Checking back in this week with NHL RankKing, which sorts NHL prospects by PNHLe, I noticed that an incredible 13 of the top 20 prospects are defencemen right now. So this week is all about defence. Given that the 2023 Draft class is considered light on high-end blue line talent, many of these will be key names to know over the next couple years.
2nd: David Jiricek (CBJ), 124
4th: Lukas Dragicevic (2023), 118
6th: Simon Edvinsson (DET), 111
7th: Alexander Nikishin (CAR), 109
8th: Lane Hutson (MON), 108
9th: Kevin Korchinski (CHI), 107
12th: Daniil Orlov (NJD), 96
13th: Artyom Duda (ARI), 96
15th: Pavel Mintyukov (ANA), 92
16th: Luke Hughes (NJD), 88
18th: Darren Raddysh (TBL), 87
19th: Ryan Ufko (NAS), 87
20th: William Wallinder (DET), 83
While the unusually high number of defence prospects may have something to do with the app’s specific formula for calculating PNHLe, these defencemen are having excellent starts to the year. I touched on several of them two weeks ago when I looked at the Top 20 Prospects by PNHLe; today we’ll look at some of the others.
There have been a few changes at the top. Connor Bedard has ascended to first place as he continues to take the WHL by storm, bumping the former co-#1s Adam Fantilli and Artyom Duda down to third and 13th respectively.
I wrote previously that Duda was only up there due to small sample size and would fall down the rankings before much longer, and his descent has already begun. The former second rounder might not have a blue chip-level skillset but he has increasingly learned to balance offensive rushes with