Welcome to the Weekly Prospect Report. Here, we’ll take a look at some key names over the past week that are a big part of the next wave of NHL stars. This column will dive into both NHL-affiliated and draft-eligible prospects, focusing mainly on those outside the NHL.
World Juniors Brought Confidence to Hurricane’s Bokk
What a season it’s been for Dominik Bokk. It started out with his NHL rights being traded from the St. Louis Blues to the Carolina Hurricanes in the Justin Faulk trade. Heading into the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship at about the halfway mark of the season, Bokk had one goal in 22 games playing in the SHL for Rögle BK. The World Juniors seem to have turned his season around.
Playing on Team Germany, Bokk was a leader on the team and arguably their best forward. He was named a top-three player on the team after collecting six goals and two assists in seven games, helping Germany avoid relegation in the process.
Now returned to Rögle, it’s safe to say that the forward has found his game. In the four games he’s played, he’s racked up five goals, bringing his season stat line to a respectable six goals, three assists, and nine points in 27 games.
He’s found his confidence at the World Juniors and that has translated directly into his league play. Bokk is a very exciting prospect and it’s showing over the past month. The Blues are going to regret parting from this future star.
Canucks’ Rafferty Injured, But Raising Stock in 2019-20
If you follow Vancouver Canucks prospects, you’ve probably heard about Vasily Podkolzin, Nils Höglander, Tyler Madden, and Jett Woo this season. But what about defensive prospect, Brogan Rafferty?
Rafferty is a lesser-known commodity for the western Canadian team, at least by teams. It’s likely that won’t be the case for long. Playing in his first season in the AHL, the right-handed defender has racked up six goals, 31 assists, and 37 points for the Utica Comets.
Just how good is that? Well, prior to Sunday’s AHL games, Rafferty sat eighth in the entire AHL in points. Did I mention that he’s a rookie defenseman? He leads all defenseman in points, is second in rookies to Ottawa Senators’ prospect Josh Norris (by just one more point, and is leading the entire league in assists (tied with Arizona Coyotes’ Michael Bunting).
An undrafted prospect, Rafferty looks like an absolute steal at this point. Unfortunately, if this is the first you’re hearing about his talent, you’ll have to wait one-to-two weeks to catch him. He’s out with an undisclosed injury, but when he returns, you should remember his name.
Devils’ Thompson Proving Teams Wrong
2017 NHL Draft: Undrafted.
2018 NHL Draft: Undrafted.
2019 NHL Draft: Tyce Thompson is selected in the fourth round, 96th overall, by the New Jersey Devils.
After being passed over with 529 draft selections, Thompson has used this season to prove why NHL teams made a mistake in not drafting him. Playing in the NCAA with Providence College, the centreman has put up 17 goals, 20 assists, and 37 points in 25 games.
Related: Devils Got Late-Round Value at Draft
He sits second in the league in points behind teammate and Vegas Golden Knights’ prospect Jack Dugan. He’s also third in points per game, with a 1.48 pace this season. For his impressive efforts, he – along with Dugan – have been nominated for the 2019-20 Hobey Baker Award as the top NCAA player.
Devils fans should be very happy with the progression of Thompson after being selected in June. After being passed over in two drafts, the late bloomer is coming into his game, which should make Devil fans very happy.
Quinn Has Solidified First-Round Draft Ranking
The 2020 NHL Central Scouting rankings are out, and Ottawa 67’s star player Jack Quinn was ranked ninth among North American skaters. That ranking is obviously without the European players, but there’s no questioning one thing: Quinn is a first-round talent.
Yes, he’s just four days away from being eligible for the 2019 NHL Draft. But, he’s still just in his second season in the OHL, as are many of the 2020 draft-eligible players. At the same time, you can’t ignore his 34 goals, 18 assists, and 52 points in 40 games this season.
Looking closer at those numbers, Quinn has gotten better as the season rolls on. Prior to Sunday’s games, Quinn led the league in goals and sits 20th in points. In his last 14 games, he has points in 13 of them (23 points) and in his last seven games, he has three hat tricks (11 goals in those seven games).
This past week, Quinn took place in the 2020 Kubota CHL/NHL Top Prospects game, playing on Team Red. He scored a goal and was named Player of the Game for his team
“I wanted to showcase myself like everyone else,” Quinn said after the game. “Work hard, and compete hard, and I think that’s what I did. I wasn’t expecting (to win Player of the Game) but it’s definitely a pretty big honour.”
Even with how stacked the 2020 NHL Draft is looking, Quinn has all but solidified his spot in the first round. At this point, I’d put him in the back half of the round, likely in the 21-31 range. Any team will be happy when they select him.
Foerster Stands Out in Top Prospect Game
Speaking of the Top Prospects game, you can’t talk about this year’s edition without talking about Tyson Foerster. The Barrie Colts forward was named Team White’s Player of the Game for his standout performance, collecting two goals and adding an assist in Team White’s 5-3 win over Team Red.
Foerster was ranked the 41st North American skater by NHL Central Scouting, a rank that personally, I think is low. He’s been having a great season in the OHL, already over double (not a typo) his point total from his rookie season (23 points in 2018-19). He’s up to 23 goals, 28 assists, and 51 points at the 40 game mark, putting him just behind Quinn for 21st for points in the league (prior to Sunday’s games).
The Alliston, Ontario native has become one of my personal favourite prospects in this draft. I’d put him early-to-mid in the second round, but he’d likely be a first-rounder in a normal draft.
He has an unbelievable shot and is always a threat in the offensive zone. His line was dismantled by the OHL Trade Deadline (Ryan Suzuki and Matej Pekar were both traded away), so his pace may drop slightly moving forward, but at the same time, the team will be relying on his offense.
That being said, it hasn’t been an issue for him. Since the deadline, the team has had three games and Foerster has points in all of them, with two goals and two assists. I think he’ll be just fine. And I’m excited to watch as his breakout season continues.
Zane Franklin on Fire in WHL
There’s a new name at the top of the WHL scoring race, the captain of the Kamloops Blazers, Zane Franklin. Heading into Sunday’s matches, the centreman has racked up 25 goals, 47 assists, and 72 points in 43 games. He’s already set a new career-high in assists and points, beating last season’s totals (40 and 68, respectfully) in 25 fewer games.
He’s riding a seven-game point streak (17 points), coming after a nine-game streak (19 points). His current streak includes two four-point games of one goal, three assists (back-to-back) and 12 total assists. He leads the league in assists as well.
Franklin is 21 years old, meaning he’s ineligible for the 2020 NHL Draft (2019 was his last year of eligibility). That being said, this season may have earned him a free agent signing, or at the very least an invite to an NHL camp in September. After that, there’s no telling what could happen. The road isn’t over for this prospect, and he’s proving why this season.
Thanks for checking out this edition of the Weekly Prospect Report. Throughout the season, I’ll keep you updated on all of the players not yet in the NHL that you should be keeping an eye on. If ever you’d like me to write about a specific prospect, have any questions or anything else, leave a comment below or send me a message on Twitter: @JoshuaBellTHW.
Starting out as an Ottawa Senators contributor for The Hockey Writers, Josh is now an editor and at-large contributor, focusing on prospects, the NHL Draft, hockey history, and breaking news stories.