- Fisher’s Top 300 for April
- Fisher’s Top 300 for March
- Fisher’s Top 217 for February
- Fisher’s Top 217 for January
- Fisher’s Top 186 for December
- Fisher’s Top 186 for November
- Fisher’s Top 124 for October
- Fisher’s Top 124 Preseason Rankings
USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program is enjoying a banner year and could cap it off with a gold medal at the under-18 tournament this month, April 18-28 in Sweden.
The Americans will be heavy favourites there as a nation producing top-notch talent year in and year out. So it shouldn’t come as any surprise that four American prospects are featured on this month’s list of risers, along with four players from the QMJHL, one dynamic OHL defender and an intriguing Swedish overager.
Here are 10 of the biggest risers from within my Top 100 for April, plus 14 honourable mentions:
1) Alex Turcotte (LC, USA, NTDP U18)
MARCH RANKING: 10
APRIL RANKING: 7
ANALYSIS: Rising three spots wouldn’t typically land a prospect on this list, but when it’s within the top 10 this late in the draft year, that is a significant rise. Turcotte has been making up for lost time in the second half and he’s now pushing for the top five. Some scouts had Turcotte in their top five heading into the draft year, but this is the highest he’s been for me (12, 10, 13, 12, 10, 10, 10, now 7). Turcotte is winning me over — better late than never — and convincing me that he has legit offensive upside as a potential top-line centre.
2) Thomas Harley (LD, Canada/USA, Mississauga OHL)
MARCH RANKING: 33
APRIL RANKING: 23
ANALYSIS: Harley’s Steelheads were swept in the first round of the OHL playoffs — he had a point-per-game showing, with four assists in as many games — but look for him to play a leading role with Canada at the under-18 tournament, potentially forming the top pairing with Kaedan Korczak (WHL Kelowna, No. 31 for April). Their styles could complement each other extremely well and that showcase could bolster both of their draft stock. Regardless, Harley is coming off a stellar season and is a very young prospect for 2019 with an August birthdate, so it should be no surprise that he’s on the rise and solidifying himself as a first-rounder.
3) Samuel Poulin (LW, Canada, Sherbrooke QMJHL)
MARCH RANKING: 57
APRIL RANKING: 38
ANALYSIS: Poulin, like Turcotte, has gradually been winning me over and now he’s knocking on the door of the first round after ripping it up in the first round of the QMJHL playoffs — producing five goals and nine points in a five-game win over Blainville-Boisbriand. Impressive stuff from a kid with a solid pro frame and an overall game that should translate to the big league. I had previously questioned Poulin’s offensive ceiling, projecting him as a middle-six winger and more of a third-liner, but he’s been changing my perception since the CHL Top Prospects Game. Poulin might be the flashiest forward prospect for 2019, but the tools are there and he’s proving to have top-six potential. Like Turcotte, this is the highest I’ve ranked Poulin all season (70, 39, 48, 67, 72, 62, 57, now 38).
4) Robert Mastrosimone (LC, USA, Chicago USHL)
MARCH RANKING: 68
APRIL RANKING: 54
ANALYSIS: Mastrosimone has become a consistent force in the USHL and he’s been a standout when representing Team USA at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup and World Junior A Challenge. He’s got high-end skill, perhaps more so than Poulin in terms of that flash factor. Mastrosimone strikes me as the kind of player who will put up points at every level. He may not be a star or even a front-liner, but he’ll be productive and do his part offensively. With the NHL trending towards speed and skill, Mastrosimone should get snatched up somewhere in the second round.
5) Dominick Fensore (LD, USA, NTDP U18)
MARCH RANKING: 133
APRIL RANKING: 55
ANALYSIS: Fensore is my biggest riser for April, rocketing up my rankings by continuing to shine and grow his role with the NTDP. That entire defence corps for the NTDP is impressive — the entire roster is draft worthy, top to bottom at every position — and Fensore is becoming a big part of their continued success. He’s a modern-day defenceman, undersized but a strong skater, terrific puck-mover and very capable power-play quarterback. In Fensore, I’m seeing shades of Shayne Gostisbehere. Back when Gostisbehere was drafted, in the third round in 2012, the NHL was still fixated on size after watching Los Angeles and Boston win Stanley Cups with bigger teams playing a power game. As mentioned with Mastrosimone, that heavy hockey era has been overtaken by skill and finesse, so that should also bode well for Fensore’s draft stock. Fensore is even younger than Harley, just over a week away from being 2020 eligible, so he’s got tons of development time ahead of him. Fensore is small and will require a patient approach, but the payoff could be huge for the team that takes a chance on his potential.
6) Samuel Fagemo (LW/RW, Sweden, Frolunda SHL, overager)
MARCH RANKING: 89
APRIL RANKING: 64
ANALYSIS: Fagemo, like all overagers, is difficult to rank amongst the first-time eligibles, but he should be a lock to get selected in his second time through the draft and likely in the top three rounds. I’ve been a big fan of Fagemo going back to last season, mocking him as a fifth-round pick (No. 130 and No. 135 in my two mocks) and ranking him as high as No. 30 heading into his draft year. A surprising lack of production made him a faller for me (92, 100, 100 and outside the top 100 for my final rankings), and he obviously fell out of favour with NHL scouts too in getting passed over entirely in 2018. But Fagemo took that snub in stride and found his scoring touch again this season, outperforming many of his peers who were taken in the top three rounds in 2018. I only incorporated overagers into my rankings for the first time in March, but Fagemo is among the best of that bunch for 2019 and I debuted him a little low for my liking in hindsight thus the bump up for April.
7) Samuel Bolduc (LD, Canada, Blainville-Boisbriand QMJHL)
MARCH RANKING: 91
APRIL RANKING: 69
ANALYSIS: Bolduc’s season has come to an end after losing out to Poulin in that playoff series, but Bolduc emerged as a real riser at the CHL Top Prospects Game and maintained that momentum throughout the second half of the season. He was a beast down the stretch and it’s too bad a December birthdate will prevent him from joining Harley in representing Canada at the U18s. He’s too old for that tournament (by less than a month), but I fully expect Boldoc to make another strong impression on NHL scouts during the draft combine. He could still crack my top 62 and perhaps go in the top 50 in my mocks.
8) Ryder Donovan (RC/RW, USA, Duluth-East U.S. High School)
MARCH RANKING: 129
APRIL RANKING: 74
ANALYSIS: Donovan had some dominant moments at The Tourney — the Minnesota state championships for high school hockey — and he’s clearly got a package of size and skill that will be enticing to NHL teams. Blake Wheeler paved a path for those kids and Donovan does possess some similarities to the Winnipeg captain in terms of playing style. Joe Colborne is another comparable that comes to mind for me in terms of skill-set. Both Wheeler and Colborne were first-round picks and although I don’t anticipate Donovan going that high, he could be the high-schooler that gets a late surge this year like Jay O’Brien last year.
9) Jordan Spence (RD, Canada, Moncton QMJHL)
MARCH RANKING: 105
APRIL RANKING: 75
ANALYSIS: Spence and Fensore are quite similar, both offensive-minded blueliners that lack size but make up for it with skill. Spence is a bit bigger than Fensore and he’s right-handed, which is always a plus for defence prospects with the NHL being a lefty-heavy league in the present. However, success in the Q, as a point-producing defenceman, doesn’t always translate to the NHL and that reality could keep Spence from cracking the second round. I think it’s fairly safe to suggest Fensore and Spence will both be taken between 50 and 100, but where in that range remains to be seen.
10) Yegor Serdyuk (RW, Russia, Victoriaville QMJHL)
MARCH RANKING: 104
APRIL RANKING: 76
ANALYSIS: Serdyuk has been flying under the radar in comparison to some other Q forwards and other Russian imports across the North American leagues, but scoring a hat trick in his playoff opener definitely got everybody’s attention. Serdyuk put up nice numbers in the regular season too — with 25 goals and 65 points in 63 games during his North American debut — but he’s another prospect that has proven tough to rank for 2019. I think he’ll wind up being a third- or fourth-round pick, but I’ve been wrong before.
Related: Our Free NHL Draft Guide
Lassi Thomson (RD, Finland, Kelowna WHL)
MARCH RANKING: 27
APRIL RANKING: 22
Phillip Tomasino (RW/RC, Canada, Niagara OHL)
MARCH RANKING: 32
APRIL RANKING: 25
Matthew Robertson (LD, Canada, Edmonton WHL)
MARCH RANKING: 35
APRIL RANKING: 30
Ilya Nikolayev (F, Russia, Loko Yaroslavl MHL)
MARCH RANKING: 41
APRIL RANKING: 33
Nils Hoglander (LW, Sweden, Rogle SHL)
MARCH RANKING: 39
APRIL RANKING: 34
Albin Grewe (LC, Sweden, Djurgardens J20)
MARCH RANKING: 47
APRIL RANKING: 41
Marshall Warren (LD, USA, NTDP U18)
MARCH RANKING: 52
APRIL RANKING: 45
Artemi Knyazev (LD, Russia, Chicoutimi QMJHL)
MARCH RANKING: 60
APRIL RANKING: 49
Dustin Wolf (G, USA, Everett WHL)
MARCH RANKING: 63
APRIL RANKING: 56
Brayden Tracey (LW, Canada, Moose Jaw WHL)
MARCH RANKING: 64
APRIL RANKING: 57
Mads Sogaard (G, Denmark, Medicine Hat WHL)
MARCH RANKING: 80
APRIL RANKING: 67
Tuukka Tieksola (F, Finland, Kärpät U20)
MARCH RANKING: 86
APRIL RANKING: 80
Kristian Tanus (LC/LW, Finland, Tappara Liiga, overager)
MARCH RANKING: 90
APRIL RANKING: 81
Graeme Clarke (RW, Canada, Ottawa OHL)
MARCH RANKING: 106
APRIL RANKING: 90
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.