The Fall edition of the Hockey’s Future ranking of the Top 50 NHL prospects begins with the prospects ranked 41 thru 50. This group features several prospects on the verge of cracking an NHL roster on a full-time basis, including several picks from the 2014 NHL Draft who have impressed early on.
Six of the bottom 10 players were not ranked in the Spring edition, and of those six, four were selected at the 2014 draft in June.
Below are the prospects ranked 41-50 in HF’s ranking of the Top 50 NHL prospects. The top 40 prospects will be revealed in groups of 10 each day this week, resuming on Tuesday with the prospects ranked 31-40.
Malcolm Subban is in a good situation entering his second season of pro hockey. He split time in the AHL with Niklas Svedberg last season, but was able to get in some playoff games last spring. With Svedberg in the NHL this year, Subban looks to benefit from the additional starts he will get as the number one goaltender in Providence this season. While there is no rush with Subban’s development with Tukka Rask secured as the Bruins top goaltender, Subban should continue to develop with more playing time and will likely fill an NHL backup role with the Bruins in the near future.
One can only hope that the questionable decisions by the Sabres upper management do not come back to hurt the talented Mikhail Grigorenko. He has had unsuccessful tastes of the NHL the last two seasons, including a long stretch of being a healthy scratch which was no doubt a blow to his confidence. In his return to juniors with the Quebec Remaprts, Grigorenko looked absolutely dominant, but now he needs to put his NHL-ready size and natural playmaking ability to the test at the pro level full time. At this point it is more mental than physical with the talented Russian, because he has the makeup of a great offensive talent.
The Dallas Stars currently have one of the better prospect pools in the NHL, and adding Julius Honka certainly helps. The offensively-oriented defenseman was extremely productive in 2013-14 with the Swift Current Broncos of the WHL, and the Stars are hoping that his explosive speed and quickness translates to the next level. Since he dominated offensively and proved there was not much left for him in the tough WHL last season, the Stars have opted to stash him in the AHL as an 18 year old. When the high-scoring defenseman will be ready for the NHL remains to be seen; nonetheless, he is an excellent talent who should be able to put up plenty of points with his offensive skill set.
In a system and pipeline that has been no stranger to high skill and high profile players, Marincin served his time in the AHL and become a solid two-way defender. At 6’4″, he has tremendous reach and NHL size, and he has coupled that with a good all-around game. He has been one of Oklahoma City’s best defenseman over the last two seasons, and has earned himself a shot at a full-time NHL job. While the offense might not translate as he steps into the pros, he has a solid defensive game and good hockey sense. Those two things alone should thrust him into relevance when it comes to the somewhat thin Edmonton defensive corps.
De Haan has had to battle through the growing pains of a highly regarded prospect as well as a significant injury in his young pro career. After missing nearly an entire season in 2012-13 with a shoulder injury, the promising young defender looked to have regained his form in 2013-14. His sound two-way game earned him a 51-game stay with the Islanders last season, and he is looking to push even further in 2014-15. While he still has a long way to go to refine his all-around game, particularly on the offensive side of the puck, de Haan has the potential to blossom in the Islanders top four and on their special teams. Even if the offensive numbers do not come around, de Haan has enough of a solid defensive game and the skating to be a trustworthy option on the blue line.
The Capitals are quite high on 2013 second round pick Madison Bowey, who has the size, leadership, skill, and speed to one day be a force in the NHL. While the Winnipeg native showed inklings of all these things when he was drafted in 2013, he has made tremendous strides over the last year and has become one of the team’s most prized prospects. He is currently squeezed out of the picture with the Capitals depth chart heavy with defensemen, but in a few years’ time, Bowey is going to be pushing for a top-four role in Washington.
Arguably one of the most offensively gifted players in the 2014 draft, the Swiss-born Fiala is the latest potential star in a revamped Swiss hockey program. If his SHL numbers are any indication, Fiala could be a big time offensive contributor in the NHL before too long. Fiala is explosive offensively in every way imaginable – he has a great stick, solid hands, excellent vision and creativity, and a very strong base. While his defensive game is lacking and he is a bit undersized, his extremely high-end offensive talent could more than make up for his deficiencies. With an offensively minded coach like Peter Laviolette now behind the bench in Nashville, there could be an interesting and fruitful partnership between the two in the future.
The Coyotes are excited about Max Domi’s potential as the diminutive forward is everything that the Coyotes like in a player. He is tenacious, gritty, fast, and he loves to get in deep on the forecheck. Even for his size, Domi emulates the resolute style of his father. He definitely could take steps in shoring up his discipline, but he walks a line that NHL teams like to walk. He can punish and pester you in multiple ways, and that is exactly the way the Coyotes like to play. Arizona returned Domi to the OHL after a long look in NHL training camp, but Domi showed enough to give the impression that he could eventually live up to expectations.
Despite his small stature of 5’10” and 170 pounds, Fabbri is an incredibly hard-working and energetic forward. He plays the way a player of smaller stature should play, combining speed, physicality, and a willingness to engage in the difficult battles. He was superb with Guelph in the OHL last season, potting 45 goals and 87 points. He also had an extremely promising first NHL training camp before injuring his shoulder in an exhibition game. Despite being a late first-round pick, he could be on the fast track to the NHL if he continues to impress with his makeup of toughness, skill, and speed.
Kasperi Kapanen is a speedy, dynamic forward who possesses NHL level hands and hockey IQ. He is not the biggest player on the ice, but neither was his father, Sami Kapanen, who was a very durable and productive forward in the NHL for many years. The younger Kapanen is a natural right winger and does a very good job of using his speed and vision to create offensive opportunities. He has a hard, accurate shot, especially in tight, and he excels at making plays off the rush. Whether it is the 2014-15 season or the following year, it should not be long before Kapanen develops into a complementary top-six winger in the NHL.
Hockey’s Future Fall 2014 Top 50 Prospects Ranking
1-10 | 11-20 | 21-30 | 31-40 | 41-50