These are a couple weeks behind schedule — as other pieces took priority — but better late than never with my risers and fallers from October.
Remember these are risers from my personal rankings, not necessarily the consensus risers since I was already higher than most on some of the prospects that are presently perceived as risers in the scouting community at large.
To the contrary, some of the names on this list wouldn’t be considered risers by the majority, but fit the bill for me since I was lower than I should have been on them in my preseason rankings, which were released back on Aug. 24 following the Hlinka Gretzky Cup tournament.
— The Hockey Writers (@TheHockeyWriter) October 10, 2018
Nevertheless, my latest rankings — published on Oct. 9 — featured plenty of movement, with prospects trending up and down over the first month of their draft year. Given that was a couple weeks ago — at least five games ago for most — some of my opinions have since changed again, which will be reflected in my November rankings following the CHL Canada-Russia Series that concludes on Nov. 15.
Based on my October rankings, here are 10 risers from my top 124:
1) Pavel Dorofeyev (LW/RW, Russia, Metallurg Magnitogorsk KHL)
AUGUST RANKING: 48
OCTOBER RANKING: 17
ANALYSIS: I have a tendency to fall for flashy Russians, but I really like what I’m seeing and hearing on Dorofeyev. He was ripping it up in the MHL at the time of my rankings and has since been promoted to the KHL, which is a big step up from junior to pro. By all accounts, the flashes are still there at that level, even if the points aren’t coming yet. He’s an older prospect — having turned 18 this week as a late-2000 birthdate — but Dorofeyev has done enough to crack my first round at this point in the season. He’ll need to start producing in the KHL and showing up on the scoresheet again to stay in my top 31 — and certainly to stay in my top 20.
2) Nils Hoglander (LW, Sweden, Rogle SHL)
AUGUST RANKING: 36
OCTOBER RANKING: 19
ANALYSIS: Another forward prospect with plenty of flash, Hoglander is a dangler that has produced more GIFs than points to date. This Swede needs to add finish to that flash — no pun intended, to the Finnish Flash — if he’s going to remain that high in my rankings for November and beyond. Somewhat similar to Jonatan Berggren from the 2018 draft class in terms of skill-set, Hoglander has a high ceiling and the potential to start piling up the points.
3) Moritz Seider (RD, Germany, Adler Mannheim DEL)
AUGUST RANKING: 52
OCTOBER RANKING: 31
ANALYSIS: Germany, the reigning Olympic silver medallist, is producing more talent in recent years — perhaps due to the Leon Draisaitl factor — and Seider is looking like another potential first-rounder. A big but smooth defender, he offers an intriguing package and significant upside. The tools are there to be a top-four NHL blueliner and some believe Seider is the best German defence prospect since Christian Ehrhoff. That is lofty praise and having been an Ehrhoff fan in his prime, those rave reviews helped Seider shoot up my rankings.
4) Alex Vlasic (LD, USA, NTDP U18)
AUGUST RANKING: 60
OCTOBER RANKING: 32
ANALYSIS: In my limited viewings of Vlasic, he’s reminding me of Vegas prospect Nic Hague in a lot of ways. I haven’t seen enough of Vlasic to solidify that comparison, but he’s just as big and time will tell whether Vlasic has as much offensive upside as Hague. Brandon Carlo could be another comparable as an early second-rounder with similar size. Either way, that’s a nice player and a promising prospect, which Vlasic certainly seems to be.
5) Ville Heinola (LD, Finland, Lukko Liiga)
AUGUST RANKING: 54
OCTOBER RANKING: 34
ANALYSIS: I’m high on a few Finnish defencemen — and I’m getting to watch Lassi Thomson develop before my eyes here in Kelowna, he’s going to be a real good one — but Heinola is turning heads back home on the other side of the pond. He was a point-per-game junior player at the time of my rankings, proving too good for that level and now holding his own as a pro. Heinola has been one of those consensus risers and for good reason.
6) Samuel Poulin (LW, Canada, Sherbrooke QMJHL)
AUGUST RANKING: 70
OCTOBER RANKING: 39
ANALYSIS: A lot of people are listing Poulin as a first-rounder, but I’m not there yet. His numbers — especially his goal total — in the Q are impressive, but he didn’t move the needle for me at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup. Perhaps he was shaking off the summer rust there and has since hit his stride, but I’m looking forward to watching Poulin closer again in the Canada-Russia Series and hoping to see him make more of an impact in that showcase. It appears I was too low on Poulin coming out of the Hlinka — thus he’s a riser on this list — but, truth be told, I’m still not overly high on this prospect as of today.
7) Matvei Guskov (LC, Russia, London OHL)
AUGUST RANKING: 76
OCTOBER RANKING: 40
ANALYSIS: Maybe it’s the London factor — and the Hunter brothers’ ability to develop high-end NHL talent — but Guskov is skyrocketing on a lot of lists. I’ve seen him as high as the mid-teens, so 40th might actually be lower than the average ranking for this Russian import. I like Guskov, I like a lot of Russian forwards for 2019, but I’m not crazy about him yet. Keyword being yet, since Guskov is growing on me and could potentially crack my first round for November. Guskov is a prospect that I’m keeping a close eye on. And London is a team that I’m keeping close tabs on in general.
8) Connor McMichael (LC, Canada, London OHL)
AUGUST RANKING: NR
OCTOBER RANKING: 74
ANALYSIS: Another of London’s finest young forwards, McMichael just missed the cut for my preseason rankings — he was definitely on my radar — but I didn’t expect this type of offensive explosion. He’s showing no signs of slowing down since debuting in my October rankings and might be able to make it back-to-back months on my risers list. McMichael would almost certainly crack my top 50 as of today and if he keeps up this torrid scoring pace, he might be knocking on the door of my top 31 for November. A serious riser right now.
9) Michal Teply (RW, Czech Republic, Bili Tygri Liberec)
AUGUST RANKING: 97
OCTOBER RANKING: 45
ANALYSIS: Teply was the best player on a bad Czech team at the Hlinka – Corey Pronman and others were touting him after that tournament — but I was still sleeping on him for whatever reason. Not anymore, not after consulting with one of my Czech sources, who can’t say enough good things about Teply even though he hasn’t been filling the net or the scoresheet in the Czech pro ranks thus far. Anybody described as a poor man’s David Pastrnak is going to get my attention. I’ve woken up to Teply’s talents and it seems the sky could be the limit for this kid. Yes, he’s another potential first-rounder for November.
10) Anthony Romano (RW, Canada, Sioux Falls USHL)
AUGUST RANKING: 111
OCTOBER RANKING: 55
ANALYSIS: Here’s a real sleeper for 2019 that everybody should be taking notice of. Romano is off to a good start as a USHL rookie and Sportsnet’s Sam Cosentino shockingly had him as a first-rounder in his October rankings. That is probably a reach — or a flyer, as Cosentino called it — but I trust his judgement as one of the better talent hawks when it comes to the Canadian junior circuits. Romano spent last season with Aurora in the tier-II Ontario league, so Cosentino would have got the book on him from that loop, and my USHL sources are also liking what they’re seeing in a small sample size so far.
Kirby Dach (RC/RW, Canada, Saskatoon WHL)
AUGUST RANKING: 7
OCTOBER RANKING: 4
Alex Newhook (LC/LW, Canada, Victoria BCHL)
AUGUST RANKING: 18
OCTOBER RANKING: 13
Yaroslav Likhachyov (RW, Russia, Gatineau QMJHL)
AUGUST RANKING: 27
OCTOBER RANKING: 18
Matthew Robertson (LD, Canada, Edmonton WHL)
AUGUST RANKING: 30
OCTOBER RANKING: 22
Ilya Nikolayev (F, Russia, Loko Yaroslavl MHL)
AUGUST RANKING: 89
OCTOBER RANKING: 43
Yegor Spiridonov (LW, Russia, Magnitogorsk MHL)
AUGUST RANKING: 62
OCTOBER RANKING: 44
Henri Nikkanen (LC, Finland, Jukurit Liiga)
AUGUST RANKING: 66
OCTOBER RANKING: 46
Martin Has (RD, Czech Republic, Tappara Liiga)
AUGUST RANKING: 92
OCTOBER RANKING: 57
Colten Ellis (G, Canada, Rimouski QMJHL)
AUGUST RANKING: 86
OCTOBER RANKING: 66
Ilya Mironov (LD, Russia, Loko Yaroslavl MHL)
AUGUST RANKING: 83
OCTOBER RANKING: 67
Patrik Puistola (LW, Finland, Tappara U20)
AUGUST RANKING: 95
OCTOBER RANKING: 72
Phillip Tomasino (RC, Canada, Niagara OHL)
AUGUST RANKING: NR
OCTOBER RANKING: 75
Nathan Légaré (RW, Canada, Baie-Comeau QMJHL)
AUGUST RANKING: NR
OCTOBER RANKING: 77
Nikola Pasic (LC, Sweden, Linkoping J20)
AUGUST RANKING: NR
OCTOBER RANKING: 83
David Kope (RW, Canada, Edmonton WHL)
AUGUST RANKING: 121
OCTOBER RANKING: 89
Larry Fisher is a senior writer and head scout for The Hockey Writers, having been an at-large contributor for THW since August 2014. Fisher covers both the NHL and the WHL, specializing in prospects and NHL draft content, including his annual mock drafts that date back to 2012. Fisher has also been a beat writer for the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets since 2008, formerly working as a sports reporter/editor for The Daily Courier in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada from 2008-2019. Follow him on Twitter: @LarryFisher_KDC.