Prospects are always a hot topic in the NHL. What teams have the best farm systems? Who’s the best prospect for each team? Which prospect is better than another? There is constant discussion about prospects in the league, and the landscape is always changing.
Prospects graduate, they get traded, they perform better or worse than expected, and sometimes they simply don’t make the cut. In recent years, it seems like the talent pool is getting deeper and better as the years go on. With a wealth of skilled prospects in the league, I take a look at the top-100 in the league.
As the definition of what constitutes a prospect varies from source to source, I stick with the same explanation as I have in my other prospect posts. That is Corey Pronman’s definition from The Athletic:
“A skater no longer qualifies as an NHL prospect if he has played 25 games in the NHL in any campaign, regular season and playoffs combined, or 50 games total; or reaches age 27 by Sept. 15 (From: “Pronman: 2019-20 NHL Farm System Rankings”).
This list will be updated regularly, so be sure to check back often and see who takes the crown as the current top prospect and where the others fall.
Also, note that this list does not include goaltenders. To see the ranking of the top goalie prospects in the league, you can view that here.
As always, feel free to reach out with questions, comments or thoughts. This can either be done in the comment section at the bottom or send me a message on Twitter – @JoshuaBellTHW.
The NHL’s Top-100 Prospects
100: Kailer Yamamoto, Edmonton Oilers
Kailer Yamamoto kicks off the list, just cracking the top-100 prospects in the NHL. Leading up to being drafted 22nd overall in 2017, the right winger was looking like a future top-line forward. He’s seen his ceiling drop since that point but looked promising in the WHL and internationally. He still has top-six potential, so don’t write him off just yet.
99: Jett Woo, Vancouver Canucks
If this was a list of the best prospect names in the league, Jett Woo would be higher. The defenseman is coming off a great season in the WHL, as one of the top defenders in the league. He’s a good skater who isn’t afraid to throw his body around. At the very least, he’ll be a top-four defender.
98: Dominik Kubalik, Chicago Blackhawks
Chicago Blackhawks’ prospect Dominik Kubalik has taken a long road to the NHL, but he’s still pushing forward. Drafted back in 2013 by the Los Angeles Kings, the left winger is coming off a season where he was the MVP in the National League – the top league in Switzerland. He’s likely a middle-six forward, but he makes great decisions and loves to shoot. He could just be a player that blossoms once he hits the NHL.
97: Isac Lundestrom, Anaheim Ducks
Isac Lundstrom’s well-rounded ability is what made the Anaheim Ducks select him 23rd overall in 2018. He’s a great passer and a strong two-way centreman. While he’s shown flashes of offensive flair, he’ll likely end up as a solid shutdown centreman in the middle-six. He could still be a few years away from really making an impact in the NHL.
96: Alexander Romanov, Montreal Canadiens
Alexander Romanov is another prospect who might take some time before he hits the NHL. He’s an offensive defenseman with speed and a good shot, but many scouts are skeptical whether or not he can make an impact in the NHL. However, he has been playing in the KHL against men, so perhaps he won’t take as long as some people think.
95: Samuel Fagemo, Los Angeles Kings
After going undrafted in 2018, Samuel Fagemo was selected 50th overall in 2019. He was passed over due to injuries and inconsistency, but he had a solid bounce-back season in 2018-19. He’s good all over, but not great in any one area. Still, he’s shown flashes of being a very skilled player. His ceiling seems to be all over the place so far, but he should end up as a contributing NHLer.
94: Oliwer Kaski, Detroit Red Wings
Oliwer Kaski signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Red Wings after winning a gold medal with Team Finland at the 2019 IIHF World Championship. He was the MVP of the Liiga and the best defender in the league, which is very promising for Red Wings fans. He’s big, but not overly physical, can move the puck and has a booming shot.
93: Nicholas Robertson, Toronto Maple Leafs
Nicholas Robertson has impressed early on, but there’s still work to be done for the young forward. He can put up the points, he’s creative and has great offensive instincts. His skating has been a knock against him, and he needs to improve in his own end, but there’s lots to like for this player who was just four days away from being eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft instead of 2019.
92: Isaac Ratcliffe, Philadelphia Flyers
Philadelphia Flyers prospect Isaac Ratcliffe is a big forward (6-foot-6) who loves to score goals. He had 50 of them in 2018-19 with the OHL’s Guelph Storm and added another 15 in the playoffs. He’s not the best skater, but if he can bring his offensive ability to the NHL level, goaltenders better watch out.
91: Olli Juolevi, Vancouver Canucks
I’m not sure Olli Juolevi will ever live up to his fifth-overall pick in 2017. He’s good offensively, is an above-average skater, and transitions well, but it remains to be seen if he’ll be able to take that next step and succeed. I think he’ll be a full-time NHLer but as a bottom-four defenseman. He could also have a breakout season and make me eat those words, though.
90: Carl Grundstrom, Los Angeles Kings
Carl Grundstrom is a power forward with a great shot. He can usually be found right in front of the opposing goaltender, using his 6-foot frame to screen their vision. While he’s not great defensively, he brings a certain level of grit to the lineup that is sure to get under the skin of the opponent. He likely won’t end up as a top-line guy, but he should be a solid, complementary middle-six player.
89: Kirill Marchenko, Columbus Blue Jackets
Kirill Marchenko is another prospect that could prove me wrong with this ranking. He’s a great skater and an even better puck handler. He’s a player that could break into the league and make an immediate impact. His production isn’t as consistent as many would like, but at just 19 years old, he should continue to develop and improve.
88: Tyler Madden, Vancouver Canucks
The third Canuck on this list could shoot up if he continues the success he had in 2018-19. As a rookie in the NCAA, Tyler Madden took the league by storm, impressing many scouts along the way. He’s one of the most creative prospects in the entire league, with speed for days, and great playmaking ability. As the season goes on, expect Madden to rise on this list.
87: Alexander (Sasha) Chmelevski, San Jose Sharks
Alexander Chmelevski has been an absolute stud in the OHL for the last few seasons, and his ranking has been on the rise because of it. He’s one of the Sharks top prospects, with a ton of skill and potential. He isn’t the best skater and his play in his own end needs some work, but he’s an offensive threat that has shown all-around improvement year after year.
86: Dante Fabbro, Nashville Predators
One of the older players on this list, Dante Fabbro was drafted back in 2016, 17th overall. Despite still not becoming an NHL regular, the defender looks the part. He’s an extremely patient player, which is a great trait for a defenseman. He sees the ice well, transitioning the puck up the ice regularly with ease. He’s likely to become at the very least a top-four defenseman, as early as this season.
85: Urho Vaakanainen, Boston Bruins
A patient, smart defenseman, the Urho Vaakanainen is a player that every team would love to have in their system. He’s not going to rack up the points, but he’ll keep them from being piled up against you. He’s a great skater who seems to nearly always make the right decision. He won’t be on this list very long, as he should be an NHL regular in 2019-20.
84: Ty Dellandrea, Dallas Stars
Dallas Stars’ Ty Dellandrea is a two-way forward who brings just about everything to his game. For his age, he’s very good defensively and he can produce as well. Maybe not as much as some scouts would like, but there’s no questioning his talent. He’s a great skater, is a solid playmaker and never seems to stop competing. Despite the “low” ranking on this list, he’s one of my favourite prospects.
83: Pierre-Oliver Joseph, Pittsburgh Penguins
Pierre-Oliver Joseph is an excellent puck-mover who boasts the ability to move the puck to his teammates quickly and efficiently. He’s a premier young defender who should become a much more intimidating force once he fills out his 6-foot-2 frame. He has a ton of potential, but it may still be a few years before we see him on the NHL ice.
82: Jeremy Bracco, Toronto Maple Leafs
Another older player on this list, Jeremy Bracco was selected back in 2015, 61st overall. He’s blossomed into a high-end playmaker, with qualities that some deem elite. He has great offensive awareness, is great on the powerplay, and is a good skater. He’s not great defensively and he’s undersized at 5-foot-9 (not that that’s really a factor anymore), but Bracco is a solid prospect for the Maple Leafs.
81: Josh Norris, Ottawa Senators
Josh Norris is a pass-first player who loves to dish the puck to his teammates but can also shoot the puck with authority – a trait which is certainly one of the most easily overlooked aspects of his game. In all, a sizeable centre with skills and smarts, Norris should develop into a sturdy and reliable player for the Senators.
80: Tobias Bjornfot, Los Angeles Kings
Tobias Bjornfot’s hockey sense is very high, and he’s already an elite skater. Those two qualities combined allow him to lead the rush out of the defensive end, transitioning the play quickly and effectively. He’s able to drive the play, make crisp passes and adds a quick, hard shot to his game. He also knows how to handle the puck.
79: Bobby Brink, Philadelphia Flyers
Bobby Brink is an elite playmaker, and knowns how to rack up the points. His vision is among the best of all NHL prospects and there’s a lot to like about his potential. There’s a big knock against him though and that’s his skating. His stride is off, making for a low top-speed and not great acceleration. He ends up being very choppy in his movement. If he can clean this up, there’s potential to shoot up this list.
78: Calen Addison, Pittsburgh Penguins
Calen Addison could very well be a top-four defender for the Penguins in a few years. He’s a great skater and a solid playmaker. He’s a couple of years away, but the 2018 second-round pick shows a great deal of promise. There seems to be no question that the young player will be a future power play quarterback.
77: Anttoni Honka, Carolina Hurricanes
Anttoni Honka is an excellent skater with high puck skill. This leads to a great start to the rush and once in the offensive end, the young defender knows what to do. He’s extremely offensively-gifted and very underrated at this point. Selected 83rd overall in 2019, it won’t be long before Honka proves that selection wrong.
76: Raphael Lavoie, Edmonton Oilers
Despite not being the most consistent player, Raphael Lavoie shows a ton of promise. He’s solid in his own end for a player of his age, he has a great shot and he’s not afraid to get physical. He does occasionally disappear in games, but if he can work on making an impact every time he hits the ice, the Oilers may have drafted a stud in Lavoie.
75: Patrik Puistola, Carolina Hurricanes
Patrik Puistola can score, that’s proven in his stats. But what stands out most for the young player is how he makes it happen. Many scouts and hockey experts say that the Finnish prospect had the best hands in the 2019 NHL Draft. His puck handling is off the charts, making it seem at times that the puck is tied to his stick. He’s a very creative player, who can very easily make defenders look bad.
74: Martin Kaut, Colorado Avalanche
Martin Kaut is another one of those players that likely won’t be cracking any highlight reels but does everything right. He can play on either special team, he’s very smart with the puck and makes great decisions. He’s a good skater who’s very consistent as what he does. He’ll chip in offensively on a regular basis and Colorado Avalanche fans should get at least a glimpse of him this season.
73: Nils Hoglander, Vancouver Canucks
Nils Hoglander has some of the best hands in the draft and combines it with great skating and speed that makes it difficult to defend against him. That set of skills also allows him many opportunities on the breakaway, where he can pull off a highlight-reel play. He’s able to play the game at a very fast pace and make the right plays while doing so. He even holds his own in the defensive end and brings an exciting level of grit to his game.
72: Alex Nylander, Chicago Blackhawks
Alex Nylander boasts a lightning-quick release and one capable of fooling opposing netminders. Shifty on his skates in addition to his great speed, he keeps his opponents on their toes at all times due to the fact that he can pass and shoot the puck with tremendous authority. He has immense natural skill and creativity with the puck and will be looking to prove doubters wrong on his new team.
71: Oliver Wahlstrom, New York Islanders
The New York Islanders have an offensive weapon waiting to be unleashed in Oliver Wahlstrom. The forward is extremely skilled and has one of the best shots not in the NHL. He’s also a good setup man but has a shoot-first mentality. Wahlstrom needs to work on his skating, his consistency, and there are times where he doesn’t seem to compete as hard as he could, but he’s still a very good prospect.
70: Timothy Liljegren, Toronto Maple Leafs
A fluid skater of tremendous speed and mobility, Timothy Liljegren is an excellent all-around defender who can score and defend consistently. Although his defensive game is in need of fine-tuning, the Swede has the ability to stifle opposing scoring chances before transitioning the puck up ice with a crisp pass. Boasting a powerful shot, Liljegren can fire the puck on net too, although he is much more successful when it comes to creating plays.
69: Jason Robertson, Dallas Stars
The top-scoring player in the CHL for 2018-19 is an absolutely lethal threat in on offense. He’s an excellent passer with a great shot that can surprise the opposition with a quick goal or a perfect pass. His skating has brought up some concern from scouts, as he has a lack of acceleration. Keeping up with the pace of the NHL might be an issue, but if he can improve or find a way to cope, he should become a top-six player.
68: Ville Heinola, Winnipeg Jets
One of my favourite defensemen in the 2019 NHL Draft, Ville Heinola is the definition of hockey sense. He’s patient with the puck, has a calming presence on the ice, and makes zone-exits with ease. He’s great positionally, especially in his own end, but he does need to work on his skating in order to thrive at the next level. He’s still young though, so there’s still time to improve this.
67: Victor Soderstrom, Arizona Coyotes
Victor Soderstrom a two-way defender that excels at moving the puck up the ice. Many scouts say that he won’t be a game-breaker, but he should be a dependable defenseman in all scenarios which is a great asset to have. He creates offence, he’s hard to beat one-on-one and he loves to throw his body around.
66: Jakob Pelletier, Calgary Flames
The 26th overall pick in 2019, Jakob Pelletier is an all-around stud prospect. He’s good in his own end and can set up plays in the opposing zone. He’s put up solid points in the QMJHL so far and will look to build on that this season. His agility is what sets him apart and combined with his creativity, he’s a difficult player to defend. He’s likely a top-six player with the potential for the top-line.
65: Alex Barre-Boulet, Tampa Bay Lightning
An undrafted player that is looking more and more like an absolute steal every day, Alex Barre-Boulet has the skill to match his sense of the game. He’s creative enough to find his way through defenders and patient enough to wait for the perfect time to make a pass. He’s continuously improving on his skating, which was once a weak spot. It still needs work but he’s much better now.
64: Thomas Harley, Dallas Stars
Thomas Harley looks like he could be a top-four defenseman in the NHL. He plays big minutes and sets up plays very well. The best part of his game though is his elite skating. There’s a lot of upside to his game, but it will likely be at least one more season, probably two, before he cracks the NHL lineup.
63: Cal Foote, Tampa Bay Lightning
Cal Foote is a tremendous two-way defender whose game flourishes at both ends of the ice. Reliable in the defensive end due to his immense size and ability to physically dominate his opponents, he’s also a threat in the offensive zone, where his incredible hockey sense and underrated shot make him a focal point. Foote is immensely versatile, as he can play in seemingly any situation – whether it be the power play or penalty kill – and find great success in doing so.
62: Kristian Vesalainen, Winnipeg Jets
Kristian Vesalainen is a highly-skilled winger of immense size and determination. Capable of physically dominating his opponents with relative ease before pounding a heavy shot on net, he’s a natural goal scorer who is also more than willing to distribute the puck to his teammates. Vesalainen boasts all the makings of a successful power-forward.
61: Ryan Merkley, San Jose Sharks
Young defender Ryan Merkley is lethal in the offensive zone, is a high-end playmaker, and has a great shot. He needs to work on his play in his own end and his attitude, but there’s no question that there’s a solid player in Merkley. He was recently traded from the Peterborough Petes to the London Knights, which will hopefully be his last stop before San Jose.
60: Dominik Bokk, Carolina Hurricanes
When you watch Dominik Bokk play, it’s impossible not to notice the skill he has with his hands. He keeps the puck on a string and can undress defenders. He makes highlight-reel passes on a regular basis and his skating is improving, which is a good sign. He’ll need to keep working on skating, and his overall consistency, but all signs point to Bokk being a solid NHL player.
59: Josh Brook, Montreal Canadiens
While there isn’t really one aspect of Josh Brook’s game that stands out, he’s a very well-rounded prospect. He’s a good skater who exits the zone well or can dish out a pass to get the puck up ice. He’s patient and precise on the offensive blue line, waiting for the opportune moment to shoot or pass. He defends well, and his jam-packed toolkit should lead to him being a solid NHL defender.
58: Maxime Comtois, Anaheim Ducks
Maxime Comtois is another one of those well-rounded prospects. He has a great shot (especially his wrist shot), he’s a good skater, and he plays a physical game. He’s going to be a player that NHLers hate to play against due to the combination of throwing his body around and his ability to burn defensemen. He might not hit the top line for the Anaheim Ducks, but should be a middle-six contributor.
57: Jesper Boqvist, New Jersey Devils
Jesper Boqvist is a great prospect on speed alone. Defenseman will need to try to keep up with him, but it’s likely he’ll just blow past many of them. A zone-entry machine, Boqvist has become more consistent in his development, which has been a knock against him in the past. It’s very likely that he graduates from a prospect in 2019-20.
56: Logan Brown, Ottawa Senators
Senators prospect Logan Brown is a big (6-foot-6) centreman who is coming off a big season in the AHL. He’s a very talented playmaker, with the ability to surprise a goalie with a good shot. But he’ll check for any available passes first. He’s continuing to improve as time goes on, and while he’s taken longer than others from his 2016 draft class, he still looks like he could be a top-six player in the NHL.
55: Tyler Benson, Edmonton Oilers
Tyler Benson is an incredibly mature and poised prospect of the Oilers. He has great size and intelligence, incredible hockey sense, and the ability to make the right play with stunning regularity. Capable of improving the play of his teammates, Benson is an excellent talent who, if able to stay healthy, could become a tremendous depth option for the Oilers in the immediate future.
54: Philippe Myers, Philadelphia Flyers
One of few undrafted prospects on this list, Philippe Myers proving every team wrong. He’s a big (6-foot-5, 209 pounds) defender who looks like he should be top-four for the Philadelphia Flyers. He has great mobility and a big reach, which together make him very sound defensively. He’s very physical, good with the puck, and altogether a solid, well-rounded prospect.
53: Alexandre Texier, Columbus Blue Jackets
Alexandre Texier will be a top-six, impact player in the NHL. He’s a very intelligent player, with great playmaking abilities and high-end vision. He has a good shot, his skating is continuously improving, and he knows what to do off the puck. He’s not going to be relied on heavily defensively, at least not in the near future, but the tools are there to be a solid NHLer soon.
52: Philip Tomasino, Nashville Predators
Philip Tomasino is going to be a fan favourite for Predators fans very soon. He’s an excellent skater, with arguably elite puck-skills. He’s a very good playmaker, often making extremely creative passes through traffic. He’ll need to bulk up a bit, as he’s sometimes pushed around a bit, but Tomasino has a very full toolkit that will lead to him being a threat in the NHL very soon.
51: Emil Bemstrom, Columbus Blue Jackets
Emil Bemstrom is led by his powerful and accurate shot, and his hockey IQ is very strong. He could be a top-six player and should be making the jump to the NHL this season. Being a fourth-round pick, 114th-overall, Bemstrom looks like a steal at this point.
50: Alex Formenton, Ottawa Senators
When you think of Alex Formenton, you think of speed. He’s one of the fastest prospects in the league, already putting NHL defenders on their heels in his short stints with the team. He has some more developing to do before he hits the NHL full time, but he’s getting close. You’ll often find him battling hard for the puck – and winning.
49: Ryan Poehling, Montreal Canadiens
Ryan Poehling is an intelligent player who has a strong work ethic and excellent puck protection skills, he’s is a positionally sound center who is committed to his defensive game. Although his skating could use some work, his NHL debut showed a ton of promise and left Canadiens fans excited to see more.
48: Eeli Tolvanen, Nashville Predators
Eeli Tolvanen is an incredibly skilled winger of immense potential. A natural goal scorer whose shot is both accurate and heavy, he can snap a quick wrister on net or set up for a booming one-timer while on the power play. He’s is a very strong offensive talent that is absolutely lethal in the offensive zone.
47: Jake Bean, Carolina Hurricanes
A poised defender of immense intelligence, Jake Bean is a tremendous two-way player who thrives at both ends of the ice. Strong in his defensive zone through the use of his stick and the ability to read plays before they develop, he can transition the puck to his forwards with ease and is capable of joining the rush as it progresses. A hard-worker and relentless talent, Bean drives offence in the opposing zone through his ability to create plays and willingness to unleash his crisp shot when the appropriate moment arises.
46: Ryan Suzuki, Carolina Hurricanes
The younger brother of Nick Suzuki, found higher on this list, Ryan Suzuki makes plays like few other. He’s an elite passer, is a great puck handler, and he’s a great skater. His shot is in need of improvement, but he’s still young. He’s a great prospect that should develop into a top-six NHLer in a few seasons.
45: Peyton Krebs, Vegas Golden Knights
Peyton Krebs is another player on this list that I think could very easily shoot up and prove this ranking wrong. He’s a well-rounded prospect that brings an offensive flair to his game and is known as a leader. He’s a great playmaker and skater. A big selling point in Krebs’ game is his defensive skill. There aren’t many players that age that are as sound in his own zone as he is. A potential first-line centreman.
44: Cam York, Philadelphia Flyers
One of the best defensemen coming out of the 2019 NHL Draft, Cam York should develop into a top-two defenseman when he hits the NHL. He has excellent vision and makes great decisions with and without the puck. He’s patient and has a great stride. All of this combines into a solid defensive prospect for the Flyers.
43: Pavel Dorofeyev, Vegas Golden Knights
One of my personal favourite prospects from the 2019 NHL Draft, Pavel Dorofeyev will very soon prove his third-round, 79th pick wrong. He’s an all-around offensive threat who can just as easily set up a goal as he can finish it himself. He holds his own defensively, and his creativity adds to his arsenal. He’s just going to get better, and the Golden Knights are counting on that.
42: Aleksi Heponiemi, Florida Panthers
Aleksi Heponiemi is a high-end prospect with elite playmaking ability. Offence tends to run through him when he’s on the ice. His hockey IQ is through the roof, he’s creative, and that’s a dangerous combination in the offensive end. He’s not the fastest skater, so he might not be able to win a race to the puck all the time, but if the Panthers can get it to him, he’ll do the rest.
41: Sam Steel, Anaheim Ducks
A centre of average size, Sam Steel is a fantastic playmaker whose drive and determination fails to waver. Further, as a natural leader, Steel makes quick and accurate decisions with relative ease and exudes immense confidence with the puck. It’s very likely that Steel joins the list of graduates from this ranking in 2019-20.
40: Nicolas Hague, Vegas Golden Knights
Golden Knights defensive prospect Nicolas Hague is the real deal. He eats up minutes and is one of the best defensive-minded prospects in the league. He doesn’t make many mistakes, which any team would want. He also has a wicked shot and has a history of putting up some solid point totals as well. He’s not the most mobile defender but makes up for it with his other traits.
39: Rasmus Kupari, Los Angeles Kings
Rasmus Kupari is an incredibly skilled player. He’s a strong skater, he has great puck-handling ability and loves making plays. He can be a game-breaker, but there are still some kinks to work out of his game. He’s not great defensively, but that’s something that will be constantly taught and should come with further development.
38: Owen Tippett, Florida Panthers
Owen Tippett’s incredible goal-scoring ability should immediately address an issue which has plagued the Panthers for quite some time now. The one facet of Tippett’s game which stands tall above the rest is his insane shot. With a lightning-quick release and speed, Tippett’s shot is consistently overwhelming and, on top of its weight, is surprisingly accurate.
37: K’Andre Miller, New York Rangers
Among the many strong prospects that the Rangers have, K’Andre Miller is one of the best defenders of the group. He’s a very good skater and his size gives him a big reach with his stick. Combine that with his ability to lay down hits, and you get a strong defender. He should be a top-four player at the very least when he makes the jump. He has offensive skill too – completing the package.
36: Moritz Seider, Detroit Red Wings
Moritz Seider already has NHL size, he’s a great passer, a good skater, and can win battles along the boards. What might be most impressive is his defensive game. Seider seems to remain calm in all situations and make the right decision to get the puck out of his own end. Many defenders at this stage in their careers need to focus on their defending ability, and while there’s room to improve, the German prospect is starting at a very advanced stage.
35: Morgan Frost, Philadelphia Flyers
Morgan Frost is an exciting player to watch. In his last two seasons with the OHL’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, he put up 221 points in just 125 games. He looks like a sure-fire top-line centreman with superstar potential. His creativity is through the roof – you don’t want to face him one on one. He needs to improve his skating, and if he does, the NHL should watch out.
34: Ty Smith, New Jersey Devils
Watching Devils prospect Ty Smith play, you can see that he knows everything that’s happening on the ice. He can see where everyone is but what makes him a great prospect is his ability to see where players are going to be. He can make a big stretch pass or carry it up himself, making a play in the offensive end. He should be a top-two defender very soon.
33: Alex Newhook, Colorado Avalanche
Alex Newhook is known for his speed. He can leave defenders in a cloud of snow behind him, and that alone makes him a high-end prospect. He’s an offensive weapon, capable of making a great play or finding the back of the net himself. He’s strong in his own end as well and currently projects to be a top-six player in the NHL.
32: Jordan Kyrou, St. Louis Blues
A dynamic two-way player who can pass the puck as well as shoot it, Jordan Kyrou’s natural offensive abilities won’t be on this list long. A smooth skater of great speed and acceleration, he uses his wheels to create space in the offensive zone, where his creativity and composure command the ice. In addition to his ability to produce, Kyrou also plays a highly responsible defensive game – a secondary aspect which increases his overall value as a prospect.
31: Rasmus Sandin, Toronto Maple Leafs
Rasmus Sandin is an extremely talented defenseman with a nose for making great passes. Whether it’s a pass up the ice from his own zone or a cross-ice pass in the opponent’s end, Sandin can do it. He’s very patient with his passes, waiting for the right moment to strike. He’s very skilled and had a big rookie season in the AHL in 2018-19. He could be having another big rookie season in 2019-20.
30: Drake Batherson, Ottawa Senators
The top-30, here we go. Drake Batherson dominated the AHL in his rookie campaign, earning a brief stint in the NHL where he came in like a wrecking ball before tapering off. He’s always a threat when he’s on the ice, whether it’s through a hot or a pass. He’s a core piece of the Senators rebuild, and likely won’t be on this list for very long.
29: Matthew Boldy, Minnesota Wild
Anywhere you look, Matthew Boldy is described as “silky” and “smooth.” His ability with the puck is one of the best in the draft and mixed with his vision on the ice, he’s always a threat to punish defences. One of his biggest assets, though, is the adaptability to shift his game for the good of the team. Whether that means switching wings, or even from a sniper to a playmaker, Boldy is able to sense what the team needs from him and excel in that role.
28: Joe Veleno, Detroit Red Wings
A very strong skater, Joe Veleno is another player that could move off of this list in the 2019-20 season if he gets a call-up. While his skating is his most attractive quality, there’s lots to like about this prospect. He’s a possession beast, with high zone entry totals annually. He can score and he can dish them out, combining to make him an offensive threat whenever he hits the ice.
27: Nick Suzuki, Montreal Canadiens
An intelligent centre who thinks and plays at a high pace, Nick Suzuki protects the puck well and is not afraid to drive hard to the net. A capable skater whose speed creates offensive opportunities, Suzuki’s hockey sense and drive combine to produce immense point totals for him and his teammates – a quality which will surely spill over to the professional level.
26: Arthur Kaliyev, Los Angeles Kings
Many in the hockey world were shocked when Arthur Kaliyev slipped to the 33rd selection in the 2019 NHL Draft. Some scout had him going in the top-10 or the teens at the least. Either way, this pick is going to look like highway robbery down the road. Kaliyev is a pure sniper, finishing 2018-19 with 51 goals and 102 points. Yeah, he can set-up goals, too. Imaging Kaliyev and Alex Turcotte one day playing together for the Los Angeles Kings should get fans very excited.
25: Noah Dobson, New York Islanders
Noah Dobson has it all. He’s a big, mobile defender, with a great shot and the patience to wait for the best moment to strike. He’s also a great puck handler, making for a high-end, even elite, prospect. He plays big minutes and that should be no different once he hits the NHL. He’s coming off of a year as a QMJHL and CHL Memorial Cup champion.
24: Philip Broberg, Edmonton Oilers
Philip Broberg seemed to be a polarizing prospect ahead of the 2019 NHL Draft. Some scouts had him high, some very low. The Oilers decided high was the right option, taking him eighth overall. He’s an elite skater who can blow by entire teams when his wheels get going. He’s solid offensively as well, as a set-up man from the point. He needs to fine-tune his game, but there’s lots to like about Broberg.
23: Joel Farabee, Philadelphia Flyers
Joel Farabee has elite elusiveness, a trait that not many can say they have. He’s lethal one-on-one and can skate around defences with his strong skating ability. He should be a top-six forward in the NHL, and his offensive ability should make him a star for the Flyers. He’s also solid in his own end and could be leaving this list in 2019-20.
22: Erik Brannstrom, Ottawa Senators
Capable of quarter-backing his team’s power play, Erik Brannstrom boasts a terrific shot and natural passing abilities – two qualities which combine to make him a solid all-around threat. Further, he’s a tremendous skater, as his ability to traverse the ice with relative ease allows him to be a force at both ends of the ice.
21: Evan Bouchard, Edmonton Oilers
One of the best defensive prospects in the league, Evan Bouchard projects to be a top-two defender in the NHL. He’s a power-play quarterback with a wicked shot and a great offensive mind. He has seven games under his belt already and should build on that later this season as a call-up.
20: Adam Fox, New York Rangers
Adam Fox was a highly sought commodity when he decided not to sign with the Hurricanes, and the Rangers made the trade for him. He’s everything a team wants in a defenseman, from his elite hockey sense and vision to his dangerous abilities with the puck. He could very well be a number one defenseman and run the first power-play unit. If you need it, he’s another reason to watch the Rangers in 2019-20.
19: Vasily Podkolzin, Vancouver Canucks
It will be at least a couple of years before we see Vasily Podkolzin hit North America, but the build-up will be worth it. He never stops playing at 100 percent, resulting in him making an impact every time he hits the ice. He’s creative, has a great shot, and can make plays as well. There’s been some concern about his skating, but with two years left on his contract in the KHL, that should improve before he hits the NHL.
18: Grigori Denisenko, Florida Panthers
Grigori Denisenko might just be one of the most underrated prospects in the league. He doesn’t get discussed a whole lot, but there’s no question that he’s one of the best prospects in the league. He’s a great skater, with some of the best puck handling skills not in the NHL. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some refs stop play to see if he has the puck on a string. He sets the pace when he’s on the ice and should be an elite, top-line player in the NHL.
17: Kirill Kaprizov, Minnesota Wild
A strong skater who is difficult to knock off of the puck, Kirill Kaprizov is blessed with soft hands and a lethal shot. The Russian already excels at the professional level and will surely improve as he gains greater experience. He’s entering the final year of his KHL deal and an elite offensive threat that should be able to transition straight into the Wild’s top-six.
16: Barrett Hayton, Arizona Coyotes
The fifth-overall pick in 2018, Barrett Hayton is an absolutely dominant player. He can play in either end and there really isn’t any flaw in his game. He can shoot, pass, defend, deke, and do just about anything else you ask of him. He’s a very likely candidate to be a full-time NHLer in 2019-20 as a part of a very young and exciting Arizona Coyotes squad.
15: Vitali Kravtsov, New York Rangers
Vitali Kravtsov will need to be double-teamed by defences because there are not many defenders in the NHL that will be able to stop him single-handed. He’s an incredibly creative player that has a pass-first mentality. He’s a high-end playmaker and has the ability to change the course of a game. He’ll be a core piece of the Rangers moving forward.
14: Dylan Cozens, Buffalo Sabres
Taken seventh overall in the 2019 NHL Draft, Dylan Cozens is an all-around stud, capable of playing in any situation and excelling. He’s an elite talent with high-end skating and creativity with the puck. He’s headed back to the Lethbridge Hurricanes to tear up the WHL for a season before having a great chance to see the NHL in 2020-21.
13: Cole Caufield, Montreal Canadiens
Cole Caufield is an elite skater and a pure goal-scorer. He has a full arsenal of shots, all of which can result in the puck in the back of the net. The Canadiens have a future superstar in their system, even if he spends a couple of seasons developing before he gets to the NHL. He’s already considered a steal at 15th overall in the 2019 NHL Draft.
12: Adam Boqvist, Chicago Blackhawks
When you have the ability to be a calming presence in the middle of a high-intensity, high-stress game of hockey, you’re immediately the target of any team. The Chicago Blackhawks scooped up Adam Boqvist eighth overall in 2018, and they’ll be happy they did. He has a complete sense of the game, a wicked shot, and great puck control.
11: Kirby Dach, Chicago Blackhawks
Kirby Dach looks like he’ll be the future face of the Chicago Blackhawks. He should be the team’s next top-line centreman, as he combines all the right tools in his IQ, patience and pure skill. You can’t nail down one talent that stands out because there’s just so many. He can play in his own end and dominate in the offensive end. He’s just going to get better, and that will be exciting to watch.
10: Martin Necas, Carolina Hurricanes
An explosive offensive talent who can play both centre and the wing, Martin Necas is known for his incredible speed, agility, and confidence. Willing to handle the puck in traffic and confident in his ability to do so, the forward drives hard to the dirty areas of the ice in order to generate offence for his team. Further, with tantalizing puck skills and the ability to fool opposing players with ease, Necas’ creativity and unpredictability make him a consistent threat in all three zones of the ice.
9: Filip Zadina, Detroit Red Wings
Filip Zadina is an offensive winger that defenders will start to take notice of if they haven’t already. After playing nine games in the NHL last season, he’s very likely to stick with the team this season. He’s unpredictable with a great shot – a dangerous combination. He’s one of the top prospects in the entire league and could very well be in the conversation for the Calder Trophy in 2019-20.
8: Trevor Zegras, Anaheim Ducks
Trevor Zegras looks to be an elite, impact player in the league. A great, creative playmaker that should be the club’s next number one centre. He adds a surprisingly quick shot and good speed to his list of attributes. As he continues to grow and improve, he could become one of the best centres in the game. He likely won’t be in the NHL this season, but he could see a few games and be ready to make the jump in 2020-21 if he decides to leave Boston University.
7: Alex Turcotte, Los Angeles Kings
Alex Turcotte was the best two-way centre in the draft, and just might be the team’s next Anze Kopitar. He’s an excellent skater, can pile up the points, and is an elite prospect in the league. He’s an absolute threat every time he hits the ice. There really isn’t any clear flaw in his game. I’d expect to see the star prospect see some NHL time at the very latest in 2020-21.
6: Bowen Byram, Colorado Avalanche
Bowen Byram is a great skater with an ability to surprise opposing players with his speed. His vision allows him to make big passing plays, and he isn’t afraid to play physically. He handles the puck very well and has a quick, hard shot that can fool goaltenders. His will very soon be quarterbacking the Avalanche’s power play and leading the breakouts from his own end.
5: Cody Glass, Vegas Golden Knights
Cody Glass is an incredibly competitive two-way centre who plays a comprehensive game. More than willing to backcheck and always present in his defensive zone, Glass can transition the puck up ice with ease and is incredibly determined in doing so. Once he reaches the offensive zone, Glass is as creative and unpredictable as any, as his immense hockey sense and ability to devise plays combine to make him a lethal threat. What’s more, is that Glass can both shoot and pass the puck – a capability which makes him a tremendously shifty and dubious player.
4: Quinn Hughes, Vancouver Canucks
Elite, elite, elite. From his skating to his shot, to his playmaking, Quinn Hughes is an elite prospect and will be an elite NHLer – this season. In his brief call-up last season, he showed just what he’s capable of. As he gets used to the league, it’s almost scary to think that he’s going to get better. The Canucks have a very strong group of young players, and Hughes is going to be a main pillar in that group.
3: Cale Makar, Colorado Avalanche
Cale Makar is an uber-talented blueliner who plays a terrific all-around game. Nimble on his skates with ample speed and mobility, he’s an elite talent who reads developing plays quickly and makes accurate decisions under pressure. A tremendous stick-handler who protects the puck with ease before driving it up the ice, Makar commands possession and supplements his team’s offensive attack with startling regularity.
2: Kaapo Kakko, New York Rangers
Kaapo Kakko is going to go from playing in Finland to playing in the NHL with the Rangers. The organization may just have the fastest rebuild ever, and if that’s the case it will be in no small part due to Kakko. He will be a cornerstone on this team, bringing his elite playmaking, puck handling and sense to Manhattan. He has the potential to be a game-breaker in the NHL.
1: Jack Hughes, New Jersey Devils
Last but not least, or first if you scrolled all the way down here to see who took the crown, 2019 number-one overall pick Jack Hughes. He never gives up, and he always plays in his top gear. His skating is his crowning talent, for both top speed and his edgework. But right behind that is everything else. He can score, set up plays, defend and just about everything else. He’s either a threat to create a scoring opportunity or a threat to steal the puck from you. Either way, NHL players are going to have to keep an eye on the current top prospect in the league.