Welcome to a brand-new prospects column. That is the primary instalment of what I hope might be a daily function throughout the season, the place I present an anecdote or perception on one prospect from all 31 NHL franchises. Typically it’ll be a statistic or a quote, typically it’ll be extra scouting-based, however hopefully you’ll discover all of it fascinating. I’ll do a pair earlier than the season begins as a warm-up and due to the draft and the World Junior Summer season Showcase (WJSS), I’ve bought lots of materials to work with proper now.
ANA: First-rounder Trevor Zegras performed each left wing and heart on the WJSS and for me, he was more practical down the center. True, he had elite linemates in Cole Caufield and Joel Farabee, however Zegras is nice with the puck on his stick and at heart he had extra alternatives.
ARI: At 6-foot-6, 236 kilos, D-man Kevin Bahl is aware of what he has to do for a shot at Canada’s world junior crew. “There’s lots of proficient guys right here with top-end offensive ability,” he stated. “For me, I’ve to return in and be a shut-down man. Play easy, transfer pucks effectively.” Bahl’s attain makes him an apparent penalty-kill choice.
BOS: First-rounder Johnny Beecher is proving his value on the WJSS with 5 factors in his first 4 video games. Buried on a deep NTDP roster final season, the College of Michigan commit all the time had the velocity and measurement to interrupt out.
BUF: You’ll be able to inform how a lot his American WJSS teammates love defenseman Mattias Samuelsson primarily based on their raucous response to his shot-blocking prowess, particularly on the penalty-kill. The Western Michigan blueliner additionally set an incredible bodily tone on the again finish.
CGY: On my means residence from the draft I bumped into Flames media relations ace Peter Hanlon within the safety line on the airport. “Your followers are going to like Jakob Pelletier,” I stated. Additional up the road, a voice chimed in with “Yeah, they are going to.” I seemed up and it was Calgary coach Invoice Peters. “He’s actually good on the market,” Peters continued. “I’ve watched lots of video of him.”
CAR: Sniper Patrik Puistola noticed minimal ice time in 16 video games with Tappara of the Liiga this previous season however had a significantly better function within the second-tier Mestis: “I performed in LeKi, additionally in opposition to males, and that was excellent,” he stated. “I performed like, 20 minutes a recreation. Now I’m attempting to get a much bigger function on my Liiga crew.”
CHI: The OHL’s London Knights made a tough push for towering defenseman Alex Vlasic this summer season, however the NTDP product continues to be dedicated to Boston College. He was an early WJSS minimize, however has lots of potential for the longer term.
COL: Energy ahead Matthew Stienburg plans on going straight from Ontario prep college St. Andrew’s School to Cornell for 2019-20. It appears like a giant leap, however buddy Morgan Barron (NYR), a fellow SAC product, did the identical factor and had nice success. “It’s a giant bounce,” stated Avalanche director of beginner scouting Alan Hepple. “However he’s a giant physique and he can skate.”
CBJ: One of many few ‘A’ checklist Canadian gamers who suited up in opposition to Finland on the WJSS, Liam Foudy confirmed off his spectacular velocity as ordinary. With AHL expertise this previous spring, he’ll be a famous person within the OHL subsequent season.
DAL: Denis Gurianov has been a sluggish developer, however AHL Texas coach Derek Laxdal is a believer: “Denis is just a little little bit of a late-bloomer, maturity-wise,” he stated. “He didn’t play lots within the (2018) Calder Cup playoffs, however we noticed an enormous development in his recreation this previous yr. He’s large, sturdy and has blinding velocity. He simply has to adapt his function to the NHL. He’s very coachable and has an incredible ardour to play the sport and transferring ahead, he’s going to be a giant a part of the Dallas Stars. He’ll most likely should play some video games, sit a pair out, play a number of. As soon as he will get there, he’s going to be a great participant.”
DET: Goalie prospect Carter Gylander will get a singular alternative this month as he heads to Russia for the Junior Membership World Cup. He’ll play for the Alberta Jr. A League all-stars, who will tackle membership groups akin to Modo (Swe.), Karpat Oulu (Fin.) and Loko Yaroslavl (Rus.), plus an NAHL all-star squad.
EDM: A yr could make a giant distinction in a teen goalie and Olivier Rodrigue is pleased with the work he has put in – although he can nonetheless poke enjoyable at his slight body, too. “I bought stronger – although clearly I didn’t get larger,” stated the 6-foot-1, 164-pounder. “I did a great job to get extra highly effective and labored with my dad on the ice to prepare.”
FLA: Wild choose Matthew Boldy is aware of all about Panthers first-rounder Spencer Knight and what the elite goalie means for a crew. “I performed with him the previous two years and also you’re extra keen to make a riskier play with him again there as a result of you understand he’s bought your again,” Boldy stated. “He’s superior. He works so exhausting and makes the saves to maintain us within the recreation.”
LA: Defenseman Kim Nousiainen was a nice shock for me on the WJSS. Although solely 5-foot-9, 170 kilos, the 2019 fourth-rounder performs a really scrappy recreation on the again finish and like all Finnish D-men on the tourney, he strikes effectively.
MIN: Adam Beckman got here to the WHL late and it paid off. He spent 2017-18 enjoying Saskatchewan midget with Battleford earlier than exploding for 32 targets as a rookie with the Spokane Chiefs this previous season. “I bought an opportunity to play midget in a state of affairs the place I may play 25-30 minutes an evening and play each scenario,” he stated. “This yr I bought the possibility to step in and be an influence participant, as an alternative of perhaps a fourth-liner once I was 16.”
MTL: His Timra squad was relegated out of the SHL this previous season, so heart Jacob Olofsson has signed with Skelleftea for 2019-20. “They like younger gamers and have good coaching,” he stated. “And so they’re close to the highest of the SHL, so I wish to be part of that to push myself.”
NSH: Whereas Canada bought shelled Eight-Three by Finland of their second WJSS recreation, Phil Tomasino stood out by doing what he does finest: inflicting offensive havoc. The speedy first-rounder had quite a lot of rushes and breakaways, although he couldn’t bury them on that specific day.
NJ: I requested Chicago’s Kirby Dach which older Canadian gamers he watches for good work habits and blueliner Ty Smith was certainly one of his solutions (Detroit’s Joe Veleno was the opposite). “I’ve performed with him quite a few occasions prior to now and he’s a professional on and off the ice already,” Dach stated.
NYI: Seventh-rounder Christian Krygier was very noticeable on Workforce USA’s again finish on the WJSS. “He’s are available in right here, performed a easy recreation, introduced some physicality and he can skate,” stated coach Scott Sandelin. “He’s not attempting to do an excessive amount of and we’d like a few of that. It’ll be enjoyable to maintain watching him.”
NYR: Defenseman Ok’Andre Miller might be key for Workforce USA’s 2020 world junior squad as a veteran of final yr’s crew. “You want these older guys,” stated USA coach Scott Sandelin. “He’s been actually good right here. It’s that maturity, that confidence degree. He’s bought the scale and athleticism and he can skate.”
OTT: I requested GM Pierre Dorion about 2019 first-rounder Lassi Thomson’s resolution to move again to Finland for the upcoming season after enjoying within the WHL final yr: “We left it as much as him. We actually appreciated the Kelowna choice, however we’re going to respect the very fact he’s going again to Ilves. Our head European scout, Mikko Ruutu, tells us that if he needed to choose a spot to place a prospect, it might be Ilves. He likes the teaching workers there. They’re going to be a youthful crew, so Lassi can play with some veterans however actually develop and develop, too.”
PHI: After a tricky freshman yr at Windfall School, heart Jay O’Brien determined to make a change. He’ll be heading to Boston College finally, however this season he’ll play within the BCHL for Penticton, probably the greatest Jr. A applications round. USHL Youngstown was additionally thinking about his providers.
PIT: Calen Addison is a dynamite skater, however on the small aspect for a defenseman. Canada coach Dale Hunter famous that Addison has to defend good due to it. For what it’s value, I appreciated Addison’s battle degree on the WJSS.
STL: Canadian goalie Colten Ellis bought battered for seven targets in opposition to Finland, however coach Dale Hunter didn’t pull him till the pre-arranged halfway level of the sport. Hunter didn’t suppose lots of the targets have been Ellis’ fault, citing lots of back-door performs and an absence of assist in entrance of him.
SJ: Goalie Zachary Emond left the WJSS early with an undisclosed harm, however he’ll get lots of time to show himself this yr with Rouyn-Noranda within the QMJHL. Final yr’s starter, Samuel Harvey, has aged out of the league.
TB: There’s lots of expertise on Canada’s WJSS roster, however in response to teammate and netminder Olivier Rodrigue, Nolan Foote has the toughest shot. Little question that’s why Foote noticed lots of time on the crew’s high energy play unit.
TOR: Rising up in Northern Ontario, Justin Brazeau by no means took energy skating classes. The free agent signing has been working with Leafs guru Barb Underhill this summer season and the crew is over the moon with Brazeau’s progress. He’s a large sniper, so that is an thrilling improvement.
VAN: It’s getting spooky how good defenseman Toni Utunen is in opposition to Canada. He had the upset quarterfinal winner for Finland ultimately yr’s world juniors, then scored twice and added an help within the Eight-Three WJSS drubbing of the Canadians this week. Utunen’s means to select his offensive spots is spectacular.
VGK: Defenseman Kaedan Korczak reaped the advantages of enjoying for WHL Kelowna within the lead-up to this summer season’s draft; Rockets alumni Shea Weber, Josh Gorges and Damon Severson all reached out to him with recommendation on taking within the expertise. Vegas took Korczak 41st total.
WSH: Defenseman Martin Hugo Has is a uncommon Czech child enjoying in Finland, however his reasoning is sensible: “I wished to play in opposition to higher gamers,” he stated. “In Czech (with Sparta Prague’s under-16 crew), we had gained back-to-back titles, so I wished to maneuver on.”
WPG: First-rounder Ville Heinola ended final season sturdy with Lukko Rauma, averaging 21 minutes within the final month of the season. Assuming he returns, Heinola needs to maintain it rolling this yr. “I feel I’ll have a giant function, like the identical as once I stopped final season,” he stated. “Energy play, a lot of ice time.”
Tags: draft, lists, prospectsConnect: Concerning the AuthorRyan KennedyRyan Kennedy is the affiliate senior author and draft/prospect skilled at The Hockey Information. He has been with the publication since 2005 and in that span, Don Cherry, Lil Jon and The Rock have all referred to as his home. He lives in Toronto together with his spouse and children the place he listens to loud music and collects NCAA pennants.