sophomore year. The Ajax native finished the season with 72 points (36 goals, 36 assists), which would have been tops on the Knights had it not been for the acquisition of Kevin Hancock from Owen Sound at the OHL Trade Deadline. His play this season saw McMichael rocket up NHL prospect rankings, finishing the season ranked 24th by NHL Central Scouting. McMichael is consistently praised by many NHL scouts as the smartest player in the draft and could see an NHL club select him earlier than expected as the Columbus Blue Jackets did last year with his London Knights teammate, Liam Foudy.
Matvey Guskov - Centre
This past season was Matvey Guskov's first in North America. The product of Nizhnekamsk, Russia was the Knights' first round selection (42nd overall) in last summer's CHL Import Draft and joined the club as a highly touted international prospect.
Guskov found instant chemistry with McMichael and Nathan Dunkley, finishing the season with 30 points (12 goals, 18 assists). This resulted in Guskov sitting ranked 65th in Central Scouting heading into the draft. Guskov has a ton of offensive upside and the London fans can attest to his love of putting the puck in the back of the net.
Billy Moskal - Centre
Billy Moskal is coming off his third OHL season, all with the Knights, and what has been his best yet. Now a veteran leader, Moskal knows what it means to be a Knight and has become a reliable player in tight situations. This will be Moskal's second time through the draft after being passed over last season. While he did not hear his name called by an NHL team on draft day, he found himself joining teammates Liam Foudy and Joseph Raaymakers as all three made their way to Columbus for the Blue Jackets' development camp last summer.
Moskal began the season ranked 178th by Central Scouting. Moskal finished his third OHL season with a career high 36 points (14 goals, 22 assists) and was one of the best in the faceoff dot across the entire OHL. He finished the season with an astounding 59% success rating on faceoffs over 1276 faceoffs taken; this was only second to Sasha Chmelevski of the Ottawa 67s, a San Jose Sharks prospect. Moskal is an excellent defensive player and would be a great pickup for any NHL club.
Nathan Dunkley - Centre
Nathan Dunkley is another veteran player that will sit through the NHL Draft again with the hopes of hearing his name called. Last year Dunkley was passed over even after finishing with over 50 points between Kingston and London and being ranked 109th by Central Scouting. This season, his first full season in London, Dunkley put up another 50+ point campaign.
Dunkley did attend the Los Angeles Kings' development camp last summer so the NHL interest is there. All Dunkley did this season was a make a strong case to everyone that was watching as to why he deserves a chance to experience his NHL dream. Emerging as a strong two-way forward, Dunkley is the type of player every coach and teammate wants in their colours.
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