With the abrupt end to professional and amateur hockey leagues around the world a short time ago, it has left hockey poolies in a state of shock and disbelief without knowing what the final outcome will look like for the 2019-20 season.
I thought it would be prudent to take a look at the final PNHLe – a fantasy stat to predict a prospect’s NHL point potential – standings in the more than likely scenario of no more regular season games being played this season. Below is a ranking of the top-25 drafted and draft-eligible prospects, as well as a quick snippet about each player.
I would highly recommend clicking on any/all of the player links to get an in-depth look and scouting report from the amazing group of writers that Dobber Prospects staffs.
Quinton Byfield (111) – 2020 Draft Eligible – From all accounts, Byfield’s draft status seems to have taken a tumble in the recent months, whereas prior to the World Junior Championship (WJC) there was talk he could contend for the first overall pick. The rate of point production that he has put up is one of the best in the last decade, and the fact that Byfield is one of the youngest draft-eligible players gives him a boost in PNHLe if you are wondering why someone like Lafreniere – who has a higher points-per-game – is ranked lower than the Sudbury center. When the dust settles, I am very confident that he will be the second player taken in this year’s draft.
Alexis Lafreniere (104) – 2020 Draft Eligible – Any irrational doubt earlier this season that could see any other player vie for the first overall pick in the upcoming entry draft were quickly erased during the WJC where he showcased his game-breaking talent to help lead Canada to the gold medal. Amazingly, he is only scratching the surface and some lucky NHL team is going to acquire a franchise player when they win the draft lottery. Lafreniere’s PNHLe (104) is the lowest value he has posted during his short career and he will jump directly onto an NHL roster and make an impact next season.
Marco Rossi (102) – 2020 Draft Eligible – Although he had the luxury of playing on arguably the best team in the CHL, which has certainly inflated his numbers, there is no question that he was the engine behind his team’s success. Rossi is dynamic in both ends of the rink and plays a lot bigger than his size. In most drafts, he would be considered as a top-two pick, so the fact that a team could end up selecting him outside of that range is a testament to how strong the top-10 picks are this year.
Cole Perfetti (92) – 2020 Draft Eligible – 110 points during a draft year is no small feat, and Perfetti has rocketed up the draft rankings throughout the 2019-20 season. He is an explosive skater and can elude defenders by using his hockey sense to read plays instantaneously; a dangerous combo that will have NHL and fantasy scouts anticipating his ultimate potential.
Nicholas Robertson (89) – Toronto Maple Leafs (LW) – The first post-draft player to make the PNHLe rankings, Robertson shot up the OHL scoring leaderboard on a powerful Peterborough Petes team. He sniped an amazing 55 goals despite only suiting up for 46 games and totaled 86 points. To put that number into perspective, it is the highest goals-per-game rate in almost 30 years.
Seth Jarvis (88) – 2020 Draft Eligible – The first draft-eligible player that is ranked outside of the top-10 in the 2020 draft. Jarvis has certainly been climbing the rankings but is perhaps not getting enough attention relative to his point production. He was quickly closing in on a rare draft-year 100 point season before the WHL suspended play.
Connor McMichael (88) – Washington Capitals (C) – Selected at 25th overall by the Washington Capitals, McMichael is looking like one of the steals of the 2019 draft while playing more of a support role with the London Knights. He was given the reigns this year and has run with them while eclipsing the 100-point mark and breaking out during the WJC and earning a gold medal.
Jan Jenik (88) – Arizona Coyotes (C) – It is unfortunate that we were not able to see the entire season that Jenik was revealing when he was derailed by an injury shortly after the WJC. His numbers may have been a bit inflated while playing alongside Arthur Kaliyev, but posting over two points per game should not be taken lightly and is an extraordinary feat, even for an already drafted prospect. Next season will be crucial for Jenik to prove that this year was not an anomaly.
David Farrance (85) – Nashville Predators (D) – The first defenseman on the list, Farrance has seemingly come out of nowhere with eye-popping numbers this year. He has always been touted as an offensive defenseman but has come into his own for the first time not having to play behind more highly regarded teammates. Farrance’s stats may seem like an anomaly compared to previous seasons, however, I think he could end up becoming a second-pairing puck-mover slotted into a second-line powerplay role if Nashville’s current defensive unit is broken up in the next few years.
Arthur Kaliyev (80) – Los Angeles Kings (LW) – Two years in a row of posting a PNHLe of at least 80 is a rarity among prospects. Despite losing Jenik, Kaliyev did not miss a beat and continues to show off his high-end offensive upside. The concerns by NHL teams that surprisingly knocked him down to the second round of the 2019 draft may be eclipsed by his talent and should have any fantasy GM that currently owns him drooling.
Adam Beckman (79) – Minnesota Wild (C) – The sniper from the WHL would have easily eclipsed the 50-goal plateau had it not been for the cancellation of the season, but he did manage to surpass 100 points. Minnesota Wild fans should be extremely happy they may have found a gem in the third round of last year’s draft.
Scott Perunovich (77) – St. Louis Blues (D) – Another defender from the NCAA, Perunovich has shown three consecutive years of near first-pairing offensive potential, where this season was his best yet. The Blues wasted no time to put pen to paper and inked him to a professional contract. He is going to be missed dearly as the University of Minnesota-Duluth looks to go for an ultra-rare three-peat next season.
Samuel Poulin (76) – Pittsburgh Penguins (LW) – The powerful winger posted more points (77) in 21 fewer games this year with Sherbrooke compared to last season. The Penguins expected him to be more of a project when they selected him in the first round (21st overall) in the 2019 draft, but Poulin has made huge strides since that time. In an organization with a depleted stockpile of prospects, he could end up getting thrown into the NHL mix sooner rather than later, and one can only imagine who might wind up as a line-mate.
Nils Lundkvist (76) – New York Rangers (D) – Lundkvist is the prototypical new-age defender that NHL teams are clamoring for. He has a quick first pass to exit the zone and can control the offensive zone with his poise. The pathway in New York may be more blocked compared to other organizations, but great players always find a way to carve out a role. Depending on how the Rangers handle its free agency decisions, that may happen as soon as next year.
Phillip Tomasino (76) – Nashville Predators (C) – One of only a few players that switched teams partway through the season and find themselves at the top of these rankings, Tomasino did not miss a beat when he moved from Niagara to Oshawa. He was able to hit the 100-point plateau and finished fourth in OHL scoring.
Dylan Cozens (75) – Buffalo Sabres (C) – In 17 fewer games this year compared to last, Cozens was able to eclipse last year’s point totals. The big rangy center was a pivotal producer on Canada’s WJC team that took home the gold medal and has shown legitimate top-line NHL upside. The fact that role is already filled by Jack Eichel could actually speed up his development with less pressure being placed on him next season.
Alexander Khovanov (74) – Minnesota Wild (C) – The second Wild prospect to land on the list is reassuring for a team that is desperately trying to change its identity. Not only did Khovanov finish second in QMJHL scoring, but he was also making strides on certain defensive aspects of his game before the season came to an abrupt end. Khovanov is still a couple of years away from cracking an NHL roster, but he could become an impact player if he continues with his current trajectory.
Mavrik Bourque (74) – 2020 Draft Eligible (C) – It is no surprise that the smooth center who shoots at a high rate finds his name on the score sheet more often than not. Bourque is able to use his hockey IQ to find holes on the ice and create high-danger opportunities time and time again. Where he will end up being taken in this year’s draft is still up for debate.
Erik Brannstrom (72) – Ottawa Senators (D) – The highly regarded offensive weapon split half the season in the NHL with the Senators and the other half on its AHL affiliate in Belleville. At times he looked overwhelmed with the big club but dominated play in the AHL. He will be a full-time NHLer next season and look to establish an ever-increasing role on special teams that will make his value sky-rocket.
Connor Zary (72) – 2020 Draft Eligible (C) – as one of the oldest player’s in this season’s draft Zary has seen his stock slightly drop over the course of this year, but should be a lock to be taken inside the first round. With the Kamloops Blazers, he was able to find the score sheet 86 times in only 57 games and is equally opportunistic at finding the back of the net himself or setting up teammates.
Ryan Merkley (71) – San Jose Sharks (D) – every year it seems that Merkley finds himself near the top of this list, but despite his offensive prowess the extra-curricular that have been plaguing him do not seem to be going away. In Merkley, the Sharks hope they have one of the league’s preeminent offensive defensemen if only they can teach him to get away from nonsense. His trajectory is eerily similar to Tony DeAngelo.
Alex Newhook (71) – Colorado Avalanche (C) – as if the Avalanche need yet another highly skilled forward in the pipeline, Newhook has impressively gotten stronger over the course of the season and is looking like a gem found in the middle of the 2019 first-round draft. Colorado has the luxury of being patient in terms of his development, but Newhook may force the Avalanche’s hand sooner rather than later, although it looks as if he is committed to returning to Boston College next season.
Jamieson Rees (71)– Carolina Hurricanes (C) – there is no question that Rees’ game has more than a little sand-paper in it and he has been suspended three times in the past year and was only able to suit up for 39 games this year with the Sarnia Sting. He is not a household name in fantasy circles quite yet, but if he continues to post eye-popping numbers it will not be long for the 2019 second-round pick to be snatched up in most keeper leagues. If you have room on a deep fantasy minor-league team, the earlier you can nab him the better.
Peyton Krebs (71) – Vegas Golden Knights (C) – it looks as though the cautious approach to heal a partially torn Achilles tendon has paid off for Krebs. Despite playing in only 38 games this season he was stellar in most of them showing off his game-breaking ability. It is still hard to imagine that – with the talent level that he possesses – he was able to slide into the second half of the first round in 2019, but Vegas was thrilled when he was still on the board. The Golden Knights may be patient with his development, but make no mistake that Krebs will come into next season’s training camp hoping to steal a roster spot.
Tyler Madden (70) – Los Angeles Kings (C) – a mid-season NHL trade saw the Kings acquire another top-end pivot in Madden. He will be in tough to work his way up through the prospect depth-chart against a handful of legitimate top-six centers, but if there is one thing I have learned over the past two seasons, it is to not underestimate Madden as he continues to show continual progress in terms of his development.
Jamie Drysdale (70) – 2020 Draft Eligible (D) – the top defender expected to be taken in the 2020 draft, Drysdale has elite skating ability that quickly separates himself, whether he is controlling the offensive zone, or breaking up plays inside his own zone. He showcased his dynamic ability during the WJC and has solidified himself as a top-tier defenseman.
If you are interested in seeing other player profiles, a prospect’s progression and how their PNHLe stacks up against other prospects, every profile is available in a completely free iOS and Android app that I’ve created specifically based around fantasy hockey. If you have an iPhone or iPad you can download it here. For Android users, you can download it here.
You can also follow me on Twitter @NHLRankKing and I do my best to update content as much as life allows.
This article will be a monthly feature here at DobberProspects, so please let me know if there are specific players you’d like to see profiled.
Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoyed.
Quinton Byfield title image (Credit to: OHL Images)