Photo: Calgary Flames top prospect Sam Bennett doesn’t turn 20 until June but has used this season to become a full-time contributor to the offense (courtesy of Jose Quiroz/Icon Sportswire)
The Calgary Flames prospect pipeline is an interesting combination when you look at it top to bottom.There is some exceptional high-end talent coupled with some depth players and role players, who seem like grinders at best. In other words, there may be a lack of middle ground from the high to the low. Nevertheless, the team has on hand some really strong blue-line depth and some reasonable center depth with several individual players having strong years. This is a system bristling with high end talent, but there is some considerable risk as well. There are some big moves and a few surprises in this mid-season rank to boot, so strap in.
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Photo: Milwaukee Admirals forward and Nashville Predators prospect Frederick Gaudreau signed a two-year, entry-level NHL contract with the Predators in January (courtesy of Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire)
Everything is “moving so fast” this season for Milwaukee Admirals forward and newly-minted Nashville Predators prospect, Frederick Gaudreau.
He’s tied for the team lead with 32 points (12 goals, 20 assists) in 51 games, and on Jan. 5th the Predators signed the undrafted 22-year-old to his first NHL contract. Read more »
Photo: Val d’Or Foreurs forward and 2016 prospect Julien Gauthier has had a good amount of international experience in 2015-16, winning gold with Team Canada at the 2015 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament and also competing for Canada at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship (courtesy of Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
The QMJHL produces NHL Draft talent in cycles. The 2014 NHL Draft saw just five players from the league get selected in the first two rounds, while last year’s draft saw five taken in the first round alone and 12 taken in the first two rounds. The 2016 NHL Draft might be another down year for the QMJHL in terms of quantity, but the quality is undeniable. Read more »
Photo: Derrick Pouliot has had difficulties staying with the Penguins this season, but he remains the best prospect on the team’s top 20. (Courtesy of Justin Berl/Icon Sportswire)
The Pittsburgh Penguins have a solid group of homegrown prospects, especially at forward. However, it wasn’t always that way. For years, the Penguins relied on the free agent bargain bin to fill out the bottom six portion of their forward roster, often overpaying for players past their prime. That is not the case anymore, as seven different forward prospects played for the Penguins this year. Read more »
Photo: Seattle Thunderbirds forward and Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Keegan Kolesar is the leading goal-scorer for the Thunderbirds with 30 goals, including nine on the power play (courtesy of Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
When HF met with Keegan Kolesar in Kelowna, we were greeted with a smile and a friendly handshake. Thankfully for an aging scribe, it was much more pleasant than the manner in which the rambunctious Seattle Thunderbirds forward introduces himself to WHL opponents. Read more »
Photo: JyP Jyvaskyla defenseman and Winnipeg Jets prospect Sami Niku (R) is one of a trio of defensive NHL prospects that competed for Finland in their gold medal run at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship (courtesy of MARKKU ULANDER/AFP/Getty Images)
The 2015 NHL Draft saw six defensemen from Finland selected for only the second time since the draft was reduced to seven rounds in 2004. Though none of those players were selected in the top two rounds — as current Pittsburgh Penguin Olli Maatta was in the 2012 draft class that was previously the largest — the 2015 draft class has increased the number of NHL-drafted defensemen playing in Liiga. This has helped to expand this list to a top 10 after listing just five players last year. Read more »
Photo: The NHL trade deadline will have an effect on AHL clubs, as well, with the Colorado Avalanche sending prospect Colin Smith to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Smith, the third-leading scorer for the Rampage before the trade, will join the powerhouse Toronto Marlies (courtesy of Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire)
The Iowa Wild may be at the bottom of the AHL standings, but the team has been at the epicenter of several NHL headlines in February.
On Feb. 13th, the Minnesota Wild announced that Iowa Wild head coach John Torchetti would replace Mike Yeo as the head coach of the NHL franchise. Read more »
Photo: Pavel Zacha has 51 points (23 goals, 28 assists) in 44 games for the Sarnia Sting. (Courtesy of Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Whether energized by the luster of new management or coincidentally meshing at the same time, the majority of the New Jersey Devils prospects have performed well this season. Credit goes to General Manager Ray Shero and Head Coach John Hynes for what they have brought to the organization: opportunity and a modernized direction for the franchise. Not only has this applied to the top prospects but it has trickled down to the role-players as well. More work needs to be done by Shero but the prospects are showing New Jersey’s system is better the sum of its parts. Read more »
Photo: Pittsburgh Penguins forward Tom Kuhnhackl celebrates his first NHL goal in a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning this past weekend (courtesy of Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire)
The Calder Trophy is still up for grabs, and Artemi Panarin won’t let it get out of his grasp thanks to a little help from the NHL’s leading scorer. He had to wait 18 games to do it, but Tom Kuhnhackl made his first NHL goal look easy. In the AHL, Troy Grosenick added another entry into the Save of the Year category, only to be outdone by one of the AHL’s leading scorers. Plenty more action is available in this week’s Prospect Impressions! Read more »
Photo: Barrie Colts forward and San Jose Sharks prospect Dylan Sadowy was dealt along with Greg DiTomaso at the 2016 OHL trade deadline by the Saginaw Spirit to the Colts in exchange for Rocky Kaura, nine draft picks and two conditional picks (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
As the Barrie Colts navigate their way to the playoffs, they have the confidence to know that they are swimming in the company of a pair of Sharks – league-leading scorer Kevin Labanc and recent acquisition Dylan Sadowy. Read more »