Future Watch: 10 AHL gamers anticipated to battle for NHL jobs subsequent season

7 minutes read

We’re on the level of the yr the place groups have already begun placing collectively their rosters for subsequent season, with GMs properly conscious of how their younger prospects fared within the AHL. With simply two groups remaining — Calder Cup finalists Charlotte Checkers and Chicago Wolves — most prospects have already taken an early trip earlier than getting ready for 2019-20.
That, in fact, doesn’t embody Martin Necas, one of many prime prospects within the AHL. The expert playmaker is coming off an everyday season that noticed him publish 52 factors in 64 video games, essentially the most by a teenaged participant within the league and fifth amongst all rookies. Necas is predicted to hitch the Carolina Hurricanes full-time subsequent season after posting two factors in a seven-game stint this yr and is seen as a key member of the Canes’ youth resurgence that noticed them grow to be a Stanley Cup contender this season.
A number of of the AHL’s prime stars have already got proven what they will do within the NHL. Forwards Sam Metal and Troy Terry each earned intensive stays in Anaheim and may claw their means into the Geese’ top-six full-time subsequent season, whereas heart Lias Andersson ought to do the identical with the New York Rangers. However what about the remainder of the crop? Let’s check out 10 NHL prospects who will battle for roster spots subsequent season:
Filip Zadina, RW (Detroit Pink Wings)To the uninitiated, Zadina provided a lot to be involved about earlier this yr. After falling to Detroit at No. 6 on the draft final June, Zadina, 19, had a tough coaching camp and was despatched to Grand Rapids. However within the AHL, Zadina confirmed nice promise, and whereas he didn’t gentle up the league and was basically invisible on the world juniors, Zadina nonetheless appears prepared for the NHL subsequent yr. With 35 factors in 59 video games, Zadina was the second-highest scoring teenaged participant within the AHL and he regarded good with three factors in 9 video games with the Pink Wings, one of many first groups eradicated from playoff rivalry. He has the talent, now he wants a constant tempo.
Thatcher Demko, G (Vancouver Canucks)Recent off of a run in Slovakia as Workforce USA’s backup goaltender, Demko is able to be a part of Jacob Markstrom in Vancouver subsequent yr on a full-time foundation. The Canucks dressed 5 goalies this yr, with Demko’s .913 save proportion main all after 9 video games with the membership. If all goes properly, Demko, 23, will take over from Markstrom because the membership’s beginning goalie in 2020-21, however will possible battle for 20-25 begins because the second in command subsequent season. Rebound management has been a problem for Demko in his profession, however after kicking off the marketing campaign with a concussion, Demko regarded good with the Utica Comets this season and is prepared for his subsequent problem.
Erik Brannstrom, D (Ottawa Senators)May Brannstrom grow to be Ottawa’s subsequent famous person? Completely, particularly after the Senators made him a significant a part of the Mark Stone cope with Vegas on the commerce deadline. Brannstrom had 28 factors in 41 contests with the Chicago Wolves and one other 4 assists in 9 video games with the Belleville Senators, but it surely was his 4 objectives with Sweden on the world juniors that actually made folks take discover. Brannstrom is an unimaginable puck-mover and can be a key member of Ottawa’s promising blueline, particularly after how properly he performed in two video games for the Sens.
Eeli Tolvanen, RW (Nashville Predators)After taking the world by storm in 2017-18, Tolvanen’s return to North America was uninspiring, to say the least. Tolvanen recorded simply 35 factors in 58 AHL video games and had two factors in a four-game call-up with the Preds. Given how properly Tolvanen was internationally final yr, it was shocking to see him end with no objectives and 4 assists on the world juniors within the winter. However give it some thought: when you depend worldwide tournaments, junior and professional hockey, Tolvanen has performed on practically 20 completely different groups since 2015, so perhaps a bit of additional stability might assist. Tolvanen is projected to be a big-time star for the Preds and when the time is true, he’ll get his shot.
Jordan Kyrou, RW (St. Louis Blues)With three factors in 16 video games in a restricted function with the Blues this yr, Kyrou didn’t have a lot to point out for offensively. However after recording practically some extent per sport in 47 AHL video games with San Antonio, it’s time for Kyrou to get his promotion. He had over 60 assists twice within the AHL and was a vital member of Canada’s gold-medal squad on the 2018 world juniors, and his potential as a speedy top-six winger is clear. 
Klim Kostin, RW (St. Louis Blues) With two years of AHL hockey on his resume on the age of 20, Kostin has proven indicators that he’ll grow to be a strong NHLer. Whereas his two WJC tournaments recommend he has the makings of a goal-scorer, the massive, bruising winger appears extra like a bottom-six energy ahead able to 15 objectives a yr, and that’s OK. Filled with uncooked abilities that make him entertaining to look at, Kostin regressed offensively with San Antonio this yr, however, once more, offense isn’t the title of his sport. If Patrick Maroon or Chris Thorburn go away, the Blues might have a direct opening for a man like Kostin subsequent yr.
Nic Hague, D (Vegas Golden Knights)Has Hague executed sufficient to crack Vegas’ roster subsequent season? His playoff run has been unbelievable, with 9 factors in 17 video games heading into the Calder Cup last with Chicago. The bodily, two-way defenseman is the Golden Knights’ first prime defensive prospect in franchise historical past and actually refined his sport because the season went on. Even when he doesn’t play full-time, it appears truthful to count on he’ll get NHL alternatives subsequent season.
Pavel Francouz, G (Colorado Avalanche)With Semyon Varlamov anticipated to hit the open market this summer time, it opens up a spot for Francouz to get a shot as Philipp Grubauer’s backup. Signed to a one-year extension throughout the World Championship, Francouz  was the KHL’s prime goaltender in 2017-18, and completed this season with a strong .918 SP in his first yr with the Colorado Eagles. Francouz proved he might get the job executed in Europe and his latest World Championship look noticed him end with a zero.77 GAA and .957 SP in three video games.  In 61 minutes of reduction motion over two video games with the Avs this yr, Francouz, 28, regarded strong, permitting two objectives and holding a .943 SP.
Cal Foote, D (Tampa Bay Lightning)Tampa Bay is in a little bit of a pickle for subsequent season, with simply $eight.5 million in cap house, they usually nonetheless must cope with Brayden Level. However upgrades on protection will even be a spotlight in the summertime, with veterans Braydon Coburn, Dan Girardi and Anton Stralman in the marketplace. That is Foote’s probability to point out what he can do: with 31 factors in 76 video games with Syracuse, Foote, 20, completed sixth amongst under-21 defensemen in AHL scoring this yr. Foote is a giant, 6-foot-Four behemoth able to taking part in heavy minutes, however he doesn’t want to try this in Tampa Bay subsequent yr.
Kailer Yamamoto, RW (Edmonton Oilers)Yamamoto began the previous two seasons with the Oilers, but it surely’s clear it was too early for the crew’s 2017 first-round choose (22nd general). Whether or not that damage his improvement or not is but to be seen, however he confirmed he might no less than generate offense within the AHL with 10 objectives and 18 factors in 27 contests with Bakersfield. With a handful of depth gamers not returning up entrance, the small but speedy Yamamoto has an opportunity to crack the crew full-time after getting additional improvement below his belt.
Different notables: Logan Brown (C, Ottawa Senators), Drake Batherson (RW, Ottawa Senators), Jake Bean (D, Carolina Hurricanes), Urho Vaakanainen (D, Boston Bruins), Rasmus Sandin (D, Toronto Maple Leafs).
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Tags: ahl, anaheim geese, buffalo sabres, carolina hurricanes, edmonton oilers, florida panthers, lists, nashville predators, big apple rangers, nhl, ottawa senators, prospects, st. louis blues, toronto maple leafs, vancouver canucks, washington capitalsConnect: In regards to the AuthorSteven EllisSteven Ellis is a Digital Content material Producer for The Hockey Information. He spends his free time listening to music you would not like and watches obnoxiously-long motor races.

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