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YOUNGBLOOD: 2014 NHL Entry Draft

2014 NHL Entry Draft

G’day NHL Draft  junkies,

 

After some final tinkering to my previous “Final FINAL 2014 NHL Draft Rankings”, I am content (for now) on my FINAL (for real this time) draft rankings for the 2014 NHL Draft. As I did all season, I put together one final “Youngblood” release and kept if fairly easy-to-read with straightforward rankings, skill-related ranking lists and a mock draft. In addition, I posted my 2015 NHL Draft Rankings to kick things off for next season.

 

Of course, it’s all free too. Moving forward, almost all of my content that was previously featured in the Youngblood releases will be offered over at McKeen’s Hockey, where I have an ongoing featured section. Be sure to check it out.

 

For the updated rankings, lists, mock draft and other information…download: Youngblood 2014 NHL Draft FINAL

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@RossyYoungblood’s 2014 NHL Mock Draft

 

2014 NHL Entry Draft

 

  • Not-so-Bold Predictions:
    • Florida trades the 1st overall selection swapping spots with one of the Canadian teams in Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, Vancouver Canucks or Toronto Maple Leafs
    • In general, trading should be on the rise in 2014 with many teams looking to get “their” targeted player in a crop that’s fairly tightly packed together (and consequently, difficult to project who goes where). Trading up will ensure teams get their guy.

 

  • 3 Potential Draft Fallers:
    • Sam Bennett – NHL CSS’ top ranking of Bennett could be a curse. He’s certainly got the skill to go 1st overall but both Aaron Ekblad and Sam Reinhart have promising potentials as well. In addition, their playing styles are easy to project into the NHL and that might give them an edge in a group that’s tightly packed. Mix in big skilled forwards Leon Draisaitl, Michael Dal Colle and Nick Ritchie (who is considered #1 by some NHL scouts) and Bennett may slide further than people expect.
    • Brendan Perlini – A hot start to his draft season was promising but fizzling down the stretch sticks in scouts’ minds didn’t help IceDogs’ winger Brendan Perlini. He remained a Top 10 prospect throughout the season but the concerns about his competitiveness are legitimate and he could slide into double digits.
    • Tony DeAngelo – Publicly discussed and debated, Tony DeAngelo’s troubles on the ice and off the ice have been a hot topic throughout the season and that has left a sour taste in scouts’ mouths. Despite rumoured strong interviews at the NHL Draft Combine, there are just some scouts who just won’t risk a 1st round pick on a defenseman who is one dimensional and has some red flags. DeAngelo is the most interesting storyline, in my opinion, at the 2014 NHL Draft. Personally, I want to see him selected well and prove that these were all overstated “troubles”. In the end, the gifted offensive defenseman could end up being selected anywhere from 10th to 75th overall.

 

  • 3 Potential Draft Risers:
    • Dominik Masin – Not an overly familiar name in North America, Czech defenseman Dominik Masin receives rave reviews from those who have followed him this season. He captained his nation to a silver medal at the Under-18 World Championships and showed that he can log huge minutes in both offensive and defensive situations. Don’t be shocked to see him scooped up inside the opening round.
    • Sonny Milano – Largely considered a mid-to-late 1st round selection, American Sonny Milano could be considered a “riser” if he creeps inside the Top 15. He is a wizard with the puck and in a draft class that’s fairly wide open after the opening 8-9 picks, Milano could get snatched up quickly by a team who values his game-breaking abilities.
    • Travis Sanheim – Calgary Hitmen defenseman Travis Sanheim elevated his game down the stretch and his performance at the Under-18 World Championships was nothing short of outstanding, lifting him into first round consideration. Sanheim could hear his name called any time after the Top 10, especially in a relatively weak defensive crop at the top of the draft

 

  • Sleepers to Watch: Jaden Lindo, Dylan Sadowy, Jake Walman, Louis Belpedio, Josh Wesley, Ryan Foss

 

  • Valuable Long-term Investments (Project Picks): Ryan MacInnis, Eric Cornel, Brett Pollock, Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Brycen Martin, Jacob Middleton

 

  • Rossy’s Favourite Draft Prospects Team: 
  • Just  some of my favourite prospects heading into the 2014 NHL Draft that I have enjoyed following or watching. Most of these players I have been high on dating back to last year (especially the forward trio)

Nick Ritchie (LW) – Robby Fabbri (C) – Nikolay Goldobin (RW)

Travis Sanheim (LD) – Julius Honka (RD)

Brandon Halverson (G)

 

  • The Coaches Choice Team:
    • Players who provide an element found on championship teams

John Quenneville (LW) – Conner Bleackley (C) – Brendan Lemieux (LW/RW)

Dominik Masin (LD) – Josh Jacobs (RD)

Alex Nedeljkovic (G)

  • Draft Eligible Wildcard Team (Boom/Bust):

                            Vladimir Tkachyov (LW) – Nikolay Goldobin (C) – Josh Ho-Sang (RW)

Joe Hicketts (LD) – Tony DeAngelo (RD)

Julio Billia (G)

Notes About the Analysis:

Alternative Option – This subsection provides one or two logical player options for the team under analysis to consider (within a reasonable projectable draft slot)

Rossy’s Ideal Target – I give the one prospect (within a reasonable projectable range) that each franchise should be targeting. Trading up or down is not an option with this scenario and occasionally, the player picked in the mock draft is the same ideal target.

 

1st Round

 

Aaron Ekblad (OHL Images)

Aaron Ekblad (OHL Images)

1st Florida Panthers – Aaron Ekblad (RD)

If the Panthers keep the 1st overall pick, the mature Aaron Ekblad would be a defenseman that would strengthen Florida’s blueline and be ready to step into the lineup immediately. Expect GM Dale Tallon to field plenty of trade offers but Ekblad is a great consolation pick if the proposals fail to impress.

Alternative Option: Trade down to land top wingers Michael Dal Colle, William Nylander or Nikolaj Ehlers.

Rossy’s Ideal Panthers’ Target: Aaron Ekblad

 

 

2nd Buffalo Sabres – Sam Reinhart (RC)

While Aaron Ekblad is the stud defenseman of the draft, Kootenay’s Sam Reinhart will be heavily targeted. Even though Sam Bennett got the nod on NHL CSS’ final ranking, it’s Reinhart that could be the target of many teams looking to trade up.

Alternative Option: If Sam Reinhart is unavailable, the rebuilding Sabres must select defenseman Aaron Ekblad. Case closed.

Rossy’s Ideal Sabres’ Target: Sam Bennett

 

3rd Edmonton Oilers – Sam Bennett (LC)

Building down the middle is the standard course of action in the NHL and Edmonton will snatch up one of Bennett, Reinhart or Draisaitl when GM Craig MacTavish takes the stage. Loaded with character, compete and two-way skill, Bennett gives the Oilers a potential number one centerman but he won’t be arriving in 2014-15, a scenario Edmonton isn’t familiar with.

Alternative Option: Leon Draisaitl is the type of pivot the Oilers could use as he offers a strong possession game and size down the middle. Also, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Oilers give Nick Ritchie some serious consideration.

Rossy’s Ideal Oilers’ Target: Sam Reinhart

 

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Youngblood Special Release: 2014 NHL Draft Midterm Edition

February 18, 2014 1 comment
(OHL Images by Aaron Bell/Terry Wilson; Blended by Brendan Ross)

(OHL Images by Aaron Bell/Terry Wilson; Blended by Brendan Ross)

With the 2014 NHL Entry Draft scheduled to take place in just over four months, @RossyYoungblood has put together a special edition of Youngblood for hockey prospect fans.

Inside the latest Youngblood [2014 NHL Draft Midterm Edition] release, read up on the Top 30 prospect profiles (as ranked by @RossyYoungblood), browse through the Top 75 potential prospects for the upcoming draft and check off some notable OHL players to watch. Furthermore, enjoy a Mock Draft and feature story on Evaluating the Boom/Bust Prospect compiled exclusively for this special Youngblood edition.

As usual, all components of the Youngblood release are complimentary so sit back and enjoy.

FREE Download: 2014 NHL Draft Midterm Youngblood Edition

 

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Youngblood Special Edition: 2014 World Junior Championship

December 25, 2013 1 comment

WJC Rink

The most wonderful time of the year is mere hours from commencing as the world’s best junior-aged hockey prospects prepare for the 2014 IIHF Under-20 World Junior Hockey Championship,

The Holiday Season is filled with an enchanting atmosphere as children, both young and old, eagerly await the arrival of Christmas. Truth be told, Old Saint Nick may be the root cause of that enchanting feeling experienced by our children but it would be wrong not to credit some of that feel-good anticipation (for us adult hockey fans anyways) to the World Junior Championships. For real, we wait for months to show our national pride and it’s the WJC stage that lifts our emotions to heights that few things can. Sure, it helps that the world tournament takes place during the holiday season where family and friends can convene and cheer on their nations but, just like Old Saint Nick, the World Junior tournament creates a surreal atmosphere filled with hope that is placed in the hands of 22 young kids as they attempt to satisfy a country’s belief of achieving the impossible. For the purposes of the WJC, that impossible belief is winning gold – a task that has proven to be very difficult…even for a hockey driven country like Canada.

Without further ado, Youngblood Hockey courtesy of Brendan Ross (@RossyYoungblood) presents it’s WJC fans with a complete guide to familiarize yourself with the players and nations competing at the 2014 U20 World Junior Hockey Championship.

Free Download: Youngblood 2014 WJC Special Edition

 

Thanks for Reading,

Brendan Ross

@RossyYoungblood

Youngblood – December Edition

December 13, 2013 Leave a comment

 

Youngblood December Ed

Christmas comes early as we are pleased to release our December Edition of Youngblood, the free prospect magazine covering all of your Ontario Hockey League and prospect news.

 

In our December edition, @RossyYoungblood releases his Top 30 2014 NHL Draft Rankings for OHL eligibles, a Top 20 Ranking of OHL Draft eligible players and a recap of the Whitby Silver Stick Tournament. In addition, we’ve got World Junior news, CHL/NHL Top Prospect news and, of course, the usual stick tap section crediting players who stepped up their game this past month!

 

Download it now and thank us later!

 

Youngblood – December Edition

 

Thanks for reading and please, feel free to share your thoughts and discuss,

Brendan Ross

@RossyYoungblood

 

2014 NHL Draft Watch: Spirit fall 6-3 to the Sting

October 18, 2013 Leave a comment

Thursday, October 18, 2013

 

With eyes focused on eligible skaters for the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, I have decided to post notes on these players with each Ontario Hockey League game I visit this season for your reading pleasure.  There is better debut to begin with than Thursday’s Sting-Spirit game with several highlight individual performances to note. The Sarnia Sting recorded a season-high six goals in their second straight victory after defeating the Saginaw Spirit at the RBC Centre.

Tony DeAngelo of the Sarnia Sting (Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

Tony DeAngelo of the Sarnia Sting (Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

Tony DeAngelo (Sarnia Sting, D) – Coming into the 2013-14 OHL season, there was no player I was more interested in following then Sarnia’s offensive defenseman Tony DeAngelo. His path of progression is extremely important to his ultimate draft position. DeAngelo is known for his outstanding and rare offensive skillset but it was important that he developed other aspects of his game.

Early in his draft season, DeAngelo has addressed his weaknesses perfectly. He has shown grown maturity in his game, limiting poor penalties and emotional outbursts. Defensively, DeAngelo is utilizing his exceptional skating ability to maintain good gap control and positioning in his defensive zone to contain opposing attackers. Most importantly, DeAngelo hasn’t been making (as many) risky offensive decisions and appears to be picking his spots to jump into the rush better. Previously, it was common place to catch DeAngelo attempting to execute a toe-drag through the neutral zone (often leading to a turnover and scoring chance, if unsuccessful) but the young native of New Jersey has reeled it back lately.

In Thursday’s game versus Saginaw, DeAngelo picked up a team leading four points (one goal, three assists) and put his vision, unflappable patience and advanced puck skills on display through the entirety of the game. DeAngelo leads all OHL defensemen in scoring with 14 points (5G 9A) through the opening nine games and has factored in on 48% of the Sting’s goals this season, including seven of Sarnia’s eight powerplay goals.

 

Nikolay Goldobin (Sarnia Sting, RW) – Off to a streaky start with the Sarnia Sting in 2013-14 is last year’s rookie scoring leader. Goldobin has recorded points in only four of Sarnia’s nine games but when he’s ‘on’, there are few players in the league that have the ability to control the pace of the game. During the offseason Goldobin added to his average sized frame and looks to be a physically stronger player. His game-to-game and shift-to-shift consistency and intensity still waver at times although improvements have been made in that area.

 

Goldobin’s puck skills are elite, as is his on-ice vision that allows him to dissect the rink and send passes to players most competitors wouldn’t notice, and it’s these two rare skills that makes him arguably one of the OHL’s most dangerous powerplay options. Composed under pressure, Goldobin owns a ridiculous panic threshold level and is able to operate in minimal space with ease. Goldobin recorded two goals (one was a laser over the shoulder of Red Wings’ prospect goaltender Jake Paterson) and added a beautiful assist on rookie Nikita Korostelev’s second tally of the nice on a cross-ice one-timer. Goldobin is up to 10 points through as many games and remains high on my 2014 NHL Draft Rankings.

Tyler Hore (Sarnia Sting, D) – Hore had a solid game for Sarnia skating alongside Josh Chapman most of the game. He remains a sleeper pick for the upcoming draft and I like him as a late round selection but he will need to clean up his defensive play at time. On most nights, Hore and Chapman are drawing tough assignments against opposing team’s top players and he has used his strong skating skills and awareness to contain attackers. His puck skills are good for a defenseman and he has shown several times this year that he has the confidence and puck handling abilities to make difficult keep ins at the offensive blue line. It will take a team to really like Hore’s upside and gamble on his developing skills for him to be drafted but I like this defenseman.

Brett Hargrave (Sarnia Sting, RW) – Prior to Thursday’s game, reports surfaced that Sarnia’s 2012 1st round selection (13th overall), Brett Hargrave, returned home to North Bay to await a trade. To date, the big forward has had an up and down season showing very well during Sarnia’s training camp but has been wildly inconsistent through regular season. There was no word from the Sarnia Sting as to how this situation will unfold at this time.

Patrick White (Sarnia Sting, C) – Congratulations to Sarnia`s Patrick White for scoring his first career OHL goal on slick pass from fellow rookie Noah Bushnell. White is a skilled pivot that has shown flashes of offensive creativity but will need to become a more consistent scoring threat to be considered by NHL teams.

 

Alexandre Renaud (Sarnia Sting, LW) – Former 2012 2nd round selection, Renaud, found himself moved up in the lineup to play alongside Daniel Nikandrov and Alex Carnevale (both undrafted). However, Renaud continues to play too much of a passive game for a man of his size. Renaud is a good skater but his puck handling skills haven`t progressed yet and he will need to make gains in that area. Renaud is still seeking his first point of the season and has been part of a group rotating in and out of the lineup as healthy scratches.

Brandon Prophet (Saginaw Spirit, D) – Prophet was easily my favourite Spirit player on the night. He owns good size, great skating ability and an offensive flare to his game, which is a quality I like in defensive prospects. Prophet logged a lot of time on the Spirit’s top powerplay unit and his ability to read the ice and move into open spaces really impressed me. He remains a potential first round prospect for the upcoming draft class and should find himself land somewhere in the first half of the draft.

Saginaw's Zach Bratini (Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

Saginaw’s Zach Bratini (Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

Zach Bratina (Saginaw Spirit, LW) – Bratini is a playmaking winger who displays good hockey intelligence. His ability to read the ice allows him to be an effective player in all three zones. Bratini skates well and his overall offensive game is promising but there were certainly times I wanted him to engage physically with his size. At this point in his career Bratini is fairly raw but his package of skills is very promising and he could hit his stride as the seasons pass. Bratini scored in Thursday`s game on a fluky bounce play during the second period.

Dylan Sadowy (Saginaw Spirit, LW) – In my first viewing of Saginaw this season, Dylan Sadowy impressed me with his responsible two-way game. He was very effective as a defensive forward showing good positioning and a willingness to engage physical. Sadowy owns good size skating at over six feet and his defensive awareness and shot blocking abilities could make him a serviceable bottom six energy player.

Daniel DeSousa (Saginaw Spirit, D) – In his fourth game as a member of the Spirit, De Sousa had an ‘okay’ game. He showed good puck skills in passing and walking the line but his ability to move the puck out of his own zone was quite spotty. As a second round selection of the Belleville Bulls (2012), De Sousa had some lofty expectations placed on him but has disappointed somewhat in his early seasons of OHL hockey. The fresh start in Saginaw could help him but he will need to show consistent offensive output in order to garner serious NHL interest.

Sarnia’s 1st round selection (9th overall, 2013), Nikita Korostelev (Eligible for 2015 NHL Draft), had a terrific game scoring his first two goals of his OHL career. Noah Bushnell (2015 eligible) picked up his first career OHL point as well assisting on Patrick White’s first goal.

 

Next Stops:

Friday, October 18th – Kingston Frontenacs @ Kitchener Rangers

Sunday, October 20th – Ottawa 67’s @ Guelph Storm

 

Thanks for reading,

Brendan Ross

@RossyYoungblood

 

If Lockout Ends, Who Is Staying? Who Is Going?

March 21, 2013 Leave a comment

 

Originally Published at The Hockey Writers on October 18th, 2012

 

The 2012-13 NHL lockout has officially passed the one-month mark and as optimism continues to elevate with the owners, players and, most importantly, the fans, there could be a few less-than-thrilled faces around the major junior hockey rinks. With the ending of the lockout looming, Canadian Hockey League fans across parts of Canada and the United States could potential lose some of its top talents. If NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and the thirty owners can come to an agreement with Donald Fehr and the Players Association then it is expected that abbreviated mini-training camps could commence rather quickly. The NHL teams were preparing for this possible occurrence and agreed to appoint several top prospects eligible to be recalled from their respective CHL teams in order to compete for spots on NHL rosters.

 

The Canadian Hockey League has been in full swing since the middle of September and teams are just beginning to form chemistry. With a few teams scheduled to have one or more of its top players potentially leaving for NHL main camps there stands the possibility of some major disruptions within the CHL.  The following list will break down the selected players who could be recalled by NHL teams for training camp upon settlement of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

 

Note: The players listed below could (key word) be recalled but do not necessarily have to be as it is up to the respective National Hockey League team to decide their fate.

 

Rickard Rakell (Anaheim Ducks): Drafted with the last pick in the first round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Rakell is currently competing in his third OHL season with the Plymouth Whalers. After posting point-per-game numbers last season, Rakell is off to a mediocre start with six points through eight games as he looks to show the Ducks that he can better his offensive numbers and become a dominant player this year.

2012-13 Final Destination: If recalled, Rakell will almost certainly return to Plymouth to lead the Whalers as one of the key pieces on a contending team.

 

 

John Gibson (Anaheim Ducks): Like fellow Ducks’ prospect Rakell, John Gibson is a vital component of the Kitchener Rangers, another stacked team hopeful of making a long OHL run. By no fault of Gibson, the Rangers have struggled early this season to score goals leaving their win column a bit bleak but it’s been the stellar play of the Swedish netminder that has kept Kitchener in games. Gibson currently sits with a 3-2-0-1 record posting a respectable 2.39 GAA and 0.927 save percentage.

2012-13 Final Destination:  Gibson could attend training camp as the Ducks want to take a look at his development but Kitchener is set to end an eight-game road trip and return home to their newly renovated rink and could use Gibson’s services. With capable veteran netminder Frank Palazzese as backup, Kitchener can afford to let Gibson go gain valuable training camp experience and welcome him back in a short time rejuvenated with confidence.

 

Dougie Hamilton proving to be a steal at 9th overall for the Bruins (Aaron Bell/CHL Images)

Dougie Hamilton (Boston Bruins): The former 9th overall pick of the Bruins is all but guaranteed to attend Boston’s training camp whenever it opens as he is expected to not only make the roster but play valuable minutes on the B’s blueline. Dougie Hamilton should be in the early discussions as a potential Calder candidate for the 2012-13 NHL season and his game should translate well under the mentorship of all-star Zdeno Chara. The big strapping Hamilton currently leads all OHL defensemen in scoring with 11 points including a league-leading three goals.

2012-13 Final Destination: Dougie Hamilton’s days are limited for the Niagara Ice Dogs as once the lockout is settled he is on his way to Massachusetts immediately…and for good.

 

 

Mikhail Grigorenko (Buffalo Sabres):  The free-faller of last year’s draft class, Mikhail Grigorenko, has rocketed out of the gates to start his second QMJHL season after being named “Rookie of the Year” last year. Grigorenko has nine goals and 22 points in 10 games this year which is good enough for second in league scoring.

2012-13 Final Destination: Mikhail Grigorenko will certainly be recalled by the Sabres for training camp and is one of the few prospects from last year’s draft class that stands a very good chance of sticking around in Buffalo for the season.

 

 

Ryan Murphy (Carolina Hurricanes):  Ineligible for the American Hockey League, defenseman Ryan Murphy was returned to Kitchener to lead the offensive attack but the team has struggled enormously to produce goals, as evident by Murphy’s lone single point. Big expectations were placed on this offensive dynamo and it should be a matter of time before he turns his game around.

2012-13 Final Destination: Murphy has already attended one training camp and performed well before being sent back to junior to focus on his defensive game. He will attend the Hurricane’s training camp but I would expect him to return to Kitchener as the franchise hopes to make a long championship run this season.
Boone Jenner (Columbus Blue Jackets): The unexpected OHL leading scorer (17 points) has impressed early in his fourth OHL campaign and is on pace to shatter his previous career highs of 25 goals and 66 points. The Blue Jackets may invite their 2012 second round pick to camp but it’s quite possibly they decide to leave him in OHL to continue riding his hot stick.

2012-13 Final Destination: One month ago, I would’ve said that Jenner would remain in Oshawa if the lockout occurred but after a strong start to the season the Columbus brass could be interested to see how he performs at camp.
Ryan Murray (Columbus Blue Jackets): Everett Silvertips captain and 2012 second overall selection Ryan Murray has scored twice and recorded five points in ten WHL games this season as his team sits last in the U.S. Division.

2012-13 Final Destination:  With a high draft pedigree and big expectations, it is difficult to say what his best route of action would be but Murray will definitely be in Columbus for training camp upon the lockout ending. Whether Murray remains in Columbus for the season will be up to the Jackets’ staff as they weigh the value of him gaining professional experience versus dominating the junior ranks for another year.

 

 

Radek Faksa (Dallas Stars): Faksa is the key centerpiece of the Kitchener Rangers’ offensive attack and without his seven points (8 games) the team’s awful scoring slump would be even more depressing. Faksa has yet to dominate on the score sheet but he brings the intangibles and complete game that provides value to any franchise at the OHL or NHL level.

2012-13 Final Destination: Import forward Faksa will head to Dallas’ training camp as he does have the potential to sneak into a roster spot, especially with the injury to centerman Derek Roy.

 

 

Brett Ritchie (Dallas Stars): Ritchie is off to a tremendous fourth-year start as he sits tied for second in team scoring with Dougie Hamilton at 11 points through as many games. The big winger really needs to put up strong offensive numbers if his game is going to translate to the NHL as he lacks a consistent physical game to play bottom-six grinding type of hockey.

2012-13 Final Destination: Ritchie could be recalled but if training camps are condensed then the Stars may choose to keep him in Niagara to continue his strong play.  Ritchie will return to the Ice Dogs to finish his junior career as I do not anticipate him cracking the Stars roster for this season.

 

 

Matej Stransky (Dallas Stars):  The third big Stars prospect to make this list, Stransky is coming off a great sophomore WHL campaign where he led the Saskatoon Blades in goals (39) and points (81). The big Czech winger is off to a slower start with eight points in his first 11 skates but his future remains promising considering he was a former 6th round selection (2011).

2012-13 Final Destination:  Like Ritchie, I’d expect that the Dallas Stars keep Stransky back for another year but he could attend his second training camp. Either way, with the Saskatoon Blades hosting the Memorial Cup, Stansky will certainly return to the Blades for his third WHL season as the teams’ key offensive weapon.

 

 

Nail Yakupov (Edmonton Oilers): Clipping along at a point-per-game pace in the KHL (yes, I know, he’s not in the CHL like the other prospects listed), Nail Yakupov will board his flight immediately upon the signing of the new CBA. Oilers’ fans will have a ton of offensive talent to cheer on as Yakupov is set to join youngsters Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Nugent-Hopkins among many other potential NHL stars.

2012-13 Final Destination: Edmonton Oilers. Enough said.

 

 

David Musil (Edmonton Oilers): Back in Vancouver for his fourth season with the Giants, Musil has progressed well since being drafted in the second round in 2011.  Look for Musil to put an end to his declining point totals over his previous three WHL seasons as he leads the Giants defense core. Through nine games, Musil sits atop all team defensemen in scoring with seven points.

2012-13 Final Destination: With no real standout blue chippers on the backend in the Oilers’ system, Musil should be expected to join the Oilers in training camp to showcase his future minute-munching style of hockey. He’s a longshot to stick with the big club and should be returned to compete for Coach Don Hay in Vancouver.

 

 

Jonathan Huberdeau (Florida Panthers): The former third overall pick is back in Saint John for the start of another year as a result of the NHL lockout. Huberdeau has found the game sheet 16 times with nine goals and seven assists in 11 games and when he leaves for the Panthers’ training camp it is a foregone conclusion that his days in major junior hockey are finished as he will not be returning.

2012-13 Final Destination: The Florida Panthers will welcome Huberdeau as a key piece to their offense and surround him with the opportunity to contend for the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s Top Rookie.

 

 

Mathew Dumba (Minnesota Wild): At the 11-game mark, Red Deer Rebels’ defender Mathew Dumba sits tied for 11th in defensive league scoring with two goals and seven points to go with his 25 penalty minutes.

2012-13 Final Destination: Dumba will likely receive the call to attend the Wild’s shortened training camp simply to give this young energetic rearguard the opportunity to experience NHL caliber action. However, Dumba’s NHL arrival will likely be postponed until 2013-14, at the earliest.

Alex Galchenyuk (Metcalfe Photography)

 

 

Alex Galchenyuk (Montreal Canadiens): Despite his average offensive numbers, Alex Galchenyuk has started the year strong as Sarnia’s front man. The big pivot has been dangerous on a shift-to-shift basis and is just starting to find some impressive chemistry with his line mates. Galchenyuk is the most interesting 2012 prospect as he has the goods to step into the NHL immediately but with a lost season to a knee injury, one would have to think Montreal keeps him in junior for one more year. Galchenyuk leads Sarnia in points (12) after the team’s opening nine games.

2012-13 Final Destination: As the third overall selection, Alex Galchenyuk will certainly attend the Canadiens’ training camp and whether he stays in Montreal depends largely on how much of an impact he makes. The safe play would be to return Galchenyuk to Sarnia to dominate as he focuses on improving his strength over the year but the potential to earn a stint in the NHL remains a strong possibility as well.

 

 

Ryan Strome (New York Islanders): Not eligible for American Hockey League action due to his age, Strome would have benefited from playing in Bridgeport.  In the end, Strome returned to Niagara to start the season and has been very good offensively breaking the twine seven times and registering 14 points (11 games) to lead the Ice Dogs.

2012-13 Final Destination: Strome will go to Islanders training camp where he hopes to impress enough to stick around and begin his professional career. However, I feel as though Strome has some more developing to do before making the jump to the NHL. Ideally, Strome would be playing in the AHL but it would not hurt him to dominate the OHL for another season as well. Strome is a true wildcard.

 

 

Griffin Reinhart (New York Islanders): Reinhart’s Edmonton Oil Kings are off to a good start (5-3-1-2) and his one goal and five points are respectable for a player of his ilk. Griffin is a valuable player on the Oil Kings roster and his team is hoping that he returns to Edmonton after his first NHL training camp concludes.

2012-13 Final Destination: Reinhart’s draft pedigree (4th overall, 2012) will have him scheduled to make the trip to the Isles’ training camp but his goal should be solely to interact and learn from NHL players.

 

 

Cody Ceci (Ottawa Senators): Despite an awful team record, Ottawa 67’s defender Cody Ceci has been one of the few bright spots for the red, black and white. The native of Ottawa sits second in OHL defensive scoring with 10 points in his opening 9 contests.

2012-13 Final Destination: With no immediate help needed on the Senators’ blue line, Ceci’s attendance at camp will come down to whether or not the Senators want him to gain the experience of training camp. With him being located directly in town, Cody Ceci stands a great chance at attending camp but his stay may be short as his 67’s will surely need his talents back quickly.

 

 

Stefan Noesen (Ottawa Senators): One of the many NHL drafted first round talents on the Plymouth Whalers’ roster, Stefan Noesen hopes to repeat as the team’s leading scorer after racking up 82 points in 63 skates last season. Skating with impressive tenacity most of the time, Noesen would love the opportunity to return to Senators camp for a second straight season to show off his progression.

2012-13 Final Destination: With Noesen already having training camp experience, the Senators may opt to keep him in Plymouth rather than disrupting his momentum as he currently sits atop the Whalers’ scoring lead (6 goals, 7 points).

 

 

Scott Laughton (Philadelphia Flyers): Playing on one of the hottest teams in the CHL, Laughton is already producing at over a point-per-game pace (12 points in 10 games) and has become a regular on the game sheet.

2012-13 Final Destination: One of my personal favourites, Scott Laughton features such a complete game that he could attend Flyers camp and surprise. However, Oshawa boasts such a strong team that Laughton will likely be returned to the Generals in hopes of him becoming an impact player as his squad looks to earn big game experience as one of the OHL’s top contenders.

 

 

Scott Harrington (Pittsburgh Penguins): There are not many defensemen as experienced as London’s Scott Harrington after playing key roles at the World Junior Championships for Team Canada and in the Memorial Cup for London last season. Harrington is the defensive leader in London and his spot on the Knights’ roster is irreplaceable.

2012-13 Final Destination: Penguins GM Ray Shero will want to see Harrington in Pittsburgh for main camp but with few open defensive spots, Harrington will be returned to London eventually.

 

 

Olli Maatta (Pittsburgh Penguins):  Playing in his second OHL season, Finnish defender Olli Maatta has adopted a bigger role in London on a stacked Knights roster. With six points through his opening eight games, Maatta is off to a great start offensively.

2012-13 Final Destination: Olli Maatta will jump on a plane with Knights’ teammate Scott Harrington and head to Pittsburgh for his first NHL training camp, mainly to gain that ever-so-important experience of big league camp.

 

 

Derrick Pouliot (Pittsburgh Penguins): Another defensive prospect featured in the Penguins system, Portland Winterhawk Derrick Pouliot (8th overall, 2012) will undoubtedly be on his way to Steeltown for camp after an impressive start in his opening 11 games scoring four goals and 10 points.

2012-13 Final Destination: The Penguins will want to test their 2012 top draft selection against NHL caliber players to see exactly what they are dealing with. Pouliot should eventually return to Portland as the Winterhawks plan (another) run at the WHL Championship.

 

 

Ty Rattie (St. Louis Blues) – Last season’s WHL scoring star, Ty Rattie, started the year slowly but has come alive after registering a four-goal game last week. The Blues have to be thrilled with Rattie as a second round selection in 2012 as he becomes another offensive option in a growing pool of talented prospects. Rattie has accumulated seven goals and 12 points in the 10 games he has suited up for.

2012-13 Final Destination: Rattie will indeed be en route to St. Louis once the lockout ends and the mini-training camps begin. On most other NHL teams, Rattie would have a great chance at making an NHL roster but with the Blues’ forward depth he is likely looking at another year with the Winterhawks.

 

 

Morgan Rielly (Toronto Maple Leafs) – Brian Burke and his staff are elated with their newest top prospect in defenseman Morgan Rielly and they certainly should be. To start the 2012-13 WHL Season, Rielly has three goals and 14 points (10 games) to sit among both the WHL’s forward and defence scoring leaders.

2012-13 Final Destination: Much like Galchenyuk, Rielly missed last season with a serious knee injury but enters this season with the skill to make the jump to the NHL. It is unlikely that Rielly is kept in Toronto past the nine-game mark but he certainly is a wild card since the franchise holds him in high regards. In reality, Rielly is looking at one more standout WHL season before making his long-awaited jump to NHL action.

 

 

David Broll (Toronto Maple Leafs) – The man-beast who is David Broll has begun the OHL season looking more conditioned and ready to play a more offensive role in Sault Ste. Marie. At the NHL level, Broll projects as a bottom-six player that brings size and physicality to the lineup. After his opening ten games, Broll looks as though he could quickly set new OHL career highs as he already has two goals and six points on the season.

2012-13 Final Destination: At the moment, the Toronto Maple Leafs have no reason to recall David Broll from the Greyhounds and keeping him in the ‘O’ should keep his momentum going.

 


Frank Corrado (Vancouver Canucks): Underrated in every sense of the word, Frankie Corrado is letting people know who he is as he sits among the leaders in OHL defensive scoring with seven assists for the Sudbury Wolves.

2012-13 Final Destination: With the long proximity between Sudbury and Vancouver combined with Corrado’s impressive start, it is a good bet that Vancouver brings out their 2011 5th round selection to the west coast to showcase his talents. Corrado should eventually return to the OHL to finish out his fourth year of major junior hockey.

 

 

Tom Wilson (Washington Capitals) – Drafted based on his impressive physical stature and overall potential, Tom Wilson is beginning to produce the way many felt he was capable of. The big burly winger showcases an impressive statistical line of two goals, five assists for seven points after suiting up in just six games.

2012-13 Final Destination: Physically, Tom Wilson is ready for NHL-action and the Capitals will definitely want to test their big man against NHL-sized players so expect him to report to training camp.  The experience Wilson gains in Washington could be a substantial boost to his development as he looks to gain more confidence offensively and mature as player.

 

 

Mark Scheifele (Winnipeg Jets) – From the opening puck drop, Mark Scheifele quickly launched himself to the top of the OHL scoring charts playing for the Barrie Colts, one of the Eastern Conferences’ strongest teams. After a disappointing season last year, Scheifele needs to dominate the OHL as one of the top scorers to keep his development on path. Scheifele has recorded points in all but two games this season and carry’s a respectable production of four goals and 13 points through his opening 10 games.

2012-13 Final Destination:  Scheifele pushed for a roster spot last season at Jets’ training camp and he will attempt to stick around longer this season. Winnipeg has added depth to their lineup so Scheifele will have to really impress the Jets’ personnel to crack the roster. Much like Ryan Strome, Scheifele would be best suited for AHL action but dominating the OHL for one year would be better than playing fringe minutes at the NHL level.

 

 

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Categories: Prospects