2019 has been an exciting year in the world of prospects. With the year coming to a close on Wednesday, I thought that today’s Prospect Ramblings would be a good opportunity to review some of the biggest stories from the last 360 odd days in the world of hockey prospects.
10. 2017 Draft Prospects
There might be some recency bias at play in my suggestion that the 2017 draft class has been one of the top-10 stories of 2019. This week I wrote a piece in DobberHockey’s The Journey, detailing what I see as one of the most volatile shifts in prospect valuation of a particular group. The 2017 draft was advertised as a deep class, and over the last two years of development, we’ve witnessed ample support of that adage.
9. Ryan Merkley
Detailed discussions of prospects’ personality traits are somewhat of a buzz-topic for those of us who are on the outside, looking in. That is to say that most of us hear stories and rumors, but the truth about players who are said to have “bad attitudes”, or “personality issues” usually doesn’t come out for years, or ever. The Ryan Merkley stories are still just that, but the proof is in the pudding, and the young Sharks defenseman had a hard time finding an OHL home for the 2019-20 campaign before finally landing in London.
Merkley seems to be on the right track as far as on-ice evidence goes, but his “attitude” will remain a concern as he makes his way to the NHL.
8. Elite Goaltending Prospects
Spencer Knight was the first goalie selected inside the top-15 of an NHL Entry draft since 2010 when Dallas selected Jack Campbell at 11th overall. 17-year-old Yaroslav Askarov is another netminder who is taunting us with his draft stock – the Russian has been mentioned regularly inside top-15 draft rankings, and as high as seventh overall in some. The brotherhood of scouts and evaluators have often taken exception to young goaltenders, yet it appears as though these two have proven enough to buck the trend.