Prospect Ramblings – NCAA and Other Signees

by Pat Quinn on March 21, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to the Thursday ramblings. I am going to go over recent signees out of the NCAA and a couple other signings.

 

Time to get in to it

 

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The latest big news was out of Columbus. The Blue Jackets signed the organizations top goalie prospect Elvis Merzlikins to a one-year deal yesterday. Why a one-year deal, well because of his age (24) and the ELC structure so he only needed to sign for one year before he can become a RFA.

 

There is a chance he could step in to the NHL next season with Bob likely gone and Korpisalo looking more and more like 1B, there is a chance he could be starting in Columbus sooner rather later. Elvis does have the upside of a starting goalie in the NHL so if he is available in your league add him ASAP.

 

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The Minnesota Wild made a surprising signing yesterday as well, signing 2018 third round pick Alexander Khovanov to a three-year entry level contract. This is surprising because it was really early to sign him. He is posting much better numbers this year, with 74 points in 64 games, as opposed to last year where he had 28 points in 29 games after recovering from Hep-A (or another virus).

 

The Wild obviously see something in him and know he should not have slipped to 86th overall (like me!). The skilled centre does have the ability to be a top six centre in the NHL, do not forget he was projected to go in the first round to start the 2018-2018 season.

 

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One more signing that happened the other day that I want to address:

 

Philipp Kurashev signed his three-year ELC with Chicago; the WJC Swiss forward was a beast in the tournament and is routinely noticeable for the Quebec Ramparts of the QMJHL. Chicago will likely need more forward depth next season but it is more likely the forward spends most of his year in the AHL or overseas if he is forced to go back to the Q (because of the silly CHL clause). He is a skilled and shifty forward who can become a middle-six forward with 60 point upside.

 

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With that business is out of the way let me to get to some NCAA signing reactions:

 

 

Max Veronneau, RW, 23 (Signed ELC with Ottawa for two-years)

 

The Ottawa born Veronneau will be given all the opportunities possible to become a top six winger for the Senators. He dominated the NCAA in his third season but this final year he was more human, making people wonder if that was a blip or if that is his potential. Currently in two games for Ottawa he has one assist in two games, in the current game (game three) versus Vancouver he has scored his first NHL goal.

 

 

Taro Hirose, LW, 22 (Signed ELC with Detroit for two-years)

 

Hirose has improved every year in the NCAA with points of 24, 42, and then leaving College with 50 in his final season. In his first and only game for Detroit he picked up an assist. Hirose is a smart playmaker who can find players all over the ice. There is something there with this player that I feel like 30 NHL teams may have missed out on.

 

 

Ryan Kuffner, LW, 22 (Signed ELC with Detroit for two-years)

 

Kuffner and Veronneau put up similar numbers (though I do feel that Veronneau put himself in a better situation to produce) with Kuffner putting himself out in front with the statistically better season. Kuffner is a good scorer but I don’t feel like he has the upside as the previous two players for production.

 

 

Joe Snively, LW, 23 (Signed ELC with Washington for two-years)

 

The Capitals went out and signed a 5-9 skilled forward out of the NCAA. The Capitals need players like this as the prospect cupboards up front are bare and Snively can help on that front. Now is there room in the NHL in the next two years for him, likely no, but after that the Capitals will need some forwards to begin to take over.

 

 

Other notable top prospects signed:

  • Trey Fix-Wolansky, RW, 19 (Round 7, #204, 2018)– Three-year ELC Columbus
  • Akil Thomas, C, 19 (Round 2, #51, 2018) – Three-year ELC LA Kings
  • Jett Woo, D, 18 (Round 2, #37, 2018) – Three-year ELC Vancouver

 

 

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