Some of the most elite young players will be starting their NHL careers soon, while the top draft prospects continue to prove their worth. Check them out here
This is a very exciting time of year if you’re a prospect watcher. Not only do we have playoffs going on in major junior and college, but the high-end kids whose seasons have ended are signing their first pro deals. Some of the biggies off the board already include Casey Mittelstadt (BUF), Eeli Tolvanen (NSH), Jordan Greenway (MIN), Henrik Borgstrom (FLA), Adam Gaudette (VAN), Dylan Sikura (CHI), Dylan Gambrell (SJ) and Troy Terry (ANA). I have also been told that Hobey Baker nominee and college free agent Jimmy Schuldt of St. Cloud State is weighing his options. He could return for one more season with the Huskies, but the defenseman is also highly coveted by NHL teams should he leave school early.
No doubt we’ll see more signings in the coming days, but for now let’s look at some of the kids still playing right now.
Vitaly Kravtsov, RW, Traktor Chelyabinsk (KHL) - To say Kravtsov is having a breakout post-season would be a huge understatement. With 11 points through 11 games, the 2018 draft prospect is one of the league’s top scorers, despite only playing 13:28 per contest. A big, skilled winger, Kravtsov is putting up numbers like Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alexei Yashin when they were junior-aged. NHL arrival: 2019-20
Filip Zadina, RW, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL) - One of the top forwards available in the 2018 draft, Zadina has been an absolute dynamo for the Mooseheads and he hasn’t slowed down in the post-season. The skilled Czech national has four points in his first two games as Halifax carries a 2-0 series lead over Baie-Comeau. NHL arrival: 2018-19
Michael Rasmussen, C, Tri-City Americans (WHL) - For Detroit Red Wings fans worried about Rasmussen’s offensive ceiling, cast thine eyes to the playoff scoresheet. Rasmussen has seven points in his first two games against Kelowna, both big wins for the Ams. The big, two-way center is showing some nice upside here. NHL arrival: 2019-20
Quinn Hughes, D, University of Michigan Wolverines (Big Ten) - The Maize and Blue pushed their way into the Frozen Four with a couple impressive performances against Northeastern and Boston U. in the regionals. Hughes, a top 2018 draft prospect, showed off his excellent skating and puckhandling skills throughout and popped in a goal to open the scoring against the Terriers. He’s extremely fun to watch. NHL arrival: 2019-20
Scott Perunovich, D, University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs (NCHC) - the top-scoring freshman in the conference, Perunovich has been passed over in the draft before but that will end this summer in Dallas. Undersized but smart and mobile, he’s got more time to impress scouts now that the Bulldogs are in the Frozen Four. The world juniors helped his draft stock, too. NHL arrival: 2020-21
Axel Jonsson-Fjallby, LW, Djurgarden (SHL) - Whether you call him ‘The Hunter’ or ‘Tarzan,’ the long-maned Jonsson-Fjallby is making a name for himself in the Swedish League playoffs. Fast, physical and aggressive, the Washington Capitals pick has also been one of the top scoring threats in the bracket with six points in five games. His five goals leads all scorers. NHL arrival: 2018-19
Noel Hoefenmeyer, D, Ottawa 67’s (OHL) - The 67’s are in tough against Hamilton in the first round, but thanks to Hoefenmeyer they earned a split through two games. The Arizona Coyotes selection notched six points in those contests, including two goals in a Game 1 loss. Hoefenmeyer is still shoring up his ‘D’ work, but his offense from the back end is solid. NHL arrival: 2021-22
Mason Appleton, RW, Manitoba Moose (AHL) - He’s been one of the top rookie scorers in the AHL all season long and were the NHL jets not so deep, I’m sure he would have been given a call-up at some point. In the meantime, Appleton uses his smarts and skill to put points on the board and right now the Michigan State alum has eight in his past six games. NHL arrival: 2019-20
Jake Wise, C, U.S. NTDP (USHL) - Wise is getting hot at the right time. As the NTDP starts thinking about the world under-18s, the Boston University commit has put up 12 points in his past five games for the deadly squad. Smart and skilled, the 2018 draft prospect has been overshadowed by the team’s top line, but you can’t ignore what he’s doing lately. NHL arrival: 2021-22
Jonny Tychonick, D, Penticton Vees (BCHL) - The Vees fell to Trail in the second round of the playoffs, but Tychonick did all he could on the offensive end.. The North Dakota commit and 2018 draft prospect leads all BCHL defensemen in post-season scoring with 16 points in 11 games, using his great skating and playmaking abilities to do damage. NHL arrival: 2021-22