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.
Finally, this is the first update to the initial version of this ranking in September. There were a couple of prospects that were omissions from that first list that have been corrected in this list. That explains some of the large jumps from not ranked and up. Also, as I get more views of prospects, I’m able to get a better grasp of them which factored into the below changes.
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
Graduated Prospects (Previous Rank in Brackets)
- Dominik Kubalik, Chicago Blackhawks (98)
- Dante Fabbro, Nashville Predators (86)
- Alex Nylander, Chicago Blackhawks (72)
- Maxime Comtois, Anaheim Ducks (59)
- Jesper Boqvist, New Jersey Devils (57)
- Philippe Myers, Philadelphia Flyers (54)
- Alexandre Texier, Columbus Blue Jackets (53)
- Emil Bemstrom, Columbus Blue Jackets (51)
- Sam Steel, Anaheim Ducks (41)
- Nicolas Hague, Vegas Golden Knights (40)
- Nick Suzuki, Montreal Canadiens (27)
- Joel Farabee, Philadelphia Flyers (23)
- Erik Brannstrom, Ottawa Senators (22)
- Adam Fox, New York Rangers (20)
- Kirby Dach, Chicago Blackhawks (11)
- Martin Necas, Carolina Hurricanes (10)
- Cody Glass, Vegas Golden Knights (5)
- Quinn Hughes, Vancouver Canucks (4)
- Cale Makar, Colorado Avalanche (3)
- Kaapo Kakko, New York Rangers (2)
- Jack Hughes, New Jersey Devils (1)
100: Pierre-Olivier Joseph, Pittsburgh Penguins
Previous Rank: 83
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 couple of years before we see him on the NHL ice.
99: Urho Vaakanainen, Boston Bruins
Previous Rank: 85
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, The 2020-21 season might just be his year.
98: Shane Pinto, Ottawa Senators
Previous Rank: Not Ranked
Despite many Ottawa Senators fans being disappointed in Shane Pinto being selected 32nd overall in 2019, the prospect is very promising. Pinto is one of those players that just does everything right. He likely won’t blow up the scoresheet as he did at the 2020 World Junior Championship, but he does have the skill to provide some offense, work the special teams, and be a solid player in the NHL.
97: Isac Lundestrom, Anaheim Ducks
Previous Rank: 97
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 might graduate from this list this season, as he is currently with the Ducks.
96: Alexander Chmelevski, San Jose Sharks
Previous Rank: 87
Alexander Chmelevski has been an absolute stud in the OHL for the last few seasons. 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. His time is coming, and he could really surprise when he gets there.
95: Alex Vlasic, Chicago Blackhawks
Previous Rank: Not Ranked
At 6-foot-6, 198 pounds, Alex Vlasic already has the build of an NHL player. He’s excellent in his own end, using his size to rub opponents off the puck and his long reach to break up plays. He makes great plays with the puck in his own end and if he can translate his skill defensively to the offensive end, he could be an all-around great player.
94: Yegor Zamula, Philadelphia Flyers
Previous Rank: Not Ranked
Yegor Zamula uses his big frame (6-foot-3) to his advantage and is very hard to knock off the puck. He wins most puck battles and net-front battles, makes a crisp first pass out of the zone, and can rip the puck. What makes his play more impressive is that Zamula is an undrafted prospect. That’s right, he was passed over in 2018 (despite being ranked 100th by ISS Hockey and 105 by FutureConsiderations). The Flyers invited him to their training camp that year, signing him to an entry-level contract in the middle of camp.
93: Kristian Vesalainen, Winnipeg Jets
Previous Rank: 62
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.
92: Kailer Yamamoto, Edmonton Oilers
Previous Rank: 100
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. He’s been called up to the NHL now where he’s looked good – he might just stick.
91: Ryan Johnson, Buffalo Sabres
Previous Rank: Not Ranked
A great two-way defender, Ryan Johnson doesn’t have high-end offense, but he has everything else. He’s a strong skater, with excellent edges. He gets over-eager sometimes, pinching and getting caught, but as he continues to develop he’ll know when to time his attack. Until then, he’s solid in his own end and is a very promising defender for the Sabres. He should be a top-four defenseman in Buffalo in a few years.
90: Connor Timmins, Colorado Avalanche
Previous Rank: Not Ranked
After missing over a year of competitive hockey, Connor Timmins came back for the 2019-20 season, making the Colorado Avalanche opening night roster. He was ultimately sent down, but his ability to miss that much time and come into the NHL for the first time is incredible. He’s an excellent two-way defender who has been known to provide some offense. He’s great on his feet, and is incredibly smart with the puck. The Avalanche’s defensive group is looking terrifying for the future.
89: Evgeny Svechnikov, Detroit Red Wings
Previous Rank: Not Ranked
Once thought to potentially be the next star for the Detroit Red Wings, Evgeny Svechnikov has lost some of the fanfare behind him. It’s taken him a long time (drafted in 2015), but his time is getting close. He still has a high ceiling, with the potential for top-six. He’s shown elite offense in the past, and even though he’s trailed off in recent years, I’d chalk that up to confidence over lack of skill. Just wait until he breaks through. Don’t give up on him yet.
88: Mattias Samuelsson, Buffalo Sabres
Previous Rank: Not Ranked
You won’t look to Mattias Samuelsson for offense, but you’ll look to him on a regular basis. There’s a very good chance that Samuelsson is one of the best defensive defensemen yet to hit the NHL. He has top-four potential and he has leader written all over him. He’s captained Team USA at the U16, U18, and U20 level, on top of Western Michigan University in just his second year in the NCAA. Buffalo is going to love him.
87: Isaac Ratcliffe, Philadelphia Flyers
Previous Rank: 92
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. With the youth that’s been infused to the Flyers lineup, Ratcliffe might just find himself in the lineup soon.
86: Carl Grundstrom, Los Angeles Kings
Previous Rank: 90
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.
85: Jett Woo, Vancouver Canucks
Previous Rank: 99
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. I like this player more every time I see him.
84: Tyler Madden, Vancouver Canucks
Previous Rank: 88
Another 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.
83: Martin Kaut, Colorado Avalanche
Previous Rank: 74
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 despite his struggles this season, there’s still a promising prospect there.
82: Serron Noel, Florida Panthers
Previous Rank: Not Ranked
A potential top-six forward at the NHL level, Serron Noel has spent the last few years showing off his offensive ability in the OHL. He’s the definition of a power forward, at 6-foot-5, 209 pounds and a flair for offence. He has great hands, a very nice shot, and he’s physical. As he continues to develop, he should look very good down in Florida.
81: Lassi Thomson, Ottawa Senators
Previous Rank: Not Ranked
Yet another selection that Senators fans weren’t thrilled with, I think they will be one day. Lassi Thomson might be the whole package. He has experience as a leader, can provide offense, he’s an excellent skater, and he’s improving in his own end. If the puck isn’t on his stick, you can bet he’s working to get it there – he never gives up.
80: Alexander Alexeyev, Washington Capitals
Previous Rank: Not Ranked
The Washington Capitals love their Russians, and it looks like they’ve landed another solid one in Alexander Alexeyev. The defender stands at 6-foot-4 and is another all-around defender. He has a great shot, is hard on the body, and knows what to do in his own end. There really isn’t much the left-hand shot can’t do and the Capitals’ fans are going to adore him.
79: Calen Addison, Pittsburgh Penguins
Previous Rank: 78
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.
78: Olli Juolevi, Vancouver Canucks
Previous Rank: 91
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.
77: Adam Beckman, Minnesota Wild
Previous Ranked: Not Ranked
Adam Beckman is one of the most well-rounded prospects out there. He can fill the back of the net, makes a great pass, but can hold his own in the defensive end. He regularly forces turnovers in both ends with some solid defending and aggressive forechecking. He makes quick, smart decisions constantly and make be climbing into a higher prospect tier. He’s going to be a fan favourite.
76: Jamieson Rees, Carolina Hurricanes
Previous Rank: Not Ranked
Jamieson Rees just keeps getting better. He’s easily becoming one of my favourite prospects. He uses his elite speed and very high hockey IQ to stun his opponents offensively and then doesn’t give anything back by killing penalties and defending very well. He never gives up, no matter where he is on the ice making him always dangerous. You could say he’s a two-way forward, but he might actually be a playmaking two-way forward. At 44th overall in 2019, I think he’ll end up being a steal.
75: Oliwer Kaski, Carolina Hurricanes
Previous Rank: 94
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, but was then shipped off to the Carolina Hurricanes, where they will enjoy his talent.. He’s big, but not overly physical, can move the puck and has a booming shot.
74: Brayden Tracey, Anaheim Ducks
Previous Rank: Not Ranked
The Anaheim Ducks’ second first-round pick in 2019, Brayden Tracey is all offence. And yet, he can play in his own end too. Tracey has a knack for goal-scoring and he seems to continue to get better. He has great hands to match as well. On top of these, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a player who battles as hard as he does. He’s going to be a fan favourite for sure.
73: Akil Thomas, Los Angeles Kings
Previous Rank: Not Ranked
Akil Thomas is now Canadian royalty thanks to the gold-medal clinching goal against the Russians at the 2020 World Juniors. But it’s not that that puts him on this board. He has tons of skill, he’s great on his feet, and it seems like he has the puck on a string. The Kings have a very deep prospect pool and Thomas should be near the top of that.
72: John Beecher, Boston Bruins
Previous Rank: Not Ranked
Is it possible that the Bruins have the next Patrice Bergeron in their ranks? Alright, John Beecher might not be at that level, but that’s the game he plays. He’s effective in all three zones of the rink, can chip in offensively and knowns how to throw his body around. On top of this, he’s a great skater. As I said, he’s not Bergeron, but he could be Bergeron-esque.
71: Jan Jeník, Arizona Coyotes
Previous Rank: Not Ranked
There’s a very good chance that Jan Jeník could be a superstar in the NHL. He’s shown what he’s capable of in the OHL, including a 26-game point streak in 2019-20. He can score, he can pass, and he can skate. He’s extremely creative and looks to be one of the best players in the OHL right now. The Coyotes may have gotten a steal in drafting him 65th overall in 2018.
70: Raphael Lavoie, Edmonton Oilers
Previous Rank: 76
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.
69: Jacob Bernard-Docker, Ottawa Senators
Previous Rank: Not Ranked
Don’t sleep on Jacob Bernard-Docker. Arguably the best defender for Team Canada at the 2020 World Juniors, “JBD” really brings it all to the table. He keeps getting better and better offensively, is solid in his own end, and is a great skater. He can run any special team group and does so regularly. At this point, I would say that his floor is a top-four NHL defenseman.
68: Ty Dellandrea, Dallas Stars
Previous Rank: 84
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. He’s one of my favourite prospects.
67: Samuel Fagemo, Los Angeles Kings
Previous Rank: 95
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.
66: Kirill Marchenko, Columbus Blue Jackets
Previous Rank: 89
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.
65: Patrik Puistola, Carolina Hurricanes
Previous Rank: 75
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.
64: Bobby Brink, Philadelphia Flyers
Previous Rank: 79
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.
63: Anttoni Honka, Carolina Hurricanes
Previous Rank: 77
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.
62: Jason Robertson, Dallas Stars
Previous Rank: 69
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.
61: Jeremy Bracco, Toronto Maple Leafs
Previous Rank: 82
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.
60: Josh Norris, Ottawa Senators
Previous Rank: 81
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. As he keeps growing, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him as a top-six player (as I’ve been saying since they acquired him).
59: Alex Barre-Boulet, Tampa Bay Lightning
Previous Rank: 65
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.
58: Timothy Liljegren, Toronto Maple Leafs
Previous Rank: 70
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.
57: Josh Brook, Montreal Canadiens
Previous Rank: 59
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.
56: Cal Foote, Tampa Bay Lightning
Previous Rank: 63
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.
55: Tobias Björnfot, Los Angeles Kings
Previous Rank: 80
Tobias Björnfot’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. He surprised many by cracking the Kings lineup for opening night, and it won’t be long before he’s back.
54: Nicholas Robertson, Toronto Maple Leafs
Previous Rank: 93
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. I think he’s going to be a steal – if he’s not already.
53: Nolan Foote, Tampa Bay Lightning
Previous Rank: Not Ranked
The younger brother to Cal, Nolan Foote seems to have already surpassed his brother in potential. Foote still needs to work on his skating, but his shot is out of this world. It seems to be getting harder and faster. He’s great with the puck, and there’s really not much he can’t do with it. The Lightning love their goal-scorers to have a hard, heavy shot, and Foote has that all over.
52: Liam Foudy, Columbus Blue Jackets
Previous Rank: Not Ranked
There’s definitely an argument to be made that Liam Foudy was a notable omission from my previous ranking. There’s even an argument that he’s starting out too low. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him higher in the next update, but for now, this is where he sticks. Foudy’s bread and butter is his skating, which is a thing of beauty. He has an enormous amount of skill and is incredible with the puck. Once he fine-tunes his play in his own end, he will be a top-six player for the Blue Jackets.
51: Oliver Wahlstrom, New York Islanders
Previous Rank: 71
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.
50: Tyler Benson, Edmonton Oilers
Previous Rank: 55
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.
49: Matthew Boldy, Minnesota Wild
Previous Rank: 29
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. He’s having a tough start to his NCAA career compared to his other USNTDP graduates.
48: Jakob Pelletier, Calgary Flames
Previous Rank: 66
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.
47: Dominik Bokk, Carolina Hurricanes
Previous Rank: 60
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.
46: Alex Formenton, Ottawa Senators
Previous Rank: 50
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.
45: Victor Söderström, Arizona Coyotes
Previous Rank: 67
Victor Söderström 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. He was one of the best defenders at the 2020 World Juniors and is looking very good for the Coyotes right now.
44: Jake Bean, Carolina Hurricanes
Previous Rank: 47
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.
43: Logan Brown, Ottawa Senators
Previous Rank: 56
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. He may even graduate this season.
42: Ryan Poehling, Montreal Canadiens
Previous Rank: 49
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. Despite a rough start in the first half of his season, he’s still a promising prospect.
41: Ryan Merkley, San Jose Sharks
Previous Rank: 61
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 traded before the season from the Peterborough Petes to the London Knights, which will hopefully be his last stop before San Jose.
40: Eeli Tolvanen, Nashville Predators
Previous Rank: 48
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. It’s taken him a long time, but the skill is still there.
39: Cam York, Philadelphia Flyers
Previous Rank: 44
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.
38: Ville Heinola, Winnipeg Jets
Previous Rank: 68
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. Early on, it looks like he’s made strides in this (pun intended).
37: Ryan Suzuki, Carolina Hurricanes
Previous Rank: 46
The younger brother of Canadiens’ Nick Suzuki, found higher on this list, Ryan Suzuki makes plays like few others. 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.
36: Philip Tomasino, Nashville Predators
Previous Rank: 52
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.
35: Pavel Dorofeyev, Vegas Golden Knights
Previous Rank: 43
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.
34: Nils Höglander, Vancouver Canucks
Previous Rank: 73
Nils Höglander 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.
33: Nils Lundqvist, New York Rangers
Previous Rank: Not Ranked
Nils Lundqvist has become one of the top defensive prospects in the league. He’s feet and always working hard, and his ability to move the puck is practically elite. He’s incredibly smart and can get the puck up the ice himself or with a strong pass with ease. His offensive production is extremely impressive in the SHL, and it might not be long before he’s showing his skill in North America.
32: Aleksi Heponiemi, Florida Panthers
Previous Rank: 42
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.
31: Rasmus Kupari, Los Angeles Kings
Previous Rank: 39
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.
30: Thomas Harley, Dallas Stars
Previous Rank: 64
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, before he cracks the NHL lineup. He’s one of the best prospects in the transition
29: K’Andre Miller, New York Rangers
Previous Rank: 37
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.
28: Owen Tippett, Florida Panthers
Previous Rank: 38
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.
27: Jordan Kyrou, St. Louis Blues
Previous Rank: 32
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. He’s been called up by the Blues and I can’t see him going anywhere else.
26: Noah Dobson, New York Islanders
Previous Rank: 25
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. Now, he’s with the Islanders where I expect him to stick.
25: Evan Bouchard, Edmonton Oilers
Previous Rank: 21
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.
24: Alexander Romanov, Montreal Canadiens
Previous Rank: 96
Alexander Romanov is another prospect who might take some time before he hits the NHL. He’s a 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. He’s one of the top defensive prospects in the league right now and proved that at the 2020 World Juniors.
23: Alex Newhook, Colorado Avalanche
Previous Rank: 33
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.
22: Peyton Krebs, Vegas Golden Knights
Previous Rank: 45
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.
21: Morgan Frost, Philadelphia Flyers
Previous Rank: 35
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. He’s already playing with the Flyers, and shouldn’t be on this list much longer.
20: Connor McMichael, Washington Capitals
Previous Rank: Not Ranked
The biggest omission from my previous ranking is now tearing up the OHL. Connor McMichael came to play this season. His play all-around is incredible. He’s an offensive weapon, with excellent vision, and a shot to be envious of. He seems to have gained confidence since being drafted, creating a dangerous player for all of his opponents.
19: Drake Batherson, Ottawa Senators
Previous Rank: 30
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.
18: Philip Broberg, Edmonton Oilers
Previous Rank: 24
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.
17: Rasmus Sandin, Toronto Maple Leafs
Previous Rank: 31
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 won’t be long on this list.
16: Joe Veleno, Detroit Red Wings
Previous Rank: 28
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 is 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. If it’s not this year, Veleno will be an NHLer by next season.
15: Arthur Kaliyev, Los Angeles Kings
Previous Rank: 26
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.
14: Vasily Podkolzin, Vancouver Canucks
Previous Rank: 19
It will be some time 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 a year left on his contract in the KHL, that should improve before he hits the NHL.
13: Grigori Denisenko, Florida Panthers
Previous Rank: 18
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.
12: Ty Smith, New Jersey Devils
Previous Rank: 34
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.
11: Vitali Kravtsov, New York Rangers
Previous Rank: 15
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. Don’t let this season’s headlines and performance take anything away from him.
10: Barrett Hayton, Arizona Coyotes
Previous Rank: 16
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. He showed exactly what he’s capable of at the 2020 World Juniors and I can only imagine that Coyotes management were smiling the whole time.
9: Adam Boqvist, Chicago Blackhawks
Previous Rank: 12
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. Boqvist is very likely to graduate before the season’s end.
8: Kirill Kaprizov, Minnesota Wild
Previous Rank: 17
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. This season, he became the youngest player to hit 100 points in the KHL. He’s going to be a star.
7: Moritz Seider, Detroit Red Wings
Previous Rank: 36
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.
6: Dylan Cozens, Buffalo Sabres
Previous Rank: 14
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 currently with the Lethbridge Hurricanes tearing up the WHL for a season before having a great chance to see the NHL in 2020-21.
5: Cole Caufield, Montreal Canadiens
Previous Rank: 13
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.
4: Filip Zadina, Detroit Red Wings
Previous Rank: 9
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 has shown that in his NHL games played so far. He won’t be on this list for much longer.
3: Trevor Zegras, Anaheim Ducks
Previous Rank: 8
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 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.
2: Alex Turcotte, Los Angeles Kings
Previous Rank: 7
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.
1: Bowen Byram, Colorado Avalanche
Previous Rank: 6
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.
Who’s too low? Who’s too high? Who do you think should have made the list? Leave a comment below!