AHL Report: April 2024

Cedrick Blais-Turcotte

2024-04-07

Intro

With the season coming to an end, Let’s take a look at how some of the biggest prospects in the West performed this season.

Ozzy Wiesblatt #89 – Milwaukee Admirals

In a strange situation, after playing 34 games with the San Jose Barracudas, Sharks prospect Wiesblatt switched teams to join the Nashville affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals. Although the Sharks have not disclosed the reason for this change, one hypothesis is that with the Barracudas far from a playoff position, they wanted to give the young forward a chance to showcase his skills in more meaningful games. In the eight games since this move, Wiesblatt was not the most utilized, playing almost exclusively at even strength, but he showed that he can be an excellent two-way player. From my observations, I saw him being a really aggressive forecheck, chasing the opponent with the puck till the end, and in his own zone, he helped a lot his defensemen, playing almost the role of the center despite being a winger. It could be a worry for some that Wiesblatt isn’t the playdriver of his line; he’s more of a complimentary piece, but he’s still young and could still develop into a more prominent role. After all, he was a first-round pick. For now, his projections suggest he is more likely to be a middle-six forward than anything else.

Colton Dach #28 – Rockford Icehogs

Much like his brother, Kirby Dach, Colton isn’t afraid to use his size to generate chances for his linemates. One of his best tools is his vision; he sees the play very well in the offensive zone, which has greatly benefited him in his first year as a pro. One area where he differs significantly from his brother is in his skating. Colton doesn’t possess a particularly high top speed, often resulting in instances where his linemates are on a counterattack and he is unable to keep up with them, thus being forced out of the play. Another aspect of his game that poses a concern is his defensive play. He lacks involvement in his own zone, and while he isn’t a liability for his team, he certainly doesn’t contribute significantly on the defensive end. As for his projection, if he can improve his skating, I could see him making an impact in the NHL, but he still has a long way to go before reaching that level.

Zach L’Heureux #68 – Milwaukee Admirals

L’Heureux could become the perfect complementary piece in the NHL. Despite not being the biggest player, he possesses a physical and aggressive style, consistently battling along the boards to retrieve pucks for his linemates. L’Heureux is also a highly reliable winger in his own zone, playing a significant role on the Milwaukee penalty kill unit this season and occasionally seeing time on the power play. When watching L’Heureux on the ice, one player that comes to mind is Brad Marchand. If he fulfills his potential and reaches even 75% of Marchand’s abilities, many teams will regret passing on him in the draft.

Jesper Wallstedt #30 – Iowa Wild

After an amazing first season in the AHL last year, expectations were high, and Wallstedt delivered. In 42 games this season, he has posted a 2.65 GAA and a .912 save percentage. Watching Wallstedt guard the net is a treat; the Swedish goaltender is very active, often breaking up plays with his stick, and his agility helps him save a lot of one-timers. It’s rare that drafting a goaltender this early, pans out, but it already feels like Wallstedt might have been worth the risk.

Thank you for reading this month’s AHL Update on Dobber Prospects. For more analysis, you can follow me on Twitter: @cbturcotte17.

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Name Fantasy Upside NHL Certainty
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Aku Räty 5.8 5.0
Miko Matikka 6.5 6.5
Nathan Smith 6.2 6.0
Jan Jenik 7.2 6.5
Ilya Fedotov 6.0 3.0
Noel Nordh 6.5 7.0

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