Photo: Boston University forward Jack Eichel and University of North Dakota goaltender Zane McIntyre are two Hobey Baker top 10 finalists competing in the Northeast and West regionals of the 2015 NCAA Hockey Tournament (courtesy of Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire (L) and Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images (R))
This year’s 16-team field for the 2015 NCAA Hockey Tournament features 103 NHL prospects representing 28 of the 30 NHL teams. The Chicago Blackhawks and the San Jose Sharks lead all teams with seven prospects each in the tournament. The Carolina Hurricanes and the Dallas Stars are the only NHL teams that do not have at least one prospect playing in the tournament. Read more »
Photo: Nashville prospect Vladislav Kamenev had just one goal in the KHL playoffs as Metallurg failed to defend its Gagarin Cup title (courtesy of Terry Wilson/CHL Images)
Although the top prospects in the Nashville Predators organization currently skate for AHL affiliate Milwaukee, there are many players competing at the NCAA level or in European leagues this season.
The distance from North American professional hockey is telling in some cases, but there is no lack of quality prospects in the two different developmental venues.
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Photo: Top AHL rookies Daniel Carr of the Hamilton Bulldogs (L) and Connor Brown of the Toronto Marlies (R) go head-to-head in one of the more interesting NHL prospect matchups this weekend (courtesy of Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire)
All three CHL leagues begin playoff action this weekend. There are three particularly interesting games on hand, games that feature a mix of high-end prospects and valuable role players as teams in the OHL, QMJHL, and WHL collide. Meanwhile, the NCAA Tournament begins this weekend, and one matchup in particular is worthy of extra attention. In the AHL, two top scorers from far different backgrounds clash as the AHL season starts to wind down. Read more »
Photo: Hamilton Bulldogs forward and Monteal Canadiens prospect Daniel Carr is currently ranked 12th in AHL rookie scoring with 22 goals and 34 points in 65 games in 2014-15 (courtesy of Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire)
With just 11 games left in what will be the final regular season for the Hamilton Bulldogs as an AHL franchise – Montreal is re-locating their AHL affiliate from Hamilton to St. John’s for the 2015-16 season – the Bulldogs sit one point out of the final playoff position in the Western Conference, tied with the Adirondack Flames at 70 points. The Toronto Marlies currently hold the eighth and final playoff position with 71 points in 64 games. Read more »
Photo: Minnesota Wild first-round pick Alex Tuch led Boston College in points as a freshman. (courtesy of Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire)
For any organization dedicated to the near-term goal of a Stanley Cup, having the bulk of the team’s prospects in colleges or European leagues is sound policy. The young men get their chances to grow as people, the team’s contract status is unaffected, and there is less rush to decide on a player’s future. The pressures of pro hockey in Europe are real, especially for younger players, but so is the NCAA Tournament atmosphere. Both make for excellent developmental opportunities.
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Photo: Calgary Hitmen defenseman and Philadelphia Flyers prospect Travis Sanheim was the top offensive defender in the WHL in 2014-15, posting 65 points in 67 games (courtesy of Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
It’s an issue that has been considered in past years among aspiring hockey players and their families, and also an issue that will be considered many times over in the future. Read more »
Photo: Kelowna Rockets forward Tyson Baillie had his best WHL season to date in 2014-15, scoring 37 goals and adding 39 assists for 76 points in 68 games (courtesy of Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
The road to the NHL isn’t always a straight one, often times winding down paths that have been less traveled. Two WHL veterans have taken different routes towards redemption after not hearing their name called at the NHL Draft. Read more »
Photo: Detroit Red Wings prospect Mike McKee brought a physical edge for Western Michigan this season. (courtesy of Justin Berl/Icon Sportswire)
The prize of the Detroit Red Wings prospect pool is University of Michigan forward Dylan Larkin, who seems likely to sign an NHL contract sooner rather than later despite being in just his first season of collegiate hockey.
Outside of Larkin, the majority of the Wings’ top prospects play in the AHL or CHL, but there is a decent group of potential future Red Wings playing in the NCAA and Europe this season.
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Photo: Brian Hart is enjoying a solid junior year with Harvard University. (Courtesy of Richard T. Gagnon/Getty Images)
The Tampa Bay Lightning’s most prominent prospects are either playing junior hockey or have already established themselves as pros in the AHL; yet, the organization still has five prospects in their junior or senior NCAA seasons. Andrey Vasilevskiy is no longer the prospect to watch overseas in the Lightning organization, but a breakthrough year for Nikita Gusev has the skilled Russian winger amongst the Bolts Top 20 Prospects. Read more »
Photo: Miami University senior forward and captain Austin Czarnik could be a highly-sought NCAA free agent once his team’s 2014-15 season is completed (courtesy of Tim Zechar/Icon Sportswire)
Two Miami University forwards helped the Redhawks win an NCHC title, thanks to two spectacular plays. One Erie Otters forward wins the OHL scoring title, and it’s probably not who you’re expecting. Meanwhile, other noteworthy highlights from the WHL, NHL, and the NCAA are featured in this week’s Prospect Impressions. Read more »