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.
Stars’ Dellandrea Taking Big Steps Forward in 2019-20
I have really liked Dallas Stars’ prospect Ty Dellandrea ever since they drafted him 13th overall in 2018. That being said, the steps forward that he’s been taking are astronomical – something that not many people could have predicted.
When he was selected, the Flint Firebirds’ alternate captain was coming off of a campaign that saw him collect 27 goals, 32 assists, and 59 points in 67 games. He was also the alternate captain for Team Canada in the World Under-18 Hockey Championship, collecting two goals, three assists, and five points in as many games. He was also a gold medalist in the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, not registering a point in the five games played. It was a very good season for the young player.
In 2018-19, his stats improved marginally, collecting 22 goals, 41 assists, and 63 points in 60 games. This was his first season as the captain of the Firebirds. He also got to play in his first 11 professional games, playing 11 for the Texas Stars and registering two goals, one assist, and three points. Definitely a step forward for the Toronto native, but along an expected path.
Now, in 2019-20, he’s broken out completely and the Stars’ organization must be watching on the edge of their seats with anticipation. In 35 games played, Dellandrea is one goal off his OHL record with 26, while collecting 31 assists, and 57 points. He’s been a dominant force. On top of this, he was named an alternate captain for Team Canada again at the 2020 World Juniors where he collected three goals, two assists, and five points. Oh, and a gold medal again.
With the way he’s developing, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Stars’ prospect in the NHL next season. Keep an eye on this prospect for the rest of 2019-20.
Canadiens’ Caufield Continues to be Scoring Machine
We all knew that Montreal Canadiens’ prospect Cole Caufield could score. In 2018-19, between the USNTDP Juniors and the U.S. National U18 Team, he played in 92 games, collecting 101 goals, 40 assists, and 141 points. That’s pretty good.
Then, playing in the U18 World Championships, he played another seven games and racked up 14 goals and four assists in seven games. He has eyes for the back of the net, and there aren’t many goalies that can do anything about it. For 2019-20, he was entering a new league that’s a step above what he’s seen before in the NCAA.
Well, he’s looking pretty good so far. The Stevens Point, Wisconsin native is running the NCAA in his freshman season, collecting 16 goals, 10 assists, and 26 points in 24 games. He sits 23rd in the entire league in points and tied for fifth in goals. Compared to other freshmen, he’s first in both categories.
I think it’s safe to say that the 15th-overall pick can score. He even collected his first NCAA hat trick this past week. His shot is extremely accurate, and he gets a shocking amount of power behind it. NHL goalies are going to need to start researching this shot now.
Can Wild’s Boldy Finish Season Strong?
When you look at Matthew Boldy’s stats for the 2019-20 season, it’s very easy to be disappointed. There might be questions about the selection, or people throwing the term “bust” around. I’d suggest holding off on those reactions for now.
The Minnesota Wild’s 12th overall pick in 2019 may have seen a significant drop in his production this season, but this is still his freshman season in the NCAA, so let’s give him more than a few months before jumping to conclusions.
Plus, let’s look closer at Boldy’s numbers. His stat line is currently two goals, seven assists, and nine points in 22 games. Yes, that rate is a long way from his 33 goals, 48 assists, and 81 points from a season ago, but there are some positives to take away.
Of his points, seven of them have come in the past eight games. Don’t be surprised to see this rate for the rest of the season. He was recently moved from centre to the wing and it seems to be working for him. Also, Boldy is having a very unlucky season. Some people may say “you make your own luck,” but boy has Boldy tried. He’s had 74 shots to date and only two goals. Compared to other freshmen, he’s had the third-most shots. But, he has a 0.02 shooting percentage. It’s only a matter of time before that percentage goes up – Boldy just needs to find some puck luck.
I still believe that Boldy is a strong prospect for the Wild, and I think he will have a strong second half for Boston College. Don’t give up on him yet, Wild fans.
Raymond is a Top-Three Talent in the 2020 NHL Draft
Starting the season, nearly everyone had their 2020 NHL Draft rankings as:
- Alexis Lafreniere
- Quinton Byfield
- Lucas Raymond
Halfway through the season, some have questioned Raymond’s numbers, and other names have popped up as a potential third overall pick. Included are Tim Stützle and Marco Rossi, both very good prospects, and potential top-five picks. Raymond should be held above these two.
Nothing against the others at all, I love them both. But I see Raymond as a tier above them, just below Lafreniere and Byfield. Playing int hö SHL for Frolunda HC, the winger has four goals and four assists for eight points in 21 games. While that doesn’t seem like much, considering he’s playing at just over 10 minutes per game, these are actually very good. In fact, this rate is among the best in the past decade of the SHL.
When given the opportunity, Raymond has flourished. In a season-high 12:58 on Jan. 23, Raymond had a three-point game, collecting a goal and two assists. Everywhere else he’s played this season, he’s succeeded.
- SuperElite: two goals, four assists, six points in five games
- 2020 World Juniors: two goals, two assists, four points in seven games
- Champions HL: two goals, one assist, three points in six games
He’s an elite talent. Also, keep in mind that he was battling a viral infection this season. Raymond should be in third on your boards. Make sure he is.
Don’t Sleep on Simontaival
Another European player to watch is Kasper Simontaival. Playing in the Jr. A SM-liiga with Tappara, the Finnish forward has collected 19 goals, 25 points, and 44 points in just 39 games. Those marks lead all U18 players in goals and points in the league.
NHL Central Scouting ranked Simontaival 36th among European skaters in their midseason rankings. Personally, I think this is too low. He’s a first-round talent in my opinion, and in a draft as deep as 2020 that’s saying a lot. He’s an offensive threat every time he steps on the ice and his skating is arguably among the best in the draft. Any team would be lucky to have him.
Keep an Eye on James Hamblin
A name that many people aren’t talking about is out of the WHL in James Hamblin. The Medicine Hat Tigers captain is having a very good season, collecting 28 goals, 43 assists, and 71 points in just 46 games. That’s good for second in the league, one point behind another undrafted prospect Kamloops Blazers’ Zane Franklin.
What’s even more impressive is how Hamblin got here. He just ended a 16-game point streak that saw him score 28 points. He’s been invited to the Boston Bruins training camp (2017) and the Toronto Maple Leafs training camp (2019) in the past, so his dream of the NHL might not be over yet, despite not being eligible to be drafted anymore.
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.