- 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
This month’s risers feature a few standouts from the CHL Top Prospects Game, a couple Finnish defencemen, both big and small American forwards, and a productive Swede that is hard to read.
1) Jack Quinn (RW, Canada, Ottawa OHL)
JANUARY RANKING: 44
FEBRUARY RANKING: 20
ANALYSIS: Quinn has been a scoring machine in the OHL, filling the net and emerging from the shadow of his projected top-10 teammate Marco Rossi (No. 9 for me). Together, they have been torching the league and tormenting goaltenders, with Quinn now earning his share of the spotlight and recognition as a first-round talent. They were linemates in the CHL Top Prospects Game, combining for one of the nicest goals — a tap-in for Quinn — and coming close on a couple other chances. Quinn was named Team Red’s player of the game in defeat, but he was already on the rise prior to that showcase.
2) Seth Jarvis (RW, Canada, Portland WHL)
JANUARY RANKING: 42
FEBRUARY RANKING: 32
ANALYSIS: Jarvis has also been lighting it up as of late, surpassing projected top-20 pick Connor Zary (No. 12) as the top scorer among draft eligibles from the Dub — at the time my rankings were submitted (Zary regained the lead by a single point over the weekend, 65-64 through 43 games each). That offensive surge has Jarvis knocking on the door of my first round and he deserves to be in the top 31, but who comes out to make room for him? I really like my top 31 as it stands, but Jarvis will be bumping somebody to the second round if he is able to sustain this torrid pace. Jarvis is in a great spot developing under renowned offensive juggernaut coach Mike Johnston, with a system that certainly plays to his strengths. Several prospects have thrived in Portland before struggling to produce as pros — Ty Rattie, Nic Petan and Brendan Leipsic, among others — but Jarvis is quite diverse in his attack and should be able to succeed at the highest level thanks to his high hockey IQ. Jarvis isn’t just producing points but also highlights such as this recent goal (which looks even better from this angle).
3) Ryan O’Rourke (LD, Canada, Sault Ste. Marie OHL)
JANUARY RANKING: 54
FEBRUARY RANKING: 35
ANALYSIS: O’Rourke was another standout from the CHL Top Prospects Game, playing a key role in Team White’s triumph despite only getting credited with one assist. He came as advertised from a puck-moving perspective and made the most of his touches throughout the game. Often times, the puck wasn’t on his stick for long but many of Team White’s scoring chances could be traced back to O’Rourke’s breakouts. His vision and offensive instincts were on full display as a catalyst from the back end, also leading the rush on a few occasions. O’Rourke reminded me of Josh Morrissey and Ty Smith in the way he reads the game and that should translate well to the NHL, which could result in him becoming a first-rounder. O’Rourke played his way into my bubble tier from 23-42, with those 20 prospects all worthy of being selected in the top 31.
4) Eemil Viro (LD, Finland, TPS Liiga)
JANUARY RANKING: 62
FEBRUARY RANKING: 43
ANALYSIS: Viro’s rise is reminiscent of Ville Heinola last year and there are some similarities between the Finnish blueliners. Viro has that same poise with the puck and also possesses legit offensive skill that I had been underrating. Viro is gaining on Topi Niemela (No. 36) in the battle to be my top Finnish defenceman for 2020, and the next prospect on this list is also right there with them — as a trio of potential first-rounders. I have a feeling at least one of them will wind up hearing their name called in the top 31 come June. The evaluation process continues in determining which one, though it might be two or even all three.
5) Joni Jurmo (LD, Finland, Jokerit U20)
JANUARY RANKING: 60
FEBRUARY RANKING: 44
ANALYSIS: Jurmo is more of a raw talent than Viro and Niemela. He is significantly bigger and more powerful but still has finesse and subtleties to his game. Jurmo arguably has the highest ceiling of the three — boasting the best tools for an NHL team to develop — but is the least polished in the present. Jurmo may be viewed as more of a project than those Finnish peers, but some team could be rewarded for reaching on Jurmo in the top 50 — perhaps even the top 31.
6) Tyson Foerster (RW, Canada, Barrie OHL)
JANUARY RANKING: 68
FEBRUARY RANKING: 55
ANALYSIS: Foerster’s stock will be soaring after scoring twice and adding a nice primary assist for a three-point performance at the CHL Top Prospects Game, earning player-of-the-game honours for the victorious Team White. His first goal was a wicked release on a partial break, then he finished off a four-way passing play by firing into a gaping net, before feeding a pinching defender for a similar tally that stood up as the winner. Foerster isn’t a great skater — in terms of acceleration and explosiveness — or a flashy puckhandler, but he is proving to be a clutch scorer with his shoot-first mentality and nose for the net. Foerster plays a strong two-way game, with the same strengths as Tanner Pearson, who rose up from the same junior program in Barrie.
7) Emil Heineman (LW, Sweden, Leksands J20)
JANUARY RANKING: 72
FEBRUARY RANKING: 61
ANALYSIS: Heineman isn’t getting much hype for the numbers he is putting up in Sweden’s junior league. The stats are impressive — well over a point per game and nearly a goal per game, warranting a call-up to the pro league, the SHL — but stats aren’t everything and some have suggested pumping the brakes on Heineman. He has looked good in my limited viewings — certainly good enough to be a second-rounder — but I will need to see more of him to draw my own conclusions. Heineman is a late-2001 prospect, so he won’t be eligible for the under-18 worlds in April and he didn’t represent Sweden at the Hlinka last summer either. As a result, Heineman remains a bit of an enigma for me, but I feel he belongs somewhere in that second-round range — somewhere in my ever-evolving 43-80 tier, though more so in that 57-80 tweener group.
8) Dylan Peterson (RC, USA/Canada, NTDP U18)
JANUARY RANKING: 110
FEBRUARY RANKING: 68
ANALYSIS: Peterson stood out in the recent All-American Prospects Game, helping his NTDP team to a convincing 6-1 win over the top USHL draft-eligibles. During that showcase, Steve Kournianos (@TheDraftAnalyst) tweeted: “So many pro-level aspects about Peterson’s game. Does a lot of things clean and calculated, plus he can skate and hit hard. I’m no expert but feels like he’s just a tweak or two from the stats matching the effort and execution.” That sums up Peterson perfectly, with the size and tools to become a force in his prime. That is why some scouts had Peterson as a first-rounder to start the draft year — he was a second-rounder (No. 37) in my preseason rankings — but he has been underachieving to some degree thus far, with only six goals through 35 games. Peterson was plummeting for me — largely based on that lack of production, relative to the lofty expectations — but he seems to be gaining momentum lately, which has resulted in a sudden rise again. Peterson’s performance in the All-American Prospects Game served as a good reminder of his potential.
9) Luke Evangelista (RW, Canada, London OHL)
JANUARY RANKING: 113
FEBRUARY RANKING: 70
ANALYSIS: Evangelista has been coming on strong for London — learning from 2019 first-rounder Connor McMichael as linemates — and carried that confidence into the CHL Top Prospects Game, where he set up the opening goal in impressive fashion and generated a few other chances for Team Red. Evangelista has the pedigree of a top prospect — he was a first-round pick in the OHL draft — and appears to be hitting his stride in taking a run at the top 50. Those who watch London on a regular basis have been raving about Evangelista, believing he could overtake his more highly touted teammate Antonio Stranges (No. 47) between now and June — perhaps pushing for the first round. Time will tell, but Evangelista is certainly on the rise.
10) Brett Berard (LW, USA, NTDP U18)
JANUARY RANKING: 120
FEBRUARY RANKING: 73
ANALYSIS: Berard is this year’s little American scoring sensation, getting labelled a poor man’s Cole Caufield. That isn’t a fair comparison — Berard isn’t the same type of player and nowhere near the same level of sniper — but he could become the next Rocco Grimaldi or Nathan Gerbe. Berard is already taller than those two and might not be done growing as one of the youngest prospects in this draft class with a September 2002 birthdate. That upside, combined with the numbers he is presently putting up, has Berard trending up in the rankings. He may not be a Caufield clone but check out this snipe to open the scoring in the All-American Prospects Game.
NOTE: Here are 12 more double-digit risers from within my top four rounds.
William Villeneuve (RD, Canada, Saint John QMJHL)
JANUARY RANKING: 87
FEBRUARY RANKING: 75
Marat Khusnutdinov (LC, Russia, SKA-1946 St. Petersburg MHL)
JANUARY RANKING: 90
FEBRUARY RANKING: 76
Anton Johannesson (LD, Sweden, HV71 J20)
JANUARY RANKING: 98
FEBRUARY RANKING: 79
Brandon Coe (RW, Canada, North Bay OHL)
JANUARY RANKING: 114
FEBRUARY RANKING: 84
Thimo Nickl (RD, Austria, Drummondville QMJHL)
JANUARY RANKING: 149
FEBRUARY RANKING: 94
Tristen Robins (RC, Canada, Saskatoon WHL)
JANUARY RANKING: 115
FEBRUARY RANKING: 96
Lukas Svejkovsky (RC/RW, USA/Czech Republic, Medicine Hat WHL)
JANUARY RANKING: 116
FEBRUARY RANKING: 97
Brock Faber (RD, USA, NTDP U18)
JANUARY RANKING: 128
FEBRUARY RANKING: 104
Blake Biondi (RC, USA, Hermantown U.S. High School)
JANUARY RANKING: 119
FEBRUARY RANKING: 105
Evan Vierling (LC, Canada, Barrie OHL)
JANUARY RANKING: 132
FEBRUARY RANKING: 115
Dylan Garand (G, Canada, Kamloops WHL)
JANUARY RANKING: 135
FEBRUARY RANKING: 121
Luke Prokop (RD, Canada, Calgary WHL)
JANUARY RANKING: 136
FEBRUARY RANKING: 122
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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.