Hey guys! Sven here, back with a new kind of article. I was asked to make a prospect list of some sort in addition to my “pipeline” analysis sprinkled into the team previews. This one will be a little different than most prospect information, as you’ve already heard so much about the Jack Hughes’, Kappo Kakko’s, and Cale Makar’s out there. Team by team, we’ll look at a few guys that may have an immediate impact and are up with the big club right now, guys we may see this season, and look at a couple bright spots down the road. Let’s kick it off, alphabetical order this time!
IMMEDIATE IMPACT – Sam Steel, Maxime Comtois, Max Jones, Troy Terry, Isaac Lundestrom
These guys were all on our prospect radar last season, most notably Comtois given his hot start to 2018-19. Coach Dallas Eakins is still trying to figure out what works up front, but he saw most of these guys thrive in San Diego (AHL) last season so the kids are gonna play! Most recently, Comtois was up on the top line with Getzlaf and Kase, and Lundestrom was centering Rakell and Silfverberg. Those two (provided this stays constant) will have all kinds of opportunity to tack on some points this season and plead their cases for full-time top-six roles.
Like I said, I’m gonna keep it brief here because those were all names you should have heard of by now.
THIS SEASON – Josh Mahura
Initially, I thought Mahura had a good shot at making the team out of camp. We’re three games into his Sophomore AHL campaign and he has yet to register a point. We won’t make any judgments yet, but a new coach means new adjustments for these Gulls players. I’m sure Mahura will get the ball rolling soon, and he strikes me as the first guy to earn the call-up to Anaheim if there are injuries on the back-end.
BEYOND – Benoit Olivier-Groulx, Antoine Morand
Groulx is a 2018 second-rounder that just signed his ELC with the Ducks. Fresh off an 80-point campaign with Halifax (QMJHL), he appears poised to have the classic Q “big fish, small pond” season. Through 6 games, he already had 11 points and should earn a camp invite to Team Canada’s WJC team. If Halifax isn’t deep in the QMJHL playoffs, it’s likely that Groulx will make the jump to San Diego at season’s end, maybe even Anaheim if they’re on the outside looking in.
Morand, coincidentally enough, captained Halifax (QMJHL) last season and posted his fourth-consecutive point-per-game-plus Junior season. That being said, he is going to need most of this year to adjust to the Pro game in San Diego (AHL). We may hear more about him come next season’s training camp.
IMMEDIATE IMPACT – Barrett Hayton, Kyle Capobianco
Hayton is Arizona’s fifth overall pick from 2018, and is currently skating on the second-line with Schmaltz and Dvorak. He should stick up with the big club for the short-term! Capobianco on the other hand has been waiting for his shot, but has had some bad injury luck. With Hjalmarsson out long-term, Capobianco can prove his game now with the big club. That being said, I don’t see much fantasy value just yet until he has some games under his belt.
THIS SEASON – Brayden Burke, Tyler Steenbergen
I mentioned in my Yotes write-up that this guy was gonna pop off this season after just 33 points in 67 games last season with Tucson (AHL). Three games in and he’s proving me kind of right (2-2-4)! Burke should be on Chayka’s radar already, and I can see him getting the nod here and there this season. Steenbergen has tucked twice in just three games, already over 20% of the way to his 2018-19 total with Tucson (AHL). With 123 career goals in the WHL, I figured it was only a matter of time until he found his touch at the next level. Look for his name to come up after the all-star break!
BEYOND – Victor Soderstrom, Jan Jenik, Nate Schnarr
Coyotes fans are excited about this kid, as they’ve had pretty good times so far with young Swedish defencemen (OEL, ever heard of him?) Soderstrom will play his second SHL season this year and rack up more experience playing against the big boys. Will he be ready for a roster sniff next training camp? We’ll see! These guys typically take a bit to develop, but they took him 11th overall for a reason. I just love the name Jan Jenik. Rolls right off the tongue – if I were from Europe. With a little bit of Czech pro experience and a great – though small – sample size playing with Hamilton (OHL), I like what I see out of this guy so far. The 2018 third-rounder should turn some heads come training camp next season, but will ultimately have the opportunity to head back to Junior for another season if need be. As I’ve previously mentioned, Schnarr will likely need all of this season to adjust.
IMMEDIATE IMPACT – Karson Kuhlman
Bouncing between #2RW and #3RW, Kuhlman has shown signs that he can produce at then NHL level. Consistency won’t be something you see this year, but even for this college product to be getting top-nine minutes (and streamer talk) this early is great.
BEYOND – Urho Vaakanainen, Jakub Lauko, Jack Studnicka
Vaakanainen is in a really tough spot, with the Bruins currently carrying 9 NHL D, five of which locked up after this season (and one pending FA being Krug). He’ll have to remain patient, but a full AHL season will help his development. Forwards such as Studnicka and Lauko really don’t have the best chance cracking this deep roster just yet, but all they can do is rip up the AHL until GM Don Sweeney has no choice but to give them a shot. Studnicka was a STUDnicka in the OHL and already has three points in his first five AHL contests. Lauko on the other hand is on my radar after his great pre-season showing, after an abbreviated QMJHL season last year. Both should take nice steps forward and may get a sniff of the spoked B this season, but I’m not counting on it.
IMMEDIATE IMPACT – Victor Olofsson
I had a good feeling about this guy going in (helps when Viz is a Sabres fan), but who would’ve thought he’d be such a lock at #1LW with Eich-daddy and Reinhart so far.
THIS SEASON – Henri Jokiharju
In quite the odd trade this off-season, Buffalo brought over yet another right-shot, puck-moving defenceman in exchange for Nylander – who they were clearly sick of waiting on. Jokiharju is in the lineup out of camp due to a couple of injuries, but I think the Sabres have too much depth (when healthy) for him to earn that immediate impact title. He’s not even rookie-eligible, looking ready for the NHL in a 38 game sample size with Chicago, but I still consider him a prospect.
BEYOND – Dylan Cozens, Arttu Ruotsalainen
Cozens was the Sabres’ most recent first-round pick, and looks poised to tear up the WHL again this season. I am sure we’ll see him at the WJC this December, and may even be a guy to make the team out of camp next season depending on his development. Ruotsalainen on the other hand is off to a strong start over in Finland’s Liiga. Given guys like Mittelstadt and Cozens already developing under Eichel at Centre, it’s great for Ruotsalainen’s development that he can play the wing as well.
THIS SEASON – Juuso Valimaki, Dillon Dube
Still rookie-eligible, Valimaki is currently on the shelf but should work his way into this Flames D corps once he’s back. He showed the ability to chip in offensively in his stint with Stockton (AHL) last season, we just need to see it translate up to the big club. Dube on the other hand seemingly proved he was too good for the AHL last season… there just isn’t room up with Calgary. He should earn a call-up soon enough, and if he plays will I can see him earning a roster spot on a wing.
BEYOND – Glenn Gawdin, Adam Ruzicka, Jakob Pelletier, Dmitri Zavgorodny
Gawdin had a solid first AHL season after putting up 125 freaking points in the WHL. He has 4 in 4 to start this AHL season, so we may hear about him even sooner. I’d consider Ruzicka’s development to be where Gawdin was entering last season. Pelletier and Zavgorodny (I’d like to buy a vowel) are poised to tear up the Q this season and be highly-talked-about names come camp next season.
IMMEDIATE IMPACT – Martin Necas
The best thing about Necas right now isn’t even his PP1 time, it’s his early chemistry with linemates Dzingel and Haula. These guys should chip in allllllllll season long, making Necas a solid streaming target.
THIS SEASON – Jake Bean
Bean had a very solid first pro season with Charlotte (AHL) and is off to another solid start. I’m thinking he will only have an impact this current season if one of Hamilton or Gardiner gets injured. If he is a regular old call-up replacement, he’ll likely only log 15 or 16 minutes. If one of these guys go down, Bean will be utilized on the power play up with the Canes.
BEYOND – Dominik Bokk, Ryan Suzuki, Eetu Luostarinen, Stelio Mattheos, Janne Kuokkanen, Morgan Geekie
Bokk was a Blues first-rounder acquired in the Faulk trade just before the season. He is currently chipping away in the SHL over in Sweden, but should be in the mix for a roster spot next season. Suzuki was the Canes first-rounder this most recent draft, and will have this whole season to add to his game with Barrie (OHL). It seemed as if he left a great impression after this year’s camp. Luostarinen is 21 and has played two full seasons in the Liiga already, and has buried twice in four AHL games. The rest of these guys are all off to solid starts with Charlotte (AHL), and will all likely be turning heads come 2020-21 training camp.
IMMEDIATE IMPACT – Dominik Kubalik
Kubalik is quite the late bloomer – 2013 seventh rounder to be exact – and is finally being mixed into Chicago’s lineup. That’s back-to-back seasons for the Hawks with a former Sudbury Wolves rookie, but who’s counting? Kubalik has notched a goal and an apple in 4GP and looks like a lock on PP2 for the time being.
THIS SEASON – Kirby Dach, Alex Nylander, Adam Boqvist
Last I heard, Dach was on a conditioning stint and almost ready to get into game action. Upon checking his Eliteprospects page, I now see he has two AHL games under his belt. I’m almost positive he will at least mix in a few NHL games this season, as I can see him easily sliding into #3C in favour of Kampf. As for Nylander, he was up on the top line out of the gate but is now in and out of the lineup. If he gets back in the top-six, pencil him in as an immediate impact player. This trade would be an absolute steal for the Blackhawks if he grows into that role. Boqvist looked poised to make the team out of training camp and I saw him owned in quite a few ESPN leagues, but here he is starting the season in Rockford (AHL). Coming off over a point-per-game with London (OHL), he should get his legs under him soon and earn a call-up.
BEYOND – Reese Johnson, Mackenzie Entwistle, Philipp Kurashev, Brandon Hagel
My opinions on these guys haven’t changed since my Chicago blog. I have seen the most of Kurashev given his six goals at the WJC for team Switzerland, but none of these Ice Hogs have jumped off the page just yet.
IMMEDIATE IMPACT – Cale Makar
THIS SEASON – Conor Timmins
Timmins (the last name, not the mining town in Ontario) was a big name heading into last season, but tragically missed all of last season due to injury. He is slowly being mixed into the Avs’ lineup in the two games he has played, and has one AHL game under his belt this season as well. I love him down the road and hope he slowly earns the trust of coach Bednar.
BEYOND – Bowen Byram, Logan O’Connor, Martin Kaut, Nick Henry
There has been so much hype around Makar that any non-Avalanche fan may have forgotten that the Avs drafted this stud fourth overall in 2019. Though Byram is back in the WHL (9GP 1-9-10 so far), we will see him soon. 71 points last season as a defenceman is RIDICULOUS.
Covered the rest of these guys thoroughly in my Colorado article. I like the Denver (NCAA) alum O’Connor to earn some NHL time first!
IMMEDIATE IMPACT – Alexandre Texier, Emil Bemstrom
I covered Texier pretty extensively in my Metro Sleepers preview, but it looks like Nyquist has grabbed the #1LW slot. Texier is sure to still have a solid season, though. Emil Bemstrom flew under my radar coming into this season, being a 2017 fourth-rounder. After a very solid season in the SHL overseas, he has been worked into PP#2 with Anderson injured. I’m not sure if the overall season will be noteworthy, but you guys know I love European guys that have played against men already.
THIS SEASON – Vladislav Gavrikov
This 2015 sixth-rounder joined the club during last year’s miraculous playoff run like Texier, and should have a pretty steady third pair role this season. The impact, however, will come with time. He chipped in 20 points in 60 games with SKA St. Petersburg (KHL), so once he earns Torts’ trust he will likely get more touches.
BEYOND – Liam Foudy, Trey Fix-Wolansky
The Jackets drafted Foudy 18th overall in 2018, and have been very patient with him as he continues to rip it up in London (OHL). I think he has a year in Cleveland (AHL) on tap for him first, as a number of Blue Jackets prospects have taken a similar route. As for Fix-Wolansky, he is in that transition year and already notched his first-career AHL goal. It may be frustrating that he won’t crack 100 points like he did last year with Edmonton (WHL), but I’m thinking he’ll have a great first pro season.
THIS SEASON – Denis Gurianov, Rhett Gardner
Both of these players are in and out of the lineup as of right now, so I can’t give that immediate impact tag. Given just about every Stars forward can play C in addition to the wing, I don’t like Gardner’s chances for fantasy relevance even if there is an injury. Gurianov might get some top-six sniffs if Dickinson doesn’t stick up there, but we’ll know more as the season progresses. Coach Jim Montgomery can’t be happy with this start, so maybe they’ll give the kids a shot.
BEYOND – Jason Robertson, Ben Gleason, Tye Felhaber
These guys I covered extensively in my Dallas preview.
IMMEDIATE IMPACT – Taro Hirose
Hirose has been bouncing up down and all around this middle-six group, but has notched a couple assists in seven games this year. As long as he keeps logging PP time, he’ll stay as an immediate impact consideration.
THIS SEASON – Joe Veleno, Filip Zadina
The only good news for Zadina die-hards is that these two are developing together in Grand Rapids (AHL) currently. Both selected in the first round of the 2018 draft, hopefully these two young studs can build some chemistry together and come into next season fully ready to take on the NHL. That being said, any individual success will warrant a call-up this season if injuries happen. But for now, they will log minutes in the AHL and hopefully light it up.
BEYOND – Moritz Seider, Jared McIsaac
Seider was the Wings’ sixth overall pick this season, and you’ve probably heard plenty of him already given how well he played in pre-season. I love his chances at cracking the roster come next season. As for McIsaac, he is yet another great looking Dman in the Wings system but is playing for Halifax (QMJHL) again this season. A second rounder in 2018, I see him in the AHL next season and maybe having a Cholowski 2018-19 caliber first pro season.
IMMEDIATE IMPACT – Ethan Bear
Bear had a great training camp and has earned himself the #1RD role with Larsson on the shelf. He is chipping in points thus far and I can see him being paired with Nurse for the long-term even with Larsson back in action. Keep your eye out on him!
THIS SEASON – Evan Bouchard, Tyler Benson, Kailer Yamamoto
Covered these guys extensively in my Edmonton preview.
BEYOND – Ryan McLeod, Ostap Safin, Dmitri Samorukov, Kirill Maksimov
No updates here.
IMMEDIATE IMPACT – Samuel Montembeault
I hate trying to evaluate goalies, as I knew next to nothing about Montembeault coming into this season. The 2015 third-rounder has posted great numbers through two starts this season, and I anticipate him getting a longer leash with Coach Q. This makes him a solid stream option going forward, and I would pick him up in a heartbeat if Bob suffers an injury.
THIS SEASON – Aleksi Heponiemi, Owen Tippett, Brady Keeper
Heponiemi begins this season in the AHL after a very good season in the Liiga over in Finland. Though he hasn’t chipped in much offensively just yet, I can see him being on the call-up radar mid-season. With Tippett, I thought for sure he was going to crack the lineup out of training camp. All he can do is head to Springfield (AHL) and absolutely light it up and prove his tenth overall selection was warranted. Brady Keeper was an amazing storyline to cap up what was a disappointing season for the Cats, but now this season he will truly prove he can play. Given their back end in Springfield (AHL), I anticipate him or Riley Stillman earning the first call-up.
BEYOND – Serron Noel, Vladislav Kolyachonok
Noel is off to a great start with Oshawa (OHL), and the second-rounder will likely have the typical big fish, small pond Junior season. Though he likely has a year in the AHL ahead of him, I’m interested to see if he plays for Team Canada at the WJC and how he impacts that tournament team. Kolyachonok is also a second-rounder, AND also off to a great start but with Flint (OHL). I love the offensive punch he brings from the blue line, and should slide in nicely in place of Yandle in a couple years.
IMMEDIATE IMPACT – Blake Lizotte
Blake Lizotte is a St. Cloud (NCAA) alum the Kings signed straight out of college. A few games into this season, and he appears to have earned the #2C slot under Todd McLellan. I would give him a few games to truly start producing, but I anticipate a nice little season here for Lizotte in this middle-six that has lots to prove.
THIS SEASON – Nikolai Prokhorkin, Carl Grundstrom, Tobias Bjornfot
I was very high on Prokhorkin the KHL transfer going into this season, and after four AHL games he is getting his shot with the Kings. I’m not sure where he’ll slot into this lineup or how long he’ll stick around, but I really like what he brings. For more on him, be sure to check out my Kings preview. Grundstrom was recently sent down, but should bounce back and forth between LA and Ontario (AHL) at least a couple times. The same goes to Bjornfot, who was briefly playing with Doughty on the top pair (going -4 in 3GP). He still has plenty of growing to do, and I think it’s best for him to work on his game in the AHL where he will play plenty of minutes. I’d say the same goes for Grundstrom, who had a very solid AHL season split between Toronto and Ontario (California, that is).
BEYOND – Gabe Vilardi, Jaret Anderson-Dolan, Alex Turcotte
Either of these young studs could very well earn a call-up this season, but Vilardi will have to wait a bit longer as he is starting this season on the shelf. Much like Bjornfot and Grunstrom, these two will receive much more playing time with Ontario (AHL) where they can work on dominating at that level first.
Turcotte was the Kings’ fifth-overall pick this past draft and is off to a great start in his first season with Wisconsin (NCAA). An absolute stud for the USNDP team, he is poised to eventually slide right behind Kopitar in the #2C slot. I don’t know much about him, but am excited to watch him represent Team USA at this year’s WJC.
THIS SEASON – Nico Sturm, Mason Shaw, Connor Dewar
Sturm (who I talked about quite a bit in my Wild preview), is off to a solid start that should warrant him a call-up if there is an injury. Shaw, coming off a solid first AHL season started the year on the shelf but should also be a prime candidate going forward. Unfortunately, both prospects appear to be pass-first guys, and Minnesota really needs more impact scorers. With this in mind, 2018 third-rounder Dewar could skip the line and earn a call up, coming off back-to-back 35+ goal seasons with Everett (WHL). The same could be said for former Sudbury Wolves (OHL) sniper Dmitri Sokolov.
BEYOND – Ivan Lodnia, Brennan Menell
Lodnia appears to be back in Niagara (OHL) for (hopefully) a massive full season after posting 45 points in an abbreviated 41-game stint last year. Menell is an offensive defenceman that posted a noteworthy 44 points last season, but the Wild really don’t need that just yet. He will be an exciting player to watch this season in Iowa (AHL).
IMMEDIATE IMPACT – Nick Suzuki
Suzuki made the team out of camp and though he is bouncing around the lineup so far, he does have three points in eight games and is grabbing a bit of PP time.
THIS SEASON – Ryan Poehling
Poehling suffered a concussion in training camp and as a result is starting the season in Laval (AHL). That doesn’t mean we won’t see him the second the Habs need a healthy body or a change at Centre. With four points in seven games thus far, we will see him sooner than later but I don’t think his next NHL game will feature another hat trick. I don’t see any fantasy relevance from Cale Fleury this season, but it’s worth noting he is in and out of the lineup on the back-end so far.
BEYOND – Joel Teasdale, Otto Leskinen
I am saying beyond for now solely because he is currently injured, and will need to get his legs under him once he does start with Laval (AHL). I was big on Leskinen in my Habs preview and would you look at that, he’s in North America now! Four apples in 7GP in the AHL so far, not too shabby Otto! I think we may see him sooner than later, but for now I will keep him in this slot given the log jam of young Montreal D ahead of him.
IMMEDIATE IMPACT – Dante Fabbro
Went in-depth in my Nashville preview.
THIS SEASON – Yakov Trenin, Rem Pitlick, Eeli Tolvanen
Trenin has earned himself a call-up after two solid AHL seasons and a great start to his third. Though I’m not sure how long this promotion will last, it’s great to see the 2015 second-rounder earn a couple of games. Pitlick is a Minnesota (NCAA) graduate and has chipped in two points in five AHL games to start his pro career. The Preds are deep at Centre ice, but an injury makes him a prime call-up candidate. The Preds have been patient with their coveted 2017 first-rounder, but it’s time for Tolvanen to break out. With 35 points in his first season with Milwaukee (AHL), he is a hot streak away from getting that call-up.
BEYOND – Yegor Afanasyev
It’s interesting to see a 2019 second-rounder under contract already. Afanasyev had a great USHL campaign last season, and is off to a great start with Windsor (OHL) this year.
IMMEDIATE IMPACT – Jack Hughes
You think? Hischier’s injury especially benefits him
THIS SEASON – Jesper Boqvist, Michael McLeod
Brother of the Blackhawks defensive prospect, Boqvist is a 2017 second-rounder and is currently in and out of the Devils’ lineup following a good camp. Once again, playing in Europe against men benefitted another prospect, and we should slowly see him start to become fantasy relevant. McLeod posted a solid first AHL season, and should be a prime call-up candidate at the Centre-ice position. Marian Studenic is also a great call-up candidate.
BEYOND – Ty Smith
Smith, NJ’s 2018 first-rounder, is poised to have an electric season with Spokane (WHL). We will see him back at the WJC for Team Canada, and I like his chances to crack the Devils’ roster out of camp next season. Brandon Gignac is coming off a solid second season with Binghamton (AHL), but I prefer McLeod’s chances.
New York Islanders
IMMEDIATE IMPACT – Oliver Wahlstrom
Wahlstrom was taken at eleventh overall in 2018 and was an absolute goal MACHINE with the USNDP. Now up with the big club after a season with Boston College (NCAA), he should be able to start tacking on points soon. He will probably mix in somewhere in the Islanders’ middle-six, and whether he’s on Nelson’s or Brassard’s wing he should have plenty of opportunity.
THIS SEASON – Noah Dobson
Dobson, selected one pick after Wahlstrom, is also up with the Islanders currently. The only thing stopping him from being considered an immediate impact player is the growth of Toews, and the confidence Coach Trotz has in him to QB the power play. Dobson is currently in and out of the lineup, but an injury could change everything for the better for him.
BEYOND – Otto Koivula, Arnaud Durandeau, Bode Wilde
After a respectable 69GP 21-25-46 stat line with Bridgeport (AHL) last season, Koivula should continue to grow this year. A 2016 fourth-rounder, Koivula also has two Liiga seasons under his belt where he had decent production. With three pending UFA forwards going into next season, Koivula may have a legitimate shot provided he builds off his last campaign. Durandeau is your prototypical “great seasons in Junior, transition year in the AHL” type player. A 2017 sixth-rounder, I’m excited to see if he can continue to produce. For the same reasons Dobson is not immediate impact, Bode Wilde is not a “this season” player. There is no question the 2018 second-rounder is a stud, but he will likely spend this season in the AHL. All he can do is continue to grind away and light it up.
New York Rangers
IMMEDIATE IMPACT – Kaapo Kakko
Ever heard of him?
THIS SEASON – Adam Fox, Vitali Kravtsov
Fox is a coveted college prospect that the Rangers traded for from the Canes. Originally a third-rounder of Calgary, he should slowly continue to accumulate TOI. He looked great in his game today against the Canucks, and should jockey with DeAngelo for key PP#2 time. Take maybe a step and a half down the hypothetical staircase, and place Libor Hajek there. Though he was a great piece in return for McDonagh, he has never been great offensively. Much like Chytil, I was pretty surprised Kravtsov didn’t crack the roster out of training camp. That being said, the 2018 ninth overall pick should earn his call-up soon. He has never posted flashy numbers, but his size and speed is undeniable.
BEYOND – Matthew Robertson
A 2019 second-rounder, Robertson is an offensive defenceman that is poised to pop up with Edmonton (WHL) this season. He will have his work cut out for him given the plethora of young Rangers D prospects currently present, but hopefully he has a great year and moves on to Hartford (AHL) from there. Fast-forward a year in Robertson’s development and you will find Joey Keane, the 2018 third-round pick who already has three goals in five games – from the back-end – with Hartford (AHL).
THIS SEASON – Erik Brannstrom, Drake Batherson, Josh Norris, Vitaly Abramov, Logan Brown
Brannstrom is on the cusp of being an impact player with that PP#2 time, but it is Ottawa’s PP#2 so we will patiently wait for him to get his feet wet in the NHL. Chabot needed that grace period, so Sens Army will gladly give it to Brannstrom.
Batherson, a 2017 fourth-rounder, is in that “no man’s land” area where he rips up the AHL but can’t get it going in the NHL. Seven points in four GP with Belleville (AHL), but 2GP and -4 with Ottawa. Hopefully he gets over the hump soon.
I had the privilege of taking in a Belleville Sens AHL game a couple weeks ago, and had some pretty good takeaways from it. Josh Norris (who I talked about extensively in my Sens preview) was by far the best player on the ice, so I’m thinking we will see him sooner than later. Abramov has already earned a call-up, and he too had a strong showing in the game I watched. I didn’t see a ton from Logan Brown, but he could have just had an off game. I know a lot of Sens fans are waiting to see him earn the nod. I guess we can lump in Alex Formenton here, but he didn’t have a great showing either.
BEYOND – Lassi Thomson, Olle Alsing
Both of these European defensive prospects are off to great starts over in Europe. For more on them, be sure to check out my Ottawa preview.
THIS SEASON – Joel Farabee, German Rubtsov, Morgan Frost, Philippe Myers
Farabee, the Flyers’ 2018 first-rounder is coming off a great season with Boston U (NCAA), and already has three goals in four games in Lehigh Valley (AHL). I thought he had a decent chance to make the team out of camp, and judging by this start should already be in call-up territory. His fate will be determined by the play of Carsen Twarynski up with the Flyers. Rubtsov has had a great AHL career already by the numbers – but he has only played 19 games over the past two seasons since graduating from the QMJHL. The 2016 first-rounder will hopefully stay healthy this season.
Frost, Philly’s 2017 first-rounder must have been kicking himself when he got injured towards the end of training camp. The FA signing of Hayes certainly didn’t help the development of the natural Centre and Sault Ste. Marie (OHL) grad, but a year to dominate in the minors first won’t hurt. Myers had a solid 33 points in 53 AHL games last season, but just two points when he played 21 games on the back-end for the Flyers. He’s off to a solid start back in the minors, and is the prime call-up option if one of the Flyers D end up on the shelf.
BEYOND – Matthew Strome, Yegor Zamula
This tier of players exists a rung below the above-mentioned only because these players may only get called up if there are numerous injuries, or towards the end of the season. The youngest of three Strome brothers is a 2017 fourth-rounder, coming off a nice final season with Hamilton (OHL). He did log six games down the stretch for Lehigh Valley (AHL) last season, but I much prefer the three forwards above for call-ups this season. Zamula is a WHL import that the Flyers have signed to a contract. The 19-year-old offensive defenceman already has 12 points in 8GP (so far besting his 56 points in 61GP), and should definitely make for a nice pickup down the road.
IMMEDIATE IMPACT – Sam Lafferty
Talk about making the most of your opportunities. After a solid four years at Brown (NCAA) then a respectable first AHL season, Lafferty burst onto the NHL scene with five points in his first seven contests. He will continue to get ice time while Malkin, Bjugstad ETC. are on the shelf, so stream while you can!
THIS SEASON – Jordy Bellerive, Pierre-Olivier Joseph
The Lethbridge (WHL) grad signed out of Junior is bound to get a crack with the Pens this season given how hurt they’ve been. He hasn’t done much just yet in five games with Wilkes-Barre (AHL), but it’s only a matter of time. The same could be said for Cornell (NCAA) grad and fellow Centreman Anthony Angello, or OHL standout Sam Miletic. Acquired in the Kessel trade, Joseph is an offensive defenceman that should fit in nicely as a call-up for a Letang/Schultz injury. I’m tempted to put him a tier lower, but we’ll see how he produces in Wilkes-Barre (AHL) this season.
BEYOND – Filip Hallander
A 2018 second-rounder, Hallander is two games deep into his second season in the SHL over in Sweden. This is great for his development, and hopefully he makes the jump overseas to North America next season after he puts up solid numbers this year.
Notable players still in Junior: Samuel Poulin, Nathan Legare, Calen Addison
THIS SEASON – Danil Yurtaikin, Lean Bergmann, Alexander True
With some season-opening injuries, both Yurtaikin and Bergmann made the Sharks out of camp. Yurtaikin was sent down after four games, and Bergmann after six in favour of WHL grad Noah Gregor, but with all the big boys back I don’t see any of these three providing an immediate impact. True is off to another good start in his third AHL season, and should be in consideration for a promotion soon enough.
BEYOND – Jonathan Dahlen, Ryan Merkley, Artemi Knyazev
After some struggles with the Canucks organization, Dahlen is back in Sweden for this season and is absolutely dominating. Based off this, the Sharks may consider him in training camp next season. Merkley on the other hand is a player I have heard way too much about – but none of it has been about his on-ice ability. Off to a typical start for an ex-first-rounder, I anticipate Merkley will be headed to the Barracuda next season to further work on his game. Knyazev, who is presumably more of a two-way Dman, was the Sharks’ second-rounder this past draft. He is currently in his second season with Chicoutimi (QMJHL) and is likely going to take a similar path.
BEYOND – Jordan Kyrou, Erik Foley, Mitch Reinke
I wrote about all of these players in my St. Louis preview, but it is worth noting that Kyrou and Foley are both currently injured. Given just how deep this Blues team is, I’m doubtful they will even need to call up that many players this season.
I mentioned in my Tampa preview the likelihood that a prospect would crack the lineup, and the same can be said for mid-season call-ups. If anyone is going to earn a call-up, they were mentioned in said preview. Nolan Foote and Gabriel Fortier are both still in Junior this season.
IMMEDIATE IMPACT – Ilya Mikheyev
The young KHL budding star was signed by the buds coming into this season, and he’s off to a great start in their middle-six (9GP 3-4-7). I’m not sure if this production will be sustainable, but he’s definitely worth a look for the time being.
THIS SEASON – Rasmus Sandin
Sandin made the team out of camp, but I guess Babcock and Dubas felt he wasn’t ready. Now with the Toronto Marlies (AHL), he should be able to dominate. This may take some quality reps away from Timothy Liljegren, but who doesn’t like a little bit of competition?
IMMEDIATE IMPACT – Quinn Hughes
Though Edler currently holds the #1PP slot, I think Hughes will just have to earn his ice. That is why I still consider him an impact player in his first full NHL season.
BEYOND – Jett Woo
Back in the WHL for another season, Woo is a highly skilled Dman the Canucks picked in the second round of 2018. I see him fitting in nicely into their system once they figure out their absolute log jam of defenceman, but for now I guess he’ll dominate the WHL.
IMMEDIATE IMPACT – Cody Glass
It was fun to see the first ever Golden Knights draft pick at #2C with Stone and Patches, but he has been relegated to the third line with Eakin coming back from injury. The only thing sustaining his impact status is his PP time. Unfortunately for the rookie Dmen logging PP#2 time in Schmidt’s absence, that spot appears to be a revolving door at the moment. I really like Jimmy Schuldt down the line, but I have already gone in depth on him in my Vegas preview.
BEYOND – Jake Leschyshyn, Ben Jones
Off to a slow start with Chicago (AHL) after a great WHL season, I have a feeling Leschyshyn will get the ball rolling and maybe get that late-season call-up. The same can be said for OHL grad Ben Jones.
THIS SEASON – Brett Leason, Alexander Alexeyev
Leason may be a 2019 second-rounder, but the late bloomer is 20 years old and already with Hershey (AHL). This will be a transition year no-doubt, but I like his chances of earning a call-up. Much like most offensive defenceman prospects, Alexeyev would be a good call-up to replace a John Carlson injury. After three solid seasons with Red Deer (WHL), he already has five points in seven AHL contests this year.
BEYOND – Connor McMichael, Aliaksei Protas
McMichael, like many 2019 first-rounders previously mentioned, is off to an unreal start in Junior. I’m excited to see if he cracks Team Canada for the WJC and if he performs on that stage as well. Protas, the Belarussian third-rounder from the same draft, is having similar fortunes with Prince Albert (WHL). Both players offer high-end skill, but will it transfer over to the AHL?
IMMEDIATE IMPACT – Ville Heinola
Making the most of Big Buff’s absence, Heinola is the Jets’ 2019 first rounder and has burst onto the scene. Logging PP#1 time during Morrissey’s injury, his stat line is looking prettyyyyyy nice so far in his rookie season. PP#2 with Pionk should be a lock for as long as he is in the lineup, so stream away!
THIS SEASON – Kristian Vesalainen
After a partial season in the KHL, the Jets 2017 first-rounder is back with Manitoba (AHL) for this season. Likely the next Moose player to earn a call-up, Vesalainen has a few NHL games under his belt already from last season.
BEYOND – Leon Gawanke
If Gawanke wasn’t one of the plethora of young Jets D to earn a call-up out of the gate, I don’t think he will get his shot this season at all. A 2017 fifth-rounder, he had just under a point-per-game in the QMJHL last season. With two games and a point under his belt with Manitoba (AHL), hopefully he improves a bunch this season.
If you’ve made it to the end, congratulations! That was an absolute manifesto. Stay tuned soon for Buy/Sell/Hold articles!