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Thread: WTP Hockey Dynasty League

  1. #12513
    Mod | DONOR BTS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spanky99 View Post
    The Senators made a grave mistake letting Gustavsson go, that guy's been a beast, and the Wild know it, finally.
    Pierre Dorion is not a smart man

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  3. #12514
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    do I have any good prospects other than Nemec?

    please advise, lol
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laika View Post
    do I have any good prospects other than Nemec?

    please advise, lol
    Go to Dobber and cntrl-f bro... he gives up monthly rankings and a free site.
    Quote Originally Posted by Laika View Post
    You are truly the perfect marriage of stupidity and confidence.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Laika View Post
    do I have any good prospects other than Nemec?

    please advise, lol
    I like Dumais and Puistola. Two players I was hoping to draft.
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    Ranking the top 50 drafted NHL prospects: Logan Cooley leads Scott Wheelerís 2023 list

    Scott WheelerFeb 13, 2023


    Welcome, for a sixth straight year, to my ranking of the NHLís best prospects at The Athletic.
    This two-piece, twice-a-year project ranks the leagueís top 50 drafted skaters and top 10 drafted goalies (released tomorrow) each offseason and then again at the midseason point.
    If youíre new to my work, itís worth noting that the criteria I use for defining an NHL prospect versus an NHL player does not align with the NHLís criteria for rookies. The NHLís definition says that once a prospect has played 25 games in a single NHL season, six or more NHL games in multiple seasons or has turned 26, he is no longer considered a rookie. My criteria differs on both the games played and the age front to better reflect what we know about developmental curves.
    Under my criteria, to be eligible for inclusion, a skater must:
    1. Be under 23 years old. We know that by the time a player turns 23, he is largely done with the steep upward progression we see in prospects and will begin to plateau.
    2. Not be a full-time NHL player. This is the arbitrary section of the criteria. Here, I trust my judgment for whether or not a rostered NHL player is still likely to bounce between levels more than I trust any pre-determined games played before the cutoff. Preference for inclusion as an NHL prospect is more likely to be given to teenagers than 22-year-olds.
    3. Either be signed to an NHL contract or selected in the entry draft, without the expiration of either of those rights. Players who are signed to AHL contracts are not considered.
    A total of 11 prospects from last yearís list have since graduated to the NHL: Owen Power, Matty Beniers, Kent Johnson, Cole Perfetti, Juraj Slafkovsky, Jake Sanderson, Mason McTavish, Wyatt Johnston, Jack Quinn, Kaiden Guhle and Peyton Krebs.
    This edition of my top 50 drafted prospects ranking includes 22 players from the 2022 draft, 13 from the class of 2021, 10 from 2020, three from 2019 and two soon-to-be-graduates from 2018 (splits which line up well with expected annual turnover). It is made up of 35 forwards and 15 defensemen (of which 10 are lefties and five are righties), which is one more defenseman and one fewer forward than the summer ranking.
    The Wild and Blue Jackets lead the way with four ranked prospects apiece. Seven teams donít have a prospect on the list: the Golden Knights (though Lukas Cormier would have been one of the next D to crack it), Capitals (though Ivan Miroshnichenko was one of the final cuts and will likely appear on future lists), Panthers, Islanders, Penguins, Lightning and Avalanche.

    1. Logan Cooley, C, 18 (Arizona Coyotes ó No. 3, 2022)
    July 2022 rank: No. 5 (change: +4)
    The second-most productive under-19 skater in college hockey on a points-per-game basis this year to only Adam Fantilli, Cooley is a one-and-done candidate who has a real chance to become the top player out of the 2022 draft class.
    Heís a beautiful, flowing skater capable of beating defenders off the mark, circling the zone to get defenders watching him with the puck, and manipulating them with his footwork and maneuverability in tight spaces. Heís got an uncanny ability to side-step and hop around oncoming players at speed. Heís got a great sixth sense for timing and spacing around the offensive zone which frees him to accept passes or jumps him onto rebounds. He regularly flashes skill to the inside, slicing to the middle and pulling pucks through or around defenders. Heís also a Swiss Army knife player who combines NHL speed and skill with a working attitude to push the pace, make plays, win races, stay involved and get onto the ice in all situations.
    I love his tempo and feel for the game out there. His touch with the puck and hands both get high grades. His skating (particularly his change of pace) and energy level are both differentiators, and those things make for a pretty compelling package.
    The transition game into the offensive zone. The cleverness and inventiveness. The dexterity. The escapability. The vision off the wall. He can play interior or exterior and protects the puck from sticks as well as any prospect on this list. Heís incredibly crafty in control. He can stickhandle in a phone booth. He creates problems for defensemen attacking on angles and shifting at speed. He also has a scrappiness and effort level to his game that keeps him in the fight (you wonít find a scout who doesnít like him because of that). There are times when he can force it just trying to will a play into existence, but thatís really the only nitpick with his game. His combination of drive, skill and skating makes him a tough mark and should make him an impactful playmaker in the NHL.

    Logan Cooley. (Dale Preston / Getty Images)

    2. Luke Hughes, LHD, 19 (New Jersey Devils ó No. 4, 2021)
    July 2022 rank: No. 2 (change: none)
    One of the most productive defensemen in college hockey in consecutive seasons, both as a teenager because of his Sept. 9 birthday, Hughes plays an effortless transition style, transporting pucks from A to B better than any D prospect in the sport.
    Heís got the stops and starts into a burst in a different direction. Heís got the step-back into his stance before adjusting onto his toes to change pace. He breezes through holes in the neutral zone. His skating makes him maybe the sportís most active offensive defenseman while helping him snuff out more and more rushes so that he can lead them back the other way and then create inside the offensive zone with his feet moving.
    Add in the killer instinct that he has developed on the attack and heís nearly impossible to contain off the line or stop on entry at the blue line. The fluidity of his stride (which extends back fully when heís pushing forward) and the airiness of his edgework will always define his game. They allow him to draw attention, force opposing players into puck-watching, and then open up the play for him. But he has also worked to fill out his 6-foot-2 frame, the learning he has done to find ways to get pucks from the perimeter to the inside (he used to spend too much time rotating around the zone but has really transformed his game to find ways to get to the inside), improved man-to-man and in-zone defense, and heís starting to check more and more boxes to complement the natural ability. Heís almost never in trouble and even when he does make mistakes, he can quickly recover.
    Hughes is a true star prospect and a breath of fresh air to watch. Thereís still the odd brain cramp, but his ability to steer and influence play defensively has come a long way, and he makes transporting pucks and making opposing players miss (with twists, spins, head and shoulder fakes, the way he sends his core one way preparing to load up his leg to go the other and break guys down peripherally) look too easy and effortless. Heís going to be a neutral zone monster and his game in the other two zones has really begun to refine nicely.
    3. David Jiricek, RHD, 18 (Columbus Blue Jackets ó No. 6, 2022)
    July 2022 rank: No. 18 (change: +15)
    Jiricek has some extremely desirable attributes, marked by a booming point shot (itís a bomb, and he does a really good job keeping it on target and a couple of feet off the ice), a strong, athletic 6-foot-3 frame, and a commanding on-ice presence. Heís a staunch man-to-man in-zone defender, he moves his feet well for his size (though I do worry about his stilted backwards skating/pivots and how often he gets caught flatfooted), and thrives in transition with his ability to both close out on gaps (less so than maintain them) with his length and aggression and lead a ton of rushes as an eager puck transporter (heís a much better skater going forward).
    Offensively, heís also a capable handler and distributor whose point shot is complemented by an aggressive approach. There are also some subtleties to his game (first passes that are almost never off-target, a sneaky-silky first touch, etc.). But his modus operandi is that heís a confident, active, engaged three-zone player who has almost all of the tools you look for in a top defender.
    When his timing is on and heís stepping up early to take the ice in the neutral zone, he can really dominate a game on both sides of the puck. He can be a little overzealous at times (offensively and defensively), but that eagerness to make something happen also defines his game and heís a lot to handle when he builds a head of steam through his tall crossovers and starts circling the offensive game. He wants to dictate and influence the game on his terms, rather than wait for it to come to him (which can also come with waiting a little too long to make his decisions at the time, but is more often apparent in quick, aggressive choices).
    4. Simon Nemec, RHD, 18 (New Jersey Devils ó No. 2, 2022)
    July 2022 rank: No. 4 (change: none)
    Nemecís introduction to the Devils organization through the summerís rookie camp, the fallís rookie tournament, his first preseason, and then his first few weeks in the AHL, was actually a bit of a bumpy one. He struggled on the power play. He didnít look like his usual self at five-on-five. He was just off, after a career to that point where he had looked ready for every new challenge ó against professionals in Slovakia, as MVP at the Hlinka, as captain at the world juniors, even at menís world championships. He really hit his stride in early December though, and he has been Uticaís best player for my money since then. Nemecís statistical profile to this point in his career is, for his age, pretty much pristine.
    Heís a calculated and poised three-zone defender who is capable of organizing play from the top of the zone, executing through seams in coverage at a high level, and starting and leading his fair share of rushes. Heís got great edges and four-way mobility, which he uses to manipulate and steer play through intelligent routes on and off the puck.
    And he also regularly flashes sneaky deception, which blends beautifully with his rare maturity for his age. Though I wouldnít say heís a dynamic, game-breaking type offensively, I see plenty of calmness and talent. He knows when and how to push (and when and how to sit back and defend). Heís already got pro size, he plays a polished defensive game, and heís a righty. I expect him to become the best defenseman out of Slovakia since Zdeno Chara and a first-pairing guy who plays an effective, efficient, play-driving modern game. The game just comes easy to him, with everything happening in front of him and the ice tilted in his favour. It happens so subtly too. Itís short little passes, quiet steering of play, efficiency, and then a big moment when the team needs him, rather than constant flashes. His type of game is the direction the position should be going.
    5. Simon Edvinsson, LHD, 20 (Detroit Red Wings ó No. 6, 2021)
    July 2022 rank: No. 14 (change: +9)
    After an excellent post-draft season playing big minutes in the SHL and a leading role at the world juniors, Edvinsson has had a really strong first pro season in North America. This yearís Griffins are not good, and he has been impactful at both ends considering that context ó and that he just turned 20.
    He has really cleaned up areas of his game that needed (and still need) some development.
    His ceiling is extremely high and is backed by a unique set of traits and skills for a 6-foot-6, 215-pound player (let alone a defenseman). These include his uncharacteristically soft hands and control of the puck, his fearlessness with and without it, and his strong foundational knowledge of how to use his towering frame to defend in a variety of ways (with a good, active stick, with step-up physicality when opportunities present themselves, with good neutral-zone gapping and steering, on box-outs, etc.).
    If he can develop his shot (one of those areas that still needs work), continue to smooth out his game and make better choices with the consistency that he has begun to these last two seasons, the potential is there in spades. It has also been nice to see him begin to make more play-ending passes and create a ton of chances to add to his already-dominant transition game, as a surprisingly confident carrier and transporter for a big man.
    I hate this cliche but you really canít teach hands like his at that size. He tries things, he usually pulls them off and heís extremely comfortable handling the puck under pressure. He has also found greater control of his gangly frame (heís a good skater and always has been, but his stride can splay from the knees) and takes up a lot of space defensively. I like how vocal he is for his age out there ó a sign of his confidence. I like how hard he makes it for players to get around him. I like how his head is always up (easier said than done when youíre as tall as he is). I like his creativity banking and playing pucks off the wall in the defensive zone.
    Heís going to be a very good ó and different ó player if he can maintain his take-charge mentality on both sides of the puck and put it all together at the NHL level.
    6. Brandt Clarke, RHD, 19 (Los Angeles Kings ó No. 8, 2021)
    July 2022 rank: No. 12 (change: +6)
    Clarke, one of my favorite prospects in the sport, is a player of quirks and faults, but also of talent and intrigue. His offensive-zone skill with the puck is rare. Heís a roving, confident, attacking defender with an uncanny ability to beat opposing players side-to-side, find his way into dangerous areas and then execute NHL-level plays to drive offense.
    Heís got some oddities, too. His knees knock. He rides on his inside edges. Heís not a natural athlete (though he has worked very hard to build out his frame and strength). But I donít think any of those things are prohibitive to his development and heís actually a better defender (the biggest misnomer about him tries to say otherwise) against the rush and inside his own zone than he gets credit for.
    Different isnít necessarily a negative and I think thatís the case with Clarke. All of his little quirks make him the weird, fascinating, gifted player that he is. And I expect his intricacies will make him a special player at the next level, just like they have at every level below it. Heís got great east-west vision, which he uses to frequently change the puckís side.
    He has this way of getting into the spots to make something happen. Iíve often referred to him as a bit of a unicorn. He looks, at all times, completely unbothered by the stage or the pressure of opposing players. I think there are times when that can result in him trying to do too much, but you can live with it because it also produces some big plays in big moments.
    Heís also a loud, positive voice in the room. That personality matches his bold game (he tries and often pulls off difficult spin or flip passes). There are things about his game that may scare off the odd coach (which Iíd argue has less to do with him than hockeyís misperceptions of what he is) but he can completely take over a game, and I admire his gumption and fearlessness.
    I also expect him to make significant progress as he continues to get stronger and sturdier. His statistical profile is sterling and has been reinforced by some earth-shattering production since returning to the Colts. Heís going to be a lot of fun to watch when he finds his body and game in the NHL if heís allowed to play freely.
    7. Shane Wright, C, 19 (Seattle Kraken ó No. 4, 2022)
    July 2022 rank: No. 3 (change: -4)
    This has obviously been a weird season for Shane Wright. In the NHL, his on-ice results were better than his underlying numbers indicated. In the AHL, he scored some nice goals in short order but road a 36.4 percent shooting percentage to those totals, burying on four of 11 shots across five games. At the world juniors, a titanic performance in the gold medal game saved a snake-bitten tournament where he was probably owed more than what he got but was just good without being great and did most of his damage on the power play. And now, as I write this, heís got 14 points in seven games in his return to the OHL following a trade from Kingston to Windsor (after missing a couple of games with a lower-body injury).
    I still really like the player, but Iíve softened on him as the No. 1 prospect in the 2022 draft (something that began last year when I debated ranking Simon Nemec and Logan Cooley atop my final draft board before holding on Wright).
    Wright is a well-built kid who boasts a wide gait and boxy shoulders that balance him over pucks. Those physical tools are complemented by a powerful wrist shot release (which he can get off from several stances and pops off of his bladeís heel or toe) and quick hands in traffic that allow him to take pucks off of the wall and create scoring chances to the interior. Heís also a most diligent three-zone player, with a decently-strong stride that helps him push play up ice (though its power is more evident the length of the sheet than from a standstill into a quick foot race, and he has struggled to change paces to create with his feet one-on-one) when heís done providing support low in his zone or above the puck.
    While his catch-and-release shot is his biggest weapon inside the offensive zone (I actually think he was owed a few more goals than his 35 on 290 shots last season, which has gone obviously bounced back and gone the other direction with some good luck this year), he does have some quiet creativity inside the offensive zone. Wright blends versatile skill with a heady, detailed game that will allow him to drive a line (despite not needing to have the puck all of the time) and be relied upon in all situations down the middle at the next level. He tracks back hard.
    There are times when scouts want to see him play with a little more fire and feistiness to really take over games and impose himself on the forecheck/in battles/into his shot, but his eye for detail off the puck puts him in a supportive role more often than an active chase, and thatís fine.
    I would still like to see him hang onto the puck a little more, but he does execute well on the give-and-go. Heís got pro tools, plays the length of the ice, and plays a desirable position. Whether he can develop his individual skill and that change of pace that I talked about will be the difference between him being a solid top-nine centre and a top-of-the-lineup one.
    8. Quinton Byfield, C, 20 (Los Angeles Kings ó No. 2, 2020)
    July 2022 rank: No. 15 (change: +7)
    Byfieldís young career hasnít played out exactly like anyone had drawn it up. But he was also one of the youngest players in his draft class, the pandemic necessitated time in the AHL, and then he suffered a couple of fluke injuries. And there just isnít a young player in the sport quite like him through it all. I think thereís still reason for optimism that he can tap into his clear potential and become the top-end forward (I know the Kings have tinkered with him on the wing a little) with size that he projected as when he was drafted.
    Heís too good a skater and too big and strong and talented for his size not to put it all together. I have minor concerns about his processing and some of the bobbles that happen in his game when pace is ramped up, but there arenít many 6-foot-5, 220-pound players who can skate and make plays like him. Byfieldís blend of athleticism, speed, power, and finesse is just so rare.
    Are there kinks to his game that still need unwinding? Sure. He can get lost in no manís land defensively a little. He has been a work in progress in the faceoff circle. But there are also plenty of things that distinguish him. His ability to play at full speed offensively, provide defensive and puck retrieval value on the forecheck, and generally push pace on the inside of the ice, to name just a few.
    Heíll surprise you with his creativity for his size, too. His wrist shot is dangerous from mid range (which we saw more of in the AHL this fall) when he has the time to get it off, though I think heíll need to continue to improve on balancing his catch-and-release to get the most out of himself as a shooter in traffic when heís playing off the puck. The payoff is still there, itís just going to require a little more patience (as hard as that can be with a No. 2 pick, itís just as important if not more). He is still just 20, even if it feels like he has been around for longer than that now.
    9. Logan Stankoven, C/RW/LW, 19 (Dallas Stars ó No. 47, 2021)
    July 2022 rank: No. 38 (change: +29)
    One of my favorite prospects from the 2021 draft class, the 5-foot-8 Stankoven, who ranked 18th on my board, was named the CHLís Player of the Year in his post-draft season after he scored 62 goals and 135 points in 76 regular-season and playoff games as Kamloopsí captain.
    Despite his height, he plays a bulldog, competitive, driven, forechecking style that sees him consistently beat bigger, stronger players in battles, or to loose pucks, or along the wall shedding past checks to keep the cycle alive and stay over top of pucks.
    Stankovenís got this shuffled, compact stride that rattles him around the ice and requires a lot of energy exertion. But that energy defines his game. Heís strong in puck protection, leaning on his lead knee and pivoting to push under bumps. Heís a fire hydrant for his size, rarely getting knocked off balance.
    The wide gait to his stride also helps him sidestep defensemen with a head of steam, even if heís not a speedster per se (though he does have legitimate perimeter speed and builds really quickly through his crossovers). And then from the top of the faceoff circles in, heís a threatening creator who can crack a game open in a split second and who is even more dangerous the closer he gets to the hashmarks.
    Heís got a strong release. He can break down defenders in traffic. Heís a sneaky-good facilitator. Heís got clear power-play upside, I think heís got legitimate penalty-kill upside, and itís not hard to imagine him as a third-line scorer who plays an honest game or high-skill top-six piece who can play the part of play-driver or play-finisher. Heís going to endear himself to fans, too. I donít see his size as an issue. Itís an advantage in more ways than a disadvantage.
    Add in superb quick-draw acumen in the faceoff circle, the fact that heís the hardest worker on every shift, his pace, his consistency, and how dominant he has become along the cycle/below the goal line and thereís very little not to like. He can beat you in straight lines, beat you in stop and starts to change directions, beat you standing still with his shot, or just outwork you. And he almost never gets knocked over. I expect him to play in the NHL next season after a run at the Memorial Cup.
    10. Matt Savoie, C/RW, 18 (Buffalo Sabres ó No. 9, 2022)
    July 2022 rank: No. 9 (change: -1)
    Savoieís game has the potential to thrill. Heís got extremely quick side-to-side hands that help him beat defenders one-on-one off of cuts. Heís got an NHL shot (which he can place with pinpoint accuracy from a bad angle and rip by a goalie clean from a distance, but he also loves to change up and slide five-hole). He does an excellent job creating plays to the slot out of traffic. Heís a burning skater with explosiveness and quick three-step acceleration that allows him to win races, separate in transition, and put defenders onto their heels, or dash through holes in coverage to the net (or draw a penalty). Heís a soft small-area passer who blends deception into his movements.
    And then on top of those things, heís got a bit of a chip on his shoulder. Heís always engaged, he keeps his feet moving, he plays with a ton of energy, and he finishes all of his checks and knocks his fair share of players over despite being on the smaller side. Heís also sturdier on his feet than his listed height (5-foot-9) might suggest, which helps him play between checks.
    He hasnít exploded offensively like some (myself included) maybe expected this season with the Ice, but some of that has to do with how balanced their team is up front (if they arenít the Memorial Cup favorites, theyíre close). I still see a dynamic, high-tempo, top-six, goal-creating package. Heís an exciting talent, with clear PP1 upside due to his shooting/skill package and clear five-on-five upside because of his skating and motor. Even in games where the points donít fall, heís almost always dangerous and threatening on the ice ó and heís seldom going to leave you wanting more. Because of the way he plays, I think heís got a chance to stick at his natural center position in the NHL, too. His speed might even make him a useful penalty killer to give him all-situations value as well. I expect him to rise to the occasion on a deep playoff run and Iím looking forward to watching him as a big part of Team Canada at the 2024 world juniors in Gothenburg.
    11. Cutter Gauthier, C/LW, 18 (Philadelphia Flyers ó No. 5, 2022)
    July 2022 rank: No. 35 (change: +24)
    Between a 10-point performance at the world juniors that somehow felt snakebitten, and leading the Eagles in goals and points as a freshman, this has been a solid post-draft season for Gauthier.
    The appeal of his game and makeup has always been obvious. Gauthierís a net-focussed shooter but he has worked to turn himself into a net-driven one, playing a more intentional game that knows what it is. On the puck, he uses inside body positioning to get to the middle off the cycle or the rush. Off of it, he finishes his checks and looks to help his line get it back.
    I wouldnít say heís a menacing power forward type, but he plays a very engaged, imposing, speed game. Gauthierís also a strong skater and despite his heavy skew toward shooting and goals, I find he sees the ice well, hits seams when theyíre there, and makes a lot of short plays as a passer off the wall (including off his backhand). His greatest strength is his catch-and-release. He can sling it. I do think he shoots a bit too much (a lot of his shots miss the net or are taken from low-percentage areas), but you can live with that. Heís got a readymade, projectable game and can put the puck in the net.
    I fully expect Gauthier to be an impactful NHL player and scorer. Iím not sure heíll be a star, and Iím not sure if I prefer him at the wing or center (I think Iíd lean wing because of his play style as a shooter and strength along the wall, but with his skating and size the middle of the ice have some appeal, too), but heís on a path to a nice career as a top-six forward.
    12. Kevin Korchinski, LHD, 18 (Chicago Blackhawks ó No. 7, 2022)
    July 2022 rank: No. 30 (change: +18)
    Long, increasingly-smooth-skating, point-producing defensemen arenít easy to come by and Korchinski has really settled into his ambitious, free-flowing game with a steep development curve over the last two seasons. Heís also got a June birthday, so heís still got some runway to take advantage of. Korchinski handles the puck smoothly on his hip, his impressive footwork and maneuverability help him adjust to, away, and around pressure (both of which have come a long way), and then heís a natural playmaker who can make something happen and facilitate out of all of his movement and carries.
    I like his stick and his ability to use his feet to defend the rush and disrupt play more and more (though heís a better transition defender than a defensive-zone one). His hallmark has become his balance over his skates (an area that, astoundingly, was once a major concern before a growth spurt somehow straightened his posture out).
    He tries to guide play with and without the puck with his mobility, pivots and directional changes. He can take over a game with his ability to transport the puck and roam. He can stretch the ice on outlets. He reads the play quickly, which allows him to make hurry-up passes when a long carry sequence isnít there for him. He sees the play develop inside the offensive zone at an advanced level and regularly hits cross-ice seams. Though his shot isnít hard, heís comfortable attacking into the slot. Heís also an underrated competitor who is willing to take a hit to make a play and fearlessly pursue pucks into corners.
    Thereís still some fine-tuning that needs to happen, and heís prone to the occasional brain cramp, but Korchinski doesnít panic under pressure, he exits and enters the zone well, he controls play when he arrives there, heís gaps up well in neutral ice, he sees it and handles it at an advanced level, heís got shakes and shoulder fakes, and his ceiling is high (as high as No. 2 D and PP1 QB, I think) as a result. Iím looking forward to watching him in a leading role as the only returnee on Team Canadaís blue line at next yearís world juniors.

    Kevin Korchinski. (Jon Durr / USA Today)

    13. Pavel Mintyukov, LHD, 19 (Anaheim Ducks ó No. 10, 2022)
    July 2022 rank: Not ranked
    This fall, when I conducted a brief survey amongst CHL coaches and general managers for their two best defensemen in junior hockey, the top two Ducks on this list topped the ballots. And while Olen Zellweger would be the consensus pick for the best right now (note: the survey was conducted before Brandt Clarke was sent to Barrie by the Kings), Mintyukovís probably the better prospect of the two by a hair.
    It took me some time last year to warm up to him (the coaching staff in Saginaw unleashed him in order to build his confidence and creativity, and that came with a lot of mistakes), but he eventually made a fan of me and of the scouting community at large with his play. Mintyukov is an adept three-zone player whose game tilts toward offense through his eagerness to engage in transition and off the offensive zone blue line. When heís looking to be active, he can involve himself in all areas of the game. Heís also talented as both a handler and shooter. Add in an athletic 6-foot-1 frame and thereís a lot to like. I do think he can play a little too much on instinct at times (both on offense and on defense) though and that, in concert with the fact that heís a late birthday, left me slightly lower on him ahead of the draft than most (though I think Iím in about the same spot as the consensus after his tremendous post-draft season). As he continues to develop the decision-making aspect (which heís already beginning to do with the title-chasing 67ís where he has less freedom), heíll be able to contribute at both ends at five-on-five and potentially on both special teams as a top-four guy long term in the NHL.
    14. Denton Mateychuk, LHD, 18 (Columbus Blue Jackets ó No. 12, 2022)
    July 2022 rank: No. 28 (change: +14)
    Mateychuk has built quite a reputation for himself in hockey circles for his ability to direct play and drive results when heís on the ice. That style helped him work his way onto Team Canadaís U18 worlds team as an underager and has made him one of the top defensemen in junior hockey in the last two seasons. Those are among the many reasons he was named Moose Jawís captain this year and will make him a big part of the 2024 Canadian world junior team in Gothenburg.
    Heís already a plus-level skater, which helps him escape pressure with his feet, push up ice in control, trail in transition, walk the line, and steer opposing players into tough spots despite not being the biggest guy. Heís the definition ó or close ó of the modern defenseman.
    Mateychuk pushes when he can and everything he does is done with poise and command. He plays a reliable and calculating game built around his mobility and sound decision-making. He defends at a high level and is strong over his 5-foot-11 frame. Plus heís a July birthday so heís got plenty of time to build on his strong foundation and develop his distinguishing qualities (namely his movement and control of the game).
    He just always seems to be involved in all three zones. I see a clear top-four upside and thereís nothing in his game that gives me pause in saying that.
    15. Jimmy Snuggerud, RW, 18 (St. Louis Blues ó No. 23, 2022)
    July 2022 rank: Not ranked
    One of the hottest prospects in hockey, Snuggerud has gone from B-plus prospect to A-grade prospect (or close) this season.
    Every piece of his game has elevated this year. Plus-shot (had that already). Plus-skill. Good enough skater. Hard on pucks. Hunts pucks. Consistently impactful. Finding ways to release and move as soon as he has made his play so that he can get open for the next one again. Itís all there right now. Add in an extra step from a standstill and heís on an exciting path.
    We all should have seen it coming, maybe, too. When I polled last yearís U.S. NTDP players for their most underrated, he was basically the unanimous answer. Given that he played on a line with Logan Cooley and Cutter Gauthier, and a team that also featured other top forwards including speedy Frank Nazar and the likable Rutger McGroarty, him flying under the radar shouldnít surprise.
    Snuggerud is a well-rounded three-zone player with a versatile offensive game who works as hard as anyone out there. His head is always up and on a swivel, even in congested areas. Heís good below the goal line and makes a lot of low-to-high plays into the slot to find cutting teammates for chances. He sticks with the play and follows shots to the net to get to rebounds, playing a determined forechecking game. Heís got a dangerous one-timer and catch-and-release wrister but he doesnít tunnel-vision for his shot, he sees the ice well, and he can make plays back against the grain. Heís got good hands, which help him make outside-in plays to beat defenders one-on-one more than he gets credit for. He uses space well and makes a lot of plays off of his backhand.
    And on top of it all heís also got a pro frame to build upon and a June birthday that gives him good runway. With the right development, thereís a goal-scoring top-six winger there.
    16. Dylan Guenther, LW/RW, 20 (Arizona Coyotes ó No. 9, 2021)
    July 2022 rank: No. 21 (change: +5)
    Guenther is a beautiful skating winger who slices through holes and dashes past flatfooted defenders with ease. Heís a flowing player who excels in transition, crossing over to build speed, attacking on angles across the line and breezing through neutral ice in possession to make plays off the rush. And while he uses a pretty high grip on his stick, his quick hands flash side to side, he catches pucks into a shooting stance out of cuts with silky touch, and his shot is threatening from midrange because of its accuracy, variety (the curl-and-drag, the direct wrister and the one-timer) and power (which has increased enough to be a weapon from long range fairly consistently now).
    He has also gotten stronger, adding to his multi-faceted offensive package off the flank. Inside the offensive zone, his ability to handle the puck in traffic, play pucks into space and shape and hide his shot all impress. So heís not only capable of transporting the puck and leading the rush, but he then has the offensive acumen to make things happen once the play slows down inside the offensive zone. Add in good control of his inside and outside edges and the ability to shoot from multiple stances and thereís a lot to like about his upside as a projectable, playmaking top-six winger. There are times when Iíd like to see him drive play more at five-on-five than he does, but that will come with reps, confidence and maturity.
    17. Lane Hutson, LHD, 18 (Montreal Canadiens ó No. 62, 2022)
    July 2022 rank: No. 46 (change: +29)
    If this seems bullish, thatís because it is. I was bullish when I ranked him 19th on my draft board. I was bullish when I ranked him in my top 50 drafted prospects ranking. And Iím as bullish now ó in the midst of his tremendous freshman year and after heís added a couple of inches (now listed at 5-foot-10 and 155 pounds by BU) ó as I was then. I wrote that ďIíd stake my reputation on him becoming one-of-one and climbing up re-draftsĒ before the draft and I standing by that now.
    There arenít many players who play like Hutson in hockey. Iíve often been asked just how high he would have gone if he were 6-foot-2 or 6-foot-3 and the reality is that he wouldnít able to do a lot of what makes him so interesting if he were. Heís a unique player who uses a light (though not powerful) stride to create entries and exits, weave past coverage, escape pressure, and find or create seams.
    He sees the ice as well as any young defenceman in the sport, regularly identifying plays a step ahead of the opposition. He reads opposing forwards as well as any young defenceman in the sport, anticipating their movements and then exposing them. Heís got an uncanny knack for executing long east-to-west plays, whether thatís feathering high, leading saucer passes with perfect weight across ice or flinging a hard pass to a streaking teammateís tape.
    He makes a ton of plays under pressure when other players would panic (though sometimes he could actually use some hurry-up to his game). Inside the offensive zone, though, his shot lacks power. He acts as a fourth forward with his ability to slide off the line and create. Heís got shakes and shimmies to spare, routinely making opposing defenders miss one-on-one in all three zones. Heís one of the most clever players in the sport.
    And I actually quite like the way he defends. He gets back to so many loose pucks that he doesnít have to rely all that much on engaging in battles and even when he does, his positioning, timing and active stick help him disrupt opposing carriers and break up plays. There are some limitations on box-outs and his one-on-one play at times, and heís prone to the odd miscue inside the defensive zone, but his proficiencies more than make up for that.
    Above all else, heís the kind of player where when you think youíve put him in a difficult spot or youíve got him cornered, heíll show you that he isnít with a spin (or a spin into a spin!), a fake (with his eyes, or head, or shoulders, or hands, or feet, or each) or his sublime vision through layers. He just looks right past whatís in front of him. I expect him to become a dominant offensive defenceman and PP1 QB who can hold his own defensively in the NHL once he gets a little stronger (you donít want him to get too heavy and lose some of that lightness though!).
    18. Olen Zellweger, LHD, 19 (Anaheim Ducks ó No. 34, 2021)
    July 2022 rank: No. 27 (change: +9)
    Zellweger, who was just days away from being eligible for the 2022 draft when the Ducks took him at the front of the second round in 2021, should have won the CHL Defenceman of the Year Award over Nathan Staios last year and should be in the running again this year.
    He has become a bit of a marvel for his skating-transition package and the way it allows him to control play all over the ice (including, despite his 5-foot-10 frame, defensively). Heís a one-man exit-entry machine. He almost never puts himself into tough spots but when he does and he needs to track back, his skating helps him recover.
    He uses his feet to buzz around the ice and carry pucks off the line or in transition better than just about any D prospect outside the NHL. The way he hugs corners and rounds the net, or turns under opposing players, or spins off of pressure, is extremely impressive.
    But he also just always seems to play well. I love how quickly he reads the play when he gets the puck. Itís catch, survey, and quickly skate or outlet. Rinse, repeat. He almost never waits too long to make a decision.
    His wrister has shown improved pop (and a nice little pre-shot adjustment with an earlier release off of his toe) in the last two seasons. Heís also a quietly-feisty player who rises to the challenge in battles to keep sequences alive or skate them away from danger. Heís got a silky first touch, catching difficult passes mid-stride into a planned movement or a cross-ice pass. Heís just an effortless four-way skater who uses his feet to be in constant motion with and without the puck offensively, as well as to swallow up carriers in the neutral zone with tight gaps (he plays off of his heels so, so well), virtually gluing himself to the hips of opposing players. Thereís the odd bad read or moment of carelessness that has crept into his game this year, but I think that just comes with how easy the game feels to him against his peers at this point and I expect heíll tighten those things up against bros because theyíre more about focus than awareness.
    He is also, by all accounts, a wonderful kid who cares about the details of the game and already has pro habits. Zellwegerís got the ability to play a highly-active, roving style without sacrificing a disruptive defensive game. Between Zellweger, Mintyukov and Jamie Drysdale, the Ducks are well-positioned on the blue line long term. Iím looking forward to watching him in the Memorial Cup this spring in his final hurrah in junior, because a championship is all he really has left to accomplish at that level.
    19. Marco Rossi, C, 21 (Minnesota Wild ó No. 9, 2020)
    July 2022 rank: No. 16 (change: -3)
    Last season was a really strong rookie AHL season for the 20-year-old, and especially so as a return to the ice following a lost season of development for Rossi. This season, though he hasnít made the jump to full-time NHLer, he has taken another step in Iowa offensively while remaining the diligent, committed off-puck player he has always been.
    You wonít find a kid who is more driven than he is, and who makes overcoming what he has seem so inevitable. I remain extremely confident in his ability to become a top-six center who provides value in all three zones, too. Despite his 5-foot-9 frame, heís built like an ox, with a sturdy and low center of gravity that allows him to take bumps on offense and play his determined, detail-oriented game on defense (on top of helping him be very good in the faceoff circle). Then heís also got slick skill in traffic, quick hands one-on-one with defenders and goalies, playmaking acumen through gaps in coverage, a sixth sense for how to use spacing, and impressive finesse and touch to his game as a passer.
    He plays a game of intellect, craft and feel. He has also begun to play more assertively and aggressively on offense in the AHL. Heís going to be a heck of an NHL player and projects as a 20-40-60 guy with defensive value for me (with the potential for more with the right linemates and luck from one season to the next). He faced a big setback down, and it slowed his development, but heís going to get to where youíd hope a top-10 pick will in the end. Iíll stick my neck out on that.
    20. Lukas Reichel, LW, 20 (Chicago Blackhawks ó No. 17, 2020)
    July 2022 rank: No. 41 (change: +21)
    Loyal readers here will know that Iím a fan of Reichelís and his play in the AHL and briefly NHL these last two years has done nothing to dissuade me (he just keeps producing at the top of his teams and age groups). Reichel plays a modern, play-driving style on the wing, excelling with the puck on his stick, handling it with finesse, and using a smooth, almost effortless skating stride to transport it up ice in transition or attack on angles. Heís also a delicate handler inside the offensive zone, using impressive footwork to navigate in and out of pressure and bait defenders.
    Heís a multifaceted offensive player who is as effective playing off his linemates and using space as a tool to get open as a shooter as he is creating his own chances or using his ability to weave through pressure to draw attention and then facilitate. He also never looks bothered by pressure, solving problems easily and asserting himself on games with poise and confidence. Thereís footwork, puck control, confidence and just an ease to his game that you donít typically find in young players.
    Heís always trying to use whatís available to him and his ability to manipulate and adjust makes it possible for him to do just that. Heís got several high-end tools and while he may not have an elite one, I still see a front line winger who will thrive in todayís NHL. Iím excited to see what he does with the opportunity that looks like its around the corner with the Blackhawks.
    21. Marco Kasper, C, 18 (Detroit Red Wings ó No. 8, 2022)
    July 2022 rank: Not ranked
    You wonít find anyone in the SHL, with the Austrian hockey federation, or working for an NHL club in amateur scouting who doesnít like Kasperís game and approach to it. He has really impressed scouts, teammates and coaches with the way he has managed one of the worldís top pro levels as a teenager.
    I love his patience with the puck. He doesnít shy away from trying to beat or out-wait guys (whether through changes of directions out of stop-ups or curls) and heís got a really low panic threshold. Heís also a good skater who never lacks in effort and always stops on pucks. Heís an advanced 200-foot forward who was able to progress up levels as fast as he did because of how rounded his game is. Heís feisty and fights off his fair share of checks to stay on pucks. He has made real progress filling out his 6-foot-1 frame (now about 190 pounds). Thereís a bit of a hunch to his stride, but he leverages his edges well, building speed through the neutral zone to push pace with the puck.
    I donít see game-breaking skill or finishing, per se, but he plays with pro pace, heís a good passer, he plays on the interior and he makes plays all over the ice. The maturity and smarts in his game define him. He plays an almost mistake-free game. And maybe most importantly, he has handled the responsibilities of center ice really well this year (after playing exclusively the wing in the SHL in his draft year). Itís a big deal that he has won more draws than he has lost and has driven possession and goal-differential results at five-on-five this year. Iím not sure heís quite dynamic enough with the puck to become a true first-line center and point-per-game type, but heís got all of the makings of an excellent 2C who can influence play in all three zones at five-on-five, on the power play and maybe even on the penalty kill.
    22. Alexander Holtz, 21, RW (New Jersey Devils ó No. 7, 2020)
    July 2022 rank: No. 17 (change: -5)
    It has taken Holtz maybe a little longer to ďmake itĒ than I think fans expect out of a top-10 pick, but he only just turned 21 a couple of weeks ago, he played to a point per game in the AHL at 19 and 20, and Iím still confident heís going to become a goal-scoring top-six winger. Heís got a coveted blend of skill, power and shooting which allows him to create his own looks and then finish off of them with a variety of release points and shot types (or play off of the puck from a playmaker and get open with his timing). Heís got a pro frame and strength (6-foot, 195 pounds) which allows him to play through bumps, win battles, and get off the wall. But heís also got underrated playmaking sense (Iíve often argued that his ability as a shooter is overstated and his ability in facilitation has been understated). While he still needs to get a little quicker, he has worked hard to lean out and play a little quicker to maximize those other natural tools. His small-area skill has improved. He has worked on his one-timer so that it can catch up to his powerful and accurate wrist shot release. Heís got a soft touch off of his forehand and backhand, and heís a dual-threat inside the offensive zone. I expect him to play full-time next year and begin to realize his potential after another summer of training.

    Alexander Holtz. (Rich Graessle / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

    23. William Eklund, C/LW, 20 (San Jose Sharks ó No. 7, 2021)
    July 2022 rank: No. 24 (change: +1)
    Between his draft season and his post-draft campaign, Eklund had some weird experiences. A bout of COVID. An appendectomy. Nine games with the Sharks out of his first camp. None since. A return to Djurgarden in between. And just three goals across 47 games at four different levels. This season has marked a return to a more natural path though. At the time of writing, Eklund leads the Barracuda through 47 games in assists (21) and co-leads in points (35).
    Eklund remains a well-rounded three-zone player who can do a little bit of everything offensively (heís strong and agile below the goal line, heís a capable transporter, and heís a plus-level finisher, handler and passer) and defensively (he supports the play well, takes smart routes to pucks and pinches along the wall, and engages effectively in battles to win his fair share). This season, that competitiveness has really boiled to the fore around a stronger frame (heís now 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds).
    Eklundís biggest strength, though, is the way he navigates on the ice. He slides in and out of space to get open for his shot (a shot which, despite the lack of finishing last year, is a real mid-range threat) and plays the give-and-go game effectively. He also makes a lot of small-area plays around the net to attack the slot or play a puck into it, with proper timing, for a teammate. Heís just a clever problem-solver who knows his game and how to play within himself to make something happen from shift to shift.
    I have little doubt that heíll be a second-line forward in the NHL. His floor is high that way. Whether he can be a top-three forward on a team instead of a fourth-or-fifth best one is probably the question.
    24. Jordan Dumais, RW, 18 (Columbus Blue Jackets ó No. 64, 2022)
    July 2022 rank: Not ranked
    One of my favourite prospects in the sport and the most productive player in major junior hockey not named Connor Bedard over the course of the last two seasons, I will be more surprised if Dumais doesnít make it as a playmaking top-nine winger at this point than I will if he does. That, in and of itself, is no small thing to be saying about a 5-foot-9, 18-year-old third-round pick. But thatís what heís owed because of one simple fact: Players whoíve produced like he has historically almost never miss. He should win QMJHL MVP. He should be one of the top-six right wings for Canada at next yearís world juniors. Iím confident heís going to produce in the AHL like he did in his first Traverse City Prospects Tournament (and everywhere else). And then heís going to figure it out at NHL pace, despite questions about his size and skating, because heís too good and too intelligent on the ice not to.
    Dumaisí extensions through his stride need some cleaning up (they can look stunted and drag at the toe caps), but he has become a tremendously hardworking player with a wide-ranging offensive game that allows him to create offence in a variety of ways. Heíll beat you with a quick give-and-go on one shift, a standstill pass or shot on the next, a dance to the high slot on the next, and quick hands and determination around the net on the next. He brings it every night. He tracks back and makes hustle plays. His shot is pinpoint accurate and gets off of his blade effortlessly in catch-and-release sequences. Heís really good along the wall and the back check on retrievals and steals. Though heís not physical, he hunts pucks without fear and willingly engages in puck battles. Heís got A-level vision, hands, and anticipation. Heís crafty as anything. He routinely elevates his linemates and does things himself (as evidenced by the uptick in their production and the gap that he still maintains well above and beyond his peers). Iím willing to stick my neck out for him to become a top-six NHL winger if the Blue Jackets handle his development appropriately (which Iím confident they will).
    25. Frank Nazar, C, 18 (Chicago Blackhawks ó No. 13, 2022)
    July 2022 rank: No. 26 (change: +1)
    I struggled slotting Nazar because I think had he not lost most of his freshman season to injury, he could have ranked higher here. He has since returned to the Michigan lineup and, as of this writing, has one goal in two games.
    Few prospects dash around the ice and make plays like Nazar does. Heís a threatening player from the hashmarks because of his wrister, which he pops off of his stick with sneaky power and precision thanks in large part to the balance he displays through his weight shift (heís not a super strong kid, though he is a tremendous athlete).
    Heís got quick hands, which help him deftly adjust in traffic to get shots off under pressure. He flashes creativity throughout his game. He plays pucks into space extremely well, regularly executing through tight gaps in coverage. And heís just a hungry, driven player who consistently targets the middle lane with his greatest asset ó his skating.
    Nazarís one of the fastest prospects in the sport, not only in straight lines and winding up through his crossovers, but also adjusting tempos (a learned skill that he really developed at U.S. NTDP). That allows him to impact play both with the puck attacking in transition to turn defenders or creating breakaways, as well as without it, speeding into lanes to get open for his linemates.
    He also consistently supports the play high in the offensive zone without possession when thatís his role (another learned habit at the program that came a long way). He can be careless with the puck and try to do too much at times but heís also capable of going right into coverage to make something happen or breezing to the perimeter to pull eyes to him and facilitate. He moves and does things on the ice that few can and has upside as a dynamic top-six playmaker if he can get back on the trajectory he was on pre-surgery.
    26. Jiri Kulich, LW/RW, 18 (Buffalo Sabres ó No. 28, 2022)
    July 2022 rank: Not ranked
    Kulich is a sturdy, driven player who can morph his game to his role. He can function as the detail-oriented, above-puck defender who makes quick plays and stays on pucks. He can play off of talented linemates to free his dangerous shooting arsenal up. Or he can carry the puck and function as the primary handler on a line. I like his positioning off the puck. I like the strength, balance and control of his skating stride. I like how quickly and hard shots come off of his stick (not just with his world-class one-timer but through a deceptive early release point in stride too).
    Heís got quick hands and flashes skill with the puck on a string one-on-one and under the triangles of defendersí sticks. Heís got good feel around the net. He plays hard. His skating is noticeable off the puck in his ability to pursue and recapture possession to extend sequences. The ice tends to tilt in his favor when heís on it. He stays over pucks and protects them extremely well. He supports play well. Thereís a lot to like about his makeup. He just looks like a pro ó and has played like one as an 18-year-old in the AHL this year. I have no doubt at this point that heís going to be an NHLer ó and maybe a very good one.
    27. Matt Coronato, RW, 20 (Calgary Flames ó No. 13, 2021)
    July 2022 rank: No. 42 (change: +15)
    One of the best players in college hockey for my money, itís not a question of if Matt Coronato will be an NHL player but when. I think he could play today ó as in turn pro at the end of this sophomore season and step right into the Flames lineup in a way that the others below him on this list havenít been able to. I also fully expect that Darryl Sutter will like him a lot.
    Coronatoís one of those rare forwards who is defined as much by his scoring touch around the slot as he is by his work ethic. After winning a Clarkson Cup and the USHLís forward of the year award (after he led the league in goals and five-on-five goal differential), Coronato stepped right into college hockey and led Harvard in goals (18) and points (36) as a freshman last season. He was also, for me, USAís best forward at the summer world juniors in Edmonton, and has continued to impress as one of the top sophomores in the NCAA.
    Thereís has never been any questioning Coronatoís effort level or his ability to make something happen in the home plate area. Heís a determined, competitive player with the small-area skill package, detail and skating (heís got good speed, for sure) needed to play that kind of game. Heís also got rare spatial awareness which helps him understand where he is in relation to pressure and play off of it.
    And then heís got a hard, quick release which rattles off of the heel of his blade and great feel around the net. Heís always in the guts of the ice. Heíll force turnovers on the forecheck. He doesnít stop working. Heís got slick hands, especially moving laterally. Increasingly, he looks dangerous in transition with the puck. Heís also got great poise in possession inside the offensive zone.
    Thereís a belief among many scouts and folks around the USHL and NCAA that even if he doesnít become a dynamic, top-of-the-lineup guy, that his floor bottoms out as a diligent, hardworking middle-six scorer. Thatís a darn good player. I think heís got at least a chance to be more than that, too. Heís an impressive player who can play it any way youíd like and could have value on both special teams at the next level.
    28. Liam ÷hgren, LW, 18 (Minnesota Wild ó No. 19, 2022)
    July 2022 rank: No. 19 (change: +1)
    ÷hgren put together one of the most productive age-adjusted seasons in the history of Swedenís top junior level and two strong performances internationally for Sweden (first at last yearís Hlinka Gretzky Cup, and then at U18 worlds, where he was also the teamís captain) in his draft year. And he was in the middle of following that up with a strong post-draft season in the second-tier HockeyAllsvenskan while riding a three-game point streak and playing his best hockey of the season when he got injured late in January.
    Heís a bigger, stronger player than his two first-round teammates (Noah Ostlund and Jonathan Lekkerimaki) in DjurgŚrden and heís also a combination shot-and-pass, power-and-finesse player that they arenít. I love the way he shades into and away from pressure in control. His shot comes off his blade quick, hard and naturally, rocking it back into his stance and letting it go (it really rattles off of his stick). His offensive arsenal is multi-faceted and heís got some really sneaky craftiness and evasiveness to his game to complement the tools of strength over the puck and through his shot that are obvious.
    Heíll need to pick up a step to translate his game to the NHL level, but I wouldnít call his skating an impediment (itís better than he usually gets credit for); it has looked noticeably improved this year (it looks lighter through his crossovers and his pick-ups) and heís always finding ways to get to pucks and/or get open around the home-plate area inside the offensive zone, where his skill and shot take over.
    Add in a commitment to the puck retrievals and battles and a strong base knowledge of when to make the simple play and when to attack, and youíve got a pretty safely projectable top-nine and probably top-six winger at an early age. And donít confuse completeness for lack of talent, as I think that can often be misconstrued and that is not the case here. He has been leading more rushes and attacking sequences in control this year. You canít fault his effort level. Heís strong. He can score. Thereís a lot to like.
    29. Danila Yurov, LW/RW, 19 (Minnesota Wild ó No. 24, 2022)
    July 2022 rank: No. 23 (change: -6)
    Those who followed my draft coverage with a watchful eye will know that Iím a fan of Yurovís game.
    I have concerns about how little heís used in Magnitogorsk and the negative impact that can have on his development (itís been happening for three seasons now). Yurov has also already proven to be a dominant player in the MHL and internationally (in part because of his December 2003 birthday but mostly because of his well-rounded skill level), driving play, chances and results at both ends. Heís a kid who has really impressed me almost every time Iíve watched him against his peers. Considering his ice time, he has actually been quite productive between ages 17 and 19 in the KHL as well. If you were to fill up two buckets with his tools (one for the strengths, one for the weaknesses) and place them on a scale, the bucket with his strengths in it would be overflowing and the one with his weaknesses would be near empty.
    He plays hard and fast, he pushes tempo, heís a strong and balanced skater, heís an excellent give-and-go player who excels at playing in and out of space without the puck, his shot comes off of his blade hard in motion (though it could use a little more versatility), heís got pro size and skill, heís diligent in all three zones, and heís almost always in the right position or reading the play to get back into it (on offense or defense).
    Kids his age are often either advanced in the way they operate on the ice but lack the high-end skill to make the most out of it, or have the skill in spades but struggle to use it because they arenít processing the game fast enough. Yurov doesnít have any problems on either front. He may not become a star, but heís got projectable top-six tools.
    30. Chaz Lucius, C, 19 (Winnipeg Jets ó No. 18, 2021)
    July 2022 ranking: No. 31 (change: +1)
    Lucius left the University of Minnesota after his freshman year even after lacking continuity in his play and health following two consecutive years of injury troubles. And now, after looking like a star prospect again with the WHL title-chasing Portland Winterhawks after starting the season in the AHL (where I actually think he played fine considering his age), Lucius is done for the year following shoulder surgery.
    That worries me, obviously. But Lucius remains a talented player and finisher. I grew fond of the player and the kid in his time at the program, and there have been real stretches in every season where he looks like a high-end offensive player.
    I still think heís got legitimate goal-scoring upside. Heís a multi-faceted scorer. Heís got natural mid-range finishing ability. Heís got a unique ability to change his angles in a split second (thanks to lightning-quick hands) and shoot around sticks and feet. And heís got an opportunistic sense for spacing and timing so that he scores his fair share of goals ó like every good goal scorer ó by simply sliding into scoring areas, finishing rebounds, or getting open into pockets of space around the net just as his linemates are looking to pass. Heís got an underrated nose for the net and is all around the crease when he plays against his peers ó something that should come as he gets stronger in the NHL as well. He gets the puck off so quickly.
    Heís not an explosive skater, which leads to apprehension among some scouts as to how his finishing ability will translate at the NHL pace, but I think his feel for the game and talent will supersede that in the next stage of his development. Heís also an underrated playmaker and passer who understands how to play pucks into space when he draws pressure. He can find pockets inside the offensive zone to get open into when he doesnít have the puck and uses opposing defenders as decoys when he does.
    There are times when Iíd like to see him create more of his own looks but with the right linemates and good health, I expect him to get back on track toward a top-six scorer projection.
    I am definitely not formatting all of this, so hopefully it doesn't look like an absolute gong show upon hitting Submit.

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    31. Cam York, LHD, 22 (Philadelphia Flyers — No. 14, 2019)
    July 2022 rank: Not ranked
    York, who has established himself as an NHL defenseman (and one of the Flyers’ better ones for that matter), was not going to appear on this list next year because of his age whether or not he made the leap that he has this year. Thankfully, though, he has also played his way off this list regardless of whether or not he would have aged out between now and then.
    And I must admit: It has been nice, as someone who stuck his neck out for York ahead of the draft when there were divergent opinions, and who remained bullish when it took him some time to figure the pro game out, to see him playing 20-plus minutes successfully and regularly of late.
    Everyone always agreed he was a good young player and kid who does a lot well. He also developed out his 5-foot-11 frame in the last couple of years. But there were concerns about his ability to really dictate and determine outcomes on the ice at the NHL level in ways he did at lower levels. He’s a smooth skater but not an explosive one. And while he’s talented with the puck on his stick, capable of running a power play, mobile moving side-to-side across the line and a superb passer who has produced at every level he’s ever played at, some worried that he wasn’t quite dynamic enough to become a truly high-end offensive defenseman, nor big enough and powerful enough to become go-to defensive zone guy.
    I saw an excellent distributor who makes the game look easy, rotating in and out of space with and without the puck to make plays and get open. I saw a light, fluid stride and smooth hands which help him manipulate opposing players, create separation without a separation gear and manage pressure to play with a ton of poise with the puck. I saw a positional defender who does a good enough job gapping up and maintaining his gaps to help break up plays and transition back the other way without needing to push people around. I saw a potential top-four defenseman who could be an effective and offensively-inclined three-zone player. The Flyers are seeing that now, too (and credit to John Tortorella on the York front because he has handled his progression smartly this year).
    32. Joakim Kemell, RW, 18 (Nashville Predators — No. 17, 2022)
    July 2022 rank: No. 19 (change: -13)
    Kemell is a highly-gifted, shot-creating winger who excels with the puck on his stick, carves teams up through coverage to take the play from the flanks to the interior, and possesses quick, light hands. Those tools enable him to take advantage of his dangerous NHL wrister and one-timer, both of which he can get off quickly from a variety of stances and at a variety of tempos. On the puck, he’s agile through cuts, threatening one-on-one and changes of direction and plays an intentional, attacking style.
    Off of the puck, he also plays with some energy and doesn’t shy away from the physical side of the game, which has endeared him to coaches to this point despite his 5-foot-11 frame. I’d like to see him slow down and utilize his linemates a little better than he does as he’s actually a heady playmaker when he opens his plane of sight, but part of what makes him exciting is his insistence on creating his own looks (even if that comes with some forcing it) with that shot of his. He really can sling it, with a wrister and one-timer that both pop.
    Kemell hasn’t taken a step in Liiga this season after an excellent age-adjusted year in his draft year, but he performed well at the summer and winter world juniors, where he played a competitive and borderline-powerful style while still getting his looks inside the offensive zone. He’s got some work to do to add a little more variety and pace to his game at times, but he projects as a top-six, PP1 winger who can break a game open inside the offensive zone if all goes well.
    33. Philip Tomasino, RW, 21 (Nashville Predators — No. 24, 2019)
    July 2022 rank: N/A
    I’m pretty confident that Tomasino could play inside the Predators’ top nine and have the kind of success that Juuso Parssinen has had this year. I know he didn’t have a great training camp to really hold onto the top-12 role he played last season, but he has looked the part of an NHLer in the AHL offensively. I do understand the appeal of giving him a full season in the AHL and then re-promoting him into a more prominent role next year as well.
    He’s a breezy skater who threatens off the rush with his ability to fly wide or burst to the middle to create in transition as both a passer and a finishing threat. His wrister is a mid-range threat, he’s got excellent hands, he’s crafty with the puck in tight spaces and he just seems to effortlessly flow within the game making plays. He has produced at the top of his age group in the OHL and AHL and I still believe hell inject some long-needed talent into the Predators’ roster sooner rather than later as a multifaceted offensive creator. He may not become a true star, but I think he’s got second-line, PP upside.
    34. Brennan Othmann, LW, 20 (New York Rangers — No. 16, 2021)
    July 2022 rank: No. 33 (change: -1)
    After posting 59 goals and 121 points in 85 combined regular season and playoff games last year in his post-draft season, Othmann’s production this year has dipped, in particular — and surprisingly — after a move from his Firebirds to the contending Petes. I’m not too worried about it though (he shot 16 percent last season and those numbers have dipped to just under 12 percent this year). He also looked the part of the top prospect that he is at both of the world juniors in Edmonton and Halifax, especially in the games that mattered (he’s a gamer).
    He’s got a lethal, masked release that he can get off of his blade at multiple points while still maintaining pinpoint accuracy. He’s got a silky first touch into quick hands. He’s got that sixth sense as a scorer, where he just finds holes in coverage and in goalies to finish plays at a higher rate than most. He’s got a heady spatial awareness inside the offensive zone and a good feel for where his teammates are on the ice, regularly executing blind and clever passes. He plays a determined off-puck game that engages in battles. He’s a physical presence when he’s on the ice, a constant threat to lay a big hit, and scrappy and mouthy between whistles (there’s a bit of a chip on his shoulder on and off the ice, honestly). He’s got great hands around the net and on tips. He’s not a faster player but he plays a direct, attacking game with the puck and he has worked hard to get stronger and a step quicker so that he can make the most out of his natural gifts on the ice. He’s got the ability to become a top-six, top power-play scoring winger with some snarl. Now it’s just about continuing to hone and tap into them consistently.

    Brennan Othmann. (Bruce Bennett / Getty Images)

    35. Dylan Holloway, C/LW, 21 (Edmonton Oilers — No. 14, 2020)
    July 2022 rank: No. 48 (change: +13)
    Every year, there are one or two players in this project that I make an exception to include as a prospect even when they’ve played all of their games in the NHL so far this season, because of the expectation that they may not yet have fully solidified themselves as full-time NHLers. Last year, I included Capitals rookie Connor McMichael, who has coincidentally since returned to the AHL. This year, I’ve hesitantly re-included Holloway. Though were it not for injuries (including two wrist surgeries), he’d probably be a little more established in the NHL by now.
    Holloway is a fast, powerful, physical, forechecking presence who I believe has a third-line floor and the skill to push into a top-six role as the complementary scorer and go-getter that the Oilers searched for high and low for Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl before they found Zach Hyman and Evander Kane.
    He’s known as an explosive skater who is normally the most athletic player on the ice. But he’s also got quick-twitch hands that keep up with his feet and a powerful wrist shot release which help him manufacture offence both off the rush and cutting off the wall to the slot to power past checks and get to dangerous spots to create chances. I’m still of the belief that he’s better suited for the wing than centre, but his versatility at both positions doesn’t hurt either. He stays in every battle, supports play, plays hard, and can beat defenders to his spots. But he has always been much more than that, too, and the kind of player who is more impactful in practical on-ice ways than his production suggests (which has also always been strong!).
    He’s going to give future lines a different look and provide value and punch in all three zones, on both special teams. I still see a 50-something point ceiling in the prime of his career if he can stay healthy. He’s going to find his way.
    36. Kirill Marchenko, LW, 22 (Columbus Blue Jackets — No. 49, 2018)
    July 2022 rank: Not ranked
    This season has kind of gone how you’d hope it would for Marchenko. After three years as a top young player in the KHL, he began in the AHL, registered points in his first five games and immediately became one of the Monsters’ best players, earned the call-up to the big club (even ignoring the Blue Jackets’ injuries) and has continued to play his game while building the league’s most unique stat sheet with his 14 goals to one assist ratio through 30 games.
    Marchenko’s a strong and sturdy winger who plays the game with skill characteristic of a smaller player, with A-grade hands and touch with the puck which helps him fool goalies and defenders one-on-one or feather a shot into a specific location in the net from a tough angle when there isn’t an opportunity to blow the puck past a goalie (which he can also do). I’d like to see him leverage his size a little more but he’s never going to be a mean, imposing player and he has learned to use his length effectively in other ways, including through his shot when he really needs to turn on a puck and use his forward momentum to lean into a shot from an off-balance stance. He’s good in the home plate area and off the flanks, and he has shown he can play at NHL pace. I don’t think he’s going to be a star, but this is the start of a career as a good NHL player (he projects to be that $5-million guy every team wants as a scoring complement with pro size to the really expensive tickets).
    37. Rutger McGroarty, RW/LW, 18 (Winnipeg Jets — No. 14, 2022)
    July 2022 rank: No. 34 (change: -3)
    McGroarty’s one of those kids who just looks like a pro hockey player. If he walked into an NHL dressing room tomorrow, he would stand stronger and broader than some in it. Then you add in the charisma which made him the natural choice for the captaincy at the U.S. NTDP program, and the light and energy that oozes out of him, and you have to be careful not to put too much stock into the off-ice pieces of the puzzle that he already appears to have figured out. But I think he’s a darn good hockey player too and the pieces of the puzzle fit together nicely on the ice.
    He’s a better skater (there are some kinks he still needs to work out in his mechanics from a standstill because it doesn’t look the prettiest through his first few steps, but there’s some power when he gets going nonetheless) than he gets credit for and his spatial awareness, reads and effort level help him avoid losing short races. He’s got raw skill that shows up in his great hands. His finishing touch around the net is there in spades, with a hard one-touch shot that he leverages his strong frame to power through when he gets open in the slot.
    He has particularly mastered the net drive into a high rotation away from coverage that brings him back to around the net. And then when he gets there, he’s got the strength to shoot from bad postures/off balance. He always put his shots into good locations (along the ice, low blocker, high short side) it seems, too. He’s dexterous. I’m a big fan.
    The ice normally tilts in his favour, he’s such a smart player, he can score, he works, and he just understands where to be out there and how to put himself in positions to create offence. He has also reinforced a strong statistical profile with good freshman-year production. If he can get a little quicker from the jump, he’s got all of the other makings of a legitimate top-nine forward who can play up and down a lineup with a variety of player types.
    38. Alexander Nikishin, LHD, 21 (Carolina Hurricanes — No. 69, 2020)
    July 2022 rank: Not ranked
    Maybe the biggest riser outside the NHL at his position in the last year, Nikishin is having a season for the ages in the KHL. He has already smashed the league’s U20 scoring record by a defenseman by double digits, he’s the highest-scoring defenseman in the league this year, and he has done it while playing huge minutes (nearly 23 a night) on the best team in the league.
    Nikishin’s a physically advanced (6-foot-4, 216-pound) defender whose strength is evident in his blistering point shot, his ability to win board battles and his net-front boxouts. I like the way he reads the play, closes off the wall and gets into passing lanes. He can more than hold his own defensively at five-on-five and on the penalty kill. He has taken huge steps the last two seasons to play the aggressive, trigger-happy style that made him a productive defenseman in junior. He has gone from moving the puck fine to moving it comfortably and even confidently. He manages the point effectively, he’s a decent skater and he’s a righty. He’s not talented enough to offer much offense at the next level but I’ve believed in his offensive game since his draft year and it has begun to show itself as an asset again at the pro level. He checks a whole lotta boxes that coaches look for.
    39. Scott Morrow, RHD, 20 (Carolina Hurricanes — No. 40, 2021)
    July 2022 rank: Not ranked
    One of the most productive freshman defenseman in college hockey last season and the Minutemen’s leading scorer as a sophomore this year, Morrow is a real talent who made the jump from high school hockey directly into the NCAA look easy from a skill/level standpoint (he has had to do some maturing/growing up off the ice).
    He’s an excellent transition defender who transports pucks confidently, plays boldly inside the offensive zone and possesses impressive handling skill for a defenseman. He’s an exit/entry machine who carves teams up through the neutral zone with head fakes, side steps and cuts (his skating really impresses on its edges, even if he’s not explosive). When he’s on the ice, he wants to take over and direct play in possession and does so by guiding opposing players out of his way. And on top of all of that, he’s a 6-foot-2 righty whose game defensively has taken important steps to cut back on mistakes, stay in better positioning and eliminate some bad habits that have often concerned scouts. There’s real top-four upside to Morrow if he continues to round out his game. UMass has a great track record developing top defensemen, too.
    40. Brock Faber, RHD, 20 (Minnesota Wild — No. 45, 2020)
    July 2022 rank: Not ranked
    Though he only turned 20 at the end of August, making him one of the youngest juniors in college hockey, Faber has already been an Olympian, a captain at the world juniors, and a captain in college. At the end of this season, one where he’s the top defenseman on arguably the top team in college hockey at the moment, he’ll try to cap off his collegiate career with a second consecutive trip to the Frozen Four before taking the natural next step and turning pro.
    The strength of Faber’s game is his A-level skating (particularly its maneuverability, quick edges and balanced posture) and the way he uses it, only taking opportunities when they’re available offensively and playing tight gaps defensively. He changes directions beautifully on cuts. And while he may not beat opposing players one-on-one with the puck, when he’s under pressure he does a great job escaping, keeping opposing players on his back, and then head manning the puck. He’s a heady, efficient player who plays past the first layer of pressure and has enviable footwork.
    His skill doesn’t pop like his skating does, but he kills a lot of plays with an active stick and perfect timing in the neutral zone, he’s able to join the rush, he keeps his stick on pucks, he’s smart in distribution atop the offensive zone, he has established himself as one of the best defensemen in college hockey, and he has begun to look to play with a little more sureness hanging onto the puck inside the offensive zone or transporting it in transition (both of which he does comfortably when he chooses to).
    He’s the prototype for the modern defenseman, combining feet and smarts to steer and control play without needing to be the guy who takes over a game. He’s got the makings of a very effective, three-zone five-on-five player and it has been fun to see him play a little freer with the puck this last year or so. The ice tilts and positive things happen when he’s out there. I fully expect him to become a second-pairing defenseman.
    41. Sean Farrell, LW, 21 (Montreal Canadiens — No. 124, 2020)
    July 2022 rank: Not ranked
    After losing his freshman year to the pandemic following the Ivy League’s (and Harvard’s) cancellation, Farrell was one of the top sophomores in college hockey last year even though he was really a freshman (following his USHL scoring title and Player of the Year award), and he’s clearly one of the most talented players and playmakers on the ice this year.
    He has proven, again and again, that he can drive creation on his own and that despite the natural passing instincts that he has, he doesn’t even need to play with shooters to do that. He’s got a ton of flair inside the offensive zone, he’s getting more and more confident attacking for himself (which opens up all of that playmaking feel and intuition he has), and despite standing 5-foot-9 and 175 pounds it feels like he never gets hit. The way he navigates and manipulates in the offensive half of the ice with his hands and skating gives him real top-nine, power-play upside as a play creator. He’s a ton of fun to watch and he does it by playing a crafty, intelligent game and not by blowing pucks past goalies or exploding around a defender.
    42. Matthew Knies, LW, 20 (Toronto Maple Leafs — No. 57, 2021)
    July 2022 rank: Not ranked
    One of the fastest risers in the prospects world last season, Knies emerged as one of the top freshmen in college hockey last year and has picked up where he left off in his return for a sophomore season before he turns pro. While it must be said that he has had the benefit of great linemates in both of his seasons with the Golden Gophers, he has proved he belongs with them as well, which is a testament to both his own individual skill (he’s got one of the harder wristers outside the NHL) and the way his power game complements talented linemates (which Leafs fans, I know, are hoping is a foreshadowing of what’s to come given he’s a left winger).
    Knies has a rare power-finesse blend to his game, where he can drop a shoulder, drive at you with his heavy 6-foot-3 frame, and overpower goalies with his shot, but he also executes his fair share of small-area plays. He’s got a bit of a hunch in his stride that really leans him out over his toecaps, which I’d like to see straightened out at least a little, but he’s got all of the makings of a modern power forward who can play an honest but talented game that excels on the wall as much as in the middle third.
    He’s comfortable in control, he’s got great touch, he’s always working to keep himself in the play off of the puck, he’s got a strong two-way foundation, he’s hard to knock off pucks, and he understands how to play off of crowds to facilitate. There’s some underrated creativity to his game as well (he’ll execute the odd spin-pass or between-the-legs attempt at the post). It’s hard to make a play past him when he’s barrelling in on you on the forecheck, so defenders tend to just brace for impact. When there isn’t an opportunity to win a battle with his body, he’s strong on stick lifts and keeps his feet moving. He’s even strong holding onto pucks when others are trying to reach in on him or bump him along the wall on the cycle.
    I expect him to become a good second-line scoring winger with some presence to his game (if not a third-line one at his floor).

    Matthew Knies. (John Mersits / CSM via ZUMA Press Wire / Cal Sport Media via AP Images)

    43. Zachary Bolduc, LW, 19 (St. Louis Blues — No. 17, 2021)
    July 2022 rank: Not ranked
    The QMJHL’s second-most productive player in points per game behind only Dumais, Bolduc’s looking like a player who won QMJHL Rookie of the Year, was named the QMJHL’s top prospect in the 2021 draft, was drafted in the first round, and is on a path to the NHL. That’s particularly notable after he came through the pandemic, a pair of injuries, and an appendectomy in a short period of time.
    He’s a kid whose skill and finesse have really impressed me in the last couple of seasons. He makes plays with such ease off the flank with the puck on his stick, especially off of cuts and as a passer. He has developed some real cleverness to his game, slipping away from checks and sliding pucks under sticks at speed. He’s also an underrated two-way winger who impresses on the penalty kill. And then he’s got a dangerous mid-range shot (which he gets off quickly and which also features a useful one-timer) and good overall skating which allows him to get good looks for himself and finish on them. I see a talented winger who can play on or off the puck effectively and create offense in a variety of ways. He’s got projectable second-line upside.
    44. Noah ÷stlund, C, 18 (Buffalo Sabres — No. 16, 2022)
    July 2022 rank: Not ranked
    ÷stlund’s calling card is his airy, agile skating stride, excellent hands, cleverness, and two-way ability. The skating and defensive aptitude (including on faceoffs) make him an able penalty killer and the rest give him clear tools of creation at five-on-five and on the power play. He wins a ton of short races, creates quickly as soon as he’s in possession, and darts around the ice in control to get into scoring areas or facilitate from the perimeter. His lack of size and strength are definitely going to be impediments as he progresses up levels, but he’s got the benefit of time, his skating, and the fondness coaches have for him to fall back on.
    He’s silky smooth in possession and a superb puck transporter through neutral ice. He’s got a slippery quality that few players have, the puck just sticks to him in tight coverage, and he is a catalyst on his line in a variety of ways. He’s a nifty little player. Some scouts worry about whether he’ll be able to get to the inside/hold his own physically along the wall in the NHL (he has never scored a ton) but his approach and skating should help mitigate against that. I like him a lot. The flow. The work ethic. The ability to hang onto it or play in quick give-and-goes. His stick on steals. The changes of directions and cutbacks. There’s a lot to like.
    He has been the most productive of the trio of first-round picks playing with Djurgarden this year, too. I’ll be interested to see what he does next year because he has another year on his deal with Djurgarden after this one but it has an out built in if they aren’t promoted back to the SHL from HockeyAllsvenskan.
    45. Philip Broberg, LHD, 21 (Edmonton Oilers — No. 8, 2019)
    July 2022 rank: Not ranked
    After spending more time in the AHL than NHL in his first season in North America a year ago, the 2022-23 campaign has flipped that script for Broberg, who has spent more time with the Oilers than Condors through midseason and has moved from playing 9-10 minutes a night to as many as 18 in recent games (and to really strong results, too).
    For a long time, Broberg relied on his strength, athleticism, and raw tools. But in the last two years, he has begun to demonstrate a more refined game on and off the puck. He’s long, he’s strong, he was a late birthday in his draft year (which speaks to some of that catch-up we’re now seeing in other areas of his game), his stride is powerful and compact, he’s sturdy in board battles, and he has always used his natural tools to play an aggressive, confident style which relied on carrying the puck and trying to influence the game. Now, some of the finer skills of touch, finesse, spatial awareness, and problem-solving are beginning to show with more consistency (though there can still be some soppiness to his game and his reads). He has also learned, by necessity as he figures out the NHL game I’m sure, to play with a little more restraint and pick his spots (whether on pinches or with the puck) a little better. He has done a good job rounding out some of his rough edges to help strengthen his second-pairing projection. His game is always going to be about his length, his skating, and his want to act instead of react (even as he has settled it down) though. I expect you’ll see the latter reveal itself more and more as he builds confidence in the NHL.
    46. Fabian Lysell, RW, 19 (Boston Bruins — No. 21, 2021)
    July 2022 rank: Not ranked
    There were legitimate questions heading into this season about whether Lysell’s game, with all of its speed but some of its concerns about getting to the guts of the ice in control (he has always done a good job hunting pucks without it), would translate at the pro level or funnel to the perimeter. He has done a good job answering them with a strong rookie season in the AHL. But he created more questions than answers with his zero-point performance and fall down the Swedish lineup at the world juniors.
    I don’t think he has played shy or drifted hardly at all in the AHL. He has been entering through the middle and then going to the slot/the front of the net. And when there have been opportunities to attack, he has played with intention instead of hesitation and has gone directly at pro defenders. The same was true in the summer world juniors, when he was hard to trap on the perimeter and slippery losing guys with cut-backs, but was also going to the net consistently. Off the puck, he’s got a great ability to get to pucks and keep sequences alive with his speed. On it, he’s fun to watch carry it up ice and he weaves around defenders effortlessly. When Lysell plays fearless and confident and makes quick decisions, he’s a joy to watch.
    But after getting banged up in the third game of the world juniors, he didn’t look like any of the above in the second half, and was ultimately pushed down to the No. 13 forward role and ejected from the bronze medal game for a check to the head.
    He’s a dynamic, free-flowing skater who has rare top speed and agility with the puck on his stick (one of those players who seems to get faster with the puck on his stick). Lysell’s not a one-trick pony, either. The highlight pack is about the end-to-end rushes and the dashes through holes in coverage, for sure. But he can also dance a defender by pulling pucks through his wide stance and across his body to beat them with not just a lateral cut but his hands. And he can dance defenders to the outside with his high-end top speed or a quick change of pace. He’s got cuts, stops and starts, and directional changes. Though his shot isn’t powerful, per se, it’s deceptive off the blade and accurate.
    When he pushes through contact and keeps his feet moving, he can draw a lot of penalties with his skating. He’s also chippier than you might expect. He can dance one-on-one (though he could stand to simplify instead of always trying to hero it and his body language can look bad when he’s not playing well). I do wonder if could be a useful penalty killer with the right coach because of his skating.
    And then without the puck, while he’s not a physical player, he’s a puck thief off of back pressure. I do still think he can come and go in games and try to do too much (there’s a little too much one-and-done to his games when he flies into the zone and takes long shots in transition, or over-handles the puck) but his upside is real and he’s unquestionably still the top prospect in the Bruins’ system.
    47. Jonathan Lekkerimaki, RW, 18 (Vancouver Canucks — No. 15, 2022)
    July 2022 rank: No. 20 (change: -27)
    If your glass is half empty, Lekkerimaki has been the least impressive of the three Djurgarden first-rounders from the 2022 draft this season, wasn’t great at the summer world juniors (especially after how well he showed in the SHL last year on both of those fronts), and is now done for the season with a foot injury. His world juniors in Halifax didn’t exactly right the ship, either. He was good in the semifinal and final, working his way back into the rotation after falling to the 13th forward slot. And he was still the second-youngest player on the team. There were also some positives: moments where he played with intention off the puck and on the forecheck, moments where he made plays as a shooter and passer, etc. But the moments usually don’t last as long as you’d like them to and consistency remains an issue.
    If your glass is half full, there was always going to be a player from the Djurgarden trio who wasn’t going to get the opportunity they were hoping for as the team tried to earn promotion back into the SHL, and as the youngest of the three (by four and a half months to Ostlund and a full seven months to Ohgren), it’s not a huge surprise that that guy has been Lekkerimaki, nor is it one that he wasn’t great in Edmonton in a tournament where he was technically an underager (he was also Sweden’s youngest player), especially given his style of play in both cases.
    Lekkerimaki’s talent is undeniable. He’s dynamic in control and threatening from anywhere in the offensive zone. He can beat you in an instant with a quick catch-and-release or curl-and-drag shot, or hang onto pucks and make things happen himself. He’s got a knack for hitting holes in the net, frequently beating goalies low-blocker and five-hole. He’s got A-level hands, a deceptive release, and a slyness to his game that allows him to get to spots to score with and without the puck. He’s going to have clear power-play upside at the next level because of all of those things. His challenge is going to be becoming threatening on a consistent basis at five-on-five against men. Because what’s also clear about Lekkerimaki’s game is that it can come and go; he can fade to the perimeter in control, especially when he’s not getting touches and getting involved. The Globe Trotters feel that what he had at the J20 level in Sweden, and what he showed at the U18 worlds when he led the tournament in points, was always going to be harder to replicate up levels.
    Still, with the right development and patience, he’s got clear upside as a top-six creator and finisher — you want to have the puck in his hands. His age also means there’s no rush. Mix in an ability to put the puck in the net with consistency from midrange and he’s got both an exciting skill level and an opportunity to find another level. On age, talent, and the ability to improve his pace and competitiveness, I thought he deserved to remain on this list even after a season that has certainly downgraded his likelihood of being what the Canucks were hoping for when they drafted him.
    48. Jonatan Berggren, LW/RW, 22 (Detroit Red Wings — No. 47, 2018)
    July 2022 rank: Not ranked
    After years plagued by injuries, Berggren just keeps hitting checkpoints of late. There was his tremendous 20-year-old season in the SHL two years ago. There was his team-leading 64-point rookie season in the AHL last year. And now there has been a smooth, productive transition into an NHLer in what would have been his last year of eligibility for this list due to age — but that will be a moot point as he graduates to full-time NHLer anyway.
    Berggren can torment teams with his east-west skill on the perimeter, hanging onto pucks, playing with unique poise under pressure and using his hands and footwork to draw defenders to him so that his linemates can get open in the space those defenders leave behind. He has also, in the last three seasons, gotten to the inside more proficiently. Berggren has clear line-driving upside and an ingenuity to his game that helps him create plays out of nothing, surprise defenders and goalies, and spend a lot of his time dictating with the puck on his stick, layering stop-ups and low-to-high players into carrying sequences. He’s not going to be a big goal-scorer at the NHL level but I like him as a playmaking top-nine winger with clear power-play value who gives you 15 to 20 goals a year and 40 to 50 points (and maybe more with the right linemates and a good run of luck the odd season). One of my favorites.
    49. Ridly Greig, C/LW, 20 (Ottawa Senators — No. 28, 2020)
    July 2022 rank: Not ranked
    After an excellent final season in the WHL and a strong performance as a go-to defensive player at the world juniors (which were shortened by a shoulder injury that delayed the start of his season), Greig has stepped right into the AHL and NHL and continued to progress nicely towards his projection as an up-and-down the lineup NHL forward who can add skill to a bottom six or get after it with skilled players.
    He’ll still take the odd bad penalty, but Greig plays with fire, wins battles above his weight class, gets up and under sticks to take back pucks, will sacrifice the body the block a shot, and just gives you a bit of everything as an energizing forechecker who can also find space in and out of coverage with and without the puck. He’s fearless, he takes pucks to dirty areas, he’s a heart and soul guy, he’s always around it, he skates well, he’s physical, he’s feisty, and he’s going to endear himself to fans for his style of play.
    Greig is a driven, up-tempo forward of equal parts skill and work ethic who can play centre and the wing. He’s defined by his tenaciousness, but he can make plays in traffic, his wrister is accurate (though I wouldn’t say it’s threatening from long range), he’s willing to attack and try things, and he almost never looks to cheat or play selfishly within that game. He’s also an August birthday, which gives him continued runway to add elements offensively. He’s a gamer.
    50. Owen Beck, C, 18 (Montreal Canadiens — No. 33, 2022)
    July 2022 rank: Not ranked
    Beck is a strong, athletic kid who has endeared himself to scouts for his middle-lane, driven, pro-style game and plus-level speed. He’s a noticeable shift-to-shift player who excels at getting to the inside, pushing tempo, and winning battles. And there is skill to his game (he’s got good hands and enough talent to make things happen when he’s around the puck all the time) even if it fits within more of a hurry-up style than a slow-the-game-down-and-problem-solve one. He keeps his feet moving, he works north-south to apply pressure and get back, and he’s a good transition player on entries and give-and-gos. He can play in all situations with a variety of linemate types and projects as an impactful third centre who can play up and down a lineup where needed.

    The Tiers

    Here’s the ranking broken down into tiers for a better sense of the proximity within groups of players.
    This year’s ranking is divided into five tiers. They are: 1-2, 3-8, 9-24, 25-45, and 46+. I debated swapping each of the players I have ranked 46-50 with most of the 55 players I have listed as honourable mentions below. Those players are largely interchangeable and I’d listen to arguments for each at the bottom of the list. Consider it more of a 46-105 tier (though there’s probably one more divide in there between the players I seriously considered and the ones that only got passing consideration).
    1 Logan Cooley C 18 2022 Coyotes
    2 Luke Hughes LHD 19 2021 Devils
    3 David Jiricek RHD 18 2022 Blue Jackets
    4 Simon Nemec RHD 18 2022 Devils
    5 Simon Edvinsson LHD 20 2021 Red Wings
    6 Brandt Clarke RHD 19 2021 Kings
    7 Shane Wright C 18 2022 Kraken
    8 Quinton Byfield C 20 2020 Kings
    9 Logan Stankoven C/RW/LW 19 2021 Stars
    10 Matthew Savoie C/RW 18 2022 Sabres
    11 Cutter Gauthier C/LW 18 2022 Flyers
    12 Kevin Korchinski LHD 18 2022 Blackhawks
    13 Pavel Mintyukov LHD 19 2022 Ducks
    14 Denton Mateychuk LHD 18 2022 Blue Jackets
    15 Jimmy Snuggerud RW 18 2022 Blues
    16 Dylan Guenther RW/LW 19 2021 Coyotes
    17 Lane Hutson LHD 18 2022 Canadiens
    18 Olen Zellweger LHD 19 2021 Ducks
    19 Marco Rossi C 21 2020 Wild
    20 Lukas Reichel LW 20 2020 Blackhawks
    21 Marco Kasper C/LW 18 2022 Red Wings
    22 Alexander Holtz RW 21 2020 Devils
    23 William Eklund C/LW 20 2021 Sharks
    24 Jordan Dumais RW 18 2022 Blue Jackets
    25 Frank Nazar C 18 2022 Blackhawks
    26 Jiri Kulich LW/RW 18 2022 Sabres
    27 Matt Coronato RW 20 2021 Flames
    28 Liam ÷hgren LW 18 2022 Wild
    29 Danila Yurov RW/LW 19 2022 Wild
    30 Chaz Lucius C 19 2021 Jets
    31 Cam York LHD 22 2019 Flyers
    32 Joakim Kemell RW 18 2022 Predators
    33 Philip Tomasino RW 21 2019 Predators
    34 Brennan Othmann LW 20 2021 Rangers
    35 Dylan Holloway C/LW 21 2020 Oilers
    36 Kirill Marchenko LW 22 2018 Blue Jackets
    37 Rutger McGroarty RW/LW 18 2022 Jets
    38 Alexander Nikishin LHD 21 2020 Hurricanes
    39 Scott Morrow RHD 20 2021 Hurricanes
    40 Brock Faber RHD 20 2020 Wild
    41 Sean Farrell LW 21 2020 Canadiens
    42 Matthew Knies LW 20 2021 Maple Leafs
    43 Zachary Bolduc LW 19 2021 Blues
    44 Noah ÷stlund C 18 2022 Sabres
    45 Philip Broberg LHD 21 2019 Oilers
    46 Fabian Lysell RW 19 2020 Bruins
    47 Jonathan Lekkerimaki RW 18 2022 Canucks
    48 Jonatan Berggren LW/RW 22 2018 Red Wings
    49 Ridly Greig C/LW 20 2020 Senators
    50 Owen Beck C 18 2022 Canadiens

    Honourable mentions (sorted alphabetically):
    Emil Andrae, LHD (Philadelphia Flyers)
    Lian Bichsel, LHD (Dallas Stars)
    Thomas Bordeleau, C (San Jose Sharks)
    Xavier Bourgault, LW/RW (Edmonton Oilers)
    Mavrik Bourque, C (Dallas Stars)
    Bobby Brink, RW (Philadelphia Flyers)
    Brendan Brisson, LW/RW (Vegas Golden Knights)
    Filip Bystedt, C (San Jose Sharks)
    Seamus Casey, RHD (New Jersey Devils)
    Corson Ceulemans, RHD (Columbus Blue Jackets)
    Lukas Cormier, LHD (Vegas Golden Knights)
    Zach Dean, C (Vegas Golden Knights)
    Luke Evangelista, RW (Nashville Predators)
    Jagger Firkus, RW (Seattle Kraken)
    Tyson Foerster, RW (Philadelphia Flyers)
    Nathan Gaucher, C (Anaheim Ducks)
    Conor Geekie, C (Arizona Coyotes)
    David Goyette, C (Seattle Kraken)
    Thomas Harley, LHD (Dallas Stars)
    Ville Heinola, LHD (Winnipeg Jets)
    Isaac Howard, LW (Tampa Bay Lightning)
    Zac Jones, LHD (New York Rangers)
    Marat Khusnutdinov, C (Minnesota Wild)
    Jackson LaCombe, LHD (Anaheim Ducks)
    Brad Lambert, C/RW (Winnipeg Jets)
    Carson Lambos, LHD (Minnesota Wild)
    Hendrix Lapierre, C (Washington Capitals)
    Zachary L’Heureux, LW (Nashville Predators)
    Tristan Luneau, RHD (Anaheim Ducks)
    Carter Mazur, LW (Detroit Red Wings)
    Connor McMichael, C/RW/LW (Washington Capitals)
    Filip Mesar, RW (Montreal Canadiens)
    Ivan Miroshnichenko, LW (Washington Capitals)
    Shakir Mukhamadullin, LHD (New Jersey Devils)
    Jake Neighbours, LW (St. Louis Blues)
    Ty Nelson, RHD (Seattle Kraken)
    Juuso Parssinen, C/LW (Nashville Predators)
    Sasha Pastujov, RW/LW (Anaheim Ducks)
    Jakob Pelletier, LW (Calgary Flames)
    Owen Pickering, LHD (Pittsburgh Penguins)
    Aatu Raty, C (Vancouver Canucks)
    Nick Robertson, LW (Toronto Maple Leafs)
    Isak Rosen, LW (Buffalo Sabres)
    Joshua Roy, LW/RW (Montreal Canadiens)
    Mackie Samoskevich, RW (Florida Panthers)
    Reid Schaefer, LW (Edmonton Oilers)
    Ty Smith, LHD (Pittsburgh Penguins)
    Elmer Soderblom, LW (Detroit Red Wings)
    Victor Soderstrom, RHD (Arizona Coyotes)
    Jordan Spence, RHD (Los Angeles Kings)
    Stanislav Svozil, LHD (Columbus Blue Jackets)
    Henry Thrun, LHD (Anaheim Ducks)
    Alex Turcotte, C (Los Angeles Kings)
    William Wallinder, LHD (Detroit Red Wings)

    Connor Zary, C/LW (Calgary Flames)
    The rest.

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    Ranking the top 10 drafted NHL goalie prospects: Jesper Wallstedt leads Scott Wheeler’s 2023 list

    Scott WheelerFeb 14, 2023


    Welcome to Part 2 of the 2023 edition of my drafted NHL prospect rankings.
    Today’s ranking of the league’s top 10 goalie prospects follows yesterday’s top 50 drafted skaters list.
    After initially publishing this project as one combined ranking, the switch to two lists was made in 2020 in order to respond to reader demands for evaluations of a wider range of goaltenders reflective of the one-sixth share of the players on the ice that they represent (when skaters and goalies were included in a single list, only a couple of netminders usually made it).
    Under my criteria, to be eligible for inclusion, a goalie must:

    1. Be under 25 years old. This age criteria is more reflective of the typical goalie trajectory, allowing for the continued consideration of goalies who are very much still prospects.
    2. Not currently be established as one of their NHL club’s two go-to options. I give myself some arbitrary leeway here. You’ll notice, for example, that 24-year-old goaltender Stuart Skinner, who still qualifies as an NHL rookie, is considered graduated because he has played exclusively with the Oilers this season, while 23-year-old goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, who is currently playing for the Sabres, remained eligible due to a combination of his younger age and time spent in the AHL this season.

    1. Jesper Wallstedt, G, 20 (Minnesota Wild — No. 20, 2021)
    July 2022 rank: No. 1 (change: none)
    It takes a lot for me to rank a goalie at No. 1 on a list, and there’s a reason Wallstedt is the only goalie to top any of this year’s pool rankings.
    He’s the clearcut best goalie prospect on the planet for me and his play of late in the AHL — after it took him a couple of months in the fall to find himself at the new level/in the new place — has only reaffirmed that. His game has remarkable polish and maturity. There’s just a control to his game that is so singular and rare in goalies his age. I’ve written about it in the past as almost robotic, and that’s truly the best descriptor for it. Wallstedt’s a big 6-foot-3, 213-pound (he fills the net for his size) goalie who plays sharp lines positionally, holds those lines, and swallows the first shot so that he doesn’t have to make a ton of second saves. He’s incredibly calm in the net, staring down shooters and reading them. He covers the bottom of the net so well and doesn’t seem to get beat along the ice. Few shots sneak through him. His movement is compact, he tracks through layers incredibly well to find pucks, and he reads opposing shooters so well that he’s rarely beat cleanly.
    There’s a minor question mark or two around every young goalie in the sport and with Wallstedt I don’t see a single hole or area of weakness that worries me. I’d maybe like to see him develop a little more quickness (he’s strong across the net and low-to-high on pushes, but he sits a little heavy over his skates and I wouldn’t say his feet are fast per se). But otherwise, he’s got all of the makings of a true No. 1 starter.

    2. Yaroslav Askarov, G, 20 (Nashville Predators — No. 11, 2020)
    July 2022 rank: No. 2 (change: none)
    In his first season in North America, Askarov has played well for his age (it feels like he has been on the scene forever but because of his June birthday he just turned 20 last summer) in Milwaukee.
    My belief in his tools or his upside as a starting NHL goalie is not deterred, but I have paused at times over the last two seasons in terms of categorizing him in the same light that I do Wild first-round pick Jesper Wallstedt (Wallstedt is the clear top goalie prospect in the game for me at the moment). Askarov’s raw talent certainly makes him unique. His ability to change directions in the net, stay on top of shooters, track their hands, and make reactionary saves is elite. His athleticism is, too. He regularly makes second and third-chance saves holding firm in his positioning even when he’s laying on the ice. But there are tools in his game that still need some refinement.
    There are still times when he gets frozen over his glove hand, something NHL teams will exploit. He can still look jittery in the net, bouncing on his toes and moving to pucks (which he says is to keep himself focused and make some of those quick-twitch saves I talked about). But his agility and reads are so impressive that he can steal games when he’s at his best, and make the difficult saves that others just can’t get to or stick with. There isn’t a goalie prospect in the world with quicker feet through shuffles or more explosiveness side-to-side or low-to-high than Askarov. That blend of power and speed combined with his extended early track record gives him a high upside. It will be important to keep in mind his age and not rush him through the AHL despite his pedigree though.
    3. Dustin Wolf, G, 21 (Calgary Flames — No. 214, 2019)
    July 2022 rank: No. 4 (change: +1)
    If you’ve been following my work for any amount of time, you’ll know that Wolf is my favourite goalie prospect in the sport (doesn’t necessarily mean he’s the best, but I love watching him play). When the Flames drafted him at the end of the seventh round, he ranked in the second round of my 2019 draft board, as my second-ranked goalie behind only Spencer Knight. He possesses elite footwork and tracking. He never loses sight of the puck and anticipates the movements of opposing carriers so, so well, making him extremely hard to beat with a deke. You’ll rarely see a player beat him side to side on a breakaway because he can stick on top of them. The results are there. He’s athletic, he’s a superb positional goalie, and his technical ability is refined. Wolf has everything you look for in a top goalie prospect today except for the size. After a bit of a slow start to his second season in the AHL, he has been virtually unbeatable since. There is no reason to believe he won’t be an NHL goalie. I’m confident he’s going to be a really good one, too. His time is coming.
    4. Devon Levi, G, 21 (Buffalo Sabres — No. 212, 2020)
    July 2022 rank: No. 5 (change: +1)
    Levi had a season for the ages at Northeastern last year, posting a .952 save percentage across 32 games and winning both the Mike Richter Award as college hockey’s top goalie and the Tim Taylor Award as its top rookie. His journey from the CCHL to the world juniors and then the Olympics all during the pandemic was one of the best stories in hockey. He has been superb in his return to Northeastern behind a lesser Huskies team as a sophomore this year, too.
    He has exactly the skills smaller goalies need to be successful. Impressive control on his outside edges (and the patience to hold them), quick feet on his shuffles so that he can stick with dekes and go post-to-post or low-to-high to get to tough pucks, perfect reads on shooters, excellent tracking through and under traffic, and a battler’s mentality in the net which keeps him in plays even when he looks like he’s down and out on his knees. There aren’t a ton of 6-foot goalies in today’s NHL, at least not starting ones, but Levi, like Calgary’s Dustin Wolf, has all of the tools to become one. I’m a believer.
    5. Sebastian Cossa, G, 20 (Detroit Red Wings — No. 15, 2021)
    July 2022 rank: No. 3 (change: -2)
    Cossa is a huge (6-foot-6), powerful, athletic goalie, and those last two things don’t always come with the first. He’s a fiery, confident, talkative competitor who doesn’t like to get beat (which contrasts with the stoic demeanor we see in many goalies) and wants to command the net and the room. Bigger goalies often struggle with their movements and their recoveries, but neither is an issue for Cossa. His positioning (he does a really good job holding his outside edges to be patient on shots) and reflexes (he’s got great hands up high) help him block and grab a lot of pucks. But it’s his ability to bounce back into his stance or change directions with passes that separates him. His power through his pushes gives him rare side-to-side ability for a goalie that big.
    But there are also some question marks. Some of them are contextual, like how good the Oil Kings were in front of him for three years, and some of the leaks his game has displayed while playing behind teams with less structure in front of him (including in Hockey Canada camps and now this year in the ECHL, a league that’s notoriously hard on goalies). But other questions are about the tools, including some of the trouble he faces closing his five-hole because of his size (this is a major recurring issue, even though he does a really good job kicking pucks aimed for the lower corners) and the way he can occasionally lose himself in his net on scramble plays (those strong pushes to get to tough lateral saves can pull him off his lines). He can get pulled out of his net overcommitting on dekes, too.
    His natural gifts give him undeniable upside, though. When he’s set and square to shots (as he almost always is), he’s tough to beat. I’ve seen him look unflappable and make point-blank save after point-blank save when he’s dialed in. I’ve also seen him look rattled as shots sneak through holes they shouldn’t be finding. I still think he’s got starter upside due to his combination of size, dexterity and rare explosiveness in the net, but he’s got work to do, and patience will be imperative.
    6. Lukas Dostal, G, 22 (Anaheim Ducks — No. 85, 2018)
    July 2022 rank: No. 6 (change: none)
    Dostal’s on a run of four really strong age-adjusted seasons and is owed a full-time NHL job at this point.
    He’s an average-sized (maybe smallish) goalie who has turned his 6-foot-2 frame into an asset by adding some strength (he’s now over 190 pounds, which is about 20 pounds of muscle from where he was not long ago) and power to a game that was already built on agility. He’s got pristine technical ability, great hands (especially his glove), and quick feet which help him stick with dekes, track the play through screens, and make recovery saves on scrambles. Plus he holds his lines on his outside edges extremely well, limiting his movements when he needs to, staying compact, and playing his angles head-on. He has also proven, time and time again, that while his game requires movement, he’s in complete control and rarely swims. He’s going to be one of the Ducks’ two goalies long-term. The question now is just which one. He has certainly turned me from cautious a few years ago into a believer.
    7. Pyotr Kochetkov, G, 23 (Carolina Hurricanes — No. 36, 2019)
    July 2022 rank: Not ranked
    When goalies just keep getting results you have to respect them because of the ebbs and flows in performance that most of them face year-to-year. And Kotchetkov now has a body of work that you can’t ignore. After bouncing around levels and clubs for a couple of years in Russia in search of the opportunity those numbers demanded, it has been nice to see him find stability over the last two seasons in North America, establishing himself as the Hurricanes’ No. 3 for now and soon-to-be more than that (with Frederik Andersen and Antti Ranta both on expiring deals and Kochetkov on a new four-year contract, there’s a full-time job coming for him next year and maybe earlier). He used to be a little on the smaller side for a goalie but he grew a couple of inches late in his development to go from 6 feet to 6 feet 3, he’s quick on his feet (and knees), he’s technically sound, and he’s athletic, relying on sharp angles to control the first rebound and his movement to make recovery saves. I like the way he tracks the play, too. My only critique of him for a long time was that he’d let the odd mid-danger shot squeak through his body or occasionally scramble, but he has worked hard to cut down on both of those things. He’s probably not going to become a true No. 1, but I like him to become more than a backup as a bit of a strong 1B.
    8. Akira Schmid, G, 22 (New Jersey Devils — No. 136, 2018)
    July 2022 rank: Not ranked
    Schmid has been a bit of a revelation these last two years, making the almost unheard-of USHL to AHL/NHL jump (a difficult one, to say the least) look relatively easy.
    He’s a 6-foot-5 goalie who plays an aggressive, challenging style (though he has learned to pull back on that a little). He’s also a strong puck handler who is comfortable starting the breakout. He can play a little wide in his stance, which can limit his changes of direction and mobility (though I would say he moves well in other ways, including down into his butterfly to shut his five-hole, and on his knees when he has to battle), but he’s also got good control face-up against shooters and plays his lines. When things break down, he can get beat, but he doesn’t let a lot of low-to-mid danger shots through. There’s a lot to like and even continue to untap there.
    9. Samuel Ersson, G, 23 (Philadelphia Flyers — No. 143, 2018)
    July 2022 rank: Not ranked
    Ersson’s statistical profile has always been a little bit of a roller coaster to follow. There was his excellent post-draft season in HockeyAllsvenskan and internationally which established him as one of the top goalies in the 1999 age group. Then he made the jump to the SHL full time at 20 and played a surprising amount on a poor team to mixed results. Then he played to strong results in his second season in the SHL. Then he finally got groin surgery after dealing with a nagging issue and lost almost all of his first season in North America. And now he has returned and played quite well in both the AHL and NHL in what is essentially his rookie campaign over here.
    He isn’t a particularly big or powerful goalie but he reads the play well, holds his angles, and then has the agility needed to get to a lot of east-to-west pucks to make difficult saves. He has also worked on his habits so that he can stay more compact and controlled in the net and it has noticeably cut down on how many shots are cleanly beating him. He has moved his No. 2/3 projection to a potential 1B projection with his play this year, I think.
    10. Drew Commesso, G, 20 (Chicago Blackhawks — No. 46, 2020)
    July 2022 rank: No. 8 (change: -2)
    After a .915 freshman year at BU, Commesso climbed back to a .914 sophomore season with the Terriers following a slow start (for him and the team in front of him, which was banged up and not at its best out of the gate), and has done the same again this year as a young (he’s still just 20) junior after he gave up six goals in his second start of the year and has played well ever since.
    I see a mature makeup as a kid and goalie. At 6-foot-2, he’s not big by today’s standards for a goalie, but he blends a studious approach to the position with sharp angles, sound technique, and a calming, poised demeanour to keep shots in his chest, control rebounds, settle down plays and hold firm to his edges. And while he’s not a dynamic athlete, he can fall back on his athleticism when the play does break down, he’s efficient in his movements, he’s quick on his feet and he doesn’t put himself into many scrambles because of the way he reads the play. Commesso reliably makes the saves that he should and plays the same game-to-game. He doesn’t steal a ton of starts and I wouldn’t say he’s got any A-plus tools that really pop, but there’s not a lot in his game that you can nitpick either. I’m not convinced he’s going to be a starter at the next level, but I — and the rest of the hockey world (including USA Hockey, who’ve already brought him to men’s worlds and the Olympics) — fully expect him to become an NHL goalie.

    The Tiers

    All told, 30 goalies were strongly considered for this year’s ranking, with the 20 who missed the cut featured below as honorable mentions.
    As always, the ranking is broken down into tiers below to give you a better sense of where the divisions are between one group and the next. This year’s ranking is divided into four tiers. They are: 1, 2-3, 4-5 and 6+. Consider that third tier as a group that runs from 6-30 (though there’s probably one more divide in there between the goalies I seriously considered and the ones that only got passing consideration).
    1 Jesper Wallstedt 20 2021 Wild
    2 Yaroslav Askarov 20 2020 Predators
    3 Dustin Wolf 21 2019 Flames
    4 Devon Levi 21 2020 Sabres
    5 Sebastian Cossa 20 2021 Red Wings
    6 Lukas Dostal 22 2018 Ducks
    7 Pyotr Kochetkov 23 2019 Hurricanes
    8 Akira Schmid 22 2018 Devils
    9 Samuel Ersson 23 2018 Flyers
    10 Drew Commesso 20 2020 Blackhawks

    Honorable mentions (sorted alphabetically):
    Hugo Alnefelt (Tampa Bay Lightning)
    Justus Annunen (Colorado Avalanche)
    Joel Blomqvist (Pittsburgh Penguins)
    Calle Clang (Anaheim Ducks)
    Dylan Garand (New York Rangers)
    Mitchell Gibson (Washington Capitals)
    Mack Guzda (Florida Panthers)
    Dennis Hildeby (Toronto Maple Leafs)
    Joel Hofer (St. Louis Blues)
    Niklas Kokko (Seattle Kraken)
    Carl Lindbom (Vegas Golden Knights)
    Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (Buffalo Sabres)
    Erik Portillo (Buffalo Sabres)
    Arseni Sergeyev (Calgary Flames)
    Arvid Soderblom (Chicago Blackhawks)
    Mads Sogaard (Ottawa Senators)
    Clay Stevenson (Washington Capitals)
    Daniil Tarasov (Columbus Blue Jackets)
    Joseph Woll (Toronto Maple Leafs)

    Vadim Zherenko (St. Louis Blues)
    Aaaaaand goalies. All courtesy of The Athletic.

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  12. #12520
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    Quote Originally Posted by P2F View Post
    I am definitely not formatting all of this, so hopefully it doesn't look like an absolute gong show upon hitting Submit.
    Looks good, Cheers. I love seeing the Habs Org rank 11th after all these years of being absolute shit.
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    You are truly the perfect marriage of stupidity and confidence.

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    Wow I drafted a few good prospects
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    Quote Originally Posted by JG34 View Post
    I like Dumais and Puistola. Two players I was hoping to draft.
    You selling anybody?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laika View Post
    You selling anybody?
    Probably Tarasenko if I’m out of a playoff spot near the deadline.
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    Good Luck in the playoffs fellas!!! It's on!
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    Good luck in the Bedard sweepstakes fellas!!! It’s on!
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    Ughh... I forgot to make the finals 2 weeks, should I request the change from FT as I can't change it at present? This is the message I get...

    You cannot edit and save this screen because the draft has been completed, unless you change the draft type. Click for help You cannot edit and save this screen after the first week of the season passes. Click for help
    If your changes are imperative, please contact us via the feedback form.
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    Meh just leave it
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laika View Post
    Meh just leave it
    That's what I was thinking.
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