10. (17) Mark Jankowski, C, 6.5B
Drafted 1st round, 21st overall, 2012
For the third straight season, Jankowski has been a catalyst for things at Providence College in the NCAA. He has slowly taken steps forward year after year, and has put together an impressive senior campaign. He has scored at a point per game, may very well shatter his personal NCAA career high in goals, plus he is wearing an “A” on his jersey this season. The Friars are having a strong season and Jankowski, their leading scorer, is a big part of that.
9. (19) Rasmus Andersson, D, 7.0C
Drafted 2nd round, 53rd Overall, 2015
The Swede was a force for Barrie in his rookie season, and he continues to be one in his second year. The 19-year old is scoring at just under a point per game clip in the OHL. He is looking like a big three zone threat defenseman at this point and it will be intriguing to see what Calgary plans on doing with him this offseason.
8. (13) Brandon Hickey, D, 7.0C
Drafted 3rd round, 64th overall, 2014
Hickey may not have had the greatest of World Junior showings for Team Canada, but his stock has certainly risen due to his exceptional defensive play with Boston University this season. Hickey has an NHL game. It is physical, aggressive, and fairly mobile game with some underlying offensive upside to boot. At just 19 and in his sophomore year some of the pieces seem to be falling into place nicely.
7. (12) Oliver Kylington, D, 7.5D
Drafted 2nd round, 60th overall, 2015
Kylington is extremely active, mobile, aggressive, and offensive leaning. His top-gear skating ability and mobility recalls fellow Färjestad product Jonas Brodin, but Kylington he can shoot and quarterback a power play. His numbers over two seasons with pro experience at Sweden’s top level speak to his offensive talents. The experience has helped him adjust well to the AHL, where he sits only behind Kulak and veteran Aaron Johnson for defensive scoring. He has plenty of risk in his defensive game though which may be a hitch in his development. He is also on the small side. However his offensive skills are, at the current level, through the roof.
6. (4) Tyler Wotherspoon, D, 6.5B
Drafted 2nd round, 57th overall, 2011
Wotherspoon’s development may have plateaued to a certain degree. He seems to be what he is at this point in his career. What is that exactly? A smooth, steady, two-way defenseman with limited offensive upside. There is still some pretty decent value and possibility in him as a bottom pair defenseman in the NHL, but do not expect a lot more than that.
5. (7) Jon Gillies, G, 7.0C
Drafted 3rd round, 75th overall, 2012
In its current state, Jon Gilles may be the one true glimmering hope in the Flames goaltending pipeline. When he has played he has been marvelous. The problem is is that he has hardly been healthy enough to play due to hip surgery. While technically, physically, and mentally Gillies seems ready to make an impact, his recovery from an injury that has been difficult for goalies will be crucial in evaluating him heading forward. He was the Heat number one netminder, usurping Joni Ortio, when healthy.
4. (8) Morgan Klimchuk, LW, 7.0C
Drafted 1st round, 28th overall, 2013
Statistically, Klimchuk would be a tough sell for moving up in the mid-season rankings. When looking at his limited offensive production you can’t help but feel the young forward may never pan out. Regardless of the meager production, Klimchuk has looked truly capable in many other aspects of the pro game. Defensively, skating, cognitive ability, are all workable assets. He also has one of the lowest shooting percentages of the Stockton forwards and has just 60 shots. He is in his rookie season and will continue to grow. Fear not the lack of scoring.
3. (2) Emile Poirier, RW, 7.0B
Drafted 1st round, 22nd overall, 2013
Poirier kicked the door in last season during his rookie year in the AHL. He had an outstanding 42-point campaign in 55 games that earned him an AHL all-star bid and some NHL minutes. Nevertheless, the sophomore slump is proving real for the young forward. He has just 20 points in 43 games and with just eight goals, less than half last season’s total. Poirier has been suffering from a lack of consistency on a game to game basis as teams are cueing defensively on him and his line more frequently. The onus now falls on the young winger to prove he can be as productive a player when in the spotlight.
2. (NR) Hunter Shinkaruk, LW, 7.5C
Acquired via trade with Vancouver Canucks, February 2016
The 24th overall pick of the 2013 Drfat, Shinkaruk is making a homecoming, having been born and trained in Alberta. A player whose calling card is his shot, Shinkaruk will not replace Markus Granlund’s overall ability. However, Shinkaruk has made a nice recovery from some injury problems earlier in his career. In his second year of pro hockey, Shinkaruk’s 39 points tie him for the lead on Stockton, and he left the Utica Comets as that team’s scoring leader as well. The 21-year-old still presents questions about his NHL upside but he adds some established scoring ability at the pro level with potential for more.
1. (1) Sam Bennett, C, 8.0A
Drafted 1st round, 4th overall, 2014
Bennett was taken fourth overall in an immensely deep 2014 first round with the expectation that he could be a great NHL player. This year he has proven that everything is there for him to be that player. At just 19 he is playing against grown men in the NHL and proving to be quite capable. He is producing, staying near even in possession metrics, and producing plenty at both even strength and on the power play. Little things like faceoffs, some defensive reads, and packing on muscle will come in due time. The sky seems to be the limit here, and he rightfully retains the number spot in the system until his official graduation occurs in the next few games.