NHL Prospect Rankings

Hockey's Future ranks 50 active NHL prospects who we believe will make a significant impact in the world of hockey. We publish these rankings twice a year, once before and after each regular season. NHL prospects considered for these rankings meet HF's prospect criteria at the time the list is published.

About prospect talent score and probability of success »

Preseason Prospect Rankings 2015-16

Talent Score: Prob. of Success: Position: Height: Weight: Team:
8.0 C G 6-3 210 lbs. Anaheim Ducks

2011 second-round pick John Gibson is further proof of the difficulty in predicting goalie development. After an excellent junior career with Kitchener, Gibson has both shown NHL-level talent while also looking a bit overwhelmed. With a fine starter in place, the Anaheim Ducks have decided to give Gibson another year of AHL development. Gibson signed a three-year extension in September so there is little reason to panic from either the player's or the organization's perspective. His statistical performance in the pros has been solid, especially given the relatively weak stature of the teams in front of him, and he remains in the conversation for the title of best goaltending prospect in hockey.

Talent Score: Prob. of Success: Position: Height: Weight: Team:
8.0 D RW 6-4 187 lbs. Detroit Red Wings

A broken leg certainly impacted Anthony Mantha in his post-draft season, but another lesson here is in overestimating QMJHL scoring totals. Mantha's gaudy scoring totals at the junior level, his size, and his plus shot, all combined to make him look like a sure-fire NHL scoring threat once the Detroit Red Wings granted him the chance to prove it. While his post-draft AHL production -15 goals and 33 points- does nothing to write Mantha off as a prospect, the organization and others expected more from the 20th overall pick of 2013. There remains plenty of time for Mantha to find his range, and recover some of the speed that made him even more of threat to score.

Talent Score: Prob. of Success: Position: Height: Weight: Team:
7.5 B LW 6-2 187 lbs. Los Angeles Kings

Adrian Kempe resembles other Los Angles Kings players in that he is a big, mobile forward who can effectively win puck battles, as well as possess and distribute the puck. Kempe had some success with MODO of the SHL in his draft season, and while his sophomore campaign was not as impressive, he had a breakout in the AHL playoffs for the Calder Cup champion Manchester Monarchs. In all, Kempe does not have as high a ceiling as other forwards on this list, but as a skilled winger with little competition in the system, he is likely to have a considerable impact once he sticks at the NHL level.

Talent Score: Prob. of Success: Position: Height: Weight: Team:
8.0 C RW 6-1 210 lbs. Vancouver Canucks

Vancouver Canucks prospect Jake Virtanen possesses the kind of physical skills that make him look like a first-line NHL talent, but he may be limited by his lack of creativity and offensive instincts. A good skater who likes to play an aggressive checking style, Virtanen has the burden of a high draft slot (sixth overall in 2014) to contend with, but he can still be a useful and successful NHL player if a coach deploys the right personnel to play with him. The organization will give him a chance to thrive, but he should not be miscast in a role that forces him to distribute or possess the puck. He is more likely to be a shooter and a disruptive force on the forecheck.

Talent Score: Prob. of Success: Position: Height: Weight: Team:
8.0 C D 5-11 175 lbs. Dallas Stars

A talented Finnish defenseman, Julius Honka showcased his skating and playmaking during his draft season in the WHL. The Stars opted to send him to the AHL for his post-draft season, and while he was still productive, the junior-aged Finn was somewhat exposed against the size and speed of the professional ranks. His ultimate upside may be that of a Tobias Enstrom, a smaller player with puck-possession skills and power play upside who is still a solid NHL player. Of course, if Honka should get his chance at the NHL level this season, he could find instant success thanks to that team's offensive firepower.

Talent Score: Prob. of Success: Position: Height: Weight: Team:
7.5 B RW 6-3 218 lbs. Minnesota Wild

U.S. National Team Development Program product Alex Tuch had a solid freshman season for Boston College, leading his team in scoring with a relatively modest 28 points in 37 games. The storied program has added firepower this season, which may mean Tuch takes a bit more of a checking role. He has talent for a young man of his size, and is able to distribute the puck with creativity as well as bully his way to the slot for scoring opportunities. Tuch has shown a bit of a mean streak, as well. Though his build and skills make him a likely top-six NHL forward, his mobility probably limits him a bit. The Minnesota Wild first-rounder is at the top of that team's depth chart, meaning he likely slots into a featured role as soon as he turns pro.

Talent Score: Prob. of Success: Position: Height: Weight: Team:
8.0 C D 6-1 194 lbs. Washington Capitals

Madison Bowey celebrated his final season of junior hockey with a WHL championship playing for the Kelowna Rockets. With 60 points in 58 games, plus 19 more in 19 playoff games, it is clear that Bowey brings some offense with him from the blueline. Indeed, he has a good shot, and while that alone will not bring him success as a pro, it forms part of a decent toolkit. The question with Bowey is whether he also has the ability to put all those tools together. He relied a bit too much on his physical talents at times, and was not always able to make smooth transition plays, even on one of the most talented teams in the CHL. His upside is there, though, and while he may need more than a full season of AHL time to develop his decision-making, Bowey still has the raw athletic talent to keep him on this list.

Talent Score: Prob. of Success: Position: Height: Weight: Team:
7.5 C RW 5-11 164 lbs. Columbus Blue Jackets

Oliver Bjorkstrand is a highly-skilled, offensive-minded forward who put up back-to-back 100-point seasons with the Portland Winterhawks after being drafted in the third round of the 2013 NHL Draft. Still lanky, Bjorkstrand will not find success through playing a physical game, nor is he a typical skater as he still looks a bit awkward getting around the ice. All that said, he is proving to be a dependable scoring threat, a player who possesses the raw strength, skills and intellect for getting himself into the right positions to generate scoring opportunities.

Talent Score: Prob. of Success: Position: Height: Weight: Team:
8.0 C D 6-2 180 lbs. Ottawa Senators

Thomas Chabot is a fast, puck-moving defender with top-pairing potential. Chabot moves the puck up ice with confidence and poise, and can skate the puck through the neutral zone when passing lanes are closed. He is also a deadly presence on the power play. Chabot’s growing offensive prowess saw him improve to 41 points in 2014-15, a statistic that includes 12 goals— up from just one during the prior season. The work he put into expanding his defensive game also shows on the stat sheet—his +6 rating is a huge improvement over his rookie season with the Saint John Sea Dogs.

Talent Score: Prob. of Success: Position: Height: Weight: Team:
8.0 C D 5-11 167 lbs. Tampa Bay Lightning

Defenseman Anthony DeAngelo is a deadly offensive weapon when his mouth isn’t drawing the ire of opponents, teammates, coaches and league officials. Although he was twice suspended for violating the OHL’s Harassment and Abuse/Diversity Policy, the general belief is that he will have a future in the NHL if he manages to smarten up. Yet, although DeAngelo scored 89 points in 55 OHL games during the 2014-15 season, his shortcomings extend beyond his attitude. He has trouble handling bigger forwards due to his diminutive stature, a problem that will only increase at higher levels of hockey. Still, DeAngelo is a great skater with tremendous instincts.