Taking a look at some potential impact NHL rookies, breaking down the Top 10 NHL Draft prospects for 2016 and a look at some OHL alumni who could be making noise in the NHL sooner than later.
Tuesday, August 25th, 2015
Long overdue for a prospects ramblings but with no better time as the hockey season approaches, I am back to chime in with some quick thoughts and opinions.
With the London Knights loaded up with some high end 2016 NHL Draft talent in Max Jones, Matthew Tkachuk (son of Keith), Victor Mete and Olli Juolevi [all likely 1st round selections] to play alongside the slippery Mitch Marner (Toronto Maple Leafs), it appears it’ll be a fun year in the Ontario league.
Playing down the road in Sarnia, Nikita Korostelev (Toronto Maple Leafs) will look to prove to the world that he was worthy of a higher selection then the 7th round where he eventually got scooped up. He’ll need to improve his skating, particularly his separation gear and lateral agility, to be a real threat at the next level but his sniping skills are high end. Pavel Zacha, 6th overall to New Jersey, signed his entry-level contract and has professional options for next season but if he returns to Sarnia, him and Korostelev, along with potential Top 3 2016 NHL Draft pick Jakob Chychrun and sleeper 1st rounder Jordan Kyrou are the makings of a fairly strong Sting team. New Jersey prospect Josh Jacob has also switched to the Ontario Hockey League after leaving the NCAA so he’ll improve their blue line.
Staying in the OHL Western Conference, the Windsor Spitfires are doing what they can to remain competitive and after officially signing Arizona Coyotes’ 2nd round selection (2015), Christian Fishcer, the team took a big step forward. He’ll join former teammate Luke Kirwan (2016 NHL Draft eligible) and Logan Brown (potential top 10 2016 pick) as the go-to players for the Spits. Windsor fans are hoping that Clayton Keller, another potential 2016 Top 10 selection, opts out of his Boston University commitment to join the Spits lineup too but that hasn’t happened. Keller is an offensive dynamo in a similar style as Mitch Marner and Patrick Kane so keep an eye on him. I personally have him ranked very high.
Julius Nattinen (Anaheim prospect) will join the Barrie Colts for the 2015-16.
Leafs fans remain anxious about the future of Jeremy Bracco but for the time being, the young skilled playmaker remains adament that he’s keeping his NCAA commitment and won’t be playing for the Kitchener Rangers. It’s important to note that these “commitments” are never 100% and until he dons that jersey, there are always other options for these young talents. Stay tuned.
Sticking with the Maple Leafs, Pension Plan Puppets just released their Top 25 under 25. Have a look as they count down the Blue and White’s finest young players. Jeremy Bracco comes in at 14th, a spot I feel is way too low and he’ll eventually prove them wrong.
With the NHL season just around the corner, I will be releasing my Preliminary 2016 NHL Draft rankings shortly but I did give Yahoo Sports! my Top 10 mid-summer rankings and that can be found here. Give it a read and let me know what you think! There’s no Connor McDavid but other than that, It’s a very promising draft class with some HIGH END offensive talents in all positions at the top of the draft.
ICYMI, top ranked draft prospect for 2016, Auston Matthews is unprecedently taking his game to the Swiss pro leagues this fall opting not to play in North America.
Last week, I made my Puck Daddy debut as I broke down a number of potential impact rookies to watch for the 2015-16 NHL Season. Included in the list are obvious names to prospect followers like Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel, Max Domi, Nikolaj Ehlers, Sam Bennett and Kevin Fiala but throw in names like Dylan Larkin, Robby Fabbri, Artemy Panarin and Andrei Vasilevskiy and you’ve got a mixed pot of exciting Calder candidates. You may read the full article here.
There were a few names that I did leave out that deserve mentioning as well including Alexander Khokhlachev (BOS), Colin Miller (BOS), Shayne Gotisbehere (PHI), Mike Reilly (MIN), and Josh Morrissey (WPG)
On top of the above mentioned players, I fired out some tweets this morning on some of my favourite OHL alumni who should be making an NHL impact soon and some other babble…here’s the run down of tweets….
All via my @RossyYoungblood Twitter account. Feel free to engage anytime!
Some of the notable strong developers from the OHL recently have been Remi Elie (DAL), Tyler Bertuzzi (DET), Chris Bigras (COL). None were high end OHL picks but all have solid pro upside!
Elie, Bertuzzi and Bigras are proof that smarts and hard work take you a long way. Skill is imminent.
That trio (Elie, Bertuzzi and Bigras) are just three OHLers who come to mind as players who'll be smart/valuable pros
Other recent OHL alumni who should solidify themselves in the NHL soon are: Cousins (PHI), Trocheck (FLA), Boucher (NJ), Josh Leivo (TOR)
OHL has some recent exciting grads that could make noise over next few yrs – Athanasiou (DET),Goldobin (SJ), DeAngelo (TB), Tolchinsky (CAR)
More exciting OHL grads to keep tabs on: C.Brown (TOR), Fabbri (STL), Domi (ARI), Nurse (EDM)…some more common names than others
VERY interested to see how Max Domi translates to the NHL/AHL. At his best, he's an all-world offensive talent. At his worst, he’s frustrating to watch. Even through the frustrating moments of Domi's game, he always finds a way to be a difference maker and that'll be his key to pro success
Robby Fabbri and Nikolay Goldobin are two skilled potential NHL rookies that are high on my list. Might take some time but upside is huge
Similar to Domi, defenseman Anthony DeAngelo is a MUST WATCH heading into pro hockey. ELITE offensive tools. Dynamic. Fun to watch! With DeAngelo, I could see him making an immediate impact if he remains focused on the task at hand. Can't teach his skill.He'll make noise!
Frontenacs forward Sam Bennett might have contended for Calder last season if he didn't injure his shoulder. Should be in the mix this year
Keep an eye out for OHL grad Colin Miller as a potential defensive breakout in the NHL. Showed last yr that he's among best young D. After shipping out Dougie Hamilton, there's room in Boston for defensemen so Colin Miller will need to cash in on his opportunity! Miller plays a smart puck moving type. Not a pushover defensively so he'll earn valuable minutes eventually.
Cole Cassels is another dandy. Very good pro upside. I like him better than some other high end Canucks' prospects
Not sure when he'll arrive in the NHL but when he does, Christian Dvorak (ARI) will quickly establish himself as a valuable team member.
I don't get to live Mooseheads games but fans will really like import Otto Somppi -intuitive attacker, slick in-close puck skills,cycles well. Otto Somppi was a standout for Finland at the U17s last year. Very determined attacker. Thinks game well. Good in possession. Led offence for Finland.
2016 NHL Draft prospect Otto Somppi arrives at Halifax camp:
Patrik Laine, a huge skilled top 10 prospect for the 2016 draft, is already making waves overseas scoring two goals and an assist last week. Video highlights here.
Thanks for reading,