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 »

Postseason Prospect Rankings 2014-15

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

With a blend of skill, determination, and physicality, Jake Virtanen is definitely a prospect for Vancouver Canucks fans to watch carefully in the coming years. While it remains to be seen if he can apply his power forward game at the next level, Virtanen has been generally unmatched by most of his junior opponents. That being said, he plays a little too much of a perimeter game at this point, and could stand to assert himself a little more. He had a strong 2014-15 season and will look to build on that progress next season.

Talent Score: Prob. of Success: Position: Height: Weight: Team:
8.0 B G 6-1 188 lbs. Boston Bruins

Though he made just three saves in his first and only, short-lived NHL start this season, Malcolm Subban continued to display the high standard of goaltending he established in his rookie season in the AHL. The 2012 first round pick played in 35 games for the Providence Bruins this past season, posting a 16-13-4 record. While his goals-against average rose slightly from the previous season, he improved his save percentage slightly from .920 to .921. Subban, whose greatest strength is his athleticism, should see time in the NHL again next season. But, with Tuukka Rask firmly entrenched in Boston and the Bruins needing to shore up other areas, it is possible that Subban's NHL time could be with another organization.

Talent Score: Prob. of Success: Position: Height: Weight: Team:
6.0 B D 6-1 185 lbs. Colorado Avalanche

Brandon Gormley appeared in a career-high 27 NHL games with the Arizona Coyotes in his third pro season, missing 14 mid-season games due to a lower body injury while also spending time with Arizona's AHL affiliate, the Portland Pirates. Drafted in 2009 following a breakout season in the QMJHL, Gormley has shown playmaking ability at the AHL level but continues to work on developing the defensive consistency necessary to play in the NHL on a regular basis. With Arizona trading veteran Keith Yandle late in the 2014-15 season, Gormley should have an opportunity to crack the Coyotes' lineup coming out of training camp.

Talent Score: Prob. of Success: Position: Height: Weight: Team:
7.5 B D 6-1 189 lbs. Colorado Avalanche

A notable omission from the Canadian World Junior team, Colorado Avalanche draft pick Chris Bigras was seemingly unfazed by that slight as he turned in a 2014-15 season that ended with him being the runner-up as the OHL's top defenseman. The 6’1”, 194-pound defenseman recorded 71 points—20 goals and 51 assists—in 62 games this season. A good skater with an ability to carry the puck out of his own zone with ease, Bigras appeared in seven games for the Avalanche’s AHL farm team, the Lake Erie Monsters, where he recorded four assists. He will likely be a core member of the Monsters’ defensive corps next season.

Talent Score: Prob. of Success: Position: Height: Weight: Team:
7.5 C C 5-11 180 lbs. Columbus Blue Jackets

Sonny Milano's star dimmed somewhat when he de-committed from Boston College to play for a non-playoff caliber squad in Plymouth. He did the lead the Whalers in scoring with 68 points in just 50 games after getting a late start to the season due to a training camp injury. Milano shows excellent puck skills and skating ability, but also plays with additional swagger that can draw players out of position. He needs to get stronger, but Milano has the potential to be an explosive playmaker for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Talent Score: Prob. of Success: Position: Height: Weight: Team:
7.5 B RW 6-3 209 lbs. Dallas Stars

Brett Ritchie broke out in his second full season of professional hockey, managing 21 points in in 33 AHL games and nine in 31 NHL contests. Ritchie has good size at 6’3” and over 200 pounds, and moves well for a player with a big frame. He has good hands in tight and is good at using his size to protect the puck and create plays for his linemates. Ritchie needs to learn to better use his size in order to maximize his big frame, and he needs to be most consistent with his offensive production, but the big forward has the type of skill set that suggests he should at least be a solid NHL forward, if not one with a promising future.

Talent Score: Prob. of Success: Position: Height: Weight: Team:
7.5 C C 6-0 181 lbs. San Jose Sharks

The underrated Chris Tierney has earned his keep in San Jose. He has been a valuable asset to the Sharks bottom six and looked more and more comfortable as the season wore on. The 20-year-old has a keen hockey sense, and as soon as he was able to get a feel for the NHL game, he started making smarter plays in all three zones. While he does not possess blazing speed, high-end goal scoring ability or a nasty side, Tierney is a fine example of a responsible, two-way center who one day could be relied on to put up points while shutting down opposing forwards.

Talent Score: Prob. of Success: Position: Height: Weight: Team:
8.0 C LW 6-0 157 lbs. New York Rangers

One of the most electrifying prospects coming from the KHL in the last few years, Pavel Buchnevich was somewhat of a disappointment at the WJC following a strong performance in 2014. The New York Rangers prospect scored only one goal and was not the offensive leader Team Russia expected him to be at that tournament. A player with excellent offensive skills and very good skating ability, Buchnevich can become a very valuable player for the Rangers but needs to improve his physical and defensive play. Buchnevich recently signed a contract extension with Severstal Cherepovets and will likely spend the 2015-16 season in the KHL.

Talent Score: Prob. of Success: Position: Height: Weight: Team:
8.0 C D 6-1 211 lbs. New York Islanders

Ryan Pulock was slowed by an injury early in the 2014-15 season, but his first season of pro hockey with the New York Islanders' AHL affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, was an unqualified success. Taken by the Islanders with the 15th overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft just one year after they used all seven picks on defensemen, the former Brandon Wheat King s defender was an offensive force on the blue line for the Sound Tigers this season. He was especially dangerous on the power play, scoring 13 of his 17 goals—most amongst Bridgeport defensemen—on the power play. With fellow prospect Griffin Reinhart also pushing for a spot in what has suddenly become a crowded Islanders' blue line, Pulock will likely continue to hone his overall game with the Sound Tigers to start the 2015-16 season, but he should be in the NHL sooner rather than later.

Talent Score: Prob. of Success: Position: Height: Weight: Team:
7.5 B D 6-1 180 lbs. Florida Panthers

One of several promising young defensemen in the Florida Panthers' system, Michael Matheson is a strong skater who can get up and down the ice in a hurry. This past season, the 6’2”, 189-pound rearguard captained the Boston College Eagles in his third year with the team. In 38 games for BC, Matheson scored just three times, but led his team in assists with 22, four more than Noah Hanifin (2015). He is by no means a shutdown defender, but should develop into an effective top four defensemen who can excel on the power play.