Prospects News & Rumors: Forwards, Kalynuk, Gunler

While the 2020 NHL Draft may be months away, this hasn’t stopped THW’s own Larry Fisher from breaking down and ranking literally hundreds of hopeful draft prospects. Today we will look at his recent article about the 2020 forward class (spoiler, it’s a fantastic group).

Also, we will discuss the Chicago Blackhawks likely signing a former Philidelphia Flyers’ draft-pick, and forward prospect Noel Gunler.

Fisher’s Final Forward Rankings

When you look at Fisher’s complete, 500 player ranking released back in June, one thing sticks out: this is an incredibly deep forward class. Out of 500 players listed, 294 were forwards, with 133 of those players falling in his expected draft range.

Related: 2020 NHL Draft: Fisher’s Top 500 Final Rankings

The breadth and depth of the 2020 forward class is outstanding, as said by Fisher in his recent article:

In all honesty, 500 wasn’t enough to account for all the quality forward prospects available in 2020… All you need to know is this 2020 class is loaded with elite forwards in the top 10 — the top 20, really — and that there are going to be a bunch of bargains in the middle rounds and right through the end of this year’s draft.

When he says this, he isn’t kidding. Outside of the top-10 selections, there’s a number of high-skill forwards in the first-round who could easily be competing for NHL starting time in a few seasons based on their toolkits alone.

Cole Perfetti, OHL, Saginaw Spirit
When a player as talented as Cole Perfetti is projected to *only* be selected in the 5-10 range at the 2020 NHL Draft, you know just how deep the forward class is. (Photo courtesy of CHL Images)

These range from undersized but incredibly skilled players who could slip to the second-round like Alexander Pashin and Theodore Niederbach, potential third-round power forward steals in Roby Jarventie and Daniel Torgersson, and risky late-round picks who could pay off big in Lukas Svejkovsky and Patrick Guay.

In all, this is just another reason to be excited for the 2020 Draft, as it could be a formative year for many franchises, regardless of where their picks are made.

Blackhawks to Sign Kalynuk?

After it was announced roughly a week ago that the Flyers lost exclusive negotiating rights with defensive prospect Wyatt Kalynuk, speculation began on where the former seventh-rounder would sign. While there were a number of teams interested in him, it appears that the Blackhawks will be his landing spot.

For Kalynuk, this move makes sense for his career. Right now, there’s a lot of competition for ice-time time on Philidelphia’s blue line, where in Chicago he could make a case to start with the team out of training camp.

Related: The WHA – A Look Back at the Upstart Hockey League

When you consider everything, this isn’t necessarily a huge loss for the Flyers. While they would prefer to have more defensive depth, losing a former seventh-round gem won’t be a killer if some of their other prospects pan-out.

For the Blackhawks, however, this could be a boon to their defense, as they need more young, NHL-caliber talent that can affordably fill out their nightly line-up.

Prospect of the Day: Noel Gunler

Finally, we will look at one of the top prospects available at the 2020 Draft, Noel Gunler. For many, the Swedish forward is a sure-fire top-15 pick, with his offensive ceiling being amongst the best available.

Noel Gunler Lulea HF
Noel Gunler is one of the top prospects available at the 2020 NHL Draft, falling 13th overall on Larry Fishers’ rankings in June. (Photo by RvS.Media/Monika Majer/Getty Images)

While many aspects of Gunler’s game are appealing, one stands out above all else: his shot. As said by Josh Bell of THW:

If he ends up going in the top-10, it will largely be due to this shot, which might just be the best in the draft (or one of them at least). His wrist shot is deadly and a number of goaltenders in the SHL could confirm that.

Unlike other top-prospects, however, there are some major questions surrounding Gunler. These focus around his consistency, attitude, and the defensive portion of this game, which may have been a reason why Sweden held him off of their national team in 2019-20.

Related: 2020 NHL Draft Guide

If he sorts through these issues, however, Gunler has the potential to be an offensive dynamo in the NHL. He already has the offensive toolkit of a starter, and if selected by the right franchise, he could learn to play a complete game and absolutely dominate the league.