The final particular person the AHL’s high shooters need to see is Charlotte Checkers goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic.
With 65 wins over the previous two years, together with 34 final season when he claimed the Baz Bastien Memorial Award because the AHL’s high netminder, no netminder has been as spectacular as Nedeljkovic as of late. At one level, it regarded like Nedeljkovic had the backup function locked up in Carolina earlier than the membership acquired James Reimer early in the summertime. With a mode just like a younger Jonathan Fast, Nedeljkovic strikes shortly within the crease to make up for his smaller stature. And to date, that’s labored out, and Nedeljkovic will attempt to convert his show-stopping play into consecutive Calder Cup crowns for the Checkers, who will try to turn out to be the primary repeat champions for the reason that 2008-09 and 2009-10 Hershey Bears.
However Nedeljkovic isn’t the one one to control within the AHL this season. Many high NHL prospects, together with Joe Veleno, Filip Zadina, Ryan Poehling and Vitali Kravtsov will ply their commerce within the minors in 2019-20. However this isn’t a rating of one of the best up-and-coming expertise. Moderately, it’s a take a look at quite a few AHL standouts who will make an affect this season:
Lucas Elvenes, LW, 20 (Chicago Wolves)Has Vegas discovered a diamond within the tough? A Golden Knights fifth rounder in 2017 (127th general), Elvenes had a four-point debut towards the Grand Rapids Griffins, becoming a member of Alex Tuch as simply the second Wolves ahead to attain 4 factors within the crew’s season opener. After all, that’s only one sport, however think about that few gamers have been as spectacular with Sweden’s U-20 crew final as Elvenes, who tallied two targets and 11 factors in 15 video games. He’s not a lot of a purpose scorer, however his playmaking expertise are off the charts. His defensive play has improved over the previous two seasons and his tenacious forechecking makes him difficult to play towards. He’s exhibiting promise on a robust Wolves membership with a great deal of expertise.
Mario Kempe, LW, 31 (Ontario Reign)The league’s high scorer after every week of play, Kempe has one thing to show after going from a close to full-time function with the Arizona Coyotes grew to become an AHL demotion within the Kings group. If he wished to show the Los Angeles brass mistaken, scoring three targets and 4 factors within the opening two video games was begin. Kempe has 15 factors in his final 12 AHL video games and is sure for an NHL call-up earlier than too lengthy. Till then, he’ll be the driving power of a hungry Ontario roster.
Tyler Benson, LW, 21 (Bakersfield Condors)Again in 2013, Benson was on high of the world. Previous to turning into the highest choose within the WHL draft by Vancouver, Benson broke the Alberta minor bantam scoring report beforehand held by Ty Rattie (131) with 146 factors in 33 video games. At that time, Benson was an early choice to problem Auston Matthews for the No. 1 choose on the 2016 NHL draft, however accidents restricted Benson’s output and he finally fell to Edmonton within the second spherical (32nd general). He stayed wholesome in his AHL rookie season, nonetheless, and appears rejuvenated. Benson led all rookies with 51 assists final season and fell two factors in need of a point-per-game common in 68 contests with Bakersfield. If he can keep wholesome, what’s stopping him from being a top-five scorer within the AHL this season? The Oilers want all of the offensive assist they will get, and this can be the yr the place Benson proves himself worthy of an NHL roster spot.
Sean Day, D, 21 (Hartford Wolf Pack) It’s simple to have forgotten about Day after he did not stay as much as the exceptional-status hype. He spent a while within the ECHL and almost completed as a point-per-gamer in 19 contests final season, together with his 15 factors beating out his 14 in 46 AHL video games with Hartford. The 2-way defender nonetheless has a protracted option to show he’s obtained NHL potential, however he has been a lot improved to begin the 2019-20 AHL season. If Day stands any probability at cracking the Rangers, he wants to remain in form and show he’s a constant performer, as a result of even on the tender age of 21, time will not be on his facet as he tries to cement himself within the crew’s depth chart.
Jeremy Bracco, RW, 22 (Toronto Marlies)Bracco’s sophomore marketing campaign couldn’t have been significantly better, as he completed second to Carter Verhaeghe (82) with 79 factors. There wasn’t room for Bracco within the NHL this season and though he’s a pending restricted free agent, there’s no rush, particularly if his post-entry-level deal stays low-cost. Although he displayed his pure offensive sport final season, there’s nonetheless work to be accomplished to make him a real NHL prospect. The vast majority of his offense – 39 of his factors – got here on the person benefit final season, which isn’t sustainable for a depth man within the NHL. His skating wants work, however his puck expertise are too good for the AHL. The Leafs might be in a state of affairs the place the membership wants to maneuver some wingers to create wage area, and that might imply Bracco takes the NHL leap.
Gerald Mayhew, C, 26 (Iowa Wild)Mayhew has but to play an NHL sport, however he’s coming off of a breakthrough AHL marketing campaign that noticed him almost double his level whole from 32 to 60. He’s off to a sizzling begin this season, as nicely, with 4 factors in two video games, main a crew that misplaced final season’s high scorer, Cal O’Reilly, to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Mayhew’s play final season earned him his first NHL deal this summer season and if he proves 2018-19 wasn’t a fluke, it might end in a call-up or two to Minnesota this season.
Alex Barre-Boulet, C, 22 (Syracuse Crunch)A part of the rationale the Tampa Bay Lightning have been so profitable is that the membership continues to develop gems. After a 34-goal, 68-point rookie marketing campaign in Syracuse final season – adequate to win Rookie of the Yr – Barre-Boulet is additional proof of the franchise’s profitable improvement mannequin. Barre-Boulet went undrafted regardless of placing up 337 factors in 263 QMJHL video games, essentially the most of any participant in that span. At 5-foot-10 and 165 kilos, Barre-Boulet’s dimension is among the principal the reason why he’s all the time been an underdog, however the Lightning received’t let him linger too lengthy.
Veini Vehvilainen, G, 22 (Cleveland Monsters)Vehvilainen is likely to be within the dialog for the league’s high netminder. The highest goaltender within the Finnish League two years working, Vehvilainen moved to North America in hopes of a full-time gig with the Columbus Blue Jackets within the close to future. Vehvilainen’s situation is that Columbus’ goaltending state of affairs is crowded: Elvis Merzlikins is backing up Joonas Korpisalo and Danil Tarasov and Matiss Kivlenieks aren’t far behind on the depth chart. Vehvilainen had a formidable debut towards Laval, stopping 30 pictures en path to a Four-1 victory, however staying forward of the curve shall be very important for him as he adjusts to North American ice.
Philippe Myers, D, 22 (Lehigh Valley Phantoms)Myers is one other participant trying to show that he’s worthy of full-time NHL work. The Flyers had a steal on their fingers after they signed the undrafted defender in 2016, with the massive, bruising blueliner exhibiting untapped potential. Myers skated in 21 NHL video games final season with Philadelphia however missed time meant he wasn’t in a position to attain his true potential. Myers proved he can play a shutdown function within the NHL, however as he kicks off one other season in Lehigh Valley, he’ll be one of many Phantoms’ greatest gamers earlier than the Flyers inevitably name him up later within the season.
Oliver Wahlstrom, RW, 19 (Bridgeport Sound Tigers)There have been issues about Wahlstrom’s potential after the 2018 first-round choose (11th general) left the NCAA as a freshman. With 5 factors in seven regular-season video games over the previous two seasons, although, it’s clear Wahlstrom can lower it within the AHL and desires to show he’s nonetheless a high prospect. Expertise-wise, there’s no situation, so it’s simply ensuring he’s constant sufficient and all the time engaged within the play. Wahlstrom is a candidate to play some NHL video games this season, nevertheless it’s onerous to think about the Islanders would need him in a bottom-six function. It’s all about adjusting to the professional sport this season.
Different notables: Morgan Frost (Lehigh Valley), Julien Gauthier (Charlotte), Dan Vladar (Windfall), Calle Rosen (Colorado), Michael Rasmussen (Grand Rapids).
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Tags: vegas golden knights, prospects, ahl, minnesota wild, columbus blue jackets, tampa bay lightning, toronto maple leafs, philadelphia flyers, edmonton oilers, the big apple rangersConnect: 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.