All posts by Hannah Stuart

Prospect Big Board 2.0: Jack Hughes still No. 1, Kirby Dach vaults to No. 3

Like sands through the hourglass, prospect rankings are fluid - especially early in the season, when we're still learning who these players are and what they can do with their opportunities. While the top two prospects on our board have stayed the same from version 1.0, there's been plenty of movement down the rest of this list.

Here's the second edition of theScore's 2019 NHL Prospect Big Board:

1. Jack Hughes

C | 5-foot-10 | 161 lbs | U.S. National Team Development Program
Age: 17 | Previous Rank: 1

GP G A P
14 3 17 20

Someone might try, at some point this season, to say Hughes isn't the No. 1 prospect. Don't buy it. His vision and hockey IQ are off the charts, allowing him to create plays that many of his peers can't even conceive of. That being said, Hughes' combination of speed and acceleration is probably his biggest asset, and could still get better. He also has a great chance of breaking Auston Matthews' USA Hockey National Team Development Program (USNTDP) single-season points record after falling one short last year. If there's a quibble to be had, it's that Hughes should shoot more often.

2. Kaapo Kakko

RW | 6-foot-1 | 181 lbs | TPS (Liiga, Jr. A SM-liiga)
Age: 17 | Previous Rank: 2

GP G A P
16 3 7 10

Don’t brush off Kakko just because he shouldn't or won’t pass Hughes. He’s still in a class by himself compared to the other prospects on this list, and he's started the season strong while playing against men in the Finnish Liiga. Kakko's puck-handling ability is high-end, and he can use it at top speed. Add in his intelligence and patience, and you have an irresistible combination. One interesting thing to watch: Though Kakko's listed as a right winger, he has experience playing center. If he can continue to play the latter position at a high level, it makes him more versatile and valuable.

3. Kirby Dach

Derek Leung / Getty Images Sport / Getty

C | 6-foot-4 | 198 lbs | Saskatoon Blades (WHL)
Age: 17 | Previous Rank: 9

GP G A P
19 11 21 32

It'll be interesting to see if Dach can sustain his hot start across a full season. While his blistering scoring pace will likely level out at some point, his high-end hockey sense should allow him to keep producing. If he does, he'll be an early pick in June. Dach combines size with an excellent skill set, and his passing is terrific - crisp, accurate, and able to get through traffic. He has a very high ceiling.

4. Bowen Byram

D | 6-foot-1 | 192 lbs | Vancouver Giants (WHL)
Age: 17 | Previous Rank: 3

GP G A P
17 5 9 14

Cam York and Matthew Robertson are hot on his heels, but right now Byram's still the top defenseman on this list. His exceptional skating, puck skills, and vision make him the type of dynamic defender that NHL teams are salivating over right now. While he has room to grow, it’s not difficult to project him quarterbacking a power play at the next level.

5. Alex Turcotte

C | 5-foot-11 | 194 lbs | USNTDP
Age: 17 | Previous Rank: 4

GP G A P
3 1 1 2

Turcotte hasn't played much this season due to injury, so he's one to keep an eye on as things progress. When he's at the top of his game, Turcotte's fast, consistent, and reliable at both ends of the ice. He's got excellent offensive instincts that, when combined with his work ethic and skill set, make him an effective playmaker. One of the best descriptions of Turcotte is that he doesn’t have an off switch. He's strong with the puck, and his hockey smarts make him dangerous without it, too.

6. Dylan Cozens

Marissa Baecker / Getty Images Sport / Getty

C | 6-foot-3 | 176 lbs | Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL)
Age: 17 | Previous Rank: 5

GP G A P
16 8 13 21

Dach may have passed him for now, but Cozens is the kind of player who could move up as the season progresses. Last year’s WHL Rookie of the Year plays with (well-earned) confidence, racking up points thanks to his great passing and excellent shot. His skating is strong in all areas - quickness, acceleration, agility - and he appears to enjoy the physical aspects of the game. When you put it all together, you have a strong contender for a top-five pick come draft time.

7. Matthew Boldy

LW | 6-foot-0 | 174 lbs | USNTDP
Age: 17 | Previous Rank: 11

GP G A P
14 12 6 18

Boldy climbs four spots into the top 10, and has the potential to go even higher depending on how the season goes. He's a highly skilled playmaker thanks to his terrific vision, and he's noticeably improved his shot, which wasn't exactly terrible before.

8. Vasily Podkolzin

RW | 5-foot-11 | 165 lbs | SKA-1946 St. Petersburg (MHL)
Age: 17 | Previous Rank: 13

GP G A P
10 5 2 7

Some pundits have Podkolzin ranked as high as No. 2 after his excellent performance at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup, but it’s too soon to know whether he can play a full season like that. That being said, there’s a lot to like about his game, and it seems like he belongs inside the top 10. He’s tenacious and effective in all three zones, and makes intelligent plays at top speed.

9. Peyton Krebs

Marissa Baecker / Getty Images Sport / Getty

LW | 5-foot-11 | 181 lbs | Kootenay Ice (WHL)
Age: 17 | Previous Rank: 6

GP G A P
18 6 17 23

Krebs is a smart, well-rounded player, and he uses those smarts to react and make good decisions in pressure moments - important traits in an NHL prospect. He's also creative and elusive with the puck, while his high-end vision allows him to read the ice effectively. He could stand to add a little more muscle, but that's something to consider after you draft him, because he handles physical play just fine.

10. Alex Newhook

C | 5-foot-11 | 183 lbs | Victoria Grizzlies (BCHL)
Age: 17 | Previous Rank: 7

GP G A P
45 22 44 66

(*Stats are from 2017-18 season)

It feels like teams are becoming less hesitant to draft guys out of Junior A leagues in the first round, or maybe they’re just getting better at correctly identifying talent in those leagues. One of the things that stands out about Newhook, last year's BCHL Rookie of the Year, is his brain. He's got great hockey sense, which he uses to make quick decisions at game speed. He's also very agile, which is a fun quality in a player who can use it to embarrass opposing defensemen. Combine all that and Newhook's a significant offensive threat. His transition to college hockey should be interesting.

11. Cam York

D | 5-foot-11 | 165 lbs | USNTDP
Age: 17 | Previous Rank: 14

GP G A P
14 2 12 14

York is a strong skater and a dynamic puck-mover with plenty of offensive upside. He's also poised and cool under pressure.

12. Ryan Suzuki

C | 6-foot-0 | 172 lbs | Barrie Colts (OHL)
Age: 17 | Previous Rank: 8

GP G A P
15 6 18 24

Suzuki has excellent vision, and he’s good at capitalizing on the opportunities he sees. One key issue is that he pretty much avoids physical play. He's no slouch in his own end, but one still hopes he'll become more willing to engage when necessary.

13. Trevor Zegras

C | 5-foot-11 | 159 lbs | USNTDP
Age: 17 | Previous Rank: 21

GP G A P
13 6 14 20

Zegras has enjoyed a phenomenal start to the season, and it doesn't appear to be a fluke. As the USNTDP's second-line center (behind Hughes), Zegras is a creative and speedy center who knows how to exploit his opponents.

14. Raphael Lavoie

Minas Panagiotakis / Getty Images Sport / Getty

C/LW | 6-foot-4 | 192 lbs | Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
Age: 18 | Previous Rank: 12

GP G A P
17 11 10 21

One of the older players on this list, Lavoie projects to be a power-forward type. His shot is dangerous, but his foot speed could use improvement.

15. Cole Caufield

C/RW | 5-foot-6 | 154 lbs | USNTDP
Age: 17 | Previous Rank: 16

GP G A P
14 9 4 13

High-end instincts, a terrific release, and incredible skating combine to make Caufield's small stature a non-issue - but it would probably be good if he grew a couple inches, anyway.

16. Arthur Kaliyev

LW | 6-foot-2 | 190 lbs | Hamilton Bulldogs (OHL)
Age: 17 | Previous Rank: 19

GP G A P
17 16 11 27

Kaliyev's a shoot-first forward with an excellent release. He's started the OHL season at nearly a goal-per-game pace, and his puck-protection skills are solid, too.

17. Victor Soderstrom

D | 5-foot-11 | 176 lbs | Brynas IF J18/J20 (J18 Elit/SuperElit)
Age: 17 | Previous Rank: 17

GP G A P
14 1 7 8

Soderstrom's a mobile defenseman with sharp instincts who enjoys controlling the pace of the game. He's also a fast skater who isn’t afraid to get physical despite being on the smaller side.

18. Matthew Robertson

D | 6-foot 3 | 201 lbs | Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)
Age: 17 | Previous Rank: 23

GP G A P
13 2 9 11

Robertson's a talented defender with solid puck skills and a heavy shot. He’s intelligent, strong in one-on-one battles, and can play in all situations.

19. Philip Broberg

D | 6-foot-3 | 198 lbs | AIK J20 (SuperElit)
Age: 17 | Previous Rank: 22

GP G A P
15 0 4 4

Broberg's a powerful skater with a smooth stride who needs to improve his puck skills. He has good playmaking instincts, but he’s still raw and sometimes tries to do too much.

20. Mikko Kokkonen

D | 5-foot-11 | 190 lbs | Jukurit (Liiga)
Age: 17 | Previous Rank: NR

GP G A P
18 1 7 8

A solid two-way defenseman who's started the Liiga season strong, Kokkonen's a force despite not playing top minutes. His positioning and work ethic are both top-notch, while his calm, poised game has clear offensive upside.

21. Moritz Seider

picture alliance / picture alliance / Getty

D | 6-foot-4 | 183 lbs | Adler Mannheim (DEL)
Age: 17 | Previous Rank: NR

GP G A P
15 1 0 1

22. Anttoni Honka

D | 5-foot-10 | 170 lbs | JYP (Liiga)
Age: 18 | Previous Rank: 10

GP G A P
15 1 3 4

23. Albin Grewe

C/RW | 6-foot-0 | 176 lbs | Djurgårdens IF J20 (SuperElit)
Age: 17 | Previous Rank: NR

GP G A P
15 6 14 20

24. Nolan Foote

LW | 6-foot-3 | 187 lbs | Kelowna Rockets (WHL)
Age: 17 | Previous Rank: NR

GP G A P
15 10 5 15

25. John Beecher

C | 6-foot-3 | 203 lbs | USNTDP
Age: 17 | Previous Rank: NR

GP G A P
14 1 8 9

26. Maxim Cajkovic

LW/RW | 5-foot-11 | 187 lbs | Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)
Age: 17 | Previous Rank: 15

GP G A P
19 4 6 10

27. Jakob Pelletier

LW/RW | 5-foot-9 | 161 lbs | Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL)
Age: 17 | Previous Rank: 20

GP G A P
17 9 16 25

28. Robert Mastrosimone

C | 5-foot-10 | 170 lbs | Chicago Steel (USHL)
Age: 17 | Previous Rank: NR

GP G A P
11 8 5 13

29. Nils Hoglander

LW | 5-foot-9 | 185 lbs | Rogle BK (SHL)
Age: 17 | Previous Rank: NR

GP G A P
15 0 2 2

30. Patrik Puistola

LW | 6-foot-0 | 170 lbs | Tappara U20 (Jr. A SM-Liiga)
Age: 17 | Previous Rank: NR

GP G A P
17 9 7 16

31. Simon Holmstrom

RW | 5-foot-11 | 172 lbs | HV71 J20 (SuperElit)
Age: 17 | Previous Rank: 24

GP G A P
7 4 2 6

32. Sasha Mutala

RW | 6-foot-1 | 198 lbs | Tri-City Americans (WHL)
Age: 17 | Previous Rank: 25

GP G A P
12 4 9 13

33. Alex Vlasic

D | 6-foot-6 | 192 lbs | USNTDP
Age: 17 | Previous Rank: NR

GP G A P
14 2 4 6

34. Bobby Brink

C/W | 5-foot-10 | 165 lbs | Sioux City Musketeers (USHL)
Age: 17 | Previous Rank: NR

GP G A P
13 8 14 22

35. Spencer Knight

G | 6-foot-3 | 198 lbs | USNTDP
Age: 17 | Previous Rank: NR

GP W-L-OT GAA SV%
3 2-1-0 2.73 .914

36. Connor McMichael

Graig Abel / Getty Images Sport / Getty

C | 6-foot-0 | 170 lbs | London Knights (OHL)
Age: 17 | Previous Rank: NR

GP G A P
16 10 5 15

37. Phillip Tomasino

C | 6-foot-0 | 181 lbs | Niagara IceDogs (OHL)
Age: 17 | Previous Rank: NR

GP G A P
17 3 5 8

38. Grant Silianoff

C/W | 5-foot-11 | 170 lbs | Cedar Rapids RoughRiders (USHL)
Age: 17 | Previous Rank: NR

GP G A P
11 5 3 8

39. Blake Murray

C | 6-foot-3 | 185 lbs | Sudbury Wolves (OHL)
Age: 17 | Previous Rank: NR

GP G A P
16 4 5 9

40. Ben Brinkman

D | 6-foot-1 | 181 lbs | University of Minnesota (NCAA)
Age: 18 | Previous Rank: NR

GP G A P
5 0 0 0

41. Pavel Dorofeyev

LW/RW | 6-foot-0 | 163 lbs | Stalnye Lisy Magnitogorsk (MHL)
Age: 18 | Previous Rank: NR

GP G A P
10 8 5 13

42. Valentin Nussbaumer

C | 5-foot-11 | 165 lbs | Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL)
Age: 18 | Previous Rank: 18

GP G A P
17 5 7 12

43. Ryan Johnson

D | 6-foot-0 | 161 lbs | Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL)
Age: 17 | Previous Rank: NR

GP G A P
11 1 5 6

44. Tobias Bjornfot

D | 6-foot-0 | 187 lbs | Djurgårdens IF J20 (SuperElit)
Age: 17 | Previous Rank: NR

GP G A P
17 3 4 7

45. Thomas Harley

D | 6-foot-3 | 183 lbs | Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)
Age: 17 | Previous Rank: NR

GP G A P
17 3 10 13

46. Xavier Simoneau

C | 5-foot-7 | 172 lbs | Drummondville Voltigeurs (QMJHL)
Age: 17 | Previous Rank: NR

GP G A P
15 7 10 17

47. Cole Mackay

RW | 5-foot-11 | 185 lbs | Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)
Age: 17 | Previous Rank: NR

GP G A P
19 6 14 20

48. Lassi Thomson

D | 6-foot-0 | 187 lbs | Kelowna Rockets (WHL)
Age: 18 | Previous Rank: NR

GP G A P
17 7 7 14

49. Matvei Guskov

C | 6-foot-1 | 172 lbs | London Knights (OHL)
Age: 17 | Previous Rank: NR

GP G A P
16 3 9 12

50. Dustin Wolf

G | 6-foot-0 | 161 lbs | Everett Silvertips (WHL)
Age: 17 | Previous Rank: NR

GP W-L-OT GAA SV%
17 11-6-0 1.84 .924

Hannah Stuart keeps a close eye on both drafted and draft-eligible prospects and can usually be found trying to learn more about hockey analytics. She has previously written for FanRag Sports, The Hockey Writers, and Hooked On Hockey Magazine, and can also be found at High Heels and High Sticks. Find her on Twitter @HockeyWthHannah.

Copyright © 2018 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

NHL Prospect Notebook: Kirby Dach making his case to be a top-5 pick

As the season stretches onward, we start to get a better sense of who players are - not just first-year draft-eligible prospects waiting to hear their names called in June, but those already in the NHL as well. Here's a look at the prospects making headlines so far this season:

Prospect spotlight

One player worth your attention: Kirby Dach of the WHL's Saskatoon Blades.

The towering center kicked off the year with a gold medal at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, where he finished fourth in scoring with two goals and seven points in five games. He has carried the momentum over into the WHL season, racking up 11 goals and 21 assists in 19 games while making a compelling case for being selected inside the top five.

Dach is a strong skater, elusive despite his 6-foot-4 frame, and has the skill to match his size. He's a gifted puck-handler and might be the best passer in this year’s forward class. His hockey sense is high-end, allowing him to read the ice and make decisions that get opposing defenders out of position. He passes more often than he shoots, but he does have a powerful wrist shot.

Dach, named an A-rated prospect by NHL Central Scouting, is also part of Team WHL for the ongoing Canada-Russia Series.

In the minors

Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty

Several top prospects have recently made their way to the AHL.

The St. Louis Blues sent Jordan Kyrou to the San Antonio Rampage on Oct. 30, and the Anaheim Ducks reassigned Sam Steel to the San Diego Gulls the following day. Kyrou scored his first AHL goal - a shorthanded empty-netter - Saturday against the Stockton Heat.

Erik Brannstrom, one of the Vegas Golden Knights’ best defensive prospects, is racking up the points with the Chicago Wolves. Brannstrom, who won't turn 20 until next September, has nine points in nine games, including two goals.

Florida Panthers forward prospect Henrik Borgstrom has 11 points, including four goals, in nine games with the Springfield Thunderbirds. Borgstrom had a four-point game on Oct. 28.

Jordan Greenway was sent to the AHL by the Minnesota Wild and made an immediate impact, scoring three goals while adding an assist in his second game against the Colorado Eagles. The Wild called him back up almost immediately, and he scored in the team's next game against the Vancouver Canucks.

The New York Rangers assigned defenseman Sean Day to the Maine Mariners of the ECHL on Monday. It’s a disappointing demotion for the former OHL exceptional status player, but could also be an opportunity for Day to get his game back on track.

The class of 2019

Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty

Left winger Jakob Pelletier of the QMJHL's Moncton Wildcats is off to a hot start of his own with 25 points, including nine goals, in 16 games. Pelletier, who was named QMJHL Forward of the Month for October, stands at 5-foot-9 and 160 pounds, but his vision, puck skills, and skating are outstanding.

After missing most of the beginning of the season with injury, top prospect Alex Turcotte is back with the U.S. National Team Development Program. Turcotte had a goal and an assist in his first three games.

Arthur Kaliyev of the Hamilton Bulldogs continues to terrorize OHL opponents, scoring his 15th and 16th goal of the season on Sunday against the Owen Sound Attack. He's already more than halfway to his rookie tally of 31 goals in 68 games.

Current top-ranked prospect Jack Hughes has 20 points, including three goals, in 14 games with the USNTDP. Whether Hughes still has a lock on the No. 1 spot over second-ranked Kaapo Kakko remains to be seen.

While it’s unlikely that Kakko will ultimately supplant Hughes, he has still made a strong argument for himself with his start in the Finnish Liiga. Through 16 games with TPS, he has 10 points.

Around the CHL

Jeff Vinnick / National Hockey League / Getty

San Jose Sharks prospect and Baie-Comeau Drakkar (QMJHL) forward Ivan Chekhovich was named CHL Player of the Week for the period ending Oct. 28. Chekhovich had eight points in three games, including a five-point night against the Quebec Remparts. Bolstered by a hat trick, it was the second time this season that Chekhovich tallied five points in a game.

Fellow Sharks prospect Ryan Merkley is also off to a fast start. The Guelph Storm defenseman has 22 points in 15 games and is third in the OHL in assists (19), and inside the top 20 in points (22).

Undrafted right wing Justin Brazeau, captain of the North Bay Battalion, leads the OHL in points with 36. Brazeau, 20, could catch the eye of an NHL team and win an entry-level contract as an overager.

On campus

Richard T Gagnon / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The Boston University men’s hockey team earned its first win of the season on Saturday, marking the first victory for new head coach Albie O’Connell. Defenseman Dante Fabbro (Nashville Predators) scored two goals in the Terriers’ 4-1 defeat of Northeastern, with forwards Bobo Carpenter and Patrick Curry - both undrafted - each scoring a goal.

Rangers prospect K’Andre Miller is off to a terrific start at the University of Wisconsin, kicking off the campaign with seven points in six games. That was enough to earn the Hockey Commissioners Association National Rookie of the Month award after leading all NCAA first-year defensemen in scoring in October.

While Harvard University suffered a 7-6 overtime defeat at the hands of Dartmouth University on Oct. 27, Carolina Hurricanes defensive prospect Adam Fox was a bright spot. Fox, acquired as part of the Dougie Hamilton trade, had a goal and four assists in the loss.

In other news

Chase Agnello-Dean / National Hockey League / Getty

It’s early yet, but countries playing in the World Junior Championship may be missing a few key players due to their NHL success. Finland’s blue line could potentially see a significant impact if Henri Jokiharju (Chicago Blackhawks) and Miro Heiskanen (Dallas Stars) are still with their NHL teams. Finland might also have to do without Jesperi Kotkaniemi should the Montreal Canadiens decide not to release him.

Canada might also be missing a couple of marquee players, with Los Angeles Kings prospects Gabriel Vilardi and Jaret Anderson-Dolan both injured.

Vilardi, still recovering from a summer back procedure, recently started skating with the Kings but was sidelined again with hip flexor tightness. The injury doesn't appear to be serious and he should return in a few days, but whether he’ll be back in full game shape - and playing at a level that satisfies Hockey Canada - remains to be seen. Anderson-Dolan is also back in Los Angeles (he was recently reassigned to the Spokane Chiefs of the WHL) for wrist surgery. He’s expected to be sidelined for six-to-eight weeks.

Two players Canada will most likely have on its roster are Alex Formenton (Ottawa Senators) and Evan Bouchard (Edmonton Oilers). Both players are currently with the London Knights of the OHL, so it’s not unreasonable to think you’ll see them donning the maple leaf in Vancouver come Boxing Day.

Hannah Stuart keeps a close eye on both drafted and draft-eligible prospects and can usually be found trying to learn more about hockey analytics. She has previously written for FanRag Sports, The Hockey Writers, and Hooked On Hockey Magazine, and can also be found at High Heels and High Sticks. Find her on Twitter at @HockeyWthHannah.

Copyright © 2018 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Young Guns: theScore’s All-Under-25 Team

As a hockey fan, few things are more fun than a roster filled with young, fast, up-and-coming players. For instance, Team North America captivated the sport's international community at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey by giving us a taste of the future.

With that in mind, we decided to use our imagination and build a 25-man roster - 13 forwards, nine defensemen, and three goaltenders - using only the best under-25 players in the world.

There's no cap limit and no consideration of specific forward positions or whether a defenseman shoots left or right. We're simply picking the top players in each category. So, without further ado, here is theScore's All-Under-25 Team (career stats as of Nov. 1):

Forwards

Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers

Jared Silber / National Hockey League / Getty

Age: 21
Drafted: First round (No. 1 overall), 2015
Accolades: Hart Memorial Trophy (2016-17), Art Ross Trophy (2016-17, 2017-18), Lester B. Pearson Award (2016-17, 2017-18), First-Team All-Star (2016-17, 2017-18)

Stats GP G A P
Regular Season 221 96 179 275
Playoffs 13 5 4 9

Any list of this sort that doesn’t begin with this generation's GOAT should be considered invalid. McDavid performs unreal feats on a nightly basis, outworking opponents (and often teammates) while outskating literally everyone.

Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche

Age: 23
Drafted: First round (No. 1 overall), 2013
Accolades: Calder Trophy (2013-14), Second-Team All-Star (2017-18)

Stats GP G A P
Regular Season 387 123 198 321
Playoffs 13 5 11 16

Don't let recent ho-hum seasons from the Avalanche fool you - the things MacKinnon can do with the puck (at blazing speed) are phenomenal. He was a Hart Trophy finalist last season and is on track to reach similar heights in 2018-19.

Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs

Ronald Martinez / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Age: 21
Drafted: First round (No. 1 overall), 2016
Accolades: Calder Memorial Trophy (2016-17)

Stats GP G A P
Regular Season 155 84 64 148
Playoffs 13 5 2 7

From his deceptive release to his elite hockey IQ to his sheer size, Matthews combines all the factors that scouts drool over into one player, and kicks them up a notch. There’s a reason he made Team North America before he ever played an NHL game. Meanwhile, a hot start this season prompted talk from some corners that Matthews could actually be better than McDavid, and while most realistic observers recognize that’s an overstatement, tongues are wagging nonetheless.

Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabres
Age
: 21
Drafted: First round (No. 2 overall), 2015

Stats GP G A P
Regular Season 222 77 114 191

Ignore the injuries and look at Eichel's dominance when healthy. He's simply one of the best young forwards out there, with all the necessary tools to be a legitimate first-line center. Alongside new linemate Jeff Skinner, Eichel just might be able to turn things around for the Sabres (if he can stay off IR).

Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton Oilers

Codie McLachlan / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Age: 23
Drafted: First round (No. 3 overall), 2014

Stats GP G A P
Regular Season 281 82 139 221
Playoffs 13 6 10 16

Draisaitl's not just the perfect complement to McDavid on the Oilers - he’s a formidable player in his own right. The 23-year-old is dynamic with the puck despite not being the best skater around, and will likely finish second behind McDavid in points again this year.

Filip Forsberg, Nashville Predators
Age
: 24
Drafted: First round (No. 11 overall), 2012

Stats GP G A P
Regular Season 344 127 142 269
Playoffs 55 22 20 42

As Forsberg continues to grow as a player, it’s difficult to believe David Poile acquired him in 2013 for Martin Erat and Michael Latta. The 24-year-old Forsberg is one of Nashville’s top offensive weapons - scoring some truly ridiculous goals - and he puts in the work to boot.

Sebastian Aho, Carolina Hurricanes

Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Age: 21
Drafted: Second round (No. 35 overall), 2015

Stats GP G A P
Regular Season 172 57 74 131

Aho’s current 12-game assist streak is tied for the longest to begin a season in NHL history, but that’s not why he makes this list - it's just gravy. Aho’s dangerous every time he’s on the ice, thanks to his high-end hockey smarts and speed.

Patrik Laine, Winnipeg Jets
Age
: 20
Drafted: First round (No. 2 overall), 2016

Stats GP G A P
Regular Season 168 86 56 142
Playoffs 17 5 7 12

A pure goal-scorer who garners comparisons to Alex Ovechkin (time will tell if those bear out), Laine rarely misses when he takes his shot - both on the ice and when he’s talking to reporters. He’s also a high-end playmaker who possesses great hands.

Aleksander Barkov, Florida Panthers

Joel Auerbach / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Age: 23
Drafted: First round (No. 2 overall), 2013

Stats GP G A P
Regular Season 341 102 156 258
Playoffs 6 2 1 3

Pundits like to crow about the Panthers' captain being underrated, and Barkov is certainly one of the top centers in the NHL. His elite hockey sense allows him to play - and succeed - in literally any situation.

David Pastrnak, Boston Bruins
Age
: 22
Drafted: First round (No. 25 overall), 2014

Stats GP G A P
Regular Season 266 105 114 219
Playoffs 18 8 16 24

With 11 goals already this season, Pastrnak's a key piece of one of the best lines in hockey. He's also front and center in the Bruins' long-term plans. The 22-year-old is an elite scorer (69 goals across the last two seasons) and pairs his strong vision with a high enough skill level to execute what he sees.

Mikko Rantanen, Colorado Avalanche

Bruce Bennett / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Age: 22
Drafted: First round (No. 10 overall), 2015

Stats GP G A P
Regular Season 178 54 89 143
Playoffs 6 0 4 4

Alongside linemates MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog, the 22-year-old Rantanen is embarrassing the rest of the league right now. He leads the NHL in points with 21 (MacKinnon's next with 18) and is well on his way to following up last year’s stellar campaign with an even better one. Rantanen’s high-end playmaking skills combined with his finishing ability make him an offensive threat on a nightly basis.

William Nylander, Toronto Maple Leafs
Age
: 22
Drafted: First round (No. 8 overall), 2014

Stats GP G A P
Regular Season 185 48 87 135
Playoffs 13 2 6 8

Don’t let Nylander’s contract impasse distract from the sublime offensive ability he displays every time he steps onto the ice. And he’s not just a "skilled winger," as he also played some center last season, displaying his versatility. Overall, Nylander's hockey sense, agility, and excellent hands (all of which he can use at top speed) set him apart.

Jack Hughes, U.S. National Team Development Program
Age
: 17
Drafted: Eligible in 2019

Much like Matthews making the Team North America roster before entering the NHL, Hughes makes ours. His inclusion as a 17-year-old may be contentious, but think of him as this team’s 13th forward. Hughes' skill level and hockey IQ are sky-high, and seeing him alongside the rest of these players would be a treat.

Defensemen

Seth Jones, Columbus Blue Jackets

Bruce Bennett / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Age: 24
Drafted
: First round (No. 4 overall), 2013
Accolades: Second-Team All-Star (2017-18)

Stats GP G A P
Regular Season 398 47 137 184
Playoffs 7 1 10 11

There’s a reason Jones was, for a time, considered the potential No. 1 pick in 2013 ahead of MacKinnon. He's the engine that makes the Blue Jackets go, and he checks off every box necessary for an elite top-pairing defenseman. There’s a good chance you’ll see Jones receive at least one Norris Trophy before his career is over.

Zach Werenski, Columbus Blue Jackets
Age
: 21
Drafted: First round (No. 8 overall), 2015

Stats GP G A P
Regular Season 167 29 63 92
Playoffs 9 2 2 4

Werenski - an incredibly smart player and an excellent skater - forms an elite defensive pairing with Jones in Columbus. He managed to post 16 goals and 21 assists in 2017-18 despite playing most of the campaign with a shoulder injury that ultimately required offseason surgery.

Jacob Trouba, Winnipeg Jets

Elsa / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Age: 24
Drafted: First round (No. 9 overall), 2012

Stats GP G A P
Regular Season 339 35 101 136
Playoffs 21 2 3 5

Trouba's immense value to the Jets is evidenced by the fact that he’s had multiple contract disputes (arbitration this past summer and sitting out/asking for a trade prior to the 2015-16 season) but is still in Winnipeg. The 24-year-old is mobile for a big guy and shuts down opponents with regularity. Meanwhile, offense will never be his calling card, but Trouba can produce when necessary.

Charlie McAvoy, Boston Bruins
Age
: 20
Drafted: First round (No. 14 overall), 2016

Stats GP G A P
Regular Season 70 8 30 38
Playoffs 18 1 7 8

McAvoy proved last season that his playoff debut with the Bruins wasn’t a fluke. Between his stellar shot, high-end vision, and love of physicality, McAvoy will be leading Boston's blue line for years to come. Bonus: He can handle playing in just about any situation.

Ivan Provorov, Philadelphia Flyers

Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty

Age: 21
Drafted: First round (No. 7 overall), 2015

Stats GP G A P
Regular Season 177 25 51 76
Playoffs 6 0 3 3

Provorov ended last season tied for the league lead in goals by a defenseman (17), and the Flyers don’t hesitate to match him up against their toughest opponents. The youngster is poised, quick, and very smart - ideal traits for a defender in the modern NHL.

Aaron Ekblad, Florida Panthers
Age
: 22
Drafted: First round (No. 1 overall), 2014
Accolades: Calder Memorial Trophy (2014-15)

Stats GP G A P
Regular Season 319 53 83 136
Playoffs 6 0 1 1

You won’t see Ekblad on many highlight reels or at the top of the scoresheet, but he's effective in difficult top-pairing minutes. The former No. 1 overall pick is smart, a strong puck-mover, and possesses an impressive shot.

Morgan Rielly, Toronto Maple Leafs

Jonathan Daniel / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Age: 24
Drafted: First round (No. 5 overall), 2012

Stats GP G A P
Regular Season 401 35 152 187
Playoffs 13 1 9 10

Rielly is intelligent, mobile, and poised - the kind of player who could make any blue line better, including Toronto's. Last season, he managed to break 50 points despite skating alongside Ron Hainsey against top competition most nights. That's quite an accomplishment in itself.

Mikhail Sergachev, Tampa Bay Lightning
Age
: 20
Drafted: First round (No. 9 overall), 2016

Stats GP G A P
Regular Season 95 9 35 44
Playoffs 17 2 3 5

The speedy, tenacious, and highly skilled Sergachev can dominate a shift. While he could stand to gain some consistency, he still netted 31 points as a rookie and will look to build on that this year.

Rasmus Dahlin, Buffalo Sabres
Age
: 18
Drafted: First round (No. 1 overall), 2018

Stats GP G A P
Regular Season 13 1 3 4

It’s still early for Dahlin, but when you’re constructing a superteam, you want guys with all the tools. Dahlin certainly has those tools, and it’s safe to assume we’ll see them put to good use this season. Even though he's just 18, the Swede is confident in his own abilities and doesn’t hesitate when making decisions. His hockey IQ, agility, and stick-handling skills allow him to succeed in any situation.

Goalies

Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning

Mike Carlson / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Age: 24
Drafted: First round (No. 19 overall), 2012

Stats GP Record GAA SV%
Regular Season 164 91-51-12 2.58 .918
Playoffs 29 15-11 2.68 .919

A 2017-18 Vezina Trophy nominee, Vasilevskiy might be the platonic ideal of what a goaltender should be in today’s game. He’s smart, tracks the puck well, and can dominate when his team needs it. A fun stat: Last season, Vasilevskiy went 6-1-1 in games following a shutout.

Matt Murray, Pittsburgh Penguins

Age: 24
Drafted: Third round (No. 83 overall), 2012
Accolades: Stanley Cup champion (2015-16, 2016-17)

Stats GP Record GAA SV%
Regular Season 118 72-30-9 2.64 .915
Playoffs 44 28-15 2.08 .923

With two Stanley Cup wins under his belt by the age of 23, Murray’s resume is already top-notch, while his hockey IQ and size allow him to appear unstoppable on many nights. Last season was difficult - Murray’s dip in play coincided with injuries and the loss of his father - but his talent is undeniable.

Juuse Saros, Nashville Predators

Christian Petersen / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Age: 23
Drafted: Fourth round (No. 99 overall), 2013

Stats GP Record GAA SV%
Regular Season 56 27-16-10 2.43 .922
Playoffs 6 0-0 1.76 .915

Pekka Rinne’s protege is, in his own words, patient when it comes to the number of games he plays per season, but Saros is nipping at Rinne’s heels. The 23-year-old isn't big like most goalies tend to be right now, but his instincts are elite. And with a bit more seasoning (and many more starts), perhaps Saros will follow in Rinne’s footsteps when it comes to Vezina nominations.

Hannah Stuart keeps a close eye on both drafted and draft-eligible prospects and can usually be found trying to learn more about hockey analytics. She has previously written for FanRag Sports, The Hockey Writers, and Hooked On Hockey Magazine, and can also be found at High Heels and High Sticks. Find her on Twitter at @HockeyWthHannah.

Copyright © 2018 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

NHL Prospect Notebook: Yamamoto expected to stick with Oilers

The NHL is a lot of hockey to follow and there's just not enough time to keep up with your favorite team and its prospects, who are often scattered across North America, and in some cases, the world. Fortunately, we've got you covered.

All season long, we'll bring you a prospect notebook to keep you up-to-date with both drafted players and those vying for the top spots in the 2019 NHL Draft. Here's how the season is kicking off.

In the Show

Ezra Shaw / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The youth takeover is in full effect. Veterans are being cut in training camp or waived to be sent to the minors and fresh blood is taking their place. More prospects than in years past have the opportunity to make their club's opening-night roster and make an impression on the big stage.

Kailer Yamamoto had a nine-game tryout with the Oilers last season before returning to the Spokane Chiefs of the WHL, but this year it seems he might stick in Edmonton. His nine preseason points - including six goals - tied him with Nashville Predators star Filip Forsberg for third overall, behind only teammates Connor McDavid and Ty Rattie.

Under the direction of new head coach Bill Peters, the Calgary Flames are engaging in a youth movement of sorts. After six points - four goals - in the preseason, rookie forward Dillon Dube has likely done enough to make the team, and chances are high that defenseman Juuso Valimaki will join him.

Both Brady Tkachuk and Alex Formenton have made the Ottawa Senators' opening-night roster. We may not know what the Senators are going to be this season, but here's a not-so-bold prediction: Tkachuk (and his big mouth and gritty play) will lead the team in penalty minutes, while also contributing on the score sheet.

Elias Pettersson was practically the only bright light in the abyss that was the Vancouver Canucks' preseason, and it appears he's on the fast track to adapting to the NHL game. You almost hate to waste him on the Canucks, who are about to embark on a "Lose For Hughes" campaign to bring 2018 seventh overall pick Quinn Hughes' brother, Jack, to Vancouver.

But then, with moves like these, it'll be hard to keep him down:

One interesting surprise: with injuries freeing up roster spots, it looks as though Jaret Anderson-Dolan might make the Los Angeles Kings' opening-night roster after making a great impression in the preseason. That's what many envisioned for Gabriel Vilardi before his back issues flared up again. Anderson-Dolan will likely get the typical nine-game look, and what happens after that may not only depend on how he plays, but also how quickly the other Kings players are able to return.

In the Minors

A significant number of top prospects get the chance to develop against a higher level of competition in the AHL this season, rather than in the junior leagues where they would likely dominate the game and learn very little.

Notable names include the Vegas Golden Knights' Erik Brannstrom, Colorado Avalanche's Martin Kaut, Philadelphia Flyers' Carter Hart, Detroit Red Wings' Filip Zadina, and Predators' Eeli Tolvanen.

The Class of 2019

Marissa Baecker / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Potential 2019 first-rounder Arthur Kaliyev (Hamilton Bulldogs, OHL) has started the season off with a bang, racking up 10 points, including a league-best six goals, through his first four games.

Out west, Kirby Dach of the Saskatoon Blades was named CHL Player of the Week for the first week of the regular season. Dach had seven points, including three goals, in the Blades' first two games of the year. One of those games was an 8-0 blowout of the Swift Current Broncos in which Dach had five points. Beyond the impressive skill set, Dach's high hockey IQ allows him to think and play the game at a fast pace, something that will greatly benefit him in the NHL.

Over at the U.S. National Team Development Program, top gun Jack Hughes has five points in three games. Teammate Matthew Boldy has six, including four goals. Keep your eye on Boldy this season. He's going to make the team that drafts him in June very happy.

Around the CHL

Montreal Canadiens prospect Nick Suzuki - acquired in the Max Pacioretty trade - had a hat trick Saturday night with the Owen Sound Attack of the OHL in their game against the Ottawa 67's.

In his first game back with the Mississauga Steelheads (OHL) since being sent back by the Florida Panthers, forward Owen Tippett had a hat trick and finished with four points. Fellow Panthers prospect in the OHL, Serron Noel of the Oshawa Generals, also had a hat trick with one coming on the penalty kill.

While Chicago Blackhawks defensive prospect Adam Boqvist made a strong argument for himself in the preseason, he was returned to the London Knights of the OHL. He's already making quite an impression:

In Other News ...

Mathieu Belanger / Getty Images Sport / Getty
  • Sunday night, the Prince Albert Raiders scored three goals in 20 seconds against the Saskatoon Blades. Ouch.
  • NCAA hockey has yet to begin, but the Avalanche had two prospects on the preseason All Hockey East Team (chosen by the Hockey East Writers and Broadcasters Association): Shane Bowers and Cale Makar.
  • Top 2020 prospect Alexis Lafreniere has seven points in four games for Rimouski of the QMJHL. Lafreniere is already drawing comparisons to Sidney Crosby, which are no doubt fueled by the fact he plays for Crosby's former junior team.

Hannah Stuart keeps a close eye on both drafted and draft-eligible prospects and can usually be found trying to learn more about hockey analytics. She has previously written for FanRag Sports, The Hockey Writers, and Hooked On Hockey Magazine, and can also be found at High Heels and High Sticks. Find her on Twitter at @HockeyWthHannah.

Copyright © 2018 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Make it fashion? NHL players’ personal style must walk fine line

The NHL's relationship with individuality, especially as it relates to personal style, can be a contentious one.

It remains the only major professional sports league in North America that requires players to wear suits and ties on game days, even writing that rule into the collective bargaining agreement "unless otherwise specified by the head coach or general manager."

Compare that to the NBA, which requires "business casual" attire on game days but, in practice, allows players to explore the limits of the term. From Dwyane Wade's varsity jacket or shawl-collar cardigan and checked pants to Russell Westbrook's athleisure or leather-jacket-plus-leather-pants combo, NBA players use attire to display their personalities.

Many NHLers are hesitant to draw attention to themselves in such a manner. "Flashy" clothing can be perceived as the player putting himself - the individual - above the collective, which is unacceptable in hockey's humble, team-first culture. No one knows this better than Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban.

A mainstay on lists of the best-dressed athletes within and beyond hockey, Subban isn't afraid to take serious fashion risks. Wide-brimmed hats and waistcoats are a consistent part of his wardrobe, and he's not afraid to wear pastel or patterned suits. His style-savvy approach earned him a spot on the cover of Sports Illustrated's Fashionable 50 issue.

"For me I think it's a huge gesture to be on the cover," Subban said in a recent radio interview with Sportsnet 590 The FAN. "I think that speaks for itself. There's a lot of fashionable athletes out there if you notice now compared to, let's say, 20 years ago.

"There probably were a few athletes - and I think of a few off the top of my head, Joe Namath being one, David Beckham, guys who really showed the style and kind of fashion through their profession and what they do. But nowadays you see more and more athletes, especially on the male side, that are stepping up and having an interest in how they look."

It's a smart move from a business standpoint too - style and authenticity are great ways for athletes to connect with fans.

"What may seem kinda crazy for other people is maybe normal for me," Subban said. "It's all relative to the player - the player, the athlete, the person, it just depends on what you like. I buy what I like and then I wear it."

But Subban's individuality comes with a price. He takes significant heat for breaking the mold and refusing to keep his head down. Much like criticism of the way he plays, criticism of him off the ice can quickly devolve into racially coded complaints.

Subban pays it no mind. Instead, he forges on and continues to show fans exactly who he is - someone with fashion sense elite enough to match his hockey skills.

__________

While the younger generation shows signs of following Subban’s lead - Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner's 1920s mobsters look leaps to mind - most players aren't so comfortable stepping outside the box, which maybe isn't shocking considering this kind of reaction.

Montreal-based menswear designer and image coach Daphnee Hanrahan suggests this is due to the sport's conservative culture. In locker rooms across North America, traditional suit colors like black, navy, or grey abound. Groups of players walking off buses and into arenas often congeal into a homogenous mass of dark merino wool, brown shoes, and headphones.

However, there are opportunities to showcase personality without rocking the boat too much. For game day, Hanrahan encourages her clients - a list that includes Roman Josi and Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators and James Neal of the Calgary Flames - to branch out in small ways, like by wearing a funky patterned tie or choosing unique suit colors.

"A couple years ago I did burgundy suits and then I came out with some green ones," Hanrahan recently told theScore. "It's a little bit different and it does create quite a bit of impact in a locker room."

In a sport as team-centric as hockey, Hanrahan points out, locker-room concerns are important for players to consider.

"It has to be something that guys are comfortable with because at the end of the day you are in a team setting," Hanrahan said. "If it's too loud, too disruptive to the entire team, I suggest that they shouldn't go for it. It's really about being respectful to your environment and picking something that you can showcase a bit of personality, but not going overboard."

According to Hanrahan, being respectful to the environment means considering context. She feels there is a difference between dressing for a game and dressing for a red-carpet event or All-Star weekend. The latter occasions are when she encourages her clients to step out of their comfort zones.

"If you look well put-together, that's worth a lot more than being out there and flamboyant," Hanrahan said. "Then, when the time is right and the place, the occasion is right ... I throw in a stylish item or pick a color that's a bit more bold."

Hanrahan dressed Rinne in a pale blue linen suit and loafers - no socks - for the 2018 NHL Awards. Her influence on Neal can be seen in his bevy of wildly patterned button-downs (sometimes worn under a suit, sometimes worn on their own). Josi regularly wears uniquely colored suits, and in 2016, she even got him into a khaki green short suit.

Perhaps one day fans will see Josi rocking a suit jacket, shorts, and sneakers on the way to the rink. Until then, it's all about colors and patterns.

__________

With NHL training camps about to open, a new class of rookies is in need of style advice. Hanrahan's first and most important tip? Make sure your suit fits.

"I see that all the time - they're walking around with things that are either too baggy, too tight, that look sloppy, or they just look a bit unprofessional," Hanrahan said. "They don't always realize that everybody is seeing them and that we see them on TV, because they're just walking into the rink or in front of a bus or car.

"It's more about taking care of what you own than thinking of what the next most stylish item that (you) should purchase is. The older guys with more experience, you see they put in that extra effort to be put together and they style their hair properly, and that is quite impactful - looking professional and looking like you're seriously going to work. It's very important because that is what they should be projecting."

While Florida Panthers rookie forward Owen Tippett feels that his time in the OHL prepared him to make the leap to the pros off and on the ice, he acknowledges there are some differences at the NHL level.

"Getting a taste of the NHL last year, you see what it takes and little things here and there that you can change to be at that next level full time," Tippett said.

Tippett says he likes to think a little bit outside the box when it comes to his suit choices, which leads to fun looks when paired with his Archie-Andrews-red hair.

"Obviously you wanna kinda be a standout guy," Tippett said. "It all depends on how you think you'd look ... My most recent (suit) would probably be a pretty flashy blue one I have."

Tippett, however, doesn't feel that the league's game-day dress code should follow the NBA and shift to business casual.

"I think the NHL's known for that professional look," Tippett said. "Around the league, everyone comes sharp-dressed and looking good, so I think it's good the way it is."

Still, there's some room for self-expression within that suit-and-tie dress code. And as the game slowly evolves to suit a faster, more up-tempo style, game-day fashion might just be evolving with it.

Hannah Stuart keeps a close eye on both drafted and draft-eligible prospects and can usually be found trying to learn more about hockey analytics. She has previously written for FanRag Sports, The Hockey Writers, and Hooked On Hockey Magazine, and can also be found at High Heels and High Sticks. Find her on Twitter at @HockeyWthHannah.

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

Copyright © 2018 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

NHL Prospect Big Board 1.0: Jack Hughes the runaway No. 1

It's here, baby: prospect rankings time.

The season is brand new, but for scouts and prospect evaluators, it never really stops.

Here are theScore's top 25 players for the 2019 NHL Draft. Outside of the top two, expect this to change as the season goes on and we get a better picture of who these players are. We'll be giving you updates throughout, with the next edition expanding to 50 players.

1. Jack Hughes

C | 5-foot-10 | 161 lbs | U.S. National Team Development Program

GP G A P
60 40 76 116

Hughes is the consensus top pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, and while anything's possible, not much can change that. His 116-point season is second only to Auston Matthews (117) in all-time single-season scoring performances in U.S. National Team Development Program history. His puck control looks effortless, his playmaking ability is superb, and, more than that, he's just plain fun to watch.

2. Kaapo Kakko

RW | 6-foot-1 | 181 lbs | TPS (Liiga, Jr. A SM-liiga)

GP G A P
38 25 30 55

While things aren't quite as set in stone for the No. 2 spot as they are for the first, Kakko's place is about as secure as it can be at this point. A surge from another player could change things, but right now there's still a gap between him and the next tier. Kakko has a deft scoring touch and a ton of playmaking ability thanks to his high-end vision, and he protects the puck well. He still has room to grow as a player, too.

3. Bowen Byram

D | 6-foot-1 | 192 lbs | Vancouver Giants (WHL)

GP G A P
60 6 21 27

Byram is a phenomenal skater who is, as things stand right now, the top defenseman in this year's draft class. His puck skills are excellent and he breaks the puck out easily, but he's also got pretty solid defensive awareness and positioning. He's composed, smart, and still working on improving areas of his game such as gap control and decision-making.

4. Alex Turcotte

C | 5-foot-11 | 194 lbs | USNTDP

GP G A P
58 18 45 63

Turcotte is part of a sizable list of USNTDP players who could go in the first round next June. He's a gifted playmaker with good offensive instincts, but he's strong without the puck as well. His acceleration is high-end and he works hard - he may not have an off switch. Improving his shot would make him even harder to pass up.

5. Dylan Cozens

C | 6-foot-3 | 176 lbs | Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL)

GP G A P
57 22 31 53

This is a stronger year for the WHL than we've seen recently, and while it starts with Byram, Cozens is nothing to sneeze at. The Hurricanes center recently impressed at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup, making his presence known on every inch of the ice in the gold medal game. He's a smart player, makes sharp passes, has an accurate shot, and is a terrific skater.

6. Peyton Krebs

LW | 5-foot-11 | 181 lbs | Kootenay Ice (WHL)

GP G A P
67 17 37 54

Krebs went first overall in the WHL's 2016 bantam draft, and it looks like he's going to go in the top half of the first round in 2019. He's a driven, creative playmaker who reads the ice well enough to take advantage of his opponents' weaknesses. He could stand to add a little muscle, but he's already a difference-maker.

7. Alex Newhook

C | 5-foot-11 | 183 lbs | Victoria Grizzlies (BCHL)

GP G A P
45 22 44 66

One fun thing about recent drafts is seeing more teams willing to take a chance on guys in leagues like the BCHL. This year, it'll be Newhook. He was the Rookie of the Year last season and is committed to Boston College. He's dangerously smart offensively, is a fantastic skater, and is also strong in his own end.

8. Ryan Suzuki

C | 6-foot-0 | 172 lbs | Barrie Colts (OHL)

GP G A P
64 14 30 44

A former first overall pick in the OHL Priority Selection Draft, Ryan Suzuki is the younger brother of Montreal Canadiens prospect Nick Suzuki. He's a high-end playmaker and a speedy skater, and though he doesn't shoot as often as he passes, he has a good shot. He should play a more significant role with the Colts this season. What he does with that role could have huge draft implications.

9. Kirby Dach

C | 6-foot-4 | 198 lbs | Saskatoon Blades (WHL)

GP G A P
52 7 39 46

At 6-foot-4, Dach already has "NHL size." That's not why he's this high on the list, though. He's a fluid skater, especially for his size, and his fantastic hands make him a dangerous playmaker. While Dach isn't really a scorer, he's got the smarts and offensive skills to make plays.

10. Anttoni Honka

D | 5-foot-10 | 170 lbs | JYP (Liiga)

GP G A P
20 2 7 9

Playing defense clearly runs in the Honka family. Anttoni is the younger brother of Dallas Stars defenseman Julius Honka, and while he's one of the older players in his draft class, he's got enough skill to be one of its top defenders. Honka has refined offensive instincts, loves to jump up into the play, and has the hockey smarts and creativity to hold his own at a higher level. He could stand to add some muscle, as he's on the smaller side, but he's a great skater. As long as he improves his defensive decision-making, there's no reason he won't be a solid choice next summer.

11. Matthew Boldy

LW | 6-foot-0 | 174 lbs | USNTDP

GP G A P
61 29 47 76

A creative playmaker who thinks the game at a high tempo. Adding strength before he heads to Boston College next season will improve his game.

12. Raphael Lavoie

C/LW | 6-foot-4 | 192 lbs | Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)

GP G A P
68 30 33 63

A smart power forward type with a heavy, accurate shot. He needs to improve his acceleration, but he's a dangerous player.

13. Vasily Podkolzin

RW | 5-foot-11 | 165 lbs | SKA-1946 St. Petersburg (MHL)

GP G A P
21 13 17 30

A solid skater who can both score and make plays. He also has respectable defensive awareness for a player of his age and size.

14. Cam York

D | 5-foot-11 | 165 lbs | USNTDP

GP G A P
59 8 30 38

A poised defender with strong puck-moving ability. A strong skater who can slow down to speed up the game and make a play happen at his pace.

15. Maxim Cajkovic

LW/RW | 5-foot-11 | 187 lbs | Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)

GP G A P
28 10 11 21

An explosive skater with high-end hockey smarts. Should get plenty of opportunities to make his case playing significant minutes in Saint John.

16. Cole Caufield

C/RW | 5-foot-6 | 154 lbs | USNTDP

GP G A P
59 54 26 80

A dangerous scorer who, at 5-6, is distinctly undersized compared to his peers. Has great offensive instincts and skating ability.

17. Victor Soderstrom

D | 5-foot-11 | 176 lbs | Brynas IF J18/J20 (J18 Elit/SuperElit)

GP G A P
16 3 3 6

A puck-moving defenseman with good offensive instincts. Decision-making in his own end could be improved.

18. Valentin Nussbaumer

C | 5-foot-11 | 165 lbs | Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL)

GP G A P
26 5 1 6

A smart forward with solid offensive ability who can control play. Just missed being eligible for the last draft, so he's one of the older players in this year's group.

19. Arthur Kaliyev

LW | 6-foot-2 | 190 lbs | Hamilton Bulldogs (OHL)

GP G A P
68 31 17 48

A power forward type whose instinct is to shoot first. Led all OHL rookies in shots on goal during the 2017-18 season with 208.

20. Jakob Pelletier

LW/RW | 5-foot-9 | 161 lbs | Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL)

GP G A P
60 23 38 61

A crafty playmaker and quick, skilled skater with great vision. Taken third overall in the 2017 QMJHL Draft.

21. Trevor Zegras

C | 5-foot-11 | 159 lbs | USNTDP

GP G A P
56 20 39 59

22. Philip Broberg

D | 6-foot-3 | 198 lbs | AIK J20 (SuperElit)

GP G A P
23 6 7 13

23. Matthew Robertson

D | 6-foot 3 | 201 lbs | Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)

GP G A P
67 7 17 24

24. Simon Holmstrom

RW | 5-foot-11 | 172 lbs | HV71 J20 (SuperElit)

GP G A P
28 11 19 30

25. Sasha Mutala

RW | 6-foot-1 | 198 lbs | Tri-City Americans (WHL)

GP G A P
68 11 15 26

Hannah Stuart keeps a close eye on both drafted and draft-eligible prospects and can usually be found trying to learn more about hockey analytics. She has previously written for FanRag Sports, The Hockey Writers, and Hooked On Hockey Magazine, and can also be found at High Heels and High Sticks. Find her on Twitter @HockeyWthHannah.

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

Copyright © 2018 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

5 takeaways from the Hlinka Gretzky Cup

For the first time in 20 years, the Hlinka Gretzky Cup (formerly known as the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup) was held in Canada in 2018. Though last week's tournament isn't an IIHF-sanctioned event, it does serve as a fun unofficial kickoff to the junior hockey season, and a great first look at a lot of draft-eligible players.

Canada defeated Sweden 6-2 on Saturday night to nab the gold medal. Russia claimed bronze, defeating the United States 5-4 in a hard-fought game earlier in the day.

Here are five things we learned from this year’s tournament.

The 2019 NHL Draft is going to be great

Sure, you've heard of Jack Hughes. Maybe you've even heard of Kaapo Kakko, the Finnish winger who's continually mentioned right after Hughes in early draft discussion. But the draft is more than its top two spots, and this tournament showed there's a lot to be excited about beyond Hughes and Kakko. While every deep draft gets compared to 2003's draft class, this year, that comparison might be deserved.

In no specific order, some 2019 draft-eligible tournament standouts include:

  • Canada: Ryan Suzuki (C), Dylan Cozens (C), Peyton Krebs (C), Bowen Byram (D), Kirby Dach (C)

  • United States: Arthur Kaliyev (LW), John Farinacci (C), Nicholas Robertson (C/LW), Josh Nodler (C)

  • Russia: Vasili Podkolzin (RW)

  • Sweden: Philip Broberg (D)

  • Slovakia: Maxim Cajkovic (RW/LW)

Alexis Lafreniere really is that good

Canada's captain isn't draft-eligible until 2020, but that hasn't stopped the spotlight from finding Lafreniere. He's the kind of player who brings fans to the edge of their seats, posing an obvious threat to score regardless of the situation. The winger from Rimouski Oceanic of the QMJHL set up the game-tying tally in the gold-medal game against Sweden and added two goals of his own, including the game-winner.

Lafreniere has that special quality all elite players have - something that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up when he has the puck. He's also got phenomenal hockey sense, outstanding playmaking skills, and a heavy shot.

This kid is gonna be special. Expect to see him on Canada's World Junior Championship roster.

The 2020 talent pool looks deep

Lafreniere was not alone in stealing the show. Several 2020 prospects captured the attention of an international audience, including Justin Barron, a defenseman for the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL. Barron was the youngest player on Team Canada, yet he finished the tournament tied with Mitchell Miller (USA) for most points by a defenseman (five). Barron is a great skater with excellent hockey sense that enables him to move the puck well and make smart decisions.

Sweden's duo of Lucas Raymond and Alexander Holtz were seemingly unstoppable. Both are solid skaters with excellent puck skills, and their offensive instincts made them Sweden's most effective forwards; when they were on the ice, it was difficult to take your eyes off them. Forward Daniil Gushchin of Russia also attracted attention by displaying his playmaking skills and unreal vision.

Vasili Podkolzin, Bowen Byram, and Nicholas Robertson are worth watching

Podkolzin, who had a hat trick against the U.S. in the bronze-medal game, paced the tournament with eight goals (Josh Williams of Canada was next with five) and with 11 points (three ahead of runner-up Lafreniere).

On defense, Byram made it very clear why the WHL player's name is near the top of many preliminary draft lists. The Vancouver Giants blue-liner is seemingly fearless - a dynamic puck mover with a high hockey IQ.

Robertson, brother of Dallas Stars prospect and Kingston Frontenac Jason Robertson, was a huge factor for the U.S., netting a hat trick in the semifinal against Canada. He plays for the Peterborough Petes of the OHL, and if this tournament was a sign of how he'll approach this season, he may rocket into the first round next June.

International tournaments need video review

A controversial call in the semifinal sent the USA-Canada game to overtime when Cozens scored to tie it for Canada - after the final buzzer sounded.

All teams participating in the tournament agreed to forgo video review due to concerns about the consistency of the technology. For that reason, the call made by officials on the ice had to stand, even though video clearly showed the goal was scored after time expired. When Williams scored in overtime, Canada won a trip to the gold-medal game while the U.S. was forced to settle for a chance at bronze.

Bad calls happen all the time at all levels of hockey. But it's 2018; there's no good reason not to have video review in a tournament where video was available.

Hannah Stuart keeps a close eye on both drafted and draft-eligible prospects and can usually be found trying to learn more about hockey analytics. She has previously written for FanRag Sports, The Hockey Writers, and Hooked On Hockey Magazine, and can also be found at High Heels and High Sticks. Find her on Twitter at @HockeyWthHannah.

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

Copyright © 2018 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

5 takeaways from the Hlinka Gretzky Cup

For the first time in 20 years, the Hlinka Gretzky Cup (formerly known as the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup) was held in Canada in 2018. Though last week's tournament isn't an IIHF-sanctioned event, it does serve as a fun unofficial kickoff to the junior hockey season, and a great first look at a lot of draft-eligible players.

Canada defeated Sweden 6-2 on Saturday night to nab the gold medal. Russia claimed bronze, defeating the United States 5-4 in a hard-fought game earlier in the day.

Here are five things we learned from this year’s tournament.

The 2019 NHL Draft is going to be great

Sure, you've heard of Jack Hughes. Maybe you've even heard of Kaapo Kakko, the Finnish winger who's continually mentioned right after Hughes in early draft discussion. But the draft is more than its top two spots, and this tournament showed there's a lot to be excited about beyond Hughes and Kakko. While every deep draft gets compared to 2003's draft class, this year, that comparison might be deserved.

In no specific order, some 2019 draft-eligible tournament standouts include:

  • Canada: Ryan Suzuki (C), Dylan Cozens (C), Peyton Krebs (C), Bowen Byram (D), Kirby Dach (C)

  • United States: Arthur Kaliyev (LW), John Farinacci (C), Nicholas Robertson (C/LW), Josh Nodler (C)

  • Russia: Vasili Podkolzin (RW)

  • Sweden: Philip Broberg (D)

  • Slovakia: Maxim Cajkovic (RW/LW)

Alexis Lafreniere really is that good

Canada's captain isn't draft-eligible until 2020, but that hasn't stopped the spotlight from finding Lafreniere. He's the kind of player who brings fans to the edge of their seats, posing an obvious threat to score regardless of the situation. The winger from Rimouski Oceanic of the QMJHL set up the game-tying tally in the gold-medal game against Sweden and added two goals of his own, including the game-winner.

Lafreniere has that special quality all elite players have - something that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up when he has the puck. He's also got phenomenal hockey sense, outstanding playmaking skills, and a heavy shot.

This kid is gonna be special. Expect to see him on Canada's World Junior Championship roster.

The 2020 talent pool looks deep

Lafreniere was not alone in stealing the show. Several 2020 prospects captured the attention of an international audience, including Justin Barron, a defenseman for the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL. Barron was the youngest player on Team Canada, yet he finished the tournament tied with Mitchell Miller (USA) for most points by a defenseman (five). Barron is a great skater with excellent hockey sense that enables him to move the puck well and make smart decisions.

Sweden's duo of Lucas Raymond and Alexander Holtz were seemingly unstoppable. Both are solid skaters with excellent puck skills, and their offensive instincts made them Sweden's most effective forwards; when they were on the ice, it was difficult to take your eyes off them. Forward Daniil Gushchin of Russia also attracted attention by displaying his playmaking skills and unreal vision.

Vasili Podkolzin, Bowen Byram, and Nicholas Robertson are worth watching

Podkolzin, who had a hat trick against the U.S. in the bronze-medal game, paced the tournament with eight goals (Josh Williams of Canada was next with five) and with 11 points (three ahead of runner-up Lafreniere).

On defense, Byram made it very clear why the WHL player's name is near the top of many preliminary draft lists. The Vancouver Giants blue-liner is seemingly fearless - a dynamic puck mover with a high hockey IQ.

Robertson, brother of Dallas Stars prospect and Kingston Frontenac Jason Robertson, was a huge factor for the U.S., netting a hat trick in the semifinal against Canada. He plays for the Peterborough Petes of the OHL, and if this tournament was a sign of how he'll approach this season, he may rocket into the first round next June.

International tournaments need video review

A controversial call in the semifinal sent the USA-Canada game to overtime when Cozens scored to tie it for Canada - after the final buzzer sounded.

All teams participating in the tournament agreed to forgo video review due to concerns about the consistency of the technology. For that reason, the call made by officials on the ice had to stand, even though video clearly showed the goal was scored after time expired. When Williams scored in overtime, Canada won a trip to the gold-medal game while the U.S. was forced to settle for a chance at bronze.

Bad calls happen all the time at all levels of hockey. But it's 2018; there's no good reason not to have video review in a tournament where video was available.

Hannah Stuart keeps a close eye on both drafted and draft-eligible prospects and can usually be found trying to learn more about hockey analytics. She has previously written for FanRag Sports, The Hockey Writers, and Hooked On Hockey Magazine, and can also be found at High Heels and High Sticks. Find her on Twitter at @HockeyWthHannah.

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

Copyright © 2018 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Looking ahead to camp: 1 prospect to watch from each Western Conference team

We know who to watch for in the east. Now let’s take a look at Western Conference prospects with a shot at making an impact at training camp this fall.

Related: 1 prospect to watch from each Eastern Conference team

Avalanche: D Conor Timmins, 19

Two Avalanche prospects who immediately leap to mind are Cale Makar and Shane Bowers. As they’re both NCAA players and won’t be at training camp, focus shifts to Conor Timmins. While Timmins isn’t ready for the NHL yet, he has a promising career ahead of him, and (provided he’s healthy) camp will be an opportune moment for both management and fans to get a glimpse of what his future might look like.

Blackhawks: C/W Dylan Sikura, 23

Sikura is on the older side, but he’s only played five games for the Blackhawks thus far. With management making some questionable forward signings this offseason, it’s not out of the question to think Sikura could be a difference-maker for Chicago next year. A solid camp could even put him in the top six to start the campaign.

Blues: C Robert Thomas, 19

Thomas is ready to make the jump to the NHL and should see significant time this season. And with the Blues’ acquisitions of Ryan O’Reilly and Tyler Bozak, he can make the transition without the weight of carrying a top line. That is, unless he immediately shows himself ready to do so.

Canucks: C/W Elias Pettersson, 19

Pettersson is in the top tier of drafted prospects right now. That’s good for the Canucks, who are desperately in need of a player (or several) of Pettersson’s caliber. With that said, this likely isn’t going to be a great season for Vancouver. Hopefully, fans will just enjoy watching Pettersson, and not fall victim to the Oilers fan base's curse of running a promising young player out of town when he doesn’t turn the team around single-handedly.

Coyotes: C Dylan Strome, 21

(Photo courtesy: Getty Images)

This is a make-or-break year for Strome. Anyone who has paid attention to his progress in recent years should be coming down heavily on the side of "make." His production in 21 NHL games has been criticized, but his final 10 contests with the Coyotes last season gave fans - and likely the organization - a glimpse at the Strome they’d been hoping for. Camp is the perfect time for him to take the reins and prove that those last several appearances weren’t merely a flash in the pan.

Ducks: C Sam Steel, 20

Steel was a huge steal for the Ducks at 30th overall in 2016 and has spent nearly every minute of his playing time since then proving it. In 2016-17, he scored 131 points in 66 games to capture the WHL regular-season scoring title. Expect a solid camp from Steel this fall. While he may make a short stop in San Diego to play for the Ducks’ AHL team, it won’t be long before he’s suiting up regularly in Anaheim.

Flames: D Juuso Valimaki, 19

(Photo courtesy: USA TODAY Sports)

Valimaki made preseason appearances with the Flames last season. This year he wants to take it one step further and stay in the NHL. His high-end hockey sense and strong skating might be enough to catapult him over some of Calgary's defensive depth. If it isn’t, he turns 20 in October, so he can be assigned to the AHL rather than return to the WHL’s Tri-City Americans.

Golden Knights: C Cody Glass, 19

Glass wants to make the jump to the NHL this season. If he doesn’t, he’ll have to return to the WHL. He’s in that awkward in-between stage, too good for the CHL and too young for the AHL. He’s more confident than last year, he has more muscle, and with a strong showing in camp, he could weasel his way onto the Golden Knights’ opening-night roster. Whether he can book his ticket this year or is forced to wait until till next, Vegas fans should be excited about this kid.

Jets: RW/LW Kristian Vesalainen, 19

(Photo courtesy: Getty Images)

Vesalainen isn’t signed to an entry-level contract yet, but by the time training camp rolls around he should be. While the power forward likely won’t be an NHL regular this year, his size, skating, and puck skills make him an attractive call-up option for the Jets - provided he makes a good impression in camp.

Kings: C Gabe Vilardi, 18

News broke Sunday that Vilardi’s back issues have flared up again and he won’t be participating in the World Junior Summer Series for Team Canada, but he is expected to be ready for training camp. Kings fans should hope he is because Vilardi’s offensive abilities are quietly fantastic. If he can stay healthy, he’s got a good shot at contributing at the NHL level.

Oilers: D Evan Bouchard, 18

(Photo courtesy: Getty Images)

If the Oilers remain true to form, Bouchard will probably stick with the big club this season. Unlike some past prospects Edmonton has rushed to the NHL, however, Bouchard is probably ready for consistent NHL minutes. Keep a close watch on him during camp, because even with the (debatable) knocks on his skating, he’s got a decent chance at outplaying someone like Kris Russell.

Predators: LW/RW Eeli Tolvanen, 19

There’s a good chance Tolvanen snags a full-time NHL spot this season. He wants it; the Predators want it. What he’ll do with it is another question entirely. At times it seemed like he was sleepwalking through this summer’s prospect development camp, but Nashville could use more scoring on the wing. If Tolvanen lives up to his skill level, he could be a nice addition there.

Sharks: D Ryan Merkley, 17

Barring some strange series of events, Merkley isn’t going to see much time in the NHL this season. That doesn’t matter; pay attention to him at camp anyway. He’s such a polarizing prospect that the opportunity to see how he works within an NHL structure alongside other big-league players, is a captivating one. On the one hand, he’s thrilling offensively; on the other, his head coach once sent him to the dressing room during a game. Merkley has potential; how he uses it remains to be seen.

Stars: D Miro Heiskanen, 19

The Stars aren't just slightly enamored with Heiskanen, they love him to the point that they were reportedly unwilling to include him in a potential trade for Erik Karlsson. That’s a lot for a kid to live up to, but Heiskanen just might have it in him. He’s certainly NHL ready, at any rate.

Wild: LW/RW Jordan Greenway, 21

Last season was a big one for Greenway. He played for Team USA in PyeongChang, finished out his NCAA season with a Hockey East title, and signed his entry-level contract with the Wild, playing six regular-season games and five playoff contests. Now it’s time to show what he can do in a full season. While it’s possible that Greenway spends some time in the AHL, it seems unlikely at this point

Copyright © 2018 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

Looking ahead to camp: 1 prospect to watch from each Eastern Conference team

NHL training camps won't convene for another two months, but it's never too early to look ahead.

Below, we highlight one up-and-coming prospect from every team in the Eastern Conference who's worth keeping an eye on throughout summer tournaments and when things get started in September. The Western Conference edition will be published Monday.

Blue Jackets: RW Vitaly Abramov, 20

Last season, Abramov became the highest-scoring import player in QMJHL history. Though he'll likely begin the season in the AHL, it shouldn't be long before his elite hockey smarts and superior puckhandling skills make an NHL appearance, and he may even push for a roster spot in September.

Bruins: C Ryan Donato, 22

Donato is an intriguing name to watch this season. He was excused from the latest Bruins development camp after a season that included an Olympic appearance with Team USA - which saw him net six points, including five goals - and 15 games with Boston, including three in the playoffs. He was also back in the gym alongside Bruins veterans just a week and a half after their postseason elimination. Expect him to contend for a spot with the big club come September.

Canadiens: C Jesperi Kotkaniemi, 18

When the Canadiens drafted Kotkaniemi third overall in June, it was clear they viewed him as a key part of the solution to their woes at center. Whether he'll be an immediate part of that solution remains to be seen, but Kotkaniemi is smart and dangerous offensively. He held his own against professionals in the Finnish Liiga, and will have the opportunity to prove he can do the same in the NHL.

Capitals: G Ilya Samsonov, 21

Samsonov, the Capitals' highly touted goalie prospect, is finally coming to North America. While the initial plan was likely to start him in the AHL (which is a good idea), the offseason trade of Philipp Grubauer could shake things up a bit. Either way, finally having Samsonov on this side of the pond is exciting.

Devils: RW Joey Anderson, 20

Anderson signed his entry-level contract with the Devils in April after winning an NCAA championship with the University of Minnesota-Duluth. He's yet to make an appearance for New Jersey, but there are roster spots up for grabs this fall. Anderson is the kind of player to take that opportunity and run with it.

Flyers: C Morgan Frost, 19

The Flyers still need a third-line center, and reports indicate they're considering filling that spot from within the organization. One intriguing option is Frost, who's just 19 but is coming off a strong season with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. He's an incredibly smart player and has added considerable muscle over the last year. Whether he can snag an NHL spot just yet is up in the air, but it should be fun to watch him try.

Hurricanes: RW Andrei Svechnikov, 18

Saying Svechnikov could completely change the direction of this team is a heavy burden, but it's not far from the truth. For a long while, it's felt like the Hurricanes just needed one thing to put them over the top. With his dynamic, take-no-prisoners style of play, Svechnikov could be it. His 0.68 even-strength goals per game in the OHL last season was an almost comically good rate. Get excited to see how his game translates to the NHL.

Islanders: LW Kieffer Bellows, 20

Making the switch from the NCAA to the WHL was clearly the right choice for Bellows. It gave him a chance to play a longer season while acclimating to the more intense NHL and AHL pace. He's 20, so he won't have to return to the junior ranks if the Isles send him down. Given the loss of John Tavares and the signing of several depth forwards, however, there's a chance Bellows could play himself into an NHL roster spot at camp.

Lightning: RW Taylor Raddysh, 20

Who won't be exciting to watch for the Lightning at camp this fall? That's the real question. Taylor Raddysh is probably the one to keep an eye on, however. He finished his OHL career with the Greyhounds, and while the Syracuse Crunch are likely his next destination, it wouldn't be shocking to see him make a few injury call-up appearances this season.

Maple Leafs: D Timothy Liljegren, 19

There are almost too many exciting Maple Leafs prospects to choose from amid Toronto's impressive turnaround. Timothy Liljegren was a particularly good get on defense at No. 17 in 2017, and while he probably isn't NHL-ready yet, fans will enjoy getting a taste of what the future holds during camp. He had a pretty solid first season with the Marlies, and will only get better.

Panthers: C Henrik Borgstrom, 20

Borgstrom made his debut in March, playing in four games for the Panthers. It's not a stretch to think he's ready for a full season at the NHL level. The 20-year-old is a dynamic playmaker and brings a high-end offensive skill set that Florida was sorely lacking last season.

Penguins: C Teddy Blueger, 23

Blueger's been holding his own against NHL regulars in Da Beauty League, a Minnesota-based summer league that's grown rapidly in popularity via social media. He's still got some time in the AHL ahead of him, especially given the Penguins' depth at center, but he's one to keep an eye on during camp and beyond.

Rangers: C Filip Chytil, 18

Chytil played nine games with the Rangers last season. With New York in the midst of an on-the-fly rebuild, that number will likely be much higher in 2018-19. He's a slick and skilled offensive player who can think the game at high speeds - something new Rangers coach David Quinn will appreciate.

Red Wings: RW Filip Zadina, 18

Zadina was a tied-with-a-bow gift for the Red Wings at No. 6 overall, and there's a pretty solid chance he'll start this season on their roster. He's also just plain fun to watch, so fans should get excited to see him alongside NHL regulars even if he isn't quite ready yet.

Sabres: C Casey Mittelstadt, 19

Choosing Rasmus Dahlin as the Sabres' prospect to watch feels like cheating. Fortunately, there's another easy pick in their pool - Mittelstadt. Sure, he's already played in six games and had five points, and he's expected to be a roster mainstay, but he still counts as a prospect, and he's poised to make a splash.

Senators: C Logan Brown, 20

The Senators are kind of a mess. For some prospects, that might be a golden opportunity. Brown, who's coming off an injury-shortened season that included a bronze medal at the world juniors, is one player who should take advantage of that opportunity. Brown will undoubtedly go into camp with the goal of using his high-end playmaking skills to secure an NHL spot, rather than settling for playing in Belleville.

Hannah Stuart keeps a close eye on both drafted and draft-eligible prospects and can usually be found trying to learn more about hockey analytics. She has previously written for FanRag Sports, The Hockey Writers, and Hooked On Hockey Magazine, and can also be found at High Heels and High Sticks. Find her on Twitter at @HockeyWthHannah.

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

Copyright © 2018 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.