2020-21 DobberProspects Organizational Rankings: 31-26

by Peter Harling on May 17, 2020
  • Feature Story
  • 2020-21 DobberProspects Organizational Rankings: 31-26

What NHL franchise has the best prospects? That can be a difficult and subjective question to answer.

To give it our best shot, the senior staff at DobberProspects has collaborated to give our personal rankings for each team. With that we have established a consensus ranking.

Peter Harling (Content Manager) has put together a team consisting of Cam Robinson (Managing Editor), Jokke Nevalainen (Director of European Scouting), Tony Ferrari (Director of North American Scouting), Brayden Olafson (Jr. Associate Editor), and Pat Quinn (Associate Editor).

The process for the final rankings consisted of each writer submitting their teams prospect rankings. Every NHL team scored no less than ten top prospects. However, to find organizations that have depth as well as quality we allowed writers to include additional prospects  (up to a top 15) if they felt they were fantasy relevant. Another bonus we awarded teams was if they had roster players under 21-years-old that had established themselves as NHL players, such as Andrei Svechnikov. Players older than 25-years-old were excluded. For the players ranked, they would be scored between 1-10, a ten being a potential franchise player. The total of all the scores determine the overall team score.

This Series of articles will release the results in a count down of 5-6 teams per article, revealing the teams overall score, each writers score, top prospects, and an overview or outlook of the future.

Starting the count down from 31-26

 

31. Pittsburgh Penguins – 36.1Pittsburgh Penguins logo courtesy of 1000logos.net

Brayden – 38.8

Peter – 31

Tony – 36

Cam – 35

Jokke – 35

Pat – 41

Prospect Depth Chart

Left Wing

Center

Right Wing

Samuel Poulin

Jordy Bellerive

Nathan Legare

Filip Hallander

Justin Almedia

Valtteri Puustinen

Sam Miletic

Teddy Blueger

Kasper Bjorkqvist

 Drew O’Connor

Nikita Pavlychev

Jan Drozg

Judd Caufield

Sam Lafferty

Anthony Angello

Graham Knott

Linus Olund

Riley Barber

Adam Johnson

Thomas Di Pauli

Radim Zohorna

     

Defensemen

Goaltender

Defensemen

Pierre-Oliver Joseph

Emil Larmi

Lukas Bengtsson

Clayton Phillips

Casey DeSmith

John Marino

Juuso Riikola

 

William Reilly

Cam Lee

   

Niclas Almari

   

Ryan Jones

   

Top Ten Prospects

  1. Samuel Poulin, LW/RW – Complete player that could be in NHL in 2020-21
  2. Filip Hallander, C/W – Second season in SHL, limited by injury but played a bigger role.
  3. Pierre-Oliver Joseph, D – AHL rookie had good development, has top four upside.
  4. Nathan Legare, RW – Upside  of a top six power forward, floor of a bottom six grinder.
  5. Valtteri Puustinen, LW – Undersized but speedy and flashy offensive upside.
  6. Jordy Bellerive, C – Free agent had solid rookie season in AHL
  7. Sam Miletic, LW – RFA looking for a new contract. Limited upside.
  8. Kasper Bjorkqvist, RW/LW – Injury limited rookie season in AHL to just six games.
  9. Drew O’Connor, LW – Signed as a free agent from NCAA, was IVY League Player-of-Year
  10. Jan Drozg, LW – Long term prospect needs work, but has upside.

Other players who received votes

Judd Caufield, Nikita Pavlychev, Anthony Angello, Justin Almedia, Linus Olund, Wil Reilly,

Roster Players 21 and Under

None.

The Penguins have been in a “win now” mentality for as long as the core has revolved around Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. While this had bore fruit of several Stanley Cup Championships, the cost has come at the expense of trading away draft picks. The organization has only made two selection in the first round since 2013. One of those picks was Kasperi Kapanen who was traded to Toronto in the Phil Kessel trade. Their 2019 21st overall pick of Samuel Poulin is their top prospect by a long shot. He could be NHL ready for the 2020-21 season. To help offset the draft, Pittsburgh has been active signing free agent prospects such as Jordy Bellerive, Sam Miletic, and Zach Aston-Reese. Beyond Poulin the prospect pool is pretty thin with little optimism for the future. When the bottom falls out on this team after Crosby and Malkin age out, the Penguins will need to rebuild again through several years of lottery picks.

30. Washington Capitals – 36.3 

Brayden – 41.3

Peter – 28

Tony – 36

Cam – 33

Jokke – 35

Pat – 47

Prospect Depth Chart

Left Wing

Center

Right Wing

Daniel Sprong

Connor McMichael

Brett Leason

Axel Jonsson-Fjallby

Aliaksei Protas

Kody Clark

Shane Gersich

Garrett Pilon

Damien Riat

Beck Malenstyn

Brian Pinho

Riley Sutter

Joe Snively

 

Eric Florchuk

     

Defensemen

Goaltender

Defensemen

Alex Alexeyev

Vitek Vanecek

Martin Hugo Has

Martin Fehervary

Mitchell Gibson

 

Lucas Johansen

   

Bobby Nardella

   

Top Ten Prospects 

  1. Connor McMichael, C – Had a monster season close to two PPG. Dominated the OHL.
  2. Alex Alexeyev, D – Capitals will take his development slower due to contracts on  back end.
  3. Aliaksei Protas, C – Break-out second WHL season, might be one of the steals of the draft.
  4. Daniel Sprong LW/RW – Should be in the NHL but the Capitals have to make room.
  5. Brett Leason, RW – Disappointed in year one, will need to progress in year two.
  6. Martin Fehervary, D – Will be in the NHL but the upside is limited.
  7. Garrett Pilon, C – Slowly getting better and better in the AHL.
  8. Lucas Johansen, D – Injuries have seen him surpassed by a number of prospects.
  9. Vitek Vanecek, G – Improved on solid 2018-19 AHL season and may give Samsonov a run. 
  10. Kody Clark, RW – Injuries are limiting him, he needs a healthy season.

Other player who received votes

Mitchell Gibson, Damien Riat, Axel Jonsson-Fjallby, Martin Has

Roster Players 21 and Under

None.

Similar to the Penguins, the Capitals have also been in a win now mode with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom as the core. However, the Capitals have only missed picking in the first round of the draft twice in the past 18 years. The Capitals have also had arguably pretty decent draft success if you look at the number of games played from the players they have picked between 2009 and 2014. The problem they have faced is consistently late round selections. Their highest pick in the past five drafts was 22nd overall. Washington may have found a gem with the 25th pick in the 2019 draft in McMichael. The Scarborough native had a breakout season for the London Knights posting over 100 points in the shortened season. The 19-year-old is going back to the OHL to dominate again unless he cracks the Caps roster, which is doubtful. Like Pittsburgh, it thins out significantly after their top prospect.

29. San Jose Sharks – 44.6

Brayden – 46.1

Peter – 42

Tony – 43.5

Cam – 37

Jokke – 48

Pat – 55

Prospect Depth Chart

Left Wing

Center

Right Wing

Jonathan Dahlen

Sasha Chmelevski

Joachim Blichfield

Ivan Chekhovich

Noah Gregor

Danil Yurtaikin

Jayden Halbgewachs

Maxim Letunov

Vladislav Kotkov

John Leonard

Alex True

Jonny Brodzinski

Dillon Hamaliuk

Scott Reedy

Anthony Greco

Yegor Spiridonov

Antti Suomela

 

Lean Bergmanh

Fredrik Handemark

 
     

Defensemen

Goaltender

Defensemen

Artemi Kniazev

Alexei Melnichuk

Ryan Merkley

Brinson Pasichnuk

Josef Korenar

Jeremy Roy

Mario Ferraro

Zach Emond

Nicolas Meloche

Tony Sund

 

Nick DeSimone

Top Ten Prospects

  1. Ryan Merkley, D – Move to London helped mature, now turning pro.
  2. Sasha Chmelevski, C – Top forward prospect had promising rookie year in AHL
  3. Joachim Blichfeld, RW – Seventh round steal, developing in North America for four years.
  4. Noah Gregor, C – split rookie pro season between AHL and NHL.
  5. Jonathan Dahlen, LW – Took a step back and left North America and played in Allsvenksan
  6. Ivan Chekhovich, LW – Struggled as a rookie in AHL after 100+ point season in QMJHL
  7. Maxim Letunov, C – PPG increased from 0.49 to 0.8 in sophomore AHL season
  8. Artemi Kniazev, D – Good skater, passer, puck mover and can play a little physical.
  9. Jayden Halbgewachs, LW – Struggling to develop at the pro level
  10. Danil Yurtaikin, LW/RW – Skilled free agent struggled to produce in North America.

Other player to receive votes:

John Leonard, Brinson Pasichnuk, Alex True, Vladislav Kotkov, Jeremy Roy.

Top prospect Ryan Merkley is a bit of a wild card. His talent is unquestioned, but his attitude and compete level have plagued him through his career. The move to the London Knights and Coach Hunter seems to have helped which bodes well for Merkley and his chances of making the NHL. After Merkley there is a big drop. Dahlens future is unclear after a short tryout in North America he went back to Europe. Chmelevski had a good season as a rookie in the AHL and while he still needs development time he is trending in the right direction. Noah Gregor had a breakout season as an overage player in the WHL and followed that up with a rookie pro season the included splitting time between the NHL and AHL. San Jose signed two players from College that could have some sleeper value. Free Agent defenseman from Arizona State Brinson Pasichnuk posted point per game offensive stats as a senior and is still just 22-years-old. 2018 sixth round pick John Leonard was a Hoby Baker finalist from UMass with 37 points in 33 games and was signed after his junior season. The 21-year-old will join Pasichnuk in the AHL and could quickly be ready for the NHL.

*After our ranking were submitted San Jose signed goaltender Alexi Melnichuk, who has a good shot at making the opening night roster and eventually winning the starting role. This is in large part due to the fact that the Sharks are direly thin in goal. Melnichuk was signed out of the KHL where he posted a 1.68 GAA and .930 SVS% through 16 games with a strong SKA St. Petersburg team.

28. Tampa Bay Lightning – 46.7 

Brayden – 48.8

Peter – 40

Tony – 45.5

Cam – 45

Jokke – 46

Pat – 55

Prospect Depth Chart

Left Wing

Center

Right Wing

 

Gabriel Fortier

Alex Barre-Boulet

Alexander Volkov

 

Boris Katchouk

Mitchell Stephens

Taylor Raddysh

 

Dennis Yan

Carter Verhaeghe

Maxim Cajkovic

 

Cole Koepke

Ross Colton

Sammy Walker

 

Gemel Smith

Otto Somppi

   
 

Alexei Lipanov

   
       

Defensemen

Goaltender

Defensemen

 

Radim Salda

Hugo Alnefelt

Cal Foote

 

Dominik Masin

Magnus Chrona

Ben Thomas

 

Oleg Sosunov

 

Matthew Spencer

 

Dmitri Semykin

     

Quinn Schmiemann

     

Top Ten Prospects

  1. Cal Foote, D – May not have a high fantasy upside, but he is NHL ready now.
  2. Alex Barre-Boulet, C – Shown scoring touch in junior and AHL, has earned a NHL shot.
  3. Hugo Alnefelt, G – Impressive season in SHL and with Sweden at World Junior.
  4. Alexander Volkov, RW – Three consistent season in AHL and made his NHL debut.
  5. Gabriel Fortier – LW – Prolific junior scorer will turn pro in the coming season.
  6. Taylor Raddysh, RW – power forward with goal scorer upside.
  7. Boris Katchouk, LW – Good at everything, great at nothing, production spike is promising.
  8. Maxim Cajkovic, RW – limited to 36 games but still produced 42 points for Sea Dogs
  9. Sammy Walker, RW – Speedy sophomore returning for third season at U. Of Minnesota 
  10.  Mitchell Stephens, C – Returned after injury short season and made NHL debut.

Other players to receive votes:

Carter Verhaeghe, Cole Koepke, Dmitry Semykin, Ryan Lohn, Ross Colton, Magnus Chrona.

Roster Players 21 and Under:

Mikhail Sergachev, D

There was some dispute as to who the top prospect is as Alnefelt received several votes and Barre-Boulet received one as well. Foote had the most but was as low as fourth on one list. There are several players that have a high certainty to play in the NHL or a low ceiling, but not much high end talent in the group. Barre-Boulet and Fortier have the highest skill level and most offensive or fantasy upside. Raddysh and Katchouk offer sound value especially in banger leagues. The Lightning under Steve Yzerman did a good job of holding onto draft picks and scouting good NHL players. With the cap situation they have had to rely on ELC prospects with so much of the cap dedicated to their star players. Free agency has been another very successful source of recruiting players as the Bolts tend to swing for the fences every year on a  player and have been rewarded handsomely in Tyler Johnson, Yani Gourde, and now hope Barre-Boulet is next.

27. Winnipeg Jets – 48.3 

Brayden – 49.7

Pete – 49

Tony – 43.1

Cam – 43

Jokke – 49

Pat -56

Prospect Depth Chart

Left Wing

Center

Right Wing

 

Skylar McKenzie

Jansen Harkins

Kristian Vesalainen

 

C.J. Seuss

David Gustafsson

Michael Spacek

 

Joona Luoto

Henri Nikkanen

J.C. Lipon

 
 

Nathan Smith

Andrei Chibisov

 
 

Santeri Virtanen

   
 

Austin Wong

   
       

Defensemen

Goaltender

Defensemen

 

Ville Heinola

Mikhail Berdin

Leon Gawanke

 

Dylan Samberg

Arvid Holm

Simon Lundmark

 

Sami Niku

 

Johnathan Kovacevic

 

Declan Chisholm

 

Luke Green

 

Logan Stanley

     

Top Ten Prospects

  1. Kristian Vesalainen, RW – Big winger developing in AHL, not being rushed
  2. Ville Heinola, D – Started year in NHL out of necessity straight out of the draft
  3. Dylan Samberg, D -Big D played big minutes for U. Minnesota-Duluth
  4. Sami Niku, D – Split season between NHL/AHL, should be full time next year
  5. Jansen Harkins, C – Also split season and is ready to play in the NHL.
  6. David Gustafsson, C – Good first year in North America, was strong at WJC as well.
  7. Mikhail Berdin, G – Making Comrie expendable after full season in AHL
  8. Henri Nikkanen, C – 4th round pick from 19 developing well in Liiga
  9.    Leon Gawanke, D – notched 26 points in rookie season with the Moose
  10. Declan Chisholm, D – OHL production improving year-to-year (5,20,48,69)

Other players to receive votes:

Logan Stanley, Simon Lundmark, Skylar McKenzie, Michael Spacek, Nathan Smith, Arvid Holm

Roster Players 21 and Under:

None.

The Jets had a long run near the top of prospects rankings. After several of their top prospects graduated (Patrik Laine, Kyle Connor, Nik Ehlers, Mason Appleton, Jack Roslovic, and Connor Hellebuyck) and improved regular season standings resulted in lower draft choices, they now rank near the bottom. Their depleted prospect pool still boasts two potential future Pilars in Vesalainen and Heinola and the defense pool is deep with Niku and Samberg. The forward depth is quite thin with few prospects boasting either high NHL certainty or a high ceiling. Winnipeg is proving to be a patient franchise with their prospects, only first round picks have any NHL games played since the 2016 NHL Draft, and only Laine has played more than 22 games out of that group. 

26. Boston Bruins – 50.2

Brayden – 49.6

Peter – 46

Tony – 55

Cam – 45.5

Jokke – 51

Pat – 54

Prospect Depth Chart

Left Wing

Center

Right Wing

Jakub Lauko

Jack Studnicka

Oskar Steen

Peter Cehlarik

John Beecher

Zach Senyshyn

 

Trent Frederic

Karson Kuhlman

 

Curtis Hall

 
 

Pavel Shen

 
 

Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson

 
 

Matias Mantykivi

 
 

Alexander Khokhlachev

 
 

Ryan Fitzgerald

 
     

Defensemen

Goaltender

Defensemen

Urho Vaakanainen

Jeremy Swayman

 

Jeremy Lauzon

Dan Vladar

 

Jack Ahcan

Kyle Keyser

 

Jakub Zboril

   

Top Ten Prospects

  1. Jack Studnicka, C – Outstanding rookie AHL season with 49 points for 3rd in rookie scoring
  2. John Beecher, C – Big pivot posted 16 points in freshman season and made USA WJC
  3. Urho Vaakanainen, D – Rebounded from injury shortened season and developed well.
  4. Jakub Lauko, LW – Injury at WJC in first shift derailed season.
  5. Trent Frederic, C – Racked up 148 PIMs in sophomore AHL season. Great Roto player.
  6. Jeremy Swayman, G – Goalie of the future getting lots of starts with U. Of Maine
  7. Jeremy Lauzon, D – Finished season in NHL, looks to have arrived as a full time player
  8. Oskar Steen, C – Needs to expand on first season in N. A. after breakout SHL campaign.
  9. Curtis Hall, C – Scored at PPG pace as Yale sophomore and earned spot on USA WJC
  10. Jakub Zboril, D – Stagnant development after 3 AHL seasons, trending down.

Other players to receive votes:

Jack Ahcan, Jacob Forsbacka-Karlsson, Pavel Shen, Zack Senyshyn, Dan Vladar, Karson Kuhlman, Peter Cehlarik, Matias Mantykivi, Kyle Keyser.

Roster Players 21 and Under:

None

Ranking for Bruins prospects were very erratic to say the least. While many ranked the bulk of the top ten with an average point of four per prospect, there was a wide scope of players ranked. All but one of us ranked Studnicka as the top dog, with Beecher earning one vote as top prospect. Some players like Vladar would be ranked as high as second on one list, and not ranked at all on many others. Peter Cehlarik is another good example of this. Jack Ahcan was signed as a free agent and bolsters the left side defense which is already lopsided. Two players not ranked worth mentioning include Anders Bjork who is essentially graduated who now has 108 career NHL games played and Alex Khoklachev. The latter who’s rights are still owned by Boston has one more year on his KHL contract. The Bruins prospect pool is deep down the middle, in goal and on the left side defense, other than that there are some big holes they need to fill.

In the next edition we go through teams ranked 25-20