Prospect Ramblings – AHL prospects to watch in the Atlantic and Central

Peter Harling

2016-04-23

Anthony Mantha

As the Calder Cup playoffs have fully geared up, it is always a matter of curiosity to see which players may be playing their final game in the AHL. While it is by no means a certainty, the Calder Cup is a chance where prospects get to show what they can do when it matters most. With some players at the point where this is little to prove in the minor league level, let us take a look at some names who may be NHL-bound next season.

Specifically, this week I’ll be looking at the Atlantic and Central Divisions of the AHL – next week, stay tuned for the North Division and the Pacific Divisions.

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ATLANTIC DIVISION

Madison Bowey (WSH) has had a strong season with the Hershey Bears, but may not be ready for prime time. Posting four goals and 29 points over 70 games this season, with a plus-22 rating, the former Kelowna Rocket has had an impressive freshman campaign – however, with the Capitals depth on defense, there is little need to rush him.

The same may not be said for Jakub Vrana (WSH), however – after a nearly point-per-game season with the Bears, the young left winger may be ready to make the jump should a top-six opportunity present itself in training camp. Though small in stature, Vrana has excellent offensive tools including solid playmaking abilities and a solid wrist shot.

Rocco Grimaldi (FLA) is typically known for two things – great skill and small stature. Standing a mere 5-6, Grimaldi possesses the kind of talent that many coaches dream about. In his second professional season after a career at University of North Dakota, the diminutive winger had a strong opening game of the playoffs by posting three assists against the Hersey Bears. Despite seeing time with the Panthers this season, Grimaldi will be looking to lock down a roster spot in 2016-17.

Alexander Khokhlachev (BOS) may be making his strongest case yet for a roster spot next season. In his fourth year with the Providence Bruins, the Moscow-native is coming off a 68 point in 60 game season where he was an offensive catalyst finishing second in team scoring. Seizing a roster spot will be no easy feat, as he will be battling for a third-line role behind incumbents David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron – a role already held by fellow prospect Ryan Spooner.

Though many could call the handling of this young man early in the 2015-16 campaign, Daniel Sprong (PIT) has returned to the professional level to make a statement. After being returned to the Charlottetown Islanders of the QMJHL after making the team out of camp, many questioned the club on its treatment of the winger. Openly criticized in the media, then demoted to his junior club, the Dutch-born forward produced a 15 goal and 44 point season in just 31 games with Charlottetown. Upon returning to the pro ranks, Sprong has produced two goals in two