Weekly Prospect Report: Groulx, Lundell, Bahl, Tuomisto & More

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.

Related: Weekly Prospect Report: Tynan, World Juniors, Kravtsov, Lambert & More

With December underway, the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship is fast approaching and The Hockey Writers has you covered. We’ve already published team previews on every team, with more content rolling out daily!. To keep up with all of the 2020 World Junior content, you can do so here.

To recognize this grand tournament, this Weekly Prospect Report (along with the next few), will have an extra section to take a look at some of the headlines of this tournament!

World Junior Championship News

Team Canada Makes Groulx Final Cut

Team Canada has finalized their roster, making its final cut Anaheim Ducks’ prospect Benoit-Oliver Groulx. The former Halifax Moosehead captain (he was traded to the Moncton Wildcats on Dec. 22) is the lone cut from the group that travelled overseas with the team, having to take the long plane ride home alone.

Benoît-Olivier Groulx Halifax Mooseheads
Benoît-Olivier Groulx (Halifax Mooseheads) seen representing Team Canada Red at the 2016 World Under-17 Challenge.(Kenneth Armstrong for CHL Images)

The final roster is a star-studded group that is headlined by Alexis Lafrenière, the projected first overall pick ahead of the 2020 NHL Draft. He’ll be joined by the projected second-overall pick Quinton Byfield, and first-rounders Jamie Drysdale and Dawson Mercer.

Related: What if Canada Could Have Two WJC Teams?

The group has reinforcements from the NHL in Detroit Red Wings Joe Veleno and Arizona Coyotes Barrett Hayton. Goaltending might be a question mark with Nico Daws currently looking like the frontrunner. Compared to some other team’s goaltenders (Russia’s Yaroslav Askarov, USA’s Spencer Knight, and Finland’s Justus Annunen), this is definitely an area of weakness for the Canadians.

The entire final roster and analysis can be viewed here.

Lundell Available for Finland?

Finland’s roster seems to be set, with 23 players left in the lineup. However, they have yet to announce it as the official group that they’ll be taking into the World Juniors. It’s been rumoured that star 2020 draft-eligible Anton Lundell could be healed in time for the tournament despite being previously cut because they didn’t think he’d be healthy.

Anton Lundell IFK Helsinki
Anton Lundell of IFK Helsinki (Photo by Samuli Seila/IFK Helsinki)

Lundell would immediately be the best player on Team Finland and one of the best players in the entire tournament. Finland has been waiting on his status before announcing their official roster, but their fingers are crossed that he’ll be able to participate.

Chanton Cut From Switzerland, Räty Final 2021 Prospect

Team Switzerland has finalized their roster as well, announcing that one of the players I was most excited for, Giancarlo Chanton – one of two final 2021 Draft eligible prospects with a chance to play in the World Juniors. Chanton is one of the most promising young defenders that Switzerland has, and should be a main piece of the team next year.

The lone 2021 eligible player now is Finland’s Aatu Räty, the projected top pick for that draft. He should be a big part of Finland’s offense this year and a catalyst in the tournament next year. Keep an eye on his as the tournament kicks off.

NHL-Affiliated Prospects

Red Wings’ Tuomisto Commits to University of Denver

Detroit Red Wings defensive prospect Antii Tuomisto has committed to the University of Denver for the 2020-21 season, which is promising for the player, the school, and the Red Wings.

The 35th-overall pick in 2019 is currently playing for Ässät U20 in the Jr. A SM-liiga as an alternate captain, collecting 11 goals and 31 points in 30 games. Playing in the NCAA will give him a chance to get used to the North American game while playing on what looks to be a stacked team moving forward.

For the 2020-21 season, the school has already had promising 2020 NHL Draft prospect Carter Savoie commit, and the 2021-22 season will see another strong 2020 prospect, Michael Benning, join the group. This looks to be a very strong team moving forward.

Devils Acquire Bahl in Hall Trade

With the New Jersey Devils trading Taylor Hall to the Arizona Coyotes, part of that return was defender Kevin Bahl. The early impressions seem to be that the return is less than ideal for the Devils, but they may just have a future star in their new defensive prospect.

The 6-foot-7 prospect is currently set to participate at the World Juniors for Team Canada, giving Naw Jersey fans a chance to catch their new prized prospect. He’s actually a very good skater, and his transition game has been noted to be a highlight of his game. His defensive game is excellent, and he can chip in offensively sometimes, collecting five goals and 20 points in 25 games so far this season with the Ottawa 67’s.

Terry Wilson / OHL Images

He’s not the prized prospect that many hoped for in the trade, but he very well could develop into a high-end defensive defenseman to compliment top prospect Ty Smith. Devils fans should be excited at that potential.

Draft-Eligible Prospects

Players Named for the 2020 Kubota CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game

40 CHL players have been named to the 2020 Kubota CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, taking place Jan. 16, 2020 in Hamilton, Ontario. The roster includes 17 OHL players, 14 WHL players, and nine QMJHL players.

“All 31 NHL clubs have a say in the player selection process and take great interest in this best-on-best showcase,” said Dan Marr, Director of NHL Central Scouting. “The Kubota CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game is a great opportunity for scouts and general managers to evaluate talent and we look forward to seeing which players will make their mark in Hamilton.”

Here’s the full roster for the game, from the CHL:

  • Goaltenders:
  • Nico Daws (Guelph Storm)
  • Dylan Garand (Kamloops Blazers)
  • Brock Gould (Victoria Royals)
  • Samuel Hlavaj (Sherbrooke Phoenix)
  • Defencemen:
  • Lukas Cormier (Charlottetown Islanders)
  • Jamie Drysdale (Erie Otters)
  • Kaiden Guhle (Prince Albert Raiders)
  • Thimo Nickl (Drummondville Voltigeurs)
  • Ryan O’Rourke (Soo Greyhounds)
  • Jeremie Poirier (Saint John Sea Dogs)
  • Luke Prokop (Calgary Hitmen)
  • Kasper Puutio (Swift Current Broncos)
  • Braden Schneider (Brandon Wheat Kings)
  • Donovan Sebrango (Kitchener Rangers)
  • Christoffer Sedoff (Red Deer Rebels)
  • Jack Thompson (Sudbury Wolves)
  • Forwards:
  • Mavrik Bourque (Shawinigan Cataractes)
  • Quinton Byfield (Sudbury Wolves)
  • Brandon Coe (North Bay Battalion)
  • Will Cuylle (Windsor Spitfires)*
  • Jack Finley (Spokane Chiefs)
  • Tyson Foerster (Barrie Colts)
  • Jean-Luc Foudy (Windsor Spitfires)
  • Ridly Greig (Brandon Wheat Kings)
  • Seth Jarvis (Portland Winterhawks)
  • Alexis Lafrenière (Rimouski Oceanic)
  • Hendrix Lapierre (Chicoutimi Sagueneens)
  • Dawson Mercer (Drummondville Voltigeurs)
  • Jake Neighbours (Edmonton Oil Kings)
  • Cole Perfetti (Saginaw Spirit)
  • Jacob Perreault (Sarnia Sting)
  • Vasiliy Ponomarev (Shawinigan Cataractes)
  • Jaromir Pytlik (Soo Greyhounds)
  • Jack Quinn (Ottawa 67’s)
  • Marco Rossi (Ottawa 67’s)
  • Justin Sourdif (Vancouver Giants)
  • Antonio Stranges (London Knights)
  • Oliver Suni (Oshawa Generals)
  • Ozzy Wiesblatt (Prince Albert Raiders)
  • Connor Zary (Kamloops Blazers)

Originally, Justin Barron (Halifax Mooseheads) and Daemon Hunt (Moose Jaw Warriors) were named to the roster, but both will be held out due to injury and were replaced by Prokop and Puutio.

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.